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The Ugly Face of Terrorism - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The victims of the two suicide bombings that took place yesterday on the Moscow Metro were for the most part ordinary people; they all had families, and perhaps even children who may be awaiting their return. They probably have no connection whatsoever with politics and only thought about their own concerns and interests. It was their bad luck that they found themselves in the same place as these two female suicide bombers when they decided to carry out a suicide attack with the objective of killing random victims.

This is the ugly face of terrorism; it is the indiscriminate killing of innocent people who have nothing to do with anything and this is something that there can be no justification for. Such acts of terrorism are usually carried out by those who have been ideologically brainwashed, whereas those who actually plan these attacks and are truly responsible for them sit in safety monitoring the media frenzy that takes place after every major terrorist attack. There may be far-ranging goals or secondary objectives to such attacks.

Unfortunately the latter part of the twentieth century saw an increase in the phenomenon of terrorism by people claiming to be Muslims, and it seems that this is something that we will also have to live with for a large part of the twenty-first century. Security measures and the anti-terrorist campaigns have made it more difficult for terrorist groups to operate and obtain financing however the recent developments since the end of last year reveal that terrorist groups have made several major attempts to return to the scene, such as the attempt by the Nigerian youth to blow up a US airliner. Since there is no perfect and faultless security system, logic states that a suicide bomber may be able to bypass the security systems.

What happened in Moscow on Monday is a general reminder of this, and also serves to remind us that terrorism remains a problem that the countries of the world need to unite in order to root out, and this is via implementing successful policies that are not limited to security policies, but also include ideological and political policies as well.

There can be no doubt that the world is full of injustice, whether these are political injustices or others, and these may include fair and justifiable grievances. The problem with terrorist groups and deviant terrorist ideology is that it exploits these political injustices in order to commit attacks and cause deaths, portraying terrorism as courageous. In reality, terrorism only deserves international condemnation and denunciation, as was the case following the Moscow terrorist attack on Monday.

The truth of the matter is that there is no bravery in killing or carrying out suicide bombings, for arming oneself with a bomb in order to detonate this in the midst of innocent people is the most contemptible thing that anybody can do. While it is true that acts of terrorism result in media attention, this attention is always negative, and international public opinion firmly opposes terrorism and killing. History shows that every group that followed this path ended up as a criminal gang or bandits, and that in the end they did not achieve anything. To look at a living example of this, there is the case of Carlos the Jackal who enjoyed the limelight for a short time but ended up serving multiple life sentences in prison. In the 1970s he was the most famous terrorist in the world, while today the media does not pay any attention to him.

Ali Ibrahim

Ali Ibrahim

Ali Ibrahim is Asharq Al-Awsat's deputy editor-in-chief. He is based in London.

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