Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

No to Terrorism, Oppression and Occupation - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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To unravel the ambiguity of the non-stopping world debate on the relation Islam has to terrorism, it might be revealing to compare the world reactions towards Nathan Zada”s and London”s recent terrorist attacks on civilians. It should be said first, however, that Zada”s massacre at Shafa Amro could have claimed more innocent lives than the London Bombings, was it not for the unusual courage of an Arab student who risked her life to snatch Zada”s extra ammunition magazine from his hand while he was trying to reload.

Israeli media condemned the terrorist act, and the Israeli government distanced itself from it. All Muslim leaders all over the world condemned the London bombings too. Unlike the culprits of London, however, Nathan Zada was depicted as the one &#34rotten apple&#34 in the box, and a &#34pro-violence&#34 &#34Arab hater.&#34 Zada was treated afterwards as a national hero, just like Barokh Goldstein upon his cold-blooded murder of twenty-nine Palestinians while they were praying at the Mosque in Galilee.

On the other side of truth, the intellectual and political debate about the London bombings continues, with people like Salman Rushdie trumpeting a call for revisiting the Qur”ainic text, taking tailored measures against Muslims, and immediately deporting Muslims suspect of propagating hate. This is of course considering all Muslims as one breed with one stream of thought and behavior, disregarding the many unsubtle differences between over a billion Muslims living in different Muslim communities and upholding different lines of thought.

Another useful comparison could be between the recent London bombings and the decades” long IRA”s terrorist attacks in Britain. No one blamed Catholic texts for their acts or dwelled on the relation Christianity has to terrorism. Instead, political negotiations over a settlement reached their solution.

The world”s debate goes as far as elaborating on the factors that make Muslims in general inclined to violence. Among the factors recounted are lack of democracy, spread of corruption, poverty and oppression. The underlying reasons are deemed irrelevant, and the Malaysian, Turkish and Iranian economic and social developments, unhindered by Islam, are never sited for a counter argument. This is let alone that no one recalls that the West has never been an ardent proselytizer of freedom and democracy in the Muslim, Arab and developing countries over the last century. No one mentions either the many dictators or oppressors in these countries who have survived their peoples” uprisings through the direct, or indirect, support of many Western countries, with Saddam Hussein as an archetype.

Some Western countries, instead, have actually spread occupation and oppression and financed wars against Muslims. They readily justify the hate crimes against Palestinians, and the double-standards racist policies in implementing international legitimacy. The Apartheid Wall in Palestine and the blatant occupation of Palestinians territories are only few examples. Yet, the West still depicts the lack of democracy, spread of corruption, poverty and oppression in Muslim and Arab countries as if they were some original national and self-perpetuating products.

This makes us realize that the non-stopping international debate on the relation Islam has to terrorism is nothing more than a political justification for more racism and occupation in the war on terrorism and the crusade for spreading democracy. Free thinkers in the West and East would not find it hard to agree that there in no innate tendency among Muslims and Arabs for violence by virtue of religion or culture. There are &#34rotten apples&#34 everywhere, and free nations everywhere fight against such anomalies. Terrorism is, beyond all doubt, condemned by all monotheistic religions, and therefore is not a valid pretext for violating people”s freedom, sovereignty and independence. War on terrorism needs a different strategy and different principles. It needs true stand against occupation, oppression and terrorism all together. Otherwise Muslims and Arabs will remain the prime victims, and the vicious circle of violence will strangle any chance for spreading freedom, democracy and peace.