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No Time for Courtesies - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In the era of globalization and the spreading of intellect, the idea of commercial franchise is welcomed with open arms in the business world. Thus, it has become normal to see the most famous trademarks over all five continents of the world and in different countries regardless of their sizes and in cities and villages without exception. However, the odd thing is that the same applies to terrorist movements such as Al Qaeda! Al Qaeda has announced its “bloody” existence in the Maghreb region. The price of such declaration was paid by a number of dead and wounded victims. The same old process is repeated once again; suicide operations aimed at killing and terrorizing scores of people only to then cause panic and seek to justify their action with the “known” discourse. Villainous operations are called “invasions” [by the terrorists] and its perpetrators give themselves traditional Arabic names as if they were visitors from the era of the Salaf [The Predecessors i.e. first three generations of Muslims]. And of course, these operations are accompanied by depressing video clips that include the miserable will of the wretched terrorist who is responsible for the crime. What a sad situation! Terrorism has infested the Maghreb states, known for their religious tolerance and dealing with jurisprudence and Shariah without indulging in historical interpretations of certain people and considering them as their only source of knowledge. The strange thing is that the blasts which hit Morocco (followed by horrific massacres in Algeria), were accompanied by similar explosions in Iraq. The explosive nature of terrorists is the same and there is plenty of it. How can we expect it to disappear when all the pretexts, justifications and cultural ammunition from traditional “books” and “knowledge” present such logic as though it is an enlightening and should be followed because it is the guarantor of purity? The source of conflict in the Islamic world (namely the Arab Islamic world) is that it still deals with the issue of extremism merely as a different “view” or a different “outlook” on issues.

The truth is that the matter is much deeper than that; there is a different “principle” upon which these ideologically extremist schools are based. The most important element of this principle is the rejection of [peaceful] coexistence by simply rejecting others and secluding them completely. This in itself is contrary to the central idea of Islam being a message to the entire world and the Quran a message to all people and that its Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) was sent as a mercy and guidance upon all of humankind. The severe plague that the Muslim world suffers from today is not strange or abnormal. Other nations had faced similar challenges before. Germany suffered from Nazism and Europe had greatly suffered from severe persecution at the hands of the church during the Dark Ages and so on and so forth. Insufficient solutions will not help in such matters, for then results will be incomplete. As long as issues of terrorism and extremism are coated with courtesies and gracious consideration for others, then one should expect more bloodshed and innocent victims.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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