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The Al Qaeda Press Conference - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In the famous play entitled ‘Madrasat al Moshaghibin’ [School of Rascals] in which the leading role was played by Adel Imam [a popular Egyptian actor], there is a wonderful famous scene whereby the protagonist, Bahgat al Abaasiri, said to his fellow mischievous students, “In view of the gravity of the situation, I must call for a meeting on the basic level.” This scene came to mind as I read that the famous leading figure of the terrorist network Al Qaeda, Ayman Al Zawahiri, called for an international press conference to be held via the Internet in order to establish dialogue and so that he may be asked his opinion regarding the latest top news stories. The Al Qaeda movement is one that subsides for a little while then reappears in a devastating and dangerous manner.

The anticipated press conference is not an opportunity to identify the ideas, principles and objectives upon which the Al Qaeda movement has been based or to identify the movement’s orientations and its interpretations of political events and facts on the ground. The press conference, in fact, is an opportunity for the Al Qaeda network to round up dozens of young men so that they may be incorporated into the ranks that have killed scores of people whose lives are lost for the sake of fake political promises and hollow propaganda that uses misleading religious slogans. Their lives have been lost so that glory could be granted to the Al Qaeda network and its followers and so that the wheel could continue to spin.

Is there anything new that deserves to be known about Al Qaeda? This question may seem naïve but it is undoubtedly a fundamental point or else how can we explain the persistence of the enormous “share” that is allocated to the statements, comments and views of Zawahiri regarding every little matter in global political affairs (as if he is a world leader, and in some cases he is given more attention than most leaders). Such odd and suspicious media coverage has been and continues to be a direct cause of the support that the movement receives, not to mention the strengthening of such support. This is because such coverage provides evidence that the Al Qaeda movement has become a “superpower”, the opinion of which is taken into consideration and which has become influential upon political decisions taken in the world. However, the truth is that this is completely untrue; the movement’s emotional appeal that once played a major role has lost its shine as a result of the enormous damages caused by the movement that eventually led to its loss in supporters due to the assassination of scores of innocent people, and due to reasons adopted by and promoted by the Al Qaeda movement.

To permit Ayman al Zawahiri [to hold this conference] and the likes of him has nothing to do with the concept and the principle of freedom of opinion since freedom of opinion ends when harm is caused [to people] and violations against others take place. In fact allowing someone like Zawahiri to appear and establishing communication with him is the purification of a poisonous mentality that only accepts the language of violence. There is clear and abundant evidence to demonstrate that and those who deny this are only fooling themselves.

An internet press conference for Ayman al-Zawahiri…What would be better was if it was followed by commentary stating that no one had participated in such conference.

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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