Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

We must speak with one voice | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It is time to declare once and for all the absurdity of the “George Bush made me do it” excuse that is dragged out every time Muslims carry out a terrorist attack.

It was as ridiculous on July 7 when terrorists struck London as it was on September 11, 2001 when they hit New York and Washington . Many people across the world have opposed U.S. and British foreign policy but they are not rushing to fly planes into buildings or to blow up buses and Underground trains in London .

If we want to avoid another attack somewhere else next year that will just add to the list of shame, kill dozens more, further endanger the lives of Muslims living in the West and make it more difficult and humiliating for Muslims to travel to the West, we have to knock the phrase “George Bush made me do it” out of our vocabulary.

It is long past overdue that we stopped blaming everyone but ourselves. We have all known about the growing extremism and militancy among our communities but it was easier to ignore them and say “we’re not like that” than to confront it head on. A clear example of this and the resulting hypocrisy of blaming everyone but ourselves can be found among the “Arab and Muslim intellectuals” who live in London and who are interviewed by the Arab media and then the Western media.

Much has been written and said about the militant groups and extremists who have found shelter in London . But not enough is said about these so-called intellectuals who are little more than apologists for a terrorism that not only kills innocents in the dozens but ruins the lives of the millions of Muslims living in the West.

Hearing their interviews on Arab television after the London attacks, you would think that George Bush himself along with Tony Blair had gone to Leeds, led those four young men to London and pushed the button of their explosives for them. These so-called intellectuals were practically gloating that George Bush and Tony Blair had been taught a lesson they would not forget on July 7.

All of this is said in Arabic of course. These so-called intellectuals think this is what the Arab world wants to hear.

But to read the comments these same so-called intellectuals make to American newspapers you would think that they had developed amnesia and forgotten everything they had said just days earlier on Arabic television.

These same so-called intellectuals who on Arabic television could not utter a sentence without mentioning George Bush and Tony Blair are suddenly restrained, mournful and full of regret. Instead of blaming George Bush for everything, they tell The Washington Post or The New York Times that they are shocked, horrified and cannot begin to understand why young Muslim men would blow themselves up on London public transport.

To these so-called intellectuals I say it is time to speak in one voice – not one for the Arab world and another for the “khawagas”. The Arab world is sickened to the stomach by violence. Have these so-called intellectuals forgotten the years of bloodshed in Algeria ? The years of militant violence in Egypt ? The terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia ? And no matter whether you supported or opposed the invasion of Iraq , what is the position of these so-called intellectuals on the suicide bombing that killed 20 Iraqi children this past week? Was that George Bush’s fault too?

Just as bad as these so-called Arab and Muslim intellectuals who speak in two voices are the Western liberals who will bend over backwards but allow Muslims to take responsibility for the scourge of extremism and terrorism that threatens us just as much as it threatens them.

Do not be deceived by their apparent support of the “Muslim cause”. They do not care about the many Muslims who endanger their lives by speaking out and confronting terrorists and extremists in their communities, be they in the Arab and Muslim world in the West.

It is racist to think that Muslims cannot accept responsibility for the wrongs in our communities. These people do us no favours. While brave writers such as Badriya al-Bishr here at Asharq al-Awsat dissect the twisted thinking of extremists and terrorists, supposedly liberal writers in the West fill pages upon pages that make excuses for the horrendous terrorism that kills innocents, Muslims and non-Muslims.

Such liberals are so busy opposing George Bush that they do not see Muslims. They are talking above our heads. And furthermore, many think this is our “culture” anyway.

Never trust anyone who refuses to let you accept responsibility for a mistake. Such a person does not want you to mature or else they think you are incapable of maturity. That is the ultimate insult.

It is important to repeat once again my opposition to the invasion of Iraq and to most of George Bush’s policies. I am not an American citizen so I could not vote in the last U.S. presidential elections. If I could have voted, I would not have voted for George Bush.

Regardless, unless we push aside the facile “George Bush made me do it” excuse, we will never make any headway in squeezing out extremism.

The London bombings were even worse than previous terrorist attacks because the four bombers were all British born and raised. It is impossible to exaggerate what a catastrophe this is to Muslims living in the West. It was the biggest gift to racist right wing groups in the West who have tried to portray us as a fifth column.

Let’s stop giving these racists more gifts. Let’s speak in one voice that accepts responsibility and begin to find ways out of this monumental mess that will affect us all and, please, leave George Bush out of this.

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