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Al-Maqdesi and Al-Jazeera - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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If releasing Al-Maqdesi from the Jordanian prison a few days ago, only to re-arrest him after an interview with Qatari satellite channel Al-Jazeera, was a deal intended to split Al Musab al Zarqawi’s group, then not only was it an awful deal but also an unsuccessful one.

Although we remain oblivious to the reasons for al Maqdesi’s release, history and experience prove that dealing with groups and ideologies that only believe in branding other Muslims as infidels and carrying arms is counterproductive. This is because al Maqdesi and such groups totally rejects negotiation and kills those who believe in a language of mutual understanding.

Al Maqdesi”s interview on Al-Jazeera is disturbing, horrifying and frustrating. This man refrains from denouncing killing, instead saying its time has not yet come! He does not condemn suicide operations but supports efforts to rationalize it! He does not say enough to recklessness but believes Arab governments have driven their youth to it. He does not say no to killing security officers, Shiites or to bombing houses and shops. Rather, al Maqdesi calls for focusing all efforts on more important goals, insisting these operations should not delay the journey.

If he had been Bin Laden”s advisor, al Maqdesi would not have advised him to refrain from violence. He would, however, have advised Bin Laden not to be hasty and to ensure that he is strong and well prepared. I write this with complete confidence and awareness that Jordan and its people would never bargain with such a man or such an ideology. While it is true that he has not fired a shot, al Maqdesi remains as lethal as those who have.

As for establishing a dialogue, this remains concern for the media, or as we say in the language of press, &#34a press beat&#34. It is regrettable that al Maqdesi was allowed complete freedom to reply without further probing to reveal to the audience this man”s real aim. What a shame! Al Maqdesi derives his authority because of his book &#34Obvious Indications for Considering Saudi Arabia an Infidel&#34. It is well known that a long history of deep-rooted disagreement exists between Saudi Arabia and Qatar . However, if this conversation took place to spite the Kingdom, then this is surely a clear case of political insolence.

I am unable to decipher Qatar ’s aim in giving airtime to a flagrantly fundamentalist person and another more secular. When Al-Maqdesi is questioned about Egypt and Jordan , he who does not call Saudi Arabia by its name but rather refers to it as &#34the peninsula&#34, is this freedom of media in action? Why does the presenter refrain from asking Al Maqdesi on his opinion of Qatar and its policies, thereby benefiting the jihadist youth that Al Jazeera glorifies? They may then realize the Emirate features on the map of atheistic countries along with Egypt and Saudi Arabia as stated by the ideology of Al Maqdesi and his followers. The satellite channel even failed to present another guest to counteract the claims of Al-Maqdesi!

After the collapse of Saddam Hussein”s regime in Iraq , we thought that we would see the Arab world deal maturely with its disagreements and conflicts. However, the media games that we are witnessing today compel us to pray for divine guidance for all the major channels, let alone the minor ones!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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