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Combating Al Qaeda Means Protecting Islam - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Many among us ignored Al Qaeda’s infiltration of Yemen despite the continuous warnings of the threat that this poses. As soon as the US President spoke about the Al Qaeda threat in Yemen, some people began to warn against US intervention. In fact they used this to blackmail the Yemeni government and expose it, internally and externally, and to criticize the Jordanians and the Saudis because of their cooperation with the West in the war on terror in a clear case of blackmail.

The question here is: who has been harmed the most by what Al Qaeda is doing, the West or the Arabs and Muslims? Who is being subjected to harassment and suspected at the airports, Westerners or Arabs and Muslims? Who is facing difficulties in their studies and in their work, and whilst undergoing treatment or whilst on holiday, the West or the Arabs and Muslims?

It is the Arabs and Muslims, of course, who have been suffering since the outbreak of violent terrorist acts as they have become suspects and they are being harassed more and more. As a result, we must realize that the war on terror has to be our war before anyone else’s war. When we wage war on Al Qaeda we are protecting ourselves and our reputation and we are protecting our children who extremists are trying to turn into time bombs. Above all, we will be protecting our religion that Al Qaeda has hijacked.

For instance, when Jordan cooperates with the West, or the Americans let us say, then they should be credited for this action. Are the Jordanians expected to wait until other violent explosions take place in their country like those that targeted their hotels, or should they wait for another Abu Musab al Zarqawi or Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi to rise from among them? The same applies to the Saudis; is Riyadh expected to remain silent in the face of intimidation and media incitement and let whoever wants to trade in the lives of our children do so, or should it wait for whoever to come out and carry out new destructive terrorist attacks in the country, or wait for a new Bin Laden or a new Abdulaziz al Muqrin to emerge?

The game of treachery and branding [others] as traitors has been revealed and it must be confronted instead of going along with it or [merely] observing it. When the state cooperates with the international community this means that the state is doing its job. States do not negotiate with or seek to please terrorists. Above all, as mentioned previously, our duty is to protect our reputation and the reputation of our innocent religion against Al Qaeda and its actions.

What we must realize is that every time we give in to intimidation and media incitement we give Al Qaeda and others more space to move about freely and, consequently, to recruit more of our children and target our stability and security, our reputation and the reputation of our religion. For that reason we say and we repeat that a serious ideological war, not a superficial war, is necessary to combat terror, its Sheikhs, its instigators, and its media. Equally, international cooperation is very important whether this is through training, [sharing] information or combating funding [of terrorism] and even cooperation in military operations.

What we want to say is that we must not give into blackmail and campaigns of incitement and suspicion. In fact we must confront these campaigns and refute them for one very simple but important reason; when we fight Al Qaeda, physically and mentally, we are defending the reputation of our religion. It is our battle first and foremost. We must realize that and not be ashamed, and we must expose the instigators and the blackmailers whether they are states, groups or even individuals.

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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