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The Imam finally speaks up - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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“These immoral deeds are threatening the security, stability and integration of society. No one is benefiting from such acts except the enemies of the nation and the enemies of this religion. Anybody who calls himself religious or has an intelligent mind would not do such a thing”.

Let us look at this quote and see whether or not it can be applied to the terrorist attacks that took place in Riyadh, Morocco, Iraq and Egypt throughout the 1990’s.

Doesn”t the bloodshed that took place in various lands resulting in nothing but affliction for its numerous victims deserve such condemning words like these from a religious scholar as distinguished as Yousef Al-Quaradawy? At last, the prominent Imam spoke up and made the above quote. This was Quaradawy’s reaction to the terrorist attack that took place in the capital of Qatar, Doha, on the evening of March 18th.Should we wait until terrorist activity has struck each and every Arab capital only then to hear every Imam say such words to save the people and prevent more bloodshed?

The throats of Iraqis are being slit everyday. Even funerals are being bombed. Old men, women and children are being killed. A number of people including university professors, as well as their students have assigned themselves with the divine task of taking justice on this earth and are slaughtering everyone based on weak justifications. They kill under the claim of resisting occupation and with the thought in mind of “setting things right”. They continue to slay many in quest of helping and supporting the religion! Imagine if the words expressed by Imam Quaradawy commenting on the explosion in Qatar were the daily teachings of all religious leaders condemning every killing and every explosion. Imagine if the shock we had in Doha was similar to that of all those who suffered from the same terrorist incidents during the last two years. If all religious scholars had taught this lesson from the beginning, circumstance would not be the way that it stands right now. Extremists would not have had any medium to express incitement against others and ignite the situation while describing those who are not in their camp as “infidels”. Had the situation been vice-versa, we would not have given extremists the opportunity to convey their fanatic ideas through the media which claims, in the way that the Al-Jazeera channel does, that media allows diverse and contradictory opinions to be revealed.

We are not saying this today in order to lash out at any body or to say that we were right from the beginning about this and that. Again, we are reiterating the same thing that we said before: Why should we not learn and benefit from the tragedies of “others” and their experiences? Do we have to wait until the fire that has already burnt so many others reaches us? Why would we think that this does not apply to us and that we are democrats and are nothing like our neighbors as Qatar has reportedly said in the past?

Terrorism can never be trustworthy or gratifying if you tend to accommodate it. If you make packed with terrorism today, it will kill you tomorrow. When you are neutral to a terrorist incident that has taken place in another continent one day, you may find it waiting at your doorstep the next day.

It is not our mission to forget reality and to portray a utopian world or even suppress the voices of those who oppose or articulate a contradictory opinion for any reason or under any circumstances. It is our duty, however, to call terrorism by its name and state that “this is terrorism” without hesitation and without stumbling into the rhetorical game of finding another definition for it.

Even fighting a war against an enemy stipulates certain ethics. The question now is: Do we need to fight? I think it is our duty to do something as we are in a dire need to fight our defects and misled conceptions, the worst of which is the belief that the blood of other people is cheap! Again, we should say here: Your viewpoint has come too late Imam Quaradawy, but still we accept it.

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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