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News of suicide bombings, murder, and destruction in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and also in Iraq, have become commonplace, and we do not stop and consider this, in fact it is as if this does not concern us at all, and [instead] we look at the peripheral battles in our media, from the minarets in Switzerland to other issues, while unfortunately we do not lift a finger to the death and intimidation of human beings by suicide bombings in these areas.

The last such suicide bombing took place at a volleyball game in a Pakistani village, causing 99 casualties as a result of a brutal [terrorist] operation which clearly shows the extent of the brutality and extremism of those who committed this [attack]. We continue to say and repeat that we cannot sit idly by and watch such events – or let us say fire – believing that it [the fire] will not reach the Arab and Islamic world, [however] it is Al Qaeda and others like it that is carrying out these operations, and so this is something that gravely concerns us.

The failed terrorist operation attempted by the Nigerian youth on the US Delta Airlines [Flight 253] confirmed that terrorist cells are inter-connected; the Nigerian youth studied in London and became radicalized there, he trained in Yemen, and traveled from Amsterdam in order to commit a crime in America. We also heard the day before yesterday that extremists in Somalia have announced that they are sending fighters to Yemen in order to assist Al Qaeda. This is not all, for the mastermind behind the [attempted] assassination of Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Naif also came from Yemen, and even if he is a Saudi citizen, this [attempt] came from beyond the borders. We also discovered that those who kidnapped the British [Citizen Peter Moore and his four bodyguards] transferred them to Iran. What some people fail to understand is that terrorists understand the importance of external activity, and linking interests, and also the importance of initiative in the face of the traditional thinking that is fighting against them.

What is required here is not intervention with money or men; rather all that is urgently required is a firm stand against suicide bombing, beginning by establishing an [Islamic] juristic basis [for this]. It is not difficult to religiously prohibit suicide operations, and I am aware that there are fatwas that prohibit this, however unfortunately these are not applied strongly enough. In fact, occasionally fatwas that prohibit suicide operations are cast aside as a result of political interpretations, or by adding the word “but” to this [the fatwa]. Apart from all of this, publishing these fatwas will not result in wide media coverage, for what we need to do is consolidate and explain these fatwas to the young people in the Arab and Islamic world, especially those in communities that are affected by ignorance and poverty.

When we see the media campaigns that are taking place as a result of issues, not to say that [these issues] do not deserve this, but these issues are not as concerning as the killing and terrorizing of innocent people. For one becomes distracted by issues, such as the issue of the Swiss minarets, or the niqab in France, and others, which take over Arab and Islamic media, becoming public opinion issues, with statements and condemnations being issued, distracting Arab public opinion. However when 99 innocent people are killed in a Muslim country like Pakistan, and at the hands of those who claim to be Muslim – and the same thing is happening in Iraq – we find a deafening silence [from Arab and Islamic public opinion]. This confuses and saddens those observing the situation, and we must ask ourselves a simple question: What kind of ethical system are we moving towards? And how can we accuse others of double standards when we are suffering from the same thing?

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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