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Arabs Question Why Muslims Are Now Targets - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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AMMAN, Jordan, AP – The blasts that ripped through an Egyptian resort brought calls for an end to violence from Arabs across the region Tuesday, many of whom questioned why Muslims seem to have become a prime target for terrorists.

Monday’s triple bombing shattered a long national holiday weekend in Egypt, killing at least 24 people — at least 21 Egyptian — and wounding more than 60.

In Dubai, music teacher Lara Darwazah, 31, questioned the motives of the bombers.

“What message are they trying to send? What are they trying to do?” she asked. “I don’t think these people care” if Muslims or Arabs are killed.

For Jordanians, the attack was reminiscent of the near-simultaneous November triple blasts at Amman hotels that brought cries of outrage against al-Qaida in Iraq, which claimed responsibility.

“The attack on Egypt brings back bad memories,” said Jordanian businessman Muhannad Abul-Ghanam, 37. “Even the result is the same — mainly Muslim Arabs died and there’s more public hatred toward these militants.”

Mohieddine Joueidi, a 51-year-old lawyer in Sidon, Lebanon, said the attacks seemed “designed to weaken Egypt’s role in the region and spread panic and terror throughout the region.”

Arab governments were quick to condemn the attacks — as were radical Muslims who have tried to distance themselves from al-Qaida and other global Islamic radical groups that deliberately attack Muslim and Arab civilians.

The Dahab attack — clearly targeted at both Coptic Christian Egyptians celebrating a religious holiday and Muslim Egyptians on a national holiday, along with Israelis and foreign tourists — seemed consistent with the aims of hard-line al-Qaida sympathizers, often called Salafists.

In contrast, groups such as Hamas have been careful to say that their attacks are aimed only against Israel, and are not part of a worldwide radical Islamic jihad.

Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-run Palestinian Cabinet, called the bombings a “criminal attack which is against all human values.” In contrast, Hamas refused to condemn a bombing that killed nine people in an Israeli fast-food restaurant last week.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said it was necessary to bolster “unified international efforts to combat this dangerous disease (terrorism), which is completely alien to our Islamic values and traditions.”

Bashar Assad, the Syrian president whose government is accused of harboring terrorists including militant Palestinians, condemned what he called a “criminal act.”

Condemnation also came from the radical Muslim Brotherhood, which is officially outlawed in Egypt but has been allowed to participate in politics in recent months.

Egyptian authorities have not yet said who they think was behind the attacks, but security experts have said that previous Sinai bombings have borne some trademarks of al-Qaida or affiliated groups.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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