November 29, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 1036

Al-Arabiyya TV Chief: Advisors to The British Interior Ministry are Justifying the Terrorists' Crimes, Thwarting a Good Counter-Terrorism Plan

November 29, 2005
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 1036

In the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Al-Arabiyya TV Director-General Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed criticized British Muslim advisors to the British Interior Ministry who are "justifying the terrorists' crimes by wrongly attributing them to British foreign policy and to the socio-economic conditions of the Muslims in Britain." By doing so, Al-Rashed argues, these advisors are thwarting a good plan to combat extremism, which would primarily benefit the British Muslims themselves.

The following are excerpts: [1]

"Improving Living Standards and Expanding Job Opportunities are Legitimate Demands, Unrelated to Terrorism"

"The British government has been heeding [the advice of] prominent British Muslim figures whom it chose as advisors on issues pertaining to the Muslim community [in Britain]. This would be a positive step if it did not reflect a one-sided tendency. These advisors gave two justifications for the bombings carried out by British Muslims in London: British foreign policy and unemployment.

"I agree with the advisors that there is a Muslim community [in Britain] that is angry at Britain's participation in the war in Iraq. But it should be pointed out that there is also a British Muslim community that supports [British] intervention [in Iraq], as do most Iraqis.

"The Muslims [in Britain] do not all share the same background, even if they [all] pray five times a day. Some British Muslims criticize the British government for refraining from toppling the cruel Saddam regime in the early 1990s, while [other] British Muslims oppose their government's involvement in the [current] war. The bias in selection [of advisors] reminds me of the situation in 1990 after the [Iraqi] invasion of Kuwait, when only those British Arab voices that praised the invasion of Kuwait were allowed to speak in the British media...

"Another problem with the Muslim advisors [to the British Interior Ministry] is that they are [simply] saying things that have been said in the past by Arab intellectuals who justified Osama bin Laden's crimes and attributed [them] to [Britain's] political policy, to poverty, to unemployment, and to a lack of equal opportunities in [British] society.

"After the escalation of the crimes of these extremists, and after the clarification of their ideological writings, most Arab intellectuals have abandoned such statements, [although the advisors to the British Interior Ministry continue to make them].

"Improving living standards and expanding job opportunities are legitimate demands, which are unrelated to terrorism. [However,] they should be demanded for the Chinese, the Indians, and the Africans as well, because this problem is not restricted to the Arabs and Muslims."

"Those Who Perpetrated the London Crimes are, like Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the Elite of Their Society"

"Let us not forget that those who perpetrated the London crimes, like their mentors, bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, represent the elite of their society. Bin Laden was a millionaire who had opportunities unavailable to 200 million Arabs. Al-Zawahiri is from a wealthy family, and had a good education, to the Ph.D. level. Thus, creating an affiliation between poverty and political discrimination is not only wrong but dangerous, because it justifies the terrorists' crimes.

"The terrorists themselves are making many demands, primarily political, which do not include employment or education. Most modern acts of terrorism are nurtured by an extremist religious culture that murders barbers and artists whose religion and way of thinking are different." [2]

"Pursuing the Extremists Would Serve, First and Foremost, the Muslim Community"

"The justifications by the advisors to the [Interior] Ministry have given the terrorists [precisely] what they do not deserve - a moral justification for their ugly crimes. What amazes me is that these advisors were against the government plan to go after the strongholds of extremism - the libraries, websites, and inciters - claiming that this is a restriction of liberties...

"Why are liberties granted to fascists who threaten those who disagree with them with hell and death? Pursuing the extremists would serve, first and foremost, the Muslim community, and would protect its members more than anybody else..."

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 14, 2005.

[2] The reference is mainly to the phenomenon of the killing of barbers in Iraq by Islamic extremists.

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