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October 24, 2006 No.
1332

Al-Hayat Op-Ed Contrasts Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus with Osama Bin Laden

In an op-ed titled "Between the Owner of Grameen [Bank] and Bin Laden," published October 16, 2006 in the London daily Al-Hayat, Bangladeshi journalist Jamil Ziabi wrote that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, represents the true face of Islam - "a religion of peace and security" - in contrast to Osama bin Laden, who commits atrocities in the name of Islam and spreads war, poverty and disease.

The following is the article, in the original English: [1]

"Yunus... Utilized his Ideas and Money to Fight Poverty... and to Prevent Terrorist Organizations From Infiltrating Into Poor Families [and] Enlisting Their Children"

"There is a difference between an investor and a destroyer, a bomber and a constructor, between those who respect human rights and preserve human integrity, and those who kill innocent people cold-bloodedly, spreading fear, panic and poverty among human beings, causing people to lose sleep, and destroying their lands. I thought about these dissimilarities when the Bangladeshi Muslim Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize. He is the founder of the Grameen Bank, established to help the poor, in an effort to bring civilizations, religions and human beings closer to one another, so that they can live in peace.

"At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is what Osama bin Laden does. He is still hiding from one cave to another, planning how to blow up, destroy and kill; he has introduced the idea of suicide bombers, has founded a terrorist organization, and he does not differentiate between killing a child, a widow, or an elderly.

"The World Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually to those whose work contributes to the achievement of world peace and coexistence. This year, it has introduced us to a kind of person who uses his money, ideas and time to help fight poverty, and assist people, preserve their rights, and protect them. The Bangladeshi banker Yunus has founded the Grameen Bank. This is considered the first bank in Bangladesh to have started operating based on a micro-credit system to help the poor. It provides financial loans to the poorest people, especially women, and charges them with small interests that encourage the poor to take these loans. The objective is for them to be able to set up their businesses and implement their private projects, which move them from the circle of poverty to a state of capability and self-reliance. Yunus is the peaceful person who has utilized his ideas and money to fight poverty, to affirm that eradicating it is an important pivot of achieving global peace and security, and to prevent terrorist organizations from infiltrating into poor families, enlisting their children, pushing them into terrorist arms, and violating world security.

"Also, the charity work carried out by the Saudi businessman Muhammad Abdul Latif Jameel is in line with what Yunus is doing. These activities are now widespread among the Saudis and the Arabs through the 'Abdul Latif Jameel's Fund for Community Service' and soft loans, in order to fight poverty, and to set up small projects for those in need, so that they can help themselves and realize their dreams. Many women have turned from simple sellers on a sidewalk into shop owners, and into producers integrated in society!"

Terrorists Increase Poverty, Spread Terror, Hamper Development, Destroy Infrastructure; Yunus's Nobel Prize Confirms That Islam is a Religion of Peace and Security

"We can draw a comparison. On the one hand, what Al-Qaeda does: it adopts Islam as a slogan, and operates in words and deeds in its name. Its leader is Osama bin Laden, who uses his money and capabilities to beguile youth, and to push them into the folds of terrorism, so that they will eventually explode themselves, kill innocent people, and spread fear and terror. On the other hand, there is what Muhammad Yunus and Muhammad Abdu Latif Jameel are doing with their money and capabilities in order to fight poverty, and to contribute to security, stability and international peace.

"Pure Islam and the real Prophet's message are represented by what is implemented by Yunus and Adu Latif Jameel, and not by bin Laden, al-Zawahiri and those like them, who devastate the world with corruption and terrorism. Getting the poor out of poverty, rescuing them from the ordeals of time and their difficult lives, giving them hope, a future, well-being and development, making them able to produce, develop, contribute to peace and stability, and do their part in helping other poor: this is the real face of Islam, with no violence or killing innocent people.

"What terrorists do increases the number of poor, widows and orphans; spreads fear, terror and poverty; hampers development projects and destroys infrastructure. On the contrary, the award Yunus has obtained is a confirmation that Islam is a religion of peace and security, whereas bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri's ideas are the fruit of evil and sick minds.

"A proper human being is one who thinks like the owner of Grameen Bank. After winning the Nobel Peace Prize, he said he would use the money he received from the award, which is estimated at $1.7 million, to look for more inventive ways to help the poor to dispose of their misery, and to provide them with soft loans.

"Undoubtedly, world peace and security need more of the likes of Yunus, who are ready to use their money and ideas for the sake of mankind and to help it through social solidarity, and by setting up charity businesses, to which Islam exhorts. On the contrary, there is no need for terrorism, for blowing up people, and turning them into bombs that terrorize mankind, inflame wars everywhere, spread poverty, disease and penury, and widow women and orphan children, like al-Qaeda does."


Endnote:

[1] Al-Hayat (London), October 16, 2006, http://english.daralhayat.com/opinion/OPED/10-2006/Article-20061016-5144ebb3-c0a8-10ed-0055-76e2120ec0b4/story.html.