July 8, 2005 Special Reports No. 36

Arab Media Reactions to the London Bombing: ‘A Chapter in World War III’

July 8, 2005
Special Reports No. 36

The following report includes reactions from the Arab media to the July 7, 2005 London bombing as well as the purported statement of responsibility by "The Al-Qa'ida of Jihad [Organization] in Europe." The reactions are from leading Muslim religious authorities, editors and journalists in the Arab media, and Arab political leaders. (To view several video clips on reactions to the London bombings, visit

Friday Sermons

Most of the today's Friday sermons, did not discuss the attacks. One exception was the official UAE sermon by an unidentified imam: "What happened in a certain country that was mentioned in the media yesterday is a clear aggression that is totally detached of any logic and is entirely unjustified. Whoever does such a thing is not a Muslim, nor a religious person. This is the kind of criminal act that only serves those who want to destroy mankind, and to thwart civilization and progress. Igniting civil strife and using the tools of war and destruction is the habit of the despicable Jews and Christians of the ancient nations, and the Koran has already deplored them for that..." (To view this interview, visit

Reactions on Arab TV

Mustafa Fiqi, chairman of the Egyptian Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, and General Ahmad Abd Al-Halim of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs were interviewed on Egyptian TV Channel 1 about the attacks on July 7, 2005. (To view this interview, visit

In the interview, Fiqi stated: "Egypt was one of the first countries to call attention to the phenomenon of terrorism in its international form. We have said repeatedly, particularly to the British, who were burnt by its fire today – and we are saddened by these bloody events in London. They were always convinced that all those whom we call terrorists are political opposition groups that the Egyptian and other governments in the Middle East were monitoring, and that there is no reason whatsoever to restrict them and that they should be granted the freedom of speech and movement, and work permits. Until they were burnt by its fire, starting with 9/11 and up to now, and they have begun to understand the truth.

"Now some sense of awareness has begun to emerge in the entire world, that this phenomenon is not connected to a particular religion, country, or culture, but rather it is a phenomenon that is spreading everywhere. There are terrorists in every religion and nationality. Perhaps, by chance, there are Muslims who carry out some of the terrorist operations at this stage, but Jews carried out terrorist operations in the past, and Christians have carried out terrorist operations as well. No religion has a monopoly on terrorism. But we as Arabs and Muslims feel a deep concern about the linkage between terrorism as a phenomenon and Islam as a civilization, history, and culture."

General Abd Al-Halim said: "These groups, as we said and as was mentioned, are not just Muslim. There are many extremist groups. We've all heard of Bader-Meinhof. We've all heard of the Red Brigades, the Red Army, and many other groups. Even if we don't hear about these groups in the media, we can't exclude them. It's possible that these groups operate today under the guise of Al-Qa'ida, and it is attributed to Al-Qa'ida, and there is a communiqué saying that Al-Qa'ida and so on. These organizations exist in many countries. As we said, we're talking about a decentralized organization and they are operating under the name of... and they publish a communiqué stating that it was Al-Qa'ida that carried out this operation."

Abd Al-Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of the London Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, who often expresses support for Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, [1] gave an interview to Al-Jazeera TV which aired on July 7, 2005. (To view this interview, visit

In the interview, Atwan said: "There is no doubt that Tony Blair, the prime minister of Britain, got a good slap from these explosions. Tony Blair was at the height of glory up to the last moments before these explosions. When I say the height of glory, I mean that he succeeded in ensuring that London, the capital of Britain, would host the Olympics, and likewise he was reclining in his seat as the head of the G8 summit. In addition, he had begun his term as leader of the European Union. Through these achievements, the man wanted to cover up the big failure incurred by the British and American policy in Iraq.

"These explosions came and blew up everything. They prove that the war Blair and Bush waged against terrorism, on which they have spent about $250 billion, in addition to the killing of some 2,000 British soldiers and 100,000 Iraqi citizens – this war up till now has not been successful. If the Al-Qa'ida organization is really behind these explosions, this proves that it has reorganized its ranks, succeeded in recruiting new expertise, and reached the heart of the European capitals – Britain following Madrid, and maybe in the future – Washington or New York."

The head of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, Azzam Al-Tamimi, [2] gave an interview to Al-Majd TV on July 7, 2005. (To view this interview, visit

In the interview, Tamimi said: "In the current circumstances, it's logical to say that the only ones to have an interest in doing something like this are those who are furious because of British policy. By the way, when all this had just begun, people talked about it as if there were no context to it. The political context is Britain's entanglement in an oppressive and unjust war against the Afghan and Iraqi peoples. The context is Britain's involvement, along with the U.S., in the arrest and persecution of a large group of Muslims. I believe that this context will be taken into consideration starting tomorrow, Allah willing."

Leaders of Arab Countries Condemn the Bombing

Many Arab leaders condemned the London bombings. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad sent a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressing his condemnation of "these abhorrent operations that we condemn in the most serious manner possible." [3]

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) issued a communiqué in which he said that he "harshly condemns the abhorrent crimes that caused the death of innocent civilians, and sends condolences on his behalf and on behalf of the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people to the families of the victims, and to the people and government of Britain." [4]

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei (Abu Alaa) also issued an announcement: "Whoever is behind the planning and execution of the explosions does not have the right to carry out this kind of crime against humanity. It is inconceivable that there [would be] a logical justification that the human mind can accept for the harming of innocent civilians." [5]

Saudi Ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar bin Sultan also condemned the attacks, and noted that the Saudi people had also "been the victim of terror operations" and that "this criminal attack is a reminder to us all that no country is immune to terrorism." [6]

The media advisor to the Saudi Embassy in London, Jamal Khashoggi, gave a phone interview to Al-Arabiya TV on July 7, 2005 to discuss the attacks. During the interview, he was asked: "Do you feel that people rush to point an accusing finger at Al-Qa'ida, at extremist Islamic organizations, as happened... For instance, if you remember, in Madrid, people there were quick to accuse the ETA?"

Khashoggi answered: "So far, no senior British official has accused anyone. They just mentioned the statement that appeared on a website. But the fingerprints of Al-Qa'ida are clear, particularly given what was said about a suicide bomber. Unfortunately, no one carries out these cowardly acts in their resistance... I mean, we Muslims admit this. Those who belong to Islam nowadays commit these suicide operations. This has been the case in Iraq, in Riyadh, and now we see them in London, after Washington, New York, and Madrid. Al-Qa'ida's fingerprints are clear. Unfortunately, this is Al-Qa'ida's agenda, but once again I want to say that this is the agenda of a minority, and not of the majority, and we cannot let them drag all of us into their agenda."

Islamic Leaders Condemn the Bombing

Condemnation of the bombings was also heard from senior clerics and officials in the religious establishments in Arab countries. Al-Azhar Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi denounced the bombings, telling [7]: "Those responsible for London attacks are criminals who do not represent Islam or even truly understand (its message)." He also condemned the killing of civilians, including women and children, "without differentiating between combatants and non-combatants."

On the possibility that the attacks were an attempt to press British Prime Minister Tony Blair to withdraw his troops from occupied Iraq, Tantawi said: "This is illogical and cannot be the motive for killing innocent civilians."

Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and the head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, told [8] that he condemned the bombings in London: "We were dumbfounded by the grave news which surprised us, and all the world today, about the bombings that took place in the city of London, that killed dozens and wounded hundreds of innocent people who attacked no one and had committed no crime to remove the immunity of their blood."

Al-Qaradhawi described the bombings as "cruel and barbaric black actions that Islam harshly condemns." He also said, "[Even] In an official war, when state armies battle face to face, Islam does not permit the killing of women, children, elders, priests, farmers and merchants, and those like them, who are non-combatants, and whom nowadays we call civilians."

Al-Qaradhawi offered his condolences to the families of the victims, and sent a special letter of condolence to the mayor of London, which stated: "We express our condolences to our dear friend, London Mayor Ken Livingstone, a man of justice who always defends Arab and Muslim causes."

Leading Lebanese Shiite scholar Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah told Reuters: "These crimes are not accepted by any religion. It is a barbarism wholly rejected by Islam." [9]

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, [10] Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef, condemned the London bombings, calling them "a criminal act that no law, and even no religion, recognizes." The communiqué stated, "The spread of the culture of violence and terror, and the increase in pressure on the international level, are the direct consequence of the lawbreaking, violation of treaties and international conventions, and repression of the peoples by the American leadership and the British government."

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Syria, 'Ali Sadr Al-Din Al-Bayanouni, condemned the London bombings: "These are terror operations that harm innocent civilians and constitute a crime against humanity, and we condemn them. Islam completely forbids harm to a life, and sees it as harm to all humanity. The Muslim Brotherhood movement in Syria strongly condemns these bombings, and their perpetrators, whoever they may be, and demands that their identity be exposed and that they be given the most deterring of punishments. The movement calls on the Arab and Islamic community in Britain to awaken and to cooperate in preventing crimes like these, which harm all of society and arouse fear and concern within it." [11]

Reactions in the Arab Press to the Bombing:

Editor of London Arabic-Language Daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Describes Incitement to Jihad in London

Tariq Al-Humayd, editor-in-chief of the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, said that the incitement to Jihad in London had been visible but was never stopped: "In London, we have seen, and are seeing, the money being collected in the streets, and the conventions under various titles, and everyone is inciting to Jihad in our Arab countries and cursing the land of unbelief in which they live. When you express amazement [at this], they tell you that this is freedom. Has freedom no responsibility? No one answers.

"The incitement in London could have been read and seen, all in the name of freedom. Today, London will do a new accounting. It will open the files and reread them, as have the countries that were previously arrogant and that said that they were distant from the terrorism. The view of some of the countries is that as long as bombs aren't exploding and not a single shot is fired, they are safe from the evil of terrorism…

"In London, they talk of the lack of freedom in the Arab world, of the repression, and of the security tension in the Arab countries… But when you tell them, Stop being so tolerant of the incitement that comes from your country, from your skies, and from your Internet, and when you tell them that anyone who denies my freedom and declares me to be an apostate, [i.e. the Islamists] will, due to this freedom, deny your freedom in the future – [when you tell them this], they turn away. And what happened today? The terror struck London, indiscriminately…

"Those who are fighting in the name of Islam are distorting its image, and those who are defending them in the name of freedom are making the individual the victim of their defense. For the sake of the freedom of all of us, stop the ones who are attacking our freedom." [12]

In a similar vein, columnist Amir Taheri wrote in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that suicide bombers were a weapon created by the propaganda against the West, through the Arab media, the Islamic associations, the Islamic schools, and the mosques, all over the world and in London as well: "The real reason for this tragedy is the message that divides humanity into 'believers' and 'infidels,' and arouses hatred among believers towards other religions…

"The London attack is not the work of a small group of people. It is the bitter fruit of a religion that has been hijacked by a minority of extremists, while the majority looks on in concern and amazement. Until we hear the voices of the Muslims condemning attacks of this kind with no words [of qualification] such as 'but' and 'if,' the suicide bombers and the murderers will have an excuse to think that they enjoy the support of all Muslims. The real battle against the enemy of mankind will begin when the 'silent majority' in the Islamic world makes its voice heard against the murderers, and against those who brainwash them, believe them, and fund them." [13]

Columnist for the London Arabic Daily Al-Hayat Calls on Arabs to Help the U.S. in the War on Terror

Columnist for the London Arabic daily Al-Hayat Jihad Al-Khazen, who often attacks the American administration and U.S. policy, wrote:"The Arabs and Muslims, from amongst whom has emerged most of the terrorism since September 11, must head the counter-terrorism efforts. We are responsible for this terrorism before the others, and thus we are responsible for resisting it, and the effort required [on our part] begins by not denying our responsibility for it…

"More than once I have written [this], and today too I write that the Arabs and Muslims must help the U.S. and leave the running of the war on terror to it… There is no point in accusing the American administration of responsibility for the spread of terror. What is important is that this terrorism exists, and is killing innocents, and everyone must cooperate to defeat it… The first thing required from the Arab and Islamic countries is to launch a campaign [to increase] awareness amongst the societies that will strip terrorism of its well-known justifications and will emphasize that it constitutes a departure from the religion…" [14]

Editor of London Arabic Daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi: Terror is One of the Means of War, Whether By Missiles or by Bombs in Trains and Buses

The editor-in-chief of the pro-Saddam, pro-Osama bin Laden London Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan, explained that the attacks were an integral part of the war in Iraq: "We are not justifying [the attack]; rather, we are interpreting and analyzing it. British Prime Minister Tony Blair must, as an experienced politician, realize that just as he wants to bring the battle to the strongholds of terror in the Middle East, he must expect that they, or groups belonging to them, think the same way, and will bring the terror to London, New York, Washington, and Rome. War is war, and terror is one of its means, whether it is by means of missiles and bombers, or by means of planting bombs in a train or a public bus carrying innocent passengers on their way to work.

"We live in an era in which fear and terror rule us, [terror] which was enforced on us by the stupid American policy that recognizes no dialogue except war and destruction.

"We completely identify with the victims of the explosions in London, just as we identify with the family of Egyptian Ambassador [to Baghdad] Ihab Al-Sharif, who was assassinated by a group belonging to the Al-Qa'ida organization. But – and there is no escape from this 'but' – wasn't the U.S. the one who forced the Egyptian regime to normalize relations with the illegitimate government in Iraq, and open an embassy there?

"The Egyptian ambassador was killed by his government before the Al-Qa'ida organization killed him, because [the Egyptian government] did not protect his life, and threw him to perdition and sent him to a country that goes to sleep and wakes up to car bombs, abductions, and murders…" [15]

New Egyptian Editor: We Warned That the Occupation Would Cause an Increase in Violence

Muhammad Barakat, the new editor-in-chief of the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar, wrote: "…We remind everyone that Egypt was the first to oppose the occupation of Iraq and to condemn it. We were the first to predict that the occupation would cause an increase of the phenomena and acts of violence – not only in Iraq and the region, but across the world.

"It is only fitting that today we remind the whole world that what Egypt predicted has come to pass. We [also] remind the superpowers who refused to listen to Egypt's counsel and to its just vision that what we warned of has come to pass.

"The strongest proof of Egypt's just vision are the atrocious attacks that took place yesterday in London, which caused dozens of killed and hundreds of wounded. [This happened] at the same time as the increase in the violence in Iraq and the assassination of the Egyptian ambassador to Iraq.

"We hope that the terrorist crimes that are taking place in Iraq every day, and the terrorist crimes that took place in London and threaten everywhere in the world, will be a kind of warning bell to remind everyone that they must listen to the voice of reason and wisdom and decide to deal with the real causes of terrorism, so that peace and security will embrace every place in the world, particularly the occupied lands in Palestine and Iraq." [16]

Saudi Columnist: London Will Continue to Be a Target

An editorial in the Saudi daily Al-Watan stated: "The explosions in the [British] capital were stunning and coordinated in time. They reminded us greatly of the March 11, 2004 explosions in Madrid that struck trains in the Spanish capital. To the same extent that these explosions [in Madrid] created an evil image of Islam from the European point of view, so the explosions yesterday in London will deepen this opinion anew, and the Arab and Muslim population, not only in Britain but in every European country, will be subject to monitoring and will have to give an account [of itself]…

"London and the other capital cities of the countries that participated in the war in Afghanistan and in the war in Iraq will continue to be a target for these groups..." [17]

Editor of the London Daily Al-Hayat:This is a Chapter in World War III

Ghassan Sharbal, editor-in-chief of the London daily Al-Hayat, wrote: "It is no wonder that the terror has struck London… When the terror drowned Madrid in destruction and blood, London could only wait its turn… The scene of the event is the capital of the superpower considered the closest to the path of President George Bush, in addition to its weight on the European scene and its role as a financial center…

"This is not a declaration of war; it is a chapter in World War Three, a long, all-out war whose first chapter was the September 11 attacks… Yesterday’s attacks remind the world that it still is in the whirlpool of war, and that it is captive in its hands…

"This is a war that cannot be won by a knockout. The dismantling of a single small cell does not prevent the emergence of another cell, particularly since the exchange of blows in war – and the Iraq arena is a clear example of this – is likely to engender a new generation of terrorists… Accordingly, the U.S. and the countries participating in the war on terror must relearn the different nature of this war, in order to adapt better to its processes, particularly since it has become clear that in order to win, different policy approaches are required, and not only collecting data and striking blows." [18]

Saudi Columnist: "We are a Nation on the Defendant's Bench… I Can Almost Smell the Scent of Conspiracy"

Columnist Ali Sa'd Al-Moussa wrote in the Saudi daily Al-Watan: "Today we are a nation [that is sitting] on the defendant's bench, and thus there is a little oppression and injustice, and a small amount of truth… Even if we officially have no part in the explosions in London up until this moment, the world, by means of its media and its politicians, looks at us as those with a past [of explosions], and as guilty until proven innocent of the crime… I can almost smell the scent of conspiracy in the affair.

"A number of years ago, I was in London when it hosted the G-8 summit at the Lancaster Hotel. The entire capital was one police security region, and they even supervised the soft drink that I threw into the trash can. Today, dozens of tons of explosives have infiltrated into this same city, as the G-8 summit began in the nearby city of London. Here I can almost smell the scent [of conspiracy]. [19]

The Announcement Posted by "The Al-Qa'ida of Jihad [Organization] in Europe"

Several hours after the July 7, 2005 bombings in London, the Al-Qal'a website posted an announcement of responsibility by an organization named "The Group of the Secret Organization – The Qa'ida of Jihad in Europe."

The credibility of the announcement is in doubt. (The organization is unknown; the announcement mentions pan-Arabism, which Al-Qa'ida does not endorse; Koranic verses are quoted only in parts, etc.) The communiqué read:

Thursday, 30th day of the 5th month, 1426 A.H., corresponding to July 7, 2005.

The Group of the Secret Organization – The Organization of Qaidat Al-Jihad in Europe.

In the name of Allah the Merciful and the Compassionate, prayer and peace be upon the Prophet Muhammad, who smiles [upon the believers] and slaughters [the unbelievers].

Rejoice O Islamic nation. Rejoice O Pan-Arab nation. Rejoice, for the time of revenge on the British Zionist Crusading government has come.

In response to the massacres committed by Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan, the heroic mujahideen carried out a blessed attack in London, and here, Britain is now burning with fear, fright, and panic, in the North, South, East, and West. We had warned the British government and people repeatedly, and now we have kept our word and carried out a blessed military attack in Britain following very difficult efforts made by the heroic mujahideen, who took a long time so as to guarantee the success of the attack. We continue to warn each one of the following: the government of Denmark, the government of Italy, and all the crusading governments, that they will eventually receive the same punishment if they do not withdraw their forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is absolved of responsibility.

Allah said [Koran 47:7]: If you help God, God will help you and make you stand fast.

Thursday, 30th day of the 5th month, 1426 A.H., corresponding to July 7, 2005.

The Group of the Secret Organization – The Organization of Qaidat Al-Jihad in Europe.

Cartoon From Saudi Daily Arab News on July 8, 2005:

[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 319, "Terror in America (30) Retrospective: A bin Laden Special on Al-Jazeera Two Months Before September 11," Terror In America (30) Retrospective: A bin Laden Special On Al-Jazeera Two Months Before September 11, December 21, 2001.

[2] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis Series - No. 163, "Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi: A Political-Ideological Brief," Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi: A Political-Ideological Brief, February 19, 2004.

[3] SANA (Syria), July 7, 2005.

[4] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), July 8, 2005.

[5] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), July 8, 2005.

[6] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), July 8, 2005.


[8] Al-Qaradhawi also condemned the murder of the Egyptian ambassador to Baghdad, saying, "These abductors dare to spill immune blood unjustly. We have always called for a halt to the abductions of citizens and innocents, and [we have said] that if they abduct someone, they must treat him kindly, as is customary with prisoners." See


[10] The Muslim Brotherhood movement, likewise, condemned the murder of Egyptian Ambassador to Baghdad Ihab Tawfiq. In a July 7, 2005 communique, the movement stated that this deed was "a criminal act that contradicts the values and ideologies of Islam, which command the protection of life." The movement maintained that the American leadership was "responsible for this shameful crime, because of the occupation of Iraq and causing anarchy, murders, and acts of pillaging." See, July 7, 2005.

[11], July 7, 2005.

[12] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 8, 2005.

[13] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 8, 2005.

[14] Al-Hayat (London), July 8, 2005.

[15] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), July 8, 2005.

[16] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), July 8, 2005.

[17] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), July 8, 2005

[18] Al-Hayat (London), July 8, 2005.

[19] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), July 8, 2005.

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