On Thursday April 6, 2006, MEMRI launched its Reform Lecture Series by hosting Sayyed Ayad Jamal Al-Din, a member of the Iraqi Parliament from the Al-'Iraqiyya list, headed by former PM Ayad 'Alawi. Sayyed Jamal Al-Din discussed the current situation in Iraq.
The following are excerpts from the lecture:
Tyranny is the Real Mother of Terrorism
"I would like to thank MEMRI for inviting me to speak, and I thank you for coming.
"What is happening in Iraq is a real battle. It’s a battle with human significance and human ideas-both good and evil.
"Tyranny and tyrannical actions are the real mother of terrorism which, in itself, has become a culture of extortion and violence for millions of people. There is a war against this tyranny. Victories, of course, have already been accomplished. A dictator has been toppled.
"There is a different kind of war as well-- a war to change the structure of the Iraqi culture of which Saddam was its product. We are the people who created Saddam Hussein. And before Saddam there were so many other Saddams throughout the history of Iraq who have ruled the country for 1,400 years…
"There is no such thing as human rights in Iraq today. There are only rights for Muslims and rights for the believers. There is discrimination against non-Muslims in Iraq, even though some intellectuals are trying to conceal it or deny its existence. I think we have to face this problem and try to put it right. We shouldn't deny it, because it is imbedded in our culture and it is in our legislature."
We Thank the U.S. for Our Liberation From the Tyrannical Regime of Saddam Hussein
"We were the victims of Saddam Hussein. It was not the Iraqis who toppled Saddam. It was the United States that succeeded in ousting him. The U.S. led the war. We thank the U.S. for our liberation from Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule. Along with the U.S. there were other countries which took part in this effort - Britain, Australia, and other countries as well. Some countries opposed the war, and you know the details of course."
The Withdrawal of the U.S. From Iraq Would Mean a Great Victory for Terrorists in the Middle East
"Now, in the midst of this very real war which is going on in Iraq, the declared concerns of some politicians about the congressional elections next November are having a great impact. We are hearing opportunistic voices of those I would characterize as attempting to win the elections, like Senator Kerry [Senator John Kerry, (D) of Massachusetts], whom we heard yesterday calling for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.
"This would not be a withdrawal; rather, it would be a real defeat for the U.S. If this withdrawal takes place, it will be a real defeat for the modern world, for the civilized world, and for those who are calling for democracy and freedom. What Senator Kerry said represents a great victory for Osama bin Laden, for Ayman al-Zawahiri, for Al-Qaeda, and for terrorists all over the world.
"The withdrawal of the U.S. from Iraq would be a great victory for terrorists in the Middle East, and it would also mean that terrorism will prevail in Iraq and in the Middle East. I wish I could say that such terrorism would be limited to the Middle East, but in fact it will knock once again on the doors of Europe and the U.S.
"This is a war from which we should never retreat, because retreating in the heat of battle is tantamount to a treason.
"The U.S. started a war and toppled Saddam Hussein. There are other tyrannical regimes in the world, of course, but this one depended on a total culture of dictatorship. It's not an easy thing to create a culture of human rights and democracy in societies inherently opposed to these principles. You started a project--complete it. Otherwise, you should have refrained from starting it in the first place.
"I said in a meeting yesterday that this type of war against terrorism is not limited to any or a single front, but rather it encompasses every place on earth all the time.
"The war on terror is more difficult than the Cold War with the Soviet Union, since the Soviet Union was a sovereign state that was capable of conducting diplomatic negotiations... It had strategic purposes and aims. Now do you consider, for example, Al-Qaeda a state? The Taliban a state? Or is Al-Zarqawi a state? Obviously not.
"The terrorists are spread out all over the world, and the spread of technology and the spread of media and the internet make it easier for terrorists to get in touch with one another and to coordinate their actions.
"We understand the danger of this situation, so we have only two choices: either we achieve victory by wiping out terrorism politically, financially, and militarily, or else we surrender our throats and our children's throats for the terrorists to slit. Not only in Iraq, where we have gotten used to being murdered every day, but also in the calm and peaceful communities in the U.S. and in Europe. Terrorism knows no boundaries, and there is no power that is able to stop the arrival of terrorists to any part of the globe."
Al-Zarqawi was Not Born an Evil Person, but He Learned This Evil in the Mosque - We Need Religious Reform
"Terrorists use means that are not available to America. They make use of the mosques. For example, three weeks ago I heard a Friday sermon broadcast from the main mosque Mecca... It was aired on the radio and was broadcast on all the TV stations as well - in the United Arab Emirates, where I was at the time, in other Gulf countries and, of course, in Saudi Arabia. On that Friday the Imam, a well-known personality, started the supplication at the end of the prayer.
"Prayer is supposed to bring us closer to God. Worshippers should be in a peaceful state of mind when they leave the mosque, feeling love even for birds, for trees, for flowers. But what happened [that Friday] was that they left the prayer in a pessimistic mood, full of fury and hatred...
"The Imam started: 'May Allah grant us victory over the Jewish people and make them our slaves. We shall take the women as our slaves as well.' Then he continued to talk about other religions and said, as he was appealing to Allah: 'Please make their women barren; make them barren, so they won't bear any more children.'
"Perhaps the Arabs have a political problem with Israel. This can be handled through other channels. What does a Jewish woman in New Zealand have to do with this? Why did this Imam pray for her to be barren? Is this in any way part of humanity, or of Islam, or of reason? Is this human culture? What sort of a feeling is it to go into a mosque for prayer and to come out of it full of fury and of hatred...?
"Al-Zarqawi was not born an evil person, but he learned to be evil in the mosque. He was taught there to hate the whole world, and so he became ready to carry out acts of suicide...
"When a married woman with children, for example, commits suicide, one should ask: is there any love in the world stronger than that of a mother’s love for her children that could make her leave her children and strap on a bomb? This is a result of indoctrination...
"There are some people, both Arabs and non-Arabs - like Tony Blair's wife - who say that this hatred is the result of the conflict between the Arabs and Israel. This isn't true. This kind of hatred was there all the time. I don't want to go into too many details from history, but it all relates to religion. So we need religious reform."
The Step Taken by the U.S. is Something Like the Work of the Prophets Who Destroyed the Idols
"I would like to say here that the step taken by the U.S. was a courageous one. It was something like the work of the prophets - like Prophet Abraham, when he destroyed the idols, or Prophet Muhammad who did the same. There are human idols in the Middle East that need to be destroyed. These human idols have enslaved people, and we should thank the U.S. for the courageous steps it has taken.
"But the U.S. should never retreat in the heat of battle, not because of the November elections nor because of any other pressures coming from certain political figures intending to make whatever small gains. As I said before, retreating in the heat of battle is like treason.
"Islamist thinking and Ba'thist thinking are two sides of the same coin. To open up a dialogue with the terrorists, murderers and criminals who wear colorful neckties and attractive suits, but at the same time harbor terrible, destructive ideas, racist thinking, and hatred for the others - to have a dialogue with them is like letting a criminal who was turned away at the door come in through the back window. America has to be more wary...
"We don't know who makes the American decisions in Iraq. Is it the think tanks? The State Department? Who makes the decisions? There has to be someone who is the captain of the ship of state who has the resolve and the patience to face down the terrorists.
"The terrorists are not just Al-Zarqawi. He is the tip of the iceberg. There is political terrorism and financial terrorism. This terrorism is not only Islamic, but also nationalistic, both Ba'athist and non-Ba'athist. This is the destructive terrorism calling for the hatred of others... We have to be wary but we also have to show resolve in order to put an end to all the sources and forms of terrorism..."