December 20, 2007 Special Dispatch No. 1798

Saudi Academic: Muslim Organizations, Leaders Must Condemn Terrorism – Our Enemies Are Translating Statements of Each and Every [Islamic] Scholar, Imam, and Charity Spokesman

December 20, 2007
Special Dispatch No. 1798

Articles in the Arab press repeatedly warn about MEMRI's monitoring of the Arab media, and call on the media not only to moderate extremist statements but also to condemn terrorists and their supporters in no uncertain terms. In a recent article in the London Arabic daily Al-Hayat, Saudi academic 'Ali bin Talal Al-Jahni calls on Arab organizations – including the World Muslim League, the Arab League, Islamic universities, and charity funds – and on preachers to harshly condemn terrorist operations. He says that this is especially important in light of the fact that statements by Muslims are translated and publicized by the Western media, particularly by MEMRI.[1]

The following are excerpts:

"Everyone Agrees that Most Muslims Are Not Terrorists... Everyone Also Agrees that... Most Terrorists Have Been Muslims"

"Everyone agrees that most Muslims are not terrorists, but at the same time, everyone also agrees that, for many years now, most terrorists have been Muslims... The non-Muslim friends of the Arabs and Muslims all over the world, from China and Japan to America and the West, are reprimanding us for letting our enemies lay the blame for terrorism on Islam. They warn that no matter how true the claim that terrorism is not the monopoly of the Muslims, and that the Communists, the Nazis, and [Avraham] Stern's Zionist gangs [also] resorted to [terrorism] – this claim is not going to help us.

"Equally unhelpful is the assertion that Muslim terrorists are [nothing but] a small group of criminals, although this is also true. Nor will it do us any good to argue that, besides terrorism, there is also legitimate resistance to occupation."

"[We Should] Express Our Outrage at the Terrorist Operations that Have Been and Still Are Being Carried Out... in the Name of Islam"

"Indeed, resistance that fails to distinguish between civilians – including children, the elderly, and the sick – and combatants is not legitimate. Such resistance [is nothing but] terrorism. Murdering human beings – even if politicians, both Sunni and Shi'ite, try to excuse it using the slogan of Islam – is forbidden. This was a consensus in all Islamic schools of thought until the arrival of [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini in Iran, and the rise of his supporters in Lebanon and Palestine...

"As stated by our non-Muslim friends, and probably also by the more sensible among us, the only effective [measure] would be to express our outrage, in clear and unambiguous words, at the terrorist operations that have been carried out and that are still being carried out in the name of Islam. However, the rage of an individual who speaks as a journalist or in the name of a newspaper... does not have much impact either. To be effective, rage must reflect the authentic views of organizations, and of those who [preach] from the pulpits of the mosques and [appear] on [various] TV channels.

"The Muslim World League, the Arab League, and Islamic universities must shout out in protest, repeatedly and loudly, every time there is a terrorist operation, and every time a terrorist message is issued; they must voice their fury and disgust at every terrorist act perpetrated in the name of Islam. The mosque preachers have the grave responsibility of condemning terrorism or any attempt to hijack our religion.

"But unfortunately, the reality is that many preachers are preoccupied with narrow political concerns and with speaking out against the enemies of Islam, and fail to realize that the principal enemy of Islam is the terrorists – who threaten, murder, bomb, and blow themselves up in the name of Islam.

"Particular responsibility lies on the shoulders of Islamic charity organizations. In the past, like other charity organizations with noble goals, they were harmed when money from donations was misused [to aid] the Taliban and its supporters. They must acknowledge this fact, confirm that they were indeed taken advantage of... and declare that [they do not even remotely] sympathize [with terrorism], let alone support it. [They must emphasize that this abuse] will not happen again. To show [their sincerity], all charity organizations must, instead of keeping silent, reiterate clearly and without reservation that it is they who have suffered the greatest harm from terrorist operations carried out in the name of Islam.

"Our enemies translate the statements of each and every [Islamic] scholar, imam, or charity organization spokesman, no matter how noble their aims, in order to use them as evidence against us. They are eager to find supplications [inciting against] Jews and infidels, and when they [find them], they rejoice – [for this enables them] to write articles and to discuss them on radio and television programs all over the world. If they do not find explicit statements [against Jews and infidels], they will attempt to discover at least the absence of explicit condemnation of a terrorist act against non-Muslims..."

"We Must Remember that Everything We Say Is Translated Selectively [by MEMRI]"

"A group of Israeli intelligence officers have founded an institute called MEMRI... whose function is to [publish] selective translations. They do not confine themselves to translating religious texts, but translate other items as well, which cause us damage in every respect – political and other. Nor do they take into consideration the author's status and knowledge, or lack thereof. The translations of this intelligence body, which calls itself an American civil [institute], serve as a source [of information] for congressmen, the U.S. government, universities, and the media [all of which take them as authentic] statements made by us.

"Our outrage at the U.S. and Israel – even when expressed in a dignified manner by figures who are trusted by the Arab and Muslim youth – does not harms the U.S. or Israel [in any way]. It only leads to more tension and frustration, thereby creating a climate conducive to the recruitment of terrorists. To be effective and to produce results, the rage must come from official Arab and Islamic organizations, and from leaders and intellectuals. We must remember that everything we say is translated selectively, in order to attribute terrorism to all Islam and Muslims, particularly to [those in] Saudi Arabia..."

[1] Al-Hayat (London), December 11, 2007. Other articles about MEMRI recently published in the Arab press include an August 13, 2007 article by columnist Sa'ud Kabili in the Saudi daily Al-Watan (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1720, "Saudi Columnists: Centers for Hebrew Studies Are Needed To Deal With Israel," September 21, 2007, Saudi Columnists: Centers for Hebrew Studies Are Needed To Deal With Israel); a two-part article by the former editor of the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, Ibrahim Al-Nafi', published November 9-10, 2007; and a November 21, 2007 article by 'Atef Al-Ghamri in Al-Ahram. See also a November 17, 2007 interview with Lebanese columnist Jihad Al-Khazen on the British Arabic-language TV channel Al-Hiwar (MEMRI Clip No. 1621,

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