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January 26, 2009 No.
2135

UAE Columnist Sultan Al-Qassemi on Mumbai Attack: Those Who Cite Various Conflicts as an Excuse for Terror Must Be Silenced

The English-language UAE daily The National has published an article by Dubai businessman and columnist Sultan Al-Qassemi, who comes out strongly against the Mumbai attacks. In his article, titled "It's Not Enough for Muslims to be Revolted by Terror," Al-Qassemi argues that nothing can excuse the terrorists' "bloodthirsty savagery," and that "the Islamic states must launch a psychological preemptive strike against [them], and - more importantly - [against] those who encourage them."

Following are excerpts from the article: [1]

"Moderate Muslims Dread the News of Yet Another 'Holy Attack'... in the Name of Their Religion"

"'They knock on my door aggressively but I don't open it, I stay very quiet.' The caller pauses briefly [and then adds]: 'But I am fine [now].' These were the words of UAE national Rashid Al-Owais, a 40-year-old marble trader whose business took him to Mumbai last week. Rashid, a Muslim and an Arab, was among the hostages of the coordinated terrorist attacks [perpetrated] by a cowardly crew of criminal gangsters. He was speaking to Dubai TV on Thursday night from his hotel room in the Oberoi Trident, where he had been holed up since the beginning of the siege. Naturally, the UAE was one of the first countries to condemn this 'reprehensible crime.'

"The situation of the UAE is unique: its ties with India go back hundreds of years, and it is a country where the peaceful Indian community constitutes a majority of the foreign residents. The Organization of the Islamic Conference, an association of 56 Islamic states, also condemned the terror attacks, stating that 'these acts of violence contradict all human values and can be justified by nothing.' 'Nothing' is the key word here.

"Since the evil attacks of September 11, moderate Muslims dread the news of yet another 'holy attack' in which the name of their religion - which means peace - is used as an excuse for bloodthirsty savagery. In fact, there is an unannounced air of relief among Muslims whenever perpetrators of violent attacks turn out to be from non-Islamic fundamentalist backgrounds. Such was the case during the Virginia Tech university massacre in April 2007, in which 32 mostly students were killed by a South Korean.

"We like to remind others that, like Rashid Al-Owais, Muslims are victims of terror, too. We also are mindful of other notorious non-Islamic groups that perpetuate violence, including ETA in Spain and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. The latter are responsible for up to 60,000 deaths and more than 200 suicide attacks, one of which took the life of Rajiv Gandhi, the then prime minister of India. The perpetrators of last week's Mumbai attacks could not have chosen a more powerful symbol of humanity than India, with its beautiful mosaic of ethnicities - a mosaic that will undoubtedly continue to shine despite the crimes of an unrepresentative minority who hijack Islam whenever the state of their miserable existence dawns upon them..."

It Is Time to Take a Serious Stand Against These Terrorists - And "Reclaim Our Religion"

"It is not enough for moderate Muslims to be revolted by the attacks in Mumbai as we have been revolted by the attacks on the New York office towers, Amman wedding, London transport system, Madrid trains, Beslan school, Jerusalem pizzeria, Baghdad markets and numerous other places. It is time to take a serious stand against these perpetrators and reclaim our religion. Muslims must be more vocal in their sentiments regarding such criminals, and Islamic states must counter this behavior [forcefully]. To borrow an unpopular phrase, the Islamic states must launch a psychological preemptive strike against these terrorists, and, more importantly, [against] those who encourage them. Muslim preachers who fail to condemn terror must either be reeducated or discredited completely, and those who excuse terror [by] using certain conflicts as a pretext must be silenced, because the poison that they spread today will come back to haunt us all tomorrow.

"Some media outlets can also act as a conduit for the terrorists' propaganda. The stories of reformed radicals such as Sayyed Imam, also known as Dr. Fadl, must be highlighted to the ignorant minority. Our message must be clear: 'These acts of violence contradict all human values and can be justified by nothing.'
Nothing."

Endnote:

[1]The National, November 30, 2008, http://www.thenational.ae/article/20081130/OPINION/621078913/1080.