Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi Cleric Salman Al-Odeh, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on July 13, 2005.
Host: Behind all the dens of conflict and terror there are Islamic people and groups.
Al-Odeh: I'd like to say that the violence that occurs today - not just throughout history - is mostly perpetrated by non-Muslims. This violence, however, does not receive proper media coverage. For example, how many people were killed in the Afghanistan war by the American forces?
Host: You mean after 9/11?
Al-Odeh: Yes, after 9/11. How many people were killed in Iraq? I read today in the newspapers that no fewer than 15,000 civilians were killed, and I think thus is a conservative figure.
Host: But most of them were killed in terrorist operations by Islamic groups led by Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi and others.
Al-Odeh: Not most of them, only a few. Most of them died because of the blind American bombing, and even by cluster bombs, which continue to be used to this day. The Palestinians are victims of Israeli violence. I'm not saying that Muslims or Islamists do not perpetrate violence at all. What I mean is that Muslims don't make an issue out of the violence of others. The Americans have turned 9/11 into an historic event which has become sacred, and they commemorate it annually.
Host: But it has been only two years (sic).
Al-Odeh: True, but it has become a tradition.