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The Middle East's Leading English Language  Daily 

Thursday 9 September 2004 (25 Rajab 1425) 

A Wake-up Call : Almost all terrorists are Muslims..
Abdel Rahman al-Rashed* — 
It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is
equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists
are Muslims. 
The hostage-takers of children in Beslan, North
Ossetia, were Muslims. The other hostage-takers and subsequent
murderers of the Nepalese chefs and workers in Iraq were also Muslims.
Those involved in rape and murder in Darfur, Sudan, are Muslims, with
other Muslims chosen to be their victims. 
Those responsible
for the attacks on residential towers in Riyadh and Khobar were
Muslims. The two women who crashed two airliners last week were also
Osama bin Laden is a Muslim. The majority of those
who manned the suicide bombings against buses, vehicles, schools,
houses and buildings, all over the world, were Muslim. 
What a
pathetic record. What an abominable "achievement." Does all this tell
us anything about ourselves, our societies and our culture? 
These images, when put together or taken separately, are shameful and
degrading. But let us start with putting an end to a history of denial.
Let us acknowledge their reality, instead of denying them and seeking
to justify them with sound and fury signifying nothing. 
For it
would be easy to cure ourselves if we realize the seriousness of our
sickness. Self-cure starts with self-realization and confession. We
should then run after our terrorist sons, in the full knowledge that
they are the sour grapes of a deformed culture. 
Let us listen
to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the sheikh – the Qatar-based radical Egyptian
cleric – and hear him recite his fatwa about the religious
permissibility of killing civilian Americans in Iraq. Let us
contemplate the incident of this religious sheikh allowing, nay even
calling for, the murder of civilians. 
This ailing sheikh, in
his last days, with two daughters studying in "infidel" Britain,
soliciting children to kill innocent civilians. 
How could this
sheikh face the mother of the youthful Nick Berg, who was slaughtered
in Iraq because he wanted to build communication towers in that
ravished country? How can we believe him when he tells us that Islam is
the religion of mercy and peace while he is turning it into a religion
of blood and slaughter? 
In a different era, we used to
consider the extremists, with nationalist or leftist leanings, a menace
and a source of corruption because of their adoption of violence as a
means of discourse and their involvement in murder as an easy shortcut
to their objectives. 
At that time, the mosque used to be a
haven, and the voice of religion used to be that of peace and
reconciliation. Religious sermons were warm behests for a moral order
and an ethical life. 
Then came the neo-Muslims. An innocent
and benevolent religion, whose verses prohibit the felling of trees in
the absence of urgent necessity, that calls murder the most heinous of
crimes, that says explicitly that if you kill one person you have
killed humanity as a whole, has been turned into a global message of
hate and a universal war cry. 
We can't call those who take schoolchildren as hostages our own. 
We cannot tolerate in our midst those who abduct journalists, murder
civilians, explode buses; we cannot accept them as related to us,
whatever the sufferings they claim to justify their criminal deeds.
These are the people who have smeared Islam and stained its image. 
We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that
terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise; an almost exclusive
monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women. 
We cannot
redeem our extremist youths, who commit all these heinous crimes,
without confronting the sheikhs who thought it ennobling to reinvent
themselves as revolutionary ideologues, sending other people's sons and
daughters to certain death, while sending their ow    
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