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Terrorists Do Not Deserve Life!

The author argues that terrorists should be executed, and that Muslims must accept -- and are slowly beginning to accept -- responsibility for much of the terrorism that exists. But he also argues that to address the problem, the United States must come down harder on Israel's Sharon government, which he regards as inherently criminal in regard to the Palestinians.

By Jihad El Khazen

July 16, 2005

Original Article (English)    

I was surprised in the months that followed the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington that Arabs and Muslims, in their vast majority, have denied any responsibility for that horrendous crime. I particularly remember a TV show that took place for more than six hours over two days with my colleague Imad Eddine Adib, where the six participants, five of whom discussed the issue properly, while one insisted that terrorism is a product of [Israel's] Mossad, or Serbian terrorists or others. The surprise was that all the viewers that called the show supported that opposing opinion. 

This time, after terrorism struck London last week, I didn't receive a single letter denying responsibility or trying to offer excuses of any kind for the terrorists. I see this awareness as a first step in the fight against terrorist ideology and ultimate victory over that ideology. After Arabs and Muslims denied the possibility that people amongst them could have perpetrated the crimes of the World Trade Center, later events showed that terrorists are amongst us and that it is our responsibility to expose their sick ideology and to shun them.

What didn't surprise me about the latest terrorist attack is the opportunity it provided to those known to be our enemies, and who are full of grudges and illusions, like Israeli Foreign minister Sylvan Shalom. Shalom compared the terrorism in London to the Palestinian suicide bombings. He would have made more sense if he had compared the London attacks with Israeli terrorism against Palestinian civilians, and with its killing of schoolgirls.

Steve Blutzucker wrote in Yediot Ahronot [an Israeli newspaper] about "radical Islam" and al Qaeda. There he attacked liberal writers and intellectuals for searching for "excuses." He even criticized a high-level British police official who insisted that Islam and terrorism are not the same. Blutzucker usually writes logical articles, even if we disagree with him. Perhaps next time he will write about his radical government or about the radical rabbis and settlers; these just as responsible for the terrorism in London as the actual perpetrators, since they provide the pretext that radical Muslims use to enroll young people into their ranks.

Of course, the attacks provided the "Daily Mail" a chance to attack Saudi Arabia; and the "Sunday Telegraph" the opportunity to accuse Syria because of a terrorist named Abu Messab Al Suri, who is friendly with the mastermind of the Madrid bombing, Abu Dahdah. In this way, Syria is accused of complicity, despite the fact that at a London summit meeting between British intelligence and their international counterparts on Saturday, there were no clear links between Syria and the terrorists that perpetrated the London crime.

I can accuse Syria of many things, but its regime and the terrorist ideology are totally at odds. I completely condemn terrorism and call for death sentences to be handed down to the terrorists, but my call won't solve the problem; there are only two solutions that will deter them:

First, eradicate the terrorist ideology from amongst Arabs and Muslims; change anything in the curriculum that nourishes divergence, hatred and racism; expose the misguided [terrorist] faction by exposing the corruption of the ideology it uses to justify the killing of innocent people.

Second, solve the Palestinian issue. This is the mother of all causes in the Middle East, and it has triggered all other causes. Without this, the efforts of all the enlightened minds in Arab and Muslim nations will be vain, since the radicals retort by telling people: look at what the Israelis are doing to us in the occupied territories; look at how they kill schoolgirls; look at the fence that will isolate 70,000 Palestinians from their Holy City.

The terrorism of the Sharon government is the flipside of al Qaeda terror. The day after the anniversary of the International Court of Justice decision calling the separation fence surrounding Jerusalem a violation of international law, Sharon declared his resolve to resume building the fence in the beginning of September. Without U.S. and Western support, he would not have been able to challenge international and humanitarian norms.

Solving the Palestinian issue will not solve all of the region's issues, or make them disappear, but nevertheless, this is the unavoidable first step that facilitates all others.

Some additional ideas:

- British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that this kind of terrorism is deep-rooted. He precisely mentioned poverty and the struggle in the Middle East. I wait to see if he will turn his words into deeds.

-It isn't true that the terrorists are "trying to destroy what we are proud of" as Blair put it, since they don't even know what the Brits are proud of or cherish. They aren't interested in knowing, as the goal of their terrorism is simply to force Britain to leave Iraq.

-All opinions agree that Tony Blair is an intelligent man. He must have expected terrorism like the one witnessed in London as a result of his involvement in the war on Iraq along side the United States. I ask him and I ask any Brit: do the results of the war justify exposing the British people to such dangers?

-The Sharon government is demanding $2.2 billion from the United States as a price for its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip These people are occupying a land by force. They have destroyed the lives of its people and killed women and children. Then they request a prize for their crimes. Isn't the most fertile ground for recruiting terrorists in the opposing camp?

I am not excusing terrorism, but am trying to specify the reasons behind it. While I reject all of this reasoning, I also realize that this is not the opinion of those from whom terrorists emerge. Personally, I am calling for a change in the law so that terrorists receive death sentences, since they do not deserve life.

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