Skip to comments.School siege prompts horror, self-criticism in Arab world
Posted on 09/04/2004 5:25:40 PM PDT by MCH
CAIRO: Images of dead, wounded and traumatized Russian children being carried from the scene of a rebel school siege have horrified the Arab world, prompting forthright self-criticism and fresh concern about an international backlash against Islam and its followers.
Arab leaders, Muslim clerics and ordinary parents across the Middle East denounced the school siege as unjustifiable. Some warned such actions damage Islam's image more than all its enemies could hope. Even some supporters of Islamic militancy condemned it, though at least one insisted Muslims were not behind it.
``Holy warriors'' from the Middle East have long supported fellow Muslims fighting in Chechnya, and Russian officials said nine or 10 Arabs were among militants killed in the siege.
Middle East security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was too early to know the nationalities of the Arabs among the dead militants. However, a prominent Arab journalist wrote that Muslims must acknowledge the painful fact that Muslims are the main perpetrators of terrorism.
``Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture,'' Abdulrahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya television, wrote in his daily column published in the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. It ran under the headline, ``The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!''
Al-Rashed ran through a list of recent attacks by Islamic extremist groups - in Russia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - many of which are influenced by the ideology of Osama bin Laden.
``Most perpetrators of suicide operations in buses, schools and residential buildings around the world for the past 10 years have been Muslims,'' he wrote. Muslims will be unable to cleanse their image unless ``we admit the scandalous facts,'' rather than offer condemnations or justifications.
``The picture is humiliating, painful and harsh for all of us.''
Arab TV stations repeatedly aired footage of terrified young survivors being carried from the school siege scene, while pictures of dead and wounded children ran on front pages of Saturday's Arab newspapers.
Ahmed Bahgat, an Egyptian Islamist and columnist for Egypt's leading pro-government newspaper Al-Ahram wrote that the images ``showed Muslims as monsters who are fed by the blood of children and the pain of their families.''
``If all the enemies of Islam united together and decided to harm it ... they wouldn't have ruined and harmed its image as much as the sons of Islam have done by their stupidity, miscalculations, and misunderstanding of the nature of this age,'' Bahgat wrote.
Other Islamists were more cautious in their criticism.
Mohammed Mahdi Akef, leader of Egypt's largest Islamic group, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, said the siege did not fit the Islamic concept of ``jihad,'' or holy war, but took care not to characterize it as terrorism.
``What happened ... is not jihad because our Islam obligates us to respect the souls of human beings,'' Akef said. ``Real jihad should target occupiers of our lands only like the Palestinian and Iraqi resistance.''
Ali Abdullah, an Islamic scholar in Bahrain who follows the ultraconservative Salafi stream of Islam, condemned the school attack as ``un-Islamic,'' but insisted Muslims weren't behind it.
``I have no doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Israelis who want to tarnish the image of Muslims and are working alongside Russians who have their own agenda against the Muslims in Chechnya,'' said Abdullah, reviving an old conspiracy theory altered to fit any situation.
Some contributors to Islamic Web sites known for their extremist content praised the separatists and predicted the Islamic fighters across Egypt would avenge the killings of Muslims elsewhere.
Heads of state from around the region condemned the attack. It struck a chord with parents, including Jordan's King Abdullah II, who denounced it on state-run television.
``As a father, I can tell you that all the fathers and mothers in Jordan pray humbly to God to stand by their counterparts in Russia in their grief,'' said Abdullah, whose wife is expecting their fourth child.
Depends on one's mood.
I rolled my eyes.
Even more painful, all Islamic terrorists are girlie men.
Were our schools safe during the sniper attacks?
Who is safe if we don't win this war against terror?
I have no desire to live like Russia or Israel.
RE-Elect Bush/Cheney and live free.
I am just shocked that the subject of school security has not even been mentioned in passing. At all....not that I have heard anyway.
What I worry about are the "American" schools abroad. They're scattered all over Europe; the kids of American business, military, and govt types go to them. We could see a similar bloodbath (but I don't think they'd let a bunch of Islamofacists work unsupervised).
They kill each other for sport. Who or what else does that?
"``I have no doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Israelis who want to tarnish the image of Muslims and are working alongside Russians who have their own agenda against the Muslims in Chechnya,'' said Abdullah, reviving an old conspiracy theory altered to fit any situation.
Laugh or cry?"
Napalm or Smart Bomb?
Shades of Arafat.
More than we can say for the American press that describes them a "rebels".....
Causing "fresh concern about an international backlash against Islam" --one can only hope.
Yeah, right. They're horrified.
It'll take a lot more than a few shocked Egyptians to convince the billion+ Arab world that enough is enough. The real movers and shakers are the prolly less than 100 moslem zealots in Egypt, Syria, Saudi, Iraq, Iran, Paki and Indo who could call the whole thing off if they wanted to. But they won't, and it now looks like they'll be hearing from the Russians...who are not so compassionate as we are. Heh.
An international backlash against Islam seems to be in order, despite it being a religion of peace.
Ishmael, it was said in Genesis, would be a wild ass of a man. It has played out many, many times. Ishmael only understands one thing - a righteous ass-kicking.
I had not even considered that. Good point...but again..I have heard nothing from anyone in "charge" about this subject.
"I have no doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Israelis who want to tarnish the image of Muslims...."
Ummm, it's not the Israelis who tarnish the image of Muslims....it's the Muslims who tarnish the image of Muslims.
"...and are working alongside Russians who have their own agenda against the Muslims in Chechyna."
Keep talking idiot. If I were you, I'd sleep with one eye open. Folks are going to look for revenge and no government is going to have the power to stop them from doing it.
so be it
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