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Centurio Epistula - Arab Self Critical Commentary

The recent terrorist strikes in Russia have prompted the article below from Abdel Rahman al-Rashed. The article is preceded with an analysis by Steven Emreson. I commend both to you.

I am thankful that he has spoken out against the violence and has called faithful Arabs to action to do the right thing.

I bid your prayers for peace and safety.


Investigative Project
Steven Emerson
Executive Director

5505 Connecticut Ave NW No. 341
Washington, DC 20015

202-363-8602 202-966-5191 fax

Given the particularly horrific attacks by Islamic terrorists in the past week in Russia, Israel and Iraq, I am sending you an extraordinary piece of self-critical commentary by a prestigious Arab journalist that is almost unprecedented. The commentary is right on target. It is sober reading. It faults mainstream Islamic leaders and clergy for fostering a religious culture that sanctions violence.

The piece should be required reading for the editorial apologists of militant Islam at the New York Times, the LA Times, and the Chicago Tribune who have recently criticized the decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deny Islamic "scholar" Tariq Ramadan a visa to the United States to teach at Notre Dame. DHS did the right thing in stopping Ramadan--who professes moderation but is in fact a savvy purveyor of Islamic extremism -- from getting a visa to pollute the minds of young Americans.

Similarly, the attached piece comes only two days after the Associated Press filed a story on September 3 on radical cleric Yousef Al-Qaradawi, who, as the author noted below, just issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Americans. The AP story however characterized Al-Qaradawi as someone "whose voice carries considerable weight in the Islamic world [and] is considered a moderate figure who has condemned violence." Nothing could be further from the truth; Qaradawai has been justifying suicide bombings against "infidels" for years.

One of the reasons why Islamic terrorism continues to fester is that we in the West have indulged extremists or fallen for their deception. That is the real lesson of 9-11. Not flow-charts. Not redesigned bureaucracies. But the pervasiveness of Islamic militancy within the Islamic world, a fact that some in the United States continue to deny with the connivance of "mainstream" Islamic leaders who live here and who, in a twist of reality, assert that "Islam is under assault" or that anti-terror policies of the US is "anti-Muslim." No, the spread of Islamic extremism is the problem. And those who contend otherwise are wittingly and unwittingly allowing the purveyors of Islamic extremism to effectively deny any culpability in this murderous ideology.

Steve Emerson
Executive Director
The Investigative Project

'Innocent religion is now a message of hate'
(Filed: 05/09/2004) The Sunday Telegraph (London
September 5, 2004

Abdel Rahman al-Rashed is general manager of Al- Arabiya news channel. Yesterday, his article appeared in the pan-Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.

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 Muslims.

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 realise the seriousness of our sickness. Self-cure starts with self-realisation 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 re-invent themselves as revolutionary ideologues, sending other people's sons and daughters to certain death, while sending their own children to European and American schools and colleges.

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