Terrorism

Opinions/Editorial:

The barbaric terrorist attack on London

Muslim Leaders must join efforts with Britain against Terrorists


London- 7 July  2005:

As the civilised world condemn the barbaric terror attack in London, the Muslim World must join Britain in fighting terrorism, while politicians here and in the Muslim World must not give the terrorists what they wanted by dividing communities or eroding liberty and changing our way of life, says Adel Darwish.


The barbaric terrorist attack on London today  was condemned by all civilised nations. In addition to condemning the atrocities, Muslim and Middle Eastern leaders were among the first to send message of support, sympathy and solitary with Britain.
Words of condemnation and solidarity are fine and great in their symbolic value, but they are not enough unless backed by practical measures in cooperation with Great Britain and the rest of the civilised world to cut out the evil of terrorism from the body of the world.
To win the war against terror, and it must be own, we need to understand terrorists' strategy and tactics. First they need a motive, second an operational capability to carry out attack, and third and aim. The latter is almost impossible to identify in the case of alqaeda, since it is not clear what constitute a strategic 'victory' for them, once achieved they would stop their terror tactics and turn into politics.
Unlike the IRA, the PLO, or ETA, who wanted recognition and the were ready to decommission arms for political gain, al-Qaeda's strategy is terror for the sake of terror. And their aim is to destroy our way of life and what our democracy represents.
Hence while the IRA for example gave warning before bombs design to cause maximum disruption and economic harm, alqeda's terrorists have no respect for human life.
It is important when fighting terrorists to address the three areas of their tactics. And it is important to get the balance write between the three (removing the motives, deprive terrorist from operational capabilities and don't give terrorists chance to claim success by if they force us to change our way of life).
It would be meaningless to deploy heavy military tactics to deprive terrorists from their capabilities in way that would increase anger and animosity that would create new motives for a new generation who were neutral and turn into terrorists.
For example while the war in Afghanistan was successful in destroying al Qaeda (and part of the success that qaeda t operators in Europe claimed responsibility for yesterday's crimes in sharp contrast to the days when al-qaeda was so powerful that it never claimed responsibility and kept us guessing who carried an attack.
They seemed so desperate to prove they still exist). Meanwhile the war in Iraq did not address this balance and it created more anger.
Britain, which still enjoys the support and admiration in the Middle East and Muslim world, compared to say America, must work hard not lose this support, but it is also the duty of Muslims themselves to join the alliance in fighting against terrorism. Muslims nations suffered from al-Qaeda's terrorism long before London bombs, and it is important that political leaders, Islamic clergy, Arab and Muslim commentators make a clear unequivocal statement in condemning terrorism of its all forms.
It is not good enough to call a suicide bomber a ' shaheed' or Martyr, just because he declared supporting a cause those commentators and clergy considered to be just or right. Murder is murder, as a respected Muslim scholar after another to me yesterday, quoting from quran ' who he destroys one human soul destroys the whole of humanity'; thus they must declare that any attack on civilians, or even on off duty soldiers is an act of terrorism regardless who the target is- as we have seen suicide bombing against off duty soldiers claiming civilian lives.
As millions of Muslims congregate tomorrow ( Friday) in thousands of mosques, I hope the message from their Imams ( vicars) will be clear in condemning terrorism and ruling that Islamic teaching forbids killing.
It is also important that commentators and media here in Britain do not fall into a trap of giving the terrorists a victory by deepening a division between Muslims and the rest of the community.
Most important that terrorist do not force us to change our way of life by politicians desperate to find new excuses to implement measures like the unpopular, unworkable and too costly ID cards scheme; as this will encourage terrorists to carry out more attacks, hoping to erode our freedom bit by bit.
Yesterday several commentators in the Middle East admired the bravery and the calm of the British people as they went about their business, and many recalled Sir Winston Churchill's spirit that defeated the Nazi saying the same spirit would prevail and defeat terrorism.
One Muslim Arab friend emailed me a message of solidarity in the name of his colleagues in his newsroom saying '' we stand shoulder to shoulder with Britain, as an attack on London, is an attack on all Arabs, London is and will remain, the capital of the whole of Middle East and the capital of the free world.'' Let us prove him right.


Adel Darwish 2005


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