Sunday, November 23, 2003

Not in Islam’s Name

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi, (

I was shocked and saddened to hear the news about the terrorist attacks on Jewish places of worship and education in Turkey.
Dozens of innocent people were going about their normal life, praying, meeting, taking care of their families, educating and entertaining their kids, and suddenly — boom! All goes up in fire, smoke and blood. In minutes the world you know is suddenly a sad memory, and the new world is full of fear, anger and tragedy.
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, it is becoming too familiar. Even in places unused to such terrible tragedies like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Terrorists seem incapable of distinguishing between what is consistent with their stated principles and what is total nonsense. How would the killing of an innocent person serve a cause, any cause?
What support can the scenes of carnage, of the scattered and burned bodies of women and children, offer to a message, any message? Why would the governments of Russia, the US and Israel, or gang leaders of Al-Qaeda, the IRA, KKK, Hindu militants and Jewish settlers order the bombing and burning of civilian neighborhoods, markets and places of worship?
Who are they trying to satisfy and appease? What benefits and public relations goals do they hope to achieve?
How can educated, sophisticated and enlightened leaders of established democracies and great civilizations compete in the same dirty arena with lowlife, heartless, insane psychopaths?
When American bombers target Afghan and Iraqi mosques, wedding parties, and Bedouin convoys on unverified tip-offs that there are wanted persons there, when Sharon uses American-made F16 and Apaches to hit buildings, streets and homes to assassinate Palestinian leaders, when Putin treats the whole of Chechnya as a practicing ground for killing, burning and destruction, where is the distinction between legitimate law-abiding governments and illegitimate lawless bandits?
How can the public then be convinced that the ways of the bad guys are wrong, if the supposedly good guys are doing the same thing the same way?
As a writer, I am supposed to explain to my readers, not to add to their confusion. But the world of terror is so confused and confusing that asking questions may pass as a step toward better understanding. So, let’s keep asking and demanding answers. The doers of evil owe us, at the very least, logical if not acceptable explanations.
On behalf of all good, true Muslims, I offer my wholehearted condolences to the families of the victims in the Turkish attacks, Jewish and Muslim alike. My heart goes out to every mother and father, sister and brother, daughter and son.
I would also like them to know that whoever did this does not represent Islam, Arabs or any decent human being. This dirty deed was not committed in my religion’s, my people’s or my name.

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