Arab intellectual: It is time to stop blaming the Jews for 9/11 and Beslan

October 15, 2004

CONTENTS

1. Saudi TV interviewer: "Would you, as a human being, be willing to shake hands with a Jew?"
2. Saudi respondent: "If I happened to shake hands with a Jew, I would have to consider amputating my hand afterwards."
3. Leading Arab intellectual: "It is time to stop blaming the Jews for 9/11" ... "Sheikh Fadhlallah and others should not have said the Jews were behind the Beslan school incident."
4. "The magnificent 19" group disbanded in London.


"ARABS ARE STILL UNWILLING TO ACCEPT THAT THEY CARRIED OUT 9/11"

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach five items: Three recent dispatches translated from the Arab media by MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute) dealing with Arab attitudes towards Jews, and two other related articles by the Associated Press and (UK) Daily Telegraph.

In the second of these items, Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, former dean of the Faculty of Shari'a at the University of Qatar, criticized the conspiracy theories rife in the Arab world that the Jews and the Israeli Mossad were behind the 9/11 attacks. He says: "Arabs are still unwilling to accept that they carried out 9/11."

He also criticizes the British Moslem extremist organization in London, Al-Muhajiroun, which attempted to hold a commemoration in London on September 11 to "the magnificent 19" (as they refer to the September 11 murderers.)

[See the dispatch on this list of September 7, 2004 titled London Convention Will Celebrate 9/11 (and other items) which included a news report from the London-based Arabic language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, which incidentally has been carrying a number of articles recently which have been critical of Islamic fundamentalism.]

Yesterday, as the Daily Telegraph reports in the final item on this dispatch, Al-Muhajiroun was disbanded.

The third item in this dispatch contains extracts from an article in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (referred to above) on October 9, 2004, by Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, director-general of the Al-Arabiya TV channel and former editor of the paper.

He writes that the Arab world should not justify the terror attacks in Taba in which Jews died while condemning other suicide attacks.

He says: "The problem can be summed up in one word extremism. Without dealing with the extremist way of thinking, which is on the rise, both in terms of its circulation and in terms of its violence, we cannot envisage an improvement occurring in the security situation...

"As long as the Arab and Muslim intellectuals are not convinced of the reality of the problem, which is first and foremost the existence of extremism, [and are not convinced of the need] to fight it, whether it is clothed in national or religious terms this bloodshed, destruction and fear will not cease...

"It is inconceivable for us to justify one terrorist bombing while denouncing another. [The terror attacks] are interconnected ideologically, if not by the affiliation of their perpetrators."

In the fourth item attached below, AP reports that the Saudi interior minister has appealed to Arab news media to combat "improper ideas" (i.e. support for suicide terrorism).

-- Tom Gross


FULL ARTICLES

SAUDI TV EXAMINES PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARD JEWS

The following are excerpts from a show on Saudi Arabia's IQRA TV Channel, on September 26, 2004, which featured "man on the street" interviews about feelings about Jews.

[To view a segment from this show, visit memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=275]

Interviewer: "Would You, as a Human Being, be Willing to Shake Hands with a Jew?"

Respondent 1:

"Of course I wouldn't be willing to shake hands with a Jew, for religious reasons and because of what is happening now in Palestine, and for many reasons that don't allow me to shake a Jew's hand."

Respondent 2:

"No. Because the Jews are eternal enemies. The murderous Jews violate all agreements. I can't shake hands with someone who I know is full of hatred towards me."

Respondent 3:

"No, the Jew is an enemy. How can I shake my enemy's hand?"

* * *

Interviewer: "Would you refuse to shake hands with a Jew?"

Respondent 4:

"Of course, so I wouldn't have to consider amputating my hand afterwards."

* * *

Interviewer: "If a Child Asks You Who 'Who are the Jews,' What Would You Answer?"

Respondent 5:

"The enemies of Allah and His Prophet."

Respondent 6:

"The Jew is the occupier of our lands."

Respondent 7:

"The murderers of prophets. Our eternal enemies, of course."

Respondent 2:

"The murderers of prophets, that's it."

Respondent 8:

"Allah's wrath is upon them, as the Koran says. Allah's wrath is upon them and they all stray from the path of righteousness. They are the filthiest people on the face of this earth because they care only about themselves not the Christians, not the Muslims, nor any other religion.

"The solution is clear, not only to me but to everyone. If only [the Muslims] declared Jihad, we would see who stays home. We have a few countries... There is one country with a population of over 60-70 million people. If we let them only march, with no weapons even, they would completely trample the Jews, they would turn them into rotten carcasses under their feet. There is another country that donated money, saying, 'I am behind you, I'll support you with weapons, just wage [ Jihad ].'

"But the cowardice inside us, deep within our hearts, was instilled by the Arab leaders, may Allah forgive them. They breast-fed us with it from the day we were born to this very day it has grown with us."

 

QATARI INTELLECTUAL ON THE ISLAMIC ROOTS OF ANTISEMITISM AND 9/11 CONSPIRACY THEORIES

Memri
October 4, 2004

In the Qatari daily Al-Raya, Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, former dean of the Faculty of Shari'a at the University of Qatar, criticized the conspiracy theory in the Arab world that the Jews and the Israeli Mossad were behind the 9/11 attacks. In the article, Al-Ansari wrote that this theory is rooted in Muslim tradition and in the founding scriptures of Islam. The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

Arabs are Still Unwilling to Accept that They Carried Out 9/11

"The third anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11 has passed, and the Arab world is still asking itself who was behind it. Despite the clear-cut evidence, and the many confessions and investigations ... the Arabs are unwilling to accept that the ones behind the deed were a group from among us the '19 Exalted Ones,' as they were called last year by the fundamentalists at their London convention. [2]

"The Arabs keep insisting on their innocence and accusing the Mossad of planning the deed with the aim of launching an aggressive war against the Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq... But this tale clashes with the fact that Jews are cowards and do not commit suicide. So the theory was amended, and it was claimed that the Mossad had planned and funded [the operation], and a group from among our innocent young people was deceived and ensnared by the Mossad, and that it was they who carried out [the operation].

"I do not know how long this [Muslim] arrogance will continue. Why don't we want to acknowledge that these young people were the sons of a culture that is hostile toward the world, not idiots or mad. No one enticed them, and they did not suffer from oppression, repression, or poverty. They carried out the operation because of their belief that it was Jihad and martyrdom. They were our young people and our sons, and they were our responsibility."

'We have Incited [Our Youth] to Die for the Sake of Allah'

"It is we who stole their future, and we have sinned against them because of our backwards education, because of our harmful religious views, because of our inciting preachers' pulpits, and because of our violent media. It is we who have not succeeded in giving their existence value and meaning, and have not made life better for them than death. We have incited them to die for the sake of Allah, and have not taught them how to live for the sake of Allah.

"How long will we make life hell for our young people? How long will we continue to replay the record about American injustice and world justice towards us as pathetic justification for the violence and terror among us as if we are the only nation suffering from injustice...

"Why, in fact, are we the only nation enchanted by the theory that a Jewish conspiracy stands behind events? Why does the tree of conspiracy bloom on our soil...? And why are we still prisoners of theories whose falsity has been proven...?"

'Conspiracy Theory Roots [are] Connected to Belief, Historic Factors, and Political Circumstances'

"In my opinion, this theory has very deep roots connected to aspects of belief, historic factors, and political circumstances. Among the reasons [for the conspiracy theory] are:

"The words of the Koran regarding the deception of the Children of Israel against their prophets and against the other nations.

"The words of the Sira [biography of the Prophet Muhammad] with regard to the dangerous conspiratorial role [played by the Jews] already in the early days against Islam, against the Prophet Muhammad, and against the Muslims and their new empire.

"The words that fill the books of [Muslim] heritage ... [say] that the Jew Abdallah ibn Saba is behind the great conflicts [among Muslims]. [3] These conflicts shattered the strength of the Muslims, and therefore in our [school] curricula we make sure ... to remain silent and skip over the political disagreements and armed conflicts about power and rule that arose among the Companions of the Prophet, [presenting] them all as using religious judgment, and as loyal and just. These conflicts [are presented as if they] occurred only because of the deception of Ibn Saba the Jew and that he is responsible and to blame. As we know, historical research has proven that Ibn Saba is a legendary figure, and that even if he existed it is impossible for any man, however devious, to play such an important and excessive role [in the history of Islam]. [If we believe this,] we must assume that the Companions of the Prophet were so careless and naive that a single Jew could deceive them, and thus we ostensibly decide that the Jews have superhuman genius.

"The words that our culture implants in the souls and minds of the Muslims, [i.e.] that that the Jews are the source of evil in the world. It appears that we are the only nation that still thinks that "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" are real even though they were compiled by the Russian intelligence service in order to torment the Jews of Russia in the days of the Tsar, [as] the expert in Jewish affairs Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Masiri [wrote] in his famous encyclopedia.

"The words of the stories of the final days, concerning the eternal conflict between the Arabs and the Jews, until the Day of Judgment when the Jew will hide behind [the tree] and the rock, and [the rock] will say [to the Muslim], 'O servant of Allah, o Muslim, a Jew is hiding behind me, come and kill him.' These traditions make the Muslim suspicious, and he interprets every event as if a Jew is behind it. This is why Sheikh Fadhlallah and others have not ruled out a Jewish role in the tragic incident that took place in the school in Beslan.

"These are the deep roots that arbitrarily control both us and how we see the world around us. How can they be circumvented so that we can better and more accurately understand and grasp what happened and is happening in our complex world?"

Footnotes

[1] Al-Raya (Qatar), September 20, 2004.

[2] Referring to an annual convention held since 9/11 to celebrate the attacks organized by the London Islamist organization Al-Muhajiroun.

[3] Abdallah bin Saba was a Jew who converted to Islam. He considered the Fourth Caliph Ali bin Abu Taleb to have a divine element, and some, mostly Sunni, writers attribute to him the establishment of Shi'ite sectarianism. Some also claim that he was a legend invented by the enemies of the Shi'ites who sought to prove that Shi'a Islam was not true Islam, but was invented by a Jew. Also, he is thought to have incited against the Third Caliph Uthman bin 'Affan and caused his assassination.

 

DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF AL-ARABIYA TV CHANNEL: "THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SUICIDE ATTACKS IN KABUL, AL-ANBAR, ISLAMABAD, RIYADH, ALGIERS, PARIS, DAMASCUS, OR TABA"

Memri
October 11, 2004

In an article in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on October 9, 2004, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, director-general of the Al-Arabiya TV channel and former editor of the paper, discusses the common denominator between the recent terrorist attacks worldwide. The following are excerpts from the article:

"One cannot understand the nature of the attack in Taba, Egypt, unless we put it in the broader context. That same week the world map was drenched with blood: the bombing [in Taba] was preceded a few hours earlier by an explosion in the French capital. The explosion hit the embassy of Indonesia, the Islamic nation with the largest [Muslim] population, and as a result there were many victims. Two bombings occurred in Pakistan in the first, an extremist blew up a mosque full of Shiites while they were praying, and a few days later another extremist attacked a group of Sunnis in response. In both bombings many innocent people were killed. In the center of the Algerian capital the militant Salafi group [i.e. Al-Jama'a Al-Salafiyya Li-Al-Da'wah Wa-Al-Qital] carried out an attack. During the exchange of fire, which lasted two hours, two people were killed and eight were wounded. Add to this the long list of cars containing suicide bombers, which led to the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis. [The car bombings] recurred in a number of towns [in Iraq], and such news items have become commonplace.

"Being in the midst of this mass destruction, we can understand the nature of the problem only by looking at [all the attacks] from the same perspective. Without doing so, it will never be possible to grasp the truth. The problem can be summed up in one word extremism. Without dealing with the extremist way of thinking, which is on the rise, both in terms of its circulation and in terms of its violence, we cannot envisage an improvement occurring in the security situation...

"It may be that what occurred yesterday in Egypt is no more than [an act] of [non-Egyptian] suicide groups that crossed the Egyptian coastline. It does not neces-sarily mean the return from the local cemeteries of the extremists who were crushed in the nineties. That period of bloodshed ended with a true defeat of the radical organization, and this led the extremists [in Egypt], who were fighting lost battles on both the security level and the ideological level, to leave Egypt and flee to Sudan and Afghanistan and to join the other groups in regions that they consider easier [to operate in].

"As long as the Arab and Muslim intellectuals are not convinced of the reality of the problem, which is first and foremost the existence of extrem-ism, [and are not con-vinced of the need] to fight it, whether it is clothed in national or religious terms this bloodshed, destruction and fear will not cease.

"It is inconceivable for us to justify one terrorist bombing while denouncing another. [The terror attacks] are interconnected ideologically, if not by the affiliation of their perpetrators. A solution solely concerned with security can never succeed in bringing terrorism to a halt. This sheds light once again on [the position of] the Arab intellectuals, who not only are silent but even justify terror, for they in reality supply terrorism with what it most needs - propaganda and legitimacy. Therefore they are embarrassed when [such an] incident takes place on their own land and they hasten to make distinctions and clarifications.

"The danger of extremism threatens almost all the Arab and Islamic societies. There is no difference between the suicide attacks in Kabul, Al-Anbar, Islamabad, Riyadh, Algiers, Paris, Damascus, Tripoli, or Taba. They all embody one reality: that their perpetrators hold extremist views."

 

SAUDI MINISTER URGES ARAB MEDIA TO COMBAT "IMPROPER IDEAS"

Saudi Minister urges Arab media to combat "improper ideas"
The Associated Press
October 10, 2004

Saudi Arabia's interior minister appealed to regional news media Saturday to help combat "improper ideas" that lead young people to support extremist movements.

Speaking before a meeting with his counterparts from Persian Gulf nations, Prince Nayef said Arab journalists need to confront Islamic militancy.

"We insist that the media participates with us in fighting terrorism," he said. "No matter how hard we work and no matter what the security apparatus does, it is not the solution. The solution is in an intellectual effort that removes these improper ideas and brings back to the right path those who went astray."

He also said Persian Gulf countries were committed to uprooting terrorism.
"Terrorism is rejected and, unfortunately, I say with pain that those who carry it out are citizens of ours, and it is attributed to Muslims and Arabs," he said.

The prince raised the media issue in response to an unrelated question one about Saudi reaction to Thursday night's coordinated bombing attacks on tourists, many of them Israeli, in the Egyptian resorts of Taba and Ras Shytan. Some Israeli officials have said they believe the al Qaeda network was probably behind the attack. Condemning attacks against Israelis is awkward for governments in Arab countries, where sympathies lie firmly with the Palestinians in their fight with Israel.

Abdulrahman Attiyah, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, also sidestepped direct condemnation of the attacks.

The six-nation group believes "the lack of a fair and comprehensive peace for all parties on the issue of Palestine and the Middle East motivates such acts," he said. "What happened at the Taba Hilton should not be looked at in isolation of this truth."

Saudi Arabia, which terrorists have targeted in a series of attacks since last year, came under intense international pressure after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States to reform its society and crack down on militants and their financial backers. Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 plane hijackers involved in the attacks were born in Saudi Arabia.

 

AL-MUHAJIROUN DISBANDED IN LONDON

Militant group al-Muhajiroun disbanded
By Philip Johnston Home Affairs Editor
The Daily Telegraph
October 14, 2004

An extremist Muslim group that celebrated the September 11 hijackers as "the magnificent 19" has disbanded, its leaders said last night.

Al-Muhajiroun has angered mainstream Muslim organisations by giving support to terrorist attacks around the world. It has been denounced as a fringe group that attracted undue attention because of its fanatical views.

Its self-styled spiritual leader, Omar Bakri Muhammed, known as the Tottenham Ayatollah, said the organisation was dissolving but its members would link up with other groups. A statement on the group's website said: "We have decided that it is time to shed ourselves of titles, bodies and infrastructure to merge together as one global sect against the crusaders and occupiers of Muslim land.

"Post 9/11 we are in a time of crisis. We need to come together and pool our resources. Globally, we will support Muslims wherever they are." The statement added: "We are not going to stop now. The going is going to get tougher."

The group was regularly monitored by the police and Home Office and there are some in the Muslim community who believe the disbandment is a tactical move to avoid being forced to wind up.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.