Arabian Business Weekly Update July 17, 2005

WORDS are not enough to describe yet another unthinkable act of cold-blooded murder that Britons and the world witnessed on July 7. It was a shameful, despicable and callous act of terrorism.

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By  Massoud A. Derhally Published  July 17, 2005

Terror and the root of injustice|~||~||~|WORDS are not enough to describe yet another unthinkable act of cold-blooded murder that Britons and the world witnessed on July 7. It was a shameful, despicable and callous act of terrorism. Terrorism is not something that is entirely exclusive to the Western world, nor is it something that is uniquely characteristic of the Arab and Muslim world. When terrorists strike they don’t make a concerted effort to discriminate who their victims will be, but what the consequences of their actions are going to be. Ultimately, the goal is not only to wreak havoc and mayhem, but also to terrorise and, in the process, instil fear in people. Prime minister Tony Blair’s measured reaction, and to a large extent that of the wider British population must be commended, as should the condemnation by Muslim clerics the world around of these heinous and deplorable acts of violence. The fact that there was a resounding effort not to clump Islam and terrorism in the same sentence by British officials is applaudable — for there is nothing holy about killing and maiming innocents, as much as heretics like Osama Bin Laden, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi and their cadre, wherever they may be, believe there is. Still, chances are — given that several entities have already claimed credit for the attacks, and it appears the culprits may have been home-grown suicide bombers — that these horrible attacks were carried out in the name of God and Islam. In which case the victims are not only those who have lost their lives, but the Muslim and Arab world in its entirety, as was the case with the horrid 9/11 attacks. In all certitude, no matter what the cause, no matter how unjust a situation may be, committing abhorrent acts of violence will not bring about justice to anyone or any cause, be it the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, the Kurdish quest for an independent homeland or a strong, contiguous Iraq free of American occupation. Though some of the perpetrators of the London attacks may still be at large, and there is still no conclusive evidence that indicates their motives, the bombings highlight the need now more than ever, to not only quell extremism wherever it thrives, but also to deracinate its root causes, which existed well before the war in Iraq. Iraq may have certainly contributed to the emergence of a breeding ground for thousands of Bin Laden supporters, as many have predicted, and has been regrettably illuminated by the scourge of suicide bombings that have killed and continue to kill innocents. The Middle East may have one less autocrat — but the region is far from stable or being a beacon of democracy. It is important to react to terrorism, just as it is imperative to ask why such horrible acts take place. Understanding why things happen does not necessarily imply that one condones the 9/11 attacks, or the bombings in Bali, Casablanca, Madrid, London and elsewhere — but it certainly helps in preventing future atrocities from taking place. It also puts ongoing flashpoints around the world under the spotlight. President George W. Bush's mission to eradicate the evil in the world by being on the offensive, by taking the war to ‘them' is far from the answer. However, racial profiling, the imprisonment and continued detention of hundreds of people without their right to due process has fostered greater resentment in the Muslim and Arab world — and unfortunately provides more ammunition to the likes of Bin Laden as they seek to attract a wider number of willing jihadis. Militancy has thrived for a number of reasons. The causes range from widespread unemployment, poverty, and poor education to a deficiency of civil rights and the freedom that exists in democratic societies. Such factors have allowed, and continue to allow, the likes of Bin Laden to spread their venom. Any agenda that asserts itself as one that wants to eradicate terrorism should have clearly defined objectives. It should address the roots of violent action and, more importantly, put in place a legal framework that will have the required international consensus to check terrorism. This precise framework has been lacking, as have been the principles that should be applied in uniformity across the board to all countries. ||**||

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