October 29, 2002 Interactive Editorials          http://www.aljazeerah.info


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Muslims and the West

An Interactive Editorial

By Hassan A. El-Najjar and Ray Paradis**


Ray Paradis:

 I first must apologize for my last letter (of 10/24/02). I mistakenly thought this site was part of Al Jazeerah television. I also apologize if you seriously felt my letter was hate mail. It was not intended as such.
  I tried to write in what I felt was an obvious form of satire mixed with sarcasm. I either failed at this or some of what I said perhaps had to much the ring of truth and was personally upsetting to you.
  I have read over your website very closely and it is clear you are well read and informed. You obviously have a lot of knowledge on the situation in the Middle East. However you seem to be too unbalanced in your commentaries. Though not on a par with Al Jazeerah TV. for sure you still seem to lay almost all problems in the Arab world at the feet of the American and Israeli governments.
  You write in some of your commentaries of how wrong war and killing of civilians is but when these killings involve Israelis and Westerners you come across as though its a small matter, not worthy of as much consideration. Are our lives any less valuable than the lives of Palestinians or other peoples?
  The principle point I was trying to raise is the rhetoric being but out was hurting not helping the cause of not only the Palestinians but also the Islamic faith. I believe the rhetoric is playing into the hands of the Zionist and Christian extremist.
  We have the first World Trade center bombing, Muslim men led the way. We have the U.S. Cole, Muslim men lead the way. We have the embassy bombings in Africa, Muslim men lead the way. The French tanker explosion, Bali nightclub bombing, Moscow theater attack, Muslim men lead the way.
  It seems to me the lack of Arab condemnation of these acts and the silence of Muslim religious leaders only adds to the feeling of average people in the west that Islam is against us and our culture.
  I am smart enough to know that there are many good Muslims who abhor the things that are being done in the name of Islam. I know the complaints of the Palestinians have merit and the press here also lack in their coverage of these issues. But do two wrongs make a right?
  I feel, and this is what I was trying to get across in my previous letter, if more average Arabs in the media and the public do not speak out against the actions the extremist are taking, we will see another Crusade or Cold War II as you put it. To simply keep repeating that the west is to blame for everything and to inflame more and more young Arabs to hatred is not good for any of us.
  I'm sorry you could not see the point I was trying to make. Hopefully I have made myself a little clearer this time. I'm a high school dropout who drives a truck for a living not a scholar working in an University.


Hassan A. El-Najjar:

Apology accepted and now we can have a civilized dialogue. Arabic media don't support violence, if you read Arabic you'll know that. All human life is sacred and Islam is very clear on that issue. The Holy Qur'an states clearly that if you kill an innocent person, it is like killing all people. And if you save the life of one person, it is like saving the lives of all people. Islam has nothing to do with all of this. You said it correctly at the end of your letter. It is Cold War II. There is an alliance between the military industrial complex, the oil industry, and Israel. It is global in its reach and Muslim land and resources, particularly oil, are the prizes. Most Muslims have submitted to this new round of imperialism but some of them are still resisting. This is the truth, no more and no less. 

What did Arabs and Muslims do to Europeans at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century to be invaded and their resources to be stolen? Nothing. What did American Indians and Australian Aboriginis do to deserve extermination (Tasmania for example), genocide, or taking over their resources by European settlers? Nothing. What did Africans do to be enslaved in the new world? Nothing. What did Palestinian Arabs do to European and American Jews to cause the Zionist invasion, the establishment of the racist state of Israel, and the current brutal military occupation? Nothing. For sure, they did not go to Europe to persecute Jews. What did the Iraqis do to the US and Britain to deserve the 1991 destruction, the sanctions that killed about one and a half million innocent people, and the coming impending war? Nothing. What did the people of Chechnya do to Russians to cause the brutal war that has been going on since 1991? They want their independence, like other Muslim republics which left the Soviet Union. Why is India adamant in not seeing the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Kashmiris want independence?

We are talking about National liberation movements of the Muslim lands. Muslims want to be free like people of other nations. However, the vast majority of Muslims do not condone violence against innocent civilians. But if you just think about it, it is not just Muslims who are the target. Before 1990, it was "Communism," which was the excuse for Cold War I. Now, Islamic groups called "Terrorism." After that, and I am sure (but I don't hope) that there will be somebody else. So, who will be next? Any nations with resources but with little guns will be the target after Muslims.

It is the law of the jungle. It is capitalism. If you have the bigger gun, you kill and you win. Then, your propaganda machines make your victims look like evil villains. Do we need Jesus Christ to return and stop the madness? You bet we do. Muslims believe in him and believe that when he comes back, he will be on their side and will pray with them in the Jerusalem Mosque. Peace.

* In interactive editorials, the editor of Al-Jazeerah answers questions and or responds to comments of readers, which are more general than readers' responses to specific articles or issues. It is an effective method of interaction in electronic journalism.

** Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjar is the editor of Al-Jazeerah. Mr. Ray Paradis is an Australian citizen.



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