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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

 

'I Am Not Going to Apologize'

by Khaled Almaeena

“The contrast cannot be more striking. Four Muslims out of millions commit a barbaric crime in London. All the Muslims have been put on the defensive not just in the UK but the world over.

“Three soldiers of the British Army are charged with war crimes. The rallying call goes out that we must all support the army and be sympathetic toward them in this difficult time.

“The pundits were pontificating this morning on Radio 4’s Today program, self-assured that these bozos will be tried sympathetically and ‘hopefully will be acquitted.’ How reassuring! No one is talking of dangerous ideologies being preached among the ranks of Her Majesty’s armed forces. No one suspects any cells/schools — dare I say madrasas — teaching the ranks to do unimaginable things. But best of all, no one expects any apologies from any or all of the army.

“One young man from Leeds put it very nicely in a news story filed on the BBC 6 p.m. news last evening: ‘I am not going to apologize for this. I condemned this crime, and those who did it did not do so in my name. Why should I be expected to apologize for them?’

“This eloquently sums up the feeling of many of us at a time when most of our community leaders are losing their heads. — Hashim Reza.”

This was a letter from Britain. All over the world Muslims are being killed. In Palestine, Israeli forces are using freely supplied American arms to kill children under false pretenses. In Chechnya, Russian forces committed some of the worst atrocities of the past 200 years. The horrific massacres left young boys of eight or nine years with white hair. Young girls were gang raped.

In India, the worst massacres took place in Gujarat where 3,000 Muslims were killed, many of whom were burned alive. The chief minister of Gujarat, the chief of police and other senior officials incited mobs to commit the carnage. Police turned a blind eye as murders and rapes took place. These officials are still in office.

The world recently marked the 10th anniversary of the massacres of Muslims in Srebrenica, where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were shot to death in cold blood over 24 hours by Christian forces right under the eyes of Dutch UN troops. There was not a word or a whisper heard at that time by anyone. In Iraq, America’s lethal air power — carelessly aimed cluster bombs and daisycutters that explode above the ground for maximum carnage — killed hundreds of innocent Iraqis who themselves had no love for the tyrant Saddam.

These are but a few examples that could be mentioned. I could go on and on. However, what I would like to ask is why are we told that we have not done enough to condemn the terrorist attacks? Why have not our clerics come out in full force and vilified the perpetrators of terror? They ask us to come out in full force against suicide bombers in Israel. They ask a whole nation to accept the guilt for Sept. 11. They ask us to atone and pray for sins committed by our young men. They ask that we wring our hands and show remorse — maybe go a step further and flagellate ourselves. In short, the principle of collective guilt is being applied to Muslims the world over.

In fact, the anti-Islamists delight in such incidents and use it to spread their hatred of Muslims. Julie Burchill’s piece in the July 16th issue of The Times, London, didn’t miss a jab against Saudi Arabia — accusing the Saudi authorities of not even allowing the British troops to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day.

Ignorance reaches new heights.

However, I state here and now that I will not apologize. I did not commit these acts — neither did Saudi Arabia nor the Muslim world. Individual acts should not be blamed on our Ummah, and we must be brave and not listen to PR companies and acquiesce. Let us be brave and stand tall. Our religion is a religion of peace, and it is we Muslims who have been both slain and slandered in the past few decades.
Yes, we are against terror at home or abroad. But those who accuse us should also understand that terrorism exists everywhere. In some countries there is state-sponsored terrorism. And as for the apologies I have not read one apology for the massacres of Muslims. It would be understandable to say “Let them apologize to us first.” But humanity needs to move beyond that.

The media, be it British or American or Arab, needs to curb the subjective drivel that spawns hatred and division and get back to the business of seeking the truth — and objectively reporting it. And let us all stop asking one another to take the blame for the problems that plague all of mankind.

With this realization, the only apologies that would need to be made would be to those whose lives could have been saved were we all working together to solve these serious problems rather than blaming one another for them.

It is time for all the peoples of the world to tell murdering terrorists, marauding armies and hate mongering media moguls “We have had enough.” And none of us need to apologize.

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