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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Terrorism and Islamic Apologists;

Published: Sun 31 Jul 2005 06:46 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS DHAKA 003681
SIPDIS
FOR I/FW, B/G, IIP/G/NEA-SA, B/VOA/N (BANGLA SERVICE) STATE
FOR SA/PAB, SA/PPD (LSCENSNY, SSTRYKER), SA/RA, INR/R/MR,
AND PASS TO USAID FOR ANE/ASIA/SA/B (WJOHNSON)
CINCPAC FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR, J51 (MAJ TURNER), J45
(MAJ NICHOLLS)
USARPAC FOR APOP-IM (MAJ HEDRICK)
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR OIIP OPRC KPAO PREL ETRD PTER ASEC BG OCII BG
SUBJECT: Media Reaction: Terrorism and Islamic Apologists;
Dhaka
Summary: An editorial page article in "Daily Star"
criticizes Islamic apologists who try to rationalize recent
terrorist activities instead of critical inquiry and self
examination.
--------------------------------
Terrorism and Islamic Apologists
--------------------------------
"The Islamist terrorist and the Islamic apologist"
An editorial page article by Mahfuzur Rahman in independent
English "Daily Star" opines (7/31):
The terror of September 11, 2001 has produced a great deal
of anger against Islam in the western world; it has also
produced a crop of apologists, both among Muslims everywhere
and in the west. The latter group includes political leaders
keen to be seen as friends of Muslims, especially the Muslim
electorate. It is easy to understand western politicians
standing up for mainstream Islam. It is difficult to
understand Muslim apologists at a time when the primary need
in Muslim societies is for critical inquiry and self
examination.
In the popular writings that have emerged since September
eleven, those of Asghar Ali Engineer stand out, not least in
the frequency at which they appear. Their author is also a
good example of a Muslim apologist. The following paragraphs
are aimed primarily at his latest article, written after the
London bombings of July 7, 2005 and printed in The Daily
Star, July 21, 2005, and which is fairly representative of
the apologist genre of thinking.
Mr.Engineer considers the London bombers not fanatics but
"angry young men boiling with anger at these western
countries destroying their countries and killing and raining
death and destruction." The use of "their countries" is
rather puzzling. The bombers were all British. Could he be
implying that even though Britain was their adopted home,
their real allegiance lay abroad, perhaps based on some
concept of Islamic ummah? If that is the case, the "Islamic"
nature of their violence becomes all the more evident.
Talk of violence and Islam, the theme of Mr. Engineer's
apologia, and one has to talk of present-day Iraq. Mr.
Engineer is in no doubt that the violence there is simply a
product of rage against occupation of the country by
infidels. Such rage, in must be granted, is very much
present in the country. It must also be conceded that much
of the terrorist rage is directed against the infidels and
not at home-bred autocratic regimes, or for that matter
against an occupier when it happens to be another Arab
country. After all, there was no such rage when Iraq
occupied Kuwait one and a half decades ago. But the point
about the rage being anti-infidel, and not anti-autocracy,
only reinforces the argument that much of the terrorist acts
in Iraq today is "Islamic" in nature, at least by the
terrorists' definition of Islam.
Chammas
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