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9/10/04 - MUSLIMS ON CHECHEN TERRORISTS - 2004-09-13

Like al-Qaida and other terrorists from the Middle East and south Asia, Chechen terrorists have often invoked Islam to justify their evil acts. In the carnage at the school in Beslan in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia, terrorism by Chechen Islamic extremists claimed more than three-hundred lives, about half of them children.

Many people are now speaking out against Islamic terrorists. They include increasing numbers of Muslims.

One of the strongest condemnations of the massacre in Beslan came from Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, general manager of the Arab satellite television station Al-Arabiya. Writing in the London daily newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Mr. Rashed said it was “shameful and degrading” that “the kidnappers of the students in Ossetia are Muslims. The kidnappers and killers of the Nepalese workers and cooks [in Iraq] are also Muslims. . . . Those who blew up the residential complexes in Riyadh and Al-Khobar [in Saudi Arabia] are Muslims. . . . The majority of those who carried out suicide operations against buses, schools, houses, and buildings around the world in the last ten years are also Muslims.”

Mr. Rashed said that Islam “has suffered an injustice” at the hands of those who preach violence. Muslims have to realize, he said, “that we cannot correct the condition of our youth who carry out these disgraceful operations until we have treated the minds of our sheikhs who have turned themselves into pulpit revolutionaries who send the children of others to fight.”

Similar words came from Khaled Hamed al-Suleiman, in the Saudi government daily newspaper Okaz. Under the headline, “Butchers in the Name of Allah, he wrote, “The time has come for Muslims to be the first to come out against those interested in abducting Islam in the same way they abducted innocent children.”

An editorial in the Egyptian government daily newspaper Al-Ahram put it this way: “The time has come for everyone to accept as a first principle the sanctity of life and [the obligation] to avoid harming civilians.”