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Arab view: 'Enough, enough'

Some Muslims fear backlash after UK bombs

By Octavia Nasr
CNN Senior Editor for Arab Affairs




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(CNN) -- Arabs and Muslims in Britain and across the world expressed outrage at the terrorist attacks in London, with the dominant viewpoint summed up by one person who wrote on a Web site, "Enough ... enough."

The loud condemnation of the attacks that targeted civilians reverberated on the street, over the Internet, in newsrooms, and in Arab and Muslim seats of power.

Minority voices praised the attacks with anti-Western invective, but they were largely drowned out. On one popular Web site, one person wrote: "How can you gloat and thank God for terrorist acts that were committed in the name of God???? Shaaaaaaaaaaaame on you Muslims.

"Don't you know that Islam is growing in Europe??? What the heck are you doing mingling things up??? What you're doing has no logic and certainly doesn't fall under the good wisdom God has asked us to follow."

Still, some stated anger at what they say are brutal U.S. and British policies targeting Arabs and Muslims. And many expressed fears that a stretch of bad times is in store for Arabs and Muslims.

The London terror strikes, targeting three subway stations and a double-decker bus, killed more than 50 people wounded hundreds. Authorities are looking into the possibility of al Qaeda's involvement. London Police Commissioner Ian Blair said the attacks showed the "hallmarks of al Qaeda."

The September 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks in the United States sparked some anger at Arabs and Muslims, which U.S. leaders and others worked to quickly counteract.

Officials from countries like Iraq and Iran issued condemnations of the strikes.

Some prominent Arab writers said the attacks were a reminder that efforts to fight terrorism were necessary.

Jihad al-Khazen, an op-ed columnist for the London-based pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper, wrote: "Such criminal terror acts prove that no measure is enough to fight terrorism.

"Actions that governments take to fight terrorism are totally justified because protecting life is a lot more important than protecting civil liberties."

He said he was saddened "that there are people in our Arab world that continue to sympathize with terrorism."

"This is our sick reality and it doesn't help anyone to pretend this mentality doesn't exist. One can't ignore the fact that Arab governments didn't act early on to crush the extreme movements growing in our midst."

He criticized the United States and Britain, saying he hoped they would change policies that fostered "hatred around the world and make it easy for groups like al Qaeda to recruit and execute terror attacks."

On the Arabic-language TV network Al Jazeera, Mohammed Amara -- identified as an Islamist thinker in Cairo -- said "those who want to perform jihad (Muslim holy war) should go and fight the occupiers in the battlefield and not kill unexpecting innocent people.

"We (Muslims) do not kill clerics, we do not kill women, we do not kill children, we do not kill trees. This is what the prophet taught us. The U.S. and Britain are committing atrocities against our people everywhere but we shouldn't respond to a crime with a crime."

TV network Al-Arabiya, on its Web site, solicited readers' responses to the attacks. Several expressed happiness, with comments such as "Allahu Akbar, thanks be to God," "More power to al Qaeda leader Osama (bin Laden)," and "What did you expect? This is only a response to the what the British government has done to the group regardless of which group it is."

In response, these notes were posted: "To the heroes of Arabism and Jihad, since you are sparing no method to attack the West and you gloat as you try to kill the largest number of civilians. How would you like it if the West relieves itself of your headache by hitting you with one of its nuclear weapons. It takes only minutes and then there will be no heroes, no men and no shish kebab."

Another wrote: "Why you are so happy about something like this?" What if one of your family members in London died? Even in a war, don't kill women, children, old people ... please Muslims think before you judge any action, and think about your actions and judge yourself before you judge people."

There were similar responses to another posting, in which someone said: "What happened to them is less than what they deserve" because of all of the people killed in the Muslim world daily. "I hope they will get more and more every day," this writer said.

Writers punched back, saying there was no excuse for such attacks. Responses included:

  • "Those terrorists have ruined the reputation of Arabs in Europe" and have hurt the religion.
  • "Arabs will be facing more harassment now. That's why Arabs should stand together against these terrorist groups which has only one goal of killing innocent women, elderly and children."
  • "We are entering a difficult times in Europe, especially difficult for our brothers who live in dignity and prosperity in Europe while they enjoy the vastness of the continent after they escaped their governments' dictatorships."
  • "One of the targeted areas today is Edgware road, which is entirely accommodated by Muslims and Arabs. Do you know that no politicians, army troops, or any important governmental employees use the underground or buses, because simply they have no much more money to use a private car.
  • "This is not Islam. Aldgate station is a two-minute walk from the largest Muslim community in London. So please don't be happy."
  • One writer said "innocent people have been attacked while going about their daily routine... Londoners are the most hard working and efficient city folk I have ever seen, and they shall overcome these awful events and prevail. Blair has a lot of explanation to be done. I am an Arab, and rest assured that we are all shocked and angry.

    "We love London!"

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