Price of Silence in the Face of Terrorism

  • 27 December 2007

Several reports show that the threat of terrorism is rising in the Middle East and is spreading to new regions. According to investigations, the recent attacks on some French nationals in Mauritania were conducted by “Al-Qaeda” organization. In addition, terrorism seems to have enhanced its methodology and tactics, has violated all values, and has shown its ugly face by attacking places of worship, as was recently manifest in attacks on Pakistani mosques and the foiled plans to attack the most venerated Muslims sites during the pilgrimage season.

If terrorism perverts ideology and expresses it through violence and bloodshed, it should be challenged by presenting the contrary view. Terrorist forces “hijack” religion and interpret its texts to serve their malicious objectives. Muslim scholars and religious establishments have been enlisted in the global strategy against terrorism. However, the religious order opposing terrorism has faced crises at various levels and it seems unwilling to be part of a long drawn-out and complicated war against this menace, its forces, and its ideology. For this reason, the desired reaction by religious experts and establishments against increased terrorism in the Middle East is regressing, despite the fact that the very opposite is the need of the hour. This reality becomes clear in the recent terrorist attacks at one of Pakistan’s mosques where scores of people were martyred during Eid Al-Adha feast.

Terrorism has been changing its methods to counter the international campaign against it, is reviving its ideas and vows to take action against those that oppose it at every level. It issues threats and even calls for dialogue through its pronouncements on the Internet, as happened recently when “Al-Qaeda” invited individuals, organizations, and media outlets to interact with the number two Al-Qaeda figure, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, through the Internet. For this reason, the role of religious figures against terrorism is in need of a review, so that it poses a challenge to the idea of terrorism, not through mere sloganeering, but a real program.

Our religious preoccupation largely involves unimportant issues, which cause a lot of confusion in society. We face a grave threat to the security and stability of Arab and Muslim societies because of the threat of terrorism, a danger that needs to be confronted through development of religious indoctrination that clearly and unequivocally rejects the concepts of terrorism. The voice of religion, made by its exponents and establishments, would have to be strong in challenging terrorism.