With the fifth anniversary of 9/11, there will be the repetitions of calls to condemn Terrorism, and to do so unconditionally. But, why condemn terrorism unconditionally? Terrorism is bad but Tyranny is worse. As we will see below, the tyranny of the US, the UK and allies has been much more brutal than the terrorism of al-Qaeda.
It is well known that al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations are always planning terrorist attacks. All must condemn such attacks and plans. However, it will be a travesty of justice if terrorism is condemned in isolation without condemning the tyrannical forces that are directly or indirectly responsible for the rise of terrorism. If terrorism has to be tackled, all factors responsible for it must be attended. These include the continuing tyrannical policies of the western governments against Islam and Muslims and recurrent killing of innocent Muslims under different pretexts,
failure of the puppet Muslim governments to put any pressure on the Western governments and international organisations,
the failure of the international bodies to stop injustices against Muslims or Muslim countries and
the failure of Islamic clerics and intellectuals to stage any purposeful mass movement against the injustices.
We will see below that Muslims are much more the victims than the victimisers. We will also see that American government and its allies have massacred much greater number of Muslim innocents than the number of innocent Westerners massacred by Muslim terrorist organisations.
While terrorism may not be condoned, it must be recognised that it is usually the product of the suppression of certain people. It is the weapon of the week against the mighty, which have large armies at their disposal. When innocents are killed in wars, big powers tend to dismiss it as collateral damage. But when innocents are killed in terrorist attacks, it is regarded as a ghastly crime against humanity. If terrorism is to be successfully tackled, its root causes have to be found. Justice is the only answer to terrorism. Attempts to kill terrorists or terrorise them may have a short-term impact. But in the long term, it will breed bigger and more dangerous forms of Terrorism.
State terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism are much more dangerous than the terrorism of splinter groups. The so-called Islamic terrorism has caused much less damage and has taken much fewer lives than the tyrannical state terrorism of the US and Israel and state sponsored terrorism of some other countries. What is the US action in Iraq if not the worst form of terrorism? What are Israel’s actions against Palestinians and Lebanese if not terrorism of the most tyrannical kind?
Given below are the statistics telling about the violence caused by Terror and that caused by the War against Terror:
Attacks by Al-Qaeda and other (specified and unspecified) and the casualties they inflicted:
26-Feb-93: USA (New York): First World Trade Centre bombing planned by Ramzi Youssef. 6 killed, over 1000 injured.
11-Dec-94: Philippines: Small bomb on Philippines Airlines flight; 1 Japanese businessman killed, 10 people injured.
29-Jul-95: France (Paris and Lyon): 4-month bombing campaign. Attacks on the Paris metro, the Arc de Triomphe and outside a Jewish school in Lyon.
13-Nov-95: Saudi Arabia (Riyadh): Car bombs at military compound.
18-Sep-97: Egypt (Cairo): Gunmen attack a tourist bus. 9 Germans and 1 Egyptian killed.
17-Nov-97: Egypt (Luxor): Gunmen attack tourists. Approx. 70 killed.
7-Aug-98: Kenya (Nairobi) and Tanzania (Dar-es-Salaam): Truck bomb attack against US embassies. Over 200 people killed, thousands injured.
12-Oct-2000: Yemen: Boat bomb attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden. 17 US soldiers killed, 39 wounded.
11-Sep-01: USA (New York and Washington): Hijacked planes crashed into the two World Trade Centre towers and the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashes into a field in Pittsburgh. c. 3000 killed.
11-Apr-02: Tunisia: Vehicle bomb attack against a synagogue on the resort island of Djerba. Approx.21 killed.
8-May-02: Pakistan (Karachi): Bomb attack against bus carrying French engineers near Sheraton Hotel.
14-Jun-02: Pakistan (Karachi): Truck bomb attack against US Consulate. 12 killed, 51 injured.
6-Oct-02: Yemen: Boat bomb attack against French oil tanker MV Limburg off Ash Shahir port. 1 killed.
12-Oct-02: Indonesia (Bali): Attacks against US Consulate, Sari Club and Paddy's Bar. 202 killed, including 26 Britons.
28-Nov-02: Kenya (Mombasa): Attack on an Israeli-owned hotel. 12 killed. Surface-to-air missile launched at Israeli airliner the same day.
12-May-03: Saudi Arabia (Riyadh): Attacks at 3 compounds housing expatriates. Over 30 killed.
16-May-03: Morocco (Casablanca): Multiple suicide bombings against Spanish club, hotel and sites. 45 dead, c.100 injured.
5-Aug-03: Indonesia: Vehicle bomb attack against Marriott Hotel. c. 12 killed, 100 injured.
8-Nov-03: Saudi Arabia (Riyadh): Major vehicle bomb attack against residential compound housing mainly expatriate workers from other Arab countries. 17 killed, over 80 injured.
15-Nov-03: Turkey (Istanbul): 2 vehicle bomb attacks at Jewish synagogues.
20-Nov-03: Turkey (Istanbul): 2 vehicle bombs at HSBC Bank and British Consulate. Together with 15 Nov attack, over 60 people killed (including 2 Britons).
11-Mar-04: Spain (Madrid): Bomb attacks against 4 trains. Terrorists blew themselves up when confronted by police. 199 killed.
1-May-04: Saudi Arabia (Yanbu): Attack on expatriate oil workers. 6 foreign nationals and 1 Saudi killed.
30-May-05: Saudi Arabia (Al Khobar): 4 attacks in Al Khobar target oil companies and compound.
9-Sep-04: Indonesia (Jakarta): Vehicle bomb outside Australian Embassy. 9 killed, over 100 injured.
8-Oct-04: Egypt: Large explosions at Hilton Hotel in Taba and at 2 campsites in the Sinai area. Over 30 killed.
28-Oct-04: Pakistan (Islamabad): Explosion at Marriott Hotel. 7 injured.
19-Mar-05: Qatar (Doha): Vehicle bomb attack outside the Doha Players' Theatre. 1 (British national) killed, 12 injured.
07-Apr-05: Egypt (Cairo): Attack near tourist bazaar in Cairo. 2 French nationals and one American killed, Approx.18 injured.
30-Apr-05: Egypt (Cairo): Tourist bus fired on in Cairo. 8 injured.
07-Jul-05: UK (London): 4 explosions - 3 in tube trains, one in bus. At least 52 dead, 700 injured.
Total Deaths: 4980
Total 48, 363
The above figures tell that while “Terrorism” of Al-Qaeda has killed a maximum number of 4980 innocents, not all of which were Westerners, the tyranny of the US, the UK and its allies killed at least 48, 363 people, almost all of them being Muslims. In short, Tyranny killed 10 times the innocents Terrorism killed. And the figures of the innocents killed in Afghanistan and Iraq are the most conservative estimates. There are much larger estimates though, according to several independent researchers. Sarah Boseley, health editor of The Guardian writes in the edition of October 29, 2004:
“About 100,000 Iraqi civilians - half of them women and children - have died in Iraq since the invasion, mostly as a result of airstrikes by coalition forces, according to the first reliable study of the death toll from Iraqi and US public health experts.”
In another report, BBC says:
“The number of Afghan civilians killed by US bombs has surpassed the death toll of the 11 September attacks, according to a study by an American academic. nearly 3,800 Afghans died between 7 October and 7 December, University of New Hampshire Professor Marc Herold said in a research report. His report, which places the death toll at 3,767, lists the number of casualties, location, type of weapon and source of information. “In fact the figure I came up with is a very, very conservative estimate,” Professor Herold said in a radio interview. “I think that a much more realistic figure would be around 5,000. You know for Afghanistan, 3,700 to 5,000 is a really substantial number.”
Terrorists must be condemned but in the same breath American government must be condemned. For its heavy-handedness in dealing with other countries, its exploitative policies at the global level, its attempts to hijack all international institutions including the UN, its support for social evils, even their export for its own economic ends and for its unjust policies towards the genuine grievances of Muslims.
The Western analysts have also responded to the “terrorist” problem rather childishly. Most of them have used it as an alibi for venting their own hatred or misgivings about Islam and Muslims. They have demonstrated a partisan approach. They have culled from the pages of history a few isolated incidents where Muhammad (may Allah bless and greet him) as the Head of State, ordered the execution of a few persons who were busy masterminding rebellion against the on-rushing revolution. They forget that this order of the execution of less than ten persons was preceded by amnesty for the whole city of Makkah. They also ignore that even the most modern heads of state try to protect their countries from visible threats by openly or clandestinely ordering the execution of the biggest tormentors. When Khomeini punishes the leaders of the enemies of Iran and Islam, the whole world yells in unison. But when Bush orders the killing of the current and former heads of state and a number of other enemies of the US and puts rewards on their heads, the world keeps quiet.
If terrorism is to be tackled, an international conference must be called to discuss all the issues involved. It must have separate discussion days on
the Role of the Western governments
the Role of Muslims
the Muslim demands from the West
the Western demands from Muslim
the Way Out.
Terrorism cannot be defeated in isolation. Terrorism and tyranny go side by side. Both have to be defeated simultaneously if peace has to prevail.