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Three reactions in the Arab press to the Times Square bombing attempt

First from “our friend” Egypt’s Al-Masaa which is the evening edition of the Egyptian government Al-Gumhouriyya.  They want to know what all the fuss is about:

“The huge fuss that the U.S. has been making since it announced the exposure of the attempted car bombing in Times Square… is truly outrageous. The U.S. has brought many charges against [the suspected perpetrator], including [involvement in] global terrorism and use of weapons of mass destruction.

“The U.S. seems to have forgotten that it is the world’s number one terrorist. If a couple of propane tanks, some fertilizer, and some fireworks count as WMDs, what do we call the terrible weapons employed by the U.S. in its attacks on the peoples of the world? …Since the Americans occupied the Iraqi city of Falluja in 2004 using phosphorus and depleted uranium bombs, there have been frequent cases of [women who] miscarry [because] their baby is  deformed…”

Yeah, so there, we deserve it, by George.  And by the way:

“And of course it was some country other [than the U.S.] that used WMDs against the Vietnamese people during the years of [its] occupation [there]. Three million Vietnamese are still suffering from the effects of those weapons, and deformed children are still being born there…”

Of course.  As an aside, Arab journalism isn’t noted particularly for having any foundation in truth telling, but it sure can be inflammatory.  Suffice it to say, though, this “journalist” is a bit obsessed with deformed babies and children.  Unless, of course, they might be walking through Times Square at the wrong time.  Then – no biggie.

Saudi Arabia may surprise you just a little.  This is from an editorial the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh:

“Even if the investigations have not yet uncovered which [group] Shahzad, who tried to explode a car [bomb] in Times Square, belonged to, this New York incident is one instance of insane delirium. Even if the [police] never get a lead on this attack, its ramifications for the entire Muslim world are deadly. This is because we are incapable of restraining the emotion of the [Western] peoples when they see sights that harm them – even if the U.S. administration headed by [U.S. President Barack] Obama is closer and more open to the Muslim world [than the previous U.S. administration]. Moreover, this attack has become a motive for criticizing Obama for his efforts at rapprochement with the Muslims.

“Another problem is that the ramifications of this affair will ignite enmity towards the Muslims and Islam worldwide…

So Obama is our friend, Western people are reactionaries and stuff like this will “ignite enmity towards Muslims and Islam worldwide.”  Well duh.  How often do you have to be attacked by people of a particular religion who cite their religion as the reason for the attack (among others) before you begin holding a little enmity toward those who are a part of it?

The editorial then offers a little bit of reality for the terrorists:

“Terrorism will exist as long as it has repositories of human and material supplies, and as long as there are forces, and perhaps even countries and organizations, that support [it]. [These elements should know] that even if [their] adversary is harmed [by terrorists,] he is [still] stronger and has greater capabilities to hunt them down and to start a war [against them]. This happens whenever a superpower [targeted by terrorism] needs to defend its national security.”

And, of course, that will happen as long as terrorists continue to attack it and its interests.  Human Nature 101.  But nice to see the point acknowledged.  Then perhaps the best paragraph in the editorial:

The Muslim world, including all its governments, institutions, and regimes, must condemn this [Times Square] incident – not out of sycophancy towards the U.S., but because our religion vehemently opposes such actions. Furthermore, if we deal with these events wisely and in accordance with our own interests, in order to protect the reputation of our religion and our collective conduct, this will prove to others that we are a society that hunts down terrorism of any kind whatsoever. It is not enough to reject terror on the grounds that the terrorists harm more Muslims than non-Muslims – because the principle [of opposing terror] is the same, whether [the target is] a foreign country, an Islamic country, or members of other religions.


In order to persuade the other nations [not to equate] Islam with the actions of the terrorists, we must prove that we are share the responsibility [for fighting terrorism], along with all the countries of the world and their peoples.”

Well said – and a welcome change.

Meanwhile, perhaps the most strange of the three comes from an Iraqi columnist living in the US and writing for He explains that most Muslims in the US have no feeling of loyalty to it and actually harbor feelings of hostility toward it instead.  He makes the argument that the US is too easy on suspected and potential terrorists and that in order to avoid future attack, the US needs to do a little “infringing” on Muslim human rights:

“America is home to about seven million Muslims. Most of them, even if they are not terrorists, do harbor hostility towards the U.S. and feel no loyalty to it. As an Arab and Muslim, [I tell you] that it is difficult to find a Muslim who loves America; those [who do] constitute a tiny minority among all those millions.

“The rationale and need to defend American security and protect [American] lives make it necessary to make sacrifices and infringe on the [existing] laws and charters of human rights. The Muslims must be subjected to the principle of collective suspicion. Individuals whose presence [in the country] causes concern or who have a potential to cause problems must be monitored, pursued and placed in preventive detention, which is not subject to time restrictions or require [the presentation of] evidence. They must [even] be stripped of their citizenship and deported.

He obviously supports profiling and Joe Lieberman’s “strip them of their citizenship” approach.  I know a lot of folks that share his vision of how to treat those like himself.

So there it is – a look at how some Arabs in the press view the Times Square bombing – the good, the bad and the ugly.



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11 Responses to Three reactions in the Arab press to the Times Square bombing attempt

  • The third view strikes me as something akin to the old Athenian procedure of ostracism, by which any citizen could be expelled for a period of ten years, at which time he was permitted to return. What is proposed here seems to be an attempt at dealing with a perceived fifth column. What I’d like to know is how accurate his description of Muslims living in the U.S. is?
    As a larger matter, it’s crucial for a nation to deal cohesively with any large group that more or less wants them dead.

    • A couple of things – he talks about Muslims as a whole after saying there are about 7 million of them. I’m not sure he’s qualified to speak for 7 million people or actually know how the majority feel. Secondly, he seems to be talking about Muslims of foreign origin who may now be American citizens. Why go through the process if you hate the place (unless, of course, you have an ulterior motive in mind)? Again, it is his interpretation based on those he’s met and not the 7 million figure he uses even while he uses “most” to describe the number who feel that way. Much too broad in his claims for my taste in that regard.

      • Bruce,

        Obviously he doesn’t know what every Muslim thinks, and he probably didn’t even conduct a scientific poll. It is very common for people to extrapolate from thir personal experience and project on the wider world.

        Knowing each and every Muslim’s thoughts isn’t really necessary to gain insight into them generally, however. The question I have is “how representitive is the Muslim community this guy knows”. I suspect he knows his immidiate community well enough, and probably has some sample from outside of it. I’m inclined to take his statements seriously. The one big additional question is is this guy a Muslim? I’ve met a few Iraqi Christians, and I’d be inclined to ignore what he says if he is on of them.

        As far as Muslim immigrants hating America, we have had a recent example. And another, somewhat less recent example featuring a child of immigrants. And another example back on 9/11/01.

        The European examples seem even clearer. Muslims who immigrate to Europe seem open in contempt towards their adopted country.

        Oh, and stepping out more generally, we have the marching illegal supporters and their Mexican flags and “Viva Mexico” chants.

        People come here for the benifits of living in America, that does not mean they all love America.

  • I trust the Saudis even less than I trust Nancy Pelosi.  In what insane universe does the world trust 50% of its energy supply to a tribe masquerading as a nation/state?

  • No surprise to read wild accusations and tu quoque in some Muslim countries’ press.  I suspect that one could find similar statements in the press in Europe and the United States: some people hate the United States and wish our country harm, and feel the need to rationalize their murderous ideals.

    As for the Iraqi-American… To some extent, I understand his point.  However, I’m not especially comfortable with criminalizing an entire class of people based on religion.  I do hope that his suspicions that most Muslim Americans hate our country are unfounded.  Quite aside from the national security implications, why the hell would anybody live here who hates our country?

    Hmmm… Maybe I should ask a lefty, now that I think of it.

    • America is a good place to live. Many people want to live here, but loving America sn’t their motive.

      On a related note, many of the lefties I know have an acute sense of property rights, when it is their property in question. It is only when it is someone else’s property, i.e., an evil corporation (bank, insurance company, oil company, etc.), or a rich person (besides them) that they forget about property rights.

    • “why the hell would anybody live here who hates our country?”
      Food stamps. Social Security. Good schools. Safety (relative). Freedom of movement. Clean and neat. Free healthcare (coming soon.) Chance to own a business.
      The economics alone are enough – you are paid 5 times more in the USA for the same job.
      I would hazard a guess that 25% of immigrants don’t really “love” America but are here for money and for their kids. One Taiwanese woman I met referred to her time in America as “jail time” she had to serve until her daughter graduated from UC Berkeley law school. Then she would return to Taiwan or China and be a teacher.
      I do have a suspicion that she may not really enjoy returning to China – some of this stuff is the stress of having to do everything in a foreign language, deal with white people, etc. Maybe its like the guy working at a job he hates to keep his kid in school . BTW, I have also known Taiwanese immigrants who could not contemplate returning to Taiwan – not so much the culture but the traffic, noise, pollution, etc.  So it goes both ways.

  • The world needs a written in Arabic.

  • Left out of reasons not to do this stuff is the possibility that the editorialist, or the reader, might be near the Great Satan’s next attempt at snuffing some terrs.
    Perhaps the writers don’t think that will happen with this administration.