Saturday, October 29, 2005

Denials of the Armenian Genocide

Denials of the Armenian Genocide
By Rev. Bassam M. Madany

On Thursday morning, October 27, 2005, I picked up my copy of the Wall Street Journal and noticed on its front page this eye-catching headline: Turk-Armenian Fight Over WWI History Goes to a U.S. Court. Massachusetts Law Sparks a Free-Speech Debate about Teaching ‘Genocide.’

The article brought back childhood memories that go back to the 1930s. My father moved the family from Seleucia, near Antioch, to Alexandretta in 1934, to assume his new position as pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian church in that city. Unlike Seleucia, known by its Arabic name as Souedia, Alexandretta was a cosmopolitan city with various ethnic groups and missionary organizations. The R. P. Mission from Northern Ireland operated a mission school there, and this is where I began my education. There were also two Roman Catholic mission schools: one run by the French order known as Brothers of Christian Schools, and the other by an Italian order whose name now escapes me.

Being built near the Gulf of Alexandretta in northwest Syria, the city by that name had attracted Europeans from many lands. Its port was busy, as it was linked by railroad to the famous Berlin-Baghdad line.

One of the features of Alexandretta was that anyone growing up there would hear several languages being spoken. Of course the major language was Arabic, but Turkish and Armenian were also spoken, due to the presence of a sizeable refugee population that had escaped the massacres of WWI. This fact would be the occasion for my father to speak of his war experiences, including that terrible event that befell the Armenians living within the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

When WWI broke out between the Allies and Germany, Turkey joined the war against the Allies. Many young men living within the Ottoman lands were drafted into the Turkish army, including my father. Most of his fellow Syrians were sent to the front near Egypt as Turkey was trying to wrest that land from the British presence. Thousands perished in the Sinai; and even those who came back were in such weakened condition, like Uncle John Nicholas Madany, who died soon after reaching home. My father upon his conscription passed a language test in Turkish and was posted to serve at an army HQ in Mersine, Cilicia (Asia Minor.) Mersine was not far from the Biblical Tarsus, the birthplace of Saint Paul. Dad used to regale us with many stories about the Turkish and German officers he had to deal with. Such anecdotes were amusing; but there were some very disturbing accounts that he shared with us. Those had to do with the plight of the Armenians who lived in and around the province of Cilicia. Most of them were deported to the eastern part of the Empire, and reports were reaching Mersine that the vast majority of those Armenians perished.

It was after the end of WWI that the full story of the fate of the Armenians became known to the world. Thousands upon thousands of them driven from their homes were massacred, their churches destroyed, and those who managed to escape death, became refugees and scattered into many parts of the Middle East after the war.

Alexandretta, being not far from the Turkish mainland took in many Armenian refugees. Even a decade or more after the war, several of these people lived in what was known as the “camps.” The city was almost below sea level, and surrounded by several marshlands. They became the breeding grounds of swarms of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Early in June, schools closed and most of the people would move to the near-by villages that dotted the mountains around the city. My father, the Irish Missionaries, and the majority of the congregation would move to an Armenian-populated village for the three summer months. We rented rooms from the local people, and heard from them more eye-witness accounts of what they called, “Sefer Berlik,” (Turkish for Wanderings in the Wilderness.) Actually, these words were a strange euphemism for the Genocide of the Armenians.

Back to Alexandretta in September, and the school year brought me in daily contacts with my fellow Armenian students. We had to study in three languages at school: the primary ones were Arabic and English, and French was required as well. What often intrigued me was the fact that when Armenians students conversed with one another, they spoke in Turkish or in Armenian. This became the occasion for my learning a few Turkish words, even though I must add that both my father and mother quite often would speak Turkish. They would also quote certain Turkish proverbs.

So why do I write an article about the Armenian Genocide ninety years later? Specifically, because that horrible episode has never, ever been acknowledged for what it was by Turkey. You must have noticed the title of the WSJ article in my first paragraph, and realized that the subject is not a dead issue. I will quote a few lines from the article and then add some comments:

“Nearly a century ago, perhaps a million or more Christian Armenians were slaughtered by Muslim Turks. It ranks among history’s major instances of genocide.

Or is “genocide” the wrong word?

For generations, Turks and Armenians have argued the point. Armenians say it was genocide, pure and simple. Some Turks respond that the deaths were a tragic byproduct of World War I and that both Turks and Armenians died.

Now, a Turkish group wants to settle the issue, American style: in court.

Yesterday in U.S. District Court in Boston, two public high-school teachers, one student and the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations filed suit challenging a Massachusetts statute that uses the word “genocide” to describe the Armenian deaths. The law sets guidelines for teaching about human rights in the state. The lawsuit argues that the state violates the plaintiffs’ free-speech rights by excluding from the curriculum a view of events more favorable to the Turks.”

For nine decades, Turkey has played down the real story of “sefer berlik” claiming that for military reasons, large numbers of Armenians living near the Russian border in Eastern Turkey had to be removed from their homes. So it was “inevitable” that some, or may be even many, perished during the harsh winter of 1915! So goes the Turkish account.

However, this is not an honest and objective account of what happened during WWI to the large Armenian population that had lived in that part of the world for centuries. The heartland of the Ottoman Turkish Empire was the home of Turks, Armenians, Assyrians, Syrians, and Greeks. The non-Muslim population enjoyed a degree of freedom and autonomy. However, during the nineteenth century, as the Ottoman Empire began to lose its grip over several areas in the Balkans, a nationalistic movement came into being known as the Young Turks. It spread especially among the Ottoman officer corps. This led to the abridgement of the freedoms that Christian ethnic groups had enjoyed. WWI gave the Young Turks within the Ottoman Government the chance to eliminate a sizable ethnic group such as the Armenians. The mass deportations that began in 1915, escalated into a veritable Genocide. Around one million Armenians perished due to hunger, disease, attacks and murderous acts by brigands, and soldiers of the Ottoman Army.

Now what pains me most is not only the persistence of the Turkish Governments over the years in their denial of the Genocide, but to note that this denial has been exported to the USA. And here at the end of October in the year of our Lord 2005, we read about the attempt of Turkish American Associations in Massachusetts to involve a U.S. federal court in this denial! This is shocking indeed.

Another troubling issue that this WSJ report reveals is that Turks who have immigrated to the United States, and I presume, have become naturalized American citizens, have carried with them a baggage that should have been left behind in the old country. In America, it is not part of our culture to hide terrible aspects of the past. We do not shy from confessing our national sins.

At this point, I would like to refer to the example of Germany and its involvement, during the Nazi era, in the persecution and eventual elimination of six million Jewish people. This crime against humanity is indescribable and utterly horrific. After the war, not only many Nazi officials were properly judged at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, but West Germany assumed responsibility for the Holocaust of the Jews, and paid millions of German Marks to Israel and to individual Jews who had suffered from the Nazi persecution. (By the way, East Germany, under Soviet control, did not participate in any restitution plan.)

I don’t imply at all that money can ever atone for the sins of the Holocaust. The Nazi crimes will always be remembered as a manifestation of human depravity. But one aspect of the reparations that Germany paid to the victims of the Holocaust is very important: it exhibits a confession of the guilt and of the reality and authenticity of the Holocaust event. This is extremely important, not only for the Germans, but for the entire world.
Thus, it is shocking that Turkey persists after almost one century in denying the Genocide of the Armenians, and even more shocking to learn that Turkish immigrants who have established their home in America, have joined in this denial. What a pity! I certainly hope that the U.S. District Court in Boston will throw out the case, as an attempt to further falsify history, thus denying students in Massachusetts an opportunity to learn about a horrible event that took place during WWI in far away Turkey.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Son's Teacher was a Terrorist

My Son’s Teacher was an Irhabi (Terrorist)

By Jacob Thomas

On Sunday, 2 October 2005, two days before the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan, the online Arabic daily, Al-Sharq al-Awsat, published an article with a very eye-catching title. In the original, the title consisted of three words. Translated into English, it required six words: “My Son’s Teacher was an Irhabi,” i.e. a terrorist.
The writer is a Saudi lady who was terribly shocked and disturbed by discovering that one of the men involved in a terrorist attack on a government building in the capital had actually been her son’s teacher. She was outraged, and wrote a brief article. I would like to share it with the readers, and follow with some comments.

“Once, I wrote an article with the above title for the daily newspaper “Al-Riyad.” Having gone through a horrible experience, these words should be regarded as my clarion call for all to hear. My blood almost froze on my face as I read the terrorist’s name, and saw his photo.”

“Let me explain. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Ministry of the Interior building, several newspapers published photos of those who had participated in the operation. My son, having glanced at the newspaper, pointed to the face of one of the terrorists and said in an agitated manner: Mother, this man was my teacher!”

“Two months prior to the attack, this same teacher stood just a short distance from my son’s desk and talked to him. Actually, only one inch separated him from my son’s mind and heart. Like all young students at the school, my son used to praise and love all his teachers. His little mind tended to receive and accept spontaneously his teachers’ instruction. Unfortunately, not all teachers at the school were careful, or observed a proper attitude vis-à-vis their young and sensitive students. Some spouted out their ideological views. Their vision and outlook on life had been formed by the myths they imbibed, as they sat and watched for hours one television channel: “Al-Jazeera.” After all, we all know that this television station broadcasts just one point of view, and quite often it is in the service of Irhab.”

“I must add that I have become weary of going several times to the school principal to remind him of the duty of teachers to keep their personal opinions to themselves. They were not supposed to share them with their young students, most of them being only ten years old! Some teachers may admire Usama bin Laden for having forsaken the world and gone to live in caves. But they should voice such thoughts among their friends as they meet them at their favorite cafes. There should be no room for any such propaganda at the school. Also, it is not the job of school teachers to issue fatwas that forbid their students from viewing certain television channels.”

“Yesterday, my son shared with me an incident that took place at his school. A teacher inquired from a student about his brother who had recently graduated from secondary school. The boy proudly informed him that his brother was very fortunate as he had received a government scholarship to study in America. The teacher responded angrily: “America, may Allah guide him to any place but America!”

“I happen to know exactly where the teacher would have wanted this student to go for his university education; however, this is not the purpose for writing the column. My point is: how are we to confront this Irhabi (terrorist) mentality, when we notice that all our efforts to spread a spirit of tolerance and an acceptance of the ‘Akhar’ (the Other) is being thwarted in the classrooms?”

“Recently I learned that a book advocating a positive and tolerant attitude toward the ‘Other’ was pulled out of circulation. It was scheduled to be distributed among our teachers and educators! However, some voiced certain reservations about the contents of the book. So the project was dropped. I wonder what those reservations were! What was wrong with a book that advocated tolerance, and the need for a proper approach in our dialogue with the ‘Akhar?’ Or are we supposed rather to tolerate extremists and radicals? Why do we seem to be oblivious of the existence of ideological ticking bombs in our society? Should we not be shocked to learn that some of our teachers were on the wanted lists, and had actually participated in terrorist attacks? I am sure that most of us were aware that several of the men who planned their suicidal attacks, were not among the unemployed. Some were teachers in our schools; others have even served as imams in our mosques, or worked in our security agencies. In other words, these Irhabis were right there, all around us, in the very heart of our society, and busy influencing the minds of our youth.”

Thus far the words of this distraught mother. I have commented before that any translation from Arabic into a Western language loses some of the full meaning of the original text. Actually, the mother’s words were brimming with an intensity of feelings, and with powerful allusions to a very disturbing phenomenon, not only in Saudi Arabia, but all over the Islamic world. She was pointing to a shocking disconnect with reality that pervades the world of Islam today. Globalism is here to stay; our world has become more interdependent than ever. While many Muslims are aware of this fact, yet they persist to ignore it, and continue to hate and vilify the “Akhar.”

Only one week after reading this article, I woke up to the news of a massive earthquake that hit Pakistan and some of the surrounding areas. Reports indicate that Pakistan has endured its worst natural catastrophe since its birth in 1947. President Pervez Musharraf appealed for international aid. By noon, President Bush promised to help the stricken country. I mention this to underline the obvious fact that tolerance and the acceptance of the ‘Other’ as a fellow-human being is absolutely necessary in our world today. But radical Islamists never cease to hurl their insults at the Infidels; but how do they explain the fact that when calamities strike Islamic lands, suddenly these same “Infidels” rush to help. The despised “Others” never reciprocate with insults or indifference. On the contrary, the common bonds of humanity transcend all inherited prejudices and insults; and so we watch people from all over the world, rush with help for the stricken Pakistanis.

Let me go back and make a few specific comments on the lady’s article.

The first thing that struck me about her words is the fact that in Saudi Arabia, as well as in most Arab countries where schools are government-run, the authorities seem to be incapable of enforcing the rule of law. When this mother went time and again to the principal with the plea that teachers should not be indoctrinating their young students, she got nowhere. Was the principal oblivious of the fact that a certain teacher at his school was spreading radical views with impunity? Why did he not take steps to warn him to cease and desist from his illicit activities?

Another revelation from the article was her charge that the notorious Al-Jazeera television station was being used as a vehicle for the spread of Islamic radicalism. I understand from some reports that this station is available via satellite, for Arab viewers in the United States

Furthermore, the incident of the teacher who became indignant upon hearing that a student was going to America for his studies was an alarming phenomenon. This radical teacher, who was blinded by his searing hatred of America, ignored the American role in the emergence of present-day Saudi Arabia. Was he really unaware that it was American petroleum engineers who discovered oil in the peninsula during the 1930s? Did he know what ARAMCO, stood for? This acronym, used both in Arabic and in English stands for the Arabian American Company. It was American ingenuity and resourcefulness that became a vehicle for the sudden riches that descended upon Saudi Arabia after WWII. This teacher must have never heard of the celebrations that took place in Lebanon, when the TAPLINE (Trans Arabian Pipeline) project was completed. This great engineering feat that brought crude oil from Eastern Arabia to the Lebanese coast on the Mediterranean just south of Sidon was planned by American engineers.

Another disturbing fact that was revealed in the lady’s article was the sudden withdrawal of a book that advocated tolerance in relations with non-Muslims? I have already written about the National Dialogue Initiative Project in Saudi Arabia that calls for a fresh outlook regarding non-Muslims. This “Initiative” was meant to involve various sections of Saudi society in helping them to re-define those regarded traditionally as Infidels. A new, down-to-earth word was being suggested: Al-Akhar, the Other. If that was the intention of some leaders in Saudi Arabia, what was then the reason to withdraw a book that championed this enlightened outlook?

The article referred to the existence of radical Imams occupying leadership in certain Saudi mosques. Are not all mosques under the supervision of the Ministry of Religious Affairs? It is true that the majorities of mosques are under the control of the government. But some rich Saudis seeking to “earn” extra credit with Allah by doing good deeds build local masjids (mosques) and invite non-supervised Imams. Such independent mosques attract Du’aat, propagandists for radical Islam. These “houses of worship” become the breeding ground for recruiting Irhabis. We should never forget that the infamous Muhammad Atta, the leader of the 19 highjackers who attacked us on 9/11/2001 became a “born-again” Islamist while attending “Al-Qods Mosque” in Hamburg, Germany. It was there that he imbibed the ideology that gave birth to his dream of reaching Paradise instantly by killing untold numbers of Infidels.

Finally, the article of this brave mother was both helpful and at the same time, extremely disturbing. The fact that it was first published in Al- Riyad newspaper, and then was made available on the web site of Al-Sharq al-Awsat, is heartening. Thousands of people in Saudia Arabia, and elsewhere read the article. It means that at least some Saudi women are not afraid to reveal their disgust with the behavior of the Islamists, and condemn them publicly.

On the other hand, the article revealed that things are out of control, and that Irhabis are able to attack, kill, and destroy in the very heart of the Islamic world. We rejoiced that a national initiative that aims at using a non-pejorative word to describe the non-Muslim is being suggested and discussed. But no sooner we read about this positive step being taken among Saudis, than we heard about a backward step. A book that was destined for use among teachers advocating a new vision of the non-Muslim had to be withdrawn. Someone in a position of power and authority caved in to the pressure from some ultras, and decided that the book should not be distributed.

The title of the article keeps ringing in my ears: “Mudarris ibni Irahabi.” My son’s teacher is (or was) a Terrorist! What a shocking, terrible, and horrific revelation!


Friday, October 07, 2005

Contextualization Interview

Contextualization Interview
Rev. Bassam M. Madany

The contextualization movement among evangelicals spread in the1970s and caused a good deal of controversy among missionaries. The following interview with Rev. Bassam Madany took place in the mid-eighties. It is reproduced here to clarify issues, which are intimately connected with Christian missions throughout the world. It must be added that this movement continues to spread among some Christians on account of the claim that contextualizers make for the so-called assured results of their missiological methods. However, in the light of the historic Christian Faith, this movement represents a radical discontinuity with the Apostolic Tradition, as well as with the basic principles of the Protestant Reformation.

Q. It seems that you are uncomfortable with the word “contextualization”?

A. Yes, ever since the mid-l970s, when this word became widely used in missionary circles, it has carried a specific “ideological” baggage. I consider it a loaded word because it has not come to us from a consciously Biblical milieu but was imported from the WCC (World Council of Churches) and bears the stamp of its horizontalism.

Q. But is this a sufficient reason for discarding the entire concept?

A. Of course not. I am not against every form of contextualization. I am simply uneasy about any type that is ideologically oriented. For example, some of its proponents have made a wrong analysis of the work of missions during the last 200 years. They contend that missions among Muslims have failed. This assertion has been made, when most people in the Muslim world have yet to hear the Word of God. Can we expect conversion without the hearing of the message? We must take the parables of our Lord about the proclamation of the Word seriously. We have to integrate the teachings of Paul in Romans l0 and l Cor. 1and 2 into our theology of missions. Then, we would see clearly the priority of proclamation. Even though I reject any ideologically inspired contextualization, I am a firm believer in a Biblical type that allows one to relevantly and irenically [peacefully] present the Christian message to the followers of Islam.

I must also add for the sake of historical accuracy and intellectual honesty that “cross-cultural communication,” which is another buzzword of the contemporary mission

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Contextualization Old and New

Have you been disturbed by the latest trends in missionary methods and are you looking for some helpful resources?

We recommend that you read:

"A Statement of Missionary Concern"

"Neo-Evangelicalism and It's Impact on Missions. Historical Overview by Frederick W. Evans

"Re-Thinking Missions Today: Neo-Evangelical Missions and Christian Missions to Islam by
Bassam M. Madany

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Attention Western Leftist Ideologues

Western Propagandists versus Mideastern Truthfulness
J’Accuse (I Accuse) Part IV
By Jacob Thomas

Readers of this website ( know of my daily readings in the Arab Press to learn about their portrayal of the West, and especially of America. I am naturally attracted to those articles that evidence a sense of objectivity that transcends the usual anti-Western bias that afflicts most of the Arab media. So, here again, and to my great delight, I noticed in the 21 September issue of Al-Sharq al-Awsat, an article with this intriguing title, “Are Three Hundred Terrorists a Small Number?” by Abdel-Rahman Al-Rashed.

After reading the article, I began to think: how I wish that those Western leftist ideologues would read this article! It may cure them of the virus that has contaminated their thoughts vis-à-vis their countries and societies. They would discover the errors of Edward Said’s book, “Orientalism” that blames the West for the ills of the Muslim lands.
Too bad, that many of them are either unwilling or unable to consult the writings of those honest and objective Mideastern writers who have taken a clear stand against jihadism.

Unfortunately, one day after “Are Three Hundred Terrorists a Small Number?” appeared, I noticed an article in by Joshua Prober, with this title, Ways of Propagandizing. It referred to the use in some colleges of a composition textbook, “Ways of Reading,” that had appeared in 1987, and which was actually nothing but a propaganda tool. Mr. Proper wrote:
“As Thomas Kerr, an assistant professor of writing at Ithaca College” put it, this textbook was not “only of reading but also of proselytizing and subverting the mind-numbing, consumer/capitalist/fascist/sexist/rascist/classist ideologies that surround us in the form of American mythologies and mass culture.”
“One of the ways that the two editors of “Ways of Reading” … of the University of Pittsburgh achieve this is by promoting Edward Said’s ideology, attacking his critics, and presenting a warped version of Middle East history.”
Enough of such trash that comes out of the writings of Western Propagandists parading as educators! Let me now share with you this honest op-ed article about the real criminals that feed the minds of the jihadists. They are just as responsible for the crimes committed by their disciples. The writer began by asking, “Are Three Hundred Terrorists a Small Number?” He then gave this answer:
“The problem with statistics is that they don’t always tell the truth. Take for example the number of Saudi terrorists active within Iraq. Some have opined that a mere 300 Saudi combatants in Iraq is relatively small when compared with certain previous estimates. It had been claimed earlier that there were around 16,000 Arab and Iraqi fighters in Mesopotamia ready to fight the “Kuffar,” (Infidels.) A mathematical comparison may seem to be a simple matter. However, in political calculations even 100 fighters is a big army capable of destroying an entire society. We must remember that those who have ben recruited by Al-Qaida have only one desire, that is, death! They are engaged in guerilla warfare and not in a conventional war. They find shelter in civilian areas among women and children, and hide their weapons in mosques; their clothes do not differentiate them from other innocent civilians.”

I don’t recall reading such words in many of the dispatches that appear in the mainline newspapers or hearing similar reports on the major TV networks, or PBS, or NPR stations! So much of what goes on under the banner of reporting is nothing but propaganda emanating from anti-Western, leftist worldview. Let’s go back to the Arab columnist:

“Actually, three hundred (Saudi) fighters are rather a large number, not to mention those recruits who failed to make it into Iraq, or many others who were killed in their confrontations with the multinational and Iraqi forces. In order to deal properly with the numbers of the mujahideen, the question should be rephrased: how were so many young men recruited from Saudia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, as well as from the other Arab countries? They are very busy killing people and destroying the infrastructure of Iraq. This is the real question that must be asked.”

“After all, those who have recruited these young men and transported them to Iraq will also be able to launch them against their own societies. Thus, what must be feared are not only the mujahideen who remain as a real problem both today and tomorrow, but equally those ideologues who have trained them, both mentally and militarily. In our confrontation with Irhab (terrorism), we tend to pursue only the terrorists themselves and bring them to justice; since they are the ones who took up arms and committed capital crimes. However, the masterminds of Irhab, who stand behind the acts of terrorists, are left to live in peace. It is rather strange that in the current definition of this phenomenon, only those who are the perpetrators of terrorism are considered guilty and deserving of punishment.”

Mr. Al-Rashed proceeds to the heart of the problem, and excoriates the Du’aat, i.e. the Preachers or Propagandists of Irhab:

“It is very important to take note that many of the Du’aat of terrorism regard anyone with a different ideology as a Kafir or Infidel. Such preachers use religious terminology in their recruitment of young people, thus inflaming them with the glory of Jihad “in the Path of Allah.” Thus, these young jihadists embark on bombing mosques, schools, civilian, and military institutions. Why should we deal only with those who commit atrocities and not equally with those who had called for such acts? How are we to approach the jihadists who have been convinced by their teachers, that those Others [reference here is to the U.S. and British forces in Iraq] are invaders and Kuffar (plural of Kafir) and must therefore be fought? How can we convince them not to engage in their attacks, when they believe that in performing them, they gain entrance to Paradise? Can we blame them without first dealing with those who had indoctrinated them to commit their crimes?”
“To deal with this phenomenon in a proper manner, we must realize that the mujahid is not a lonely soldier, but behind him and backing him stands a group of ideologues, promoters, financiers, and lawyers. They are the ones who must be held responsible for the actions of the mujahideen. An indication of the seriousness of Irhab that is afflicting Iraq, is that its leadership has succeeded in recruiting young men from various Arab countries after subjecting them to a brainwashing on a massive scale. This is continuing to this very day. Should these leaders of Irhab succeed in using Iraq as a base for assembling their recruits, they would use the Jihadis as a weapon against their own societies under the banner of fighting the Kuffar, just as they had done that in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Chechnya, for the last twenty years.”

By the way, the intensity of these words is rather attenuated by their translation into English. It is as if I had reduced their “voltage” from 220 to 110 volts! Read back in their original Arabic, they are powerful denunciations of a plague that it is totally of local origin. This is a fact that is being ignored by Western Propagandists who have swallowed the Saidian theory of the supposedly warped and distorted views of Islam and the Middle East that had been propounded by our Orientalists. I cannot help here, having spelled the name of the father of this anti-Orientalist school in the usual way, to differ radically from its transliteration, since it does not even approximate the way his name is pronounced in Arabic. Properly done, the name should be spelled, “Sa’eed” and not “Said.”

To go back to the article in Al-Sharq al-Awsat, I would like to add a further note. This website daily gives its readers the opportunity to respond. Of the six responses to this article, not one disagreed with the main thesis of the writer. Most of them sounded enthusiastic in their evaluation of the timeliness of the piece. “The article was more than excellent, greetings to my brother who manifests his awareness of the troubles within his nation,” wrote an Arab resident of Canada. Another resident of the US wrote to express his thanks, and predicted that the radicals will lose in the end. The very day that the article appeared, a reader in Saudi Arabia sent a lengthy letter of admiration, pointing at the same time to the Arab media that are failing to deal with this vexing problem.
Another correspondent, this time from Egypt, wrote to show his disappointment that the Arab nations seem to be lagging in their efforts to deal with the tragedy that is unfolding in Iraq.

While I see some rays of hope coming sometimes from within the Arab media, I mourn the fact that the true nature of the malaise that plagues the entire Muslim world is, quite often, not being actually explained by our mainline media, nor objectively taught in many of our colleges and universities. What a pity!