Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Distinct possibilities

Hamas played a pivotal role in Alan Johnston's release, so let's put an end to the ridiculous claim that Islamism and terrorism are the same thing.

By Anas Altikriti
The Guardian

".....Now that Alan Johnston has been freed, exclusively as a result of the decisiveness and resolve of the Hamas government which placed his release at the top of its agenda upon gaining hold of Gaza a few weeks ago, proper debate can hopefully resume about this ludicrous claim that Islamists are equal to, if not the very same as terrorists. If anything, and similar to the case of Iraq hostage Norman Kember last year, the negotiations of which I was personally involved with, it was the "Islamists" whom MacShane, Husain and Butt equate to terrorists today, who made the difference in terms of bringing relentless worldwide appeal as well as action on the ground, and led to his eventual release. Indeed had the Hamas leadership had its way, Alan Johnston would have been freed many weeks ago, but its self-restraint and discipline in dealing with this matter as well as its tenacity, has brought about this welcome resolution.

What good could be served by lumping together those who continue to offer the hand of friendship, in practice as well as in preaching, to the world, while pursuing political and social agendas which we may or may not entirely agree with, and those whose only aim and ambition is to spread terror, mayhem and chaos throughout the world and have no tangible agenda whatsoever? What interests are served by severing channels of communication and of dialogue with those who continue to offer, in fact strenuously request, to talk, and who in fact represent the majority of Muslims in the world?

Why do some seem so intent on drawing the lines and shutting off those who actually influence events on the ground and are able to communicate with the "real people" on the streets of many an Arab and Muslim capital city, and who repeatedly and unequivocally renounce violence and reject terrorism, including that perpetrated by ourselves upon other nations in the form of war, funding dictators and selling arms to rogue elements for the mere objective of making a quick buck? Who gets to benefit if such a line was pursued, but the extremists on all sides of the fence, Muslim and otherwise? Who gets to lose but the rest of us, all of us?....."

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