The Istanbul Synagogue Bombings:
The Arab/Muslim Press React
Posted: November 19, 2003
Numerous newspapers and news agencies in the Arab and Muslim world condemned the terrorist attack on two synagogues in Istanbul on November 15, 2003, with most declaring such acts contrary to the tenets of Islam. Some of these condemnations were decisive statements against all acts terrorism. Others, while condemning this specific attack, accused Israel or the U.S. presence in Iraq of inciting terrorism and made clear that terrorism is sometimes justified.
Egypt, Al-Ahram (November 19, 2003) - In a column by Hazem 'Abed ar-Rahman, entitled: "Foreign Policy: Istanbul's Crime," the columnist strongly condemned the attacks, writing that even if the victims are Jews, it does not mean that they support the policies of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "If people are killed only because of their identity, and only because they are Jews, it is a kind of ignorance and racism... Blind killing is a barbaric and savage act. Those who committed the attack are clearly declaring that all of the Jews, everywhere in the world, are responsible for what Israel does".
Bahrain, Akhbar al-Khalij (Nov. 16, 2003) - The paper published a message of condemnation, saying that "The Kingdom of Bahrain expressed condemnation for yesterday's bombing in the city of Istanbul, in which innocent people were victims". In addition, is says that this is a "terrorist act contradicting the tolerance of Islam".
Egypt, Al-Ahram (Nov. 18, 2003) - In an article by the paper's editor in-chief, Ibrahim Nafi', he strongly condemned the attacks, saying that the danger of terror is standing in front of the whole world, and completely denies any possible reason any group may have to perpetrate such an act.
Egypt, Al-Gomhouria - Columnist Samir Ragab said that "there is no doubt that we oppose all kinds of aggression against civilians, regardless of their faith, nationality or tendency...Washington was advised several times against launching a war without first calculating the risks involved. The Americans, however, turned a deaf ear and went on with their plans. The result is what we are experiencing right now...Neither the Americans nor the Israelis take the time to learn and understand other cultures, nor do they distinguish between occupation and liberation. All they seek is to twist the law in order to serve their own interests."
Kuwait, As Siyassah - Editor in-chief Ahmed al-Jarallah wrote "There is no question that terrorist operations are on the rise, the most recent being the attack against Jews in Istanbul. This proves terrorism is blind and terrorists have no strategy other than to spread chaos by killing innocent people. "Saudi officials have stressed that the kingdom as a Muslim and Arab country is against the killing of Jews and other innocent people and they also decried terrorist operations in Iraq."
Lebanon, The Daily Star (November 17, 2003) - "Saturday's bombings at two synagogues in Istanbul drew some condemnation in the Arab and Islamic worlds, but far more is needed to dispel the dangerous notion that ours is a civilization that wants its will expressed by violence. One should, to say the least, have an exceedingly pressing reason before setting out to kill innocent Jews at prayer and anyone else who happens to walk by. That reason does not exist in this instance."
Qatar, Al-Watan (Nov. 16, 2003) - Qatar condemned the attack, saying that this "contradicts the divine instructions of the law of Islam and the human and moral values".
Syria, Al-Thawra "This act of terrorism is unacceptable because it is totally different to acts of resistance (ed. note - Palestinian attacks on Israel)...On the contrary it helps support those who refuse to make a difference between resistance and terrorism."
United Arab Emirates, Gulf News (November 17, 2003) " Once again the hand of terror has lashed out with the fatally flawed expectation that violence will serve in furthering political causes. No matter by whom it is done, or under what banner, the murder of innocents must be deplored in the strongest terms...
In the immediate aftermath of this horror directed at two synagogues in Istanbul, however, it is important to reflect on a statement by Amr Moussa, the Arab League's Secretary-General. While taking a stand that attacks against civilians was unacceptable, Moussa made it clear to Israel that it was inciting terrorism through its contempt for international resolutions.
Only saner voices within Israel, that can somehow make themselves heard over the blind policies of the warmongers, can nudge the Jewish state towards positions that will enable moderates on all sides to even make a dent in the problem."