Killing of innocents [Archives:2004/782/Letters to the Editor]

October 18 2004

Mohamed Saeed
South Africa
[email protected]

I hope and pray that the hostages now under threat of death will be released by their captors unharmed. The killing of innocents is a crime against humanity, even during times of war, and even when the other side does not respect civilian life. Unfortunately, there are people living under great oppression.
Their future looks hopeless as their families and homes are being crushed by humiliating injustice and violence. When such conditions are ignored or viewed with callous indifference by the rest of the world, it can and does produce a desperate rage that transcends religion and culture. These are the conditions in which many Muslims find themselves today. Lacking hope and having lost patience with the dysfunctional options placed before them, they seek justice, and we are seeing more and more of them willing to take extreme measures, to react in violent ways, even to kill themselves in order to deliver a militant or political act of defiance.
Those living in the Muslim world who are in this “pressure cooker” of oppression may seek any religious or non-religious justification for their extreme and violent actions. If they look long enough, they sometimes find what they are looking for, as there are extreme minded people in every religion who do not represent the commonly practiced tenets of the faith. Unfortunately, polarizing propaganda has been relentlessly spun into today's sensationalism, unjustly fueled by the fear of this “unknown and strange” faith. I urge all those countries who's troops are in Iraq to withdraw their troops and nationals from Iraq while they are still alive. If other foreign leaders showed their resolute opposition to the war, the Iraqis will not resort to desperate and extreme measures. There is a chance for peace, but only if the so called “war on terror” is stopped. Otherwise ) God help us all!