Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Egyptian backlash

The Eqyptian bombings, which killed 21 Egyptians and three foreigners, has provoked a large Muslim backlash.

The leader of Egypt's banned Muslim brotherhood condemned the bombings as "aggression on human souls created by God." The militant Palestinian Hamas organization called them a "criminal attack which is against all human values."


Arabs throughout the Middle East also expressed outrage, signalling a growing backlash against al-Qaida-linked groups as fellow Muslims increasingly bear the terrorism brunt.

"I don't think these people care" if Muslims or Arabs are killed. "They'll carry on at any price," music teacher Lara Darwazah, 31, said in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Even if this causes a drop in support for Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, we still have the problem that a lot of people think such tactics are just fine when aimed at Israel or Western targets. But this sort of incident may serve as a starting point for dialogue. If this is an outrage, surely all similar attacks are outrages, too. And if we accompany such dialogue with actual concret change -- dropping support for repressive regimes, actively pushing for democracy and civil liberties among our Middle Eastern allies, foreign aid to help improve economic prospects -- people may well come to the conclusion that we actually mean what we say.

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