Combating Terrorism Is a ‘Religious and Moral Duty'

Article Summary
The fight against terrorism is one of religious and moral duty, argues Yahia al-Qahtani. It is contrary to the values of Islam, and it is something that all Yemeni citizens need to actively fight. Fighting terrorism begins with fighting unemployment and poverty, and supporting the just causes of the world.

Yemen has enjoyed security and stability for many years while other parts of the world got buffeted by wave after wave of violence and bloody conflicts over power. These conflicts were fueled by ideological intolerance and blind extremism that reached the point of refusing to deal with others. Yemen’s blessings were due to its espousing political pluralism and democratic values along with a certain degree of freedom for individuals, groups and popular and partisan media. From these basic tenets, Yemen was able, during the international war on the scourge of terrorism, to achieve palpable successes and victories despite its limited resources, harsh conditions and economic circumstances. This is especially true when compared to other countries whose economic, military and security capacities far surpass those of Yemen.

As a result of this all, we ask, what is Yemen required to do more than it has already done in the framework of the international war on terrorism? Yemen has been among the first to suffer from that scourge and warned the entire world of the dangers of it spreading like a malignant tumor. The scourge of terrorism still inflicts great harm upon Yemen.

The horrible, criminal acts perpetrated by terrorist elements obsessed with killing and the spilling of innocent blood prove that they are but dark lost souls bent on evil, having pledged allegiance to the devil and committed themselves to do his bidding through terrorist crimes that serve no purpose except to take lives and cause destruction. Murder has become a goal in itself. These terrorists have lost all hope and have fallen prey to those who channel their zeal and energy to this destructive path after corrupting their consciousness, brainwashing their minds with extremist ideas and a culture of violence and hatred and infusing them with misguided concepts that transform them into villains.

Despite all of this, Yemen has succeeded in combating terrorism. However, this has been at the expense of resources that were previously dedicated to development. At the same time, the country has never hesitated in continuing on the path of reform and dialogue necessary to deal with the requirements and duties of the two year transitional period. Yemen is in need of serious support concerning its political, economic and security complications. The media has published the developmental priorities following the Yemeni delegation’s visit to the Saudi capital Riyadh, where it asked its benefactors to understand the democratic and developmental dimensions of these requirements and duties. Yemen realizes that combating poverty and unemployment are priorities because they negatively affect education, culture and healthcare, along with the dire social conditions faced by the people in their daily lives. These consequences of poverty and unemployment all serve to breed terrorism and extremism.

The phenomenon of terrorism is a dangerous problem for people, development, security and stability. It is a source of daily worry for children, women and the elderly alike. It harms our country and hurts our people. It also harms our values, which represent  the noblest forms of forgiveness and compassion and embody the values of Islam. Islam is religion of moderation, whose long historical and cultural heritage was built on its rejection of extremism, violence and terrorism. At the same time it affirms the Yemeni people’s conviction that the fight against terrorism is a religious, humanistic and patriotic duty. The fight against terrorism is the responsibility of all in this nation, and not only that of the army and security forces alone.

Honest and serious cooperation on the part of all of Yemen’s people must be established to combat this dangerous phenomenon for the citizens’ sake. It is therefore necessary that efforts be integrated and that society plays a role equal in importance to that of the state, for all can have an effective impact in the task of resisting and thwarting cowardly terrorist acts. To this end, the Yemeni society’s institutions, organizations, administrative bodies and tribal makeup must all contribute to the fullest extent to combat this despicable behavior that negatively effects the country’s stability and development.

Yemen’s fight against terrorism must emanate from a national conviction and the people’s belief in the necessity of eradicating this foreign malignant disease from their noble lands and rid society of its evils. This is a patriotic duty that the people must dedicate themselves to as a result of their Arab and Islamic ideals that reject this type of destructive behavior. We must safeguard and protect our country, its security and stability, and stand united to confront all the challenges that the country faces. Terrorism is the most important and dangerous among them.

We all know how Yemen has suffered, and still is suffering, because of the criminal acts perpetrated by terrorist elements. The goal of these attacks were to distort Yemen’s image, harm its national economy and undermine its security and stability. This country cannot tolerate further suffering nor will it accept that it remains the victim of more acts of terrorism, violence and destruction; it will never allow itself to be transformed into a haven for terrorists and the culture of hatred, violence, intolerance and extremism. These always lead to devastation, destruction, kidnappings, isolation, banditry and the mistreatment and terrorizing of innocent people. This behavior aims to strike fear in people or put their lives, freedoms and security in jeopardy.

The participation of society as a whole is necessary to combat terrorism and to avert the destruction it causes. It is necessary to consolidate security and stability, and to achieve positive results that serve the Yemeni people and contribute to the nation’s growth and development. It is necessary for society to stand up to terrorism and terrorists, as well as to put a definitive end to their criminal acts that only wreak havoc, destruction and dire consequences upon nations. The crimes that those terrorists from Al Qaeda committed lately in targeting military installations and killing soldiers and security personnel in addition to civilians, led, as is always the case, to the death and maiming of innocent Yemeni citizens. The terrorist elements face fustration and desperation following decisive preemptive strikes from the military against terrorist leaders and foot soldiers in their strongholds in the Abin, Bayda and Shabwa provinces.

There is no doubt that success in reducing poverty and unemployment, especially within the ranks of the younger generations, will serve to prevent them from falling into the abyss of evil. Terrorist elements will only guide them toward their own death and destruction, as well as that of innocent citizens. In light of what has already been mentioned, one can deduce that combating terrorism starts with combating poverty and unemployment. It is also necessary to promote development within society so as to better the living conditions of the people and their economic, educational, cultural and health situations. This is the proper starting point for combating and eradicating terrorism.

It is certain that every citizen has an active and effective role to play in combating terrorism, and that all of us can successfully support and back the continuous efforts of our political leadership, which has garnered unprecedented regional and international support. For the army and security forces to vanquish terrorism from Yemen, as well as serve the nation and its supreme interests, there must be an end to the divisions that plague the armed forces and to the political crisis that the country has witnessed. Furthermore, we should replace all those who strive to harm Yemen, spreading chaos, destruction and corruption throughout the land.

All of the people will stand with the political leadership because our allegiance to our dear country will always serve to assist the armed forces in their mission  against terrorism, and also against all those who try to harm the security, integrity and stability of  society or disturb the public peace. Since warding off evil precedes the reaping of benefits, the Yemeni people must effectively participate in the establishment of stability and peace so that development may bring forth its fruits. All citizens, young and old, male and female, must realize that they are partners in the protection of their country, the preservation of its security, stability and the protection of its gains and accomplishments. They must stand united against terrorism and all destructive acts wherever they may occur on Yemen’s pure soil.

Combating terrorism is a task that the international community must bear responsibility for, and this battle should be fought through addressing the root causes that fuel terrorism. The international community must also do away with the policy of dual standards that great powers espouse, starting with the United States of America and its dealing with international problems. For example, America’s support for Israel and its genocide against the Palestinian people.

A balance must be struck in the positions and policies that are adopted, so that they may satisfy the people, states and governments. If supporting American policies is all that is required to combat terrorism, then, in return, the United States must support the just causes of the world, in particular the Palestinian cause instead of encouraging Israel and its aggressive policies against the Palestinian people. American and European occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq will not put an end to terrorism, nor will killing Anwar al-Awlaki, Abu Ali al-Harithi and Bin Laden, for God knows what hides within the soul and He alone can lead believers to the righteous path.

Found in: terrorism, religion, islam

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