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Terrorism Not Associated With Any One Faith

Terrorism Should Not Be Associated With Any Particular Faith, Countries Tell UN Debate

New York, Sep 25 2006 7:00PM

Terrorism is a scourge that afflicts all countries and must not be associated with any particular faith, ministers from a number of States told the United Nations General Assembly today during its annual debate.

“We appeal to the UN Security Council to act on this issue with dispatch – for Muslims everywhere have a strong emotional reaction to what they perceive to be the oppression and humiliation of their Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan co-regionalists,” said Hassan Wirajuda, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia. “Terrorists operating as far away from the Middle East as South-East Asia justify their heinous crimes as retaliation to what they consider as aggression against Islam.

He pointed to the “error of some Western circles attributing to Islam a propensity for violence” and said this was “matched by the error of terrorist groups claiming that violent means are sanctified by Islam.”

Dialogue, he said, is the only way to overcome this problem. For its part, Indonesia has been actively promoting interfaith and intercultural dialogue, he said. “It is our way of debasing the ideology of terrorists and at the same time empowering the moderates and strengthening the voice of moderation.”

“Fighting this scourge from which no country is safe requires unity and cooperation at both the regional and international levels,” said Mohammed Bedjaoui, the Foreign Minister of Algeria. He said his country had suffered terrorist violence and welcomed international attention to the threat.

Stressing the urgency of concluding a comprehensive convention against international terrorism, he said it must “contain an unequivocal definition of this scourge and draw a distinction between the legitimate struggle of peoples against foreign occupation on the one hand and on the other acts perpetrated by terrorist groups or individuals.

He also warned the international community to “make sure not to mix up this scourge and a particular religion, civilization or geographical area.”

M. Morshed Khan, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, agreed that the scourge of terrorism knows no boundaries. “It is professed and carried out by a handful few and the victims are the vast majority of innocent men, women and children.”

Efforts to combat terrorism have seen some positive results, but the actions of individual countries “have created divisions among people and affected interfaith harmony,” he said. “Many are being subjected to racial or religious profiling, thus fomenting suspicion, misunderstanding and even hatred.”

He said this played into the hands of those fomenting acts of violence. “This is what the terrorists are looking for. We must ensure that they do not have their way.”

Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalghem, the Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya, also stressed that terrorism is not the province of any one group. “It is a problem that cannot be resolved by attributing it to a certain religion or nationality, he said. œIt is also shameful and unacceptῡble to describe the legitimate struggle of people against foreign occupation as an act of terrorism.

He said the international community must cooperate “under the UN umbrella to study this phenomenon and reach a definition of terrorism which distinguishes between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of peoples for self-determination and independence.”

Ends

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