Media Must Report Between the Lines on Jihadists

Tuesday, 15 Dec 2009 10:19 AM

By Tawfik Hamid

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Al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, appeared in a video available on the Internet that CNN portrays as though he had offered condolences for innocent victims:

“On the heels of a U.S. announcement of a massive troop surge for Afghanistan, an al-Qaida spokesman Saturday appeared to be trying to improve the group's image in the region with a new audio message in English. Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, appeared in a 17-minute video released on Islamist online forums late Friday, offering condolences to the families of innocent people killed in al Qaeda attacks.”

For the complete CNN text, Click Here.

It is important to note that many could perceive that the title CNN used as a positive al-Qaida step, yet careful observation and analysis of what has been said clearly reveals that the condolences were offered only to Muslims and non Muslims were not included.

Gadahn’s video statement : "We express our condolences to the families of the Muslim men, women and children killed in these criminal acts and we ask Allah to have mercy on those killed and accept them as shohadaa [martyrs]," he says. "We also express the same in regard to the unintended Muslim victims of the mujahedeen's operations against the crusaders and their allies and puppets, and to the countless faceless and nameless Muslim victims of the murderous crusades" in Afghanistan, Pakistan's Waziristan regions and Swat Valley, and elsewhere.”

The title that fits more with what Gadahn actually has said is “al-Qaida offers 'condolences' ONLY for Muslim victims” rather than “al-Qaida offers 'condolences' for innocent victims."

Sincere condolences should be offered for all innocents who are killed, irrespective of their faith. The message of Adam Gadahn was portrayed as if it is a good thing, yet in actuality it only confirmed that many Islamists do not see a need to offer condolences for innocent victims if they are non-Muslims. Failure to include non-Muslims in the condolences indicates serious disregard for the lives of non-Muslims.

Undervaluing the lives of non-Muslims, which is taught widely within mainstream Islamic jurisprudence and various Shariah books, is one of the main factors that leads some devout Muslims to develop the mind of a terrorist that does not show respect for human lives of the "others."

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad." A former associate of Dr. al-Zawahiri (second in command of al-Qaida), he now is a reformer of Islam. For information, visit www.tawfikhamid.com. Hamid's writings in this blog represent only his thoughts and not the views of the institute where he works.

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