Former NATO official criticizes US policy towards Muslim world

Feb 12, 2002 01:00 AM

A former NATO official said that "Terrorism usually grows out of extreme poverty and injustice and can only be eradicated through political and economic measures."
Comparing the new era in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the US with those of the French Revolution, World War 1 and Washington's use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Dr Murad Hoffman said: "The tragedy of September 11 produced a mix of positive and negative fall out for Islam. Whether the long-term picture will be bright or dark, it will mostly depend on whether America will become more self-analytical, self-inspective and correct its anti-Muslim foreign policy biases or it will continue seeking revenge and finding satisfaction in the role of an unchallenged world policeman. In the latter case, the NATO alliance might become ineffective and both state terrorism and individual terrorism might climb to new levels," predicted Dr Hoffman.
He added: "Let us pray that wisdom and emotional maturity will prevail and that it will become an American virtue to do what a famous Turkish saying demands: 'May generosity remain on my side.'"

Addressing a large gathering at Beit Al Quran, Dr Hoffman who served as NATO director and German ambassador to Algeria and Morocco, said the tragedy has propelled in Europe interest in all Islamic things and many in the West only now recognise their Muslim neighbours, as a fact of their life, for the first time.
"In Germany, the demand for Quranic translations grew by an incredible 1,000 % and the number of visitors for the annual Day of the Open Mosque on October 3 increased from 60,000 to 200,000, besides a dramatic rise in hits, visits, and downloads from the Internet pages of the Central Council of Muslims, which stands at 3 mm visits a month."
"Earlier only heads of the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church and the Jewish community in Germany were received by German Chancellor and all of a sudden President of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany was lifted to the same status and Islamic classes in public schools have also been facilitated," he said. He said that the largest number of anti-American terrorist acts have been committed not by Muslims but in South America. Terrorism has no religion.
"Islam strictly forbids murder, all religions have been used for justification of illegal acts and the need to eliminate injustice and poverty."

Dealing with injustice, Dr Hoffman said the US policy towards the Muslim world, especially towards the Palestinians, is breeding violence.
He cited the world indifference to the struggle of people in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya. He said in violation of all international laws, Jews brought from all over the world were settled in Palestine where Palestinians were made to pay the bill for German crime. For the Palestinians, Israel is another crusader state, after South Africa and US, that practices apartheid without being blamed for it.
"Who can label Palestinians as "terrorists" so long they resist the robbing of their land in violation of each and every UN Security Council resolution?" asked Dr Hoffman who pointed out that in spite of what has been done to them the majority of the Palestinians had been ready to a partition of their land and their capital to coexist peacefully with Israel. Yet, the so-called peace process did not produce peace or justice.

Jerusalem is annexed and gradually transformed and 50,000 new Jewish settlers were implanted in the 23 % of land into which the Palestinian population has been crowded. The Israelis use 83 % of all available water in Palestine and Palestinian leaders are being systematically assassinated by Israel, thousands of private houses and the Palestinian infrastructure wilfully destroyed.
"This is bad enough and Palestinians see the US subsidises their torture annually to the tune of $ 4.1 bn support to Israel, deliver their most modern military equipment and protect Israel against any condemnation by the UN Security Council," he said.
In Kashmir, ever since India refused to implement a UN resolution calling for a referendum, there is a growing desperation of a population. To stop resisting means sanctioning of the illegal status and to continue resisting means engaging in what is now called" terrorism". In Chechnya, Muslims fight for their freedom and everyone knows about the massive violation of human rights by Russian forces. They are also branded as terrorists by the US.
"Against this background, is it really so hard for Americans to understand why so many Arabs and Muslims hate them?" asked Dr Hoffman.

Source: Gulf News Online
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