Editorial by John Ziegler

News That SHOULD Have Come Out Of The Arab World About Nick Berg, But Didn't

5/12/2004

Reaction in the Arab world to the videotaped beheading of an American civilian by members of Al Qaeda in Iraq was swift and furious. Stunned and outraged by the horrific images constantly broadcast on Arab TV, thousands of Muslims took to the streets to protest the nature of and explanation for the murder.

Hakmed Muhammad, a respected Imam in Pakistan, spoke to the chanting crowds seemingly enraged by what they had seen of the murder of Nick Berg, saying, 'This is not what Islam is about. The abuse at Abu Ghraib was wrong, but in no way justified this unspeakable act. We condemn Al Qaeda and all who stand by and saying nothing of this travesty.'

Al-Jazeera TV, which unlike American networks chose to show the video because they said their viewers needed to fully understand the barbaric nature of the act, immediately called on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is said to have committed the act, to resign as leader of the Iraqi Al Qaeda movement. Several Arab commentators strongly criticized the murder and questioned if Al Qaeda could ever recover the moral high ground in the battle for the hearts and minds of the civilized world.

In Europe, the newly elected prime minister of Spain, Jose Zapatero, said that he was sickened by the video and promised to return Spain's recently withdrawn troops from Iraq to the region saying, 'I was wrong to pull out the troops as a reward for the bombings in Madrid, obviously today's acts show that this is an evil enemy that the entire world must unite together to defeat.'

Under enormous international pressure, Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden immediately released a statement condemning the beheading and promised a full and complete investigation into how such an act could be allowed to occur. Bin Laden was quoted as saying, 'This act was despicable and unwarranted by the injustice at Abu Ghraib. No one hates the infidels more than I do, but this was just plain wrong. Even though Berg sounds like a Jewish name, this is still not the work of the Al Qaeda I know. I am ashamed to be the head of Al Qaeda and I will demand the full cooperation of those involved in determining how this subhuman act could have occurred and insuring that those responsible will be brought to justice.'

Bin Laden stopped short of demanding al-Zarqawi's resignation, but insisted that should it be determined that the Al Qaeda leader in Iraq was indeed the person responsible that he would be fired immediately. Bin Laden also indicated that those in charge of interrogation in Iraq were poorly trained and that no direct orders had been given approving the decapitation of anyone, even those with Jewish sounding names.

Al-Jazeera TV praised bin Laden for his initial reaction to the murder, but insisted that bin Laden apologize publicly for the act and consider paying reparations to the family of Nick Berg.

Bin Laden resisted calls for an apology, but did say that he would be willing to testify before the Al Qaeda legislature, which announced it would be forming a blue ribbon commission to investigate the scandal.

Meanwhile, O.J. Simpson released a statement condemning the murder, denying invovement, but complementing the knife technique of the perpetrators.

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