Friday, 07 January 2011 16:36
The New Year's blast that killed 21 Christians churchgoers in Alexandria, Egypt had been condemned by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who pointed an accusing finger at foreign terrorist elements. The attack drew condemnation not only among Christian countries but even Muslim nations across the Middle East.
The violent incident which likewise maimed scores of Coptic faithful who just emerged from a mass at Saint Church did not only devastate the small community of Orthodox Christians in Egypt but has threatened the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in the region. News dispatches from the Middle East even quoted Palestinian movement Hamas which also condemned the attack, saying it was "certain it was the work of elements acting against the interests of Egypt and looking to promote confrontation between Muslims and Christians.
A top Shiite Muslim leader in Lebanon, Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, denounced the attack as a “terrorist act”.
There maybe some political undertones in these declaration of condemnation but even the religious leaders of Islam and the Papacy had strongly slammed the savagery as a terrorist act.
The bloody carnage of innocent civilians brings to mind how Al Qaeda terrorists and their local recruits, Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf, carryout bombings in several soft targets, among them Mosques and Christian churches, in various places in the country. The agenda is obvious – to put a wedge and to fan animosities between Muslims and Christians.
For over a decade now, Al Qaeda had focused on Central Mindanao and the island provinces of Sulu and Basilan because the lackadaisical attention of the government in these regions have created an atmosphere of discrimination. Add to that the internal conflict among tribes and clans and you have a condition ideal enough to sow the seed of rebellion which sadly gave rise to acts of terrorism. Any which way you look at it acts of terrorism, not only in Sulu and Central Mindanao, have all the signature of foreign terrorist elements.
Whether in Egypt or in Sulu the aftermath of terrorist attacks leaves not only statistics of death but also distrust, hatred and bitterness. Egypt whose economy is propped by tourism from Christian pilgrims all over the world will expectedly suffer from the fallout. The same thing happens when investors pulls out from Central Mindanao and the pristine islands of Sulu and Basilan. Filipino Muslims and Christians suffer as a consequence and they are deprived of opportunities which peace and solidarity create.
Foreign terrorists and their clones find comfort and security in the conflict areas of Mindanao because the secessionist fronts have made use of their diabolic technologies and strategies. But terrorists have no place in civilized societies and they are consigned to condemnation be it in the Philippines or in Egypt.
By Menardo Wenceslao
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