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22/04/2018 | The West’s bombing of Syria meets some approval from Muslims

The Economist Staff

ON THE streets of west European cities, secular leftists, politically active Muslims and radically minded Christians (a rarefied constituency, but they do exist) have often found themselves marching and chanting together.

 

It happened in the run-up to the Anglo-American attack on Saddam Hussein in 2003, when the core organisers of some of the largest street demonstrations seen in Britain included the Socialist Workers Party and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), both small groups with a gift for mobilising huge crowds. Similar alliances came into play in protests over Israeli military action in Lebanon and Gaza, and over the perceived willingness of Western governments to condone or encourage Israel. 

But reactions to the ongoing misery in Syria, and to Western intervention in that country, have been entirely different. Secular leftists in the West, who in general oppose any use of force by their governments, were instinctively horrified by the assault on Syria unleashed on April 14th by America, Britain and France. Many Christian churches in the West opposed the strikes, partly under the influence of co-religionists in Syria who see President Bashar al-Assad as a protector and are in turn protective of him. But the response of politically engaged Muslims in the West ranged from awkward silence to complaints that Mr Assad had not been punished hard enough for his crimes against the Syrian people.

While secular radicals denounced their governments’ militarist and imperialist sins, the MAB, a group said by a government report to have links to the global Muslim Brotherhood but which denies any link, deplored the action against Mr Assad only on grounds that it was too little, too late, and perhaps even so mild as to be counter-productive. In a statement issued shortly after the Western missile strikes, it said: 

For seven years, the people of Syria have been subjected to the brutality of the Assad regime and its allies amid international inaction. Nearly 400,000 Syrians have been killed since the start of the conflict, and the latest air strikes merely send a message to the Syrian regime that the murder of civilians with any other weapon besides chemical weapons, will be tolerated. While long overdue, the British government's condemnation is welcomed. However more needs to be done to ensure that the people of Syria will not continue to pay the price for these air strikes.

In France, the website of the country’s most extensively organised Muslim group republished an interview with an Islamic NGO which confirmed the crimes that Western military action was intended to punish. Chemical weapons had been used against besieged enclaves both earlier this month and in February, the NGO spokesman said.

Although not many Muslim voices have been raised in active support of Western policy decisions, the mere absence of any negative reaction across much of European Islam has been striking. Rashad Ali, a fellow of the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, said he detected a “tense silence” among British Muslim leaders who were instinctively wary of Western military action anywhere in the Islamic world but did not want to say anything that condoned Mr Assad. 

In the words of H.A. Hellyer, a fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, “Muslim Britons and French Muslims are broadly disinclined to condemn their countries’ action against Assad because they, like the rest of us, are conscious of his terrible record and appalling regime—even though many of them remain conflicted about offering full-throated support, when Western policy has hitherto been so muddled with regard to Assad and Syrian civilians.”

The Christian reaction, both locally and further afield, was very different. Within hours of the Western air strikes, three Christian leaders in Syria described them as “brutal aggression” and an “unjustified assault on a sovereign country” and insisted that there was no convincing evidence of the government having used chemical weapons. They urged their counterparts in America, Britain and France to press their government to desist from further action.

The Economist (Reino Unido)

 



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06/12/2008|
23/11/2008|
23/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House