Al Rawdah Mosque in North Sinai hit by bomb attack on Nov.24, 2017 - Egypt Today Al Rawdah Mosque in North Sinai hit by bomb attack on Nov.24, 2017 - Egypt Today

Analyzing the Arish attack; why was there one?

Fri, Nov. 24, 2017
CAIRO – 24 November 2017: During the World Youth Forum, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi had clearly stated that battling terrorism is a human right just as crucial as those pertaining to having acceptable living standards. He called for battling the roots of terrorism; the ideologies from whence they arise.

Several opposed this statement which was repeated several times, and which had also spread all over social media. But more and more these days, it’s starting to make sense. It is a universal right to live a peaceful, prosperous life; and who has that anymore these days? Can anyone living anywhere swear up and down that their life is safe, peaceful, and prosperous? What if we ask victims’ families… would they?

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President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during a televised speech after the Al-Rawadah mosque attack, Nov. 24, 2017 - Stil from YouTube/Extra News

During the Friday prayers, the time considered most holy for Muslims, unidentified terrorists targeted the Al-Rawdah mosque and killed some 235 worshippers, or so the statistics indicate so far. Families in Egypt are holding their breath, all awaiting more to be counted among the lost. All praying that more will be counted among the injured instead of the lost.

But the incident isn’t the first of its kind. This isn’t the first, nor probably the last, mosque to be targeted. “A teenage suicide bomber has blown himself up as worshippers gathered for morning prayers at a mosque in north-eastern Nigeria, killing at least 50 people. It is unimaginable to think what could possess a person to mercilessly and indiscriminately kill innocent people who are kneeling before God,” The Telegraph reported on Tuesday.

The matter has now exceeded simply targeting blasphemers or “kuffar”. Terrorists are now targeting Muslims just as much as those of any other faith. Abdel Hady al-Qasabi, a Sufi leader, has stated to Egypt Today that the matter isn’t even exclusive to mosques pertaining to certain branches of Islam.

“The case isn’t in targeting a Sufi mosque, but it’s targeting Egyptians as a whole,” Qasabi stated.

Furthermore, Kamal Habib, an expert in Islamist movements, has stated to Egypt Today that the operation of targeting Al-Rawdah mosque in Arish is a “dangerous development,” indicating that terrorist organizations that dub themselves as “Islamist” are now targeting Muslims.

Quite ironically, all the way in Nigeria, Imam Qari Assem, writing for The Telegraph, agrees.

“An irony of modern day terrorism is that its violent attacks have killed more Muslims than people of any other faith, yet Muslims are still considered by some, en masse, as terrorists. According to Global Terrorism Index data, of the top 10 countries with the biggest threat of terrorism, eight are Muslim majority countries. Nigeria, which ranks third in the world for terrorism threats has an almost-equal spread of Islam and Christianity,” Assem stated in an article he wrote for The Telegraph.

It’s easy to condemn an entire faith for the rise of several groups that claim they want to dominate the earth with it. It’s even easy to blame them for it. We are constantly reminded of the Holocaust when terrorist attacks are carried out on certain individuals because they are named “faithless” by these groups. But if Jews were attacking each other during Hitler’s rule, who would we hate?

Perhaps even the Copts in Egypt are now pondering the very same issue. Back in April when bombings took place in churches during Palm Sunday, many inevitably felt persecuted. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack that took the lives of 44 individuals and injured more than 100, Reuters reported.

The aftermath of an explosion that took place at a Coptic church on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The bombings were a major hit to morale, not just a hit on the lives taken and the subsequent pain that scars families forever. Many felt that there would never be protection for them, that the right to a peaceful, prosperous life was just a mirage in the middle of the Egyptian desert.

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The aftermath of an explosion that took place at a Coptic church on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Unfathomably, they must be relating to the families of the Arish victims in more than one way at the moment.

Terrorist ideologies are not built on faith. Terrorist ideologies are usually the result of several games played by people in power; and people who desire to amass even more power. Wars are only fought by leaders who believe that suffering is a rite of passage. But this is an issue that would indicate that terrorist organizations are not the product of thin air, that more is at work than just a bunch of people who “feel estranged and lost” in a world that is becoming “more blasphemous and faithless”.

Systematic slavery, rape, murder, and anything beneath the skies that demeans humans are not tactics of religion. They are the very same tactics states resort to when at war. They are tactics that are used for dominance, because psychologically, dominance can only occur when one’s opponent is broken.

“Traditionally, psychological warfare has been supplementary to conventional warfare. From synchronized marching and the repetitive clashing of swords on armor, to the infamous work of Joseph Goebbels in Nazi Germany; methods of psychological warfare have continually developed to make use of the technology at hand. In the 21st century the tools available to disseminate information and propaganda are abundant, and can be easily manipulated by groups such as IS to pursue a disturbing agenda,” Joseph Colonna had mentioned.

Maybe, the greatest war that terrorist organizations have launched was the war to turn faiths against each other. Maybe, the greatest war the world faces at the moment is not the war against ISIS or Bokko Haram or any other terrorist groups. Maybe, the war is a war of thought.
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