VINUTHA MALLYA writes from Ahmedabad: We have seen the unrelenting horror unfold before us minute-by-minute. We have we heard and read the shock and solidarity expressed by the world’s high and mighty.
US President George Bush, President-elect Barack Obama, Prime Minister of UK Gordon Brown, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have all condemned the attacks.
Indian and international media have also reported the reactions from governments of Japan, China, Singapore, Canada, South Africa, Norway, European Union and NATO. Similarly, we heard from government leaders of neighbouring nations: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and China.
Even the Pope expressed his sentiments in a letter to the Cardinal.
However, there were other voices, which weren’t played up prominently, some of which were picked up by news agencies like PTI, Agence France Presse, Deutsche Press-Agentur and Xinhua.
These were the voices of leaders and governments from the Islamic countries, who too shared their shock and pledged support to India and to the fight against terrorism, just like the hallowed group above. Many of them emphasised that no religion sanctioned such acts of violence and terror.
Malaysia: Malaysia’s foreign minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Malaysia was deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless act of violence “deliberately directed at civilian targets designed to inflict maximum human casualties.”
“Malaysia remains firmly committed to the fight against terrorism and in engaging in a constructive manner, all regional and international efforts in combating terrorism,” he said in a statement. He added that the horrendous attacks underscored the fundamental need for the international community to continue vigorously forging a comprehensive and effective front in combating all forms of terrorism and extremism.
Indonesia: Indonesia condemned the terrorism attacks in Bombay as despicable and inhumane. The government expressed condolences to the government of India and to the victims and their families, saying it hoped those responsible would be swiftly captured and brought to justice.
“The attacks are evidence that the threat of terrorism remains real and that it requires constant vigilance and multilateral cooperation in dealing with it,” the statement said. It added that Indonesia was a staunch supporter of all cooperation in combating terrorism.
Iran: In a statement, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi expressed the sympathy of the Iranian people and government toward the Indian nation and the families of the victims.
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia denounced the terrorist attacks and expressed its condolences to the Indian government and people. “The Kingdom has been following up the terrorist explosions in Mumbai with indignation and expresses its strong condemnation of this criminal act,” an official source said. (Twelve Saudi nationals were among the hostages.)
Adnan Khalil Basha, secretary-general of the International Islamic Relief Organization in Saudi Arabia, condemned the terrorist attacks and expressed his sympathy to the people and government of India and families of victims. “Lives of human beings are so valuable that this barbaric act should not have occurred. Nobody and no religion will endorse this act of terrorism,” Basha told Arab News. He stressed the need to stop such terrorist acts to protect humanity from going back to the age of forest law. (Source: Deutsche Press-Agentur)
Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC): The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) condemned the attacks, saying violence had no justification. “These acts of violence contradict all human values and can be justified by nothing,” an OIC spokesman said at the group’s headquarters here. (Source: Deutsche Press Agentur)
Kuwait: CNN quoted a statement made by the Kuwaiti government, which “strongly condemned” the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. (Eight Kuwaitis were trapped in one of the hotels with other hostages.)
UAE: “The UAE condemns this horrible crime and affirms its full solidarity with the Indian government,” said United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan.
Qatar: A spokesman for the Qatari foreign ministry condemned “these terrorist acts that go against ethics and humanity,” in a statement carried by the official news agency QNA.
Arab League: Amr Mussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League said: “[These] criminal and terrorist acts aggravate the vicious circle of violence and counter-violence,” Egypt’s state news agency MENA quoted him as saying.
Jordan: Jordan’s Prime Minister Nadir Dahabi expressing his “sincere condolences and deep sorrow” stressed his “strong condemnation of this heinous act of terrorism”. He also affirmed stand by the side of India in the face of such acts and solidarity with the Indian people to surmount this ordeal.
Turkey: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s letter said: “Terrorism is a crime against humanity. An effective fight against terrorism is possible only by the help of international cooperation and solidarity.” He added that Turkey is committed to enhancing cooperation with India in the fight against terror.
Egypt: Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak’s statement to the Indian president and prime minister slammed the attacks and expressed condolences to the families of the victims, adding that Cairo stands by the side of New Delhi in countering terrorism and extremism.
Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood condemned the attacks in a statement and hoped that the “perpetrators of these heinous crime would be brought to justice to receive the ultimate punishment.”
Algeria: Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika offered the Indian people “our absolute solidarity.”
Morocco: Morocco’s King Mohammed VI said: “The Moroccan kingdom strongly condemns these abominable crimes and all appalling terrorist acts which violate the security and lives of innocent citizens.” He said the attacks “are totally against all religious teachings, the universal principles and the democratic ideals shared by our two friendly peoples”.
Nigeria: Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua expressed shock and sadness at the attacks on several locations in the city and condoled the government and people of India.
Kenya: Kenyan President Kibaki said: “My Government and the people of Kenya strongly condemn all forms of attacks against innocent people and hope that those involved in this criminal and heinous act will be brought to justice.”
The well-meaning diplomatic displays of support do not take away the attention from the question: When will we hear the voices from the inside?
Where is the Darul Uloom’s statement now that they have a fatwa?
This is the time when India needs to hear it the most, because another grave act of violence is being attributed to their religion.
Where do we hear the groups which otherwise protest the vilification of a religion for the violent acts of a few people? Where are those well-placed Muslims who have the platform to voice their opinions but will not do so at the time that it is needed most? Not because they need to defend their faith, but because they should stand together with the rest.
At times like these, the dangers are shared by people of all religions. The vociferous expressions of condemnation need to be too. The volume has to be stepped up.