Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Different Path After 9/11

Born in Egypt in 1967, Mona Eltahawy was a correspondent for the Reuters News Agency in Cairo. She writes of two young Muslim men. One goes on a quest to prove Bin Laden is not an American myth, the second a cab driver who listens to the fiery speeches of long past battles. Interesting contrasts between the two men.

"Bin Laden and his terrorist cohorts did us a favour because they shook us free of the defensiveness and denial that for decades had overshadowed an essential conversation about our religion and what had become of it."
Two years ago, when he was just 19, Fouad Gehad went to an Afghan refugee camp. He was not looking for directions to al-Qaeda but to speak to Afghan refugees who had seen al-Qaeda’s leader.

“My mission in life is to prove Osama Bin Laden exists,” Fouad, told me. To that end, he shot video tape of refugees recounting their stories of Bin Laden and on his return to Egypt paid out of his own pocket to hire an auditorium and a projection screen to show fellow Egyptians his footage.

Fouad was fed up of the conspiracy theories that painted Bin Laden as an American invention. Even after al-Qaeda released a video tape celebrating the attacks, some Muslims thought Bin Laden was an American agent who shot his videos in an American studio with a poster of the Afghan mountains as a backdrop.

The more Muslims ask the questions, lead the debates and hold the mirror up to ourselves, the more you will hear about young men like Fouad, who do not tread the tired and bloody jihad path but forge their own trails toward telling the truth to the Muslim world."

Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English):

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