by Maged El-Bialy
The World was shocked by the horrible incident of the terrorist attacks on the WTC in New York. Views from some media sources would have you believe that Egyptians are less sorrowful for this incident than one might expect. That is simply not true. Both on the internet and TV media, anything sensational and controversial is fair game, where audience share or web hits rule.
Few countries in the Middle East have suffered at the hands of barbaric terrorists more than Egypt, and few other countries on earth have more of a zero tolerance for these acts than Egypt. Egypt knows the horror that is terrorism, for more than a few Egyptians have suffered at its hands. Today, Egypt is safe for that very reason and there have been no terrorist attacks now for many years, because the government some time ago took drastic and extreme measures to prevent it, just as the USA is doing today.
We went to the streets to talk to common Egyptians, and Egyptians of all classes about their feelings on the US attacks. We found that Egyptians as a whole feel great grief and there is understanding that the attack on the World Trade Center was an attack on the USA, the world and Egyptians.
Notably, Rasha Mahmoud, a university student pointed out that she herself has visited the WTC, and could have been a victim herself. She also correctly understands that, "the WTC is an international facility, where people from all nations work". It is likely that Egyptians have perished, along with Americans. The terrorists must have know this, and and statement they may have wished to make, was made to the whole world and its people. Rasha also said that "It is difficult to believe that anyone could support the murder of innocent babies and children, no matter how crazy they might be."
In fact, according to Egyptian Newspapers, the Ambassador of Egypt in the United States has verified that there were Egyptians among the victims of the WTC attacks.
Haj Marwan El Sayed, a coffee shop owner in downtown Cairo put it more simply, stating that "When the innocent die in Palestine, I am sad. When the innocent die in America, I am sad."
Expressing the friendship that most Egyptians feel towards America, Dr. Ahmad Tamara, a close friend of mine, told me, "Would you be happy if someone hits your foreign friend on the head? Definitely not." He expresses a sentiment of many, who in fact have made friends of Americans while they were on tour, over the Internet, or on their own visits to America.
And finally, Hisham Bayoumi, a Moazen (one who calls for prayer in mosques) told me that the terrorists have completely deviated from the path of Islam, which commands that even in war, women, the young, old and innocent should not be killed. These terrorists have no religion.
There is of course concern from people in America will hold Egyptians, or Islam responsible the attacks in the USA. Yet there are probably no people anywhere in the world more opposed to terrorism then in Egypt, and every aspect of the attack violates Islam.
Finally, I would like to say that Egypt will always remain safe. Egypt will never get embroiled in the act of terrorism. We are a peaceful community. Even my foreign friends who are residents in Egypt say that they feel safe in Egypt, and perhaps more so then elsewhere.
Last Updated: June 12th, 2011