- The Washington Times - Friday, July 22, 2005

From combined dispatches

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — President Pervez Musharraf called on Pakistanis yesterday to join a jihad, or holy war, against preachers of hatred and violence and announced steps to rein in militant Islamic schools and organizations.

In a televised address to the nation after security forces detained nearly 300 militant suspects in a crackdown following the July 7 London bombings, Gen. Musharraf said all Islamic schools, or madrassas, would have to register with authorities by December.

The speech was recorded before yesterday’s fresh wave of attacks on the London transit system, which brought Britain expressions of support from around the world.

The Pakistani leader said, “I urge you, my nation, to stand up and wage a jihad against extremism and to stand up against those who spread hatred and chaos in the society.”

He also said banned militant groups would not be allowed to reorganize under new names or to raise funds, while keeping unauthorized arms would be strictly prohibited and action would be taken against the distribution of literature designed to spread hatred.

The tough action followed public demands from British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the world’s Islamic community to face its responsibility to curb the “evil ideology” behind the London attacks.

However, Gen. Musharraf said Britain also had a lot of work to do to counter terrorism, and that the two countries should not point fingers at each other.

While three of the July 7 London bombers were of Pakistani descent, he said, they were born and brought up in Britain, where extremist Islamist organizations also exist.

“We are together in the fight against terrorism. We need to remain together and fight it together,” he said.

Renewed determination to fight terrorism was also voiced by leaders from many other countries after reports of the latest attacks on London.

In Washington, President Bush was briefed on yesterday’s explosions and said the terrorists “understand when they kill in cold blood it ends up on our TV screens and they’re trying to shake our will. And they’re trying to create vacuums in which their ideology can move.”

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said, “We certainly … stand with our British friends and allies in response to this act, as we have in response to the many challenges we face together brought by those who seek to undermine our commonly held values and common way of life.”

The European Commission said the second attack in London “unfortunately confirms that terrorism constitutes a permanent threat from which nobody is safe.”

“It is also vital to focus on measures which aim at preventing terrorism and particularly preventing young people from becoming radicalized,” the commission said.

French President Jacques Chirac, who had swept aside Franco-British squabbles over the future of the European Union to support Mr. Blair after the deadly July 7 attacks on London, reiterated France’s solidarity with Britain.

“I wish to express to the British people and to Prime Minister Tony Blair the solidarity and support of France, and I want to reiterate our determination to fight terrorism together,” he said during an official visit to Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco, whose country was hit by deadly urban bomb blasts two years ago, said the latest attacks in London were “criminal, cowardly acts that go against the noble religious ideals of peace, tolerance, living together and the sanctity of the right to life.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, whose country has also been targeted in bomb attacks, said “we condemn terrorism wherever it strikes and whatever its goals are.”

And Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who was lunching with Mr. Blair, said his country would remain steadfast with Britain.

“The determination of the British people to continue with their daily lives is something that we have always seen as one of the great characteristics of the people of this remarkable country,” he told reporters, standing beside Mr. Blair at No. 10 Downing Street.

“Terrorism is about the perverted use of an ideology for evil intent and for evil objectives,” added Mr. Howard, a close ally of Britain in the Iraq war.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide