Massacre In Luxor: Islamic Schools to Blame,  Says Egyptian Editor

Normally the Western press, after such massacres as that of Luxor on November 17, 1997 explicitly try to exonerate Islam itself from responsibility for the murders. The argument usually goes something like this: "These barbarians are dishonoring a great religion, they are simply manipulating Islam for their political purposes. The real Islam advocates peace, and has nothing in common with its fundamentalist interpretation. These fanatics have arisen because the corrupt regimes supported by Western powers have forced Western secularization down their throats. Indeed, it is this more subtle, insidious, Western neo-colonialism that is responsible for the barbarous slaughter of 100,000 people in Algeria, Egypt, Afghanistan...."

How refreshing then -- nay, even revolutionary -- to read in the Egyptian daily Al Goumhouriya on the day after the massacre that the real responsibility lies with all Egyptians in general, and the religious schools in particular: "All Egyptians are responsible. It is our society which has incubated these criminals and we are their refuge since they live, hide, kill and come back amongst us. [The religious Islamic University of Al Azhar and its Koranic schools] fill the heads with Islamic teaching, which is but a kind of brain-washing," states Mahfouz al Ansari. Describing the Al Azhar and its religious schools as factories for producing extremists, Ansari also drew a direct parallel with the massacres in Algeria, and criticized the silence of the religious sheikhs.

Reported by Ibn Warraq