Muslims from the Middle East to Britain and Austria condemned Sunday the Mumbai shooting rampage by suspected Islamic militants as senseless terrorism, but also found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion.
Intellectuals and community leaders called for greater efforts to combat religious fanaticism.
Indian police said Sunday that the only surviving gunman told them he belongs to the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The group is seen as a creation of Pakistani intelligence to help fight India in the disputed Kashmir region. Another group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, has also operated in Kashmir. Both are reported to be linked to al-Qaida.
Ten gunmen attacked 10 targets in the three-day assault including a Jewish community center and luxury hotels in India’s commercial hub. More than 170 people were killed.
Many Muslims said they are worried such carnage is besmirching their religion.
“The occupation of the synagogue and killing people in hotels tarnishes the Muslim faith,” said Kazim al-Muqdadi, a political science lecturer at Baghdad University. “Anyone who slaughters people and screams `Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) is sick and ignorant.”
In Britain, home to nearly two million Muslims, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, Inayat Bunglawala, said that “a handful of terrorists like this bring the entire faith into disrepute.”
A previously unknown Muslim group, Deccan Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for the attacks. The name suggests origins in India.
Pakistan has denied involvement and demanding that India provide proof. In Pakistan, Jamaat-ud Dawa, an Islamist group believed to have ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba, denounced the killing of civilians.
In Islamic extremist Web forums, some praised the Mumbai attacks, including the targeting of Jews.
A man identified as Sheik Youssef al-Ayeri said the killings are in line with Islam.
“It’s all right for Muslims to set the infidels’ castles on fire, drown them with water …. and take some of them as prisoners, whether young or old, women or men, because it is one of many ways to beat them,” he wrote in the al-Fallujah forum.
In the Gaza Strip, the territory’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers declined comment. Hamas has carried out scores of suicide attacks in Israel, killing hundreds of civilians in recent years. However, Hamas has said it does not want to get involved in conflicts elsewhere.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad referred to the attacks as terrorism, but added that the violence is rooted in “unjust policies” aimed at destabilizing the region. He did not elaborate.
India is seen by many in the Arab and Muslim world as a Western ally. For example, Israel has become an important arms supplier to India, angering Muslim Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia said in a statement carried earlier this week by the Saudi Press Agency that it “strongly condemns and denounces this criminal act.” An editorial Friday in Saudi’s English-language Arab News said that “no civilized person … can be anything but revolted and sickened by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.”
However, Jonathan Fighel, an Israeli counterterrorism expert, said Saudi organizations have been funneling money to Muslim militants in Kashmir.
“This demonstrates exactly the double game and, I would say, the hypocrisy of the Saudi regime,” said Fighel of the Israel-based International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
Throughout the Muslim world, the attacks set off soul-searching.
“I think that Muslims should raise their voice against such actions. They should forge a coalition to fight such phenomena, because it harms them and damages their image,” said Ali Abdel Muhsen, 22, a Muslim engineering student in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Muslims and Arabs must confront the violence “that is taking place in our name and in the name of our (Islamic) tenets,” wrote Khaled al-Jenfawi, a columnist for Kuwait’s Al-Seyassah daily.
“Unfortunately, we have yet to see a distinguished popular condemnation in the traditional Arab or Muslim communities that strongly rejects what is happening in the name of Islam or Arab nationalism,” wrote al-Jenfawi.
Mumbai doctor: “Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks”
They said that just one look at the bodies of the dead hostages as well as terrorists showed it was a battle of attrition that was fought over three days at the Oberoi and the Taj hotels in Mumbai.
Doctors working in a hospital where all the bodies, including that of the terrorists, were taken said they had not seen anything like this in their lives.
“Bombay has a long history of terror. I have seen bodies of riot victims, gang war and previous terror attacks like bomb blasts. But this was entirely different. It was shocking and disturbing,” a doctor said.
Asked what was different about the victims of the incident, another doctor said: “It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was yet traumatised. A bomb blast victim’s body might have been torn apart and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am still unable to put my thoughts to words,” he said.
Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, he said: “It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood,” one doctor said.
The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: “Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again,” he said.
Corroborating the doctors’ claims about torture was the information that the Intelligence Bureau had about the terror plan. “During his interrogation, Ajmal Kamal said they were specifically asked to target the foreigners, especially the Israelis,” an IB source said.
It is also said that the Israeli hostages were killed on the first day as keeping them hostage for too long would have focused too much international attention. “They also might have feared the chances of Israeli security agencies taking over the operations at the Nariman House,” he reasoned.
On the other hand, there is enough to suggest that the terrorists also did not meet a clean, death.
The doctors who conducted the post mortem said the bodies of the terrorists were beyond recognition. “Their faces were beyond recognition.”
There was no way of identifying them,” he said. Asked how, if this is the case, they knew the bodies were indeed those of the terrorists, he said: “The security forces that brought the bodies told us that those were the bodies of the terrorists,” he said, adding there was no other way they could have identified the bodies.
An intelligence agency source added: “One of the terrorists was shot through either eye.”
A senior National Security Guard officer, who had earlier explained the operation in detail to media, said the commandos went all out after they ascertained that there were no more hostages left. When asked if the commandos attempted to capture them alive at that stage, he replied: “Unko bachana kaun chahega (Who will want to save them)?”
All Over world Muslims condemn this attack, saying its not attack on mumbai,but its attack on ISLAM.
BUT THEY ARE HAPPY TO READ JEWS ARE TORTURED MAXIMUM, when our media person asked one Arab, who was closely watching this, about jews Torture, he has no words than faint smile on his face, thats OK he said.
When some is posting some so called cartoon in news paper, or write some SATANIC VERSUS,
these Muslim wage jihad,
Protest all over world,
Burn and band things from that country.
but do nothing when ISLAMIST KILL Jews and Innocent…. WHY ?