Arabs agree with Kilroy? Really?

When I read the piece from Ibrahim Nawar in the Daily Telegraph under the headline “Kilroy-Silk is right about the Middle East say Arabs” two things crossed my mind.

Firstly despite the By Ibrahim Nawar, did he write the article? Given that the entire piece is written in quote marks it rather looked like one of those cases often seen in the tabloid sports pages where journalists ring up someone for a few quotes and then it ends up as My Anfield Hell by David James or some such.

The second thought that flashed into my head was that Nawar may not have actually read the Kilroy-Silk piece before making his comments.

Nawar wrote (or otherwise) in the Telegraph “I agree with much of what he says about Arab regimes. There is a very long history of oppression in the Arab world, particularly in the states he mentions: Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, as well as in Sudan and Tunisia.”

Who could disagree? On that basis I agree with Kilroy-Silk too. But what was objectionable was the generalised comments about Arabs rather than the criticism nature of the regimes that oppress them. There was no mention of this in any of Nawar’s comments.

Which did rather make me wonder if he hadn’t been given the full picture about Kilroy-Silk’s comments. Perhaps the full details of the article had not been effectively explained by the man from the Telegraph.

Idle speculation of course but then I read this article written by Nawar on his own organisation The Arab Press Freedom Watch’s website:

The Column written by British journalist and presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk in the Sunday Express on January 4, 2004 is very disturbing. It contained a message of hatred against Arabs and Muslims that went against any sort of good race relationship in the society. In his column Kilroy-Silk denied Arabs and Muslims their historic role in civilization and their contributions to the progress of humanity.

Arabs are not just oil producers and not all of them suicide bombers. Arabs and Muslims led the world civilization for centuries and contributed much to the progress of science, chemistry, physics, architecture, mathematics, astrology, industry, trade and finance etc. In today’s world Arab scientists like the Nobel prize winner Ahmed Zwail, novelists like Nobel prize winner Naguib Mahfouz, and physicians like the pioneer heart surgeon Magdi Yaacoub have contributed a great deal to the progress of our humanity. There are hundreds of thousands of Arab and Muslim scientists and professionals who live in the West and contribute a lot to the welfare of our world.

But some writers such as Mr. Kilroy-Slik portray Arabs and Muslims as barbarians, backward people that deserve nothing. The problem with Kilroy-Silk and others of his kind is not just they don’t get their facts right, but that they offer dictators and autocrats in the Arab and Muslim countries a golden opportunity to divert public opinion to an enemy without, instead of facing the enemy within. In his column, Kilroy-Silk failed to make a distinction between Arabs and Arab regimes. The title of his article is alarming and very divisive against all Arabs. Some remarks amount to a clear insult to Arab people.