Al-Jazeera’s lesson for EU

Series Title
Series Details Vol.7, No.37, 11.10.01, p11 (editorial)
Publication Date 11/10/2001
Content Type

Date: 11/10/01

DURING the Gulf War, CNN was the channel that scooped the world with its explosive coverage from Baghdad and became compulsory viewing. Its ratings have soared again in the past few days following the launch of military strikes in Afghanistan. But it - and the world's printed media - have been scooped this time by Al-Jazeera, an Arab channel that was virtually unknown a fortnight ago. Its interviews with terrorist-in-chief Osama bin Laden and his right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, made chilling viewing. The television station later broadcast a statement by al-Qa'eda, urging all Muslims to join a jihad or holy war against America. Its spokesman said plenty of young Muslims were ready to die for their beliefs in attacks similar to those on America last month. While many Westerners will have been appalled by this clear incitement to terrorism, the remarks will at least have ended any lingering doubts among EU leaders over al-Qa'eda's links to the attacks on 11 September.

If anything, al-Qa'eda's response will only serve to strengthen the resolve of Europe's leaders in the fight against terrorism. It is relatively easy to maintain a united front in the face of such provocation; it will be tougher when news of allied and Afghan civilian casualties start making the headlines. It is vital that the EU remains just as resolute then. If any reminder is needed in future of why our leaders must stick together when the going gets really tough, just switch on Al-Jazeera.

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