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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 September, 2004, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Mid-East press appalled by siege
Arabic press graphic

Editorial writers throughout the Middle East have reacted with revulsion at the loss of life in the Russian town of Beslan, accusing the attackers of tarnishing and distorting the image of Islam.

One Saudi paper suggests that the perpetrators might have won over converts to their cause had they attacked a military target, rather than a school full of children.

Commentators in Iran, while similarly appalled by the events, nevertheless criticise the Russian government's handling of the crisis, suggesting that the option of negotiations should have been exhausted before other action was considered.

A lesson in terror at a children's school - What happened at the ill-fated school is not only unjustifiable and unacceptable, it also provokes anger and revulsion among Muslim public opinion, since it tarnishes the name of all Muslims and distorts the image of our noble faith.

Jordan's Al-Dustur

An ugly crime against humanity - What happened at the Russian school is a reprehensible crime against the whole of humanity and the perpetrators should be called to account.

Egypt's Al-Ahram

These children and their teachers had committed no crime to justify their lives being endangered and their blood shed. If this terrorist group had chosen a Russian military barracks, their cause - if they had one at all - would have been more credible and many would have sympathised with them. What happened is the absolute opposite: the world reacted to the crisis with humanity, and the only loser is the side to which they [the hostage-takers] belong.

Saudi Arabia's Al-Watan

The phenomenon of terrorism which is threatening societies is not a sudden development. It was born and propagated by the policies of violence and the call to violence. It cannot be eradicated except through rational action and moderation. What happened in Russia is an example of military failure. The military option and other failed tactics must be reviewed.

Iran's Arabic-language Al-Vefagh

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami expressed his outrage at the terrorists' inhumane act. The incident was one of the most heinous types of terrorist acts. It clearly demonstrated the savage behaviour of terrorists. However, Russia's handling of the crisis is open to question. The Russian government should have exhausted all possibilities before resorting to force to free the hostages. In fact, what happened on the ground cannot be regarded as a victory against terrorism.

Iran's Tehran Times

The Russians showed that when faced with these kinds of crisis, they would resort to methods which the hostage-takers themselves adopted - that is, responding to aggression with greater, fiercer aggression. These methods are exactly what those in power want in order to justify their state aggression and terrorism.

Iran's Khorasan

This event is similar to the Moscow theatre hostage-taking incident when the Russian government - without giving any consideration to the number of people who might be killed and merely in order to end the crisis - organised an all-out attack to end the incident at any price. The American government's method in fighting terrorism also follows the rationale of using aggression in the face of aggression. But will these aggressive methods put an end to terrorism? And will they not result in new acts of aggression, in which innocent individuals lose their lives? It should be noted that the root causes of terrorism are the political and economic inequalities throughout the contemporary world.

Iran's Resalat

Further operations by the separatists should be expected. And these will doubtless be met by Russia reacting - a reaction which will once again set in motion the cycle of violence.

Iran's Etemaad

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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