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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Hostage killing: Your reaction
Paul Johnson
Four militants have been killed in a shootout with Saudi forces in Riyadh after US hostage Paul Johnson was killed by a group calling itself al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.

Mr Johnson, a former helicopter pilot, was kidnapped last weekend.

His captors threatened to kill him if the kingdom did not release some Islamist militants.

What is your reaction to Mr Johnson's death? Do you live in Saudi Arabia? Will Mr Johnson's death influence your plans to stay in the Kingdom? How will the killing affect the expatriate community?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far.

Well done the coalition forces in forcing a democratic solution to a troubled zone
Rosemary Lever, Glasgow
Getting beyond the philosophy of an eye for an eye involves rebuilding towns, cities and the lives in them. Well done the coalition forces in forcing a democratic solution to a troubled zone. Time will bring peace.
Rosemary Lever, Glasgow

Our thoughts and condolences to the family of innocent the victim. For those who have lived in Saudi Arabia surely knows that the killing of Mr. Johnson is extremely outrageous and those who committed the killing are outsiders to the society.
Frank O'Conner, Minneapolis, USA

No words can convey the revulsion any right-minded person must feel. I feel for the man, his family and friends. It seems as in all conflict the innocent suffer for the greed and ego's of a few.
Mark Foulser, London

The pervasive place Islam has in everyday life and society
Gary Hampson, United States
I spent five years in Saudi Arabia as a military advisor. We in the West tend to underestimate the Arab view of right and wrong and the pervasive place Islam has in everyday life and society. The beheading was barbaric yes but I tend to think of it more as a wakeup call to the Saudi ruling family that they are on fragile ground and need to take strong internal security measures. The beheading also shows that failure to confront terrorists on all fronts will only lead to the spread of what can only be described as a virus infecting mankind.
Gary Hampson, United States

All I can say is that until a year ago, most westerners would not have been so afraid to venture outside their homes in Saudi but after the invasion of Iraq, everything has changed. If Bush wants to safeguard American interests in Saudi he might have to surrender his interests in Iraq. Or is it too late already !!!
Priya, India

The inescapable fact is that there is significant sympathy for the militants from many Saudis, countless numbers of whom enjoy travelling to the West for vacation and education. There is virtually no public debate among Saudis of what it might cost them to sever ties with Europe and America.
Nigel , Riyadh, KSA

Such acts are a disservice to Islam and an abuse to whatever Islam stands for
Salihu Bakari, Yola, Nigeria
I get extremely worried each time an innocent person is killed in the name Islam, the religion I so much cherish and am proud of. It keeps putting extraordinary pressure on me to convince my non-Muslim friends that Muslims are not murderers. Such acts are a disservice to Islam and an abuse to whatever Islam stands for.
Salihu Bakari, Yola, Nigeria

Why couldn't the Saudi security forces have used tear gas or a "stunning" gas to capture the terrorists instead of killing them? Precious information was lost.
Sophie, Chicago, Illinois ,USA

I am appalled at how unsafe the city has now become. It scares me to even venture out to a shopping mall now. The killing is bound to send chilling signals across the community.
Vikas Sengupta, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

These terrorists simply will have to be eliminated
Wilson Woo, Massachusetts, USA
Such violence, cruelty, and lack of conscience clearly demonstrates the evil nature of the offenders and as such they declare loudly that they do not deserve any respect that is reserved for human beings. I have come to the grave conclusion that in order for the civilized world to continue to exist and prosper, these terrorists simply will have to be eliminated. In this country, we debate about the death penalty (I myself am against it). In this case, I don't see any need for that discussion for we are not dealing with human beings here.
Wilson Woo, Massachusetts, USA

We live in Saudi Arabia, and decided to leave the place due to the killing of innocent people and fear. The hate teaching of clerics in Saudi Arabia, is the primary reason behind all the crimes in the country. They teach him, not to love people, but how to hate, the others. Is it Islam, is it religion...
Sajan, India

I worked in Saudi for 17 years , in the Defence Industry, until my retirement one and a half years ago. I was prepared to return to Saudi to work again and I still am. I am not intimidated by what has happened and I never will be. Most Saudis are honourable people. Unfortunately, fanatics are fanatics the world over. You cannot reason with them - there is only one cure - rid them from this earth the same as any plague or cancer. No method is unjustified - kill them all!
Steve Richmond, Thailand

It shows lack of decency, and thirst for power over others
Anon, Libya
To mistreat or kill a hostage or a prisoner is the vilest of crimes. It shows lack of decency, and thirst for power over others. What more can anyone want from someone who has lost his/her will to do anything? As the Ancient Arabs say:' those who take on the vanquished are cowardly, and not all who rode horses are horsemen". I feel for Paul's family, and I am glad those who slayed him were punished. As a Muslim and an Arab I feel no attachment to those who commit such crimes and I condemn them.
Anon, Libya

More comments and more beheadings. What is more to add ? The silent Majority is tired of commenting and is ready to act against those who have chosen death to life. All we need are leaders who are willing to lead and we shall follow. No more excuses , no more the liberal explanations we need action.
Gilbert , USA

Whether he knew it or not, he was dead before the captors even announced they had captured him. Apparently this man was even liked by the locals, but it does go to show the average US citizen who is thinking of making the supposed big money that maybe their life is a bit more valuable than 100k a year. I was stationed in Turkey in the early '90s and I was on my guard there due to the PKK, and I can assure you that Turkey was much safer than what is being reported out of Saudi.
Victor, USA

I highly condemn hostage killing in any part of the world. It is an act of cowardliness if you want revenge go kill the real trouble-makers not the innocent. In this case it is very clear that it is not safe for any westerner to stay in Saudi Arabia after all the hatred which had evoked in the people due to the invasion of Iraq and other on going western influences on Saudi Arabia's political system. It is in the best interest of all westerner to immediately leave the Kingdom.
Shahid, Talha, Toronto Canada

The UN or US allies should make stronger stands and take more drastic measures
Mike Foster, Athens, USA
I really feel that the workers and employees in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other dangerous areas are in an unprotected situation and are all potential targets. I see their decisions to remain in country partly our (the US')fault and also a very unwise decision on the workers part also. The UN or US allies should make stronger stands and take more drastic measures to protect these people or get them removed from these dangerous locations.
Mike Foster, Athens, USA

Saudis show slain al-Qaeda chief
19 Jun 04  |  Middle East


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