Security


Terrorism: Al-Qaeda urged to attack Knights of Malta in Cairo




Rome, 6 Dec. (AKI) - A message posted on Islamist websites close to al-Qaeda is urging jihadists to carry out a terrorist attack on the embassy of the Roman Catholic Order of Malta in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

"Do not stint on your attacks, Egyptians, either with car or truck bombs," reads the message posted on Thursday. It is accompanied by photos of the embassy building (photo) and entrance.

"These are photos of the Order of Malta embassy in Cairo. I ask Allah to have it closed down or blown up, along with those inside it, who hate Islam and Muslims," the Internet message continued.

The message urging the jihadi attack on the Order of Malta - nowadays a charitable organisation - follows the publication of an editorial in the United Arab Emirates daily al-Bayan, by Jordanian MP Jamal Muhammad Abidat entitled 'The Knights of Malta - more than a conspiracy'.

In the article, Abidat gives a Muslim interpretation of the Order's history, describing the role played by the Knights of Malta during the Crusades. Abidat says the Order is playing the same role in the Middle East today, citing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The painful saga of modern Arab-Muslim history evokes the battles fought in Crusades of the 11th centry - when the Knights of Malta began their operations as a Christian militia whose mission it was to defend the land conquered by the Crusaders."

"These memories return violently to mind with the discovery of links between the so-called security firms in Iraq such as Blackwater have historic links with the Order of Malta," Abidat argued.

He was referring to private security contractors operating in Iraq such as Blackwater Worldwide whose guards on 16 September killed 17 Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad square.

Blackwater said its guards were protecting diplomats under attack before they opened fire, but Iraqi investigators concluded the shooting was unprovoked.

Abidat accuses the Order of Malta of being run by men who are close to US president George W. Bush and neo-conservative political circles, taking a cue from a report transmitted on the Arab network, Al-Jazeera, on 24 April 2007.

He also refers to American investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill who has written about the rise of mercenaries in recent years and is a vocal critic of private military contractors. Scahill recently published a book entitled, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

"You cannot exaggerate it. The Order of Malta is a hidden government or the most mysterious government in the world," said Abidat in the editorial.

"We accept the definition given by one of the officials at their Cairo embassy, that defined it as 'ghost that lives nearby'."

The Rome-based Order of Malta, whose full name is the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, is also known as The Knights of Malta.

It began as an organisation founded in Jerusalem in 1080, to care for poor and sick pilgrims to the Holy Land.

The Order of Malta retains its claim of sovereignty under international law and has been granted permanent observer status at the United Nations. It issues its own passports, stamps and coins and has formal diplomatic relations with 99 states.




 

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