The US and the West must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end, says an Islamic cleric invited to Sydney by Premier Bob Carr.
New York-based Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who impressed Mr Carr at an international conference last year, arrives in Sydney today for two weeks of meetings and public talks.
Speaking from his New York mosque, Imam Feisal said the West had to understand the terrorists' point of view.
In a move likely to cause controversy with church leaders, Imam Feisal said it was Christians who started mass attacks on civilians.
"The Islamic method of waging war is not to kill innocent civilians. But it was Christians in World War II who bombed civilians in Dresden and Hiroshima, neither of which were military targets."
This is outrageously specious, but it depends on the ignorance of the listeners. The bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima were not justified by the bombers on the basis of Christian theology. The bombings by terrorists -- 9/11, 3/11, etc. -- are justified on the basis of Islamic theology. By claiming that they are equivalent, Abdul Rauf obscures the Islamic roots of modern-day terrorism, thus hindering the prospects for the reform within Islam that is so desperately needed if jihad terrorism is ever going to cease.