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Qatari Businessmen Association       Gulf Centre for Strategic Studies       Qatar University

Democracy ‘best bet against terrorism’

Published: Thursday, 13 April, 2006, 11:44 AM Doha Time

First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani
FIRST Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani has stressed that building democracy and enhancing its application is one of the most effective means of curbing the phenomenon of terrorism. The democratic option, however, should originate from the self-determination of society, he said, adding that it should not be imposed from abroad.

“The perspective of democracy should be launched from a real standpoint based on the application of basic principles of democratic exercises,” he stated.

The fundamentals are achieved by building institutions of the state, ensuring human rights, effective popular participation in government in accordance with laws and principles of transparency and accountability which guarantee majority opinion, he added.

HE the First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister stressed that the success of democratic option in the political field required the adoption and execution of a comprehensive development plan in both economical and political fields.

He said application of democracy was not free of some obstacles because of the differences in social and economical characteristics of societies.

“Therefore, we should be aware that real democracy cannot be instituted with only political decision-making; it should be accompanied by a continuous process of awareness building,” he observed.

“It is not sufficient to merely change the nature and type of ruling systems or rulers, but the brains should be changed to attain comprehensive awareness. It depends on enlightenment and accepting modernisation without excluding the principles of heritage and respecting the values of freedom, transparency and empowerment of women, among others,” he said.

HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said if the definition of the basic principles of democracy was an easy and agreeable matter in general, it was not so in the case of terrorism.

“In order to put my participation within the topic of this dialogue, it can be said our important issue -according to the common UN expression - is ‘international terrorism which endangers the lives of innocent people or cause them death or threatening their basic freedoms’,” he said.

It is generally known that the international community has not yet arrived collectively at a specific definition of international terrorism, he said, making the following observations:

* Terrorism, in general, is based on ideological motives.

* Terrorism is accompanied by violence. Causing public terror is a state related to terrorism.

* Terrorism acts are launched from political and ideological motives on the grounds of deep belief, characterised mostly by extremism, that the violence is legal as a form of political protest aimed at forcing the powers-be to act in a specific way.

* Terrorism, in general, emerges from misery, disappointment, a sense of injustice and despair which make people sacrifice their lives in order to realise fundamental changes.

“The problem of terrorism is political, psychological, moral and, basically, legal,” HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said.

The basic principles of democracy - freedom, equality, state of law, institutions, popular participation, good rule, and plans of comprehensive social and economical development - represent general well-being of all, he added. – 

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