Thursday, Feb 27, 2003
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By V.S. Sambandan
COLOMBO. FEB. 26. For Abdal Bari Atwan, Editor of Al Quds, the leader of the Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is no terrorist but somewhat "like the Mahatma".
Mr. Atwan said this at today's session of the Commonwealth Press Union here and it was countered by journalist, Kuldip Nayar, who was among the delegates.
An emotion-charged Mr. Atwan made this shocking comparison when a delegate sought his views on Osama during the interactive session.
"He is very humble, a very ordinary person. To me, he does not look like a terrorist. He is a good listener, he lets you speak," the editor of the pan-Arab newspaper, who had interviewed Osama said, adding "lastly, he reminds me of Gandhi, the prince of peace", who had "sacrificed his possessions for a cause".
Mr. Nayar, before posing his question, registered his disagreement with the comparison.
The reference to the Mahatma came at the end of a presentation by Mr. Atwan, which was entirely directed against the U.S policy on Iraq. The U.S. policy, he said, was guided by the twin interests of strengthening Israel and the control over the oil resources in the Gulf.
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