As an Arab myself, I am extremely inspired by what is happening in the Middle East ever since the Iraqi elections. The will of the Iraqi people to stand up for freedom and democracy has inspired the rest of the Middle East. This was the first time I have heard a collective, strong voice among Muslims and Arabs saying to the world loud and clear: "We want to join the civilized world in democracy and freedom, and we are committed to stand against the terrorists among us." The courage of the Iraqis has inspired Lebanon and Egypt, and the rest is yet to come. There is a new era in Arab political life in the making.



I could not help but compare that honorable stand of the Iraqi people to the often neglected and rarely mentioned heroic stand of the Israeli people against terrorism for so many generations. Despite constant terrorism, they managed to grow, excel, maintain a democracy, continue the business of living, riding buses, voting and maintaining their moral standards. Despite many losses in Israeli lives and the constant threat of terror from all their neighbors, most of the Israelis share a deep feeling of wanting to live in peace with the Palestinians.



Their courage and struggle to survive and thrive in a sea of hostility, boycott and terror went unnoticed by the world. It is time for the world to say enough is enough to the terrorism against Israel. Israel is part of the inspiration to the new Middle East yearning for peace and democracy, and the world needs to give the Israelis credit for that. It is also time for the United Nations to end its unremitting attacks against Israel.



Israel is like the Iraqi voters, like the Arabs yearning for peace and democracy in the area. It is trying to survive in an area of the world that has no respect to individual rights and freedoms; an area of the world with extreme elements that would rather kill its own citizens than see them free to choose. Israel was the first country to set that example, half-a-century ago.



Unfortunately, there are still many in the West who think of themselves as "progressive", "liberal" or "humanitarian" who shamelessly call terrorists "freedom fighters". Such people gratify themselves by believing they are championing the underdog when they excuse terrorism and refuse to call it by its real name. Having accepted the arguments of the terrorists themselves, they have lost the ability to recognize and celebrate true freedom fighting when it shows up, as it did in Iraq. Instead, they make excuses for terrorists, who are, in fact, the hidden hands of Arab dictators and religious leaders who use the terrorists to obtain compliance, obedience and to maintain power.



Terrorists want to preserve the status quo in the Middle East. They want to maintain the oppressive tyrannical regimes, such as the Taliban and the mullahs of Iran; they want to keep Arab women in bondage and are fighting democracy by any means. They often work in harmony with tyrannical rulers, who use terrorism as a tool to blackmail the West and Israel for more concessions and financial aid.



We Arab-Americans who want to promote freedom and democracy in our culture of origin are extremely discouraged by terror apologists, who claim that terrorists have a good cause. To them, I say, "No!" We are the freedom fighters; they are evil terrorists.



Terrorists do not have an honorable cause, but are pursuing the causes of old, tired despots and tyrants of the Middle East, those who suppress freedom at any cost. You have no idea how oppressive it is to live in the Middle East. Terrorists deliberately target and kill children, women, civilian men and leaders who sign peace treaties, such as President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. Terrorists shamelessly hold the Koran and recite verses while beheading the innocent without mercy. Terrorists do not care if their actions hurt the reputation of Islam, a religion they claim to love. Terrorists have no intention ever to make peace with Israel, or to accord respect or equality to Christians, Kurds, Jews or other minorities in the Middle East. To them, peace negotiations are just a game to confuse the West and misrepresent their true intentions. When will all the Western powers realize this and understand this game?



The goal of Osama Bin-Laden is to subdue the entire world, especially America, under Islam. Terrorists follow that one goal blindly and will not allow anything to stand in the way, not even the safety and security of their own children. Like the Communists before them, terrorists believe that their ideal state has not yet been accomplished, and no Muslim country or constitution is pure enough to satisfy them. Even the Saudi regime, which follows Sharia, Islamic law, is not Muslim enough for them.



The years of indoctrination by mullahs and dictators have turned many Arab people into robots for terror, following a mirage of ideals and beliefs in the perfect Islamic state. To them, the mere existence of the non-Muslim world stands in the way of accomplishing this perfect Utopia. When the terrorists speak to Western media, they give themselves the right to lie and blame the West for all their problems. Western journalists also frequently fall into the trap of being the enablers of these 'freedom fighters'.



"Progressives"' in the West must start seeing the budding aspirations of the true freedom fighters in the Middle East. The true freedom fighters are those who are standing for democracy and freedom, respect for minorities, peace with Israel and joining the civilized world in a relationship based on mutual respect. They are the Arabs and Muslims who are speaking for peace, many of whom are jailed in places like Syria, Iran and Bangladesh for this "crime".



Today's true freedom fighters are the voters of Iraq. It is the few of us speaking against the stoning of Muslim women, the lashing and torture of men, and the cruel and unusual punishments still going on in Muslim countries. We are fighting the extreme poverty in the Arab oil-rich region that is plagued with corruption. We are struggling against the indoctrination of Arab children, who learn the 'values' of hate, terror and vengeance.



We hear about the horror of how a whole Coptic Christian Egyptian family was slaughtered by terrorists in New Jersey, but we are not dissuaded and continue to speak out for peace and freedom. We are the freedom fighters.



At a rally against terrorism in Berkeley, California, some Arabs were trying to disrupt the event by chanting, "Two, four, six, eight, we are martyrs, we can't wait!" They were foolishly supported by some Americans. I want to tell the "progressive" Left in America that they are supporting the wrong side; they are not supporting the oppressed underdog, they are supporting the oppressors and the terrorist system that promotes their hate and brings it to America.



I wish the Left would see the new reality in the Middle East. Please move beyond the sixties. The old causes they are supporting are the very ones standing in the way of progress. They have now become part of the problem and not part of the solution. They are no longer progressive, but are buried in old and tired arguments of days gone by. Progressives of America: you need a revival.



Let the world step back and see who the true freedom fighters are, and who are the real terrorists, and never confuse the two.