Saperstein: “The war against terror can only be won if those who seek to use such means to achieve their twisted goals know that the world stands unified against their efforts.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 30, 2009 – In response to reports of the death of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The past week’s conflicting reports about the death of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi are a reminder that for the past 20 years, the family and friends of those who perished on Pan Am 103 have lived with the tragic certainty of their loved ones’ deaths.
That Mr. al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison on “humanitarian grounds” was deeply distressing. Though the struggle of any individual against a terminal illness is saddening, we know that Mr. al-Megrahi, the sole person convicted of the 1988 bombing, showed no similar compassion when he took the lives of 270 men, women and children, including 189 Americans.
At the same, we find deeply morally and politically troubling British officials’ acknowledgement that business interests were a factor in the decision about Mr. al-Megrahi’s release. The release of a convicted terrorist that includes even the appearance of a quid pro quo business deal sends a dangerous message about valuing profit over life.
The war against terror can only be won if those who seek to use such means to achieve their twisted goals know that the world stands unified against their efforts.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.