The future of the Moslem worldCan America play a positive role? [Archives:2004/751/Opinion]

July 1 2004

One would think that after close to four years of dealing with the Moslem World in a somewhat extraordinary negative way, the United States will find more constructive avenues towards handling its foreign policy in the region. Needless to say, this would involve a truly objective assessment of how Moslems think in general and what their hopes and aspirations are for the future of their own countries, in particular and the Moslem World in general. It is clear that so far US policy towards the Moslem World can be assessed as having been a failure, for the simple reason that even the most moderate of Moslems are convinced that American foreign policy does not look with favor upon Moslems of any dogmatic persuasion and tends to regards the causes of most Moslems as not worth the effort of even closer scrutiny let alone sympathy. On the other hand, Moslems in general from Malaysia to Mauritania tend to think that American policy towards Islam is often dictated by a blind inclination to fall into the misconceptions about Islam disseminated by a pro-Zionist literary and journalistic establishment in the United States that often portrays Islam as the enemy of western civilization and culture.
Of course, the Moslems have to share some of the blame for this. Their governments have been slow in catching up to trends in western attitude towards Islam and in understanding how this conflict of civilizations is emerging. Moreover, there are many Moslem regimes that tend to worry about their own survival in the light of the collapse of Saddam Hussein, and tend to rush into placating American viewpoints, even if it means cutting into the legitimate rights of free speech and civil society advocacy of genuine national and religious causes. Thus, we will see Moslem governments ready to avail themselves for carrying out the interrogations of those Moslems apprehended by the Americans, who could be subject to arrest without due process and may become the victims of torture, so as to minimize the criticism that the United States is subject to in its violations of human rights as ordained by the Constitution of the United States and the international treaties and conventions governing human rights in general or the handling or mishandling of prisoners of the current American White House Administration's “war on terror” in particular.
Furthermore, it should be very clear that the Palestine issue is a problem that is dear to all Moslems and not just the Arabs, because of the place that Jerusalem has in the hearts of all Moslems and because the religious affiliation of the majority of the Palestinians imposes upon all Moslems to give as much assistance to their brethren in Palestine that will ensure that they are not continuously subjected to the humiliating treatment under a cruel occupation that aims to eliminate them from their indigenous homeland.
Needless to say, the United States is viewed as a very important cause d''tre of this suffering by the Palestinians and are probably the only force in the world that can immediately change the “facts on the ground” towards a more humanitarian outlook that recognizes the rights of all people to peace and freedom and not just favor the so called rights of Israelis, which are based on mythology and misrepresentations of God's teachings of justice and equality for all mankind.
In addition, the United States has been involved long enough in the region to understand what the real issues at stake are and to have a clear view of the obvious sufferings the Palestinians are undergoing that Moslems throughout the world perceive.
While no one underestimates the powerful influence of the Zionist lobby in the domestic policies in the United States, it should be borne in mind that Moslems are hoping that even American politicians would think that long-term American interests could never be served by the alienation of a sizable portion of the population of the world (well over one billion), just to placate 6 million voters or so and the pro-Zionist establishment which has even been able to engrain in evangelical thought the idea that Israel is part and parcel of evangelical teachings.
It is no secret that underneath the Islamic World is a vital resource that is essential to the vitality of western economic interests and moreover the Islamic World sits on the most strategic location on earth crossing three continents and dominating most of the navigational lanes of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, not to mention the sizable Moslem minorities that exist in most western countries including the United States (probably six million voters also). While at this stage, this geopolitical factor may not play an important role in the design of US foreign policy, no thanks to the appalling weakness of most Moslem governments in recognizing their own strengths, one should not expect that overtime the situation will remain static. Moslems are increasingly becoming more vocal in their anti-American feelings, coupled by their disenchantment with their governments' management of both foreign and domestic affairs. Rather than to let such potent disapproval of American foreign policy become the excuse for all the ills that Moslem countries are facing now, American policy makers would be wise to consider the danger of this disenchantment falling into the terrorist establishment that has been allowed (ironically thanks to US support at first) to grow and spread) to nurture and grow throughout the Islamic world. Giving lip service to Moslems by American politicians on Islamic holidays has become insufficient in convincing Moslems that the US does not seriously seek to undermine the rights and feelings of Moslems throughout the world. For Moslems, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan (not necessarily in a pro-Taliban posture) are what are interpreting American policies towards most Moslems. Unless there is a real fundamental change in US policy, where Moslems do not appear to get the short end of the stick, there is really no telling how this interpretation will become unhealthy for all concerned.