Unwittingly, is the West enabling its future Executioners?




 
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Unwittingly, is the West enabling its future Executioners?
 
May 31st, 2007  
Padre
 
 

Topic: Unwittingly, is the West enabling its future Executioners?


Unwittingly, is the West enabling its future Executioners?
Extremists winning war of words, too

Thursday, May 31, 2007
Greg Sheridan



SIX years after the 9/11 terror attacks that destroyed the World Trade Centre in New York and killed almost 3000 people, a majority of American Muslims do not believe the attacks were carried out by Arabs. And more than one-quarter of young US Muslims believe suicide bombings can be justified in some circumstances.
These shocking and tragic findings, which come from the Pew Research Centre, tell us much about why the war against Islamist terror is going to last for generations.
The West is losing the information and propaganda war against Islamist extremism. It is not losing because it is being insufficiently kind to Muslims at home or in the Middle East.
As Britain’s Tony Blair wrote in The Sunday Times: “Extremism will be defeated only by recognising that we have not created it ... pandering to its sense of grievance will only encourage it.”
Blair confronted the argument that Muslims hate the West because it has taken military action in Afghanistan and Iraq: “Tell me what exactly they feel angry about? We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a UN-supervised democratic process. And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims. Why aren’t they angry about the people doing the killing?”
The reason we are losing the battle of information and ideas is because the coherent religious and ideological position that al-Qa’ida represents has an extraordinary degree of support within the Muslim world. Even sentiments that don’t finally endorse al-Qa’ida often adopt a similar world outlook that embraces much of al-Qa’ida’s historical narrative and paranoid world view.
Most Muslims are moderates and abhor terrorism. But the minority that is extremist is a big one.
The flipside of al-Qa’ida’s success in the information war is our own dismal effort in this field. This does not mean endlessly telling Muslims how much we love them. Although in principle a bit of that is OK, as Blair implies it can be counterproductive by feeding an unjustified sense of grievance.
A better guide to the roots of our failure comes in a new report from US think tank the Rand Corporation, Building Moderate Muslim Networks. Rand recommends that the US, and by implication allied governments such as Australia’s, should consciously support, materially and morally, and where necessary create, networks of moderate Muslims across the world who reject Islamist extremism.
What is insightful about the report is its comparison of the shambles in the information war today with the effective information and political strategy the US and its allies ran during the Cold War.
To be sure, the Cold War is different from the war on terror. In the Cold War we confronted a central state enemy, the Soviet Union, which had state interests and could be deterred. But the similarities are also instructive: the West faces a confusing geo-strategic environment with new security threats and is involved, among other things, in an ideological conflict.
Moreover, moderate Muslims are being outmuscled. As Rand comments, Saudi funding has greatly enhanced religious extremism all over the world (which raises again the question why nobody, in the Labor Party or the Government, has followed up this newspaper’s revelations of Saudi embassy funding of extremists in Australia).
In many nations, moderate Muslims have been intimidated or even killed.
During the Cold War, the US created or supported democratic institutions to fight against totalitarianism in civil society all over the world, especially in any margins of free space in communist societies.
The US acted as a foundation, evaluating projects, funding them, then adopting a hands-off approach. In the war on terror, the US has a freedom agenda but no coherent idea of how to support it.
It often cannot distinguish moderates from extremists.
The Danish imams who campaigned successfully to turn a few cartoons into a worldwide jihad had previously been wrongly identified as moderates and benefited from state travel grants and the like.
Rand sets out a template for the US to follow in trying to build networks of moderate Muslims to help them stand against the extremists. I’m not sure its suggestions would work, but it recognises the nature of the problem and the fundamental fact we are, whether we like it or not, locked in a profound ideological struggle.
One of the many disturbing features of the US Pew survey on the attitudes of American Muslims is that younger Muslims are substantially more extreme than their parents or grandparents. This reflects the experience in Europe, and probably Australia, that far from the second generation being more integrated, as has happened with every other migrant group, it is becoming more prey to the appeal of extremist ideologies and more alienated from its host society.
It is important to emphasise that the US survey does show that most American Muslims are moderate and reject extremism, and that American Muslims tend to be more moderate than European Muslims or Muslim populations in most majority Muslim nations.
But the US poll is merely the latest from across the world to show that the extremist minority is a very big, and therefore dangerous, one. A poll by the British think tank Policy Exchange showed similar results. Although most British Muslims are moderate, among 16 to 24-year-olds, 37 per cent would prefer to live under sharia law than British law, while 36per cent believe a Muslim changing their religion to something else should be punishable by death and 13per cent support al-Qa’ida.
Similarly, a joint Asia-Europe Foundation and University of Malaya poll found that 98 per cent of Malay Muslims believe Muslims should not be allowed by law to change their religion, 31 per cent want sharia law to replace the Malaysian constitution, 12 per cent support suicide bombings and a clear majority dislike or hate Europe, the US and Australia.
And in Australia, Taj Din al-Hilali, after all his extremist statements, remains the mufti. After everything, the national imams council still has not dismissed him. To equate this with Christian fundamentalism is utterly absurd. The widespread presence of extremist views in large minorities among Muslim communities poses acute dilemmas for a liberal society that no one has yet begun to face up to.

http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com...._of_words_too/
May 31st, 2007  
phoenix80
 
 
This is so true!
May 31st, 2007  
bulldogg
 
 
Why is it the most sentient pieces of journalism keep coming from down under?
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Unwittingly, is the West enabling its future Executioners?
June 1st, 2007  
MontyB
 
 
Interesting although as usual some artistic license has been taken by the writer, here is the whole survey he is quoting.

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/483/muslim-americans

One of the negatives about only quoting aspects of other peoples work is that you open yourself up to claims of bias which in turn reduces the credibility of anything accurate in subsequent claims.
June 1st, 2007  
major liability
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldogg
Why is it the most sentient pieces of journalism keep coming from down under?
Good question. Are there perhaps less PC police?
June 5th, 2007  
Del Boy
 
i certainly can endorse, have endorsed, such findings here in Britain, where we already have demands for sharia law - and which has been accepted in parts of the country. They look to see us an Islamic state within a short time. Our authorities are no match for them because denial is easier. We have the trojan horse in here, we have been betrayed. I keep entreating people to wake up, but as I say, you get the government you deserve. You will find me always urging the American spirit not to fall it.
the moderates are the eternal victims of ours, of course! But tell me where on earth they live in peace with anyone. I realise that I am talking of the problem and not the solution, but at least I am on the watchtower. They are happy with the long game, but they have unlimited ambitions, and consider us weak and decadent.
June 6th, 2007  
senojekips
 
 
The Muslims, like the Jews have a strong streak of the "poor downtrodden me" syndrome which they attempt to enhance every time something is done to a Muslim by a non Muslim, regardless if it is for good or evil.
June 6th, 2007  
Padre
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Interesting although as usual some artistic license has been taken by the writer, here is the whole survey he is quoting.

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/483/muslim-americans

One of the negatives about only quoting aspects of other peoples work is that you open yourself up to claims of bias which in turn reduces the credibility of anything accurate in subsequent claims.
I've had a read of the 101 page doc Monty. Can you help me to see where he has misrepresented the empirical data with his interpretation? I may be missing the obvious.
June 6th, 2007  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Padre
I've had a read of the 101 page doc Monty. Can you help me to see where he has misrepresented the empirical data with his interpretation? I may be missing the obvious.
He not misrepresenting the data he is misrepresenting the whole story as being the findings of the Pew Research Centre when only the first two lines of his editorial (2 lines from a 100+ page report) are based on their findings the rest of it is his own personal views.

Here are the findings of the Pew Research Centre and oddly enough not a lot of them seem to be covered in his editorial. (you will notice I left the good and bad parts in)

Quote:
Key findings include:
  • Overall, Muslim Americans have a generally positive view of the larger society. Most say their communities are excellent or good places to live.
  • A large majority of Muslim Americans believe that hard work pays off in this society. Fully 71% agree that most people who want to get ahead in the United States can make it if they are willing to work hard.
  • The survey shows that although many Muslims are relative newcomers to the U.S., they are highly assimilated into American society. On balance, they believe that Muslims coming to the U.S. should try and adopt American customs, rather than trying to remain distinct from the larger society. And by nearly two-to-one (63%-32%) Muslim Americans do not see a conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.
  • Roughly two-thirds (65%) of adult Muslims in the U.S. were born elsewhere. A relatively large proportion of Muslim immigrants are from Arab countries, but many also come from Pakistan and other South Asian countries. Among native-born Muslims, roughly half are African American (20% of U.S. Muslims overall), many of whom are converts to Islam.
  • Muslim Americans reject Islamic extremism by larger margins than do Muslim minorities in Western European countries. However, there is somewhat more acceptance of Islamic extremism in some segments of the U.S. Muslim public than others. Fewer native-born African American Muslims than others completely condemn al Qaeda. In addition, younger Muslims in the U.S. are much more likely than older Muslim Americans to say that suicide bombing in the defense of Islam can be at least sometimes justified. Nonetheless, absolute levels of support for Islamic extremism among Muslim Americans are quite low, especially when compared with Muslims around the world.
  • A majority of Muslim Americans (53%) say it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Most also believe that the government "singles out" Muslims for increased surveillance and monitoring.
  • Relatively few Muslim Americans believe the U.S.-led war on terror is a sincere effort to reduce terrorism, and many doubt that Arabs were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Just 40% of Muslim Americans say groups of Arabs carried out those attacks.
June 6th, 2007  
bulldogg
 
 
So, um, yeah, can you delineate where exactly in the paper he wrote, as in quote the sections from his paper, wherein he "misrepresented"? Not yanking your chain, I seriously would like to understand your claim.
 


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