Archive for September, 2006

Blinkered Politics: The U.S. Attitude to Arabs and Muslims

Friday, September 29th, 2006

by Charles E. Butterworth, Unversity of Maryland


Much like a draft horse of a bygone era, prevented by fixed blinkers from sideward glances, the US trudges through current crises in the Middle East its attention fixed in one direction. Pulling a cart laden with the policies and prejudices of a single country and people, it ignores all others or reduces them to trivia. Those citizens who dare decry such policies are repulsed as naive, if not as traitors. Such is the tyranny of the majority against which no less a thinker than Tocqueville warned.

This attitude weakens the US economically and runs against its self-interest, but remains ascendant. My goal here is to buttress these claims, to indicate how the US has come to pursue policies so harmful to itself, and to suggest how others – especially Arabs and Muslims – might help the US draft horse lose its blinkers and learn to look around in praiseworthy freedom.


The events of September 11, 2001, say George W. Bush and his followers, justify all-out war against terrorism and transforming select regimes in the Middle East. Equally spurious are the reasons offered for the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq, cruel treatment of persons seized abroad and imprisoned secretly, infringement of constitutional rights to privacy for US citizens, refusal to allow foreign nationals with unorthodox political views entry to the US, and, currently, support of Israel’s vicious, inhumane, and criminal assaults upon the civilians of Gaza and Lebanon. Americans killed in battle since 9/11 now surpass the victims of that day, and the toll of Iraqi civilians is perhaps 100 times as large. To all this, the American public is astonishingly compliant. Why are such unjust policies so readily endorsed? More important, how might those affected help turn them around? To answer these two questions is my goal here.

Read complete article. 

News and Analysis Updates (9/29/06)

Friday, September 29th, 2006

“We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home”–Edward R. Murrow:

“It is not the signal that I would have expected the U.S. government and Congress would make in order to try to comply with our recommendations”–UN special rapporteur on torture:

“Yasser Arafat and the PLO recognized the State of Israel in the Oslo agreement and what did they gain from that? Only suffering and misfortune”–Danny Rubintein:

Pakistan accused of torturing prisoners and then selling them to the U.S. government:

What happens when relgious identity becomes more important that religious faith:

News and Analysis (9/28/06)

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

An attack on personal freedom: Tunisia continues to crack down on the hijab

The power of film: movie pressures France to give equal pension to North African veterans:

Arrested at a rally for women’s rights, a former Iranian lawmaker remains in jail without charge and alleges torture:

House passes bill on detainees rights (or lack there of): “This is how a nation loses its moral compass, its identity, its values and, eventually, its freedom. . . . We rebelled against King George III for less restrictions on liberty than this.”

“You’re either with us or against us”: Poll shows Iraqis reject dichotomy, insisting they dislike Bin Laden and the U.S. military presence in their country:

News and Analysis Updates (9/27/06)

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

Association of Muslim Scholars denounces raid as “terrorist massacre”:

Increased threat due to Iraqi intervention is confirmed:

Palestinian legislator says he doesn’t know why he was captured nor why he was released:

Your tax dollars at work:

Ethnic cleansing mastermind convicted:

Al-Qaida’s innovative interpretation of Islam offends Iraqi tribes:

News and Analysis Updates (9/26/06)

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Tariq Ramadan is denied a U.S. visa again over fear of his ideas and his support for Palestine:

A martyr for women’s education:

Detainee fights to have Muslim chaplains once again assigned to Guantanamo:

Is the rising influence of Iran bringing Israel and Saudi Arabia closer together?

56 Kurdish mayors in Turkey each face 15 years in prison for writing a letter supporting a Kurdish TV station in Denmark

Missed opportunities of US-Iran rapprochement

News and Analysis Update (9/25/06)

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Gossip shows renew debate about free press and Islamic morals:

Padilla trial delayed because “case is ‘weak on facts'”

Muslims meet with Pope but some leave disappointed

National Intelligence Estimate blames Iraq for increasing terror threat

One step backwards:

Military threat to civilian government disguised as “secularism”

News and Analysis Updates (9/23/06)

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

Ramadan Mubarak!

US and EU precondition seems to be the problem:

Its too dangerous for girls to go to school? Wasn’t that the Taliban’s song?

In Iraq the Sunni and Shi`a violence rages…

… but Israeli policy reconciles Sunni and Shia militants in the Levant:

Alternatives to Violence in Muslim History

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Although Islam is not a religion of pacifism, by which I mean that warfare is not entirely prohibited, nonetheless it is a peaceful religion, in the sense that its objective is to achieve a state of peace and security for both the Muslims and for those non-Muslims under its protection. Further, warfare is governed by strict rules of what today would be considered “just war theory.” Although the preceding is vehemently denied by some warmongering ideologues and religious fanatics of varying affiliations, it is well known to competent historians and serious analysts. What is less well-appreciated is the fact that the tactics and strategies of nonviolence are part of the Muslim tradition as well. In a paper delivered at an international conference of Islamic social scientists in Istanbul earlier this month, I looked at some examples of nonviolent activism in the Muslim tradition, and note along the way how they relate to the basic teachings and how they compare to nonviolent resistance in America. You can read the entire paper by linking here:

“Alternatives to Violence in Muslim History” by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis Updates (9/22/06)

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (2nd amendment, U.S. Constiution)

Let the dialogue begin:

Israel won’t accept Hamas’ offer of a ten-year truce:

Valid visas don’t help:

News and Analysis Updates (9/21/06)

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

Washington area Muslims building bridges with the FBI…

…Meanwhile, raids in the mid-West increase tensions between the FBI and Muslims:

Ingrid Matteson talks about her agenda for her term as president of ISNA:

BBC claims that Isreal is helping train Kurdish militias in Northern Iraq: