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U.S. Muslim Engagement Project

A cross-section of American leaders met recently via the U.S. Muslim Engagement Project in order to address the underlying causes of terrorism, and to help set a new course of action in relations with the Middle East. Terrorism measurements are difficult to pin down. But most intelligence data suggest linkage between the “war on terror” and significant increases in terrorism worldwide. The Iraq war has emboldened Iran with greater influence in the Middle East, and the radical groups Hamas and Hizbullah–primarily sponsored by Iran– have gained ground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Extremists on both sides are in control of the region, and increasing violence dims the prospects for compromise. (See Action Opportunities below for more on the U.S. Muslim Engagement Project.)

 

 

Multimedia Content

When the military mission was unwisely diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2002, the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorist groups began to re-organize. They now operate with impunity along both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border. The annual State Department terrorism report shows that, in Pakistan alone, attacks more than quadrupled between 2006 and 2008, with a sharp increase in “coordination, sophistication and frequency.“ The Taliban and al Qaeda now threaten the fragile governments of both countries, and seek to control Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, a potentially catastrophic scenario for the Western world.

While these developments are not the fault of American policies alone, we unquestionably hold the leading role of responsibility. Most thoughtful people here and across the West are prepared to change course in the Middle East. As recent drone bombings in Pakistan has demonstrated, hard power continues to be not only morally questionable, but packed with unintended consequences. Now obvious to most observers is that violent action, with its attendant peripheral destruction, incites further hatred of America within the general population and serves as a propaganda tool for further terrorist recruitment.

See Multimedia Content for VIDEO of Charlie Rose interview with Juan Cole, author and professor at the University of Michigan. He talks about his book, “Engaging the Muslim World” which encourages productive exchange between the West and the Middle East. See here also President Obama’s Cairo speech to the Muslim World:

The relationship between America and the Muslim world is key to achieving security at home and around the world. The U.S. Muslim Engagement Project was formed to build bridges between our societies, to overcome differences through peaceful means, create improved relations and avoid disaster.

Action Opportunities

Please visit the Action Opportunities box above to make an inquiry about the Muslim Engagement Project, and email me with other links to similar East-West initiatives. Thank you.

 

 

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PLEASE COMMENT:
What cultural forces do you view as causing or perpetuating terrorism? Why are goals of the U.S. Muslim Engagement Project important?

 

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Filed under Culture  |  Comments: 0 | Posted on Thursday, May 7th, 2009



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