U.S.-Muslim relations

Editor’s summary

The Council on Foreign Relations has published a report titled, “A New Beginning: Strategies for a More Fruitful Dialogue with the Muslim World.” In the executive summary, authors Craig Charney and Nicole Yakatan write, “Although many Muslims are angry at what they perceive America does, the right efforts to communicate can produce significant shifts in attitudes. Such efforts would involve listening more, speaking in a humbler tone, and focusing on bilateral aid and partnership, while tolerating disagreement on controversial policy issues.”

Presumably, a good place to start would be for U.S. journalists to learn a thing or two about the cultures of Muslim believers. Frank Kaufmann, an expert in inter-religious relations, writes: “The most frightful revelation shown by the ‘Newsweek horrors’ is that the cost of cultural and religious ignorance in a world of instant communication is at an all time high, and can no longer be ignored or left unattended.”

Meanwhile, a UPI analysis makes me think of an important rule of crisis management: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

4 responses to “U.S.-Muslim relations”

  1. I have seen and heard of the “West’s Bible”, torn, burned,mutilated and even desecrated, does not cause a concern with many “Christians”. I am a christian, and I do not become inflamed to rage when I see it done.

    It is a “Book”. It has been desecrated by many cultures, including Christians themselves. It is “GOD’S” word, yet it can be reprinted and copied quickly, and back on the shelves for sale with in a day.

    The “Koran”, is a “Book” and each Koran has not been around since “Muhamad” wrote it nearly 1500 years, anymore than “Bible” has not been around since it’s authers wrote it. They both give you the story of the people who wrote it. Niether has been imbued with the essence of “Life”.they are just paper with instructions for a more wholesome life, but the books are not alive. I think even “Muhamed” would not believe that. They are instruction manuals, on how to live a better life. Maybe even a happier life.

    Bibles and Korans, have been printed time and time again. How do the Muslims get a new Koran? And if they are lost stolen or desecrated, how do you get a new one?
    You buy it. They are not “GODS”, they are “Gods Words”, and they are Muhameds WORDS. They are not imbued with the spirit of either “Muhamed”, “nor, “GODS” virtual being. They are Words that were spoken, not printed, when they first came into being. 4000 years ago, and 1500 tears ago. The people who wrote them are long dead, and the “GODS”, in either one, would not want you to kill for a Koran or Bible, that was maybe printed a week ago.

    Thank you, for giving us a place to place our thoughts.

  2. Thanks to William for his comment. Right now, the U.S. military is denying that the alleged desecration took place. But it’s still an important issue to discuss.

    For me, it’s important to ask how a particular action or statement is going to be received. If I suspect that some statement or action by me is going to trigger riots that cause people to die, then I need not to make that statement or engage in that action. If I DON’T KNOW that something is likely to spark such a reaction, then I clearly need to educate myself so that such situations can be avoided in the future. This, I think, is where many in the West find ourselves today.

  3. Dear Mr. Editor:
    I am writing in response to the article posted above and to the comment from Mr. William Stevens. I concur with the author of the article on the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran of the Muslims. There are many reasons why this issue is significant and deserves serious consideration. Because of the limitation of time and space, let me identify the following for your reflection and digestion:-

    1. Despite the major inroads made by modernity and post modernity, the power of religion in human life has remained a relevant and active force in the daily activities of men and women of this planet.Although secular humanism has created a comfort zone for a sizable portion of the human race, its faith in a realm of thought devoid of metaphysical underpinnings has remained unconvincing among the vast majority of us in this world. It is only against this background that one could address the Muslim concern about the desecration of the Quran. What Mr. Stevens does not know about Islam is the fact that, to Muslims the Quran is not only a book you can read, it is also taken literally by all Muslims regardless of sectarian differences, as the actual words of Allah the Creatior.In their thinking there is a logical and moral connection between the reverence for the book in material form and reverence for and commitment to the words uttered by the reader of the Quran. This is why in Muslim societies you have Qaris, men and women who recite the Quran melodically and their recitation sometimes touch the Muslim believer so much that he or she bursts into tears.Those who believe only in the reality of this world may not appreciate the reverence and mental attachments of Muslims to their Quran.

    2. Another point that deserves attention here is the fact that unlike any other sacred texts I am aware of , the Quran is not only a book of instruction for the spiritual traveler on the road to a rendevous with death and his or her Creator, it is also a gas station, a resting place, a thread of fellowship that binds the hearts and minds of the believers during their five daily prayers. Any serious Muslim who believes that the Quran is the actual word of the Creator would admit that in his daily undertakings, he has to balance things of this world with those of the next life. The devout Muslims recites Quranic words not only during the five daily prayers but also in his encounter with life challenges and circumstances.
    I hope this response would serve as a basis for mutual engagement.

  4. I believe that Laura Bush made an important contribution on this issue by visiting the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock over the weekend. She went into a situation where she could expect significant risk to her safety. During the protests, she maintained her poise. I think she should be commended for her courage and thanked for her sincere jesture.

    I am curious to know whether anyone in the Muslim community agrees with me.