U.S. Foreign Policy and Muslims Discussed at ISNA

Article excerpt

At a session of the Islamic Society of North America's 39th conference entitled "9/11 Beyond the Blame Game: Between Flawed U.S. Foreign Policy and Distortions in Muslim Societies," speakers discussed the implications of U.S. foreign policy on American Muslim communities.

Dr. Mumtaz Ahmad, professor at Hampton University and former president of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists, said that, since the tragic events of 9/11, Muslim scholars have been asked to pass a litmus test by reiterating their full condemnation of the terrorist attacks and emphasizing that Islam is a religion of peace. Islam, however, is not merely a religion of peace, he said, but also a religion of justice. There will never be peace in Palestine, Kashmir, or Chechnya, he emphasized, without justice first.

Dr. Ahmad was also critical of the simplistic logic used to explain the motives of the terrorists. The idea that "they hate our freedoms," he said, could not be further from the truth. ("They," of course, remain conveniently undefined, he pointed out.) Such logic, he said, is completely oblivious to the way the West is defined in many countries around the world. It is, unfortunately, associated with colonialism, multinational corporations, capitalist greed, military might and so on. There are far more reasons why U.S. embassies around the world are fortresses, he stated, and why American diplomats must travel in armored vehicles in the streets of Karachi or Cairo than because potential terrorists hate freedom. …