Wolfowitz Praises Moderate Islam in `War on Terror' Speech. (News Alert!)

By O'Meara, Kelly Patricia; Simon, Zoli | Insight on the News, September 30, 2002 | Go to article overview

Wolfowitz Praises Moderate Islam in `War on Terror' Speech. (News Alert!)


O'Meara, Kelly Patricia, Simon, Zoli, Insight on the News


In a recent speech on "U.S. Relations With the Muslim World After 9/11" at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz praised Turkey and Indonesia, while warning that U.S. support of moderate Muslims will be crucial in the "war on terror." Wolfowitz said, "There is a dangerous gap between the West and the Muslim world. We must bridge this gap, and we must begin to do so now." It's not "a clash of civilizations," he explained, but "a collision of misunderstanding."

Wolfowitz praised Turkey, a secular state, for being a steadfast U.S. ally and for reaching out to "address broad political reform by granting television, radio-broadcasting and education rights in Kurdish and other regional dialects." He called for bringing Turkey into the European Union, saying that "in the long run, the way to defeat extremism is to demonstrate that the values that we call Western are indeed universal; to demonstrate that the benefits we enjoy--the benefits of a free and prosperous and open society--are available to all Muslims. Never has our stake in Turkey been greater." He spoke of Turkey's "historic commitment to modernity" and said "moderation deserves support and vindication."

A former ambassador to Indonesia, Wolfowitz also praised that country for taking steps toward democracy and away from radical Islam. The national legislature there recently rejected adoption of Islamic Shariah law as Indonesia's national law. Citing this, Wolfowitz emphasized that, "If we are serious about opposing terrorism, we also must be serious about helping Indonesia in its quest for a stable democracy and a stable economy. …

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