Over the weekend I finished a book written by Imam Rauf in 2004 called What’s Right with Islam is What’s Right with America. I highly recommend it. I’ve written about Imam Rauf in a prior blog and he is the man behind the community center they hope to build a few blocks from Ground Zero.
Imam Rauf recommended in his book that a good start in mending our relationship with the Muslim world would be for an American President to give a speech somewhere in the Muslim world on US – Muslim tensions. I was reminded of the excellent speech (below) that President Obama gave early in his presidency.
Another important thing I took from the book was some of the key historical events that have caused the rise in Islamic religious fundamentalism. Imam Rauf points to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War I which Muslims regard as a deliberate attempt by the West to destroy Islam, a widely shared Muslim perception that the United States has supported undemocratic regimes in Muslim countries, the CIA overthrow of Mossadegh a popularly elected prime minister of Iran in which we refused to support the will of the governed and the first George Bush’s request of Iraqi citizens to rise up against Saddam Hussein which they did, but then not supporting them.
Imam Rauf wants the United States to be a catalyst and supporter for nurturing discussions that raise dialogue to help implement democracy in the Islamic world. How can this be a bad thing ? It’s just my humble opinion, but more communication has got to be the answer. If our government continues to choose the military option to accomplish our objectives then things will never get better and we will never escape this vicious cycle.