U.S.-Muslim Relations: The Second Coming?
By Mohsin Mohi-ud din, Huffington Post, September 21, 2012
In the aftermath of the tragic attack of the US Embassy in Libya that claimed several US diplomats' lives, American flags burn across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, in over 12 countries. Many non-Muslim Americans are asking themselves: "why are they so enraged about an amateur film?; or, "why do they hate us?" The protests are no longer about the film. Increasingly, the public displays of anti-Americanism today reflect the state of affairs between the US and the 'Muslim world'.
Of the non-Muslims in the West, 58% consider Muslims fanatical and a median of 50% believe Muslims are violent. According to Pew Research surveys from 2011, median percentages of Muslims who identify the U.S. and Europe as violent, greedy, or immoral, is above 50%. On these facts, the ideological divide between the Muslim and Western world is a matter of concern to both U.S. public diplomacy and for the emerging democracies of the Middle East and North Africa.
With regards to the current crisis sweeping the Middle East and boxing with America's diplomacy, there are four important concepts to keep in mind.
First, the violent attacks on US embassies are promoted by, if not entirely designed by, extremist networks seeking to weaken the momentum of Arab civil society, who have bravely lead the calls for change across the region. Extremists were sidelined in 2011. With their leadership lost, terrorist and extremist networks are ready to destabilize their communities and social and political gains by emerging democracies. With inconsistent funds and no central leadership, the physical terrorism of the last decade increasingly is taking a constructivist turn. The extremist networks of today seek to impose cultural unity via the ideological fuel of existing trust deficits between America and Muslim majority societies. To this end, the reality of emerging networks of Islamophobia in the US have become the new tool of ideological terrorist for rapid destabilization across the Middle East.
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