Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Article: US Gov't Spends Millions to Change Face of Islam

Salaam 'Alaikum

Anyone who doesn't believe that the gov't is pouring tons of money and time into the so-called "reformist" movement "within" Islam is naive or blind or both. Anyone who thinks the Rand report was a nice piece of reading, but that it has nothing to do with current so-called "reformist" movements or gov't spending and activity is naive, blind, or a liar.

US News & World Report Hearts, Minds, and Dollars : In an Unseen Front in the War on Terrorism, America is Spending Millions...To Change the Very Face of Islam by David E. Kaplan

"In at least two dozen countries, Washington has quietly funded Islamic radio and TV shows, coursework in Muslim schools, Muslim think tanks, political workshops, or other programs that promote moderate Islam. Federal aid is going to restore mosques, save ancient Korans, even build Islamic schools. This broad engagement with Islam has raised questions about whether the funding is legal, given the constitutional line between church and state....

"But the breakthrough finally came last summer, sources say, when the NSC began reworking the White House's National Strategy for Combating Terrorism. In 2003, officials had released an earlier, public version of the document, but there is a larger, classified edition that includes annexes dealing with key objectives, among them terrorism finance and winning the war of ideas. Staffers rewrote the ideas section with bold, new language and fashioned it into a strategy called Muslim World Outreach. Aimed at strengthening the hand of moderates, the plan acknowledges that America has done poorly in reaching out to them. But it goes one big step further, stating that the United States and its allies have a national security interest not only in what happens in the Islamic world but within Islam itself, according to three sources who have seen the document. It further states that because America is limited to what it can do in a religious struggle, the nation must rely on partners who share values like democracy, women's rights, and tolerance. Among those partners: allied Muslim states, private foundations, and nonprofit groups.

Approved by President Bush, the Muslim World Outreach strategy is now being implemented across the government. But it has stirred controversy. "The Cold War was easy," says a knowledgeable official. "It was a struggle against a godless political ideology. But this has theological elements. It goes to the core of American belief that we don't mess with freedom of religion. Do we have any authority to influence this debate?" The answer, for now, appears to be yes. "You do it quietly," says Zeyno Baran, a terrorism analyst at the Nixon Center who advised on the strategy. "You provide money and help create the political space for moderate Muslims to organize, publish, broadcast, and translate their work....

"One solution being pushed: offering backdoor U.S. support to reformers tied to Sufism, a tolerant branch of Islam... (see related article, "The Enemy of my Enemy," about US gov't funding designed to gain the support of Sufis).

"Also on the grants list: Islamic think tanks that are fostering a body of scholarly research showing liberal Islam's compatibility with democracy and human rights."

Of course, this is an article that refers to Radio Sawa and Al Hurra TV as "bright spots," when the truth is that al Hurra is the least watched Arabic-language channel in the ME (everyone knows what it is) -- "reaching viewers" and having them actually watch and believe what you air are two different things -- and that while Sawa's music selections are popular, people literally turn the volume down or turn the radio off altogether when the news comes on (I've actually witnessed this first hand). So take what is beneficial and truly informative from it.

6 Comments:

Blogger DrMaxtor said...

I was going to post this, but you beat me to it ! lol
I'd love to hear from all the naysayers how us "wahabees" are just conspiracy theorists still.

6:40 PM  
Blogger altaf said...

Salaam

i missed that bit about the sufis -that group WORDE that they mention in the article, appears to be a Kabbani group (they were one of the first to "congratulate" pmuna on their formation).

This kind of stuff is such poison they are sowing - we're gonna have to double up on our antidotes!

7:00 PM  
Blogger izzymo said...

Great to see you back, LT. Can't wait to read your future posts.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Ginny said...

Assalamu alaikum, Inshallah, what I'm about to say makes sense. They seem to be implying that sufism is a different branch of Islam altogether. And that's not necessarily the case, since any real "sufi" is going to follow the laws of Islam. They also have the idea that just because someone is a "sufi" they they're just going to let the US dictate to them what the US thinks Islam should be. Well, of course, the US isn't going to do it openly, they're going to try to fund and put people in place who are in line with the US's ideas, glaos and objectives.

I find this interesting since it seems to me that all this is going to do is create more of a backlash and more extremism.

And what do they mean by "moderate islam"? Given what I've seen in some articles, their version of "moderate islam" worries me. Because it seems to me, as I've said before, that some confuse a pious religious Muslim with a terrorist or an extremist, and that's not good. And it's also even worse when you have so-called Muslims trying to further that view among Muslims.

And why should a President, who is openly an evangelical Chrisitan, be the one to approve anything Islam-related?

All of this is very scary to me, but the verse in the Quran where it says "Allah is the best of planners" comes to mind. Let them plan and plot all they want, Inshallah, their plan will not succeed. I don't want someone whose views are antithetical to Islam itself, be telling me how I should live my life as a Muslim.

May Allah give us all strength and may He help us all to be good Muslims.

9:32 PM  
Blogger altaf said...

Salaam Alaikum, the "sufis" that these people will support are not those who live and breathe Islam.

They will support two types of "sufis" 1) those who do not care about Islam, and believe that you can leave Islam behind.

You know, the same people who think that Maulana Rumi was some kinda free form homosexual drunkard (astagfirullah).

They will then use these kinds of "sufis" to undermine the Quran - and the sacred rituals such as salaat, and fasting.

(Because according to them, these are just "rituals" that can be left behind - along with madhabs and so on... they quote one or two lines from Rumi etc. and then think they are "sufis" - basically they have little or no experience with being part of traditional muslim tariqas.)

The second type of "sufis" they will promote are those whose "brotherhood" operate much more as a network - and not as a spiritual path. These networks end up being more like social clubs, and they can be used to promote the US agenda (that is pretty clearly laid out in the article).

A lot of this is scary, but inshallah, we have lots of Muslims in our community who have integrity, and will see through this game.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Umm Zaid said...

Salaam 'Alaikum

Altaf, you've got it 100% there. The "Sufis" they will support are going to be people like Stephen Schwartz (who is so out of touch, he called the Lebanese party Hizbullah "Wahabis").

5:46 PM  

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