Friday, February 23, 2007

Occupied Gaza like apartheid South Africa, says UN report

I remember blogging about UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories, John Dugard, earlier when one of his articles appeared in a prominent Atlanta newspaper. But alas, that was Atlanta, and this current article is from The Guardian. One can imagine the difference in readership, as well as the impact its contents can have.

He says similar things, ie Israel is an apartheid state and it is racist, but one would hope that we move beyond these discussions, and instead, work toward a sustainable solution.

I must say, though, that such a solution cannot take place without the developed world's support, and if the US and Britain continue to play irresponsible, or rather, unresponsive, roles, then we are truly doomed.

Without further ado, here's the article.

The myth of Muslim support for terror

This article made my day! I love the Christian Science Monitor as a media outlet to begin with, but wish their mass appeal somehow made its way down South or further West where mainstream America should be reading it as a matter of habit.

The results of the polls do not surprise me; it is the publishing/coverage of them in a major media outlet that does. But then again, the CS Monitor is always a step ahead of the rest of its peers.

I've copied the article in its entirety below. Happy reading and enjoy the weekend!

The myth of Muslim support for terror

The common enemy is violence and terrorism, not Muslims any more than Christians or Jews.

By Kenneth Ballen

Those who think that Muslim countries and pro-terrorist attitudes go hand-in-hand might be shocked by new polling research: Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria.

The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland's prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "never justified," while 24 percent believe these attacks are "often or sometimes justified."

Contrast those numbers with 2006 polling results from the world's most-populous Muslim countries – Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Terror Free Tomorrow, the organization I lead, found that 74 percent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that terrorist attacks are "never justified"; in Pakistan, that figure was 86 percent; in Bangladesh, 81 percent.

Do these findings mean that Americans are closet terrorist sympathizers?

Hardly. Yet, far too often, Americans and other Westerners seem willing to draw that conclusion about Muslims. Public opinion surveys in the United States and Europe show that nearly half of Westerners associate Islam with violence and Muslims with terrorists. Given the many radicals who commit violence in the name of Islam around the world, that's an understandable polling result.

But these stereotypes, affirmed by simplistic media coverage and many radicals themselves, are not supported by the facts – and they are detrimental to the war on terror. When the West wrongly attributes radical views to all of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims, it perpetuates a myth that has the very real effect of marginalizing critical allies in the war on terror.

Indeed, the far-too-frequent stereotyping of Muslims serves only to reinforce the radical appeal of the small minority of Muslims who peddle hatred of the West and others as authentic religious practice.

Terror Free Tomorrow's 20-plus surveys of Muslim countries in the past two years reveal another surprise: Even among the minority who indicated support for terrorist attacks and Osama bin Laden, most overwhelmingly approved of specific American actions in their own countries. For example, 71 percent of bin Laden supporters in Indonesia and 79 percent in Pakistan said they thought more favorably of the United States as a result of American humanitarian assistance in their countries – not exactly the profile of hard-core terrorist sympathizers. For most people, their professed support of terrorism/bin Laden can be more accurately characterized as a kind of "protest vote" against current US foreign policies, not as a deeply held religious conviction or even an inherently anti- American or anti-Western view.

In truth, the common enemy is violence and terrorism, not Muslims any more than Christians or Jews. Whether recruits to violent causes join gangs in Los Angeles or terrorist cells in Lahore, the enemy is the violence they exalt.

Our surveys show that not only do Muslims reject terrorism as much if not more than Americans, but even those who are sympathetic to radical ideology can be won over by positive American actions that promote goodwill and offer real hope.

America's goal, in partnership with Muslim public opinion, should be to defeat terrorists by isolating them from their own societies. The most effective policies to achieve that goal are the ones that build on our common humanity. And we can start by recognizing that Muslims throughout the world want peace as much as Americans do.

Kenneth Ballen is founder and president of Terror Free Tomorrow, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to finding effective policies that win popular support away from global terrorists.

Mr. Ballen's contact info is below - send him a thank you note!

Ken Ballen, President

Terror Free Tomorrow

(202) 274-1800 x 201

PO Box 5704

Washington, DC 20016

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NY Event: Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam - 3/13

Asia Society cordially invites you to

Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam

Zahid Hussain, Pakistan correspondent for the Times of London, the Wall
Street Journal, and Newsweek.
Hasan-Askari Rizvi, Pakistan Studies Scholar, Johns Hopkins University

After September 11, 2001, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan vowed to
fight extremism in his country and has since established himself as a key
ally in America's "global war on terror." But as veteran Pakistani
journalist and commentator Zahid Hussain reveals in this book, President
Musharraf is in an impossible position. Based on exclusive interviews
with key players and grassroots radicals, Zahid Hussain, exposes the
threads of Pakistan's complex political power web and the consequences of
President Musharraf's decision to support the U.S.'s drive against
jihadism, which essentially took Pakistan to war with itself.

"Frontline Pakistan is the first serious exposure of the rise and
continuation of Islamic extremism in Pakistan. Zahid Hussain shows the
links between the major jihadi groups of Pakistan, Al Qaeda, and the ISI
with a degree of detail not seen in any Western writing on the subject"
-Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and
Fundamentalism in Central America

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Copies of Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam will be
available for purchase and signing.

Policy programs at the Asia Society are generously supported by the
Nicholas Platt Endowment for Public Policy.

Please Register in Advance:
$7 Member, $10 Nonmember

To register ONLINE:
To register by FAX (credit card orders only please): 212-517-8315
To register by PHONE call (M-F 10am to 5pm): 212-517-ASIA

No cancellations, exchanges or refunds

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

NY Event: NYU Wagner's INTERSECTIONS featuring Irshad Manji - 3/5

with Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes & CBS News Correspondent


Irshad Manji, Author of the National Bestseller, "The Trouble with Islam

Ms. Manji will preview and discuss her new PBS documentary, "Faith without
Fear" which is based upon her national bestseller "The Trouble with Islam
Today". Her film addresses the challenges of being a progressive Muslim
woman and the need to voice her opinion even though it is often met with
fierce opposition.

Book signing and reception to follow.

Monday, March 5, 2007
5 - 6:30 pm
Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service,
New York University
The Puck Building's Skylight Ballroom, 7th Floor
295 Lafayette Street, NY, NY 10012

RSVP online:
Space is limited.


between America and the Islamic World

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
06:00 PM - 07:15 PM

A Lecture by Farooq Kathwari, Chairman and CEO of Ethan Allen Inc.

Hosted by New York University's Dialogues: Islamic World-U.S.-The West and
the Stern School of Business.

Cantor Board Room of NYU's Kaufman Management Center (Room 11-75, 44 West
4th Street, New York, New York).

Please RSVP by Monday, February 26, 2007.

Farooq Kathwari is chairman, CEO and president of Ethan Allen Interiors
Inc., a leading home furnishings manufacturer and retailer. In addition to
overseeing this major U.S. corporation, he also lends his considerable
leadership skills to humanitarian activities, advocating for human rights,
promoting tolerance and leading international efforts for conflict

For event details go to

This event is free and open to the public.

Partnership between America and the Islamic World, please go to

For more information: Nyasa Hickey
(212) 998-8693