say, “These people are abusing your
religion, your god, your prophet,
your culture. You want to be friends
with this country?” It doesn’t help
the United States. It doesn’t help
our allies, and it squeezes the moderates further into a corner.
When we begin next time to
interact and react to something
very negative about other cultures,
we need to be sensitive to what
impact they’ll have here. There are
7 million Muslims who live here as
American citizens. Of the African
Americans who’ve been here as
long as the people who landed with
the Mayflower, 40 to 50 percent of
them were actually Muslim. They
are now reverting to Islam and have
a very deep sense of being Muslim.
What are we doing when we
attack a civilization where we have
our own Muslims here and our
own interests abroad? We have a
relationship with the civilization of
Islam, which has a billion and a half
people and is growing. Ask yourselves: Is it a wise policy where we
are trying to make friends?
On the one hand, all our presidents constantly say, “We must win
hearts and minds.” On the other
hand, we’re abusing them, their
prophet and their god. They are
a traditional people and still have
respect for traditional culture, traditional elders and traditional faith.
DR. POLLACK The media does many
of the worst things. Imagine what
it must be like as an Arab watching
the news about the United States.
Think about your local news …
stories about crime, sexual depravity, our own extremist politicians.
What do you think the Arab and
Muslim worlds make of Michele
Bachmann, Rick Perry and their
more populous views that we as
Americans recognize as representing a certain segment of society but
not necessarily its entirety? That’s
what we get as well.
There are some American stations that play in particular to the
sensationalist. This is true in the
Arab and Muslim world too—
different Arabs pick different stations.
Don’t rely on TV for the entirety
of your news. There are enormous
sources out there. You’ve got to
explore them. We have to encourage those in the Muslim world to go
beyond what Al Jazeera says as well.
There are huge numbers of
moderates out there. After the
United States invaded Iraq, the
state department did polls and
focus groups with Iraqis right after
the fall of Saddam Hussein. What
we found was Iraqis overwhelmingly wanted democracy.
One of the questions that the
state department asked Iraqis was
“What is your model of what kind
of government you want?” The plurality by far said the United States.
The country that got the lowest
For 30–40 years, the Arab
autocrats and extreme Islamists
have had kind of a deal with the
devil, where they have pulled
society in two different directions.
The one thing they have been
united on is to absolutely crush
the moderate center. It has