Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Question President Obama Should Ask of Muslims

I am not a fan of Thomas Friedman. But he does pose an interesting challenge to President Obama in his column in yesterday's New York Times:

What to do? Many Arab Muslims know that what ails their societies is more than the West, and that The Narrative is just an escape from looking honestly at themselves. But none of their leaders dare or care to open that discussion. In his Cairo speech last June, President Obama effectively built a connection with the Muslim mainstream. Maybe he could spark the debate by asking that same audience this question:

“Whenever something like Fort Hood happens you say, ‘This is not Islam.’ I believe that. But you keep telling us what Islam isn’t. You need to tell us what it is and show us how its positive interpretations are being promoted in your schools and mosques. If this is not Islam, then why is it that a million Muslims will pour into the streets to protest Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, but not one will take to the streets to protest Muslim suicide bombers who blow up other Muslims, real people, created in the image of God? You need to explain that to us — and to yourselves.”

However, I do not share Friedman's confidence that President Obama is interested in sparking debate in the Muslim world much less asking questions of it. He is more interested addressing their various "grievances" most notably Israel's settlements.

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