From IslamOnline, with thanks to Skeetstreet:
CAIRO – Dusting off Cold-War tactics, the US administration has adopted a modified strategy to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself, a leading US magazine has reported.
IslamOnline thinks so. I doubt it. Government officials won’t even admit that Islam has anything to do with jihad terrorism — why would they try to influence it?
From military psychological-operations teams and CIA covert operatives to openly funded media and think tanks, Washington is spending tens of millions of dollars to get the job done properly via the White House’s Muslim World Outreach strategy, the US News & World Report said in its 25 April edition.
The “Hearts, Minds, and Dollars” report said the US government has embarked on a campaign of political warfare unmatched since the height of the Cold War.
Realizing that it poorly reached out to the Muslim world through drawing up tens of plans and hundreds of ideas to win Muslim hearts and minds, the US administration is eyeing now third parties in the Muslim world, who share values like democracy, women’s rights, and tolerance.
“You provide money and help create the political space for moderate Muslims to organize, publish, broadcast, and translate their work,” Zeyno Baran, a terrorism analyst at the Nixon Center, who advised on the US strategy, told the weekly.
Although US officials say they are wary of being drawn into a theological battle, the magazine said, many have concluded that America can no longer sit on the sidelines as radicals and moderates fight over the future of a religion with over a billion followers.
America may not be able to sit idly by, but this is overstated in any case. Radicals and moderates fight over the future of the religion? Look: Free Muslims Against Terrorism is holding a March Against Terror soon. But how many Islamic groups have endorsed it? Only a handful: most of the endorsing groups are non-Muslim or at least have non-Muslim leadership. That speaks volumes about the strength of moderates in this alleged fight over Islam’s future. The texts are not on their side, the imams are not on their side, and the Saudi billions are not on their side. Some fight.
Who is Moderate?
The strategy, however, failed to cite names of figures it considers as “moderates,” whether they are liberal- or -conservative-minded figures.
A key, but unsurprising, omission.
But it was crystal clear in naming certain Muslim schools it wanted to uproot like Saudi Wahhabism.
It said that the Saudis are estimated to have spent up to $75 billion since 1975 to expand “their fundamentalist sect, Wahhabism, worldwide.”
“The kingdom has funded hundreds of mosques, schools, and Islamic centers abroad,” it said.
The strategy, meanwhile, recommends making peace with Muslim groups that eschew violence and are at odds with Al-Qaeda, like the Muslim Brotherhood.
Unbelievable. Where did the besotted, benighted, befogged careerists at State get the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood, the forefather of Hamas and Al-Qaeda, is a cuddly civic-minded Rotary Club?
“I can guarantee that if you go to some of the unlikely points of contact in the Islamic world, you will find greater reception than you thought,” Milt Bearden, whose 30-year CIA career included long service in Muslim societies, told the US magazine.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is probably more a part of the solution than it is a part of the problem.”
Thirty years at the CIA and long service in Muslim societies, and it doesn’t look as if he picked up even the most basic principles about Islam and the Ikhwan — the Muslim Brotherhood. Milt, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but you might want to take a look at the pages of Jihad Watch sometime. Or maybe you might want to read a little overview of the history and goals of the Brotherhood in Onward Muslim Soldiers.
The weekly further revealed that US intelligence officers have been meeting not only with Muslim Brotherhood members, but also leaders of other likeminded groups.
As it did during the Cold War, the US administration has fielded a worldwide network of propagandists, publicists, and payoff artists.
It is convinced that using music, comics, poetry, and the Internet is the best way to get across America’s views to the Arab world.
The administration kicked off major new initiatives in foreign broadcasting–Radio Sawa, a pop music-news station in 2002, and Alhurra, a satellite-TV news network in 2004, both aimed at Arab audiences.
The US weekly cited reports that US officials have peddled fake video news reports and paid columnists to boost policies “here at home”.
The aim is to break off moderate Muslims from radicals as it did during the Cold War when it pitted moderate socialists against hard-core Communists.
“That’s how we’re thinking. It’s something we talk about all the time,” Peter Rodman, the Pentagon’s assistant secretary of defense for
international security affairs, told the weekly.
“In those days, it was covert. Now, it’s more open.”
An administration official admitted that the current ideological war was more difficult than the Cold War.
You can say that again.
“The Cold War was easy. It was a struggle against a godless political ideology. But this has theological elements,” he said.
“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?” he asked.
Yes: terrorists are and have been operating under the cloak of freedom of religion. Islam must be acknowledged as having a political element so that they will no longer be able to recruit terrorists in mosques.
“You do it quietly,” answered Zeyno Baran.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) features high on the strategy.
Records reveal that several projects were funded by the US aid in as many as 24 Muslim countries like Egypt, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Also being funded: media of all sorts, from book translations to radio and TV in at least a half-dozen nations.
Great. If you guys want to fund the translation of Islam Unveiled into Arabic, I have a translator ready to go. Contact me at email@example.com.
That is, if you can spare some of the funds left over after paying for the Arabic version of Sesame Street:
An Arabic version of Sesame Street has become one of the most popular shows on Egyptian TV, and along with lessons on literacy and hygiene, the program stresses values of religious tolerance.
In Bangladesh, USAID is training mosque leaders on development issues.
In Madagascar, the embassy even sponsored an inter-mosque sports tournament.
Well! That will stop the jihadists in their Nike-shod tracks!
In no country is the effort more pronounced than Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation.
Working behind the scenes, USAID now helps fund over 30 Muslim organizations in the country, the weekly said.
Among the programs: media production, workshops for Islamic preachers, and curriculum reform for schools from rural academies to Islamic universities.
Chaotic, Not Working
Despite the surge of activity, Washington’s efforts to win hearts and minds remain chaotic and anti-Americanism now reaches across every strata of the Muslim world, the weekly said….
It isn’t working because they refuse to recognize and address properly the source of the problem.
The Washington Post said Monday, April 18, that one of the main reasons that led to the “chaos” was that the US government has not tapped into its own Muslim minority as part of the global outreach.
According to the paper, Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States and is expected to become the second-largest religious bloc in the country in the next few years.
Despite this, the administration has put only two US Muslims in top jobs…
We have already seen the results of the unseemly rush in Washington to find and play ball with moderate Muslims: two of the biggest players, Al-Arian and Alamoudi, sit in prison at this moment. Are we going to do it again, or make sure that they’re dealing with people who are trustworthy? But they can’t do that, of course, without asking them tough questions about Islam and jihad.