Farah Pandith’s job is evidently to convince Muslims that America is really their friend. The assumption here is that we can win hearts and minds with enough gestures of goodwill. Evidence to the contrary has never registered on anyone’s radar screen. Nor has the idea that Muslims might have reasons of their own, arising from their own beliefs and assumptions, for disliking the United States and the West in general — no, it’s all because of us, and we have the power to change the situation ourselves by changing our own behavior and our public presentation of ourselves.
The unconscious paternalism of this, coming from avowed multiculturalists, is amusing, but of course they don’t notice the self-contradiction either.
“Islam: U.S. Official Aims to ‘Bridge Gap’ with Muslims in Europe,” from AKI, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
Rome, 21 May (AKI) – Farah Pandith, who in February was appointed to the freshly created position of senior advisor for Muslim Engagement in the State Department’s European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau, has pointed to her own life experience as an American Muslim woman of Indian origin to illustrate how it is possible for Muslim immigrants to successfully integrate into United States society. “I understood from very early on that whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, education put me in the game,” Pandith told a conference in Rome on Monday on the topic of Literature and International Dialogue.
“I also learned – and this is something that Americans work assiduously at – to balance pride in my cultural heritage with a deep attachment to the values of America,” Pandith, who as a baby emigrated with her parents to the United States from Srinagar in 1969, said….
The “Muslim experience in America does prove that Muslims who live their religion can be unqualified democratic Americans,” she told the gathering held at Rome’s American Studies Centre.
Turning to Washington’s foreign policies, Pandith described the notion that America is at war with Islam as a “myth”.
She said that in the two conflicts currently involving the United States in majority Muslim nations – Afghanistan and Iraq – Washington was supporting “fledgling democracies,” after helping to respectively topple the Taliban, which she described as “an obscurantist regime that targeted and banned centuries-old Afghan culture” and Saddam Hussein, “one of the worst dictators ever to tyrannise Muslims”.
She also said the US had given billion of dollars in humanitarian and economic aid around the world in Muslim communities, citing as examples Indonesia in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, in Pakistan following the October 2005 earthquake and reconstruction in Lebanon after the July-August 2006 conflict with Israel.