LAHORE: The US State Department is launching what it says will be the first comprehensive public diplomacy effort targeting children, hoping to shape the views of Muslim youths ages 8 to 14 with a series of summer camps and enrichment programs designed to counter negative images of the US, The Boston Globe reported on Monday.
The report said the new initiative was the brainchild of Karen Hughes, a confidante of President Bush who has become the most powerful public-diplomacy czar in decades. Hughes has argued forcefully that the US government must reach out to children younger than age 14, a population the State Department has largely neglected because they are too young for traditional exchange programmes”¦.
As a test of her idea, Hughes asked embassies in 14 Islamic countries this summer to come up with pilot programmes for that age bracket, and spent nearly $1 million on projects that involved about 6,000 youths and hundreds of local partnering organisations. Participants included more than 2,000 girls in Turkey who attended a basketball camp and 80 children from rural schools in Malaysia who learned about Thomas Jefferson and other US heroes on an American-style camping trip with embassy staff and families.
But the programmes also carry risks in nations with virulent anti-American sentiments, which are where most of the programmes are aimed. For example, 41 Iraqi students learned about baseball and the English language for three days this summer in Baghdad. A photo of the group meeting with US Ambassador Ryan Crocker hangs on the door of Hughes”s office at the State Department — but it cannot be publicly released for fear that the children may be harmed by terrorists. — from this article
How will 6,000 children, playing basketball and doing crafts, or 60,000 children, or 600,000 children, or 6 million, doing the same, all paid for by the long-suffering American taxpayer in a program that is called the “brainchild” — presumably adopted — of Karen Hughes, overcome what they or other children will constantly be fed from the Qur’an, the Hadith, the Sira?
What will be accomplished by giving Muslim children memories of nice camps paid for by nice Americans, with pictures of July Fourth picnics, and cowboys in Wyoming, and lobstermen in Maine — you know, the kind of thing that the karen-hughses of this world think might be just the ticket to make Muslims “like us — because they are just like us.” (I made it up, it’s not her idiotic slogan, but it just as well might be)?
The way to limit the menace of Jihad is to get a large number of Muslims to change what they believe. The belief may be in Islam itself — that is, we may show them that we Infidels are well aware of what Islamic texts contain and what Islam teaches (see Ayaan Hirsi Ali, see Ibn Warraq, see Wafa Sultan, see Ali Sina, see an ever-growing list of distinguished and articulate apostates: then see Magdi Allam, for the “Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only” Muslim, see Bat Ye’or, see Oriana Fallaci, see many many others, including those associated with this website), and will not be fooled.
And when that happens the Muslims will quickly realize that the blague as before will not do, and have to start speaking something with just a little more resemblance to the truth. And by degrees, as they do this, as they are forced by Infidel attitudes to do this, some of them will realize that they are not obligated to stay with Islam forever, and may become those defectors, those apostates. This is likely to take place especially among those who are non-Arabs, and who can be persuaded of what is, of course, true: that Islam has always been a vehicle of Arab supremacism, of Arab cultural and linguistic imperialism. And if the Infidels stay resolute and implacable, based on their greatly increased knowledge of Islam, Muslims are going to have to think about Islam itself, and non-Arab Muslims will have to think about whether or not pretending to be little Arabs, with Arab names, and following Arab folkways of the seventh-century (as imagined), is really quite the thing that they want for themselves.
And if the ways in which Islam limits artistic expression, or free and skeptical inquiry, are pointed out, repeatedly, there will be some wavering Muslim parents. They will be able to inwardly recognize, if not outwardly admit, that all this does indeed stunt the mental (and moral) growth, and who wants that for one’s beloved children?
And if Infidels make clear that the prevalence of despotism among Muslim states is not accidental, but reflects the view in Islam that political legitimacy comes not from the expressed will of the people but from the will expressed by Allah in the Qur’an (and glossed by the Sunnah, that is, mainly, by what is in the Hadith and Sira), for Muslims are merely slaves of Allah, subject to his whims, then at least some Muslims are going to have to answer this criticism. And they will be unable to do so, for the true-blue Believers will admit to the justice of the charge, and indeed claim that it shows the superiority of Islam.
And if they make clear as well that the economic backwardness of Muslim states is a result of several factors, and that those factors again arise out of the teachings, attitudes, atmospherics of Islam, then there will be those who, contemplating the attraction of Islam, but also wanting economic development (say, in sub-Saharan Africa), will choose to keep Islam out, or, if it is present in their countries, to keep it from spreading. And it should be clear that inshallah-fatalism, and political despotism, both prompted in Muslim countries by the tenets of Islam, are what explain the failure of the rich Arab oil states, for example, to develop anything like modern economies, despite the ten trillion dollars they have received, since 1973 alone, in unmerited oil revenues.