Ignoring the jihad threat, appeasing jihadist Pakistan — all this and more is in Obama’s favor, as far as Omar Sacirbey is concerned. But he still has to do more! It’s never enough! “Obama walks the talk in new Muslim outreach,” by Omar Sacirbey for the Religion News Service, April 15 (thanks to Mackie):
Nearly a year after President Barack Obama’s historic speech in Cairo announcing that America wanted a “new beginning” with the Muslim world, evidence of that policy shift has, in recent weeks, become hard to ignore.
The Obama administration is revising national security guidelines that strip references to “Islamic radicalism” and other terms deemed inflammatory to Muslims. Officials also reversed 3-month-old guidelines that singled out passengers on flights arriving from 13 Muslim countries, and Cuba, for mandatory screening.
Controversial scholar Tariq Ramadan entered the United States for the first time in six years after being barred by the Bush administration, and the Obama administration has dispatched American Nobel Prize winners to advise Muslims scientists, economists and other professionals on how to improve their research and better manage their institutions. At month’s end, the U.S. government will play host to some 500 mainly Muslim business people for intensive seminars on entrepreneurship.
“There’s a lot going on but not a lot being told,” said Qamar ul-Huda, a senior officer at the Religion and Peacemaking Program at the United States Institute for Peace, an independent nonpartisan institute chartered by Congress. “Many Muslims are not aware of what’s happening, and that needs to be addressed.”
Many analysts say tangible benefits to U.S. foreign policy and security already are visible, such as increased U.S.-Pakistani cooperation that has resulted in the capture or killing of an unprecedented number of high-level Taliban leaders.
In June, Obama will have another chance to win over Muslims when he visits Indonesia, the Southeast Asian nation where he spent part of his childhood and which boasts the world’s largest Muslim population.
Still, analysts say the long-term battle for Muslim hearts and minds is just beginning, and they caution it will take time to win over people in societies plagued by unemployment, corruption, and social malaise — much less those who are more familiar with U.S. troops in Afghanistan than business seminars in Washington.
Obama and other administration officials stopped using terms like “Islamic extremism” shortly after taking office and are purging “Islamic radicalism” from the National Security Strategy policy document.
“It’s offensive to everyday Muslims who don’t like their religion tied to extremism,” ul-Huda said. While not yet finalized, the new language will target terrorism groups rather than use general terms that connect terrorism to Islam….
One wonders what ul-Huda is doing to stop Muslims from tying Islam to “extremism.” But I think I already know the answer to that.