News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Moderate Moslem Voices

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Moderate Moslem Voices

For some time I have advocated that the US govt. seek and engage moderate Moslem voices in the mideast. Against the howling bloodshed and the extremists blasting each other with one lie after another, I suggested that there are moderates in the mideast whom the US should listen to. These moderates form the majority of Moslems, who find the extremists as repugnant as any other rational being does.

Such a view does not go over well to some people. Many in the extreme right, who control several media outlets, see a wolf in sheep's clothing in everyone who's Arab or Moslem. I have been denounced and derided on one forum for even suggesting that there are Moslem and Arab moderates. I will not go into what motivates these extremists--needless to say, it seems that there are some who want enemies.

With this in mind, I was gratified to find today that Yahoo News is highlighting Kevin Sites' blog. He's a reporter for NBCNews. The post he makes today describes how he recently attended a conference of journalists in the mideast. The conference was titled, rather pedantically it's true, "Covering the Other: Intolerance and Bigotry in The American and Arab Media." But you get the picture.

Of their joint effort at finding common ground, Sites writes:

If there's hope for Arab and American societies to view each other again through a more balanced and representative prism, I think it's critical to give those voices a chance to be heard...
Now, that's an ideal and goal worthy of great respect and pondering.

Sites delivers in his task. He cites the work of an Egyptian journalist, Mona Eltahawy, and provides an example of her work. I quote from her article, which Sites samples on his blog:
Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority -- long used to privilege under Saddam Hussein's rule -- is now struggling to adjust to its newly reduced status, often with violent results. As Arab Sunni governments call on Iraq's Shia and Kurdish-dominated government to respect Sunni minority rights, they should consider their own minorities lest their stones shatter their own glass houses.
As you can see, this Arab woman is not only sensitive to the suffering of her own people but to those from other Arab countries who suffer under the heel of Arab and Moslem oppression. This gives the lie to those who argue that Moslems and Arabs do not want equality and freedom in their countries and are blind to injustices occurring in their backyards.

In this article, Eltahawy describes how her Mosque was attacked by an American bigot. She describes how, at this man's trial for the crime, a Moslem who belonged to the mosque that this bigot attacked, asked that the bigot be forgiven and shown compassion. As a consequence, the man was given 6.5 years instead of the 75 years he could have spent in jail.

It's stories like these--everyday, unspectacular, yet true and human--that will turn the tide of this wretched campaign by the powerful in the US and the mideast to destroy and kill any vestige of humanity taht we are all born with.

Anyway, be sure to bookmark Sites' yahoo site and also be sure to click on and bookmark Eltahawy's blog while you are at it.

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