News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: While Ahmadinajad Spouts Swill, Moderate Moslems Think Outside the Box

Thursday, August 03, 2006

While Ahmadinajad Spouts Swill, Moderate Moslems Think Outside the Box

Despite idiot savant Iranian President Ahmadinijad's presence, a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is taking place in Malaysia right now. Of course, Ahmadinijad has tried to ham it up and steal the spotlight by making irresponsible and outrageous statements concerning Israel. Other members--contrary to recent statements on CNN by Israeli propagandists--struck a more conciliatory and moderate tone. ...

Unfortunately, you'll hear little--if anything--in the mainstream media outlets about this meeting. If you do hear or read anything, you'll be exposed to Ahmadinijad's despicable rhetoric.

Other leaders at the conference, though, voiced more constructive suggestions. While clearly outraged by Israel's disproportionate response to the capture of two of its soldiers by Hizbullah extremists on the Lebanese border, these leaders also suggested theat they were willing to help organize under the auspices of the UN and man a peace-keeping force to maintain that peace.

Such a proposal, as the Washington Post points out, would more likely than not meet with Israeli resistance:

It is unclear whether the Jewish state, as a party to the conflict, or its superpower ally the United States would accept direct Muslim participation in a peace-keeping operation. Many OIC member states do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
This is unfortunate, for engaging the Islamic world in tackling the issue and constructively laying their lives on the line to bring about resolution of the long war between Palestinians and Israelis seems simple common-sense.

The dangers posed by the continuing warfare in Lebanon demand creative solutions of this kind. As OIC secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, a Turkish national, warned:
The 'Islamic Ummah (community) is outraged,' because they do not understand how this human tragedy was allowed to continue, Ihansoglu said.

'They are perplexed in the face of gross double standards applied by the international community,' he said in his opening remarks to an OIC crisis meeting to discuss the Middle East conflict.

'Anger is spreading all over the Muslim world. I am afraid that the anger of the Muslim masses is being transformed into permanent hatred against the aggressors and their explicit and implicit protectors,' he said.

'... failure of peace initiatives would endanger not only the peace efforts in the Middle East, but peace and stability in the whole world... another failure in this regard can instigate further violence and terror,' he warned.
A sign that the conflagration in the Mideast has not mobilized immense backlashes in Malaysia--the world's third largest Islamic nation--is that "About 100 Malaysian Muslim activists chanted anti-Israeli slogans outside the summit venue."

Update 1 In continuing reminder of how western media twist and contort anything that Islamic leaders--even moderate ones--say. Just now, CNN reported that Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called for some form of radicalization of Islamic youth:
[ZAIN VERJEE]Ahmadinejad also blames the U.S. for the bloodshed in the region, saying, Washington wants to "... control the Middle East and its oil wealth."

Dark warnings, too, from Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. "The war must stop," he says. "Or it will radicalize the Muslim world and thrust the ultimate nightmare, a clash of civilizations."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a concern that we're -- we're reaching a point where we're creating a whole new generation of Osama bin Ladens and Zarqawis. VERJEE: And these are the images that fuel it. Islamic scholars say many Muslims are radicalized by pictures of their fellow Muslims being massacred by U.S.-made bombs.
Compare this to what the Indonesian president actually said, as reported by, Malaysia's news service:
"We must help see to it that there will be a UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon and that such a force will have a mandate sufficient to ensure compliance with the ceasefire," he said in a speech delivered at the Meeting of Friends of the Chairman of the 10th Islamic Summit Conference, here.
Susilo said Indonesia was willing to discuss with interested member countries over the military contributions of the OIC to the envisioned peacekeeping force.

"When the terms of reference and rules of engagement are fair and constructive and done on consultation with the government of Lebanon, we are ready to contribute one battalion," he added.

The leader of the world's most populous Muslim country of 200 million people said the OIC must participate in a vigorous and coordinated way in the construction and rehabilitation of the devastated communities of Palestine and Lebanon.

"I earnestly suggest that the Arab states and Iran coordinate this OIC efforts," he said, adding that Indonesia had allocated US$1 million on food and medical supplies for Palestine.
The statement that CNN chose to focus on, however, is the following:
"This war must stop or it will radicalize the Muslim world, even those of us who are moderate today," news agencies quoted Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the president of Indonesia, saying at an emergency meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference outside Kuala Lumpur.

"From there," he said, "it will be just one step away to that ultimate nightmare: a clash of civilizations."
How CNN can legitimately contort these words into the negative, anti-western statement that they do is beyond me. Yudhoyono is not calling for radicalization; indeed he's lamenting the possibility. His statement is one of desapir rather than prophecy or intent. CNN also did not note that Yudhoyono and the other leaders at the conference suggested ways to avert such a catastrophe.

Update 2 Israel has announced its openness to Indinesian and Malaysian troops in southern Lebanon. According to Haaretz:
Israel would like a dialogue with Indonesia and Malaysia in order to work together on problems in the Middle East, the Israeli ambassador to Singapore said Friday.

The two Southeast Asian countries with predominantly Muslim populations so far have refused to consider diplomatic relations with Israel, a stance that Ambassador Ilan Ben-Dov called "absurd."

Indonesia, as the world's most populous Muslim nation, could play a constructive role in the Middle East, the ambassador said.

"They always speak about the will to support the Palestinians. We look at that as a very positive will. But what they are doing until now is only speaking about it but not doing something," Ben-Dov said. "If they want to be constructive and effective, they should talk to both sides, as other Muslim countries are doing. ... One cannot have influence there by being one-sided."
Update 3 I must admit that I am disheartened by the news in the following report. The Malaysiangovt. should know that the world will perceive its rejection as only religiously motivated. It should also realize there's reason for accusations of "they started it" om both sides of the conflict. With regard to the Palestinians, the Malyasians should see the overtures to it by the Israelis as an opportunity to address that issue, in addition to the issue of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Malaysia should not restrict its options for playing the role of neutral arbiter.

Anyway, here are his remarks. Note the conciliatory tone that will be lost in trasnlation to the western media--should they even gain some airplay. Haaretz reports:
Ben-Dov also said he wanted to explain Israel's position on the conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon.


Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar rejected the idea, saying there will be no talks with Israel because of its "violation of legal and humanitarian principles" in Palestinian territories and Lebanon, the Utusan Malaysia newspaper reported.

Malaysia's stand has nothing to do with any hatred toward Israel, Syed Hamid was quoted as saying.

"Our refusal to have a dialogue (with Israel) is not connected with the issue of race or religion as we come from a peaceful and stable region and we don't know hatred," he was quoted as saying.

Syed Hamid said he doesn't understand why Israel wished to talk with Malaysia. "They get total protection from the world's biggest power (the United States), they don't need countries like us," he was quoted as saying.
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