It’s hard to credibly demand religious liberty when one is in the minority if one refuses to grant it when one is the majority. The principle “do unto others as you would have done unto you” should be a guiding ideal for all sides in the Swiss minaret controversy.
Author: Jennifer S. Bryson (Jennifer Bryson)
In response to the would-be Detroit bomber, Yemen wants more helicopters to counter terrorism. But there is no indication helicopters would have stopped him or that, over the long run, they will put an end to the activities of al-Qaeda enthusiasts. Counterterrorism efforts need to take hearts, minds, and wills seriously.
To practice what he preaches, to respect laws passed by Congress, and to support Muslims who advocate for peaceful pluralism, President Obama needs to take action in support of religious freedom. Here are specific suggestions to move this effort forward.
Many Muslims have been either silenced or ignored when it comes to their views of their own faith. As we grapple with the legacy of 9/11, we need to listen to these voices if we are to understand the religion they practice.
Healthy respect takes account of the diversity in Islam and focuses not on respecting an idea but on respecting the humanity of individuals. A new movie that opens in U.S. theaters today helps illustrate this precise point.
President Obama’s “New Beginning” speech in Cairo featured wise and strategically astute language regarding Muslims. Yet coverage of the event by the U.S. State Department office responsible for communication to foreign audiences undermined Obama’s message. Before more outreach to foreign audiences, the Obama White House needs to reach out to its own State Department.
Muslims who favor religious freedom deserve to have their voices heard. One way President Obama could be respectful of and show his appreciation for Islam would be to nominate an Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom and support religious freedom in his administration’s foreign policy.
Encouraging peaceful, reformist Muslims requires freedom of speech and religion. Yet U.S. policies in Egypt and elsewhere support governments which actively work against Muslim reformist efforts.
The play “Madah-Sartre,” both funny and poignant, provides a glimpse into the contradictions, logical impoverishment, and inhumanity of Islamist ideology, while also offering a dose of basic human decency to parties in a conflict which is more often characterized by violence than civil debate.
America’s public diplomacy should be focused on fostering ideas in our interest that matter in key foreign audiences, not just on pro-America image marketing.
The Algerian novel The Last Summer of Reason provides a powerful and strangely beautiful reminder of the danger of letting violent ideological fundamentalism fester. We would do well to heed this reminder now, not later.
The German government’s attempts to promote moderate Islam may have the opposite effect.
As the recent film "Obsession" points out, Islamist radicalism poses a grave threat to the freedoms of constitutional democracies. But "Obsession" largely ignores potential solutions and a host of moderate Islamic voices that have gone unheard.