We report the taef, you decide
|Tuesday, June 19,2007 10:30|
|By George Ajjan,|
Attending a fundraiser for local Republican candidates last night, I did not see Tuesday"s GOP presidential primary debate live, and instead watched it online this morning. Overall, Fox News did a much better job than MSNBC in terms of the questions, although the candidates have yet to be challenged with any of my proposed questions.
I could not help but notice, however, one disturbing element to the coverage - the prominence placed upon the religious sect in the biographical data of each candidate presented on screen during their initial introductions by moderator Brit Hume. One of the greatest treasures of the political system of the United States is the focus on ideas and ideology that characterizes its selection of candidates. While it prominently manifests the Christian ethic that underlies American culture, ours is truly a secular political culture which does honor to the First Amendment.
This is particularly true for Republicans, unlike some Democrat masters of divide-and-conquer tactics in America"s urban environments, which are dominated by racial and ethnic minorities. But by introducing religion so prominently, Fox News seems to be importing the one-dimensional sectarian taefi dynamics perfected by the likes of Saddam Hussein and unwittingly championed by our neoconservative think-tank heroes.
If Iraqis do not have a political system mature enough to withstand a non-sectarian debate that is not framed in terms of Shiite and Sunni, Americans most certainly do. Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Jew, Muslim - in the United States, only the candidate"s ideas should matter. Last night"s debate intros, however, seemed reminiscent of politics in the Republic of Lebanon, whose constitution actually mandates the apportionment of Parliament and the presidency by religious sect and whose ballots actually organize candidates by those sects. Thank you Fox News - I suppose my pachyderm madrasa comparison was more accurate than I anticipated.
As for our talibs, well, they appeared content to reiterate their remarks on Islam from the first debate. Fair enough, it does talk a while to memorize those talking points provided by those "conservative" think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute or the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Too bad though, I was hoping that the candidates were going to explain to me the difference between Salafi and Sufi...
Mitt Romney once again showed he is a Karaoke superstar, doing his latest rendition Richard Perle"s Greatest Hits:
Again, I"d like to ask Romney what defines a "moderate" state. What about one in which membership in the Muslim Brotherhood is punishable by death - would that qualify as "moderate"? Here are my previous remarks on Romney"s position:
Tom "take out their holy sites" Tancredo, the madrasa"s star pupil in the first marking period with his explication of the 12th imam, rebuked Ron Paul (more on this in a bit) saying that:
"...whether Israel existed or didn"t, whether or not we were in the Iraq war or not, they would be trying to kill us because it"s a dictate of their religion, at least a part of it, and we have to defend ourselves."It"s difficult to render an analysis of Tancredo"s statement without details on exactly he means by "they" and "us". He is smart enough to know that no authentic Islamic texts mention the United States of America, because they predate the founding of this country by well over a millennium.
Now, as for the infamous Rudy Giuliani/Ron Paul exchange, here is exactly what was said:
Subsequent to the debate, Giuliani further explained to Sean Hannity that Paul"s remarks reminded him of Saudi Arabian Prince Walid bin Talal"s statements that prompted the Mayor to reject a $10 million charitable contribution. The Saudi Prince said:
Now, I do agree with Paul about non-intervention, and that "power projecting" (as Chuck Hagel calls it) leads to resentment of the United States. Judging by the applause that followed Paul"s statement, which the mainstream media seems happy to ignore, much of the audience also agreed with him. But it is incorrect of Giuliani to equate Paul with bin Talal - the latter is saying, "the US should be as entangled with the Palestinians as it is with the Israelis," while the former is saying, "the US should not be entangled in the Middle East, period." The trouble is that Paul did not communicate this point well at all, and Giuliani very successfully took advantage of that, judging by the applause that followed his statement.
First of all, Paul was unwise to mention, as his primary example, the sanctions and intermittent bombing of Iraq during the 1990s as a contributor to the "chickens coming home to roost" on September 11, 2001. All this does is further confuse people by conflating the Iraq War with a fight against terrorism globally, a position antithetical to Paul"s view. True - the two are almost mutually exclusive (with allowance for recognition of the presence of al-Qaeda related elements in Iraq), and part of the reason we are so bogged down in Iraq is that little differentiation was made between the need to protect America by disrupting terrorist networks and the insanity of "bringing democracy to Iraq," which President Bush still describes as the "central front in the War on Terror".
What Paul should have said was:
"A long-term policy of intervention in the affairs of other nations, particularly in regions like the Middle East where land has scared overtones, has tarnished our image and caused a great deal of resentment of America where there should be none. Our excessive involvement has weakened the United States. I think Reagan was right. We don"t understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics, and therefore we should intervene as little as possible and have strong diplomatic and trade relations with all nations of the region."
Since we are on the topic of Osama bin Laden and Iraq: also interesting in the context of Paul"s remarks, and Romney"s earlier assertion, was the groundbreaking moment in this chain of events when Saudi Arabia"s King Fahd snubbed then-hero Osama bin Laden"s offer to bring his anti-Soviet mujihadeen from Afghanistan to the Arabian Peninsula to protect his home country against a possible attack from that land-hungry secularist to the north. I suppose it is entirely lost on Romney that the likes of bin Laden probably wanted to replace even Saddam Hussein with a "caliphate". Perhaps that makes him too a "moderate" in Romney"s book. Anyway, Fahd invited George H.W. Bush to station American forces to Mohammed"s homeland, and the rest is history.
*Comment by Dr. Mohamed Habib, Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood
Many facts explaining the reasoning behind the emergence of violence groups in Arab and Muslim world come to light day after day. All indications show the main responsibility of dictatorial Arab government for this issue.
When revealing these phenomena, we do not justify the crimes of such groups with their different ideologies including al-Qaeda, Salafiyah Jihadiyah and takfeer groups. Rather, we mention such studies to emphasize the following important points:
1- The phenomenon of violence groups represented in al-Qaeda led by Osama Bin Laden, Salafiyah Jihadiyah and takfeer groups is accidental in the Islamic history; the main reason behind the emergence of such groups lies in suppression practiced by dictatorial governments backed by some western powers that have imperialist interest in this region.
2- Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is totally different from such groups in terms of its ideologies and dynamic methodology, this difference amounts to an ideological separation.
3- MB always emphasizes in its formal papers and documents on adopting peaceful reformist approach and respecting the values of democracy, human rights, and the right of all nations for self determination and resisting occupation.
4-MB differentiates between the legitimate resistance and rejected terrorism.
Legitimate resistance and the right to resist against occupation are acknowledged by all international charters and pacts, while rejected terrorism denotes any form of terrorism committed against civilians and peaceful people.
5-Some decision makers in the West are responsible for the current congestion in Arab and Muslim world due to their unlimited support for
7- The MB papers and literature emphasize that we are advocates of peace and coexistence not judges as stated in one of the most MB recognized researches "Du‘ah la Qudah" (Preachers not Judges) written by the second MB chairman counselor Hassan al-Hudhaibi (1974-1951).
This research represented a refutation of Almawdoudy views and laid an emphasis on the mistakes of extremist groups in understanding and interpreting Qutb"s ideas; such extremist groups misinterpreted Qutb"s views and adopted ideas contradicting the basic principles of MB group laid down by Imam Hassan al-Banna who adopted an approach based on peaceful democratic change, developmental societal work and political reform.