November 1, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 1016

Liberal Bahraini Journalist: 'Who Hates America in the Arab and Muslim World, and Why'

November 1, 2005
Bahrain | Special Dispatch No. 1016

Against the backdrop of the September 2005 tour of the Middle East by U.S. State Department official and presidential advisor Karen Hughes, who is heading the effort to improve the U.S.'s image abroad, in a recent article liberal Bahraini journalist 'Omran Salman presents two explanations for the hatred towards America: Arab and Muslim culture, and a post 9/11 coalition of Islamists, Pan Arab Ba'athists and nationalists, and Arab regimes. [1]

The following are excerpts from the article:

Hatred is a General Phenomenon in the Arab and Muslim World, and Not Limited to Americans

"...Hatred in the Arab and Muslim world is a general phenomenon that is not limited only to the Americans. It is possible that the Arabs and Muslims hate each other no less than they hate others...

"In the 1990s, over 200,000 citizens were killed in Algeria – most of them by extremist Islamic groups. What was the response of most of the Arabs and Muslims? A mixture of amusement and of presenting justifications for the murderers and terrorists. During those years, the Taliban movement also abused Shi'ites, Azeris, Tajikis, and other minorities, and no one did anything [to stop it].

"In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, occupied it, and expelled its residents. What was the response of the Arabs and Muslims? Nothing. On the contrary: Most Arabs and Muslims supported Saddam... And in 1991, Saddam murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shi'ites and Kurds, and most Arabs and Muslims did not condemn it.

"These days, the Arab Janjaweed militias, which are supported by the Khartoum government, are continuing their racist campaign of annihilation against the African Muslims in Darfour.

"In Iraq, Al-Zarqawi and the terror groups affiliated with him are slaughtering Shi'ites and blowing up their mosques and their schools, after declaring war on them. In both cases, none of the Arabs or the Muslims are acting to prevent this, or even to condemn the deeds.

"In total, during a single decade alone no less than half a million Arab and Muslim victims were murdered by Arabs and Muslims.

"In addition, the religious, ethnic, and national minorities in the Arab world, such as the Shi'ites, Isma'ilis, Zaidis, Christians, and Jews, have been subject to humiliation characterized by racism...

The U.S.'s Powerful Response to 9/11 Infuriates the Extremist Muslims and Pan-Arabs as well as the Arab Governments

"American policy in the [Arab and Muslim] region did not change essentially for over 50 years, until 2000. So what new thing happened to arouse the hatred [towards the U.S.] in its current broad scope?...

"The new element in the American-Arab-Islamic arena was the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and the U.S. 's powerful and decisive response. This response was aimed at accomplishing three goals simultaneously.

"First, to strike a crushing blow against the Al-Qaeda organization and its allies in the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. This goal was accomplished.

"Second, to destroy the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein and of the fascist Ba'th party in Iraq. This goal too was accomplished.

"Third, to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East. This project will continue for decades to come.

"The first blow infuriated the Islamists; the second blow infuriated the pan-Arab nationalists; and the third blow infuriated the Arab regimes.

"Gradually, an unofficial alliance emerged between these three parties, with the long-term goal to thwart the new American policy. [But] since this alliance is too weak to respond militarily to the American policy, it responds in the media and with propaganda.

"Its first goal was to distort the image of the U.S. in order to make the Arab citizens loathe everything American.

"The main means which they are using to distort the image of the U.S. are:

"1. The printed and electronic media, which are for the most part subject to the control of the Arab governments (whether via funding or via influence), beginning with Al-Jazeera in Qatar and including the national papers in Egypt.

"2. Educational programs, all of which are subject to control by the Arab governments and to the influence of the Islamic groups.

"3. The mosques, which are also subject to the control of governments and the Islamic groups, via the Ministries of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs in the Arab countries. Exceptions are the Shiite mosques, because the Shi'ites are usually economically independent from the governments of their countries.

"This [propaganda] machine operated at full power in order to brainwash the Arab citizens, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in order to fan the hatred against the U.S....

"[The Islamists, the pan-Arab nationalists, and the Arab regimes] are the ones who hate America. The ordinary Arab and Muslim citizens are mere blindfolded hostages in the hands of this alliance.

"The U.S. must respond [to the hatred against it] not by appealing to the hostages and convincing them of the good things in the U.S. – because they are incapable of seeing them even if they wanted to.

"They must be helped first of all by freeing them of their [Islamist, pan-Arab, and Arab government] abductors."

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