The Daily Demarche
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Voices in the Wilderness
While some Muslims like Irshad Manji and the bloggers at Iraq the Model literally risk their lives in pursuit of freedom and the struggle to modernize Islam, (see previous posts, below) the French fight the war on terror by denying children Christmas chocolates shaped like crosses. The Spanish government, elected by terrorist bombs, is meanwhile trying to decide just who to blame for those very bombings (see the always excellent Barcepundit for coverage of that issue). Disgusted by the news today I went looking for other moderate Arab or Muslim voices, hoping to find some in the ME who reached mass audiences.

I quickly came across 'Arab Regimes Must Understand the U.S. Administration Supports The Freedom and Rights of the Arabs' by Ahmad Al-Jarallah, editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassah Daily, on the outstanding MEMRI site.

Broken down into sections with titles like:

this is one of the most amazing things I have come across.

I realize that certain Kuwaitis still have a warm-fuzzy for the U.S for ejecting Saddam from their country, but rarely do we see such pro-reform sentiment from an Arab in a position of prominence. I highly suggest reading the entire article (it is brief) but I can't resist this quote:

"The world and relations between different countries have changed beyond recognition. In some cases even the countries have changed and a new order is controlling the world. What's more the United Nations is no longer able to control the relations between different countries. All this is happening in the outside world while nothing has changed for the Arab World. We are still living in the past steeped in our age old traditions. Our traditions are the source of our concepts, however old. This has always led us to conflicts with the outside world invariably ending in defeat for us. Such defeats in turn draw us back from the path of development. If there is anything which we have to do urgently it is to correct and remedy this situation."

I'd frankly be stunned to read this in the Euro press, let alone a ME paper. Of course the MSM in the U.S and Europe completely missed (or ignored) this piece. Care to guess who did not miss it? Israel. Haaretz International is the sole Google News hit returned for Ahmad Al-Jarallah. Their article includes this tantalizing bit:

"Kuwait, according to a senior Egyptian source, will be ready to establish relations with Israel within the framework of a sweeping package deal involving all the Gulf states. Libya may precede them all: Its leader, Muammar Qadhafi, has intimated as much and has now invited Israeli representatives to visit."

Meanwhile the Egyptians seem eager to position themselves as the leaders of any future Arab-Israeli pax. Hazem Abd Al-Rahman, in the leading Egyptian Government daily Al-Ahram calls for Egyptian-Israeli relations to provide both the mode and the model for future expansion of peace in the region (MEMRI):

"Objective analysis on this matter cannot lead to any other conclusion. It is time to drop the negative attitudes towards Israel, and relations with it. The basic value of the peace accord between Egypt and Israel lies in the fact that it expunges the term 'prohibition' or 'taboo,' which was created in the past by Arab policies towards Israel, and which turned relations with Israel into an abomination that could not be allowed.

"Relations with Israel are a privilege and a correct [step] which should be developed in a way that will fulfill the achievable interests."

Of course I had to remind myself that a few voices in the wilderness are promising, but the wolves continue to howl. All of this is occurring amidst continued attacks in Gaza and Israeli retribution, not to mention violence in Iraq and the threat of a nuclear Iran.

One last quote from also from MEMRI:

"A November 18-19, 2004 conference in Beirut of the International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), established in London in July 2004, issued a communiqué signed by IAMS leader Sheikh Dr. Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi(1) and Secretary-General Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Salim Al-'Awwa. The communiqué, posted on www.islamonline.net, a website connected to Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi, stated that resistance against coalition forces in Iraq is a personal duty of every Muslim who can carry it out, Iraqi or not."

Our future challenge lies in this very group. They call themselves scholars and preach jihad, all the while taking advantage of the benefits of a liberal, western society. The wolves continue to howl, indeed.


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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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