Join a Discussion on U.S. Engagement With Muslim Communities Worldwide

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 2, 2010
Conversations With America Join a Discussion on U.S. Engagement With Muslim Communities Worldwide

Update: Watch the live broadcast here.

On Friday, July 9, 2010, Steven Clemons, Director of the New America Foundation's American Strategy Program will hold a conversation with Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities, on the United States' engagement with Muslim communities around the world. The discussion will be moderated by Cheryl Benton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs. The event will be streamed live on DipNote, the Department of State's official blog, at 11:15 a.m. (EDT). You will have the opportunity to participate through the submission of questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions now here on DipNote.

This is the third in the new "Conversations with America" video series recently launched by the Bureau of Public Affairs in which the State Department's senior leadership holds monthly conversations live online with leaders of prominent non-governmental organizations. Discussion topics include foreign policy and global issues. The forums provide views of how leaders from the foreign affairs community engage the Department on pressing foreign policy issues and how both the U.S. government and civil society are working across the globe on issues that concern Americans most.

Comments

Comments

Owais R.
|
United Kingdom
July 7, 2010

Owais R. in the United Kingdom writes:

I just want to know how U.S. Government will engage with Muslims in Britain and Europe on grassroots level. As so far whatever strategies tried (E.g. Current Prevent Program in UK) by the upper house policy makers, majority failed to understand needs of local Muslims in UK & Europe. What I found during research that majority of Muslims in UK & Europe want to stay loyal with countries they living in and with the governing law. Then why still misunderstanding between U.S. Government, Governments in Europe and Muslims living in UK & Europe? From security (national & international) point of view I think we really try to understand needs of Muslims living in UK & Europe and their local needs so we can way forward to community cohesion to win fight against terrorism & war on trans-national crime.

Agim
|
Serbia
July 7, 2010

Agim in Serbia writes:

Respect and your commitment your joined my pleasure engagements to prove the truth is the greatest cooperation in all respect of the Muslim community resources without contribution limits,wich almays helped to calm America is one of the main traiditions and peaceable of all past and present time and hard tireless readiness that included the entire panet to unite Agim-...

Kasim K.
|
New York, USA
July 7, 2010

Kasim K. in New York writes:

I think this is very important project, i believe also thta USA engagement with Muslim world needs to be done more at the grassroot levels, such norishing culture of democracy, respect for different opinions, spirit of civic engagement for public goods betterment of public life. All these needs to be done with genuine resepct for local cultures with highligt of universal aspects of those local cultures (I believe, every local cultures have some universal aspects to it, once that is highlighted people would be able to feel connected and engaged with larger world).
I wish the best for you
Kasim K., Imam

Gerald D.
|
California, USA
July 7, 2010

Gerald S.D. in California writes:

It seems that any Mullah or Imam can issue a FATWAH to his followers. Is there some way that the Grand Ayatollas of all Muslim nations/communities can unite and effect a level of moderation by all Mullahs/Imams?

yasser j.
|
Syria
July 7, 2010

Yasser J. in Syria writes:

Why does America have a successful management of the diplomatic and intelligence does not know how to build good relations with Islam and the relationship stronger with the Arab countries
We love America and we want America to love us and are more of us close to

NORMAN R.
|
Ohio, USA
July 7, 2010

Norman R. in Ohio writes:

QUESTION. WHY IS THERE NO RESPONSE FROM ANY PART OF THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY TO TERRORIST ATTACKS BY MUSLIMS? WHY DO MUSLIM IMMANS PREACH HATRED IN THEIR MOSQUES TOWARDS CHRISTIANS AND JEWS AND NOT REACH OUT TO WORK FOR PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING?WHY DO MUSLIMS IMMIGRATE TO THE USA IF THEY HATE AMERICA AND AMERICANS ?

Johannes S.
|
Texas, USA
July 7, 2010

Johannes S. in Texas writes:

Why should I trust a muslim if so many of this religion believe that the infidel should be convinced by force if not in a normal way - or for that matter be eliminated by terrorist means.

I am not interested in any such fanatic or fundamentalist religeous faiths.

Thank you
Js

john w.
|
Pakistan
July 7, 2010

John W. in Pakistan writes:

what about resentment in muslim world about drone attacks afghanistan,palestinian flotilla issue n feeling in certain segments of muslim world that usa is not doing enough 4 muslim causes?

Brad T.
|
West Virginia, USA
July 7, 2010

Brad T. in West Virginia writes:

Question for Mr. Farah Pandith:

Muslim countries often do not allow freedom of conscience. Why?

Ian R.
|
Australia
July 7, 2010

Ian R. in Australia writes:

How is it we are allowing religion to determin how we get on with each other around the world. That's cool our beliefs are different but does that justify killing each other?

Abubaker
|
Iowa, USA
July 7, 2010

Abubaker in Iowa writes:

D0 you consider the Shary'aa laws pertaining to communities adaptable in the present time, specially the laws about women and non-muslims in the Courts?

Do you consider Democracy is part of the Sharyaa Laws?

Do you consider the Sharyaa laws are constitutional?

Muhammad I.
|
Indonesia
July 7, 2010

Muhammad I. in Indonesia writes:

QUESTION: Why is it difficult for some Indonesian people with Arabic names to get U.S. visa? Thank you in advance.

OysterCracker
|
United States
July 7, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@Donald
That's a plausible theory and an inventive one too. I know organized criminals use this same method for their drug and smuggling enterprises. I alerted the FBI about this happening in Los Angeles before I realized that the harbor patrol and the FBI may have been part of the same racket. The problem with justice in America is that you never know who you're dealing with. There's a lot of smoke and mirrors and you have to dig deep to understand it all. It's political and confusion is part of the game. Good Luck!
You must be an honest to goodness, dyed in the wool, true American. Something we've been missing of late.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 7, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

The man from "Down Under" raises a good question.

I suppose it to be perfectly logical that if one has the right to their beliefs, one has the right to die for their beliefs as well.

To determine the legitamacy of any belief system, it can only be taken only as valid as it is practiced in truth.

Now I've been asked by the moderator to moderate the "courseness" of my words in a post that will never appear on this blog, since I don't think "huevos" was an acceptable substitute I offered when it was suggested to me perhaps "guts" could be an acceptable substitute for a certain word that I can only infer here apparently.

But I honestly don't know a better way to castrate bin laden's belief system than to refer to a particular body part he seems to lack, as his inability to blow himself up for his beliefs seems to prove beyond any shadow of doubt, as he has useful idiots do that for him.

"guts" I told the moderator, is instinctual in nature and his cowardice is by design, so it would not reflect an accurate statement if I approved its use.

So, I hope this is an acceptable workaround to leave nothing to the imagination or interpretation.

Someone asked me the other day, "How evil do we have to get to kill every terrorist on the planet?"

So I'd like to ask the Muslims here what they do with rabid dogs running amock in their neigborhood?

And is it "evil" to put the dog out of its misery since it is terminally ill and dangerously contagious?

If America is going to do things right, let's understand each other as far as what it takes to get the job done so we all can get on in peace.

Francis E.
|
Tennessee, USA
July 7, 2010

Francis E.E. in Tennessee writes:

What is the purpose of this dialogue with the Muslim World? It should be in line with the Christian Communities of the World. Not just exclusively Musilim. This makes for many Americans a very uncomfortable atmosphere.

Abdul A.
|
Illinois, USA
July 7, 2010

Abdul A. in Illinois writes:

By engaging in a "dialog with the Muslim world" we implicitly recognize the legitimacy of the Islamic division of the world into Muslims and non-Muslims instead of into nation states.This doctrine means that Muslims everywhere owe their allegiance to the worldwide Islamic community and not to the nation state of which they are citizens. It also means that if a Muslim anywhere is attacked by a non-Muslim (such as Iraq or Afghanistan), then all Muslims everywhere are bound by Islam law to come to their defense. This means that American Muslims, if they are religious, are a fifth column because their loyalty is primarily to the Muslim worldwide community and NOT to the American constitution. The most outstanding recent example of this is the Times Square bomber, Shahzad, who considers himself a Muslim soldier. The most notorious example before that was Major Hasan of Ft. Hood. America should not be in the business of legitimating the division of the world into Muslims and non-Muslims.

Montedoro
|
California, USA
July 7, 2010

Montedoro in California writes:

Why is it that ALL 56 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference subscribe to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam which establishes the legal superiority of Muslims over non-Muslims, and which states that ALL human rights must be in accordance with Sharia law? What is it about our Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Islam finds unacceptable?

Tina H.
|
Vermont, USA
July 7, 2010

Tina H. in Vermont writes:

My greatest international concern, and I have a number of them, is the recent disclosure and release of information about the abundance of mineral wealth in Afghanistan. The U.S. government is appearing to be concerned about making sure Afghanistan has control over the mining and management of this vast wealth. It could, indeed, mean the end of widespread poverty, the beginning of widespread education that isn't funded and controlled by insane extremists, the restoring of a stable and thriving economy and society. However, what I am not hearing anything about from our corporate media is that there are already transnational corporations, "government representatives", security companies, and many others in various venues setting themselves up for the strategic opportunity to manipulate and "do business" with the government of Afghanistan. Why haven't we taken a firm stand with the current corrupt leadership? I suggest that it is because they will not be able to hold us off as effectively as an honest, principle-based one would. Mixing corporations with government is destructive and anti Democracy. Corporations do not have a social conscience, this has been proven many times over. The people of Afghanistan will be enslaved and their country and it's resources stolen, only to line the off-shore bank accounts of the very wealthy. The U.S. must do better than this. I want to know if this vital topic will even be discussed in your forum? Dialogue with the Muslim world? We don't deserve their valuable time until we come clean with our intentions. We haven't done much for Sudan. What are we really doing in Afghanistan? If our intentions are good, how do we intend to protect them from these invisible transnational organized criminals? As a U.S. citizen, I demand to know! With the lack of jobs and a deteriorating way of life here at home and billions being spent there, I deserve an answer! I want to peacefully co-exist with the Muslims and everyone else. Most of us who aren't extremists feel the same way. Transnationals are extremists, they are extremely corrupt and greedy. Maybe I am an extremist, after all I am extremely upset with my country's behavior when it rolls over for the corporations like an abused dog. We need to reverse the Supreme Court decision to give corporations the rights of an individual citizen as well as the right to donate unlimited money to the people's representation. All these topics are interdependent.

Heather
July 7, 2010

Heather writes:

I respect your faith. Does your faith respect mine and everyone Elsie's faith in this world of ours?

muhammad j.
|
Maryland, USA
July 7, 2010

Muhammad J. in Maryland writes:

how many muslim civilians..total... have been killed and their deaths denegraded under the label 'collateral damage' by our direct actions, in Iraq, Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan? Also, how many Pakistani soldiers have shed their blood along with our boys in Pakistan/Afghanistan so far? Why is there no public recognition of these lost lives? Such absence of the numeric recognition (of losses of life of Muslims)makes our interests suspect in the Muslim countries.

GABRIEL
July 8, 2010

Gabriel writes:

I do not see what you are fighting about. You are the grandchildren of Abraham. You should be best friends and stand united as one.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 8, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@Muhammed J.

The short answer to your question is that it's a lot less than the Muslims killed by fellow Muslims for an interpretation of Islam.

I think your namesake long ago would have considered this no "jihad", but a twisting of faith by apostates. And he'd (PBOH) probably tell the Taliban and al-quaida to go home and take care of their mothers as he once told a young boy who was eager to die.

Now who actually threatens Islam as a community on a global level?

America? I don't think so...

I would suggest you review the Petraeus confirmation hearing, as he did note the toll on our Pakistani partners, publicly in recognition of their efforts, along with Afghan forces who suffer five times our losses.

See folks got things backwards like Abdul A. in Illinois, the trick is to know who your enemy is and then declare Jihad on the terrorists.

Then the "long war" will not be so bloody long, now will it?

I suppose who or what one owes alliegence to is a matter of priority...

I'll place freedom above faith any day of the week, and since more Muslims live in Democracies than not, I'm pretty sure they do too.

That's why bin laden's call for holy war went unanswered by a billion Muslims.

That and folks know that the reason he doesn't seek out 72 virgins personally is that he has nothing to offer them satisfaction with.

Kind of puts a crimp in a terrorist's romantic fantasies now doesn't it?

Nobody explained to these fools that if you blow the family jewels up along with yourself, paradise won't be any fun at all.

And it could only take a eunic to start a holy war with that destination in mind for the idiots he recruits.

1.Terrorists, in their methodology have been killing innocent Muslims, In Iraq, London, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kashmir, USA, (9/11), Kenya, Lebanon, and a host of other nations in many attacks over the years.

2. These attacks against civilians.innocents, regardless of any so-called intended target or purpose, political or otherwise are in direct violation of the Islamic code of conduct of Jihad. (Defined above.)

3. These attacks have placed Muslim communities at risk, both directly and indirectly, taking innocent life, and causing political unrest within the religion of Islam.

4. The targeting of Mosques, the creation of ethnic and religious conflict between Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam the attempt to start a nuclear war between Pakistan and India, as well as the direct threat to the teachings of Islam, also represent a threat to "the community" as a whole.

5.a.. If a Muslim community comes under attack, then jihad becomes an obligation for all Muslims, male and female, in that community
b.. If that particular community feels it cannot fight off attackers on its own, then jihad becomes incumbent on Muslims living in nearby communities
c.. If a Muslim ruler of a country calls for jihad, then it is incumbent upon the Muslims living under that ruler to join the jihad.

6. The community is under attack. Jihad is an obligation.

7. It is self evident that all communities are being attacked, all peoples, all civilization. Jihad becomes incumbent on Muslims living in all communities.

8. Muslim rulers of Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and many others have joined the "war on terrorism" the global jihad against terrorists which includes as it's allies, and brothers in arms those nations that are not Muslim, but have significant Muslim populations within their sovereign boundaries.

9. These non-Muslim nations, recognizing the risk to all peoples in their lands, including Muslims, have called for solidarity in this fight from all Muslims of true heart and mind.

10. Let there be no ambiguity in this logic. Let their be no hiding place, no sanctuary given, no sponsor of terror, no terrorist left once this jihad is justly called for by all Muslims of true faith, and finished.

Perhaps it takes a Buddhist infidel like myself to place objective logic in its proper perspective, without bias toward Islam, or cultural tradition.

Folks know what you have to do to preserve their religious values, so let's get busy.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 8, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Pakistan clerics explain 'jihad'

By Aamer Ahmed Khan
BBC News, Lahore

URL: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4711003.stm

(Excerpt)
Circumstances for jihad

Mufti Rafi Usmani heads Darul Uloom Karachi, one of Pakistan's most respected religious schools, or madrassas.

Jihad is not incumbent on all Muslims and a call for jihad can be given only under special circumstances.

Mufti Rafi Usmani; "Islam does not allow killing of innocent civilians and non-combatants under any circumstances," he said in an interview with the BBC News website.

Asked to explain the concept of jihad as expounded in mainstream Islamic thought, Mufti Usmani said it had been laid down in great detail precisely to avoid any confusion.

"To begin with, jihad is not incumbent on all Muslims and a call for jihad can be given only under special circumstances," he said.

Islamic scholars - or ulema - agree that injunctions explaining the circumstances for jihad and the people's conduct during jihad constitute the core principles of the doctrine.

According to three top scholars interviewed by the BBC News website, jihad can only be called in the following circumstances:

a.. If a Muslim community comes under attack, then jihad becomes an obligation for all Muslims, male and female, in that community
b.. If that particular community feels it cannot fight off attackers on its own, then jihad becomes incumbent on Muslims living in nearby communities
c.. If a Muslim ruler of a country calls for jihad, then it is incumbent upon the Muslims living under that ruler to join the jihad.
Jihad 'not obligatory'

Mufti Usmani says that even in such circumstances, jihad is obligatory only on as many Muslims as are required to defend the community under attack.

Mufti Akram Kashmiri: Rising tide of Muslim anger

"If Pakistan is attacked but its army is sufficient to deal with the threat, then Pakistani civilians are under no obligation to join jihad," he said.

The second principle relates to the conduct of the jihadis. Under no circumstances are Muslims allowed to attack women, children, the old and the meek, the sick, those that are praying and civilians, say these ulema.

Muslim militants argue that if innocent Muslims are killed in enemy action then Muslims are allowed to kill innocent people in retaliation.

But clerics strongly disagree with this line of thinking, arguing that Islam does not allow Muslims to respond to "a mistake" by another mistake.

"Islam is absolutely clear on this issue. Two wrongs do not make a right," Mufti Usmani said.

"If they feel that the US or the UK are killing innocent civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan, it does not give them the right to kill innocent citizens in London or New York," he said.

(End Excerpt)

M.AKRAM N.
|
Pakistan
July 8, 2010

M.A.K.N. in Pakistan writes:

Being the sole super power,and to win the heart and soul of muslims and manage the properly.
*USA should try to make efforts for libration of Palestine,Kashmir and Sinkiang.
* USA should try to make efforts for stabilization and unification of Muslims regions such as Arab World,Unification of Afghanistan and Pakistan.Union of African Muslim countries,Union of Central Asian Muslims countries, so that such states can be made responsible and accountable for stability and progress of their regions, and to utilize their resources for welfare and progress, and for health and education of their people,otherwise small states will never ever be able to control and satisfy to their people and these small amd uncontrolable countries under the rule of Zardari,Karzai,Qadafi,Sadam and Mubarak will reamin a nuisance for the world and USA.

OysterCracker
|
United States
July 8, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@Eric,
I thought you were on vacation? I know you couldn't resist us. You're a Dipnote addict just like me. I told everyone on the BBC to write to Dipnote so I hope new people will get a reply from someone so that they will return. Isn't all this traffic just great?
But I digress.
Sometimes the evil dog is lying closer to you than you realize like on your doorstep perhaps. Wars don't just happen in a vacuum. It takes two willing players and America is not above reproach.

John T.
|
Oregon, USA
July 8, 2010

John T. in Oregon writes:

Why some of the Muslim Communities around the world persecute other people with different religious beliefs so much, especially those who choose to become Christians?

Ernest P.
|
Connecticut, USA
July 8, 2010

Ernest P. in Connecticut writes:

I am curious to know your thoughts on the emerging Muslim theology for engaging a world which is a growing global village of faiths and faith communities in the 21st century. I recognize that Muslim culture, like that of all faith communities, is evolving into the world of tomorrow, and would just like to know your thoughts on the direction of that evolution.

Mehlam Z.
|
India
July 8, 2010

Mehlam Z. in India writes:

It is strange how we have forgotten the true essence of being a muslim community. A policeman sitting on the gates of the Pasha's mosque in cairo, greeted me by asking "what do you believe in!". I said I believe in love. He was stunned by what i said. although that is the true essence of islam and in fact every religion of the world. islam's literal meaning is peace. In Saudi Arabia in the mosque of Rasulullah SA, one of the so called religious police came to me and tried to enforce upon me what he believes is the right way of prayers. He deliberately kicked the cloth i was praying on saying there is no need for praying over your cloth when these carpets of the prophet peace be upon him are not dirty.
At this juncture i felt so sad that a person who claims to be a religious police kicks someone's' belongings whilst he is praying; something that he has great reverence of. What has happened to us! a religious police knows nothing about religion except oppression. Lets wake up and embrace each other with the love our prophet gave us.

Ashim C.
|
India
July 8, 2010

Ashim K.C. in India writes:

Since thecreation of Israel by the big wigs of second world war, beginnings of problem with Muslim world surfaced. Oil based nationalism in countries of middle east and direct and indirect patronage to authoritarian regimes post second world war have not only compounded issues but have caused huge loss of opportunity for this part ofthe world to be part of free liberal world like Turkey in Europe and many countries of former USSR and East Europe are. It appears there is a case for undoing the creation of Israel and relocate and absorb the Israelis in any country of their choice. I think with their talent, they would be welcome anywhere. As Israelis go, Palestinians must voulunteer to give Israelis virtual dual citizenship as a mark of respect to Israeli religious sentiments.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
July 8, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

Ms. Pandith:

Your State Bio lists your birthplace as Kashmir. Why did your parents come to the U.S. (assuming they did)? Did your family face persecution in Kashmir as Muslims under Indian authority in that disputed territory? How has the dispute over Kashmir influenced your thinking?

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