Friday, June 26, 2009

Why They Hate U.S.

By Barry Rubin

There's an argument on why Middle Eastern Muslims tend to dislike America or the West: policies or values? In fact, the simple answer is often misinformation. Just like the hatred of Israel. If you deal people that someone is evil and horrible they will take the hint.

Here is a letter on the Hizballah al-Manar site prompted by the Metro (subway) accident in Washington. See if you recognize the America you know:

"Washington DC is a very beautiful town and it has some of the most beautiful trees and land-marks (I just hope my Native brothers and sisters will agree with me). Every year Millions of people come to visit it from all over the world to enjoy its beauty and take pictures as souvenirs. And when these Millions of tourists take all the pictures they need they freely walk, drive, sail and or fly back-home being waved at by smiling American Government officials. But, when Muslim-American Veterans visit Washington DC to enjoy its beauty and take pictures they are automatically arrested, tortured, imprisoned and maliciously prosecuted for terrorism. If you are a non-White man or woman and you go to Washington DC and take pictures as souvenirs you will be arrested and prosecuted for terrorism."

Since relatively few Middle Eastern Muslims or Arabs have been to America a large segment is going to believe the kinds of things they are reading: that there is a reign of terror in the United States against Muslims and Middle Easterners. (This is not to negate the fact that many have a positive view of America’s relative freedom—though not Islamists—and most are drawn by the country’s prosperity.)

Yet this item is by no means an isolated event. Several Arab Muslim clerics, and also academics, who have lived in the United States (and often posed as moderate there), when they are visiting the Middle East and interviewed in Arabic by media there, give very negative portrayals of how Muslims are treated in America which have little resemblance to reality.

Come to think of it, though, if the person posting this note is so enamored of al-Manar--which is the arm of a terrorist group--keeping an eye on their surveillance efforts in Washington is probably a very reasonable thing to do.

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