Opinion: U.S. Problems With "Islamic World" Due to U.S. Policy, Not Lack of Information

April 16, 2004

Source: Middle East Online


On April 16, 2004 the Middle East Online ran an opinion piece by Hady Amr, co-president of the Arab Western Summit of Skills, on the problems of U.S. foreign policy relations with the "Islamic world," specifically the recent Iraq war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Amr writes, "But those who think that a 'fair and balanced' response to Al-Jazeera [the U.S.-funded Arabic-language satellite TV station, 'Al-hurra'] will reverse the plummet in America's favorability ratings or, more importantly, actually resolve the serious policy challenges that the US faces are kidding themselves. The problem is two-fold: one, how we formulate our policy, and two, how we communicate our policy. First and foremost, the problem is US policy. No amount of communication programs can change how citizens across the vast Islamic world feel about the US without core shifts in US policy. What are citizens from across the Islamic world angry about when it comes to the US?: From the ongoing US-led occupation of Iraq, to US disengagement towards Israel and Palestine, to backing down on claims that the US would push for democracy across the region, there are many reasons to point to...The second problem is the way America communicates. Adding yet another state owned media outlet to the region answers neither America's needs nor those of the region. In fact, changes in technology mean that in just about every Muslim country, the citizenry already has access to broadcasts from America and around the globe."