Friday, July 15, 2005

Exclusion of Moderate Muslim Voices

UK Muslim leader barred from US
British Muslim leader Sheikh Dr Zaki Badawi has said he has been refused entry to the US without explanation.

The head of the Muslim College said he flew from London to New York to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York but was turned back.
I'll skip most of the details of the article because they are not germane to the point I want to make, and continue with this:
Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in America, said there was a need for moderates like Dr Badawi to come to the US "to counter the extremists".

"We need people like Cat Stevens who have committed themselves to fighting extremism," he said.

"People wonder why the moderates are not being heard. It is because they are being excluded."

Yusuf Islam, the British singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, was refused entry into the US and his plane diverted on national security grounds.

He most recently visited the US in 2003 - in the same year he was a guest of the Queen at a state banquet for US President George Bush.

And the theologian was the first prominent Muslim to criticise imams in the UK who did not teach in English.
Al-Marayati is contending that moderate Muslim voices are being excluded from the United States, and that this is bad because moderate voices would serve well to counter the perception of Islam as an extremist religion.

However, I contend that preserving the image in the American public eye of Islam as a whacko suicide-bomber religion is probably the exact motivation for keeping the moderates out. Once and a while, some noise is heard from the Bush administration about how Islam means "peace" or some such thing, but I suspect the only reason they bother with that is to discredit precisely the type of accusation I am making here.


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