America vs. the Jihadist Narrative

(New York Times) Thomas L. Friedman - Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan may have been mentally unbalanced - I assume anyone who shoots up innocent people is. But the more you read about his support for Muslim suicide bombers, about how he showed up at a public-health seminar with a PowerPoint presentation titled "Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam," and about his contacts with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric famous for using the Web to support jihadist violence against America - the more it seems that Major Hasan was just another angry jihadist spurred to action by "The Narrative" - even though he was born, raised and educated in America. The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books - and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes - this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand "American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy" to keep Muslims down. Yes, after two decades in which U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny - in Bosnia, Darfur, Kuwait, Somalia, Lebanon, Kurdistan, post-earthquake Pakistan, post-tsunami Indonesia, Iraq and Afghanistan - a narrative that says America is dedicated to keeping Muslims down is thriving. This narrative allows Arab governments to deflect onto America all of their people's grievances over why their countries are falling behind.

2009-11-30 09:25:12

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