US out of tune with Muslim world: Analyst
Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:11AM
But this was an opportunity for the Arab masses to come out and express their anti-American sentiments while Mrs. Clinton says that she doesn’t know about these sentiments. I think this is a failure on the part of the State Department.”The US State Department has ordered the evacuation of some staff members from the country’s embassies in Khartoum and Tunis amid growing anger across the Muslim world over a US-made anti-Islam movie. On Sunday, the State Department ordered the non-essential staff and family members to leave the capitals of Sudan and Tunisia. Demonstrators across the Muslim world have rallied in front of US embassies in protest at the anti-Islam movie, which insults Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). US officials have deployed marine units to Libya and Yemen, and stationed two destroyers off the North African coast. The Yemeni parliament has disapproved of the US military presence, while Sana’a has agreed to the deployment. Also on Saturday, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb issued a statement, addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which he emphasized "the need for an international resolution [banning] any attack on Muslim religious symbols." Press TV has conducted an interview with Omar Nashabe, with the Al-Akhbar newspaper, from Beirut, to further discuss the issue. The video also offers the opinions of additional guests: Stephen Sizer, pastor, Christ Church, from London, and Gordon Duff, a senior editor of Veterans Today, from Ohio. The following is a rough transcription of the interview with Nashabe. Press TV: In our clip that you just heard, I’m sure, it talks about the possibility that there are those who want to try to promote a clash of civilizations. I want to look at that aspect of it. Do you think that there are those who perhaps are behind this that really want to show that there’s a major schism between Islam and, let’s say, Christianity? Nashabe: No. I don’t think this is at all a clash of civilizations. This is a matter of respect. I believe that a respect for other cultures is a universal principle, so I don’t think that this is a matter that falls into this category. All those who are trying to put it in this category are only trying to justify in some way what has taken place, not just with this film but with other movies and other publications. I remember the caricatures that appeared also in 2006 and there were some other insulting media material, audio-visual publications, not just insulting Islam but insulting other religions also. That falls into that category. If you want to categorize what actually took place, what took place is an offense - it is a serious offense and an insult to millions of people who follow a faith, a particular faith. In this case, it is Islam. It could be any other faith. That is actually what took place. I think the mismanagement of the United States and the Western powers that are allied to the United States and to Israel has created this opportunity for millions of people to take to the streets and express their anti-American sentiment. That is a political reaction because of this mismanagement that has taken place for a very long time. I’m being soft by calling it mismanagement. I could go into the details of this particular mismanagement in this case which is, for example, sending in Marines. The Americans want to send in Marines to some of the American embassies around the Islamic world and I think that would create more tension. The second point is that they said they want to provide security to the producers of this insulting movie. And that is also going to fuel more anger. Third, by failing to actually act in a way - failing in the communications process, they’re supposed to communicate to the Muslims that they respect them. I think that since 2001, the continuous insults on Muslims, their so-called war on terror has been a war on Muslims. Let me just put it this way. This is the way that it’s perceived by the Islamic world and that should be dealt with in order to reach a situation that is stable, where justice prevails, and mutual respect for different people who have different faiths and different beliefs can actually be established. Press TV: Mr. Nashabe, your take on this, as the [previous guest speaker,] pastor in London has said that what is happening, to see the violence that is happening in the Muslim world… I want to look at that because as our [earlier guest speaker] in Ohio has said, Mr. Duff, that he believes it’s an Israeli operation set up to actually have the reaction that it is having. What’s your perspective on that? From the world of Islam, where then should the Muslims stand? On the one hand, they want to stand strongly and send a message that they will not let certain lines be crossed; but on the other hand, they do not want to be pawns on the hands of others. Nashabe: Yes. I think that what your guest from Ohio just said is very important, and I think it deserves more insight and it deserves an open investigation. I think this should be done and is the responsibility of Arab and Islamic nations to expose the information that your guest from Ohio has gathered. Apparently, he has talked about his background and apparently he has adequate information, that there should be more emphasis on what he said and on the Israeli connection. I don’t have any references at this point to actually point into direct evidence of Israeli involvement in the whole operation but this, I’m sure, deserves more investigation. On the issue of how Muslims should react and on the violence that actually took place, I think, yes, a lot of it was spontaneous; but there are signs that some of it was planned. There were some reports that some documents disappeared from the US embassy or from the residence of the American ambassador in Benghazi. This information can actually point out to some preparations that were done, and organized operations to actually take these documents.
However, I’ll go back to Washington and say that the Americans and the US government must understand that this is only a spark. This film is only a drop that spilled the glass and that created this opportunity for demonstrating, for the Arab masses and the Islamic masses around the world to demonstrate their anti-American sentiments.I want to go back to the speech of Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Clinton said that she was surprised of this attack in Benghazi when it took place, and she was surprised that Arab masses took to the streets and accused the American government of being responsible. Yes, the American government may not be directly responsible by that. That was done by a producer, as Pastor Sizer said; a producer in California who did it and posted it on YouTube. That was correct. But this was an opportunity for the Arab masses to come out and express their anti-American sentiments while Mrs. Clinton says that she doesn’t know about these sentiments. I think this is a failure on the part of the State Department. Press TV: She used the word “mob” as opposed to “masses”... If it is an Israeli operation to basically try to embarrass the American government, and now, basically, the anger of the Muslims seems to be more directed towards Washington than Tel Aviv, what do you think is the correct reaction, in general? Because you have said, of course, that the root of a lot of these demonstrations is the overall anti-Washington sentiment that exists in these countries because of policy after policy that people perceive as being anti-Islamic. Where do we stand at this point? If, really, the United States has been embarrassed by this, by the Israelis, what do you think should be done at this point in time? Nashabe: I think there should be, immediately, a call for an emergency meeting for the Islamic conference countries. I think there’s also a move for tomorrow evening: there’s going to be a speech by Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut; and there’s going to be, after tomorrow, on Monday, a massive rally. In tomorrow’s speech Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah will call for Islamic unity because I think we have to take this opportunity in order to deal with the divisions among Muslims, among Shia and Sunni. These divisions have been fueled by the Americans and by the Israelis, in Iraq and in Syria and in other parts of the Arab and Islamic world. This is an opportunity for Muslims to reunite. This is going to be, basically, the main axiom of Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech tomorrow evening. GMA/HJL