TITLE

They the People

AUTHOR(S)
Nafisi, Azar
PUB. DATE
March 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;3/3/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 8, p19
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The Islamists' hatred of the United States is based on fear, and that fear is rooted in their fear of the woman in Algeria who, at the risk of having her throat cut, refuses to wear the veil; or the writer who is murdered in Tehran while translating the Declaration of Human Rights; or the Afghan crowds who flooded the streets of their ruined cities as the Taliban fled. The fear is not merely of U.S. might but of the influence of U.S. culture on people in their countries. Thus terrorized, their existence in danger, the Islamists turn to violence. The worst forms have been against progressive men and women in their own countries who have become critical of the reactionary norms, who today ask for reform and a different way of viewing Islam. There is not one country in the Muslim world where there does not exist tension, not just between moderate and fundamentalist versions of Islamic rule but between the proponents of secularism and democracy. Commentators in the West seldom differentiate between the people of the 'Muslim world' and their self-proclaimed representatives. That helps explain why Muslim anti-Americanism has been growing. The most obvious examples are Lebanon in 1982, the Khobar Towers in 1996, the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States chose as its main political ally the Northern Alliance--greatly hated and feared by the majority of Afghans for its atrocities against them in the 1990s. Similarly, the United States in the 1980s encouraged and supported Iraq in its war against Iran, not considering that, no matter how terrible the Iranian regime, Iran was still a more open and flexible society than the one created by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Democracies in the West have to support the aspirations of those fighting for democracy in the Muslim world.
ACCESSION #
9170031

 

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