This episode of Alam Simsim was brought to you by the letters U, S, and A
April 28, 2005 5:42 PM Subscribe
Muppet Diplomacy - USNews and World Reports has a new must-read article: "The White House has approved a classified new strategy, dubbed Muslim World Outreach, that for the first time states that the United States has a national security interest in influencing what happens within Islam. Because America is, as one official put it, "radioactive" in the Islamic world, the plan calls for working through third parties--moderate Muslim nations, foundations, and reform groups--to promote shared values of democracy, women's rights, and tolerance." This means surprising US-funded initiatives such as restoring historic Sufi (i.e. moderate, non-Wahhabist) mosques, saving 11th Century Uzbek Korans, and convincing Pakistani madrassah teachers to quietly add science and math to the curriculum. Oh, and it means we're funding secular and independent media, including "in what boosters are calling Muppet Diplomacy", an Arabic version of Sesame Street. Can cultural revitalization, increased educational access, nascent democratic movements, and adorable lil' Elmo--all paid for with US tax dollars--be an effective innoculant against the tentacles of Radical Islam? Daniel Pipes, The Progressive Muslims' Union, and Reason magazine weigh in. See also a related RAND Corporation report from March, 2004.
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