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|Rand Report's attempt to change Islam|
|03/26/05 at 10:53:30|
The Rand Report recipe is to encourage and promote the so-called modernist Muslims and play one section of the society against another .
Rand Report's attempt to change Islam
3/21/2005 - Political - Article Ref: IV0503-2647
By: Abdus Sattar Ghazali
March 18th marks the first anniversary of formal release of the Rand Corporation report on Islam, entitled Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies.
The report has two fold agenda: 1. Try to create a version of Islam that suits the post 9/11 western agenda. 2. Creating divisions in the Muslim society at home and abroad.
The Rand Report recipe to achieve this objective is to encourage and promote the so-called modernist Muslims and play one section of the society against another to split the society. In another report released in December 2004, the Rand Corporation elaborated on the second point and recommended playing the two major Muslim sects Sunnis and Shiites against each other to achieve policy objects.
We are not sure what impact the Rand report has on the 1.5 billion Muslims living in independent Muslim countries as well as minorities in many other countries.
However, we can see some reaction in the American Muslim community where the so called progressive or modern Muslims are trying to benefit from the current atmosphere of fear and siege caused by the arbitrary arrests, FBI interviews, racial profiling, surveillance of their mosques, closing down of Islamic charities and constant anti-Islam and anti-Muslim propaganda in the mainstream media.
We are experiencing the re-emergence of Orientalism of the 19th century aimed at forcing the Muslims living in US to abandon the basic tenets of Islam. This neo-Orientalism is coming in the shape of such research documents as the Rand Report which questions the authenticity of Islam's holy scripture, the Quran. Even a fake version of Quran is now available in print. It was distributed in a private school in Kuwait.
At the same time, we see cropping up of some Muslim groups such as Free Muslims Against Terrorism, Progressive Muslim Union of North America (PMUNA) and Center for Islamic Pluralism which are not only challenging the basic tenets of Islam but also challenging the established Muslim organizations.
Free Muslims Against Terrorism, established by Kamal Nawash who ran for Virginia State Assembly in November 2003 as a Republican candidate. One can well understand his political ambitions and hidden agenda of his organization. Just one example, how it is working against the American Muslim groups. In January this year the Executive Director of Free Muslims Against Terrorism, wrote an e mail to Enver Masud of an Islamic website, Wisdom Foundation, saying: We are very disappointed in your site and it should be taken down…. I will recommend to our extremist watch committee that we place your site on our list of extremist sites or sites that support terrorism. Here is the website address of Wisdom Foundation where one can see what kind of message Enver Masud has: www.twf.org
The Progressive Muslim Union of North America (PMUNA) was formed on November 15, 2004 by some professed moderates who embrace the simple proposition that "you are a Muslim if you say you are a Muslim -- for whatever reason or set of reasons -- and that no one is entitled to question or undermine this identity."
The PMUNA is now forcing mainstream Muslim organizations to take positions on even non-issues in order to put them at odds with their own community, and if don't take a position they would be considered as the "bad or extremist" Muslims. Sarah Eltantawi, one of its co-founders is demanding the major Muslim groups and organizations to take position on a non-issue, i.e. if a woman can lead Friday prayers. It is not an uncommon knowledge that the status of woman in Islam is now being used by the West to defame Islam.
"I demand to know where the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stands on this issue. I demand to know where the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) stands on this issue. And KARAMAH, the American Sufi Muslim Association, Women in Islam, Azizah Magazine, and other groups who speak for Muslims and Muslim women," Eltantawi asks.
The PMUNA is not alone in working against the major American Muslim organizations. The first goal of Center for Islamic Pluralism established by Stephan Shwartz, a Muslim convert, is the removal of CAIR and ISNA from monopoly status in representing Muslims to the American public because, according to CIP, as long as they retain a major foothold at the highest political level, no progress can be made for moderate American Islam. By the way, Shwartz claims to be a Sufi Muslim and the Rand study recommends promotion of Sufism in Islam for US policy objectives.
The Rand Report is silent on the reasons of discontentment in the Muslim world. The report does not address any of the core issues that are central in developing the perceptions of the Muslim world like; Palestine, Kashmir and Chechnya issues and the exploitative political systems supported by the American or European elites. No reference is made to the West's support for totalitarian secular Muslim regimes, Israel 's endless pogroms against the Palestinians and ethnic cleansing perpetrated against Muslims in Eastern Europe and Chechnya.
A number of recent studies have reaffirmed that the reason for anti-American sentiments in the Muslim masses is because of American policies. Pentagon advisory group, Defense Science Board, in its November 2004 report pointed out that Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies. "American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies."
To give a helping held in the daunting task of countering the anti-American sentiments in the Muslim world some ‘moderate' Muslims established the American Muslim Group on Policy Planning (AMGPP) on December 13, 2004. "The AMGPP is willing to play a very active role in helping improve US image and counter the tide of extremism and anti-Americanism in the Muslim World, the AMGPP founder explains. Now one may ask does this group supports Bush administration's policy objects such as the occupation of Iraq, the war against Afghanistan, torture in Guantanamo Bay, Baghram and Abu Ghraib and support of undemocratic Muslim governments.
In this context, I would like to refer to a report "Understanding Islamism" issued earlier this month by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group: "The failure to address the Palestinian question and, above all, the decision to make war on Iraq and the even more extraordinary mishandling of the post-war situation there have unquestionably motivated and encouraged jihadi activism across the Muslim world."
According to the report (the quotation of which does not mean its endorsement), Sunni political Islamism, is definitely modernist in most essential respects, favoring non-violent over violent strategies, open to dialogue and debate and interested in democratic ideas. The report adds: that the West can encourage this evolution. But should it choose to do so, it will need to drop or at least moderate its more activist and interventionist impulses where Muslim countries are concerned, display greater respect for their sovereignty, understand their ambition to renegotiate their relations with it over a range of issues and come to terms with and take account of their viewpoints on the most controversial questions in the current relationship, notably the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iraq and the modalitie! s of the "war against terrorism" in general.
The report warned that if "moderate" is defined to mean "co-optable", it can only really refer to groups and tendencies which fail to articulate the frustrations and expectations of the mass of "ordinary decent Muslims", have little or no purchase on their political reflexes and will prove unable to promote either significant reform in Muslim countries or a substantive modernization of their cultural and ideological outlook. "Rather than reducing the appeal of extremist currents, the patronizing of "moderates" in this sense by Western governments risks reinforcing it, while undermining the modernist tendency in Sunni Islamism to the benefit of fundamentalists and jihadis," the International Crisis Group report concluded.
Returning to the Rand report, Civil Democratic Islam: partners, resources, strategies, the suggestions of its author, Cheryl Benard, are nothing more than a Machiavellian manifesto that seeks to enforce Western hegemony and cultural imperialism through the policy of "divide and rule." The type of Islam that Benard espouses is a passive and weak Islam that can be easily penetrated and hence reformulated to suit the West's agenda.
The report may be seen as the latest in a long series of policy papers by the "embedded intellectuals" dedicated to further the military and economic objectives of the West as well as cultural onslaught on the Muslims.
In a briefing - entitled Taking Saudi Out of Arabia - given on July 10, 2002 to a the Defense Policy Board, former RAND analyst Laurent Murawiec described Saudi Arabia as the "kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" to US interests in the Middle East. He argued that Washington should demand that Saudi Arabia stop supporting "terrorism" or face seizures of its oil fields and its financial assets in the US. Murawiec urged a multi-stage Grand strategy for the Middle East, beginning with Iraq as the tactical pivot, continuing to Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot and finally to Egypt as the prize.
Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Executive Editor of the online magazine American Muslim Perspective www.amperspective.com
|Re: Rand Report's attempt to change Islam|
|03/26/05 at 16:10:59|
Akhee - its worse. One of the directors of PMUNA, Aiman Mackie, is an ex-employee of RAND!
I bet most people didn't know that.
<<Aiman is a specialist in international security and development. He is currently the Program Manager of the Middle East Bridges Program at the EastWest Institute's New York Centre, with specific focus on Israeli-Palestinian issues. Aiman previously worked at the Ford Foundation, where he managed the Foundation's International Cooperation portfolios, including a project that sought to promote the role of U.S. religious communities in the foreign policy arena.
He has also worked for the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica and the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies in Beirut. Aiman holds a Master's in Public Policy and in A.B. in Political Science and French Studies, both from the University of Michigan.>>
|Re: Rand Report's attempt to change Islam|
|03/27/05 at 03:38:15|
|I posted a similar article some months ago and it was removed but since the topic has appeared again, here it is.|
What these Muslim neo-cons and Rand Robots are seeking is not reform but intellectual and moral surrender ..
Beware of Rand Robots
12/22/2004 - Political - Article Ref: IV0412-2561
By: Tahir Ali
For the last three years, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has been telling Muslims all over the world: You either have to have a war within or a war with us. A call for Muslim "civil war" has become the battle cry of the neo-cons. Using these "civil wars", Muslims killing Muslims in large numbers, the neo-cons expect to accomplish three goals:
1. Recreation of Muslim societies in Western image, with or without democratic institutions.
2. Long-term control over oil and policies toward Israel.
3. Reconstruction of Islam on a Biblical model, reformation included.
A while back, the Rand Corporation, a semi-autonomous think tank, had issued a report titled Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies authored by Cheryl Benard. The American Muslims must take note of because it is already being implemented in "letter and spirit" by various agencies and even "private" groups.
Though the author of this report claims: "The United States has three goals in regard to politicized Islam. First, it wants to prevent the spread of extremism and violence. Second, in doing so, it needs to avoid the impression that the United States is "opposed to Islam." And third, in the longer run, it must find ways to help address the deeper economic, social, and political causes feeding Islamic radicalism and to encourage a move toward development and democratization", its actual aims are discernable from its policy recommendations detailed below.
Cheryl Bernard, the author of this report, claims: "This approach seeks to strengthen and foster the development of civil, democratic Islam and of modernization and development. It provides the necessary flexibility to deal with different settings appropriately, and it reduces the danger of unintended negative effects. The following outline describes what such a strategy might look like:
1. "Support the modernists first, enhancing their vision of Islam over that of the traditionalists by providing them with a broad platform to articulate and disseminate their views. They, not the traditionalists, should be cultivated and publicly presented as the face of contemporary Islam.
2. "Support the secularists on a case-by-case basis.
3. "Encourage secular civic and cultural institutions and programs.
4. "Back the traditionalists enough to keep them viable against the fundamentalists (if and wherever those are our choices) and to prevent a closer alliance between these two groups.
5. "Within the traditionalists, we should selectively encourage those who are the relatively better match for modern civil society. For example, some Islamic law schools are far more amenable to our view of justice and human rights than are others.
6. "Finally, oppose the fundamentalists energetically by striking at vulnerabilities in their Islamic and ideological postures, exposing things that neither the youthful idealists in their target audience nor the pious traditionalists can approve of: their corruption, their brutality, their ignorance, the bias and manifest errors in their application of Islam, and their inability to lead and govern." (P. 47-48 ) †
After making these recommendations the author goes on the say: "Some additional, more-direct activities will be necessary to support this overall approach, such as the following:
1. "Help break the fundamentalist and traditionalist monopoly on defining, explaining, and interpreting Islam.
2. "Identify appropriate modernist scholars to manage a Web site that answers questions related to daily conduct and offers modernist Islamic legal opinions.
3. "Encourage modernist scholars to write textbooks and develop curricula.
4. "Publish introductory books at subsidized rates to make them as available as the tractates of fundamentalist authors.
5. "Use popular regional media, such as radio, to introduce the thoughts and practices of modernist Muslims to broaden the international view of what Islam means and can mean." (p. 48 ) †
Three key factors are crystal clear about this report: 1) The author of this report seeks to redefine Islam, 2) find and promote Muslim leaders and intellectuals of their choice and 3) involve Western governments in reorganizing and transforming Islam; by persuasion when possible and by force when necessary.
The First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Notwithstanding the fact that this report clearly violates the First Amendment, since its publication in 2003, various groups and organizations have put Cheryl Benard's recommendations into action. A number of Muslims have been co-opted by neo-cons and by various Rand Report implementation teams.
Though it is true that people under assault can always tell the difference between a Nelson Mandela and a Chief Buthalazi, even if the powers-that-be may label Mandela as a "terrorists" and Zulu Chief Buthalazi as the "moderate", it is still useful even necessary to remain vigilant about these planted agents who are now being programmed like robots to say and to whatever these think tanks want them to say and do.
How can one recognize these Muslims Neo-Cons and these Rand Robots? Well here are a few hints:
1. Their assignment is to trigger multiple civil wars. You will find them promoting conflict among Muslims, by clever means of course.
2. You will find them attacking any effort or entity promoting unity, clarity of purpose, or Muslim self-empowerment. One of their main assignments is to prevent emergence of a unified American Muslim agenda.
3. You will find them inventing methods to undermine and dilute Muslim identity. Their job is to prod Muslims to participate as individuals, not as a community.
4. You will find them using shrewd slogans to get American Muslims to shed any and all support and affinity for issues and causes of freedom and justice in Palestine, Kashmir, and elsewhere. Their assignment is to leave the field wide open for the other side.
5. You will find them exploiting every fault line within the American Muslim community. For example, deploying every conceivable stratagem to create misunderstanding and lack of amity among indigenous and immigrant Muslims.
6. You will find them undermining American Muslim struggle for civil right and human liberties.
7. You will find them not only not refuting the neo-cons but actually working with and for the neo-cons.
8. You will find them creating confusion, hopeless, helplessness, and purposeless in the community. You will find them attacking everyone else but never taking responsibility for any cause or crisis.
9. Their ultimate assignment is to undermine the American Muslim community by undermining its primary values, its main ideas, its representative institutions and its primary modes of self-empowerment and self-representation.
What these Muslim neo-cons and Rand Robots are seeking is not reform but intellectual and moral surrender. However, there is one important difference between Muslim neo-cons and Rand Robots: the Muslim neo-cons do not attack Islam or Prophet of Islam, the Rand Robots do.
Remember, in the war of wits, mind is the ultimate target but mind is also the ultimate weapon.
|03/27/05 at 03:43:58|
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