Saturday, April 19, 2014   

  Home     About     Guest Editorials     Advertise     Blog     Site Map     Links     Contact      Subscribe RSS      Subscribe Email  
Home » Huffington Post

Dalia Mogahed: Beginning Again: How America and Muslim Majority Societies Can Re-Engage

25 October 2010 Huffington Post 19 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

The recent controversy over Juan Williams’ choice of words underscores just how little progress has been made since I sat in a packed Cairo University auditorium last June, witnessing firsthand President Barack Obama dazzle and inspire a cross section of Egyptian society.

His now famous address, titled the “New Beginning,” energized Egypt and the wider region, but more than a year later, tensions between the United States and Muslim majority societies are far from eliminated. Two wars, a sputtering Middle East peace process and the continued threat of al-Qaeda inspired violence present difficult hurdles to fostering trust.

The most powerful first step leaders can take to rebuild partnership between Muslim communities and the U.S. is to resolve these acute conflicts and end terrorism.

However, leaders cannot put global engagement on hold until these complex problems are solved. In spite of these challenges, governments and civil society on all sides must take an interactive holistic approach to move the relationship forward.

Here is what we must do:
1. Engage the home team: leaders educating their own constituencies. Often times leaders on all sides view their job as speaking on behalf of their people to the other. While this type of public diplomacy remains necessary, a far more powerful approach to move U.S.-Muslim relations forward is for leaders to spend at least as much time speaking to one’s own people in a way that shows empathy and respect for the other community.

2. Keep each other honest: convening a critical mass of influential journalists to form a pact on framing the “other.” Punctuating the decade since 9/11 is a string of global communication catastrophes involving Muslim and Western communities. From the Danish Cartoon controversy to Park51, news media in the United States and in Muslim majority societies have often escalated public outrage, rather than informing reasonable debate. To turn this around, a group of influential journalists from the U.S. and Muslim majority societies should convene for honest facilitated conversation on how each is framing the “other.” The goal of this convening is to create a set of mutually agreed upon principles for framing the “other” in reporting. Eventually, each society will have a critical mass of reporters who inform rather than incite.

3. Cooperate for the common good: creating a multi-national, multi-faith “Cooperation Corps.” Citizens of Muslim majority countries and of the United States often find themselves telling the other what they are against. It is time to show the world what they are for by forming a multi-national “Cooperation Corps,” since charity and service is a shared value. While the idea of young Americans spending two years serving in a developing country as a Peace Corps volunteer is familiar, the “Cooperation Corps” would include a multi-faith, multi-national group of young people who would spend a year in the U.S. and a year in a majority Muslim country serving underprivileged communities. This approach would truly favor partnership over paternalism in the area of international development.

4. Upgrade to Exchange 2.0: dramatically increasing cross-cultural communication through new media. Studies show that less than half of Americans personally know a Muslim, and even fewer citizens of Muslim majority countries have ever met an American. Studies also show that knowing someone from a group makes one less likely to harbor extreme prejudice against that group. This is why international exchange programs are so powerful, yet have limited reach by their very nature. Currently less than 1 percent of higher education students participate in such study abroad programs. Through creative use of new media platforms that percentage could be 25, 50 and eventually even 100 percent. Imagine the differences that could make in people’s worldviews and respect for one another. The United Nations is leading an effort on this in partnership with diverse public and private sector leaders, including an international non-profit organization I know well: Soliya. It is time for an Exchange 2.0 approach, where young people engage in a meaningful way over social media networks, thereby dramatically increasing the touch points between cultures.

While the situation seems grim, history teaches that groups, even those who have been in conflict for centuries, can ease tensions and build trust. Today the majority of Lebanese Muslims and Christians say they have a positive opinion of the other, less than a generation after a civil war fought roughly along confessional lines. Majorities of whites and blacks in America now say relations between their groups are good only a generation after the civil rights struggle. Other examples — in Rwanda, South Africa and Northern Ireland just to name a few — prove that progress is possible.

Dalia Mogahed is Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Study. She also directs The Abu Dhabi Gallup Center. Ms. Mogahed co-authored Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think with John L. Esposito. In 2009, President Obama appointed her to serve on his Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Advisory Council.

Original post: Beginning Again: How America and Muslim Majority Societies Can Re-Engage

Share/Bookmark




19 Comments »

  1. Cool blog I’m happy I stumbled onto it through google I’m gonna definitely need to add another one to the blogroll.

  2. Thanks for discussing your ideas. Something is that scholars have a choice between
    national student loan and a private student loan where it’s easier to choose student loan debt consolidation loan than with the federal education loan.

  3. I’m impressed, I must say. Actually rarely do I encounter a

    weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and
    let me inform you, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your

    concept is outstanding; the difficulty is something that not

    enough persons are talking intelligently about. I am very

    pleased that I stumbled throughout

    this in my seek for something relating to this.

  4. Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from

    somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog

    stand out. Please let me know where you got your theme.

    Thank you

  5. Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post.
    Many thanks for providing this information.

  6. “Dalia Mogahed: Beginning Again: How America and Muslim Majority Societies Can Re-Engage | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper” honestly enables
    me personally contemplate a little bit more. I really loved each and every single piece of it.

    Thanks for your time ,Veronica

  7. My brother suggested I might like this blog.
    He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You
    can not imagine simply how a lot time I had spent for this information!
    Thank you!

  8. Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in
    your post is simply great and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep
    up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  9. Your method of telling all in this article is truly pleasant, every one can effortlessly be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

  10. Asking questions are genuinely good thing if you are not understanding anything entirely, but this piece of writing offers good understanding even.

  11. I know this web site provides quality depending articles or reviews and extra stuff, is there any other web page which gives
    such data in quality?

  12. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found
    a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
    “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear
    and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.

    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  13. There’s certainly a lot to know about this topic. I like all the points you made.

  14. Hey would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re

    utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you recommend a good

    internet hosting provider at a reasonable price?

    Many thanks, I appreciate it!

  15. Great post and right to the point. I don’t know if this is

    actually the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where

    to hire some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)

  16. I’ve read several good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting.
    I

    surprise how much effort you put to make such a wonderful

    informative site.

  17. A formidable share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing

    slightly analysis on this. And he the truth is purchased me breakfast because I discovered it for him.
    . smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with!
    But yeah Thnkx for

    spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading

    extra on this topic. If potential, as you become experience, would you thoughts updating your blog with more

    details? It’s highly useful for me. Big thumb up for this

    weblog put up!

  18. Don’t use commercially prepared, dry, or pelleted foods. The Fiji crested iguana, Brachylophus vitiensis, is now listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. There are innumerable dog carrier varieties available on the internet.

  19. I’m gone to convey my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this web site on regular basis to get updated from newest news update.

Have your say!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>