“Responsibility for this brutality lies in one place alone, with the Assad regime and its allies, Russia and Iran,” President Obama said last week of the barbarity in Aleppo, Syria, “and this blood and these atrocities are on their hands.”
My journalism students and I here in Dubai follow the news together closely to talk about stories and how they’re reported. We followed this one with some disappointment, however, because the president would not acknowledge the consequences of his own lack of action in Syria. And when his U.N. envoy, Samantha Power, talked about shame, my class could only wonder whether she had looked in the mirror recently.… Seguir leyendo »
In the wake of the Paris bloodbath, the attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and Bamako, Mali, and murders elsewhere before and since, people desperately want to understand the root cause of all this violence. That’s true not only in the West, where many blame Islam itself. It’s true in the Middle East, too, where we are struggling to come to grips with the carnage and the region’s role in it.
Many of the usual suspects were singled out in the reaction here to the most recent attacks. Various Arab and Muslim writers blame Iran and Israel; others point to the West’s policies in the Middle East and the Muslim world.… Seguir leyendo »
Recently in Vienna, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and counterparts from Iran, Saudi Arabia and more than a dozen other countries announced their support for a united, secular Syria. “Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and secular character are fundamental,” the group said in a statement. They want a new constitution and internationally supervised elections. We all hope for the best, of course, but from the Persian Gulf, the issue of Syria’s — and the region’s — future looks a bit more complex.
Curiously, few Westerners are likely to dwell on the part of that sentence likely to stir the most unease among many in the Middle East: the word “secular.” It might sound innocuous to the Western ear, even simply a synonym for “modern.” But for Muslims in this part of the world, “secular” is a complicated word.… Seguir leyendo »
This summer, many Muslims marched in the streets of London, Paris and other cities to condemn the deaths of Gazans at the hands of Israel. Of course it makes sense to protest the bombing of schools and residential buildings. I marched in the streets against Israel’s invasion of Lebanon when I was a student, and I marched against the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. But, inexplicably, there have been no similarly large-scale demonstrations against the Islamic State for its horrific acts against Christians, Yazidis and even its fellow Muslims in Iraq and Syria. And there certainly haven’t been any marches protesting the beheading of innocents.… Seguir leyendo »
This Ramadan I’m praying for a miracle. Islam’s holy month began a few days ago, and millions of Muslims everywhere are fasting, reflecting and asking God to answer prayers. Like millions of American Muslims, I will be thinking about the cycle of violence that appears to have taken on a life of its own, and I worry that cycle is unstoppable.
The so-called Arab Spring was thought to mean a new beginning; but the wave of change did not bring freedom and prosperity to the region. Instead two years into this new chapter, people everywhere are fighting one another. In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood-led administration was overthrown, leaving at least 50 people dead.… Seguir leyendo »