President Obama is packing his bags for trip to the Middle East. A major speech on American and Middle East relations will take place in Cairo. More accurately, the relations between the US and Islamic nations. As we know the President’s father was a Muslim and he spent time in Indonesia during his childhood. In the eyes of Islam, he is a Muslim. If your father is Muslim you are automatically one. The fact that he became a Christian as an adult is of no consequence. In the eyes of Shariah law he is actually marked for death. Converting to another faith is punishable by death. President Obama believes that he is the person that will be able to bring our two different worlds to a better understanding of one another.
I am sure the moderates in the Middle East could care less about his faith. The problem is the moderate voices in that region get drowned out almost entirely. Indeed, damage control is needed for the U.S. in the Muslim world. We are not very well viewed in that part of the world. We are looked at as aggressors, propping up dictators, greedy and the list goes on. All of these views have been going on for decades if not longer. It seems that we can’t win for losing in that region of the world.
A portion of the speech is expected to be on peace between Israel and Palestine. Personally, I doubt that will happen in my lifetime. Until Hamas and Hezbollah are willing to recognize Israel, peace will never exist, and they certainly don’t seem willing to do that at this time. Especially if we continue to train the Palestinian military in Jordan, we are just giving them additional incentive to hold off on peace to see if they can beat down the Israelis. It is indeed a laudable goal, but a pipe dream for now. The message is going to be that we are not at war with Islam. But we need to keep in mind that parts of Islam are at war with us.
A weekend party at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad certainly will not help the President. It was a costume party with a gay theme. The party goers were encouraged to come in drag or dressed as your favorite gay icon. Secretary Clinton has made it her mission to spread the word that the US views gay rights as a human rights issue. Which in this country, it is an acceptable part of life. We may have issues, but nothing compared to what goes on in the Middle East. Homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment, flogging, or death. It is not at all acceptable in the Muslim world. The gay population in this part of the world stays very much in the closet.
This party did not go unnoticed on some Anti-American websites. A post from Sheikh Abu Abdur-Rahman Atiatullah released a statement calling Americans: “criminal, homosexual, shameless, dissolute people, worshippers of lusts and Satan.” Some websites that are, at minimum, friendly towards terrorists made mention of this party accompanied by words of Muhammad, talking about the death penalty for homosexuals.
Having a party for people living in a war zone is a great thing. The people in Iraq are working in very trying circumstances and are under constant stress. Blowing off some steam is a very healthy thing. But we are in a foreign country that has a totally different set of mores and values than we do. The Islamic world is much more conservative than we are. It is imperative that we understand that we need to respect those values. It doesn’t matter if we agree with them or not.
In less than one week we throw a party in an Islamic nation that offends the sensibilities of the culture, then we give a major speech in which we say how we embrace other cultures and how we want to enjoy good relations. These two things are diametrically opposed to one another. One of the things that is mentioned in the 9/11 commission report was our failure of imagination. How much imagination does it take to realize that we look like we are talking out of both sides of our collective mouth?