Start Working Hard

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Arab World, Iraq, Saddam Hussein Views: 2360

Earn your "wasta" through hard work

Here we go again. Days into Republican President George W. Bush's military campaign against the universally condemned regime of Saddam Hussein, and  across the Arab world TV commentators, academics and men and women on the street are busy blaming the "Jewish lobby" - and seemingly blaming it for everything. Be it in Jordan, Lebanon or Syria where I have spent the first week of the war, that's the word on the street, in the air and on the internet. This is an Israeli war, not an American one.

E-mails are circulating with old statements signed by Frank Gaffney, Richard Perle, and Bill Kristol condemning bin Laden, Saddam and Hizbullah. And I recently got a text message from someone very close to me asking if Paul Wolfowitz has Israeli citizenship.

This time of great suffering for the Iraqi people and pain for the Arab world may not be ideal for the following self criticism, but I feel compelled to write:  This superficial level of analysis is not only smacks of self-denial, its just plain sad. And the same thing happened a year ago when Bush and the US Congress largely stood idly by as Israel waged a brutal war against the Palestinian people. The Arab world blamed the Jewish lobby in Washington.

America also has failed many, many times over. And believe me, when I go back to Washington, my colleagues will get an earful about that. But it's time for the Arab world to "wake up and smell the coffee." Actually, it's been that time for decades. But coffee hasn't seemed to have worked, so maybe the smell of Tomahawk cruise missile explosions will get people in the Arab world to understand - they need to work hard themselves if they want to see American policy change in way that they like. No one else will do it for them-certainly not the likes of Gaffney, Perle and Kristol.

How can the Arab world change things? Although it is true that many in the Jewish-American community have been very, very effective at advocating for US policies that favor Israel regardless of whether these policies severely harm the Arab world, there are certainly those like the late Jewish-American Senator Paul Wellstone who advocated policies with great compassion toward the Palestinian people and the Arab world.  There are also many "neoconservatives" now in the Bush administration who have long been advocating the use of American force against Saddam and Hizbullah and granting Israel a freer hand to use violence as well. True, there are Jews among this group, but there are also people of just about every other ethnicity.

So the "Jewish lobby" is not the issue. True, there are advocates in the US for supporting Ariel Sharon-like policies, and these advocates are effective. But the Arab world has largely itself to blame for the predicament in which it finds itself. And it should stop whining and start working-and working hard to fix the problem.

When I last counted, there were nearly 300 million Arabs. That's a lot of people. And unlike the Arab world I was born into in 1967, today's Arabs are highly educated, have access to satellite TV, the internet and most of the middle and upper classes have friends or relatives living in Europe or North America.

So there is no longer any excuse for the Arab world to not directly engage the political system in the United States and taking matters directly into their own hands.

So what are the steps? First, apply this general rule I learned early on in life: If you don't like something, then learn about how it works and change it.

So if the Arab world does not like the shape of US foreign policy, then its leaders and citizens alike need to undertake a rapid and intensive course in learning about the institutions and mechanisms that formulate US policy. That means opening up institutions of higher learning to study US policy at every university in the Arab world and maybe even requiring every high school and university student to take courses in US and European foreign policy.

It also means that those Arab students who are studying in the US and Europe-whether they are studying chemistry, language or politics-need to personally volunteer on political campaigns. The benefits could be enormous: Arabs would learn about the political process so that they will be better able to influence it. The young Americans who are working on campaigns and who are thus most likely to be future political leaders will get favorable impression of Arabs. And relationships will develop between future American and Arab leaders that will stand the test of time so that decades from now at times of crisis between the US and the Arab world will be able to pick up the phone and call each other to discuss the nuances of policy and hopefully avert crisis. I recently met a young political leader in Syria who studied politics with Americans who now serve as key staffers in the US Congress and in the Bush Administration. It is these sorts of relationships that will bear fruit in the years to come. We needs tens of thousands of them, not just dozens. In Arabic it's called "wasta". In America, the difference is that you don't get it because of who your parents are, you earn your "wasta" through hard work. So get to work.

Second, the Arab world needs to promote creative debate and civic engagement. Forget the buzzwords like "democratization" and "regime change." How about some genuine analysis that recognizes the weaknesses in society? That offers alternative analysis to the roots of problems and offers creative solutions. That breaks the old stereotypical analysis of blaming the West and the Jewish lobby for everything. These analyses have clearly failed. Something else is required. Progress requires a public debate that recognizes weaknesses, failures and plots a way forward. Let the debate begin.

Third, ordinary people and journalists in the Arab world need to engage the US directly. Anyone who can write in English and has access to the internet can and should be writing letters to the editor of US newspapers about their views. Yes, the letters to the editor pages in US newspapers do play a formative role in policy formulation. And Americans are very hungry for Arab opinions these days. Get writing.

Sadly, ordinary people in the Arab world today have nowhere near the capacity to stop this war, let alone pick up the telephone to make personal calls to American decision-makers. But if these steps are followed - quickly and vigorously - you can be sure that decades from now there will be a stronger mutual understanding between the US and the Arab world. If not, there will surely future crises like the Palestinian catastrophe, the war on Iraq and the Sept. 11 attacks that will lead to more pain for Arabs, Americans, and the world alike.

Hady Amr was formerly national director for Ethnic American Outreach for Al Gore's presidential campaign. He can be reached at [email protected]. He wrote this commentary for The Daily Star.

  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Arab World, Iraq, Saddam Hussein
Views: 2360

Related Suggestions

The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Older Comments:
K2 FROM USA said:
Muslims in 1 city can't agree on the same day for Eid Celebrations.

Of course we are lost, but we can find the way by changing ourselves.

Learning to behave in a manner which causes people to respect us, not to look down upon us as uncivilized beings.

An article like this should be posted to every forum around the globe. What happened in Baghdad is a wake up call for everyone. Iraq is the cradle of civilization. It belongs to all of us not only to Arabs and muslim nations but also to the whole of mankind. Islam never separates humans into different religions. Humanity is sacred in Islam. That is how Islamic civlization flourished. I think we should thank the writer of this article for her courage in speaking out the truth. No one likes the truth these days but being law abiding muslim citizens one must understand that we have an International duty to abide by so we must try to rationalize and speak with wisdom and logic.

We have to ask ourselves serious questions. Why is that more than 40% of muslim children lack basic health and education when most of these countries have enough natural resources to last them for centuries?

What happened to the voices of the scholars/intellectuals and so on of muslim nations who can bridge the knowledge gap between poor muslim countries and those of the North rich countries?

Civilization is about sharing knowledge, resources, culture, harmony and so on. However, one must also realise it takes all nations to participate in this.

I hope what is happening in Iraq is a wake up call for every conscious humanbeing so that we can create harmony in this world. Otherwise all our efforts of today be it democracy, peace and so on will simply be a history tomorrow.

Globalsomaliland Women actively participates in promoting ICT(Information Communication Technology) to bridge the digital divide(computer have's and have not's) between the North rich countries and the South poor countries. Information is about people, knowledge and so on and if the poor are marginalised we will never reach our quest for world harmony and peace. It takes decades to build simple logical steps in reaching our goals for creating resources and knowledge to help build our communities across t

While I would agree w/Mr. Amr that Arab people should be more proactive in dealing w/Western powers, political action (especially on the int'l level)has very limited results w/very little or no benefit for the masses. In my opinion, the real cause of the conditions the Arab/African/people of color face in this world is the deviation away from the teachings of the Qur'an & the life of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh). Lack of truly representative (& just)leadership, compromising economic involvement w/the West, oppresion& violence against our women & youth are our greatest enemies. The Ummah must stand up & truly commit ourselves to being in complete submission to Allah's will! Spend our money w/Brothers & Sisters who place the welfare of the Ummah above all else. Pursue real education that allow us to take care of Muslims & all people who work towards uplifting humanity! Any politician who wants our support should answer 3 important questions: 1)Give us specifics on creating @least 2 million jobs, 2)Outline a relevant, practical plan for mass education(not miseducation), & 3)Concrete steps for eliminating tobacco & all other harmful substances that kill more people than all the WMD's of the U.S.,Israel & Russia combined! If the politicians cannot answer these 3 basic questions, dismiss them immediately! No more analysis & talk;save the speeches & Let's get to work! As Salaam Aleikum!

There is some truth to this article; but there is also a Jewish lobby and an administration that does not want to see a strong Muslim world in no way, shape, form or fashion. Case in point: why should the Islamic world Disarm why Israel Re-arms over and over- who died and made American God of this world, why should Muslims walk in goose step with America simple because America is militarily and economically stronger? What happen to American's responsibility to share some of its stolen wealth - acquired from centuries of free labor gifted to this country? Work hard?

There is no denying the fact that the US is the sole remaining super-power on the world stage, and there is no denying the fact that the Jewish Lobby has tremendous influence on the US administration's national as well as foreign policies. In the face of all of this, Arabs in and out of the US have to learn their ways to revolutionize their approach to their dealings with the US policy makers as did the Jews and others. They have to emulate these who lobby successfully and do the same. In the meantime, the Arab masses inside the Arab World must find ways to spawn change within their leaderships including toppling them, if needs be. Arabs cannot wait anymore because their humiliation has reached "rock bottom" everywhere in the world. It is high time Arabs have delved into all realms of leaning especially in the realm of science in order to advance themselves and put an honorable gloss on their faces, among other things the lakc of which has prevented them from reaching the "skies." Why can't we stop saying that "living on earth is evanescent and that tomorrow we are going to die and that there is no need to work for our lives in this world" and all that "nonsense"?
Arabs have a spiritual and worldly obligation to remedy their "perpetual ills" today before tomorrow via whatever means there is out there, working with or without the US.

US foreign policy is dynamic and steered by many factors among which are: 1) lobbyists: religious (eg. Jewish) or corporate (eg. big oil) or other (think tanks etc.) 2) political disposition of the government (Bush and advisors being neo-conservative) and 3) opinion polls (because officials want to get re-elected). I agree with the author to the extent that US government needs to be engaged by Arabs (*especially* Arab-Americans) and Muslims (*especially* Muslim Americans). If these two groups become well organized and have penetration (so someone of importance will actually listen when they speak) then they can at least have some effect. However at best, they would be one voice among many, a lot of which will be against them. The second thing these two groups can do is affect public opinion in America to better elaborate their side of the issue to everyday Americans. The third is that they can also have some economic impact by boycotting certains US goods when its evident the board of directors or CEO of some corporation has taken a political stand which is anti-Arab or Islamic. These efforts will change the US political landscape in Arab and muslim favor. Also, it is only in their interests if there are Arab or Muslim congressmen, governors, and other high political offices. Not only this, but if they can get to high offices in corporate America, they can influence the corporate lobby to some extent. Living as a muslim American for years, I know the mentality among us is get your degrees, get a high paying job, and then live quietly and dont make noise. Thankfully, I see that changing, and I hope it continues.

Brilliantly put my brother. Allah will not answer our prayers unless we put every effort with the right application and intention; to help the world. Moaning, complaining and whinging will only stain the heart, so much so that our prayers won't be answered any more. All Muslims need to take a hard look at ourselves, and start humbling ourselves because of what we have done wrong to ourselves and other people. If we don't, then the only way to humble the heart is to continue this punishment. Inshallah, Allah will give the Arabs and Muslims the strength, knowledge, humbleness through reflection and patience to be successful in these endevors for the sake of the Muslims, Americans and the World. May Allah bless all those who try their best in this way.


What a noble concept...would be most excellent if it worked.

Unfortunately, Mr. Hady Amr, we also need a plan on how to get the "Arabs" to even stomach EACH OTHER before they take on Western society.

What's UNFORTUNATE is Islam is being drawn through the MUD because ARABS are too stupid for their own good....and they and their actions are UNFORTUNATELY used to judge what Islam is all about.

Very true. We have a small radio show in Omaha and it needs funding, yet all the pleas, cries and calls for help has fallen on deaf ears. The next time I hear Jewish lobby controls the media I am going to get sick. the White House has a website Go there and complain, make a comment, do somthing, anything.

I'm amazed how many comments are calling for a quick fix to the problems in the Arab/muslim world. And whoever is suggesting a long term project to fix things is being viewed as an "Illuminated " or "traitor".
Guys ,quick fixes don't exist .The fall of the arab world has been going on for over 5 centuries and you are still calling for quick fixes..........because Iraq was destroyed in 2 weeks and we might not have time in years to get where we want let's patch it for a while.
The problem with that argument is it has been used over and over again during the past decades and most are still advancing it today.
One of the main problem is to regenerate this identity of ours as arabs and muslims .I'm always amazed by the brightness,compassion and strength of some of my "arab and muslim" friends and disgusted by some others.We have a great culture , morals, ethics and we fail to use them or we are avoiding them for a less apparently conflictual attitude with the west.
Some tend to think because we are muslims (i'm leaving out arabs here ) we should avoid the west becasue their values might corrupt us .They will corrupt us if we loose our identity ,if we don't cultivate tolerance for other people differences.Things can't be black & white ,there 's a lot of shades of grey in between.
When,I read the prophet Muhammad's(pbuh) life I'm amazed by the degree of love, tolerance , wisdom and intelligence he showed in every matter facing him.
I will encourage all of you to follow his example and learn from his life.
We need deep reforms at and an individual level first ." Wala oughairou Allah shaoy'oun bi qawmin hata youghairou wabi anfoussihim".

Assalamou alaikoun wa hafidakoumou allah.

I agree with most of akbar khan's view's, personally the way forward for muslim's to re-educate themsleves, and to learn more about the history of these regions. More to the point muslims should reject Nationalism which was devised a means to divide muslim unity and thus allow Western dominance.

In addition we must learn to articulate our cause in a more effective manner. There is no point in burning flags, this achieves nothing, we must remove all the fundementals of the Wests argument with regards to their Foreighn Policy with educated arguements and above all with true facts. This will allow their hyprcisey to shown for what it is. In general muslim's in the west are best suited to implemete these changes.

It has become our duty to take this role on, our faith instructs as to act against aggression. Our homeland has been rapped enough we must take a stand against further acts of aggression all muslims must unite after all we all belong to te same family.

A very interesting article so of which does bring home some home truths about the dire situation not just in the Middle East but in the whole of the Muslim World. Majority of the autocratic rulers of the Middle East were put in power or made Royal figures by the French and British to protect their interests.

These so called leaders maitain a luxary life style for themslevles and provide no incentives for their "Nationals" to work. I recently went to Dubai on business and was shocked that 90% of the workforce is imported from Pakistan, India Maylasia and European countries. No NO-Arab national has any citiztenship rights even regardless of how long they have been there or even if they are born there. I addition Arab nationals are provided with bonds for each shild and are given free health care and education. No Non-Arab is allowed to own property or start Investment without majority share gong to a Arab-national who must sponser the adventure first.

This whole set up removes all incentives to educate one slef or evn pursue some sort of profession. The oil money has provided great benefits to thse Emirates but at the cost of any educated professionals. If you were a citizen why would you change the system that provided you with everything?

All of these small non-geographical Emirates were all designed to foster such ineptness by the Western powers after the WW1. Western companies have probably made more money out consultanancy and professional services to these Arab Emirates than they have in Net OIL revenues. Before the Irani Revolution, the British government was making more money in Tax revenues than the SHAH!!!

Reading about people talking about how muslims should not depend on WMD, we should use diplomatic efforts!! WOW are you already forgetting that quickly!!! Even though Iraq's former leadership, the Baath party was not even an Islamic system...they acquired WMD in the past, YES...but now, in over 3000 or more sites in Iraq in which Mr. Bush labelled as very likely locations WMD would be, nothing is found??? Why is Mr. Bush talking about liberation of Iraqi people, what happened to getting Saddam and the WMD as the main purpose of going in!!?? IF ANYONE WAS NOT ACTING DIPLOMATICALLY, IT WAS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION!! I cannot understand how so many people are blaming Muslims for not using diplomacy...meanwhile you forget that the Baath Party was formed out of Communist, Russian systems! PLEASE before anyone says anythign unintelligible again, go and study some history!!! How the last 80 years in history, the Colonial powers have worked vigorously to rape Muslim lands. Yet you expect Muslims to go and conspire with Western leaders who, inherited the wealth from their previous leaders which they stole from the Middle East and Asia. Yes what is done cannot be undone....then why is Germany still paying Israel 50 million US Dollars or more every year in Reparations for the Holocaust...on top of the billions of dollars US Congress gives them in loan guarantees every year?? A Muslim who supports a murderer, especially a murderer who murders other Muslims, imagine what that makes have taken a state of Kufr. I am an economics student, born in Canada, I am a young man who at least has the intellect to see the difference between what is FALSE and what is TRUE. It's only laughable brothers and hypocritical it is of Mr. Hady Amr to say the the 'Arab world, leaders and citizens need to learn the mechanisms of US Policy...', meanwhile the leaders are controlled by USA. You want to encourage Arab people...not like like this Mr. Amr, not like this.

Mr. Amr, how sad it is for me to see that since you are a former employee for Al Gore that you use your position as a catalyst for muslims to sell their souls to the same administration (Bush admin) you were working to defeat, and the same administration that has murdered over 30,000 Muslim Afghans, thousands of Iraqi's, and holds a very close relationship with Mr. Ariel Sharon the Number One Hall of Shame War Criminal, continuing his criminal massacres daily on Palestinians, and even AMERICAN peace activists... How can you be so passive in your statements, blaming the Arab people? What Arab world, do they not live on Earth, why are they referred to as Arab World, "Sand-Ni**ers", and such disgusting classifications? Common sense is not very common, and to take a biased analysis of the situation leads to blame being thrown around, while you beat around the "Bush" swaying from telling the truth. The TRUTH is that Arab leaders, the Saudis, Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's Abdullah, are lying to their people about American troops in their countries, and telling them they cannot even protest in the street. Yet you have the nerve, with your position, to blame arab muslims for not doing anything?? If you want to blame someone, you should start with yourself, really...ask yourself this sir, with your skills, and experience, why did you not put your talents to use in an Arab state? Is it because Arab leaders are corrupt, or b/c you could care less about the well-being of Arab people? Mr. Hady Amr, take a trip down memory lane....remember how the traditional colonialist coalition, USA, Britain, Portugal, Spain, did the same thing in 1917 with the Ottoman Republic, STOLE the wealth, Gold, enriched their own nations..mass looting throughout the arab region; India 1947, robbed them for the last 100 years, left the country, left it in chaos with looting out of control. So-called leaders! Democracy should be revealed for it's true self, that being a Demagoguery.No more space lol

How can the Arab world change things?
By following the sunnah of Muhammad

youre talking about decades of learning and maybe making a dent on policy that has been in place for at least 50 years , I agree with everything you wrote ,how ever Iraq was destroyed in 2 weeks , the country and the hopes of the people and even their museum pieces that could have at least showed them their culture, so in the decades that it would take to change a policy that is twisted and they know its wrong the muslims will be a thing of the past,sad but it looks likely.i see it here ,you have the older muslim woman covered completely and you have the teen age daughter looking like barby? wouldnt it make sense if both were covered or just the younger one? I'm asking because I'm constantly asked why that is , it's alegitimate question, after all the boys are looking at whats showing ,i know you say we are in america when in rome do as the roman's right? well what is happening here is going to happen that much faster in places like iraq where there is so much havoc going on, that is the perfect time to make what ever changes any one desires,and by the way Franklyn Graham has 25,000 people already to go to iraq to convert muslims into christians in exchange for what they need badly just daily food and water, next stop Libia , Iran ect, ect, ect.youre plan is wonderfull for like you said some one who has some material means, there are not that many people who do now, and now is when they need it.but maybe this is in God's plan I just dont know anymore,im not bashing im just frustrated, and i know what you say is true just wish had more money and time to help.

I should thank you for your objective article about the problem in the arab world and what should be done .
I tend to think that the same reasons that jumpstarted the implosion of the islamic world in the 15th century ,are still the same causing us to stagnate in mediocrity and hopelessness.
Extremism in one hand and the fear put in the arab world inhabitants by their respective governments have reduced drastically our capacity to take initiative and deal with all problems and questions with no restrictions.
I'm a firm believer that this fall can't go on for ever and we are seeing lately the Symptoms of the awakening of the Arab and Islamic world to the necessity of a change.
I'm aware that this won't happen overnight but it will happen.

Assalamou aalaikoum jamian ,hafadoukoumou allah

The "wasta" that the author of this article is advocating is a waste of time. First of all to categorise the problems of muslims as arab and non-arab issues means that they will never be solved. Only when we see that violence and assault on muslims, arab and non-arab as an issue for all the muslims will we do something about it.
For all arabs and muslims to study American and European foreign policy is also a sheer waste of effort. It is better for muslims, whether they are arab or not to study the basics of Islam rather than the foreign policy of their oppressors. It is better for muslims to realize that one muslim is a brother to another. Our route out of our predicament is back to Islam rather than to become well educated hecklers at the court of oppressors in Europe and America.

Heard and read this rubbish before. Does the name Fuad Ajami and the likes rings a bell? What we have here are nothing but the words of another "native informant" -to use the excellent expression coined by Edward W. Said.

I entirely agree with your views and suggestions.
One cannot expect OIC "Organization of Islamic COWARDS" to help Arab delima.
The Arabs cannot win the west with WMD. They should work towards A)Moving the Public openion and B) Finding ways of neutralizing WMD by advancing in Science. They will find that neutralising WMD is much simpler, cheaper and safer than the weapons themselves.
Stop self pity,and blaming others for your own failures.It is time the Arabs woke up.
The only problem is that most educated Arabs are from the Elite class and very few from middle and working class.

Salaam alaikum. Thank you for the sensible artical, we need to make progress forward instead of always being full of hateful retoric. I am currently a student of International relations/political science, and found your artical to be very encouraging. As for the lady who said we should just pray and lighten up, prayer is good but prayer and action is better. Salaam.

My intention is not to offend anybody except just comment what i think is right. My brother in this well-written article analysed the Arabs pros and cons. My Point is that is there anyway IF we can just call all of them "MUSLIMS" other than "ARABS".If I am not mistaken there are only 15% Arabs and the rest are muslims. All the Asians and other muslims are not arabs and I consider all problems related to muslims other than just Arabs.If we have to solve our problems than 1.5 billion muslims have to unite it's a team effort and i hope that i got my point through to the author. In the last sermon Prophet(S.A.W) said:
"All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab".
I am sorry if i have taken the article in the wrong sense, actually i like the article but i thaught this point needs to be addressed.
Thank you and impatiently waiting for reply.

May God reward you for the Wisdom in your words. I fully agree...myself working on rural female literacy project in Pakistan(only 23% of women in Pakistan 'total' are literal...rural often less than 5%)....and these are to be the future of our Communitee(and a nuclear state at that)!!!
Also I work with various campus Jewish groups in creative Muslim-Jewish dialogues and reapproachment project...focusing on 'Peace Week' events in various universities in Fall 2003.

Hard difficult, emotionally draining, working against the grain work and lots of outreach to bring others to the 'Peace' cause we do.

"If you do what you always did, you will get what you have always gotton."
"Allah does not change the condition of a people till first they change first what is within themselves"

By the way I am entering a graduate Certification in Public Relations in September as frankly among other things the Muslim World has horrible PR skills. ;o)



MIKE FROM U.S.A. said:
I was very impressed with your writing due to my overall confusion of both issues; be that American or Islamic. I've continued to research for understanding of the Islamic World. What brought it to this stage of hate and disregard for it's own citizens until a foreign power got involved? Why are "we", in your opinion, in Iraq? Some say oil, some say democracy, some say it's just how "we" Americans settle things. I'm deeply concerned about the future for both regions and the effects of the children in both regions. War is not something used unless no other alternative is working, in my opinion that is. The benefit of the Iraqi people will have to be seen. I hope "we" can establish a non-Americanize region that improves their lives. However, I don't understand the concept of Saddam being the leader, of what is seen, as a holy war, in some eyes. I feel he abandoned his people at a moments notice. If Saddam had any regard for his people would he need gold plumbing? How is this the ideology of a holy man? He allowed his people to suffer while he wallowed in gluttonly, a certain concept most from this region consider to be an American persona. I would like to know why "we" are viewed as being the worse of the two evils- Saddam or U.S. Why would no one else aid the citizens of Iraq? France and Russia have been proven to be one's recieving monetary gain under the Saddam regime. Is this not understood by the Arabic community. American's are very arrogant in Arabic eyes. Is Saddam seen as a meek and mild individual? Russia has no problem with Saddam's rule or the oppression of the Iraqi people. Has anyone talked to a Chechyn lately? They might have a different take on Russia's pro-peace stance. France is quite interested in holding on to it's monetary gain from Saddam, including military sales, oil rights, and even nuclear knowledge. Can we overcome this situation? Since Muslims advanced into Europe in the eighth century there has been war between us

Lighten up! Don't you get tired of fighting the world's battles? What's wrong with just saying one's prayers, repenting of sins daily, asking the Father in Heaven to guide every step, going to work every day, putting on a happy smile, and taking the kids out for ice cream after dinner at night? If the whole world thought that way, like, "Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself", as Isa (Jesus)HNBP said; this old world wouldn't need leaders telling us what to do. Until then, I trust Allah HHNBP to keep my family from evil. Nothing is more peaceful than knowing that, when this life is over, Allah HHNBP accepts our spirits in his presence because His Holy Sacrifice covers our sins. What am I talking about? Pure joy. Try it, you'll like it.

May the weight of a 1000 stones be lifted off of your shoulders!

To Samir and Diallo.

I am an American living in California. I apreciate you guys being up front. But, i doubt anything will come true. All the time, I here Muslims saying they are going to insitute reforms, and then nothing happens. Zilcho. Sounds like the old same talk...

If there is any point valid in this analysis, is the fact that we cannot "keep blaming the enemy for being being an enemy and trying to subjugate the islamic world". That is inherently what a foe does. Our system of life is at odd with their. THe Qur'an says "they are only followint their passions or imagination or speculation(Thann), and speculations do not help for anything in finding the truth. But please, the solution is not to become vassal of the west and end up being "arab's uncle Tom" or "house niggers". Muslims should critize themselves and open the way for the Muttaqqi and the fuqaha (the clerics) to reinstitute real idjitihad. To combine the new realities of the world to the eternel wisdom of the Qur'an. The Qur'an states that It did not leave anything unexplained. Thus we are the one who have yet to discover the remedy of our disease. For example, in what credentials could Usama and Zawahiri give out fatwa's. May be thay could in Economics and Medicine. But not in religious grounds. Let us return to the true teachings and to Al Tarbiya. It was a shame to see Mothers in chador looting and stealing. To my muslims brothers of arab descent, what happen to your islamic values? Gone with the sandstorms?

I deeply appreciate some of the comments by the author on the fate of Muslims as whole and Arab Muslims in particular.We need many more such deep self-criticism.The enemies will do their job but what Muslims are doing to protect themselves.Only to blame others for our own misfortunes. It will never help us to go forward.So it is high time that Muslims should rise up against their own tyrant dictators(Hosni Mubarak, Gaddafi,Asad) or kings(Abdallah and Abdullah) to establish democratic societies in their own countries.How many people they will kill to suppress the people's right?Muslims are being killed any way by their enemies either their own or other. Fall of brutal dictator Saddam Hossain has left a great lesson for all Muslims particularly the Arab Muslims both for the rulers and the peoples.Come out of the cocoon,take the responsibility, fight to death againsts our own dictators and kings to get our freedom and dignity as human and as Muslims.

Before embarking on your grand plans for Islamic glory, why not something a bit more modest and practical: Why don't Arab political and religious leaders speak out against and condemn Iraqis who loot their own cities! How about Arabs displaying even the smallest measure of civic responsibility, and desisting from looting privately-owned stores, hospitals, museums etc.

As'salaamu alaikum,
I wholeheartedly agree with the author. However, I would take this assessment one step further in saying that it is the Muslims that have no one to blame but ourselves for the state we are in. If Muslims constitute one body, and if one part has pain then don't the others feel pain with it? Isn't the humilation of Arab Muslims my humilation as a Muslim as well? Doesn't Arab corruption and lawlessness reflect on me as a Muslim and upon Muslims everywhere? Unless and until Muslims really and truly inculcate this belief of a true ummah into our thoughts and practices then we will continue to be victims of our own ignorance. Sadly, it has taken us far too long in realizing this. We need to make tawba. We need to be better Muslims individually and demand and assume the best of fellow Muslims.

This is a very interesting article in which the author has focoused on the requirements that the arabs should work for. Although I am ogiginally from Bangladesh but I have been living in USA for more than three and half years. The issue put forward in this article is the issue not only for the arabs but for the whole muslim ummah therefore the entire muslim community need to work on that. This the time for the muslim to work as a single entity based on islamic identity rather than national identity.

Allah Hafiz

As Salaamu Alaikum,
I am very much impresed by Hady Amr's article. Actually, almost every muslim think that the Muslim world, specially the wealthy countries, should encourage their citizen to work hard to make their country self relient and eventually self defend. It is also necessary that they should have nuclear weapons to balance the military imbalance with their neighbouring countries, I think UN wouldn't mind over the arm race now as it failed to prevent the war in Iraq. They should atleast have waeapons built or bought from America, russia, France, Pakistan or any other country to defend themselves before it is too late. As most of the people in middle east already know the intensions of Israel and if it happened for Israel to wage a war against any country in the name if terrorrism no one might be able to stop. Even America. Israel might finish its work while America and the UN were issuing the warnings, as they did last year when they were attacking Palestine in which many people were killed. Every citizen is very important to his/her country and they can make a difference. This is the best time to think about the future and remove all the differences they have, if any, and work togather to defend their country against the unexpected and to help the world make a peaceful world by removing hatered from the hearts of the non muslim world.

As salam u alaykum brothers & sisters

That was a good article. I agree that people need to stop blaming others and look into themselves. It's a good idea to learn about U.S foreign policy but I don't believe that is the reason why the muslim world in this terrible condition. I believe what has happend is that a large majority of us have strayed away from the Qur'an and sunnah of the prophet(saws). This period of afflictions is nobodys fault but our own. History proves this. Spain is a great example of what I mean. The muslims ruled Spain for 800 years or very close to it but became lazy. They became comfortable and were not striving in the path of Allah(swt) as they should... as we all should. What happened to them, Allah(swt) made their enemies to sit on their heads just like what is going on today.
We as a whole to go back to Qur'an and sunnah, reflect on it, and gain some understanding. We need to sincerely beg forgivness from Allah(swt) and try to change our own condition instead of blaming others within or outside of the ummah. We need to seriously ask ourselves what it is that we're striving for. Is it for this temporary and transient dunya or is it for the pleasure of obeying Allah(swt) making it to the paradise?
I don't feel that it is fair to blame the Arabs or the Jews or even America for any of this. It is the muslim ummah as a whole who is to blame for these atrocities and injustices. The only answer is to return to the straight path, there is no way around it. May Allah(swt) reward and guide us all inshaallah.

Samir, your comment is rife with jumbled-up contradictions. You're accusing Arabs of being racist and at the same time you're also racistly stereotyping the majority of them. And how come they are racist and at the same time "lions" against each other?!

Arabs have every reason to blame the Americans and Jews, especially the Palestinians of them, because they are being victimized on a daily basis.

I mean why is it when Arabs complain about the agression and racism directed at them from the Jews and their American supporters every smart-alec jumps on the bandwagon and bray that they "should blame themselves?"

Why everybody squirms at applying the same argument about the Jews under Nazi rule? Why nobody pontificates that "the Jews have themselves to blame for the Holocaust"?

The Jews, in spite of their tremendous power in Western societies, never tire of of cuing the violins of endless Holocaust stories to provoke more and more sympathy so that everybody would turn a blind eye on what Israel is doing.

But if Arabs or Muslims claim victim status, everybody barks: "Blame yourselves!"

Israeli soldiers demolished 62 shops at a market yesterday, destroying the livelihood of hundreds of Palestinians. In the early morning, about 300 troops streamed into the market, just outside the village of Nazlat Issa. They brought seven bulldozers.

Villagers poured out to protest as the bulldozers tore down the village market, the main source of income for Nazlat Issa's 2,500 residents.

Some of them threw stones at the soldiers, who responded with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets.

The village was once a place of peaceful co-existence. Nazlat Issa is among several Palestinian villages along the Green Line, the pre-1967 border, which thrived under the Oslo peace accords. Israelis from across the Green Line came here to shop and take advantage of lower prices in the West Bank. The village economy boomed.

The market is now the site of one of the biggest Israeli demolitions in the West Bank for years. The Israeli army has been condemned by human rights groups for flattening the family homes of alleged militants and suicide bombers. But that was not the reason for the destruction this time: these shops had nothing to do with suicide bombers. The Israeli authorities said they were demolished because they were built illegally. But the leading Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem accused the government of using that as an excuse.

I completely agree with the author. For too long have the Arabs blamed everyone else for their problems. Let us not forget that the war on Iraq was not waged from Israel but from Saudi, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait - all so called Arab nations.

I am of Pakistani descent and my experience growing up with Arabs has been mixed. There are many who are bright, articulate and very pleasant to be around. However, the majority were arrogant, racist and extremely obtuse. They were lions when it came to fighting other Arabs or Muslims but were little pussycats when it came to confronting anyone that was white, particularly American or British.

The Arab people need to understand that the world has changed but they have not. The Jews and Americans are looking out for their own interests. Arabs and Muslims need to channel the hate and anger, which is rightly justified, into hard work, tolerance and education. We don't need more extreme religious schools, Mosques or weapons but primary schools, universities and civil societies. Only then will we obtain freedom and the blessing of Allah.

Step 1 - Overthrow your despotic tyrants: Mubarak, Assad, Gadhafi, the House of Saud and the Hashemite Kingdom.