Sunday, February 18, 2007

Muslim leaders urge US to change policy

Muslim leaders urge US to change policy
18 February, 2007 Gulf Times

THE US policy in the Middle East came under heavy fire yesterday with both Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and Doha-based Islamic scholar Dr Yousuf al-Qaradawi launching a scathing attack on what they termed the American double standards and calling upon Washington to review its tactics.

Addressing the opening plenary of the Fourth US-Islamic World Forum at the Ritz-Carlton, Dr Qaradawi said that America was the party that initiated animosity against the Islamic world “in its search of an alternative enemy” in the place of the former Soviet Union.

“We have no desire for sparking a conflict with America. The US has initiated the animosity when the neo-Conservatives chose Islam as an alternative enemy,” he said, while observing that America had never condemned Israel for any of its aggression but provided it with unlimited support.

Qaradawi requested Brookings Institution Director Martin Indyk to convey his advice to the US decision-makers, saying that America should give up the ambition of imposing its will on the world.

“America has used excessive force to dominate the world but to no avail. It failed to settle any of the conflicts in which it wasted hundreds of billions of dollars,” he added.

The scholar said that if the US had used “this money” to reach out to the Third World countries to meet their needs, it could have easily won the hearts of the people.

“America will never be the master of the world. One day it will be replaced by new powers like India or China,” he said, adding that commitment to justice was the only way to win the world.

“America will never be able to win the world by force. Only justice and love can settle the problems. If America changed its policy, we would change our attitudes,” he added.

Moussa said that the majority of the Arabs and Muslims did not hate the US but rather its double standards.

“Muslims cannot accept the US policy of supporting Israel and its occupation of Arab and Muslim territories,” he said.

Referring to the US stance on Iran, he said the Arabs could not understand the different approach the US took towards Israel’s nuclear programme.

Earlier in his address to the forum, HE the First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani outlined a 12-point proposal to improve dialogue between the Islamic world and the United States. In particular, he cited settlement of the Palestinian problems and Middle East conflict, the eradication of poverty and the “struggle against terrorism by policies which search for the causes of it.”

He said: “If the monopolisation of power on a domestic level is unacceptable, the monopolisation of power on the world scene ... the policy of double standards (and) the absence of transparence ... and the use of force, even more, must cease.”
The meeting is being attended by nearly 230 delegates from both religious and secular backgrounds, drawn from the fields of politics, business, media, academia, the arts, science and technology and civil society in 34 countries.