It is imperative now, more than ever, that the United States reach out to the Muslim world.
As it’s an election year, it is even more imperative to consider interfaith relations on a presidential level. Tensions have never been higher in our national landscape, often resulting in Islamophobia. We must take measures as a nation to counter this hate speech, one of which must center around outreach.
As stated in this Fair Observer article, the Muslim world is expanding fast. It is one of the the largest expanding demographics in the world. Ignoring this demographic would be disastrous for the U.S. And today, outreach towards the Muslim world is essential in constructing any foreign policy.
The Beginning of U.S. Outreach to the Muslim Community
The U.S. has taken this position for years now, as originally stated in Fair Observer.
“After September 11, 2001, both US foreign policy and American public diplomacy reflected a narrow reading of the Muslim world as a homogenous society acceptable to traditional secular one-way communication. The idea that social media tools and short listening tours might conquer all is slowly coming to a wane.
Months after 9/11, the US Department of State’s key measure to win the hearts and minds of Muslim communities around the world included upgrading academic programs, increasing foreign aid to Middle East allies, and depleting US political and military capital in a quest to topple the Afghan Taliban.”
A New Chapter in Muslim Outreach
Though, since 2011, our nation’s outreach to the global Muslim community has greatly improved. This improvement in outreach is largely owed to US President Barack Obama. President Obama began a new chapter in U.S. relations with the Muslim community in 2009.
On June 4, 2009, President Obama visited Cairo University to address new measures to tackle Muslim outreach. From then, Obama had appointed key officials to drive this outreach, as well as reinstated many key programs to further drive Muslim community engagement.
But the nation’s outreach should not end there. It is imperative that the U.S. consider the following:
“In order for Washington to begin down a path that ensures trust with the Muslim world, immediate long-term US diplomatic action is required at the grassroots level that engages, through strategic educational and social programs, the aspirations and perspectives of key non-elite opinion-formers.”
Read the full article here.
Photo credit:© Izanbar | Dreamstime.com