10 Reasons For Improved American – Islam Relations

by Mark on September 14, 2010

The ongoing American debates about Islam are at an impasse. Perhaps a few minds might change if we better understood how finding peace with the global Muslim population offers benefits to our security and prosperity. Here are ten reasons for improved relations with Islam:

I) Turkey: Istanbul is literally and figuratively the bridge between Europe and Asia. Turkey offers a pro-West government that is attempting to join the European Union. With Syria, Iraq, and Iran along its borders the Turks possess the geographic position and armed forces to aide Middle Eastern peace. 98% of the 75 million citizens are Muslim;

II) India: The United State’s second fastest growing trading partner is a democratic government. While Hindu is the largest religion, over 160 million of the population practice Islam. Tensions between this nuclear power and Pakistan over Kashmir are intense. India is walking a tightrope with some sympathetic elements of the minority religion. It is a tough balancing act for a close commercial and military ally;

III) Pakistan: India’s arch-enemy possesses a nuclear arsenal with a volatile citizenship including pro-West and pro-radical citizenry. There are over 174 million Muslims in Pakistan. The U.S. needs them to fight Al Qaeda and other terrorist forces. A radical Pakistan government with its finger on a nuclear trigger makes Iran a walk in the park;

IV) Uzbekistan: The former Soviet satellite hosts a major U.S. base that supplies non-lethal supplies to U.S. and NATO troops involved in the Afghanistan War. Without the base the means to supply our troops is diminished. The host country includes over 26 million Muslims, many weary of the U.S. presence;

V) Kazakhstan: Unlike Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan hosts U.S. bases that supplies both weapons and supplies to NATO and America troops in the Afghanistan War. This home of nearly 9 million Muslims enabled over 800 U.S. airstrikes in the victory over the Taliban and Al Qaeda a few months after 9/11;

VI) Jordan: Jordanian King Abdullah II recently told its neighbor, Israel, “We are in the same boat, we have the same problem. We have the same enemies.” The pro-west, anti-terrorist ally is the home of 6.2 million practitioners of Islam;

VII) Kuwait: Nearly 300 Americans died fighting to regain Kuwait freedom from Iraq in the first Persian Gulf War. The oil-rich kingdom pumps its gratitude into U.S. tankers each day. Kuwait has 3 million Muslim citizens;

VIII) Morocco: Just a short ferry ride from Spain resides the first foreign country to recognize the United States after the Revolutionary War. America’s oldest ally is peaceful, pro-West, and it is the home of nearly 32 million Muslims. Along with Gibraltar they guard the gates to the Mediterranean Sea;

IX) Indonesia: The country with the world’s largest Muslim population – over 200 million – is a positive U.S. trading partner that neighbors other American allies, like the Philippines, Singapore, and Australia. It’s challenge is to govern more than 17,000 islands and deal with the radical elements of Al Qaeda

X) Europe: 39 million Muslims reside in Europe, 5% of the world population. Despite bombings in London and Madrid, America’s NATO allies coexist with their Islamic citizens in relative peace.

Each of the above is a U.S. trading and/or military partner. Among them are over 700 million Muslims, 45% of the global Islamic population. All are listening to the U.S. debates. Do we hold them responsible for the behavior of radicals? Are we helping radical elements in their countries by openly debating the burning of Qurans or the placement of a community center? Losing any one of the above, as a friend, causes harm to America. It is time to tone down the anti-Islamic conversation for purely self-preservation reasons.

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