It’s no secret that Americans are not popular in the Middle East and they don’t have a good image in the region. Muslims could turn around and say that the reason the Americans have now appointed this envoy to the OIC is to show they’re making a cosmetic effort towards us, but in fact they’re not changing their policies in the Middle East.
That’s one of the reasons that when I was in Dakar in Senegal I was aggressively positioning and sharing the point of view that America brings.
I was suggesting the fact that if you look at the core values, the pure ethics of Americans – Muslims and non-Muslims – it is not part of us. By default we have deep respect for all religions including Islam, and that is part of our lifestyle here.
I was explaining that it is not a matter that America is positioning itself today. If you look at the freedoms that we enjoy here in America as Muslims, we practice Islam here openly and regularly; we have 1,200 mosques here and the freedom of expression, the freedom of practice of faith; all these things are core values as part of our culture here in America. It’s nothing new. All I’m doing is trying to articulate clearly that when it comes to core values the West and Islamic communities are in sync.
I was explaining that when we were suggesting there is a clash of civilizations, I said there is no clash of civilizations. If there is anything, it is a clash of ignorance. I was even suggesting that as a Muslim in America, I don’t even use the terms when it comes to Islamic terrorism or Islamic terrorist or Islamo-Fascism. Those are not even part of my own vocabulary as an American Muslim. These are some of the dialogues that we need to engage in and to make sure we’re moving forward to bring stability, peace and prosperity to all people.