Jan 242010
Authors: Jamal Kamandy

I believe that before one can point out the wrongs in others, one must first correct the wrongs within themselves. Both the American government and Islamic leaders place blame on each other for the state of the world, but fail to see their own faults. As a Persian who was born and raised in America, I have observed and experienced both of these cultures, and what I have found troubles me.

In 1996, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright was asked about the policies and sanctions that were placed on Iraq that led to the death of 500,000 Iraqi children. Ms. Albright responded that it was “worth it.”

It is myth that our politicians in Washington are rebuilding the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan out of the “goodness” in their hearts. I believe that the common denominator of all wars has been special interests and a show of power.

With over 700 military bases in more than 130 different countries, many people in the international community, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, find America’s interventionist foreign policy far more destructive than it is productive.

It isn’t hard to conceive that perhaps supporting unpopular regimes and having a strong military presence in the Middle East will only entice more terrorism towards the United States.

The people of my religion, Islam, must realize that ultimately, the West is not our enemy. Instead, we have become our own worst enemy.

It is common psychology that if you raise a child with positive language, they will grow to speak and act positively. But if you raise a child with negative language, they will grow to speak and act negatively. Today, Islam’s peaceful message is drowning in a sea of negativity.

I reminisce on the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said that, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Too many Muslims today feel that they must fight violence with violence. But realistically, retaliatory jihad solves nothing.

In the wake of persecution of his own people, Mahatma Gandhi did not bomb British buildings. Rather, through peace, non-violence and civil disobedience, Gandhi accomplished more than any bomb or gun ever could. The youth of Islam are in dire need of a role model such as this. For, the future of Islam is in our hands, specifically our women, but we are astray.

In order to properly engage in conversation, we must eliminate all myths from the discussion. The American government is not some benevolent hero, and too many Muslims have abandoned a peaceful message for one of revenge.

This dialogue must not occur between the leaders of the West and Middle East; this dialogue must occur between you and me. The common American and the common Muslim must speak to one another, peacefully and critically. Perhaps not agreeing with one another, but understanding each other’s positions may help alleviate some of the tension.

We must all ask ourselves if our words and actions are part of the cure or part of the disease? Perhaps I am just a 21-year-old college student and dreamer. But what would happen if I did not speak of love, non-violence and rational dialogue to my people and my country? More of the same failed policies, more of the same violence.
Jamal Kamandy is a Muslim American college student, majoring in political science at CSU. If you wish to speak more about Islam and America, Kamandy can be reached at jamal@rams.colostate.edu. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com_.

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