[Dawud Walid is the executive director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter.]
The Obama administration’s efforts to improve America’s image with the Muslim world cannot be successful without healthy engagement of the American Muslim community, which includes investigating and curtailing abuses against American Muslims that started under the Bush administration.
Since taking office, President Obama has made several positive steps. The President mentioned in his historic inaugural address the desire to seek a new way forward with the Muslim world “based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” His first televised interview in office was with Al-Arabiya, in which he reiterated this aspiration. He sent a heartfelt Nowruz greeting on video to the Iranian government and people, and he just recently made his first trip to a Muslim majority country, Turkey, which was the former seat of the Ottoman Empire.
With all of these efforts abroad, the Muslim world is also keenly aware of ongoing abuses against American Muslims. The knowledge of these abuses is influencing public opinion within the Muslim world that could place barriers in front of the new vision of engagement by our president. International media, including Al-Arabiya, is currently reporting ongoing abuses by the FBI against American Muslims and their organizations such as recent revelations of an agent provocateur in California who confessed to being sent on fishing expeditions in mosques to entrap unsuspecting worshipers including youth. (More)