CAIR-FL: U.S.-Muslim Views Discussed
Stephen Majors, Bradenton Herald, 9/15/05
SARASOTA – To commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, New College of Florida students and faculty held a discussion Wednesday to explore the state of U.S.-Muslim relations.
New College anthropology professor Uzi Baram was joined by political science professor Frank Alcock and Ahmed Bedier, the central Florida communications director for the Council on American Islamic Relations.
The meeting was held in cooperation with a non-partisan organization called Americans for Informed Democracy.
About 30 students listened as the three men dissected the fallout of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their effect on how Americans and those in Middle Eastern countries view each other.
Bedier said that American-Muslim relations are on the wrong path, and should be turned around quickly.
He criticized the policies of the Bush administration and encouraged Americans to get beyond simplicities and think about what the reasons behind terrorist activities may be. At the same time, he condemned the use of violence as a political tool.
Bedier said the inconsistencies in the administration’s foreign policy – attacking Iraq, a country that did not have weapons of mass destruction, while trying to engage North Korea diplomatically – send Muslims the message that they are the enemy.
“The people of the Middle East want to have consistency,” Bedier said.
While Bedier encouraged people to consider the “hopeless” state of many Middle Eastern societies as a breeding ground for terrorism, Baram pointed out that many of the 9/11 hijackers were educated at American universities. But many of them, with this education, also were sympathetic to the plight of Muslims who they believed were being persecuted. (MORE)