Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The founder is Zainab Al-Suwaij, an Iraqi Shi'ite dissident who moved to the United States and hooked up with some neoconservatives to support the war on Iraq. She has spoken to the Republican convention and exerted a great deal of energy in 2003 arguing on news shows for an invasion. The reason for setting up the AIC - after 9/11, she had an epiphany. Muslims had to reject extremism and American Muslims in particular had to embrace Americanism. On the statement of principles page, the site urges American Muslims to revel in "the spirit of American diversity" and "classic American principles of individual rights and social justice". America is a "haven for Islam", it gushes. It urges Muslims to censure "hate speech", but as America is an open-door for Muslims, the main enemy is Muslim "hate speech" toward Americans. One of its projects, the Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance (HAMSA) is running an essay contest encouraging American youths to dream up ways to help their fellow youths in the Middle East get "individual liberty". And look at these figures from the board of directors:
Dr. Khaleel Mohammed is an extreme apologist for Israel, and one of these "Muslim refuseniks" we keep hearing so much about. Essentially, he's a comfortable, upper-middle class American who has identified with US power and probably isn't interested in subjecting himself to the ascetic demands of religion.
Kanan Makiya, you probably already know about: ex-Trotskyist, neocon convert, the sound of bombs dropping on Iraqi cities was 'music' to his ears, and he expended a great deal of energy slandering dissident Arab intellectuals who also refused to support the Gulf War.
Dr Hillel Fradkin hails from the American Enterprise Institute and is a Benador Associates speaker (Benador Associates is a PR firm that promotes conservative speakers on the Middle East), and also an apologist for Israel. He is President of the Ethics and Public Policy Centre, an organisation devoted to 'clarifying and reinforcing' the role of Judeo-Christian morality in public life, and "improving public appreciation" of the role of business in a 'moral society' - essentially, an outpost of the neoconservative and Christian Right.
Dr Sa'ad Eddin Ibrahim is also a Benador Associates man. He has a record of opposition to Egypt's pro-American dictatorship, and appears to think the neoconservatives are serious about supporting democracy there.
Sayyed Nazeem Kadimi is a member of the Al-Khoei Foundation whose founder, Abdul Majid al-Khoei, loudly supported the war on Afghanistan and was hacked to death in Iraq after befriending local Baathists urging Iraqis to look on US and UK troops as liberators.
Essentially it's a coalition of the pitifully purblind with the obviously charlatan, one that provides an alibi for US aggression under the rubric of an American-as-apple-pie campaign for individual liberties. At best saps, at worst ruthless apologists for imperialism: you'd really have to be retaining water in the head to take these people seriously when they talk about freedom for Iran or anyone else.