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  December 2002

Special Report
Muslim countries asked to counter
Islamophobia in USA

Report By Our Correspondent

Mr. Qutubuddin Aziz, a former Pakistani diplomat and journalist who paid a 3-week visit to the UK and the USA, said after his return to Karachi that more than Western Europe, Islamophobia was being intensively propagated by anti-Islam forces in the USA. He urged the Muslim countries to work jointly to counter it speedily. He opined that while President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell seemed to be keen to have friendly relations with most Muslim countries, the highly influential Cheney-Rumsfeld-Ashcroft troika in the Bush Administration appeared less enthusiastic for this course and would prefer to attack Iraq.

Mr. Qutubuddin Aziz said that the Israeli Zionist lobby in the USA was now in cahoots with the fundamentalist fanatics in the Christian Evangelical groups in the USA many of whom are influential in the Republican Party and the Bush Administration. The Muslims in the USA and Islam are their main targets now, he said. Recently, a convention of one of such evangelical groups financed by the Israeli lobby, demanded that all Arabs be expelled from Palestine to make the whole of it a Jewish State. A section of the US media, beholden to such lobbyists, recently gleefully drummed the name of the Washington sniper as Muhammad, ignoring his first name William. “In some Zionist-influenced US newspapers, the aerial blasting of Arab civilian homes in Gaza by Israeli US-built F-l6s and the huge death toll of Arab civilians is reported in a couple of bald sentences but an Arab ‘suicide bomber’s’ attack on a bus in Israel gets huge press coverage with grisly photographs, offering justification for Israeli barbarities on the Palestinian Arabs”, Mr.Aziz pointed out.

Mr. Aziz noted that since the October 10 general elections in Pakistan and the significant electoral performance of certain Islamist parties, the anti-Islam lobbies in the USA, aided by the Indian lobby, were now propagandising that “Muslim terrorists” might seize power in Pakistan and its atom bombs. “The Pakistan Government must move quickly to counter this sinister propaganda in the USA by hostile lobbies and inform the US legislators and media about Pakistan’s strong help to the USA in President Bush’s war on terrorism,” he said.

Mr. Qutubuddin Aziz believes that in the profiling and harassing of some Muslims in the USA by US intelligence agencies, the Zionist lobby was playing a key role. As the USA is suffering from a siege mentality since the tragedy of Sept.11, 200I, any one having a Middle Eastern look becomes a suspect and the US intelligence and security services sleuths go after him, like the McCarthyism wave in the 1950s in the USA”, he said. Mr. Aziz urged the US Muslims to foster unity, have good relations with all friendly Americans, make use of US law courts and Human Rights bodies and stand up for their rights as US citizens, He praised many non-Muslim US Human Rights groups which were helping aggrieved US Muslims. “The USA’s six million Muslims have some excellent US-born and US-educated lawyers and they can work with civil rights groups to protect innocent US Muslim citizens against excesses by intelligence agencies, he added. They should bring cases of injustice and unlawful harassment to the “notice of the US Presidency,” he added. He urged those Muslims who were harassed at US airports because of their Middle Eastern looks with body and shoe scans, by metal and explosive detectors, to report such cases to the US Justice Department and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Mr. Aziz said that the intensity of Islamophobia in UK and Western Europe had decreased in recent months because of the courage shown by their Muslim population and their recourse to local and EU law courts and tribunals. Protests from Muslim countries and the dialogue between the OIC and the European Union leaders had also helped, he added. Opinion polls in the UK showed that more people were critical of Israeli actions and sympathetic to the Palestinian Arabs now than last year. The European press was giving ample coverage to the Israeli barbarities on the Palestinian Arabs, he said. He urged the Pakistan Government and the Kashmiri organisations to publicise in the European media India’s atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims. Mr. Aziz expected that the Commonwealth Secretariat would lift the suspension of Pakistani membership after an elected government is installed in Islamabad. India and certain Pakistani political elements had fed false propaganda about the Pakistan polls to the Commonwealth members which an elected government can denounce forcefully.