x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

White Muslims raise concerns in America

Despite the waves of Muslims immigrants from the Arab world and Asia, what worries some Americans is the increasing trend of conversions to Islam among the white population, a columnist observes.

Muslims are under attack in the United States these days, especially as the "Stop Islamization of America" campaign is gaining more impetus, driven by an increasingly popular resentment of Islam, wrote Saleh S Abdul Adeem in the Emirati newspaper Al Bayan. Despite the waves of Muslims who have emigrated from the Arab world and Asia to the US over the past years, what worries some Americans most is the increasing trend of conversions to Islam among the white population. 

Unlike their African American counterparts, converted Caucasians did not resort to Islam to channel rebellion. Converted white Americans combine the most transcendent principles of Islam with the best values of their capitalist civilisation: hard work, dedication, equality and faith in civil liberties. So, whereas some hard-nosed pastors may throw random accusations at Muslim immigrants, they are rather helpless when it comes to white American Muslims. These citizens consider the US their one and only nation and they embrace everything it stands for, entitled as much as those who may try to denigrate them. Up till now, this growing social segment has been, overall, treated fairly in the context of American civil liberties. But it remains to be seen whether a rising hard-line conservative trend in the US will refrain from trying to reverse that.

The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has said it on more than one occasion: Arab states which pledged to donate $500 million during the last Arab League summit in Libya to support Jerusalem have not yet given out a single penny, the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds stated in its editorial.

Interestingly enough, Mr Abbas's declarations did not elicit any reactions from the Arab states, except for Kuwait which has renewed its verbal commitment to pay its share of the promised sum. "It is a shame and a pity that Arab promises should end up taking the form of bounced cheques, especially that we keep hearing cheers for solidarity and calls for the protection of Jerusalem from attempts to Judaise it - the same song that has been set on repeat for years now."

This attitude on the part of the Arabs comes as the Palestinian Authority is under tremendous pressure to resume direct talks with Israel, according to the Jewish state's own terms. A US-led western front is indeed threatening the PA to stop the financial aid that ensures the stability of its budget. "Before it is too late, concerned Arab states must translate their words into deeds and honour their commitments towards a nation that needs action more than anything else."

"Will the Obama administration really be able to honour its pledge and withdraw all US forces from Iraq by the end of 2011?" asked Mazen Hammad in the comment pages of the Qatari newspaper Al Watan. Facts on the ground keep challenging such a prospect, while many US and Iraqi officials keep re-affirming that a military presence on Iraqi soil will be needed well past that target date.  

Ryan Crocker, the former US ambassador to Baghdad, is taking part in talks to have his country pull out of Iraq on schedule. He revealed no secret when he recently said that the US troops will remain in Iraq for a long time, if for no other reason than to protect and support the deployed US arsenal there. Mr Crocker actually confirmed that the more likely scenario will see the US stay for a longer period but with fewer troops and equipment.

The fact that Iraq is still without a government five months after the national election adds to the problem. US diplomats are finding no cabinet officials to talk to about a timetable for the withdrawal. Moreover, Iraq is buying loads of sophisticated US-made weapons, aircraft and tanks that require the supervision of US military staff for the purposes of training and maintenance. All this is just another reason for Iraq's political leaders to work diligently towards forming a government. 

It looks as if the Hizbollah leader Sayed Hassan Nasrallah's plan has worked to create a stir in the trajectory of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, wrote Nabil Haitham in a comment article for Lebanese daily Assafir. The prosecutor Daniel Bellemare responded to Nasrallah's press conference by filing a request demanding that Lebanese authorities provide all the information in the possession of Hizbollah. He also requested that Nasrallah "use his authority to facilitate the investigation".

Mr Bellemare's step seems encouraging, although his request to Mr Nasrallah to facilitate the investigation raises questions. Could the prosecutor be genuinely interested in the information or could his reaction be just a formality? One could also assume that he found the information presented at the press conference could not be ignored. One has but to wait and see how the international prosecutor will deal with Nasrallah's information. More importantly, how will he deal with Israel, which the information depicts as the prime suspect in the Hariri assassination?

More importantly, would Israel be willing to cooperate with the investigation, since it had previously refused to do so? * Digest compiled by by Achraf A El Bahi @Email:aelbahi@thenational.ae