Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

[LINK] A problem with interfering in religious politics

Marina Ottaway's article "Keep the Faith,", in The New Republic, is worth reading for this paragraph alone.

The Bush administration's answer to the challenge of political Islam has been to promote moderate Islamist organizations and moderate interpretations of the religion. The Muslim World Outreach Policy Coordinating Committee--set up in July 2004 by the National Security Council to improve communication with Islamic organizations and better the image of the United States in the Muslim world--is an important part of this strategy. But trying to promote moderate interpretations of Islam is probably futile and certainly risky. Remember that, when the Iranians took over the embassy in Tehran, conventional wisdom was that the Shia were the most dangerous Muslims, whereas Wahhabis were thought to be conservative socially but rather apolitical. Obviously, that view has changed in recent years. Nevertheless, the idea has taken hold in some parts of the administration that Sufism represents a benign, moderate form of Islam that should be encouraged. It is doubtful that most people making the argument understand the roots of Sufism and why it has spread in some regions but not in others. It is even more doubtful that they have given much thought to the resentment that favoring one sect over another could cause in the Muslim world. (Imagine the reaction in this country if secular France, concerned about radical evangelical groups in the United States, decided to support moderate churches.)

French subsidies to the Episcopalians? The mind boggles.
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