(Posted from The Publeconomist, published 12/26/09)
How strange that on Christmas Eve I blogged about the difference between the good Muslims and the bad ones, and then on Christmas Day, a jackass named Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab exemplified the distinction. I’m sure you’ve all seen the news of the bomb on the Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, but if you haven’t, here’s the NY Times article.
Even though some brave passengers and flight crew were able to prevent an awful act of terrorism, millions of people are going to be affected, and in two groups. First, Muslims who aren’t crazy. And second, air travelers. As someone who travels very often, I’m already not looking forward to enhanced TSA security in the coming months!
I especially sympathize with anyone named Abdul or Mohammed who will be traveling to or within the United States. Our experience with terrorism in the past decade has not been racially transparent. Attacks against our country, embassies, and expats have been performed by radical Muslims. What does this look like when it’s streamed over FOX News, or even CNN, over eight years? How can we expect most of America to be able to differentiate between the good Muslims and the bad ones?
Here’s some free PR advice for the wealthiest Muslims in the world: instead of buying private jets, pumping money into the debt-ridden Dubai, and blowing money on palaces on super cars, spend money on your universities. Get some Muslim universities in the world’s top 100. Or top 500 even! Separate radical religion from educational studies, and challenge your students to think about social issues. Challenge then to ask questions. And challenge them to not flee to United States for an education.
I think that if even 10% of the money invested in Dubai was invested in Arab-world universities and schools where freedom and knowledge triumph over religious tyranny, the world would be changing. Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab would have still tried to blow up Flight 253, but at least the Muslim world could point to a place of change and progress, rather than not much at all.
Anthony DiFiore, Publisher
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