Ed Husain forteller hva som sies på Al Jazeera i arabisk versjon. Her blir begreper som «amerikansk-sionistisk plan» brukt uten at noen protesterer.
Vesten er ikke klar over graden av fiendtlighet mot Vesten og USA og Israel spesielt. Det er ikke bare en film eller noen tegneserier. Det er et mindset som forklarerer reaksjonene.
Arab societies remain deeply religious. In liberal Morocco, 89 percent of the people say that religion is “very important” in their lives, according to a recent Pew poll. Mosques are packed every Friday; religious events promote widespread charity, and believers are encouraged to support candidates who are perceived to be more godly. But there is a deeper problem that goes well beyond the popular appeal of Islamist parties: A cancerous narrative has taken hold of many Arab minds.
In Egypt, 75 percent of Muslims do not believe that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks, according to a 2011 Pew poll. Many believe that it was either Israel, the U.S. government, or both. The West is viewed through a hodgepodge of conspiracy theories, half-truths and a selective reading of history.
When I met Muhammad Mahdi Akef, the influential former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, in April 2011, he insisted that Al Qaeda was a figment of the Western imagination. The idea that it doesn’t exist, that the United States attacked itself, is buttressed by preachers in mosques, on satellite television channels and in glossy Arabic books.
The United States and the West are widely seen as waging a war on Muslims. Al Qaeda videos promote this vision as a continuation of the Crusades. Many Muslims recall incidents of perceived hostility in their own lifetime — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and Guantánamo Bay; the banning of minarets in Switzerland; the outlawing of face veils in France; NATO troops burning copies of the Koran in Afghanistan. In this vein, the recent anti-Islam film confirms the belief that the West is out to destroy Islam.
In most Arab countries, citizens require government permission to produce films. For many Arabs, it is inconceivable that U.S. citizens are not under the same controls. The attacks on U.S. embassies after the release of the offensive video “Innocence of Muslims” on YouTube must be seen in this context.
When I watch Al Jazeera Arabic I am stunned by unchallenged references in talk show interviews to the “American Zionist plan” or “the American enemy” or the “ally of the Zionist entity.” Attacking the United States has become part of the political culture in much of the Middle East. To challenge it is to be a labeled a “sellout,” a “traitor” or a “Zionist agent” and to court social isolation.
And yet on the streets of Arab capitals, McDonald’s, Starbucks and other American brands remain hugely popular — as are American clothes, technology and television shows and films. The same U.S. embassies that were attacked were surrounded almost daily by long lines of people applying for visas to enter the United States. There are almost 50,000 Saudi students in American universities. Tens of thousands more from across the region are vying to do the same.