Thursday, February 25, 2010

Engaging religious communities abroad

Dr. Rachel Bronson
Vice President, Programs and Studies
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

I attended the presentation "Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy" at Georgetown University on Tuesday, and found an important element missing.

The missing element is how the other perceives the U.S. Of course USAID will find plenty of takers for their largesse, but unless one acknowledges the views of the other, and deals with them, it's likely to be a one way conversation.

I can cite many examples from history — from Indonesia, to the Philippines, and more recently Afghanistan and Iraq, but allow me to focus on one: 9/11.

The report takes the official version of 9/11 as a given. However, more than 1000 architects and engineers, and hundreds of pilots, military, intelligence, and scientific personnel disagree with the official version of September 11, 2001.

During my 3-week, 9/11 lecture tour of South Africa — where I spoke to hundreds daily, and appeared on radio and television — I found little support for the official version of 9/11.

The disagreement is captured in a quarter-page advertisement that we placed in the Washington Times in the Obama inaugural issue, and in my letter to President Obama.

I would be pleased to discuss this further, and challenge anyone in the Obama administration to debate the issue.

Enver Masud
Chairman and CEO
The Wisdom Fund

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