Last week, the Rumi Forum hosted a fascinating discussion between Akbar Ahmed and Michelle Boorstein, religion writer from the Washington Post, on Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam. The audio is available here.
Editor’s note: Akbar Ahmed is professor and Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington and the former high commissioner from Pakistan to the United Kingdom. He is author of “Journey Into America: The Challenge of Islam” (Brookings Press). The following is based on a letter he delivered to the senior most Iranian diplomat in Washington to be sent to Iran’s supreme leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Washington (CNN) — When the month of Ramadan began, I received a letter from Laura Fattal, the mother of one of the three young American hikers detained in Iran. In it, Fattal appealed to me, the first Muslim scholar she had contacted, to intervene on behalf of her son and his two friends.
The Iranian government has stated that Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd crossed the Iranian border while on a hiking trip in Iraqi Kurdistan on the last day of July 2009, and they may have.
All former top students at the University of California, Berkeley, these are the best and the brightest of America, much like the American students I have had the pleasure of having in my classes. But sometimes young people do things that land them in trouble and travel to places they should not go.
These young people did not set out to cause any problems or tension between the U.S. and Muslim world or the U.S. and Iran, but had the opposite intent. They were committed to dialogue, understanding and making the world a better place. Read the entire article here.
Read the full letter at the Washington Post On Faith page
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The following article by Akbar Ahmed was first published on the Washington Post “On Faith” website.
With the rumors of secret meetings between Gen.l Kayani, commander of Pakistan’s armed forces, Gen. Pasha, the head of the Pakistani ISI, Afghan president Hamid Karzi, and prominent Taliban commander Haqqani, it seems that a post-American scenario in Afghanistan is taking shape.
The fact that Haqqani was in the company of the President of Afghanistan is a hint of the shape of things to come as the major players in the region plan for an eventual withdrawal of US forces.
Perhaps the catalyst for these meetings was the dismissal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Fortunately for America, he is being replaced by one of the country’s best military men, Gen. David Petraeus.
Despite President Obama’s contention that U.S. policy in Afghanistan remain the same despite the change of commanders, the reality is the differences between the two men will ensure a different approach. Although both field commanders have been successful in establishing a rapport with Afghans, McChrystal tends to rely on his heart, Petraeus falls back on his mind. The former understands and plays on emotion, the latter intellect.
But McChrystal and Petraeus are rare birds. Few Americans see the world as they do. Continue reading
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Tagged afghanistan, Akbar Ahmed, avid petraeus, culture, general, Islam, Muslim, Pakistan, Religion, scots-irish, Stanley McChrystal, washington post
Sally Quinn recently interviewed Ambassador Akbar Ahmed for the Washington Post website . Here are the three parts starting with a discussion on General Stanley McChrystal just a few days before he was sacked. Click here for the video.
The second clip is Ahmed discussing the book Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.
The final clip is the first three minutes of the Journey into America film.