Links to other sites on the Web
Back to the KDL Home Page
To the KDL Page

Background to the KDL 2006 Topic
US Policy Towards the Muslim World

Resolved: That the United States Should Substantially
Change Its Policy Towards the Muslim World


A. Introduction

I'm providing this reading so that all coaches/students have some idea as to what topics affirmative teams can write about and what areas negative teams need to prepare to defend.

I feel under more of an obligation to write such a reading as this year's topic may prove one of the more intriguing topics chosen for debate. Largely, this stems from the difficulty of defining the parameters of this topic, and I realize that this may constitute its appeal. However, I feel that another part of why students chose this topic over many others relates to its inherent interest to them and the immediacy of the topic. Students, even foreigners only temporarily in Kuwait, feels that this topic applies to them.

Before I give some background, I specifically want to contrast this topic with some of the others we selected over the years. In the past, topics either applied to United States domestic or international policy. The international topics dealt with specific geographic areas, i.e. the Arabian Gulf, the Indian subcontinent, and, to cite two specific also-rans in this year's selection process, the Levant (Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon), and Iraq. Basically, then, these topics dealt with an area one could define with a dictionary. If the country dealt with fell under the definition of "Arabian Gulf," then the students needed to defend and accept plans regarding it.

The League also selected some US. domestic policy topics. Four years ago we selected genetic engineering and immigration. Though the latter topic dealt with international issues as some groups tried to persuade countries to police their own emigrants, it largely dealt with internal US. topics. The status quo thus related to a series of laws, regulations, and government agencies. Some years ago, the United States topic, "resolved that the United States should substantially change its policy towards space," meant almost every affirmative plan started out criticizing NASA.

Two years ago, we dealt with the topic of terrorism with the rather unique potential of involving both the domestic and international. However, relatively few plans dealt with terrorism within the US. and, in fact, the US policy for dealing with terrorism largely involves killing terrorists anywhere other than the US. As a basically military policy, then, it made essentially another international topic. The list of terrorist groups, provided by the US State Department, which essentially became the areas of affirmative plans, interestingly enough did not include even ONE American-based organization.

One appeal of this Muslim World topic, then, stems from the fact that it blends international and national aspects. For example, while a growing number of US citizens each year come from Islamic nations or convert to Islam, the heartland of Islam lies far from Washington DC. Having said, this, this reading will try to talk about this topic from an American perspective.

Before proceeding, though, understand that the following comments do NOT form "evidence" for an affirmative plan. Though I have a graduate minor in history with an emphasis on American studies, I do not claim to be "the expert." I'm only defining the area debate teams by addressing some important aspects.


B. Status Quo: What Status Quo?

Initially, it seemed the KDL could not address this topic for two reasons: (1) it refers to a religion and (2) the United States HAS no status quo on the Moslem World. However, more consideration led me back to my own rather famous comment about the US. Government:

"Even when the government does nothing, it does something."

This seemingly enigmatic comment actually contains an important truth, as well as saying something about the United States. The US government possesses such size and intrusive capacity that if it fails to act, in effect, it acts. In other words, for example, if the US government chooses not to interfere in the electrical generation business, this constitutes a policy, a policy of basically free trade, free enterprise.

This also something about the values on which America began. Founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison held an extreme distrust of governments and, in contrast, a very high opinion of the morality and basic goodness of the people. For that reason, the US Constitution states that "all rights not listed here belong to the States and the people." [not an exact quote]. In other words, if the law does not mention it, you can do it. This freedom to do something until someone specifically stops you, Americans take for granted, unlike the citizens of either more autocratic states like Saddam's Iraq or more socialist states, like those of Western Europe.

At the most basic level, then, both internationally and domestically the US policy towards Islam, by not preventing its spread or practice, allows it to exist and spread. Furthermore, the United States Constitution specifically allows for the Freedom of Religion, including that of Islam, and no laws prevent prostelitazation (spreading and preaching).


C. When Does Tolerance End?

At a more international level, the United States supports generally similar policies. A state and its citizens may have any religion they choose so long as this does not (1) hinder American or national interests or (2) proceed with actions inimical to American values. One can start to define the status quo with the simple fact that the United States generally advocates both domestically and internationally a policy of religious "laissez faire," any state or person can follow any religion he or it wants. Such an admission, further, means that the debaters this year need never discuss the basic beliefs of such a religion in the course of the debate. If US policy allows for freedom of religion, the US can support no policy that even leads to suppression of the actual beliefs and practices of a religion, as they pretty much do not matter. Thus, the United States can and does accept immigrants and practitioners of religions as diverse as Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Animism, and Native American Religion and deals with governments that explicitly expouse the beliefs of several of the above.

However, as one can imagine, the two statements above occasionally pose a logical contradiction. First, the advocates of a religion may involve itself in certain actions that contradict American interests. To take a simple example, the followers of David Koresh believed that Koresh represented a second Christ, and for a long time sequestered themselves in a compound and engaged in various non-traditional practices including child marriage, all-night prayer vigils, and even child abuse. However, only their armed defense of their compound after the government demanded entry pitted them against the government. Similarly, when the Shintoist government of Japan engaged in various conquests in the 1930s, despite the US belief in religious tolerance, the US imposed an embargo, eventually leading to Pearl Harbor and the Second World War.

The conflicts above, in fact, make for a fairly straight-forward policy making decision, both domestically and internationally. Basically, if the actions of the group or nation threaten or harm American interests, religious tolerance ends. The Afghanistan situation provides a fairly straightforward statement. One can think of the current "War on Terrorism" as another obvious example of this.

Moreover, one can argue that one can easily substitute the word "political beliefs" for "religion." The United States can tolerate left-wing regime and right-wing regimes as extensions of the American belief in freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. However, the US does not tolerate a political party whose actions show a lack of appreciation for such rights. Thus, the US outlaws certain "nut parties," such as the American Nazi party and, in Iraq, banned the Ba'ath from participation in elections. However, a much more complex problem can occur: A group or nation may hold to a set of beliefs that contradict American values.


D. When Tolerance Leads to Lack of Tolerance

The second situation above leads to a more challenging and complicated policy issue. If the beliefs, not the actions, of a religious group, inherently contradict those of the United States and its society, this poses a special challenge. Specifically, it puts two very strong American held values in conflict: Should the US allow religious freedom for the group or should it act to preserve some other equally important value such as that advocating political rights?

To state the simplest situation, consider the case of a religion that advocates an end to religious freedom. For example, consider the classic case of Afghanistan in which not only did the Taleban make Islam the religion of the nation, but it also engaged in systematic persecution even of Shia Muslims. America needed to choose between supporting the right of a state to practice any religion it holds, i.e. religious tolerance, versus that of advocating religious freedom for the Shia, Christians, and other minority groups. The Taleban pushed the situation further by their systematic, and again supposedly religiously based, oppression of women, and the United States's belief in the absolute equality of women as a core value. Of course, Islamic advocates of the US intervention in Afghanistan can get around this by arguing "that really isn't Islam," but traditionally an American policy-maker does not want to get in the argument of telling another what to believe.

If the Afghanistan situation presents a relatively straightforward case, the case of Saudi Arabia presents an obviously more complex one. The monarchy advocates and both it and the citizens support the spread of a very intolerant form of Islam, most famously taught in Pakistan's madressas, the heartland of terrorism. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia in most respects actively supports US foreign policy. Furthermore, and perhaps most strangely of all, Saudi Arabia's government currently expends considerable efforts trying to eradicate terrorism within its own country, the exact kind of terrorism that its own foreign policy creates.

This seems to me the heart of this year's topic: What policy should the United States have regarding Islam or Islamic groups that hold the POTENTIAL or PROMISE to harm US interests or engage in policies that violate core American beliefs. Further, the heart of most negative defenses will lay in showing that these groups do not hold that potential for harm.

Again, I think it's a particularly apt time to debate this topic as, I believe, in the United States itself debate has become extremely blurred. Americans traditionally do not like complex debates or issues, much preferring to define the better side as the "good guys" and the others as the "bad guys," eventually eradicating the latter. As a result, much of the debate in the US has centered around Islam itself as "the bad guys" and not, as we'll explore in this season, particular aspects of "Islam," by which I mean only practices self-defined as Islamic, that pose possible clashes with and challenges to American institutions and values. Thus, too many Americans view Moslems as the enemy, a fact various unscrupulous politicians exploit. This season will then, if nothing else, identify those aspects of Islam abroad and in the United States that require addressing by policy-makers.

Before proceeding, however, I want to give something of an "American history" on Islam and its appearance on the policy-making table.


E. A Christian Country in Formation

As most people know, the early English settlers came to America for a variety of reasons. The Virginians largely came to try to make some kind of a profit on the land, and they took relatively little interest in religion. In fact, the upper class largely adhered to the Church of England and financially supported it as did their brethren in England. Most of the other Southern colonies followed their example. Later, more fanatical Methodists and Baptists would convert most lower class Southerners and their slaves, but the dominant group remained loyal to the Church of England until the Revolution.

In distinct contrast, religion in Massachusetts took on a radical Protestant character in which the "early Democracy" so often cited by historians meant everyone who belonged to the Church voted. In Massachusetts, those who did not agree with the Puritans willingly or unwillingly went into exile. Famously, the two founding leaders of Rhode Island allowed religious freedom in their colony, but only because the two of them each believed in his/her own direct communication with God; neither would surrender not a bit of control to the leadership of the other. Thus Rhode Island's famous law about religious toleration came about because of the mutual fanaticism of the leaders not from any belief whatsoever in religious freedom. Thus from the start New England took on the character of the Puritans, and the physical demands of the barren countryside exaggerated their belief in their status as actual saints on earth. The Puritans emphasized the core Protestant values of equality in the eyes of God, belief in wealth as a sign of God's providence, and independence. These values, which most foreigners even today attribute to Americans in general, came from New England and, ultimately, from a particular form of Protestantism.

The idea of freedom of religion came from the Middle Colonies and, to an odd degree, the almost minuscule population of Jews. The Quakers, who founded Pennsylvania, members of yet another extreme Christian sect, fell upon the concept of religious toleration for two reasons. First, their own core beliefs called for tolerance. Second, they never numbered more than a small minority even in their own colony. New York, populated by the Dutch, also Puritans but lacking the fanatical edge of the Massachusetts brethren, also practiced toleration. As a result, non-English and religious dissenters flocked to the Middle Colonies. The idea of religious toleration rightly belong to the Middle Colonies. This does not mean "religious freedom;" most Middle Colonies did not allow the practice of Catholicism except in Maryland which, in turn, became the Catholic colony.


F. The Revolution and the New Constitution

The Revolution put into effect some of the ideas already implicit in the composition of the Colonies above. The War forced the colonies of all of these religious traditions to act together both on the battlefield and in the Continental Congress. They saw the practical benefit of working with others, whether Catholics, Puritans, or Anglicans.

For another thing, the War ended in the South loyalty to the Church of England, weakening another bound to the home country. In the minds of the Southerners, forcibly paying taxes to support the Church of England became associated with helping the enemy. The War also cemented the bitterness of the Southern lower class who did not attend the Anglican churches anyway and who greatly resented paying taxes.

By now, time blunted some of the religious enthusiasm of Massachusetts citizens despite the fact that citizens needed to pay taxes to the Puritan churches well into the 1800s. The grandsons of the Puritans might lack some of the religious beliefs of their ancestors, but they continued to express largely the same values in more secular form. They valued equality, independence, and hard work. One can easily see these beliefs in the speeches and character of John Adams, his cousin Samuel, and even transplanted New Englander Benjamin Franklin.

The Constitutional Convention cemented these values into documentary form. The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian, as one might expect, says little about religion. His language explicitly suggests his belief in a rational, machine-like God,

"We hold these truths to be self-evidence [not God-given] that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator [not God] with certain rights, among them the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. [no mention of freedom of religion]

The Constitutional Convention, also, did little to guarantee freedom or religion. A very practical document largely written by James Madison, another Southerner, it sought to strengthen the power of the Central government.

After the publication of the Constitution, as its advocates, the Federalists, tried to get the necessary state legislators to vote for its enactment, critics began to specifically refer to the lack of a "Bill of Rights." These "anti-Federalists" used this as a rallying crime. Thomas Jefferson, in France at the time, specifically mentioned this as a problem with the document, again not mentioning freedom of religion. It's said, again, that the small Jewish community in New York, a key state needed for ratification, particularly voiced their own alarm at the lack of a guarantee of freedom of religion.

The Constitution's authors responded that they, like Jefferson in the Declaration, considered the rights as natural. Thus their final act saying all remaining rights "belonged to the people or the States." Imagine, they posed, that one specifically mentioned 15 rights and accidentally forgot 3 or 4 four others. Doing so would, in effect, deprive the People of 3-4 of their rights, the last thing a Thomas Jefferson would wish to do and the Federalists expressed reason for leaving these rights out.

This argument went back and forth. Finally, however, the Federalists, lead by Alexander Hamilton proposed a compromise. They urged anti-Federalists to vote FOR the Constitution and then immediately use the amendment process in the document to amend a Bill of Rights and offered to support this amendment. This argument proved convincing and the Constitution and then Bill of Rights passed the state legislatures to become law.

The reason for recounting this long process of State formation seeks to explain where the concept of religious "freedom" comes from so that readers can understand its limitations both within its time and our own. Certain states practiced "toleration," i.e., ignoring others; religions for simple practical reasons, not out of a general belief in the other's right to practice religion. Similarly, "religious freedom" meant, by and large freedom to practice any brand of Protestant Christianity, not any religion whatsoever. The only reason that the document grants as much as it does, again, may well refer to the need of New York, even then the most important colony in terms of trade, to ratify the Constitution and the need to secure the votes and influence of its Jewish community.

By the standards of the day, the Constitution and Bill of Rights went pretty far towards giving citizens religious rights, but in practical fact, these rights did not mean as much as they appear. In both Massachusetts and Connecticut citizens still needed to pay mandatory taxes to the Puritan church even if they did not attend.

More importantly, many states, in effect, denied either (a) political or (b) religious freedom to Catholics, and the reasons behind this deserve consideration. As noted above, the Federal nature of the Constitution meant that States exercised a lot of power, those powers NOT specifically noted above. Most States quickly passed laws excluding Catholics from (a) running for office and (b) voting. Technically, this did not constitute a violation of the Constitution. In practical fact, it violated the spirit of the Constitution as a Catholic needed to give up one right or another, and, in fact, it made them second-class citizens in their own state. Of course, most States also passed laws limiting the vote to men of a particular level of wealth and others excluded blacks and Indians, but that does not relate to the discussion here.

The reasons for excluding the Catholics bear particular attention and can give something of an insight into the whole question of Islam. Partly, US citizens remained traditionally suspicious of Catholics because both Catholic Spain and France fought their Protestant English ancestors as recently as their parent's time. More importantly, Catholics supposedly followed the authority of the Pope, who claimed to command their loyalties. Such a voter might vote because his priest, bishop, or the Pope ordered him to support a particular candidate. These States reasoned then that the Catholic RELIGIOUS authority made them ineligible to vote for a political authority. Many Catholics did not get their right to vote for another thirty or forty years, and it took America until 1960 before it elected John F. Kennedy as its first Catholic president. Critics cited the same arguments went against voting for Kennedy. In other words, the Catholic brand of Christianity itself constitutes a somewhat un-American value system and worthy of suspicion of not necessarily legislation and sets the precedent that one may consider at adherent of a particular religion automatically suspect.


G. Politics and Religion: From the Constitution to George Bush

In fact, both domestically and abroad, one can define the United States policy as basically secular, but often influenced and guided by religion, particular Christian Protestantism. Several examples can show this.

In the 1840s, Mexico lay prostrate at the feet of the armies of American generals Winfield Scott and his rival and later president, Zachary Taylor. The most dynamics exponents of American imperialism advocated simply absorbing Mexico, however, this did not happen. One reason lay in the minds and speeches of politicians and newspaper of the day. Partly, they spoke of the supposedly inferior racial and cultural characteristics of the Mexicans, but a lot of them simply questioned the ability of the United States to absorb that many Catholics.

A similar mixture of racism and religious prejudice occurred in the 1890s when America absorbed a particularly large influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe (refer to my paper on the subject. and the sudden conquest of Cuba and the Philippines from Spain. While most of the debate of the time concerned racism, some of the authors particularly expressed doubts about the ability of so many Catholics and, worse yet, European Jews to become American citizens.

Perhaps most visibly, Americans showed and still show a marked preference for political candidates whose attitudes and behavior seem to follow traditional Protestant thoughts and attitudes. For example, until quite recently, a divorced candidate could not hope to run for president. Further, presidents traditionally and quite publicly attend the Protestant church in Washington DC. This might seem a bit strange given that the Catholics now, while still less numerous than the Protestants, now compromise the single largest Christian denomination. Unlike Europe, well over 60% of Americans report regular church attendance. In many ways, then, one can define mainstream America as more religious than Europe and "more Christian."

Furthermore, since the 1970s, the rise of the new "religious right" has significantly influenced American politics. In Puritans times, not only did the voting occur in Church, but ministers often led their communities in the political sense. In the last 100 years, this has not occurred, and most Americans voice a suspicion with the combining of church and politics.

The Christian Right, however, claims not to have a political stance. Instead, they possess a list of core issues and vote for candidates of either party who supports those positions. Basically, they advocate not only that their followers live in a way acceptable to the average Christian Protestant but also that political party put those beliefs into law at home and abroad. By systematically marshaling their voters, they can influence local, state, and national elections. In general, their voters come from the traditionally more conservative working class and rural voters. Both these groups, hard hit by economic developments the last twenty years, would traditionally vote Democratic as this party more often represents the poor, but the Christian Rights skews these alliances.

Domestically, the right wants to legislate a Christian way of life. For one thing, they want the power to withdraw their children AND their tax dollars from the public schools to put them into church related schools, and they want Christian prayer in the public schools. They vehemently oppose abortion and divorce in general. They would like more of their tax dollars given to their churches or not taxed. In voting for candidates, they heavily favor "character" over qualifications or political positions.

Internationally, they favor a straightforward agenda of supporting friends and opposing enemies. However, they tend to see most non-Christian states in a particularly negative light. They would particularly like to fund the spread of Christianity and the guarantee of religious rights to people such as Christians in China. The Christian helped elect Ronald Regan after deserting Jimmy Carter and most famously re-elected Bush junior.


H. America Encounters The World of Islam

Most Americans first real "day-to-day" contact with the Islamic world began in the 1960s or, even earlier, with the creation of the State of Israel. Prior to 1945, the American played no important role in the Middle East, leaving that to colonial powers Great Britain and France, and no role at all in newly Islamic areas such as Africa or the Asian Muslim areas such as the South Thailand and Malaysia. In all, the appearance of Muslim and Arab peoples appeared largely as enemies of Israel, which even non-Jewish Americans tended to romanticize and which appeared in a positive light in the books of Jewish American authors such as Exodus by Leon Uris and Cast a Giant Shadow.

Most Americans of the 1960s associated Islam with either distant oil sheiks or, oddly enough, black America. In the 1960s, the Nation of Islam which recruited its members from a tiny percentage of the black American community, suddenly burst into prominence with the appearance, preaching, and subsequent death of the fiery Malcolm X. The Nation converted some of the most famous men in America, including Kareem Abdul-jaber and Mohammed Ali, who became its advocates after the death of Nation of Islam's founder and the assassination of X, probably at the instigation of the Nation. Controversial firebrand minister Louis Farraqan continues to fill auditoriums with his followers and recently led them on the famous Million Man March to Washington.

Most American suddenly became more aware of Islam, or at least Islamic nations, as a result of the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, enacted to try to pry away American support from Israel in the Yom Kippur. From the War emerged the enduring picture of Islam as exemplified by the Saudi brand of Islam, which appeared particularly alien and strange to Americans.

The Iranian Revolution further cemented a negative, alienating image of Islam. Few Americans understood the forces that led to that Revolution, and fewer still understood the CIA's interference in internal politics in Iran. The average American saw the Shah with his American wife and his command of English as clearly a good guy and the Ayatollah as the bad guy. Further, the rise of Khomeini again raised oil prices and, as in the cases above, Iran's ideology contradicted American values that simply do not countenance a regime based on religion. For that reason, much though Americans do not like dictatorship, as in the case of Vietnam, South Korea, or Iran, they realized that America's support of Saddam Hussein's Iraq probably represented the lesser of two evils. Better a secularly-based one-party state than a religious one. For the same reason, the government more quietly supported the Gulf States unmasked preference for Saddam and their various efforts to suppress the Shia minorities that Iran tried to stir to their cause.

The Gulf War, in contrast, presented a fairly clear and obvious choice. Most Americans as well as the government did not support the idea of one country invading another. Further, for all its faults, Kuwait sort of represented a sort of democracy versus a dictatorship. Here religion played no particular role as neither regime particularly claimed any ties to Islam. That this happened to economically help the US did not escape the few critics of this policy.

After the Cold War closed and before the overthrow of Saddam, then, American foreign policy encapsulated something of a contradiction. Across the Islamic world, from Algeria to Malaysia, they basically supported undemocratic regimes even as the opposition became increasingly religiously based. In Algeria, for example, the aging leftist party, supported by the United States, repressed the election-winning Islamic party. Similarly, the only real opposition to Egypt's ruling party, the Moslem Brotherhood, Egypt, with US support, ruthlessly suppressed. This led to a Moslem world ruled by authoritarian rulers, whether royalty or "republicans," and to my ironic comment that as time goes on the republicans more resemble royalists and the more republicans resemble royalists. In both cases, the opposition turned to religion and, increasingly, as the authoritarian governments clamped down, the tactics of terrorism with a supposed base in religion. Whereas the United States supported the growth of Democracy throughout the world, its stated policy in the Middle East emphasized "stability."

Meanwhile, and more quietly, the Islamic population of the United States slowly increased. This started as an indirect result of the Lebanese Civil War as Lebanese Christians fled to Michigan. Non-Christian Lebanese, in their turn, followed as tides of war turned. As a result of variation other wars, Iraqis, Palestinians, and Iranians followed them into the United States. At the same time, the new wealth of the Gulf States, sent more students to the United States. Even as American policy, consciously or not encouraged, repression abroad, it encouraged religious freedom at home.


I. 911

The bombing of 911 suddenly put the worlds of American and Islam into relief. This act proved an awakening in several different ways. First, whereas terrorism struck Americans before, particularly abroad, this home strike struck many Americans as the equivalent of Pearl Harbor, leading to George Bush's famous "Declaration on War." Second, Bin Laden the author or at least inspiration for the attack, based his ideas on a religious ideology (no matter how far-fetched). In short, to many America, 911 seemed like a declaration of war by Islam on America.

Osama, and his supporters, wanted to cast the attack in this light for reasons of his own. First, his own ideology led to his statements as to the "Crusaders" and various apocalyptic images. Second, he hoped that the American over-reaction would, in turn, lead to overthrow of various Arab regimes and their replacement by Islamic regimes, particularly in Saudia Arabia. Third, by equating his attack to one of one hostile power to another, in effect, he vastly elevated his own importance. In effect, he raised Al-Qaeda's alliance to the level of the Soviet Union, the rival and enemy of the United States.

The American reaction and, indeed over-reaction, justified many of Osama's predictions. Bush's rhetoric of the "War on Terror" surely gave Osama's small organization more than its due in importance. Further, Bush linked his own desired war on Iraq, despite almost all advisors proclaiming the opposite, as linked to the "War on Terror." However, despite killing a lot of people, subsequently Al-Qaeda inspired achieved no important objectives in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States and, if anything led to strengthening to regimes opposed by Islamic-based opposition.

One effect of the new status quo then deals with continued, even renewed, support of local rulers opposed by religiously based parties and militias. Of course, many potential terrorist and general American haters simply went to Iraq, ridding their local rulers of their presence. However secular rulers, such as Musharref, Mubarek, Fahed, and Sharon used renewed American support to rid themselves of potential threats either by killing terrorists or allowing them to travel to festering Iraq.

Domestically, one can define the American reaction to 911 as the Patriot Act. Specifically, as with most similar wartime attacks, allowed the American government to suspend or ignore the rights of certain groups of citizens. Famously, the US locked up Japanese, Italians, and Germans during World War II. The novelty consists in the specific targeting and infiltration not of a national group but of a religious one though the FBI systematically did target Black Muslims in the 1960s.

On another front, America tightened up its immigration laws. Traditionally, American immigration varies between times of extreme openness and cultural welcoming and almost paranoid reaction and closure. Currently, one might classify this time period with the latter. The difference, again, lies in the targeting of a group not by its ethnic or even racial origins but in terms of religion. The same truth also applies to the "temporary immigration" of those attending college. As noted two years ago, many temporary immigrants, particularly in this case Indian and Pakistani Moslem, stay in the States after they obtain their degree.

Meanwhile, an entire ideological undercurrent supports, ironically enough, the ideas of Osama Bin Laden. Controversial Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis spent a lifetime studying Islam and writing entire volumes pertaining to explore the basic differences between it and the West. This difference Lewis calls the "Clash of Civilizations," the inevitable conflict between an Islam rooted in preserving the unchanging past and that of the modernizing, secular West. The more the culture of the West spreads through mass communication, Lewis holds, the greater the likelihood of the clash. Osama and his followers, Lewis and the scholars who follow him pose, fully understands and hates the West. Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington published a slightly revised version of the above, posing no less than six different possibly clashing civilizations, but all of his illustrations deal with Islamic terrorism, and his lectures sell out.


J. What This Topic Excludes

Given the above background, I'd like to specifically EXCLUDE some topics from discussion.

(1) Iraq in general.

As I noted above, the United States, as probably everyone admits, entered Iraq under false pretenses. No matter what one thinks of Saddam, though he possibly supported a couple of terrorist groups and tried to enlist the support of Islamic scholars, his regime did not base itself in religion. Further, despite governmental statements to the contrary, 70% of those opposing the United States in Iraq, do so out of either (1) loyalty to Saddam or (2) simply patriotism. Thus, they have nothing to do with this topic. The other 30% appear below.

(2) Terrorism in general

Basically, the United States opposes terrorism in all forms. Therefore, any discussion of terrorism becomes one of HOW to destroy terrorism. We debated this two years ago. Further, one can think of terrorism as an extreme behavior derived from a particular ideology. What to do about the ideology seems to fall within this topic.

(3) Islamic theology, particularly mainstream theology

As noted above, at home and abroad, Americans generally believe in religious freedom. In no way does 90% of the practice of Islam in almost any form conflict with these beliefs. Even Bernard Lewis would probably agree with this conclusion!

(4) Immigration and Student visas in general

These general topics, as noted above, refer to questions of nationality NOT religion. We debated immigration three years ago, and it seems played out.

(5) The detention of people at Guantamo Bay who ARE terrorists

Okay, most of them fought against the United States. The government picked up some because their rotten neighbors turned them in and others due to their religious beliefs. The last group seem to fit into the polices below.


I. What this topic includes

The following issues seem to fall within the topic we're defining:

1. Domestic Security versus rights
2. Immigration
3. Louis Farrakan and "Black Islam."
4. Student visas for Moslems
5. Freedom of speech and mosque "sermon"
6. [Islamic finance]
7. Public image of Islam within the United States
8. Islamic education in the USA

The topics above pretty much refer to the Patriot Act and implementation of that Act. In other words, the affirmative will make a plan regarding how best to (1) secure the United States while (2) accommodating the democratic tradition and freedom of religion.

1. Iran's religiously based government and the spread of its ideology
2. Religiously based parties in Turkey, Egypt (Moslem brotherhood), and the Sudan
3. Islamic militias in Iraq: SCRI, Sadr's Maadi army, other?
4. Islamic resistance groups that are also political parties: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizballah
5. The Saudi Tafriq ideology and its spread
6. Prostelization in Africa and Asia
[7. Islamic finance]
8. The public image of the United States within the Moslem World.
9. Islamic eduaction

The issues above all read to spread of either more conservative or even bizarre forms of ideology. To characterize it briefly, the basic status quo on Islam now seems to equate ISLAM with terrorism, and the more armed the party, the more the association. Except in the case of Iran and the Sudan, none of these qualify as governments, but a lot of the attributes of governments.

The last three involve non-governmental influence. The Saudi state continues to fund a lot of mosques around the world. In terms of Africa and Asia, the spread of conservative Islam appears across Northern Nigeria, and in parts of Asia.