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What Is Causing the Rise in Antisemitism in the Muslim World?


KOPPEL: Would anti-Americanism be diminished if the U.S. changed its policy toward Israel, and if so, isn't antisemitism the root of the problem?

DR. AHMED: Yes and no. American policy, if it was changed - was seen to be more even-handed - as the Muslim world sees it, would certainly have an impact to lessen things. But it is more complicated than just the Israel issue for the Muslim world. There are problems: the lack of education; we've talked of information and the media; the gaps between the rich and the poor. We would go to cities... We would see these huge houses ... People living in great wealth, and we see shanty towns. We'd see the sense of despair in places. What does the future hold for us? Why should we even care? These are bigger issues. So, yes, Israel is one part of the jigsaw puzzle, and we all pray it is resolved. But Israel doesn't directly relate to the problems of Indonesia or South Asia. It may be used as a sort of mental crutch or excuse by some Muslims, but it is only one of the problems.

Excerpt from a program with Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University from an interview on June 22, 2006.