American Islamic Groups Back US Bombing at Global Summit

John Rossomando | July 7, 2008 | 8:10pm EDT
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( - Two American Islamic groups are voicing their support for the Bush administration's attack on Afghanistan during an annual meeting Wednesday of an international organization representing 56 Islamic nations.

The Islamic Institute and the American Muslim Council are presenting their positions at the Meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), being held in Doha, Qatar, as part of an OIC observer committee.

The OIC can best be described as a "Muslim U.N.," according to Islamic Institute Political Director Asim Ghafoor, because 56 Islamic countries send their heads of state to meetings every three years while their foreign ministers attend annual meetings.

Ghafoor expects that the majority of the Islamic nations represented at the conference will be sympathetic to the United States with the exception of Iraq because Osama bin Laden has made numerous enemies in the Islamic world, including the Saudi royal family, the former rulers of Afghanistan, the Pakistani leadership, and the Iranians.

He attributes recent Iranian condemnations of U.S. airstrikes against Afghanistan to political considerations, rather than to a show of support for the Taliban or Osama bin Laden.

"The Iranian government is being political [in opposing the American airstrikes in Afghanistan because] they have been funding these groups that have been bombing and killing civilians too," he said. "They have been funding the Northern Alliance for the last ten years. They are just looking for a chance to whip on the US."

Ghafoor does not believe the street protests in various parts of the Islamic world represent the views of most Muslims. Instead, he said, the protesters represent only a vocal minority within the Islamic world.

"In the large part, if you look at the majority of Muslims, they really were victimized twice by this," Ghafoor said. "On one hand, their religion was invoked in vain by these suicide bombers who [claimed] to practice Islam, and secondly they were [attacked] too."

According to Ghafoor, many Muslims around the world feel they were victimized because non-Muslims automatically associated the suicide hijackers who destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon with the teachings of Islam.

"They were upset about the whole thing as well," Ghafoor said. "[Many Muslims] were just as upset about this as the U.S. is."

The Islamic Institute is standing behind the Bush administration at the conference because it wants to demonstrate its American patriotism, according to Ghafoor.

"American Muslims' loyalty is to our country," he said. "In the U.S., we speak on behalf of our troops because there are many Muslims who serve in the military."

According to Ghafoor, American Muslims are the second largest religious group represented in the U.S. military.

"Our first loyalty will be to our troops," Ghafoor said.

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