FMC Blog: Free Speech Zone

Should the U.S. Allow the Sale of U.S. Ports to Arab Owned Company?

Bush Battles Republican and Democrat over Sale of U.S. Ports to Arabs

The Bush administration recently approved an Arab company's attempt to take over the operation of seaports in six major American cities. The sale to a company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is strongly supported by President Bush but has caused bitter opposition by many politicians on Capitol Hill and with the governors of Maryland and New York. Presently, the right to manage those American ports is owned by a non-American company located in Britain.

In response to fierce criticism, President Bush fired back by saying: "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a [British] company." President Bush praised the United Arab Emirates as a great friend of the United States and warned congressional critics against sending the wrong message to the Arab world by condemning a business just because it is Arab-owned. Furthermore, President Bush stated that the deal was fully scrutinized by government officials, who concluded that the deal poses no threat to national security.

The Free Muslims Coalition supports President Bush in his backing of the sale of the management of the Ports to an Arab owned company. The Free Muslims have been the biggest critics of Islamic terrorism and extremism. We have taken numerous positions that were unpopular among our communities when we felt it was the right thing to do. However, just as we have a zero tolerance approach towards terrorism, we also have a zero tolerance approach toward bigotry against Arabs.

As stated above, the company that presently manages those American ports is not American owned. If critics of the deal were objecting because they did not want a foreign company to manage U.S. ports that would be perfectly fine. However, it is wrong to accept management by one foreign owned company and reject another foreign owned company when both companies are located in nations that are strong allies of the United States.

Indeed, the United Arab Emirates is a great friend to the United States. They have been loyal friends in the war on terror and they are excellent friends to the U.S. military. The United Arab Emirates provides docking rights for more U.S. Navy ships than any other nation in the region.

Moreover, the United Arab Emirates has adopted American style capitalism and tolerance. The UAE is a success story that is helping to shape the Arab world in a positive way. The UAE has opened its doors completely to Americans and American businesses. Relations between the UAE and United States are so good that the UAE spends billions of dollars in America and only accepts U.S. Dollars for the sale of their oil and gas. Their loyalty to the United States helps keep the American Dollar strong and the American economy moving forward. Thus, just as the UAE opens its arms to America, America should open its arms to the UAE.

Finally, by closing the door on one of our closest allies, the U.S. would be sending the wrong message to voices of moderation in the Middle East and a gift to voices of extremism. We are certain that Muslim extremist groups like Al-Qaeda and HAMAS would jump on this issue by arguing that Americans hate all Arabs and Muslims including their allies. The Free Muslims have argued time and time again that the United States must do a better job of supporting moderate Arabs and Muslims. The uproar against this ports deal is misplaced and the Free Muslims stand by President Bush for fighting back against the voices of bigotry.

Posted February 22, 2006 by Kamal Nawash

FMC Condemns Reaction of Muslims to Unfavorable Cartoons of Prophet Mohammad

The Free Muslims Coalition condemns the reaction of American Muslim Organizations and Muslim governments to the unfavorable depiction of Prophet Mohammad in European News papers.

Protests have spread across the Muslim world over the publication in European news papers of cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. Outrage over the cartoons has ignited demonstrations from Turkey to the Gaza Strip, and prompted a boycott of Danish products throughout the Middle East.

In Pakistan, hundreds demonstrated on Thursday, chanting "Death to Denmark" and burning Danish and French flags. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak warned that the decision by some European papers to publish the cartoons could encourage terrorists. Consequently, government ministers from 17 Arab nations have asked the Danish government to punish the newspaper for what they called an "offense to Islam" and some countries have even pulled their ambassadors from Denmark.

The controversy intensified on Wednesday when a French news paper, printed a new drawing on its front page showing Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy figures sitting on a cloud, with the caption "Don't worry Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here".

The response by Muslims to the cartoons is absolutely pathetic and depressing but revealing. The reason Muslims are responding with anger and threats of violence is because most Muslims live in countries where democracy and freedom of speech are alien concepts.

Moreover, the Muslim world suffers from a lack of visionary leadership. In this particular case, when Muslim leaders, including American Muslim leaders, realized that Muslims are furious they joined the chorus of fury rather than explain to their people that they must be reasonable and that freedom of speech is healthy even if it is insulting. What is even more disgusting is that most American Muslim organizations, who should know better, have joined the chorus of instigators rather than taking this opportunity to teach their members about the importance of freedom of speech and tolerance.

One would think that Muslims have learned a lesson from the mishaps of the radical Iranian spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomeini when in 1989, he called on Muslims to kill British author Salman Rushdie for alleged blasphemy in his book, The Satanic Verses. The childish and stupid reaction by Khomeini caused an otherwise poor book to become a number one seller. Similarly today, the stupid reaction by Muslims has caused many more news papers to publish insulting images of the Prophet Mohammed.

When will Muslims wake up and realize that their intolerance of opposing opinions is keeping them in the dark ages? When will Muslims realize that respect must be earned and not forced through violence and coercion? When will Muslims realize that individual liberty and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights? When will American Muslim organization provide solutions to Muslims rather than instigate problems? The Free Muslims Coalition hopes that the answer to all these questions is soon.

Posted February 02, 2006 by Kamal Nawash