In an article continuing a previous theme suggesting that Islam is the best means for returning the U.S. to the vision of its Founding Fathers, Islamic convert Robert Dickson Crane suggests the following actions be taken by the U.S. government:
• First, the Bush administration should loudly insist that the Mubarak government release Ayman Nour and those political prisoners–academics, journalists, human rights activists, and others–arrested in the latest crackdown. If public pressure fails, the administration should threaten to withhold a portion of its economic support to Egypt until it complies with international human-rights guarantees.
• Second, U.S. diplomats must seriously engage with leaders of moderate Islamic parties, those who reject violence and endorse democracy, about how best to promote democratic governance and human rights in their countries. This will require the State Department to abandon its almost exclusively secular approach to political reform in the region–a tone-deafness to matters of faith that has frustrated would-be reformers.
• Third, the United States should establish an annual fund of at least $500 million to support Arab and Muslim non-governmental organizations of all kinds that are genuinely committed to representative government and political and religious freedom. As deTocqueville once observed of America, it is the religious organizations of civil society that “direct the customs of the community” and are “indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions.” The same will be true of any long-term democratic reform in the Middle East.
• Finally, the administration should support, much more robustly than it has to date, American Muslims and American Muslim organizations to promote democratic freedoms from within an Islamic perspective–to develop a modern interpretation of Islam that puts the principles of self-government and human dignity at the core of its moral theology. These groups can become a vital resource for Muslim democrats in the Arab world.
According to his resume on Islam Online, Dr. Crane has numerous ties to organizations associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network. He was a director of publications for the International Institute of Islamic Thought as its Director of Publications (IIIT), helped to found the American Muslim Council, and since 1996 has been a board member of the United Association for Studies and Research (USAR) and Managing Editor of its Middle East Affairs Journal. USAR is generally associated with the Hamas infrastructure in the U.S. Dr. Crane’s plan is essentially a proposal that the U.S. government recognize and fund the global Muslim Brotherhood.