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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 November, 2004, 01:37 GMT
US 'alienating' world's Muslims
Arab Americans
America's Muslims have come under pressure since the 9/11 attacks
The US is losing "the war of ideas" in the Islamic world, a Pentagon advisory panel has warned.

A report by the Defence Science Board says official US talk of bringing democracy to Muslim nations is seen as "self-serving hypocrisy".

It says if the US wants Muslims to move towards its understanding of tolerance, it must reassure them this does not mean submitting to "the American way".

The report urges Washington to change its approach urgently.

In the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering
The Defence Science Board's report

However, it says that improving public relations is not enough.

"Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies," the report says.

"The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favour of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states.

"Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy," the report says.

It adds that the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has actually raised the stature of radical enemies of America.

"US actions appear... to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self-determination," the report says.

'Information campaign'

It describes US public diplomacy as being in crisis and urges the creation of a strategic communications apparatus within the White House.

"The information campaign - or as some still would have it, 'the war of ideas' or the struggle for 'hearts and minds' - is important to every war effort," the report says, referring to the US-led war on terror.

The BBC's Nick Childs at the Pentagon says the report may not be official policy, but it does highlight many concerns in official circles in Washington about how the US government can communicate its messages abroad.

The Defence Science Board is made of civilian experts appointed by the Pentagon, and offers the department advice on scientific, technical and other issues.




SEE ALSO:
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'Islamist terrorism' in 9/11 focus
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