Winning Over the Muslim Mind

J-Lo won't do it; Moderate imams may.

Issue: Spring 2004

Facts are stubborn things. And the facts, sad but stubborn, are that hatred of the United States in the Arab and Muslim world is greater today than ever before; that it shows no sign of diminishing; and that Washington's efforts to counter it have had little success.

Its most visible (and audible) efforts have been the public diplomacy of radio and television stations. None are winning hearts and minds to any great extent. Al-Iraqiya, the television station the Pentagon ran in Baghdad, was supposed to entice Iraqis away from the popular Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya--both of which are sympathetic to Islamic extremism. But an Iraqi media specialist was quoted in the Washington Post on January 8, 2004, describing it as technically backward, unconvincing in its message, and unable to compete with other stations.

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