Cal  Thomas
Prior to leaving Egypt for the United Nations General Assembly, Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi told The New York Times the United States needs to "fundamentally change" its approach to the Arab world. That includes, he said, showing greater respect for Arab values, as well as helping to build a Palestinian state.

Is there an Arab equivalent for the Yiddish word "Chutzpah"? It isn't the policies and attitude of the United States toward the Arab world that need changing. It's the attitude and policies of the Arab world that need to change. For a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who still subscribes to the group's radical beliefs, to blame America for problems in the Arab world is like blaming the mirror for what it reflects.

Which nation is in greater need of an attitude adjustment? In USA Today recently, there was this line: "...more than a year after (Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak's ouster, not much has changed for women..." The story contains pictures of Egyptian women being harassed by men on the streets of Cairo this summer during their "holy" month of Ramadan. The caption mentions activists who say that "harassment of women in the streets spikes during Muslim holidays." Did U.S. attitudes toward Arabs cause this harassment?

Then there's terrorism. A significant amount of terrorist activity emanates geographically and religiously from the Arab and Muslim world. Hatred for all things Jewish, Christian and Western can be found in children's textbooks in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and throughout the Middle East -- hate that is then reinforced by mullahs and Arab media. "...Pakistan's public education system goes beyond instilling pride in being Muslim and encourages bigotry that can foment violence against 'the other,'" Husain Haqqani, a Pakistani author and professor of international relations at Boston University, told the Los Angeles Times back in 2005. Is such hatred the fault of the United States? Coptic Christians are fleeing Egypt. It is Egyptian persecution, not American attitudes that prompts them to leave.

With a few notable exceptions, Arab and Muslin nations mostly lived in unenviable conditions under extreme religious and tribal codes long before the United States and Israel came into being. Perhaps it was the "thought" of a country that treats women as equal to men, practices religious pluralism and tolerance for other beliefs -- or no belief -- that infuriated the Arab masses prior to 1776?

Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
 
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