Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University told an audience in Jakarta that surveys indicate most Muslims in the world agree with democratic principles that are espoused by American political leaders, but they do not agree on the manner in which American foreign policy is conducted. He contrasted respect for what is said by democratic nations “but not what they do.” During an ensuing discussion with a college educated audience it was clear there was as a division within the group. On one hand, many young Muslim students were quick to blame CIA actions in supporting corrupt governments that oppress their own people even while America was proclaiming its belief in democracy. It was also clear those who believe strongly in democracy and accept its basic tenets fear being characterized for apostasy which is a charge that can ruin an individual’s life if not result in death.
The United States still can not grasp that support for petty dictators like President Mubarak of Egypt because he “is allied with the West against terrorism” only increases support for terrorism. There are demagogues in the United States like Sarah Plain or Glenn Beck who are quick to demonize Muslims and they do not even fear to characterize the president as “palling around with terrorists” without suffering any consequence for these slanders. So, why should we expect different standards in Muslim nations?