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It's hard to see eye-to-eye on a one-way street

A lot of people are discussing the generosity of Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, who forked over $20 million each to Harvard and Georgetown Universities, to enhance "Islamic Studies" at both institutions. (See stories here, here, and here.)

A lot of people are looking askance at the princely gift, intended to hire faculty and provide scholarships into the field of Islam. Many remember the Prince's offer of $10 million to New York City in the wake of 9/11, an offer that was refused by Mayor Guiliani after the prince commented that we should really look into what we did to provoke the attacks.

Others look at his involvement in Citibank and Samba (Saudi AMerican Bank), which has been accused of funneling money to Palestinian terrorists.

But I think this is a worthwhile gesture, and ought to be used to improve the relations between Muslims and the rest.

Which is why I think it would be in the spirit of the Prince's gift to take half of it and use it to establish programs that teach the principles, histories, and beliefs of Christians and Jews in Saudi Arabian colleges. After all, understanding is an interactive thing; we should learn about them, and they should learn about us. Then, perhaps, we can indeed learn to embrace our differences and live together peacefully.

(Title shamelessly stolen from Edwin Newman)


Comments (10)

Throw in Zoroastrians, Budd... (Below threshold)
joe:

Throw in Zoroastrians, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

And perhaps Georgia Congres... (Below threshold)
Bat One:

And perhaps Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney could be enlisted to intercede with the Prince on behalf of you and your suggested two way street?

Hmmm.I wonder if t... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

I wonder if this, or other, Saudi has any influence with NBC. Most of the recent Law & Order shows have been rather bizzare. It seems that just about anybody can be the bad guy except for arabs who are always being unfairy targeted.

Alwaleed's plea that the US... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Alwaleed's plea that the US examine its role in the Israeli Palestinian crisis is always taken as the ultimate insult, and "beyond consideration".

The Israel factor is buried on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report.

But yes, Virginia, the US bankrolling of Israeli land grabbing and encroachment was a factor in 9/11. If it takes Saudi funding to teach that to America's students...

so be it.

Gee, while I was studying a... (Below threshold)

Gee, while I was studying at G'town, I had courses in Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Comp. Religion, and even Communism!

Not bad for a Catholic university, run by the "Storm Troopers of the Vatican"(TM), the Jesuits.

While I did have Catholic teachers (surprisingly few of them priests), Jewish (including two rabbis), and a Buddhist monk, I never did have a Muslim teacher.

There certainly were Muslim students, predominantly Iranian, but also a few from different Gulf states. In fact, the current Saudi Amb. to the US was one of them. This was a rather long time ago.

Oh... and Bill Clinton, too! See how open-minded those Jebbies are?

Sure, Wayne.But wh... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Sure, Wayne.

But while we're at it, why don't we all just convert, shut down hollywood, and stop offending the Moslems. While we're at it, we should imprison gays and stuff our women in veils and stop letting them drive.

Because, you know, it's *all* *our* *fault*.

Islamists can be offended by whatever they want, but no one forced their hand. No one *could* force their hand.

And incidentally, Jay Tea... fantastic point. The chance of Saudi Arabian colleges promoting understanding of Jews or Christians is absolutely nil... but still... we're the intolerant guilty ones. Go figure.

How about a bit of Thomas P... (Below threshold)
mantis:

How about a bit of Thomas Paine and John Locke too? "Democracy Studies" or some such thing?

That's a good idea, mantis.... (Below threshold)
joe:

That's a good idea, mantis. Follow it up with the Federalist Papers and maybe the concept of a Reformation.

mantis, every now and then ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

mantis, every now and then I ask myself why the hell I keep reading your comments, instead of just ignoring you entirely.

Then you toss out something like that suggestion, reminding us that over there, Islam is not just a religion, but a whole political and legal system as well.

I'll deny ever saying this, mantis, but stick around, will ya?

J.

mantis, every now and th... (Below threshold)
mantis:

mantis, every now and then I ask myself why the hell I keep reading your comments, instead of just ignoring you entirely.

Masochism?

Then you toss out something like that suggestion, reminding us that over there, Islam is not just a religion, but a whole political and legal system as well.

I think we all agree that a little democracy is a good thing for everyone, especially bassackward governments like Saudi Arabia's. We just sometimes disagree about the delivery method (though things are looking good for tomorrow, and I'm hoping for the best).

I'll deny ever saying this, mantis, but stick around, will ya?

Like a tumor. ;)




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