Hostility towards the United States has reached "shocking levels” among Muslim populations, according to a recent report by the US Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World. The panel called for more money to be spent on advocating US policies.
The group revealed that the US State Department spent approximately $600 million last year on programs promoting American policies and an additional $540 million on Voice of America and other broadcasts. Yet, most of the funding was directed to exchange programs, overhead and salaries, with only $25 million contributing to outreach programs in the Arab World, reported New York Times.
The Group spent several months examining US efforts to promote its views to the international Muslim population. "A process of unilateral disarmament in the weapons of advocacy over the last decade has contributed to widespread hostility toward Americans and left us vulnerable to lethal threats to our interests and our safety," the report said.
The war in Iraq and US support for Israel has fueled anti-US sentiments in the region. Popular committees in the Middle East have been calling to widen the boycott against US-made products and services. In Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, bombs have exploded outside a McDonald’s restaurants in Jouineh and a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in the Northern city of Tripoli in the past year.
The grassroots campaign, conducted from mosques, schools and universities, was launched in late 2000, following the start of the Palestinian intifada. The movement gathered momentum in April 2002, in protest against Washington's support for Israel’s military incursions into the Palestinian occupied territories. Word spread through leaflets, the Internet, newspapers and mobile phone text messages. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )