CAIRO - Muslim leaders have blamed America's war on terror and failure to end the decades-long Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands for driving youth in the Muslim world to radicalism.
The United States, the rest of the Western world, and our neighbors tried to impose radicalism on our resistance against the Soviet Union, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the 10th US-Islamic World Forum in Doha cited by The Daily Beast.
The more radical we looked and talked, the more we were called mujahedin. The consequence of that was a massive effort toward uprooting traditional Afghan values and culture and tolerance.
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The West-backed leader opined that the US policy has driven many Afghans to radicalism, resulting in the 9/11 attacks.
When the mujahedin succeeded, the next day â¦ the US and Europe closed their embassies and left and we were left to the wishes of our neighbors and those around us, Karzai said.
That brought us to the tragedy of September 11 and the destruction of the twin towers and the attack on America, and thus the return of the U.S. and NATO to Afghanistan.
He said Washington's war-on-terror added insult into injury, pushing more people to radicalism.
The argument is that definitely the Muslim world has seen more radicalism, from Pakistan and Afghanistan all the way today to Mali and Nigeria, he said.
Is this the unintended consequence of the war on terror, as some would argue, or was this intended by the United States and the West, as some others would argue?
In my view, the West, as led by the United States, needs to explain itself to the Muslim world, he said. Is the war on terror really against terrorism? If it is, and if it has caused more radicalism in the Muslim world, especially the youth, then something has gone wrong.
Organized by Brookings Institution and the Qatari government, the three-day forum opened in Doha on Sunday, June 9.
Themed A Decade of Dialogue, the forum focuses on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria, political change in Pakistan and a number of Arab nations, as well as the need for greater economic opportunity within the world's emerging democracies.
It hosts leaders from the US and over 30 Muslim-majority countries, including Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Sudan as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Karzai cited the US failure to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands as among main factors behind radicalization.
If there is an increasing view among youth in the Muslim world that radicalism is actively promoted by the West, the question is why and for what purpose? he asked.
If this is not the intention of the West, then the West has to explain to the Muslim world if things have gone wrong and a corrective course must be taken, he said.
If we in the Muslim world are wrong about the intentions of the West, then it is for the Western world to explain to us their intentions and objectives.
Karzai criticized Washington for not being an objective broker in the Middle East peace process.
Has the US given an impression to the Muslims of impartiality on the issue of Israel-Palestine? No, he said.
A similar view was echoed by OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
"For more than 60 years the Palestinian people's aspirations to realize their legitimate rights to freedom, sovereignty, and self-determination in their own independent state and in their own homeland have been unrealized.
US-sponsored peace talks collapsed in 2010 over Israel's refusal to halt settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
There are more than 164 Jewish settlements in the West Bank, eating up more than 40 percent of the occupied territory.The international community considers all settlements on the occupied land illegal.