[The following is extracted from a longer article at http://news.excite.com/printstory/news/ap/011005/13/news-mideast-friday-prayers, which partially shows us how the U.S. is viewed in the Muslim world. Please read it all.
In our opinion, the Muslim world's biggest problem with the U.S. is our government's unconditional support of the Israeli government (hardliners, who were elected by campaigning on people's fears, now rule Israel and are ignoring legitimate Palestinian grievances which are recognized by Israelis who seek peace).
Apparently, our politicians mistakenly believe that most American Jewish voters (and political campaign contributors) blindly agree with current Israeli government hardline policies. The U.S. can still support Israel while condemning its Palestinian policies. If we did that and American monetary aid was conditioned on fair treatment of Palestinians, then reasonable Israelis might be able to regain control of their government, the Muslim world would begin to respect us, and peace in the Middle East might have a chance.]
Prayers Laud Palestinian Struggle
Updated: Fri, Oct 05 1:23 PM EDT
by MARIAM FAM, Associated Press Writer
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Across the Middle East, weekly Muslim prayers hailed the Palestinian struggle against Israel and accused the United States of "threatening innocent people" in its campaign to get terror suspect Osama bin Laden.
Friday's messages from Muslim preachers contrasted with the words of sympathy heard shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. As the United States' coalition-building has gathered momentum ahead of a showdown with Afghanistan's Taliban rulers, who are refusing to hand over bin Laden and his lieutenants, so has the rhetoric in mosques.
In Iraq, Sheik Abdel-Ghafur al-Qaissi, preacher at al-Imam al-A'adham Mosque in Baghdad, said the Americans "deserved God's wrath, because they have not acted wisely."
The Bush administration is "acting at random in accusing and threatening innocent people," he said in a reference to Afghanistan and possibly Iraq, whose president, Saddam Hussein, warned that the United States may use the attacks as an excuse to hit his country.
In Iran, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the hard-line head of the powerful Guardian Council, denounced the way the United States responded to the attacks as "illogical," saying Washington has made itself the investigator, judge and executioner in its campaign against terrorism.
In Egypt's Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's most respected theological institute, Grand Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi said those who confuse the jihad, or holy war, with terrorism are "ignorant."
"What our brethren in Palestine are doing now is jihad because they defend their land, defend their freedom and defend their sanctities," he told worshippers. "They are killing those who kill them and are fighting those who usurped their land, and this is jihad."
In the minds of many Arabs, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is inseparable from the attacks in the United States. Some argue the attacks were fueled by Arab hatred of America and its backing of Israel. However, Tantawi said Islam has specific conditions for when to declare jihad.
Terrorism, he said, "means treachery and injustice; means attacking men, women and children. This is hated and forbidden by the sharia (law) of Islam."
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