Today's New York Times published an extensive summary of a 90-minute interview with Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi as a way of introducing himself to the American public.
The interview, of course, touched on many aspects of America's relationship with Egypt and the Arab world. Comprehensive and succinct, surprisingly candid and open-minded with but one clear digression in either perception or honesty, when President Morsi was quoted:
"Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred of the peoples of the region' he said, by backing dictatorial governments over popular opposition and supporting Israel over the Palestinians."
Well, perhaps those are the issues to be bridged in Morsi's view, but where he is decidedly wrong is in referring to "American taxpayer money." The money exacerbating hatred and misunderstanding does not emanate from the "American taxpayer" per se, but rather from the American consumer both directly and symbolically, that is the American consumer of heating oil, diesel, gasoline and on. It is the hundreds of billions if not trillions that are and have been transferred to Arab oil nations and their near limitless monetary support of Wahhabi mullahs, Wahhabi protocols, most especially emanating from Saudi Arabia, as well as the Arabian Peninsular, extending to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Indonesia and most everywhere, preaching Jihad, controlling the curriculum of the Madarssas, indoctrinating young minds with hatred not only of America, but all Western culture.
Leon Uris hit the bull's-eye when he wrote in his novel The Haj:
"... before I was nine I learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother, me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world. And all of us against the infidels".
The riots and demonstrations this past week throughout the Muslim world show how deeply imbedded these Wahhabi teachings reside, and how combustible they are. If there is true goodwill between the Egyptian and American interlocutors these malign preachments should become the focus of real Egyptian-American dialog. It would go a very long way to establishing mutual cooperation and respect.