We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
The following is a post from Communications and Social Media Intern and Contributing Blogger Mary Kazarian. Mary is an undergraduate at George Mason University studying the Middle East and International Relations and hopes to one day move to her native land of Lebanon.
In a recent interview on the BBC network, AUA Advisory Member Akbar Ahmed discussed the legitimacy of a UN investigation on civilian deaths during air strikes by unmanned drones which is available below. The U.S. program, which continues to become more expansive as the number of deaths increases, is posing a threat to international law. The truth of the matter is, the safety of U.S. soldiers may be spared, but does this 21st century weapon really take the accountability out of its use? This question is still being discussed as the humanitarian aspect of the debate is elevating due to the high casualties especially in the countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen.
As normal life is completely suspended, children cannot sleep at night for fear of being “blown up”. Ahmed speaks not only of violence by drones, but the unfortunate violence by tribal warfare and increasing suicide bombers. These people who find themselves in moments of extreme desperation turn to bloodshed as a means to an end. Human rights activists may turn to the United Nations for help, however an investigation of this sort, says Ahmed, may only raise the awareness of the fact that drones are not worth it.
In his recent book, available on Feb. 27th, The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam, Ahmed describes traditional Islamic groups as the “thistle” which represents a people willing to fight back against the deadliest weapon available, the drone. The stark contrast between culture and society poses the question, is humanity progressing forwards?
For more information and bio about Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, please visit the AUA Team page.