Monday, April 20, 2009

MEMRI: Bridging The Information Gap

Regardless of one's political views, it should be glaringly obvious that fueling a large part of the cultural clash between the 'Western' and 'Arab' world is a language barrier.

This barrier is one of the chief drivers of misinformation, misunderstanding, and distrust.

Tired of hearing one thing reported in the English media, while something entirely different was said or reported in Arabic, The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) was founded to translate the primary sources and make that information accessible.

MEMRI tries to spotlight reformist Arab voices and also focuses on issues of antisemitism in the Arab world.

In a recent update, MEMRI focused on a liberal cleric from Bahrain, whose piece was published in a Kuwaiti paper:

In an article titled "When the Terrorist is British Born," Al-Mousawi wrote: "…It is sad that in Western countries there are thousands of Muslims who receive citizenship for themselves and their families after having been expelled from their respective homelands. [The West] gives them asylum, work, shelter, and health insurance - [yet] they are the first to turn their backs on their second homeland. Worse, some of them think nothing of committing suicide in the squares, in the very countries that have granted them and their families protection… It is odd that some sheikhs curse and revile the West from the pulpits of the Western [mosques,] and wish for the destruction of the [Western] countries, as the police of those countries guard them…

In another cleric's view, "the problem of Europe and the U.S. is neither the Arabs nor the Muslims. It is the Islamists, both parties and groups, who have taken over the political, religious, social, and cultural life inside and outside Islamic and Arab countries."

Add MEMRI to your daily digest and help brige the information gap.

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