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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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18 September 2005

an early Ramadan gift from Pakistan

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf (right)
and Jack Rosen, head of the Council for World Jewry,
at a New York City dinner.

This is authentically surprising, unexpected, hopeful and historic.

We have arrived at the new Millennium (by our calendar) with the politics of many Muslim nations being driven for a half-century by the popularity of Israel-bashing and antisemitism. To stay in power forever, politicians and entire parties and factions preach a Death To Israel line which generations of Muslims have been taught to respond positively to.

Pervez Musharraf -- who came to power not by a democratic election, but by a military coup -- is not only tenuously reaching out with peace initiatives to India, but is now extending diplomatic initiatives to Israel and, in this case, American Jews.

Almost nobody living today seems to know this, but Vleeptron has been screaming it for years, and It's The Truth: The NORM of Muslim-Jewish relationships throughout the world and throughout history is Peace, Respect and Brotherhood. Throughout the world for a millennium, the NORM was the Mosque and the Synagogue standing on the same streetcorner in peace and respect.

I guess Gen. Musharraf must have read the same book. Tonight he told American Jews that
the strife between Muslim and Jew since the creation of Israel in 1948 was an "aberration in the long history of Muslim-Jewish cooperation and coexistence."

Credit must also be given the American Jews who invited Musharraf to address their gathering. American Jews have also been taught for generations to bash Muslims and support Israeli anti-Arab militarism unqualifiedly. The invitation to Musharraf was imaginative, creative and courageous.

And perhaps, as the world approaches another Ramadan, we are witnessing the tenuous beginnings of a return to the historic norm.

Sunday 18 September 2005

Pakistan leader urges
U.S. Jews to help make peace

By Paul Eckert, Asia Correspondent

NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters) -- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told U.S. Jewish leaders on Saturday that granting the Palestinians statehood would help stop Islamic terrorism and lead to full diplomatic ties between Pakistan and Israel.

Speaking to the American Jewish Congress at a groundbreaking dinner that opened with the sharing of bread and Koranic prayers, Musharraf said his Muslim country had "no direct conflict or dispute with Israel" but that Pakistanis had deep sympathy for Palestinian aspirations for a separate state.

"Israel must come to terms with geopolitical realities and allow justice to prevail for the Palestinians," he said, describing a Palestinian settlement as the key to security for Israel and an end to Middle East terrorism.

"As the peace process progresses towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, we will take further steps towards normalization and cooperation, looking to full diplomatic relations," Musharraf said to lengthy applause.

His outreach to the influential Jewish group followed his handshake with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Wednesday at the United Nations and groundbreaking talks on Sept. 1 between the Israeli and Pakistani foreign ministers in Istanbul.

In conciliatory comments that Pakistani analysts called strikingly candid in the Muslim world, Musharraf recalled the tragedy of the Holocaust and acknowledged compassion shown by Jewish groups in helping stop ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and in combating anti-Islamic prejudice after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Pakistan has been one of Israel's harshest critics in the Muslim world. But Musharraf said the strife since the creation of Israel in 1948 was an "aberration in the long history of Muslim-Jewish cooperation and coexistence."

Islam, Judaism and Christianity shared prophets and spiritual practices, but were now needlessly "pitted against each other" -- a situation it would take courage to reverse, he said. His remarks received several standing ovations from the audience of about 350 people.

Musharraf said suggestions that Islam rejected tolerance and promoted terrorism amounted to a "hate campaign" against the faith. But he acknowledged that most people involved in terrorism, and most who suffered from it, were Muslims.

"Obviously there is a deep disturbance and malaise within Islamic societies, which has become especially acute in recent years," he said. Troubles in Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Iraq caused "anger, desperation and humiliation," he added.

The blunt-speaking army general said many Islamic societies had failed to embrace modernity and good governance.

"Many of us have remained trapped in a time warp, still struggling to reconstruct our political, social and economic systems to respond the challenges of our times," he said.

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