I was recently interviewed by KGO-TV (ABC Ch. 7) news about U.S. Aid to Pakistan, the flogging of a young women in the SWAT valley and Illume magazine’s coverage of Greg Mortenson’s work of building schools in the mountain areas of Pakistan.
I stated that this type of treatment of women is not based on Islam, but ancient cultural and tribal practices that go back hundreds of years. It also has to do with a lack of education, not only in general, but also a lack of understanding of Islam. Sharia law (I am no expert) has built-in protections for the innocent, such as the requirement for there to be 4 eye witnesses to an accusation of adultery. Obviously, the Taliban, and other groups like them, are extremely conservative and think that they know what is correct and what is not. They need to be educated, and the best way that can happen is if their fellow Muslims who are familiar with Islamic law can sit down and educate them.
When the reporter asked me about U.S. aid to Pakistan for Civil Infrastructure and the corruption in Pakistani government – I stated that the U.S. cannot just throw money at the problem and expect things to get done. The U.S. needs to put a little effort in making sure that things are done properly and they weed out the corruption. They need to have some strict guidelines on how the money should be used and also have some follow-up to see where the money has been spent and what the results are. I gave the example of Greg Mortenson, who is an average American, who did not have billions of dollars behind him, but because he spent the time and effort to make sure things got done properly, he was able, with the help of good Pakistanis, to get alot of positive results (see my post below about Greg Mortenson’s work). It’s not an easy task, but some hard work, effort and patience on both sides (American and Pakistani) are needed to make a change for the better!
I happened to mention to the reporter that I am the Public Relations Director for the American Muslim magazine, Illume (www.illumemagazine.org), and the copy which I gave him, happened to have a story about Greg Mortenson. Because it went with the story, he included a bit about the magazine and showed the cover of the magazine in the story.
So overall the story came out pretty well, even though my interview was cut down to about 10-15 seconds sound-byte about Greg Mortenson.
Check out the video here: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=6755267