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14 Mac 2009

Anwar Ibrahim & Zainah Anwar (SIS) tandatangan surat sokong Presiden Barack Obama

March 10, 2009

President Barack Hussein Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

First of all, congratulations on your victory in November. Like so many others throughout the world, we find ourselves both hopeful and inspired. Your election is proof of America’s continued promise as a land of opportunity, equality, and freedom.

Your presidency presents a historic opportunity to chart a new course in foreign affairs, and particularly in the troubled relationship between the United States and the Muslim world.

We are heartened by your promise to listen to and understand the hopes and aspirations of Arabs and Muslims. By shutting down Guantanamo Bay and forbidding torture, your administration will inspire greater confidence between the United States and the Muslim world.

Last month, in your first major interview, millions of Arabs heard your call for mutual respect on one of the Middle East’s most watched television channels.

They were encouraged to find that you hold a resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict as an urgent priority, as evidenced by the appointment of Senator George Mitchell as your envoy.

Reaching out to the people of the region so early on in your presidency is a step of no small significance. But it is a step that must be followed by concrete policy changes.

Improving relations between the United States and Middle Eastern nations is not simply a matter of changing some policies here and there. For too long, U.S. policy toward the Middle East has been fundamentally misguided.

The United States, for half a century, has frequently supported repressive regimes that routinely violate human rights, and that torture and imprison those who dare criticize them and prevent their citizens from participation in peaceful civic and political activities.

U.S. support for Arab autocrats was supposed to serve U.S. national interests and regional stability. In reality, it produced a region increasingly tormented by rampant corruption, extremism, and instability.

In his second inaugural address, President Bush pledged that the United States would no longer support tyrants and would stand with those activists and reformers fighting for democratic change.

The Bush administration, however, quickly turned its back on Middle East democracy after Islamist parties performed well in elections throughout the region.

This not only hurt the credibility of the United States, dismayed democrats and emboldened extremists in the region, but also sent a powerful message to autocrats that they could reassert their power and crush the opposition with impunity.

In order to rebuild relations of mutual respect, it is critical that the United States be on the right side of history regarding the human, civil, and political rights of the peoples of the Middle East.

There is no doubt that the people of the Middle East long for greater freedom and democracy; they have proven themselves willing to fight for it.

What they need from your administration is a commitment to encourage political reform not through wars, threats, or imposition, but through peaceful policies that reward governments that take active and measurable steps towards genuine democratic reforms.

Moreover, the US should not hesitate to speak out in condemnation when opposition activists are unjustly imprisoned in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, or elsewhere.

When necessary, the United States should use its considerable economic and diplomatic leverage to put pressure on its allies in the region when they fail to meet basic standards of human rights.

We recognize that taking these steps will present both difficulties and dilemmas. Accordingly, bold action is needed today more than ever. For too long, American policy in the Middle East has been paralyzed by fear of Islamist parties coming to power.

Some of these fears are both legitimate and understandable; many Islamists advocate illiberal policies. They need to do more to demonstrate their commitment to the rights of women and religious minorities, and their willingness to tolerate dissent.

However, most mainstream Islamist groups in the region are nonviolent and respect the democratic process.

In many countries, including Turkey, Indonesia, and Morocco, the right to participate in reasonably credible and open elections has moderated Islamist parties and enhanced their commitment to democratic norms.

We may not agree with what they have to say, but if we wish to both preach and practice democracy, it is simply impossible to exclude the largest opposition groups in the region from the democratic process.

At the same time, to reduce the future of the region to a contest between Islamists and authoritarian regimes would be a mistake.

Promoting democratic openings in the region will give liberal and secular parties a chance to establish themselves and communicate their ideas to the populace after decades of repression which left them weak and marginalized.

More competition between parties of diverse ideological backgrounds would be healthy for political development in the region.

In short, we have an unprecedented opportunity to send a clear message to the Arab and Muslim world: the United States will support all those who strive for freedom,
democracy, and human rights.

You, Mr. President, have recently relayed such a message in your inaugural address when you said: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

We are fully aware that, with a worsening global economic crisis, and continuing challenges in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, political reform and progress toward democratic reform in the Middle East will need to compete with a whole host of other priorities on your agenda.

Policy is often about making difficult choices. However, as you work on other Middle East priorities, we urge you to elevate democratic reform and respect for human rights as key considerations in your engagement with both Arab regimes and Arab publics.

In conclusion, we are writing this letter to raise our profound belief that supporting democrats and democracy in the Middle East is not only in the region’s interests, but in the United States’ as well.

Perhaps more importantly, what we choose to do with this critical issue will reveal a great deal about the strength of American democratic ideals in this new era – and whether or not we will decide to respect and apply them in the Middle


Coordination Committee:

1. Radwan A. Masmoudi - Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID)

2. Geneive Abdo - The Century Foundation

3. Larry Diamond - Ctr. on Democracy, Dev. & Rule of Law, Stanford University

4. Shadi Hamid - Project on Middle East Democracy

5. Michele Dunne- Carnegie Endowment for Int. Peace

6. Jennifer Windsor - Freedom House

American Scholars, Experts & Organizations:

7. Tamara Cofman Wittes - Saban Center, Brookings Institution

8. Francis Fukuyama - The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

9. Matt Yglesia - Center for American Progress

10. Mona Yacoubian - U.S. Institute of Peace

11. John L. Esposito - Georgetown University

12. Reza Aslan - UC Riverside

13. Morton H. Halperin - Formerly Office of Policy Planning, Department of State

14. Will Marshall - Progressive Policy Institute

15. Randa Slim - Rockefeller Brothers Fund

16. Neil Hicks - Human Rights First

17. Robert R. LaGamma - Council for a Community of Democracies

18. Jack DuVall - Int. Center on Nonviolent Conflict

19. Robert A. Pastor - Center for Democracy and Election Management, American University

20. Jean Bethke Elshtain - University of Chicago

21. Peter Beinart - Council on Foreign Relations

22. Bob Edgar - Common Cause

23. Rachel Kleinfeld - Truman National Security Project

24. Robert Kagan - Carnegie Endowment for Int. Peace

25. Dokhi Fassihian - Democracy Coalition Project

26. Dina Guirguis - Voices for a Democratic Egypt

27. Andrew Albertson - Project on Middle East Democracy

28. Nathan J. Brown - George Washington University

29. Marc Gopin - Ctr for World Religions, Diplomacy, & Conflict Resolution, GMU

30. Graham E. Fuller - Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC.

31. Rabbi Michael Lerner - Network of Spiritual Progressives

32. Farid Senzai - Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

33. Frank Kaufmann - Inter Religious Federation for World Peace

34. Ammar Abdulhamid - Tharwa Foundation

35. Arsalan Iftikhar - Islamica Magazine

35. Richard Bulliet - Columbia University

36. Seth Green - Americans for Informed Democracy

37. Joseph Montville -Toward the Abrahamic Family Reunion

38. Joseph K. Grieboski - Institute on Religion and Public Policy

39. Jim Arkedis - Progressive Policy Institute

40. Asma Afsaruddin - University of Notre Dame

41. Anisa Mehdi - Arab-American Journalist

42. Mohammed Ayoob - Michigan State University

43. Peter Mandaville - Center for Global Studies, GMU

44. Omid Safi - University of North Carolina

45. Sulayman S. Nyang - Howard University

46. Naiem A. Sherbiny - Ibn Khaldun Ctr. for Development

47. Louay Safi - ISNA Leadership Development Ctr.

48. Najib Ghadbian - University of Arkansas

49. Aly R. Abuzaakouk - Libya Human and Political Dev. Forum

50. Robert D. Crane - The Abraham Federation

51. Sally Painter - Global Fairness Initiative

52. Steven Brooke - Independent Academic

53. Sheila Musaji - The American Muslim

54. Hashim El-Tinay - International Peace Quest Inst.

55. Antony T. Sullivan - Near East Support Services

56. Clement Moore Henry - Dept. of Government, U of Texas at Austin

57. Ahmed Subhy Mansour - The International Quranic Center

58. Yvonne Haddad - Georgetown University

59. Shahed Amanullah -

60. Hakan Yavuz - The University of Utah

61. Ibrahim Kalin - Georgetown University

62. Mumtaz Ahmad - Hampton University

63. Charles Butterworth - University of Maryland

64. John P. Entelis - Fordham University

65. Nahyan Fancy - DePauw University

66. Jeffrey T. Kenney - DePauw University

67. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad - Minaret of Freedom Institute

68. Jamal Barzinji - International Institute of Islamic Thought

69. H. Ali Yurtsever - Rumi Forum

70. Abubaker al Shingieti - American Muslims for Constructive Engagement

71. Nayereh Tohidi - California State University, Northridge

72. Nancy Gallagher - University of California, Santa Barbara

73. Safei Hamed - Alliance of Egyptian Americans

74. Ali Akbar Mahdi - Ohio Wesleyan University

75. Nader Hashemi - University of Denver

76. Timothy Samuel Shah - Council on Foreign Relations

77. Sondra Hale - Islamic Studies, UCLA

78. Lester Kurtz - George Mason University

79. Mehrdad Mashayekhi - Georgetown University

80. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo - University of Massachusetts, Boston

81. Salah Aziz - American Society for Kurds

82. Ali Banuazizi - Boston College

83. Mehrangiz Kar - Harvard University Human Rights Program

84. Tamara Sonn - College of William & Mary

85. Salam Al-Marayati - Muslim Public Affairs Council

86. Stephen Zunes - University of San Francisco

87. Mike Ghouse - World Muslim Congress

88. David A. Smith - University of California, Irvine

89. Ziad K. Abdelnour - US Committee for a Free Lebanon

90. Samer Libdeh - Center for Liberty in the Middle East

91. Javed Ali - Illume Magazine

92. Selahattin Oz - Georgetown University

93. Amin Mahmoud - The Alliance of Egyptian Americans

94. Maher Kharma - Islamic Society of Annapolis

International Scholars & Organizations:

95. Saad Eddin Ibrahim - Ibn Khaldoun Center

96. Radwan Ziadeh - Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Univ.

97. Atef Saadawy - Al-Ahram Democracy Review

98. Obaida Fares - Arab Foundation for Development and Citizenship

99. Mona Eltahawy - Commentator and public speaker, Egypt

100. Usman Bugaje - Action Congress, Abuja, Nigeria

101. Dogu Ergil - Ankara University, Turkey

102. Mohamed Elshinnawi - Journalist/Consultant

103. Mohammad Fadel - University of Toronto Faculty of Law

104. Jamal Eddine Ryane - Global Migration and Gender Network, Amsterdam

105. Najah Kadhim - International Forum for Islamic Dialogue-London-UK

106. Anwar Ibrahim - People’s Justice Party, Malaysia

107. Emad El-Din Shahin - Dept. of Government, Harvard University

108. Maajid Nawaz - The Quilliam Foundation, London, UK

109. Sameer Jarrah - Arab World Center for Democratic Development, Jordan

110. Ihsan Dagi - Insight Turkey

111. Santanina T. Rasul - Former Senator, The Philippines

112. Can Kurd - Kurdish PEN Club / Germany

113. Muna AbuSulayman - UNDP Goodwill Ambassador in KSA

114. Saoud El Mawla - The Islamic Council for Dialogue, Justice and Democracy, Lebanon

115. Amina Rasul-Bernardo - The Philippines Council on Islam & Democracy

116. Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi - The britslampartnership Ltd, UK

117. Muhammad Habash - Islamic Studies Center, Damascus, Syria

118. Boudjema Ghechir - Algerian League for Human Rights

119. Kais Jawad al-Azzawi - Al-Jareeda Newspaper, Baghdad, Iraq

120. Rola Dashti - Kuwait Economic Society

121. Zainah Anwar - Sisters in Islam, Malaysia

122. Jafar M. Alshayeb - Writer and Advocate, Saudi Arabia

123. Daoud Casewit - American Islamic Scholar, Morocco

124. Anwar N. Haddam - Mvt. for Liberty & Social Justice, Algeria

125. Ashur Shamis - Libya Human and Political Dev. Forum

126. Hamdi Abdelaziz - Journalist & Human Rights Activist, Egypt

127. Dalia Ziada - The American Islamic Congress, Cairo, Egypt

128. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla - Dept. of Political Science, United Arab Emirates

129. Wajeeha S. Al- Baharna - Bahrain Women Association for Human Development

130. Abdullahi Mohamoud Nur - Community Empowerment for Peace and Integrated Development, Somalia

131. Brendan Simms - The Henry Jackson Society: Project for Democratic Geopolitics, London, UK

132. Alan Mendoza - The Henry Jackson Society: Project for Democratic Geopolitics, London, UK

133. Ashraf Tulty - Justice & democracy for Libya

134. Hadi Shalluf - International Criminal Court, Paris

135. Aref Abu-Rabia - Fulbright Scholar

136. Omar Affifi - Hukuk Elnas

137. Jacqueline Armijo - Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

138. Sliman Bouchuiguir - Libyan League for Human Rights

139. Mohammed Mahfud - Al-Kalima Magazine, Saudi Arabia

140. Walid Salem - Panorama, East Jerusalem

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