Dear U.S. State Department, President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton:
The U.S. has bought $70,000 worth of air time on seven Pakistani television channels to air an ad showing President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denouncing the anti-Islamic video that has sparked violent protests in the Middle East and North Africa. (source)
You wasted $70,000. This was not a good idea at all. It did not work as we can see that anti-American sentiment did not change and protests did not stop especially when Pakistani ministers are setting bounties for the video maker. It failed because the last thing Pakistanis want to see is the President of the United States of America and Secretary Hillary Clinton condemning the video and disassociating the US government from the video while the US continues using drones to kill Pakistanis.
If the State Department wanted to get to the hearts and minds of the Pakistani people especially the ones protesting and the violent extremists then you would have to give them something they can listen to. What do I mean by that? Professor Nouman Ali Khan of Bayyinah Institue made a video in Arabic, English and Urdu regarding the protests. As of this posting his English version has over 644,000 views on YouTube. His Urdu version has a little more than 10,000 views.
Here is the Urdu video:
Now imagine if instead of Obama and Clinton speaking they saw Nouman Ali Khan speaking Urdu talking about Islam and how the Prophet Muhammad was insulted and how Muslims should react? What would be the reaction of the Pakistani people? Not only is Nouman himself a Pakistani, he is widely recognized in the Pakistani American community and is popular amongst many of the English speaking youth of Pakistan.
In fact there are other Muslim scholars who have spoken out against the violence in various languages. Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda of Qalam Institute also did several videos. Here is the one in Urdu:
Halal Tube (a site that collects Islamic lectures) setup this special site for users where YouTube is banned to see the videos and others as well. Maybe sharing this using the connections the State Department has throughout Pakistan would help deter Pakistanis from acting violently.
Reaching out to the Muslim American community especially the orthodox practicing ones is probably the best way to mend the relationship between America and the Muslim world. Who would know them best then the ones who can relate to them the most.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
A Proud Muslim American Citizen
(The son of Percy)