Seton Hall Experts: U.S. Needs Coherent Policy to Address Violence in Muslim World
Saturday, September 22, 2012 • 9:22am
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- The key to quelling recent violence in the Middle East is for the U.S. to adopt a long-term strategy regarding the “Muslim world,” according to diplomacy experts at Seton Hall University.
Any policy must take into account a number of variables, according to professor Raymond M. Brown. “These variables include oil, democracy, human rights and the use of armed force by state and non-state actors,” he said.
After the release of the anti-Islam film trailer titled “Innocence of Muslims” by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, outrage led to violent protests at dozens of U.S. embassies. The violence spreading from Egypt to Libya caused the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other officials in Benghazi, Libya.
Brown suggested that the U.S. response toward the Middle East and outside Muslim countries must first be initiated with a coherent policy. This policy might include public diplomacy in which the U.S. can promote a respect for and protection of all religions.
He noted that Libya as a government today is in a fragile state where it cannot resolve violence within its borders.
“Libya has to consolidate as a regime through democratic means,” Brown said. “This includes disarming militias, establishing rule of law and creating a viable state where economic benefit and opportunities are shared equally.”
As Egypt demands prosecution against the creators of the film, the question arises of who should be held accountable. Professor Wanda Akin Brown, an instructor at the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and an associate of Brown, noted that free speech should be allowed in the “public space” as long as it does not pose any threat.
“The U.S. should ‘prosecute’ the person (filmmaker) in the court of public opinion,” Akin Brown said. She added that although the video is offensive, the filmmaker did not violate any international criminal law.
Brown and Brown are adjunct faculty at the Seton Hall Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations. They teach courses on human rights law and policy as well as international criminal law. As international lawyers at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, they represent victims of the Darfur genocide in Sudan.
The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.