Read more: Engaging with Muslim communities
Programming Note: Christiane Amanpour reveals the struggle for hearts and minds of the next generation of Muslims. Generation Islam, tonight 9 ET on CNN.
Folk singer Arlo Guthrie, famous for his appearances at Woodstock and the movie “Alice's Restaurant,” is still at it. He’s about to launch a 50-city tour with a band that includes his own children.
At 62, Guthrie remains married to Jackie, his wife of 40 years. He lives on the 250-acre wooded spread in the Berkshires he purchased in 1969. And he continues to promote the ideals of the 60s generation – even as a registered Republican.
Guthrie is matter-of-fact about his political affiliation. "I've always been more comfortable being a loyal opposition than a 'Rah rah, let's go get 'em, we're in power now!' kind of guy,” he says.
Although he has some reservations about Sarah Palin, he admires her anti-elitist spunk. "I'm not suggesting that she would make a great VP or president, by the way, but what I am suggesting is that when we begin to limit who we think is in a position to do these things, we form ourselves naturally into the old sort of inherited positions, the ones that gave rise to the Kings and Queens of the world,” he says. “It disturbs me.”
Guthrie calls Woodstock a "single, unifying icon" – that's come to symbolize bigger, more important movements of the times, like the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. Guthrie is, perhaps, better known for his anti-war anthem and film "Alice's Restaurant," than he is for Woodstock.
The “restaurant” of the famed movie is really a deconsecrated church. Guthrie bought it, and has turned into a spiritual community center. That said, Guthrie is still a child of the sixties – still vehemently anti-war and anti-establishment. They are beliefs born at Woodstock that have not changed with time.
“It revived your faith in human beings,” Guthrie explains. “It made you feel like you could trust your buddy, even though they were telling you that you couldn't.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Engaging with Muslim Communities
Eboo Patel's comments/recommendations
February 26, 2009
Increased communication and new technology has led to new forms of identity engagement amongst youth, which are less reliant on traditional nation-state boundaries and more likely to be influenced by transnational factors.
There is a youth bulge in Muslim countries. In Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip, the median age is about 17 years; in Iraq and Pakistan it is barely 20, and in Syria and Saudi Arabia the median is about 21.5 years. This trend extends all over the Middle East and North Africa – the median age is under 27 in Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.
These youth are faced with changing socio-economic factors that create insecurity. There is a clear lack of job opportunities and services to meet the needs of these youth. The unemployment rates in Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip have been estimated at close to 40%, and in Jordan and Iraq this number is around 30%.2 Without gainful employment and the potential for traditional social roles or upward social mobility, these young people are becoming frustrated and lost.
As of 2003, there were 15 million Muslims in the European Union (three times more than in the United States at the time). Moreover, in 2003 the Muslim birth rate in Europe was triple that of the non-Muslim birth rate. By 2015, the Muslim population in Europe will have doubled, while the non-Muslim population will have declined by 3.5%. Many of these European young Muslims face issues such as discrimination, economic deprivation, underemployment, and residence in ghettoized communities. Among native-born Muslims in Europe, there is often a feeling that they do not have a stake in larger society, and must choose between their religion and citizenship. On a recent trip to Europe, Patel's team observed a widespread sense of frustration amongst Muslim youth at their inability to freely express their religious identity, a feeling of isolation, and a willingness to identify oneself in opposition to the larger society.
Osama bin Laden is a brilliant youth organizer. Like entrepreneurs, they realized the potential of this massive market of young Muslims for the "product" of totalitarian Islam. The result of this recruitment was an international network of Muslim youths schooled in the ideology of totalitarian Islam, taught to hate the "imperialist infidel", and trained to kill – and that is who became Al Qaeda.
Here are the big stories on the agenda today:
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