Cuddling the most loud, arrogant, abusive and self-involved of the leaders in the Muslim world, Hugo Chavez was projecting his own vision of his own despotic ambitions. Being anti-democratic and against free society is not Islamic. Flirting with anti-semitism has little to do with real affection for Palestinians and certainly not Muslims.
If Chavez’s best friends in the Muslim world are Gaddafi, Ahmadinejad and Assad, then it is more an embrace of despotism. The true commitment of these “Muslim leaders” to their people was evidenced as soon as it became a choice between their citizens and their regimes hold onto absolute power. No doubt Chavez has the same tendency.
Muslims do have friends. Most of them though see Muslims not in terms of identity politics and opportunism, but as people who are like them, deserve the same rights, respect and opportunities for free and democratic societies. They can see Muslims as victims deserving help even when attacked by those proclaiming to be doing it in the name of Christianity.
Ambassador Diego Arria is a devout Catholic, but he was one of first and truest friends that Bosnia & Herzegovina has. When Assad’s and Gaddafi’s regimes colluded with Slobodan Milosevic, Ambassador Arria spoke out as no other at the UN and within the private consultation chambers of the UN Security Council. Diego confronted Russia, but also France and the United Kingdom for complicity/acquiescence in the genocide directed at Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks). He called out Washington for not doing enough and called upon Islamic majority states as well as democracies to do more. (See Blog for Film – “’Arria Formula’ Syria & Bosnia”). Gaddafi in the end felt most comfortable surrounded by his small army of Serbian mercenaries in his compound.
Diego and I became friends as well as diplomatic allies. However, I understood that the alliance was not based upon my Islamic name but on who was right and who was culpable. Our friendship was not because we shared the same church, mosque, temple or atheist beliefs, but rather upon an ideology of respect for fellow man, freedom and the fundamental Commandments of God, man and what service should be all about to fellow man.
When you see Hugo Chavez, do not underestimate the capacity, history or future of the Muslim World by whom he embraces. It is an insult to Muslims and a deceit.It probably also undersells the opportunities that await Venezuela and its relationship with the Muslim World.
Also see our Film for Blog: “Interview with Ambassador Diego Arria”
See more at our Popular Video Blogs & Current News Event Articles – re Venezuela & Ambassador Diego Arria