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Author and Muslim banquet speaker: Juan C. Cole

Attendance at the recent fifth annual banquet of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York proved enlightening, not only for its obvious sharing of cultures but ideas.


University of Michigan history professor and featured speaker Juan C. Cole’s opinion on relations between the United States and the Muslim world under an Obama administration, far different than the just-ended Bush era, is that relations may improve -- welcome news to those aware of an earlier increasing disdain for Americans under George W. Bush’s administration or, perhaps, for the president and his policies?

Cole’s observations of an Obama administration and attitudes toward the Muslim world that he spoke about Saturday evening at the Adam’s Mark Hotel reminded me of a similar telephone interview with Broadway and screen star Mandy Patinkin.  The actor/activist shared his views with me on Obama, Israel and Palestine, offering his efforts to better understand the Palestinian point of view.


Cole, author of "Engaging the Muslim World," had some unflattering words for the media and its interpretation of events in Pakistan, in particular and of the Muslim world in general.  Criticism well taken.  Perhaps an increased understanding of Muslims could be sought by more Westerners? 

Dawn Marie Bracely/Editorial Writer


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