- The Washington Times - Monday, December 10, 2001

A Caribbean Muslim
The ambassador of Guyana is saddened and angered by "biased reporting" that portrays Muslims as enemies of the West.
"Muslims have received bad media since September 11," Ambassador Odeen Ishmael said at Spelman College in Atlanta, where he delivered what he called a "Caribbean Muslim's perspective" on the events since the terrorist attacks on the United States.
"The acts of small anti-American groups have been given wide publicity, and all Muslims are branded with the same iron by those who believe the views and actions of these small groups are supported by all Muslims."
He denounced news reports that "insinuate" that Muslim religious leaders have failed to denounce the attacks.
"Such comments are totally untrue," he said, noting that Muslim leaders who condemned the attacks got little news coverage.
He complained about television reports of Palestinians dancing in the street in praise of Osama bin Laden and the media's failure to film Muslims donating blood for the victims of the attacks or going to mosques to pray for them.
"In times like these, good deeds by the majority rarely make good news for the media houses," he said.
"Such biased reporting to the American public acts to poison people's minds against all Muslims. Ignorance, itself, is a disease, and it becomes infectious if the affected persons do not receive regular doses of positive knowledge."
Mr. Ishmael, the most senior Caribbean ambassador in Washington, said, "I am a Muslim, and let me state categorically that people of the likes of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban do not speak for me or for the Muslims in my country."
He noted that hundreds of Muslims also died in the September 11 attacks.
"Those who commit those [terrorist] acts, claiming they have done so in the name of Islam, are usurping the name of the religion to cloak their sinful deeds," he said.
Mr. Ishmael added that "terrorism and the murder of people have no relationship with Islam."

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Foreign ministers Indulis Berzins of Latvia, Toomas Ilves of Estonia and Antanas Valionis of Lithuania attend a meeting of the U.S.-Baltic Partnership Commission.
A Vietnamese delegation that includes Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Trade Minister Vu Khoan, Planning and Investment Minister Tran Xuan Gia and Construction Minister Nguyen Manh Kiem.
Michele Griffin of the U.N. Office of the Undersecretary General for Political Affairs speaks at a seminar on the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Sergei Karaganov, chairman of Russia's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and Vyacheslav Nikonov, former member of the Russian parliament, speak at an Aspen Institute forum on U.S.-Russian relations.

Israeli Tourism Minister Benyamin Elon meets administration and political leaders to discuss the latest events in the Middle East.
A Taiwanese delegation that includes: Chiou I-Jen, secretary-general of the legislature; Tsai Ing-Wen, chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council; Eugene Chien, deputy secretary-general in the Office of the President; and Wu An-Chia, a member of the Coordination Council for North American Affairs, holds a 10 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club.

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra meets Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. On Friday he meets President Bush, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill.
Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz meets National Secretary Advisor Condoleezza Rice. He speaks Friday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on Dec. 17. Before he leaves Warsaw, Mr. Cimoszewicz will hold a video news conference for reporters at the Foreign Press Center in the National Press Club at 11:30 a.m.

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