Cablegate: Muslim World Outreach - Pcc Request for Strategies

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

020426Z Aug 04




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Summary: Nigeria's large Muslim population is highly
critical of US foreign policy and harbors many misconceptions
and stereotypes about American society. Muslim media
re-inforce these negative opinions. Our current Muslim
outreach strategy is effective but needs vastly increased
public and private funding. End Summary

2. Context. Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in
Africa, including North Africa. In fact there are more
Muslims in Nigeria than any single Arab country. Islam is
deeply rooted in northern Nigeria among the ethnic
Hausa/Fulani and in the south-west Nigeria among the ethnic
Yoruba. All Muslim communities maintain mosques, koranic
schools (Islamiyya) and Sharia courts. Fora for
Muslim-Christian dialogue are active, but relations are tense
and often erupt in communal violence spearheaded by
unemployed Muslim youth. In foreign policy terms, most
Nigerian Muslims disagree with U.S. Middle East policy and
are against the war in Iraq. Their opinions about the U.S.
are mixed. They appreciate U.S. support for Nigerian
democracy and respect for US technology and institutions.
However, they criticize permissiveness in American society,
U.S. support for Israel, and what they perceive as lack of
American appreciation for Muslims and the Islamic faith.
Broadcast and print media in the north re-inforce these

3. Opportunities for Dialogue. There are numerous Muslim
religious and civil society groups open to dialogue: Islamic
studies departments at universities, the Arewa Forum in
Kaduna, northern Nigerian think tanks, women's groups, youth
organizations, the Muslim/Christian Dialogue organization in
Kaduna, the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in
Lagos, and Muslim secondary and koranic schools.
4. Effective Programs/Projects. The current outreach
strategy utilizes Mission outreach, State Department exchange
programs, USAID technical assistance, and DOD humanitarian
assistance programs. Effective projects include:

-- Mission-sponsored Iftars (dinners) to mark the end of
-- International Visitor Grants (34 grants that include 50%
Muslim participation);
-- Mission-published Hausa-language magazine "Magama" that
reaches 8,000 subscribers;
-- Conferences like the recent Sharia conference sponsored by
the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (US), the
Islamic Studies Department of Ahmadu Bello University (NG),
and the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue (UK) greatly
enhance Mission outreach and dialogue;
-- USAID's LEAP program to increase literacy and USAID
technical assistance projects in Muslim communities;
-- Peace Basketball Project for Muslim and Christian Youth in
Kaduna and Jos modeled after programs for youth gangs in NYC
(funded by USAID and Coca Cola);
-- Television Co-Productions with the National Television
Authority such as the one on Muslim life in America that
receives prime-time broadcast during all Muslim holidays;
-- Speeches to Muslim groups by US speakers and Mission staff;
-- English teaching grants to high schools in Kano and Kaduna
and special scholarships for needy students;
-- Hausa-language fellows to teach at US colleges (3 grants);
-- Supplies and construction of classrooms and clinics under
DOD humanitarian assistance program;
-- Youth exchange for high-school students from Kaduna and
Sokoto under the International Partnerships for Learning
initiative (IP4L).
-- Girls's Scholarship Program for junior secondary students
in 12 states, including 6 states in the north and 2 in the
-- Establishment of American Corners in Ibadan and Jos.
-- Educational Advising and college fairs on study in the US.
-- Native Deen, Muslim hip-hop group from US.
-- Workforce development programs funded by grants from
Citizen Exchanges office.
5. Recommendations for future outreach. The current
strategy is effective but needs to expand to more Muslim
communities and needs increased funding from public and
private sources in both the US and Nigeria. Mission's
recommendations are as follows:

-- Provide 100 International Visitor grants for Nigeria to
enable increased Muslim participation;
-- Fund academic exchanges in religion between US and
Nigerian institutions;
-- Step-up educational advising at Muslim high schools;
-- Fund grants for US Muslim organizations, such as CSID, to
work with Migerian Muslim NGOs;
-- Expand publication and distribution of "Magama" magazine;
-- Increase funding for television co-productions with the
Nigerian Television Authority and independent producers;
-- Establish American Corners in additional Muslim
-- Fund workshops for Muslim journalists;
-- Expand Nigerian participation in the IP4L initiative to
include educational reform and curriculum development;
-- Increase the number of Nigerian states (north and
south-west) and Nigerian high-school students in the YES
-- Sponsor a tour of Muslim universities by the Native Deen
musical group;
-- Re-establish Muslim/Christian Dialogue exchange project;
-- Expand Peace Basketball Project to additional Muslim
-- Expand Girls's Scholarship program;
-- Increase cooperation between US Mission and other
embassies (e.g., UK and Germany) on Muslim outreach.
-- Fund regional conferences for PD officers to discuss
programming and personnel needs related to expanded Muslim


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