Undersecretary of State Karen P. Hughes 's first foray to make friends in Muslim countries started this week with a stop to see Mohammad Sayed Tantawi , a Sunni spiritual leader of the al-Azhar University, who Hughes reportedly hailed as a respected moderate voice.
"I had a wonderful meeting with him," she told reporters in Egypt. "I thanked him because Al-Azhar under his leadership was among the first . . . religious institutions in the world to condemn the September 11 attacks." Tantawi also has said normalization of ties with Israel was theologically acceptable.
In interviews in August on U.S.-funded Alhurra television and on a Lebanese TV station, Tantawi also condemned suicide attacks, such as "when someone blows himself up in a market, a bus, a car with children, women, and peaceful people, who don't participate in wars."
But suicide bombers against U.S. troops? That appears to be a different matter. "I say that a person who blows himself up among an enemy who came to kill me," Tantawi explained, "and I have no way of defending myself except for blowing myself up amongst this enemy who came to kill me and my countrymen, or to attack what is sacred -- in such a case, whoever blows himself up is a martyr."
Increasingly it seems that the administration defines "moderate" as "willing to have their picture taken with Karen Hughes"
It might be a little expensive, but I'm guessing they can probably get that nice Mr. Chalabi on board here.