Only a few years later, President Kennedy, sensing that Washington would likely feel no different than the colonized places these diplomats came from, asked State Department officials to notify specific whites-only establishments of their new neighbors in order to not only avoid further public embarrassment, but also create a hospitable environment for diplomats from countries that the U.
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In , King Faisal II of Iraq, then only 17 years old, paid a visit and was greeted by emissaries of eleven other Muslim nations. I pray that I may be granted to serve the cause of Islamic cooperation and, through serving it, serve peace in the world. The various cosmopolitan affectations that these Muslim diplomats had learned at elite institutions in their home countries and abroad made them appear acceptable in the eyes of white Americans in Jim Crow-era Washington. Joseph Howar and Ambassador Pasha were key players in both the diplomatic and social life of Embassy Row in mid-century Washington.
If the embassy was where diplomacy was discussed, then the home was where trust and friendship between diplomats congealed. Howar played an important mediating role between the State Department and the Muslim world by hosting the ambassadors of Lebanon , , , Iran , Jordan , Syria , and Saudi Arabia , at his home a few miles north of the Islamic Center. President Nasser of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan separately awarded Howar national honors for his efforts to organize social gatherings and cultivate trust between dignitaries and policymakers in the United States and Muslim-majority world.
While official rhetoric surrounding the Islamic Center of Washington contained overtures of international goodwill and understanding, the State Department used the mosque as part of its early Cold War propaganda campaigns abroad. Placing this envoy-in-stone alongside the Cold War politics of the postcolonial period underscores the tensions between the liberal rhetoric and geopolitical motives behind this meeting between East and West. The American government produced short films documenting each presidential visit. The pageantry shown in the videos, demonstrate the significance of the Islamic Center as a diplomatic pit stop highlighting American commitment to religious pluralism and accommodation of Muslims.
Shah Pahlavi of Iran visited Washington just a year after his reinstatement in with the help of American-led coup. In a sense, it must have felt like a homecoming: Pahlavi waved away a limousine outside the Iranian Embassy and walked down Massachusetts Avenue straight to the Washington mosque, five blocks away. While it may seem like an ordinary stop for the Shah, the casual walk from the embassy to the Center allowed the unpopular Iranian leader to feel a sense of normalcy that he would have not have been allowed in his home country. The construction of the Islamic Center of Washington occurred alongside the development of early Cold War propaganda and the mosque itself was used as part of the machinery to win the hearts and minds of the postcolonial world.
As the United States began to replace Britain as the new power in the Middle East, the National Security Council divided the region into three major categories to prevent Soviet expansion: 1 countries whose neutrality in the Cold War was of little material significance Israel , 2 countries whose leaders were committed to pro-Western policies but where there was substantial public opposition Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iran , and 3 governments that professed a desire to follow a neutral foreign policy, yet actively hindered Anglo-American policy Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
The American position among these decolonizing nations took up a language of self-determination abroad alongside a determination to simultaneously increase American power in the postcolonial world.
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While the American agenda may seem contradictory and conflicting, the rhetoric of gifting both freedom and demanding subservience was a well-rehearsed feature belonging to the theater of imperial rule. The propaganda efforts employing the Islamic Center of Washington included posters, a film script, and a mosque-drawing contest. A private letter written by the first U.
Huntington Damon discussed in a private meeting the utility of religion and the Islamic Center of Washington in U.
Damon also offered to hold a competition among Washington schoolchildren to paint the Islamic Center and send the images to embassies and schools abroad. Our God is one. Once again, the Islamic Center had become a stage for international diplomacy—this time featuring two foreign diplomats with Western-flair and one with a Napoleonic figure intervening in domestic affairs. After hours of negotiations, the hostages were released and the twelve men were all tried and found guilty.
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International developments in the late s and s ultimately rendered the liberal rhetoric and cosmopolitan sentiment surrounding the Islamic Center of Washington impossible. American-backed anti-communist leaders ruled with iron fists in much of the Middle East and South Asia. As both anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States and anti-American sentiment in the Middle East deepened after the failure of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the Arab oil embargo in and, most specifically, the success of the Iranian revolution of , the Islamic Center began to reflect some of these global developments at home in Washington.
As dissent mounted against the reinstalled monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the s, whose friendship was symbolized through his donation of eleven Persian rugs bearing his own name to the Islamic Center, the mosque became a site of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in support and rejection of the Iranian Revolution. Embassy in Tehran, the protests had reached the doorstep of the Islamic Center.
President Jimmy Carter attempted to subdue the rising tension by banning virtually all Iran-related public demonstrations in Washington, fearing that the high anti-Iranian sentiment, exemplified by the pelting of eggs and jeering epithets against Iranian-Americans by counter-protesters, could trigger retaliation against the American hostages in Tehran.
By , dissent in Washington surrounding the Iranian Revolution had brought about radical demands on the leadership of the Islamic Center. Until the revolution, the administration of the Islamic Center had essentially been a function of the diplomatic American-backed Muslim elite in Washington. Now, a local middle and working-class immigrant congregation had emerged with a political consciousness influenced by discontent festering in the lands they came from.
The Islamic Center had become deeply divided by a series of controversies that reflected the ferment of the revolution. The protesters eventually barred mosque director Muhammad Abdul Rauf from giving sermons at the pulpit for a few weeks. Muhammad Asi, a Lebanese-American imam, was then elected by the dissidents in an election to determine the new imam in November Subsequently, the dissidents claimed, the Embassy of Saudi Arabia began interfering in the internal affairs of the Islamic Center.
Law enforcement officials closed the mosque to the public, claiming suspicion that arms were being kept in the mosque. The Islamic Center remained closed for over three months. The fence and the outdoor Friday prayers of the dissidents remain at the site to this day. The political and religious ideologies of the dissidents were largely undefined. The board of diplomats and ambassadors had declined to grant this request.
Flashback Friday: When Shah Rukh Khan & Shahid Kapoor bullied Sushant Singh Rajput
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Once you are 18 we promise to show you this content but not till then! Connect with. Thus, began the story of Udham Singh Udham Singh, born on 26th December , was orphaned at the age of 5 and was brought up in the Khalsa Orphanage in Amritsar. Source: sikhsangatofva He escaped, but there were deep emotional scars left in his heart that could only heal from revenge.
Source: apnaorg He dedicated his life to the people of our country and soon after, travelled to the USA where he joined the Ghadar Party in search of more comrades. He was gathering Indians overseas to fight the colonial rule back home. He obliged and came back with 25 men and some firearms.
Source: movienewz But he was arrested for carrying unlicensed firearms and convicted for 5 years. Source: eji. On his death bed, he had said: "So many people who knew the condition of Amritsar say I did right. But so many others say I did wrong.
I only want to die and know from my Maker whether I did right or wrong. Udham Singh sneaked in a revolver in his jacket pocket and shot O'Dwyer twice. He did not try to flee or resist arrest. Source: zindagiplus In fact, he went with them with a smile on his face. Finally at peace! Source: flickr While awaiting a trial in Brixton Prison, he went on hunger strike for 42 days as well. On 31st July, , Singh was hanged at Pentonville Prison and buried there. Source: sikhsangat In , Jawaharlal Nehru who had condemned Singh's actions reversed his statement and said: "I salute Shaheed-i-Azam Udham Singh with reverence who had kissed the noose so that we may be free.
The son of the soil was cremated in his birthplace of Sunam, Punjab. His ashes reunited with that of fellow martyrs Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev as their too were scattered in the Sutlej River. Source: indianexpress His legacy has somewhat been forgotten.