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1.18.2006
  Iraqi Talk Radio Showing Great Promise
It is a recent afternoon in Baghdad, and a Sunni and a Shi'ite sheik are chatting in the modest Baghdad studio of Radio Dijla.

Moufaq Al-Alani, the program's 63-year-old host, waits patiently for a caller to express his views on terrorism before politely suggesting that parents and teachers teach young people to respect all Iraqis.

Qasem Al-Joubari, the Sunni sheik, says imams should emphasize that killing civilians is never acceptable for a Muslim. His Shi'ite counterpart, Mahdi El-Mohamedoui, says violence reflects poorly on both Islam and Iraq in the eyes of the world.

An engineer, turning and sliding dials on a bulky soundboard, furiously spins his right hand behind a glass partition to signal a commercial break, and a young staffer hurries into the studio with glasses of sweet black tea.

This is talk radio in Iraq.

I can only say I think this is great. It shows a willingness by Iraqis to talk things out rather than fight them out, and that is a hopeful sign not just for Iraq, but for the whole of the Arab world. A small step for man, a great leap for Muslim-kind.
 
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