This Week: Should Americans Be Afraid Of Muslims?

(h/t David at VideoCafe) Christiane Armanpour should be applauded for providing a much-needed public service this week: A public airing of the many misconceptions and outright lies about Islam, and the opportunity for Muslims to make a spirited

4 years ago by David
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(h/t David at VideoCafe)

Christiane Armanpour should be applauded for providing a much-needed public service this week: A public airing of the many misconceptions and outright lies about Islam, and the opportunity for Muslims to make a spirited defense.

Participants include 9/11 families from both sides of the fence, moderate and radical Muslims and fundamentalist Christian Franklin Graham.

For once, I'm not going to excerpt the transcript because I really do want people to read the whole thing -- and hear the many, many points raised by the participants.

This show will enlighten just about anyone who reads or sees it, and I can only hope the most ill-informed people who really need this information will be open to it.

Transcript follows:

AMANPOUR: So we're going to start now by talking to Peter Gadiel, whose son was killed on 9/11 in the World Trade Center. Let me ask you, Peter, should Americans fear Islam?

PETER GADIEL, SON KILLED ON 9/11: Well, I'd like nothing better than to say that I was not afraid of Islam. I'd like nothing better than to say to my Muslim friends and fellow citizens, welcome to America, I'm glad you're here, make yourself at home. But the fact is that we have too many history of -- of Muslim terror attacks and many of them so-called homegrown, second generation. And I think to ignore that threat is to ignore the -- the history of Islam.

AMANPOUR: Donna Marsh O'Connor, you also lost a daughter--

DONNA MARSH O'CONNOR, DAUGHTER KILLED ON 9/11: Yes.

AMANPOUR: You lost your unborn grand--

O'CONNOR: Yes.

AMANPOUR: Grandchild.

O'CONNOR: Yes.

AMANPOUR: Do you think you, America, should be afraid of Islam?

O'CONNOR: I think Americans should fear criminal behavior. I think we should do the best we can to control criminal behavior. But I can't raise my two remaining sons to fear the people who live next door to them. That is not what my grandparents came to America to escape you know, we are a group of 9/11 family members. I know a lot of family members are here. We share that pain and, you know, I think the unfortunate piece of this is that we don't agree on this.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, Reverend Graham, you have said -- and you said not so long ago -- that President Bush and President Obama made a great mistake when they said that Islam is a peaceful religion. It's not, you said. There's no evidence in its history. It's a religion of hatred. It's a religion of war. And repeatedly you've said that Islam is wicked and evil. Why do you say that?

REV. FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PRESIDENT, SAMARITAN'S PURSE/THE BILLY GRAHAM EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION: First, Christiane, I understand what the Muslims want to do in America. They want to build as many mosques and cultural centers as they possibly can so they can convert as many Americans as they can to Islam. I understand that. And--

AMANPOUR: That's what you -- that's your position?

GRAHAM: Sure. And I understand -- I understand what they're doing. And I just don't have the -- the freedom to do this in most Muslim countries. We can't have a church. We're not able to build synagogues. It's -- it's forbidden. But let me just say something about Islam. I -- I love the Muslim people. But I have great difficulty with the -- with the religion, especially with Sharia law and what it does for women -- toward women, toward non-believers, the violence that is given in -- under Sharia law.

AMANPOUR: Imam Osama Bahloul of Tennessee was listening intently.

AMANPOUR: Is it allowed under Sharia law?

IMAM OSAMA BAHLOUL: please let me say this. I am so sorry about anyone who lost any -- any member of -- in September the 11th. We denounce this and we feel so bad. And we share sadness with everyone who went through such an experience. For someone to say we are not allowed to build a church in a Muslim country, this is absolutely not right. You can Google this.

(CROSSTALK)

BAHLOUL: You can go to church in Egypt, a church in Syria. Now all this, the church -- we have it in the Middle East. This is something for you to say that Islam is is an Muslim thought, to beat a woman, this is absolutely not right.

AMANPOUR: let me ask you Robert Spencer, should America fear Islam and why?

ROBERT SPENCER, JIHAD WATCH: Well, Islamic jihadis point frequently -- they actually consistently explain and justify their actions and try to make recruits among peaceful Muslims by pointing to texts of the Koran, the actions of Muhammad and the teachings of Islamic law. And so this is something that moderate and peaceful Muslims have to confront. But instead, they always just displace responsibility and blame the people who are calling attention to these things. And in -- and then, of course, you have even peaceful Muslims like the Imam Rauf, advocating for Sharia, which does deny equality of rights to women. It does deny the freedom of speech, even cultural restrictions on the freedom of speech in his book, "What's Right with Islam." And, you know, you talk about that Islam doesn't allow for wife beating. Well, it's in the Koran---- to beat your wife. And also, there's a television show in Saudi Arabia where they discuss the right implements to beat your wife with.

AMANPOUR: I want to talk to Daisy Khan, who -- obviously, you've just mentioned her husband, Imam Rauf. What do you answer to what Robert Spencer has just said?

DAISY KHAN, AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MUSLIM ADVANCEMENT: Well, let me assure all Americans that the vast majority of Muslims around the world and in the United States -- are living a peaceful life. We are law-abiding citizens. We have people in the armed forces. My own niece, who's in her early 20s, went to Iraq for two years and just came back from there -- young, Arab-American, born in this country, served the nation to keep it secure. We have 1,000 police officers just in the New York Police Department keeping the city secure.

AMANPOUR: I want to turn to Azar Nafisi and ask you, you fled the ayatollahs of Iran. You are an intellectual. You're a writer. Should people fear Islam?

AZAR NAFISI, AUTHOR: I came here to America because I expected that that image which those people had imposed on us would not be imposed on us again. And look at my surprise. From both sides of the aisle, what you hear is that there is one Islam. If we think there is only one Islam, then we have to take sides. Either it's evil or it's good. But there are as many interpretations of Islam as there are Muslims.

AMANPOUR: I would like to go to Reza Aslan, who is joining us from Amsterdam, and who is a scholar on these matters. Reza, you have heard just right now several points raised. One is that Muslims in this country are trying to bring Sharia law. Is there a shred of evidence for that?

REZA ASLAN, WRITER, "THE DAILY BEAST"/author: No, not a single shred whatsoever. I think somebody needs to remind Franklin Graham that we don't judge our values in the United States by comparing them to what the Saudis do. This is a common refrain that you hear from a lot of anti-Muslim activists in the United States, including Robert Spencer, that, well, if, in Saudi Arabia, you can't have a church, then, therefore, in the United States, you shouldn't be allowed to have mosques. This is an appalling and laughable argument.

GRAHAM: You know we can have an argument -- but I'm not here to argue. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life and that no man comes to the father in heaven except through him. I don't believe in Islam. I don't believe a word of it. I do respect their right to -- to believe whatever they want to believe. My opinions are not based on hearsay. My opinions are based on 50 years of working in Middle Eastern countries. I'm 58. I was -- eight years old when I made my first trip to Egypt. And I've been to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia. I've worked in these countries. But I disagree, Christiane, with -- with the Sharia law, because they do stone women. They do imprison -- I -- I've worked in the Sudan, where they've burned over a thousand churches -- a thousand.

ASLAN: Who is they? I mean Azar Nafisi said something very important. There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. It is unquestionably the most diverse, the most eclectic religion in the history of the world. This concept of just using this word "they" to describe one-and-a-half billion people is actually the definition of bigotry.

AMANPOUR: Well, let -- let me -- let me just ask you something.

(APPLAUSE)

NAFISI: Who is a Christian, Reverend Graham? Who is a Christian? The Inquisition claimed to be Christians. The gay Episcopalian bishop is a Christian. The Methodists are Christians. The Baptists are Christians. Sarah Palin and Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are all Christians. Who is to say which one is more Christian than the other?

GRAHAM: Right.

NAFISI: And that is the point about Islam. I am not defending it. I lost my -- my cousins were executed, who were Muslims. They were executed by this regime. My best students were executed by this regime. I was deprived of my identity as a woman. They might -- some might be evil, but we're not all good. That is the point

GRAHAM: When we talk about -- there are millions of Muslims in this world that are wonderful people, who don't beat their wives, who don't practice honor killings--

AMANPOUR: Why do you call it a wicked religion, an evil religion?

GRAHAM: I think to -- to take your daughter, because you think that -- and the religion gives you the authority -- Sharia gives you the authority for honor killing. And we saw the young girl in Ohio just a few--

IMAM: It does not.

AMANPOUR: But does it?

IMAM: It does not.

GRAHAM: It does.

IMAM: It does not.

GRAHAM: It does.

IMAM: No it does not.

(CROSSTALK)

IMAM: -- justify those honor killings.

(CROSSTALK)

GADIEL: -- justify it. You can't deny that--

GRAHAM: It's true.

(CROSSTALK)

GRAHAM: But that's true.

GRAHAM: The young lady in -- in Ohio.

AMANPOUR: -- you will admit that it's used to justify it?

IMAM: Hold on. He said someone can kill his daughter because, under the religion support him. Justify this from the Koran. Go ahead.

GADIEL: Your people justify it from the Koran.

(CROSSTALK)

IMAM: He said that.

(CROSSTALK)

GADIEL: -- for me to justify it--

IMAM: My point is--: -- under the name of the Koran.

BAHLOUL: please sir, we have some people, Christians, Muslims, Jewish and other, who misuse the holy books. It's understandable. I -- I do not deny this. But I'm saying something the extreme majority of the Muslims, they have a proper understanding about this religion and they -- and referring to your point, I agree with you. And am not expecting for everyone to become Muslim, as well.

AMANPOUR: But let me ask Daisy, this is something that everybody talks about. We've had questions -- masses of questions through our Facebook, through many, many people who have tried to contribute to this program. Basically where are the voice of the moderates speaking up?

KHAN: Well, the moderates are speaking out. I happen to be one of them. I was devastated by the event of 9/11 and I had to quit my corporate career -- a lucrative corporate career to ensure that we would create a counter-momentum against extremism so that another 9/11 does not ever happen again.

AMANPOUR: -- what do you want to do with the Islamic center, which so many people have--

KHAN: Well, exactly--

AMANPOUR: -- caused so much controversy?

KHAN: Well, this -- this particular center will create a counter-momentum against extremism, because it will amplify the voices of moderate Muslims, which have gotten drowned out over the years by the extremists, because the extremists did not only hijack the planes, they hijacked an entire religion.

AMANPOUR: Let me just say stop you there for a second, because this side is obviously the side that says one shouldn't fear and that there are moderates and the whole religion should not be painted with the same brush. I want to, though, now go to Anjem Choudary in London. You have said that you think there should be Islamic domination. Why shouldn't people be afraid of that?

CHOUDARY: Well -- well, let me just say that Islam has a solution for all of the problems that mankind faces. If you want to live at peace with Muslims, we are quite willing to live at peace with you. But let us remember that history did not begin on 9/11. Before 9/11, the Americans -- the American government bombed Sudan and Afghanistan. They were supporting the pirate state of Israel. So 9/11 was a reaction. You know, I think that we need to get away from the stereotyping. And this idea that you have moderate Muslims and you have radical Muslims, you know, it's complete nonsense. A Muslim is the one who submits to the command of the creator. If he submits, he is a practicing Muslim. If he is not, then he should be practicing.

DAISY KHAN: I have to disagree with him, because Islam is a religion of pluralism that embraces all religions and it also embraces different interpretations. This is why we have so many schools of thought. What Anjem is talking about is an exclusivist view of Islam, which is my way or the highway. And my interpretation is the only interpretation--

CHOUDARY: It's very easy for people to justify the fact that they're not practicing. I mean, this lady in your studio, she should be covering with the hijab. She's obviously not practicing --

(CROSSTALK)

CHOUDARY: There are many people who are justifying -- there are many people who are justifying the inability to practice the Sharia, to say, "Well, I have a different form of religion." You know, people want to claim that they're vegetarians and they're eating big beef burgers. You can not be a non-practicing vegetarian. Therefore, similarly, if you're a Muslim, you submit to the Sharia.

FRANKLIN GRAHAM: He's telling the truth.

AMANPOUR: You see, Reverend Graham says you're telling the truth. So, do you agree with Reverend Graham and our panelists on this side that Americans should fear Islam?

CHOUDARY: we do believe, as Muslims, the East and the West will one day be governed by the Sharia. Indeed, we believe that one day, the flag of Islam will fly over the White House. Indeed, there's even an oration of the Prophet where he said, "The day of judgment will not come until a group of my oma... -- "

DONNA MARSH O'CONNOR: Can I just -- ?

CHOUDARY: "Conquer the White House."

O'CONNOR: Can I just -- ?

AMANPOUR: OK.

O'CONNOR: Can I just make one comment here?

AMANPOUR: Donna?

O'CONNOR: Because, look. I'm not an expert in religion. But I do know that, in some fundamental sense, I just heard Reverend Graham make the same statement about Christianity.

(APPLAUSE)

O'CONNOR: I mean -- You know, look. I'm sure -- I'm sure you can fill up every one of these TV screens with extremist people from all over. We have laws in America. I think we ought not to get into who's religion has created more horror on earth --Suffice it to say that many political ends have been met by many religions, and vice versa. And look, you know -- I really -- I'm Looking around, I see nothing in this room but war, and it -- you know, it's painful to me.

AMANPOUR: Do you, Reverend --

O'CONNOR: It's painful.

AMANPOUR: Do you, Reverend Graham, think that this Islamic radical who we just heard from is agreeing with you?

GRAHAM: Not agreeing with me. But his position -- what I was talking about Sharia law, what scares me. And he is speaking that Sharia law means to govern the entire world, and that is the -- that is the goal of the Islamists.

AMANPOUR: I just want to go to Reza Aslan, who's busy shaking his head from Amsterdam.

REZA ASLAN: No, I was just enjoying the conversation. And I think that Anjem and Franklin Graham ought to go grab a cup of coffee --

(LAUGHTER)

ASLAN: Because they see the world in exactly the same way. There is no such thing as one Christianity, no matter what Franklin Graham thinks. There is no such thing as one interpretation of Islam, no matter Anjem thinks. The key here, though, is we're talking about the United States of America. We're talking about the six to eight million Muslims in the United States who are thoroughly integrated into every level of American society. A community that is wealthy, that is moderate, that has thoroughly absorbed American values and made it their own, and feels completely comfortable reconciling their Islamic values with American values. To constantly compare American Muslims to Saudis or Iranians is just -- it's a ridiculous comparison.

GRAHAM: Alright, Pew Research researched the young males coming out of mosques in America, and they went across the United States, between 18 and 33, that one out of four agreed with suicide bombings. Now, this is Pew Research. It's not my -- these are not my numbers. You can check it for yourself. This is a frightening statistic. And I believe the mosques in America -- the majority of the mosques in this country have been hijacked by the radicals and Islamists who want to destroy this country.

AMANPOUR: Agreeing with Franklin Graham is Ayaan Hirsi Ali who joined us by satellite. She was raised a Muslim in Somalia but fled her country and renounced her religion--she has since received death threats for condemning radical Islams

AYAAN HIRSI: Islam is partly a political ideology. And a brilliant example of that is someone like Anjem Choudary, who just joined us. And I think that it is very important that not only Americans, but westerners in general and Muslims, moderate Muslims, the ones who identify themselves as moderate Muslims, take the threat of the agents of political Islam very, very seriously. And every day, they win hearts and minds. They establish Muslim centers. Their movement was very little, but it is growing rapidly, and it's very, very dangerous.

AMANPOUR: what I want to ask you is Brad, there are obviously real fears, which is why this is such a heated debate. What are the real concerns in terms of security that exist right now?

BRAD GARRETT: from Director Mueller to Attorney General Holder, they're going to tell you that the biggest problem in this country right now, as far as terrorism is concerned, is home-grown terrorism. In other words, people that are converting in this country to do bad things to us. And so, as a result, the key is, how many of those people are out there? Nobody really knows the answer to that. But if we look at this historically since 9/11, the numbers don't support. You're talking about the US Department of Justice has prosecuted a little over 400 people for terrorism or terrorism-related crimes. If you break that down into violence, it's like 130 some odd numbers. So, compared to other crime, compared to other issues in this country, it is -- it doesn't sort of match up in that regard.

AMANPOUR: And yet, there's been the attempt here at Times Square, Feisal Shahzad. There's been the Fort Hood. There have been all these issues, which have caused a lot of fear to a lot of people.

GARRETT: I'm not suggesting that it's not a problem, but I think we do need to keep it in perspective.

AMANPOUR But is it a question now of, basically, tarring or conflating, confusing everyone, 1.57 billion Muslims around the world, with that minority group who would do harm and who would cause violence?

GADIEL: I do not say that Islam is evil. I say there is a lot of evil connected with it. That is a problem for Muslims themselves. They have to cure the problem. We're supposed to believe Ms. Khan here, that she can cure the problems of Islam at the fringes. The problem goes to the core, and that is the countries -- you cannot ignore Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the other countries that, undoubtedly do oppress people of a different religion --

AMANPOUR: But we're talking about -- we're talking about America here.

GADIEL: We're talking about right now a very small number of people in this country. And what we are afraid of, is that as the number grows, the violence will grow, as we have seen in Holland, and as we see in Germany, and as we see in England. Do we have a reason to be afraid of Muslims right now? No, the number's not very great. But your mosques, moderate, wherever they are, have been infiltrated and have a history of being infiltrated by radicals. And you can't deny it. And you may, for all I know, not be a moderate you pretend to be, because you may be engaging in takia and be engaging in lying for the purpose of furthering your religion.

(LAUGHTER)

GADIEL: Why should I believe you?

KHAN: I'm shocked at the inference that I am not -- my intention is not good. Have you looked in my heart? Have you --

GADIEL: No. No, I don't. You're right. You're right.

KHAN: Have you cut my chest and looked in my heart to see what my intention is? I think it's wrong for you to say that somebody's engaged in takia. You don't even know what the word takia is.

GADIEL: It means lying for the purpose of furthering your religion.

KHAN: Why would I do that?

GADEIL: Lying to people who are non-believers. .

KHAN: Why would I do that?

GADIEL: Why? Be it said -- are you not instructed to do that?

KHAN: No! Absolutely not!

(CROSS TALK)

KHAN: What I do want to say --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we're talking about Sharia --

O'CONNOR: There is an important point here --

AMANPOUR: Hold on a second. Hold on one second.

STEVENS: oppressive Ideology, it has nothing to do with terrorism necessarily --

O'CONNOR: The question was, where are the moderate Muslims?

AMANPOUR: Hold on one --

O'CONNOR: I'm sorry. Where are the moderate Muslims?

(CROSSTALK)

STEVENS: And the imam -- and he calls for restricting the freedoms? How is that moderate?

O'CONNOR: And you have a moderate Muslim person on this stage being ganged up on by, you know -- I'm sorry --

(APPLAUSE)

DONNA: ....this is, this is precisely America's issue.

(CROSS TALK)

AMANPOUR: the question is though ---Do you think Daisy Khan is al-Qaeda?

(LAUGHTER)

GADIEL: No, I didn't say that. Nobody said that.

(CROSSTALK)

GADIEL: I didn't say that. I never said such a thing. You're distorting what I said.

AMANPOUR: I'm asking you because you are attributing to her -- I'm just asking you

GADIEL: I said I did not know and I cannot know. I cannot know what is in her heart. She's correct. But on the other hand, I do know that there is a great deal of dissembling, disinformation, in order to promote the religion.

KHAN: First of all, I think that if we have to create a counter against extremism, it's Muslims who have to lead that. And it has to be Muslims like myself and people in the audience and around the country. But with the assistance of people of other faiths and other persuasions. And we have to -- we have to run an interference. I'll give an example of this. Terry Jones was about to burn the Koran. And who ran the interference? It was the evangelical community against their own, because they said, "You do not represent Christianity. And you are not going to sit and go this place and tell them they can't establish a mosque. And you're not going to sit and talk to this imam because we said so." This is what we Muslims want to do, but you have tied our hands. You don't allow us to do this because you brand somebody like me as an extremist, and throw me into the arms of al-Qaeda.

(CROSSTALK)

GADIEL: Is the head of the American Muslim Council a moderate?

KHAN: Please, stop doing -- please.

AMANPOUR: Hold on. Hold on.

HIRSI: You are sitting here at ABC TV, you've got a great job --

(crosstalk)

HIRSI: You have freedom to move anywhere, no one is throwing you anywhere. your rights are protected. I think that it's your perception of being a victim, and I think that's --

KHAN: I am not a victim, Ayaan. Stop calling me that. You're the one running with all the bodyguards.

(CROSSTALK)

ALI: no you are

GADIEL: she needs it

KHAN: Let me answer. For the record. My life is under threat.

BAUER: Yes, we all are, anybody in --

KHAN: No, hold on one second.

BAUER: Anybody in public life, in a free society has nuts that threaten their lives. everyone.

KHAN: Check with the police department. My husband's life is under threat. We do not walk around with bodyguards, because we love this country.

BAUER: Oh, come on.

KHAN: We don't walk around with big bodyguards.

BAUER: You don't have to, and you don't have to --

KHAN: Because we don't want use taxpayer's money.

BAUER: Ma'am. Ma'am. You don't have to walk around with a bodyguard because --

KHAN: I don't want to --

BAUER: Because this city is one of the most tolerant cities in the world.

KHAN: And that's why I'm a proud American, a proud New Yorker and I want to rebuild New York.

AMANPOUR: That was Gary Bauer – Former Republican Presidential Candidate and keynote speaker at the recent Value Voters Summit in Washington.

AMANPOUR: At the Values Voters Summit, Mr. Bauer, you said -- and you were talking about Islam and you were talking about violence.

BAUER: Right.

AMANPOUR: You said just a couple of weeks ago, "The cause of this violence," you said, "is an Islamic culture that keeps hundreds of millions of people right on the edge of murder and mayhem" --

BAUER: Yes.

AMANPOUR: "Twenty-four hours a day."

BAUER: Yes.

AMANPOUR: Hundreds of millions of Muslims?

BAUER: Yes, well --

AMANPOUR: On the verge of murder?

BAUER: Well, of mayhem. I said murder and mayhem.

AMANPOUR: Right.

BAUER: OK. Look. I've never, Christiane --

AMANPOUR: But is that what you think?

BAUER: Do you remember a number of years -- ?

AMANPOUR: But is that what you think?

BAUER: I -- If -- I'll answer the question if you will permit me.

AMAN ALI: I'm sitting next to you. Am I going to murder you?

GADIEL: Why don't you let him finish the question?

BAUER: Ten years ago -- 20 years ago, an artist here in New York took a crucifix and submerged it in a vat of urine and called it "Piss Christ." Christians did not riot. There were not terror cells formed of Christians wanting to blow up artists in New York. If the foolish pastor -- foolish pastor in Florida had burned the Koran, that would not have been the cause of the violence. That would have been the excuse for the violence. Whether it's cartoons, an infidel touching A Koran, the fact of the matter is, that the radical mosques keep many Muslims on the edge of mayhem and violence.

AMANPOUR: My question about the Islamic center that Daisy and her husband wanted to build is the opposition to it. Are you basically saying its al Qaeda and al Qaeda like sympathizers who are building this mosque?

BAUER: No, I'm saying that it is incredibly insensitive for her or anyone else to suggest building a mosque near a place where 3,000 people died, killed by men operating in the name of Islam.

AMANPOUR: But why -- why should it be insensitive? And then I will ask Donna. Why should it be insensitive if you're not blurring the lines between those who killed and the rest of the religion? why are you deliberately blurring the lines?

BAUER: Because that is ground that was the first chapter in a war with radical Islam. At this very moment, Christiane, the reality that we all face is that there are evil men that worship death that want to bring us a day much worse than the morning of 9/11.

AMANPOUR: But where should this center be built?

BAUER: Well, it can be built anywhere in New York. There's -- there's mosques being built every month in New York. There are many more mosques in New York today than there were in the morning of 9/11.

AMANPOUR: Here we turned to the story of Imam Osama Bahloul – 900 miles away from Manhattan in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Hs plans for an Islamic center have come under attack.

IMAN BAHLOUL: Living here in the city for more than 30 years, there is no single act of violence. Never. Zero. We spoke against any kind of radical view of any kind. we support any of this activity. Why are people opposing the mosque? And do you know we have two vandalism and one arson? We did not do anything bad towards anyone.

(CROSSTALK)

BAUER: Right. That's terrible. That's terrible. It shouldn't happen.

AMANPOUR: Do you think politics played into it? Do you think political rhetoric played in to it?

BAHLOUL: We are not politicians. I don't know politics. But maybe it's the midterm elections, maybe it's something else, maybe someone specific party trying to strengthen its base, maybe anything. But I'm saying about -- I'm talking about very peaceful people did not do anything bad.

AMANPOUR: so, Gary Bauer, as you know, a series of politicians have used the Islamic center, have used sort of Islamophobia and scare tactic in their campaigns.

BAUER: Now, Christiane, that's a loaded question, really. People are using a fear of Muslims for their political purpose?

BAHLOUL: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: People are talking the same kind of thing.

(CROSSTALK)

BAUER: Really?

AMANPOUR: Yes. That's what -- that's what he believes

(CROSSTALK)

BAUER: I would suggest -- I would suggest to you that Muslims are using this sorts of victimhood cards for their political purpose.

BAHLOUL: We are not.

AMANPOUR: But my question is, do you think any of -- you know after some of the loaded things that happened and we can play you any number of tapes Mr. Bauer . Do you take any responsibility at all for, for instance, what happen in Murfreesboro--

BAUER: Are you serious? Absolutely not. I have never encouraged violence, I condemned violence.

AMANPOUR: You don't think the rhetoric sort of lays the groundwork for others who might feel --

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: No, I'm asking you.

BAUER: Well, I'm answering you. Do you think the rhetoric in Mosque have anything to do with Jewish graves being desecrated, with Jews being beaten in the streets of Europe, with synagogues being firebombed?

NAFISI: please let me say something, I remember after 9/11, President Bush at that time went to the mosque.

BAUER: Yes.

NAFISI: With the Muslims. President Obama has been what he has said about Islam... And that is the whole point about America, isn't it? The best weapon we in America have against that kind of terrorist mentality is not to become like them.

SPENCER: what happened to your mosque is a terrible thing. Nobody should go around vandalizing anything. But there's also another thing, and you talk about why are Americans suspicious of these good people? Well, there's also documented evidence, and I can get it to you, that the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups have and mosques included, have actually fabricated hate crimes against Muslims that are later discovered that they did it themselves.

IMAM: No, no, no - come on.

SPENCER: I'm not saying that yours were fabricated. What is - maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. its why people are suspicious and that kind of thing has to addressed

AMANPOUR: Reza Aslan, you've heard - you've heard the -

REZA ASLAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, DAILY BEAST: Robert Spencer is quite famous for spewing nonsense, and this is - this is more nonsense that every single -media matters-- every single non-partisan media organization has said, quite clearly, every word that came out of Robert Spencer's mouth - the reason that he's the only one who said this is that he's the only one who actually has this information.

(crosstalk)

SPENCER: It's easy to attack me personally -- its harder to deal with the facts.

AMANPOUR: Reza, what did he say that was inaccurate?

ASLAN: I'm going to go ahead and trust the FBI instead of Robert Spencer when it comes to the rise in Muslim hate crimes. But that's not even the issue here. If you go around saying that 80 percent of mosques are preaching hatred and violence, then why are you surprised that people would actually respond with fear and with violence against Muslims?

SPENCER: Well, actually, I didn't say that.

ASLAN: And if you're spreading this kind of ideology, don't pretend that you don't have a role in the consequences of the things that you say.

SPENCER: -- when in reality, these were three separate, independent studies that came to this figure of 80 percent. They all say that in 1998

ASLAN: Those studies have already been bunked by everybody.

(CROSSTALK)

ASLAN: No one is taking you seriously.

SPENCER: I didn't invent this. Yes, you act like I invented Osama bin Laden.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Spencer, you have led quite a lot of the protests behind the Islamic center that Daisy and her husband is trying to -build

SPENCER: Yes. Quite so.

AMANPOUR: You have a blog called Jihad Watch and you're part of an organization called Stop the Islamization of America.

SPENCER: Quite right.

AMANPOUR: I want to go to Reza Aslan, because you were in Europe, lecturing on this topic of islamophobia-- Where does the Stop Islamization Movement come from?

ASLAN: Well, it comes from the - an organization, a neo - not - what the E.U. refers to as the neo-Nazi organization called Stop Islamization of Europe. And that kind of institutionalized Islamophobia is precisely what your organization, Stop Islamization of America, is importing into the United States. And honestly, you're on the wrong side of history. And very soon, in a couple of decades, you will be sweeped and your ideas will be sweeped into the garbage bin of history, along with the anti-Semites of the 20th century and the anti-Catholics of the 19th century.

(APPLAUSE)

SPENCER: Here again, Reza Aslan is displacing responsibility and trying to act as if this is something that I am doing that is illegitimate, or something that I have created. When actually, you look at the writings of 20th century -- muslim brotherhood theorists like and people like Madudi in Pakistan, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami -- he says, "Non Muslims have absolutely no right to wield the reins of power in any part of God's earth. And, if they do, it is the believer's responsibility to dislodge them from that power by any means possible."

AMANPOUR: I want to ask Peter -- you have suffered a terrible tragedy -- why is it that you think that something good could not happen to rectify or to go somewhere to assuaging the terrible tragedy that happened on 9/11, if people like Daisy are willing to, as she says, "Be a combatant for moderation"?

GADIEL: Because, as I pointed out, moderate mosques elsewhere in the world have been taken over by the radicals.

AMANPOUR: -- based on...is that true? Is that true here, Brad?

GARRETT: No. I think numbers-wise, doesn't support that. Are there elements inside --

AMANPOUR: 'Cause it's really important.

GARRETT: -- maybe every mosque? Perhaps. But the numbers just don't bear out at the end of the day. That's the problem. You know, the subject is distorted to the extent, because we talk about it so much, that we've made it sort of bigger than it really is.

AMANPOUR: So Donna, do you think that something good to assuage the terrible tragedy you've suffered can come out of what Daisy is doing?

O'CONNOR: Not, not if American people won't let it. And you know, I mean, I'm listening to this, and frankly, this is depressing. You know, the significance of this conversation is I left my daughter at Ground Zero, and I left her country there too. It doesn't seem like an American conversation to me frankly. It seems completely and wholly one-sided. I mean, look, you have -- you read a lot, and I respect that. But I worry about what you're reading. I mean --

GADIEL: Excuse me -- may i say something...

O'CONNOR: No, no, no. You let me finish now, please. With all due respect, I listened for a long time. You know, I don't know why on earth you would think that there is an address in America where, you know, Muslim people can't practice their religion. Number one, this is not a mosque; it's an Islamic cultural center. Number two -- and this is really important -- it is not at Ground Zero, it's two blocks and a half away. It's two blocks and a half away. I am not a religious expert. I only know when I was promised when I was born here and that this is a land where all people -- regardless of how difficult it is to have this democracy -- all people are allowed to practice their faith. I don't know Daisy Khan. I don't know Imam. I am not going to read his book to see if he's a good enough Muslim. I believe that in this nation we hold people accountable for crimes after they commit and never, never before.

(APPLAUSE)

O'CONNOR: So, yes. So, yes. They can be -- wait a minute -- they could be sensitive and they could move this particular building away from Ground Zero. How far would you like them to move it? How far would you like them to take America away from me?

AMANPOUR: hold on a second

GRAHAM: I have a question for daisy......First of all, I have the highest respect for Daisy. And for her husband and his Muslims, they absolutely have the right to build a mosque or cultural center in this country. But just because they have the right, doesn't necessarily make it right. They ought to be maybe a little more sensitive to the feelings of many people.

(APPLAUSE)

GRAHAM: But, Daisy, one of the things that really bothers me on 9/11, and this is something that is very troubling to me. On 9/11 when these aircrafts flew into the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon, and into the field in Pennsylvania, they were piloted by men, as they were going into these buildings, were yelling "Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar." They did it in the name of Islam, for Islam, for the god of Islam. Daisy there was not the universal condemnation from the Islamic leaders of the world

KHAN: I would like to say to Mr. Graham right that after 9/11 Muslim leadership in did come out in the United States and condemn this act.

GRAHAM: Yes, in this country

KHAN: Unfortunately we were not covered -- you know the coverage about Muslim leaders coming out and condemning the act was not the same as the coverage that the extremists got.

AMANPOUR: Do you think there's any way these two sides can move on and this debate can die down?

KHAN: We are at a very important juncture in the history of our nation and it's really important for all of us to work to bring tolerance, understanding and peaceful co-existence. We are one of the most richest, most vibrant, most dynamic nation in the world. We have been seen as a beacon of light for many. I think it's really important that we preserve that.

AMANPOUR: When you listen to all of this do you think that you should move the center?

KHAN: No. I think that American values have to prevail.

(APPLAUSE)

KHAN: I think I'm now fighting for American values.

AMANPOUR: On that note, I thank all of you very much indeed for being here. This is obviously a really, still, heated issue and we're never going to come to full agreement. We hope we've aired some of the issues that all sides have been able to air. And I hope you will agree with that.

About Susie Madrak

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