tv Capital News Today CSPAN August 31, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EDT
religion within america is part of an exclusive club. this exploitation of the truth that is used for political purposes since this is now an election year, and the fact is, most americans are the easiest targets. they are an easy punching bag. we do not have the reach. we do not have a lobby. we do not have a p r infrastructure. the other side obviously has the microphone. my mentor always said something that is very telling for us as muslims as well as for americans and people. the world is not divided into muslims, christians, and jews. the world is divided into stupid people and intelligent people.
>> on that note, who wants to be the first u.s. question? [laughter] raise your hand and we will have the gentleman with the microphone, for. >> we've discussed this in the past. while we know that the great majority of muslims embrace and endorse the founding principles of the united states and want to be good americans, unfortunately there are people who do not. they profess to be acting in the name of islam. one of the difficulties it seems to me is that there's no central authority, the definition of what a good muslim is. is there any effort to within the muslim-american community, to uphold an america-affirming islam and reject and marginalized as people who want to kidnap islam? >> i think this calls for a centralized figure in american
islam to tell people what islam is, is misguided. we do not have a pope and we're not going to let one for the united states. we believe in democracy. even people within islam, we hold to different interpretations in accordance with the basic principles of the koran. what we need is that counsel scholars. not people who call themselves dollars, -- scholars, but people who really understand what islam is about, have studied it, can think about it and write about it, come together and evaluate the various strains and muslim friends of -- in the united states and comment on it and write about it. that is why i was calling for education.
recently a lot of people came to me and said, what about the story of this morning in afghanistan? isn't that applying sure real lock -- surely a -- surely a -- sharia law? we showed that it is not that application, and the people who committed that act are themselves punishable because they kill the innocent victims. no one is talking about that. what we really need is not the central authority. i as a woman who believe in democracy would move away from central authority, but ask for order and for responsibility and for legal authority in the sense of understanding to religion, to educate muslims as well as non- muslims in the u.s. >> is not just what scholars are saying but what people are doing on the ground.
any kind of alienation and isolation of young muslim- americans, the work is being done in boscs coming in you organizations, and community centers, people that promote civic engagement and the temple -- the principles of islam. there is no standing in the koran. oning in the koran. sharia, theour r principles are justice and human dignity. but goals are five that are accepted by all the scholars with unanimity. they are the right to life, free expression, faith, family, and property. if there is any violation of those goals, then it is a
violation of sharia. that understanding among muslims is what we are pursuing. >> i will take another cut at that in a different way. i am a catholic. all priests are not pedophiles. i am married to an irish woman. she does not drink. [laughter] i remember saying after the christmas day attempts to blow up that plane in detroit, is that we learned from that. we did not collect the dots in our intelligence community
correctly. as dangerous as not connecting the dots is to grow only connect the dots and come up with the wrong picture. as i said in my remarks, the completed every single incident that occurred and drawn a portrait of islam. some have chastise me for using the word bigotry. is.let's understand what bigotry is when you take the characteristics of a few, and generalized them into the behavior for attribute them to the whole. this priest, that priest, that press -- the only story that we read about priests these days are that, but the story about the good, hard-working muslims all over, we know in our heart of hearts and my experience, we do not know muslims well enough yet.
we need to have this intelligent conversation, we need more exposure, we need to know more about it, we need to retain what we know, and we need not to connect the dots in a way that is not warranted. more than a religious authority, there is more experience and a change of heart. that would be helpful in dealing with this problem. if you had a muslim pope say, he is not a muslim for what he did. you would still have people saying, he is not authentic. i remember speaking in new york at the first anniversary of 9/11, i was speaking and the round for families of survivor. it was a very painful day for them in a difficult experience for me. the first question was, why did they do it? what justify that? i said, nothing justify that,
period, absolutely nothing. next question. why did you say but? i did not say but. nothing justified. i understood their pain and their pain had temporarily close their years -- there appears to listening. but for the rest of america, we did not have the direct pain. too still closed their ears and make the judgment that all muslims thought this way or all muslim thought that way for arctic -- are inclined to be violence. many groups repeatedly spoke out and no one heard them. >> we need to be able to hear responsible muslims and by the way for them to be heard. >> i wanted to. bang out that while we're having the discussion we do not -- i
wanted to. now -- we do not even have a definition of sharia law. >> what role to you think the press plays and the the-the trail muslims, stoking the prejudice and islam a phobia. i work with a group of muslim- arabs, jewish, christian, and there are interfaith, middle east peace movements in every city across the country. they are in israel, palestine, jerusalem. no mention of these organizations in the national media. the question is -- like the think that is so? and how we can change that? i am jewish but i am not a billionaire. if you look at the press, all
the jewish people are rich. the stereotyping goes on with african-americans, with lots of different minorities. how do we change these images so that american changes as the images change? >> two things on that. the nature of the media is that they only cover certain things. moderation and bridge building is not newsworthy. it does not make the news when we get 10,000 people in chicago at our annual convention, for example, or an los angeles. and we bring governments and all sorts of civic leaders and we talk about how we as americans of all different fate backgrounds are working together for justice, are working together against any kind of extremism, are working together for peace and security for the people in the middle east.
it just does not make the news. unless there is a conflict, and usually the story -- if you look at the stories about muslims, it is about the religious holidays. or is this an issue where there is a discrimination story about a woman that wears a head scarf or a man who wants to wear his beard. that in and of itself is productive about what the rig -- the muslim-american community is all about. about the head scarf, it becomes politicized in the middle east and now it is politicized here in america. the head scarf has become a political football. a woman who decides to where the head scarf is not -- she is liberated in her own mind. it is her choice. we should not be telling them that they have to take off. we should be pro-choice on that issue.
on the other issue of discrimination, it seems that muslims are concerned about entitlement. the sec that problem for us as muslims -- what is our responsibility? i do not think that we had effectively answered the question that our fellow americans have had about islam. we tend to talk about worship, but they want to know what is our social interaction, what is our goal in our pluralism was a mark in 1988, we had about 100 people, muslims, christians, arabs, non-arabs, go to the democratic national convention. we felt that we were part of that american experience. we felt that we were contributing in terms of the policy discussions, in terms of our interactions. now we find less people attending those conventions unfortunately within the muslim-
american community. there needs to be more civic engagement. with that, bore stores can be told about the muslim-american community. it is not about the scholars necessarily but that mainstream voice. we have not determined what that mainstream voice is. >> dr. zogby, d spoke a lot about misinformation in the mainstream and people who were spreading hate. i was wondering if you should its bid -- if you could get some names in the media to be aware of? >> i think that we can talk later. at their web sites are none. -- their web sites are noneknow. they have been tormenting us for years.
i had a great honor of speaking at the signing anniversary of the civil-rights act. the next day, an article has b d, holder's ezbollah buddy. another article. about zogby, wahabi-to-be. these characters are all over the place. frankly what troubles me is not only their bedside, -- their websites, which taught college professors and get students to spy on them, and talk about
arab-american leadership. what troubles me is the way they end up dominating on fox news and on ms nbc and cnn when it comes time to talking about these issues. we do not get the air time to talk about it. they do. and if we get in fighting, we get invited to debate them. and i do not want to engage in a debate with these guys. it does become a bit of a problem. where the media has responsibility is to be more responsible. >> we're invited to go and denied the accusations. the cards are stacked against us. you just look like you're in denial because that is the media question. the message is now getting out because the only time you are
invited because we're not terrorists, we're not extremists. that is all the people think about. that is one thing. we were also called part of the wahabi lobby. we're not lobbying anything. we're educating people about who we are. and what we represent. number two, our organization from its beginning as stated clearly that we do not accept any form of funding, not because of an issue of legality. it is perfectly legal. we wanted to stress the muslim- american identity. we wanted to be financially and philosophically independent from the middle east. and yet someone continues to call as part of the wahabi lobby. we do not subscribe to that thinking, but it is repeated in not that that is all that is on
people's minds. >> i got my doctorate in religion and postdoctoral work in our religion is a used in society. remember george carlin had a routine where he talked about words and how they were used? it was an interesting lesson because it was a lesson of what can stain -- wittengenstein. this is identical in that they are abusing language because of its evocative content. the guy who gets up on the plan and says, whatever, and impose the plan up, he is not making a statement about his fate. he is making a statement saying i really hate you guys or i am
angry or upset or i am mad at my dad. because psychoanalyze but he is doing. -- we could recycle and allies like he's doing. they are calling names and the name they choose to call is the name that has the most evocative reference. there was a time when i might be called a marxist, socialists, communists. it is basically all way of taunting, because the word has evocative content. somebody says, jesus christ. they're not making a statement of faith, they are saying i am really matter right now. that is the same thing that happened so both sides of this. i think we need to understand the use and abuse of language in this context, and understand that these guys throwing these names about, calling us wahabis, the true value of it means nothing. they are not concerned with that. they're looking into a dictionary of what is the worst
word i can use right now and i think i will call them that. that will work. >> there is nothing new about this. i make new friends every day and there's no argument. the media by be taking a role on influencing the thinking of the community said that it would have more power than it said in a democracy. this is the problem that america has that in this assault not only with respect to muslims but with respect to media in general. as far as muslims, my approach is that instead of complaining about it, which was done enough, let's look for a solution. the solution for me is this process. there are a lot of muslim doctors in this country, a lot of muslim business people in this country. from beinghrink away lawyers or reporters and so on.
now there is a generation of young muslim lawyers that i am happy to see around the country, and where the communications people? if you want your op-ed invoice to be heard, where are you? if you are sitting there and someone hears your objection to the news published, maybe you can modify that you. we know the problems. let's now move in and do our part in setting it right. >> let's go over here. >> you already referred to the media appeal of moderation and how that does not necessarily played. we know psychological research that when you respond to someone's argument, you solidified the opinions of the listener and the viewer. what are we supposed to do if we
cannot repeat the arguments, when we cannot sell moderation or our identity, what are we supposed to do? >> number one, we feel -- there is a verse in the koran that says it refers to hate, the rhetoric of hate is like scum on the top of the water, it will float away. the good work that you do of substance will remain and that will benefit. this tells you, number one, ignore all the rhetoric and the noise. it will always happen. it has been happening from the beginning and continues to this day. the good word, even though it is not sensational, even though it is not going to get the media today, the relationships that we are building is creating energy. it is creating a movement for change, because the people that we get to know, the rev. ed
bacon, these are great people. these are great americans. we feel that that story about what we represent as americans, a group of people working for peace and justice, will prevail eventually. in terms of being more media savvy, we have for example of psa that went out on to the internet. he got a lot of play. he got into the media. it was called up an " injustice cannot defeat justice." it was muslim scholars begin to young people and saying do not be fooled by their rhetoric. they're getting significant media coverage, but it is only
one man -- within people's memory for a short span and next week as a whole new story. we need to keep thinking about telling the story over and over again. we're going to be doing some 9/11 service activities, for example. there will be help clinics and all the mosques and commemorations for the victims of 911. it is such a shame that part of the industry that is trying to divide this, saying muslims are not victimized along with other americans that day, people of all ethnicities were in the world trade center attack. we were all attacked as americans. telling that story is important. and we will be having a commemoration vigil on that day, and it will get some coverage, but we will have to continue working with that. the third thing, now that we have social media, we are creating our own movement in the sense that the word is getting
out for facebook and twitter and other means of social media. that will get the interest of the networks at some point. and there is much hope because we have a lot of opportunity in getting the word out. >> let me add that some of that has to be hard, patient work over time. that is the work of scholars. if a lot of muslims, when you tell them that islam says x, and they do not know that, they will say prove that. these articles, you have to take a long time studying them and analyze them and put noting them, but sounds academic, but i was in one country. they had a lot i thought was unfair to women and i was arguing they needed to change it.
the legislature lifted me and and ask me for the correct position of islam, surely the footnotes. scholarly work is very important and so is grass roots. >> i am grateful for this conversation and i am proud to be a muslim. i am proud to be african- american, as you can tell, and i am also a veteran has a health -- as well as a health care and disabilities attorney. it always surprises me -- do you think that we can change america ure our spas people are representative of the full diversity of the muslim community, that many other african americans, it even
latino population who are more than committed to being involved in this? this is my first question. my second question is, don't you believe that we should take the history note from the african- american experience and see, for example, when we had the reconstruction of the united states after the civil war, there was a rise in anti-african american sentiment that resulted in a lynching and all types of horrible actions across this country. do we not see the same parallel? some months ago, all attention was on a arizona and the lost their demonizing latinos. and not so long ago, it was on another group of americans. " we think that groups like the koch brothers funding some of
this rhetoric, don't we see that they are entrenched interests? >> we need to get a chance for other questions here. >> as opposed to seeing a parallel, the way the pc it and we teach it in my organization is there a continuity. a lot of these african americans were muslims, and we believe the american muslims from the 16th century and later had helped build this country. we're not new immigrants. you keep forgetting the other wing of muslims who are the natives in this country. not only do we see a continuity, but that experience you're referring to is our its parents. the question is, how much within the muslim community are we going to fight with each other? how do we deal with the question of diversity within our community?
that's become more complex question more recently and we're trying to deal with it. >> in terms of diversity, the more we stress the muslim- american identity, then the more we will naturally have diversity in our representation. in our presentation and telling our story. yes, i agree that we can do more to have that diversity. and their problems that we're dealing with internally in terms of that issue. where are we in terms of the civil-rights progression? i think we are in the early stages of that. we're not at the time of war and luther king for muslim-americans in general. definitely african-american muslims can contribute positively to where we should be in terms of getting our rights in american society. has the muslim-american community, we're still in the
stages of w. e. b. du bois, or people developing ideas for the muslim-american community. defining home does not where my ancestors or grandparents lived, but where my grandchildren are going to be raised. that in terms of the muslim- american identity, no matter what background we are from, is very important. and lastly, god wants us to be thinking leaders, not blind followers. that is what we have to stress for the thinking muslim, the common muslim. >> behalf 10 more minutes. we will go right here and then over here. >> i was interested -- i guess i had two questions.
what contemporary muslim country which operates under sharia punches as an example of the benign sharia you spoke of today? and which moderate muslim groups said boca out -- spoke out when there were talks of attacking christians and jews? who spoke at a guess that when the international commission on religious freedom reported that? >> i would like to answer the first question. it is very simple. our belief is that there is no muslim country now that is falling s -- following sharia. the basics is not taking place.
where do you go from that? i am not standing here to defend any muslim country, and i hope that within the united states again be a better muslim than i can in some of these muslim countries. you call that the nine sharia law, what we did to it to be benign? i do not like that terminology. our laws are humanitarian, equitable laws, no attempt to make them more or less benign. the only issue is whether they are applied are not applied. in terms of muslim countries that claim they are applying it, and using it against their people. they're telling the people that their laws are by divine will. you need to tell these people that this is not true. the final bill would want the will of the people to speak out.
ivine will would want the will of the people to speak out. >> the fact is that we have spoken out in every instance. it gets ridiculous how many times it keeps coming up. we do not even know the cases that come up, whether they are actually balladur not. the commission that the gentleman referred to, some of the commission leaders have questionable views in terms of religious freedom of muslims in america. there was a report on that. i do not want to get into the politics of that commission for that -- academy, -- that commission or they can, but anyone who says that we should be murdering christians and jews, we condemned that and denounce any group that espouses those beliefs. >> if i can quote the new
testament, those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, i condemn it. i am not muslim. i am a christian. i run the arab-american institute. i was asked about it and i said it was gross, despicable, and wrong and should be stopped. a couple of years later i was invited to saudi arabia by the u.s. ambassador, bob jordan, who had not been able to have a guest or a visitor to the country in a long time. he wanted me to come and to a luncheon at the embassy and invite a number of saudi business leaders. he butted me to speak to a number of groups around town. one of the groups he invited me to speak to was one called whami. the ambassador took me to the event, sat with me, i was introduced and spoke, and then they drove me back to the embassy when it was over.
i got a question about pat roberts and and some other u.s. preachers preaching hate about islam. i said, i condemn it. and we work really hard every day to fight these guys. we're working harder than you can imagine to deal with this bigotry in america. but, i said, let me remind you that you have imams in this country saying things that are deplorable about christians and jews. are you fighting them? they nodded guiltily and we have a conversation about it. a week later, one of these characters that i mentioned a moment ago wrote an article about zogby, suborder of wahabis speaks at whami. he did not know what i had said, did not know i had been invited by the ambassador, that i
challenge them on the bigotry there. the point is that a lot of groups condemned that when it was first released. the saudis did the job of getting rid of the guy that should not have been there in the first place. pay attention to what is done, what is said, and i think we do a lot better in this conversation if we did just that. >> question over here. [inaudible] >> i as a muslim have much trouble with this. we had-add zero words first perforce just saying muslim in this country. -- we have to add a word first 04 to saying muslim in this country. if you are going to moscow or you're practicing, then you do
not qualify for that term. -- to a mosque or you're acting, then you do not qualify for that term. we had people advocating that those of the people we need to talk to, regardless if they were non-practicing muslims, not cool looking. i like to hear your opinion. >> like to approach this label of modern muslim in a different way. i know my colleagues will answer more to the point. in islam there is nothing wrong with saying that somebody had interpreted islam and accordance with the society they live in. it is the required effort that muslim scholars, when they live in a society, whether american, european, iraqi, or whatever, is that they look into the circumstances of their society and then explain the rules and the basic principles and change,
but the rules and secondary laws in light of that society said that when they are used and applied, they cause positive results and not negative ones. the general rule in islam is that god may be slow in public interest and not against the budget may be involved in public interest and not against the public interest. we're looking at the american society and trying to understand islamic laws within the context of our society. that is very traditional and an accepted approach for what we do. what you're talking about is something more political. i will let the others answer. >> the koran says that it is god's will that you be a community of the middle way of moderation. that is directly out of the koran. the profit warned against any extremism, to the laughter to the right. stay in that middle way. within our religion, it
promotes moderate, progressive thinking, and it is responsible for muslims to apply that in other -- in whatever place in time we live in. i agree with heard that this term has been highly politicized during moderate simply means a person who agrees with the status quo. all muslim are bad? all muslims are bad. the only people who are the moderates, they're people who are left -- who have left islam. there's a paradox in that. it is ridiculous. they are now the moderates, people who are not muslims themselves. or people who support policies of certain industries, so you support work? that is moderate islam. you support the policies of the state of israel against palestinians? that is a moderate muslim.
the term moderate does not mean anything in our community and i agree with you, it is muslim or mainstream muslim. to be a muslim is to be an inherent to the principles of islam. >> a question here. >> with an increase of civic engagement from the muslim- american community, what should we expect from our elected officials? what role should they play in this hemisphere? -- atmosphere? >> they should stick to the values of the constitution, create harmony among the people of protect their rights. >> and they should be responsible, and they are irresponsible these days. the park 51 dispute, the way
that it was a manhattan site, we have seen that before over the academy, a terrible loss that the school got gutted the way that it did. it is the same cast of characters playing this out and then some national political figures got into the mixed and decided to exploit it. one by one you had a becoming an issue. you have candidates in states where there are basically no muslims being asked, what is your position on the mosque? and taking position, they've got a right to belong but i don't think they ought to be building it there. . defaming hallowed ground. it was an issue that had nothing to do with states and cities and congressional districts across the country. politicians behave irresponsibly. what should have happened on the part of media and higher
political leadership is that we should have called them out early on and said you are being irresponsible. " we learned after 9/11 was that the measure of our patriotism was the degree to which we were true to the values of our country, and we were not going to let the terrorists win. tragically i am reading the signs from those marches in new york, i'm listening to the rhetoric i hear and some of the television and radio shows, i am listening to what some of the political leaders including presidential aspirants saying, and the terrorists one. they are winning this fight. we're now in our country know better than extremists of broad, and the clash of civilizations now on both sides are driving this debate. it is irresponsible. it is a shame. george bush was right. and it is hurting our country, our image abroad, and the very social fabric of who we are as a people.
>> i might agree with a short sentence, which is not just the issues of muslims. i like to see politicians put the interest of the country at the political interests. that would help quite a lot. >> on that note, that had to be the last question. we are at a time. >> thank you all for being here. we always run at a briefing with great discussions. we have never have enough space. i was just thinking that only in america. we have a public hearing room and anyone can walk again. people complain that you do not need an appointment, you can walk around the halls. we are on c-span having a discussion about this, an entity dedicated to a public discussion of the american people. we want all americans to have this discussion and many more in the future. let me think our panelists, are moderators', the brainchild
behind all this and put it together in four days. let me just introduce some of the executive board. we have our vice-president, our communications director, and our programs coordinator. i want to thank the house science committee for giving us this room. it can follow the activities of the group on our web site. thank you so much for being here and we hope that you take care. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
mission in iraq, the ongoing security challenges we face, and the need to rebuild our nation here at home. i know this historic moment comes at time of great uncertainty for many americans. if the now been through nearly a decade of war. we have endured a long and painful recession. and sometimes in the midst of the storms, the future that we're trying to build for our nation -- of the future of lasting peace and long-term prosperity -- may seem block -- beyond our reach. but this milestone should serve as a reminder to all americans that the future is ours to shape if we move forward with confidence and commitment. it should also serve as a message to the world that the united states of america intends to sustain and strengthen our leadership in these young century. from this desk, 7.5 years ago, president bush announced the beginning of military operations in iraq. much has changed since that night. all war to disarm a state
became a fight against an insurgency. terrorism and sectarian warfare threatened to tear war -- iraq apart. thousands of americans gave their lives. tens of thousands have been wounded. our relations abroad were strained. our unity at home was tested. these are the rough waters encountered during the course of one of america's longest wars. yet there has been one constant amidst the shifting tides. at every turn, america is men and women in uniform to her -- have served with courage and resolve. as commander-in-chief, an incredibly proud of their service. like all americans, i am awed by their sacrifice and by the sacrifices of their families. the americans who have served in iraq completed every mission they were given. they defeated a regime that had terrorized its people. together with iraqis and
coalition partners who made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to help iraq seize the chance for a better future. they shifted tactics to protect the iraqi people, trained iraqi security forces, and took out terrorist leaders. because of our troops and civilians, and because of the resilience of the rock -- of the iraqi people, iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny even though many challenges remain. so tonight i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. operation iraqi freedom is over and the iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their own country. this was my pledge to the american people as a candidate for this office. last february i announced a plan that would bring our combat brigades out of iraq of redoubling our efforts to strengthen iraq security forces
and support its government and people. that is what we have done. we have removed nearly 100,000 u.s. troops from iraq. we have closed transferred to the iraqis hundreds of bases. and we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of iraq. this completes a transition to iraqi responsibility for their own security. u.s. troops pulled out of iraq's cities last summer, and iraqi forces have moved into the lead with considerable skill and commitment to their fellow citizens. even as iraq continues to suffer terrorist attacks, security incidents have been near the lowest on record since the war began. and iraqi forces have taken the fight to al qaeda, removing much of its leadership in iraqi-led operations. this year also saw iraq hold credible elections that drew a strong -- that drew a strong turnout. a caretaker administration is in place as iraqis form a
government based on the results of that election. tonight i encourage iraq's leaders to move forward with a sense of urgency to form an inclusive government that is just, representative, and accountable to the iraqi people. when the government is in place, there should be no doubt -- the iraqi people will have a strong partner in the united states. our combat mission is ending, but our commitment to iraq's future is not. going forward, a transitional force of u.s. troops will remain in iraq with a different mission -- advising and assisting iraq's security forces, supporting iraqi troops in targeted counter-terrorism missions, and protecting our civilians. consistent with our agreement with the iraqi government, all u.s. troops will leave by the end of next year. as our military draws down, our dedicated civilians -- diplomats, aid workers, and advisors -- or moving into the
lead to support iraq as it strengthens its government, resolves political disputes, resettles those displaced by war, and builds ties with the region and the world. and as a message that vice president biden is delivering to the iraqi people through his visit there today. this new approach reflects our long-term partnership with iraq, one based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. of course, violence will not end with our combat mission. extremists will continue to set off bombs, attack iraqi civilians, and try to spark sectarian strife. but ultimately these terrorists will fail to achieve their goals. iraqis are a proud people. they have rejected sectarian war and they have no interest in endless destruction. they understand that in the end only iraqis can resolve their differences and police their streets. only iraqis can build a
democracy within their borders. what america can do and will do is a pride -- is provide support for the iraqi people as both a friend and a partner. ending this war is not only in iraq's interest -- it is in our own. united states has paid a huge price to put the future of iraq in the hands of its people. we have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in iraq and spent vast resources abroad at time of tight budgets at home. we have persevered because of a belief we share with the iraqi people -- of a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization. through this remarkable chapter in the history of the united states and iraq, we have met our responsibility. now it is time to turn the page. as we do, i am mindful that the
iraq war has been a contentious issue at home. hear, too, it is time to turn the page. this afternoon i spoke to former president george w. bush. it is well known that he and i disagreed about the war from its outset. yet no one can doubt president bush's support for our troops or his love of country and a bit to our security. as i have said, there were patriots who supported this war and patriots who opposed it. and all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for iraq's future. the greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability to move beyond our differences, and to learn from our experience as we confront the many challenges ahead. and no challenge is more essential to our security than our fight against al qaeda.
americans across the political spectrum supported the forest against those who attacked us on 9/11. as we approach our 10th year of combat in afghanistan, there those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission there. but we must never lose sight of what is at stake. as we speak, out data continues to plot against us and its leadership remains anchored in the border region of afghanistan and pakistan. we will disrupt, dismantle, and that the al qaeda of preventing afghanistan from again turning as a base for terrorists. because of our drawdown in iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense. in fact, over the last 19 months than the nearly a dozen al qaeda leaders and hundreds of al qaeda's extremist allies had been killed or captured around the world. but in afghanistan, i've ordered the deployment of additional troops who under the command of general david petreaus, are
fighting to break the taliban's momentum. as with the surge in iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future. but, as was the case in iraq, we cannot do for afghans what they must ultimately do for themselves. that is why we're training afghan security forces and supporting a political resolution to afghanistan is problems. and next july we will begin a transition to afghan responsibility. the pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground, and our support for afghanistan will endure. but make no mistake -- this transition will begin, because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the afghan people's. indeed, one of the lessons of our effort in iraq is that american influence around the
world is not a function of military force alone. we must use all elements of our power, including our diplomacy, our economic strength, and the power of america's example, to secure our interests and stand by our allies. and we must project at vision of the future that is based not just on our fears, but also on our hopes -- a vision that recognizes the real dangers that exist around the world but also the limitless possibilities of our time. today, all that the series are at peace and emerging democracies are potential partners. new markets for our goods stretch from asia to the americas. a new push for the peace in the middle east will begin here tomorrow. billions of young people want to move beyond the shackles of poverty and conflict. as the leader of the free world, america will do more than just defeat on the battlefield those who offer hatred and destruction.
we will also lead among those who are willing to work together to expand freedom and opportunity for all people. that effort must begin within our own borders. throughout our history of america has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas, understanding its link to our own liberty and security. but we've also understood that our nation's strength and influence abroad must be firmly anchored in our prosperity at home. and the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class. unfortunately, over the last decade we have not done what is necessary to shore up the foundation of our own prosperity. we have spent a trillion dollars of war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. this is short changed investments in our own people and contributed to record deficits. for too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything
from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. as a result, too many middle class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation's long-term competitiveness is put at risk. and so at this moment, as we wind down the war in iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy and grit and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad. they have met every test that they faced. now what is our turn. now it is our responsibility to honor them by coming together, all of us, and working to secure the dream that so many generations have fought for -- the dream that a better life awaits anyone who is willing to work for it and reach for it. our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of americans who've lost their jobs back to work.
to strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. we must jumpstart industries that create jobs and end our dependence on foreign oil. we must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our country and doors. this will be difficult. but in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people and my central responsibility as president. part of that responsibility is making sure we honor our commitments to those who have served our country with such valor. as long as i am president, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known and we will do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us. this is a sacred trust. that is why we have made one of
the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades. we're treating the signature wounds of today's war, posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned. and we are funding a post-9/11 gi bill that helps our veterans and their families pursue the dream of a college education. just as the gi bill helped those who fought world war ii -- including my grandfather -- become the backbone of our middle class, so today servicemen and women must have the chance to apply their gifts to expand the american economy. because part of ending a war responsibly is standing by those who have fought it. two weeks ago, america is final combat brigade in iraq -- the army's fort stryker brigade -- journeyed home in the pre-don darkness. thousands of soldiers and
hundreds of vehicles made the trip from baghdad. the last of them passing into kuwait in the early morning hours. over seven years before, american troops and coalition partners had fought their way across similar highways, but this time no shots were fired. if it was just a convoy of brave americans making their way home. of course, the soldiers left much behind. some were teenagers when the war began. many have served multiple tours of duty, far from their families who bore a heroic burden of the rhone, and during the absence of a husband embrace or a mother's kiss. most painfully, since the war began, 55 members of the for the stryker brigade made the ultimate sacrifice -- part of over 4400 americans who have given their lives in iraq. as one staff sergeant said, "i know that to my brothers in arms
who fought and died, this day would probably mean a lot." those americans gave their lives for the values that have lived in the hearts of our people for over two centuries. along with nearly 1.5 million americans who have served in iraq, they have all in a faraway peace -- always place for people they never knew. they stared into that darkness of human creations -- war -- and helped the iraqi people seek the light of peace. in an age without surrender ceremonies, we must earn victory through the success of our partners and the strength of our own nation. every american who serves joins an unbroken line of heroes that stretches from lexington to gettysburg, from iwo jima to anh to, from khe s
kandahar -- americans who have fought to see that our lives there -- the lives of our children are better than our own. our troops are the steel in our ship of state. and though our nation may be travelling through what waters -- rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true and that beyond the pre-don darkness, better days lie ahead. thank you. may god bless you. and may god bless the united states of america and all who serve her. >> now house minority leader john bonner on the combat mission in iraq. he criticized president obama for claiming credit for a successful strategy that the president originally opposed. this is a little less than a half-hour. ♪
>> thank you all very much. i want to thank commander hill for his introduction, the american legion who made a great choice by collecting of high of one -- an ohioan to be your leader. it's an honor to be those who have won at our nation's uniform. i want to think the american legion and all of american service organizations for supporting our troops wherever they are stationed. it is really a hero's work and i speak on behalf of all the members of the united states congress when i say to all of you, thank you. i also want to thank commander
hill and the hundreds who participated in yet another successful legacy run. also if you raise more than $360,000 for families of service members to a fall and in of duty. your efforts serve as a reminder of our shared result as a country to never forget 9/11 and to keep those might live. those memories do not fade in these colors do not run. we honor the sacrifices of our 9/11 heroes today, tomorrow, always. thank you. [applause] thank you for the work that you are doing to help improve
veterans access to the quality health care that they deserve. i was proud to work with the legion last year to stop a severely misguided plan to build better and health insurance companies for combat injuries. insurance companies do not -- [applause] insurance companies do not send men and women into combat. our nation does in our nation should take responsibility for that momentous decision. and i was proud to stand with the legion this year to expose flaws in the new health care law that could of on the veterans, and with the legions help, be successfully protected health care benefits with a new mandate from costly regulations. as important as our governments commitment to provide quality health care for veterans maybe, just as important is a
commitment to the dignity and respect that can come from holding the job. today as thousands of our warriors come home seeking to provide for their families and realize the american dream that they volunteered to defend, awaiting them is an economy that a force not opportunities more jobs. veterans unemployment today is that 11%. that is why i called my colleagues in the congress and the president to join me in supporting a series of immediate actions to and the ongoing economic uncertainty and help more americans find an honest day's work. stimulus spending sprees, permit a bailout, patrolman dates, and government take else have failed our nation and they have failed our veterans. it is time for a fresh start. we need a fresh start so that
every man and common web donned the uniform of our nation's known that when they leave the service, the opportunity for a good job in the private sector will await them. it is an honor to serve the stage with robert gates. this day belonged to our troops. their courage and sacrifices have made the transition to a new mission in iraq possible. it is with profound grasp but do -- gratitude to reflect on all that our service members and families have done and continue to do during the time of peril. we also salute the work of the commander, general david petreaus and general ray ordierno. i cannot help but think back to
that time when the situation in iraq was ground and the feature was bleak. general petreaus had a plan that was widely viewed as a last chance to save iraq from chaos. the consequences of failure and then as now or severe. some leaders who oppose, criticize, and fought tooth and nail to stop the strategy now spratly -- proudly claim credit for the results. one leader in the house of representatives declared it was a failure even before it was implemented. one set, "this war is lost," even as additional forces were being mobilized. one lawmaker said said, "i think we will do the reverse."
these lossmakers supported and except to support from an anti- or organization that ran out full-page ad smearing a four- star general, a commander of men and women in uniform, that were in harm's way when they referred to him as general betrayus. these are sad facts. today we mark not the defeat those voices anticipated, but we mark progress. and i want to thank president obama for setting aside his past political rhetoric and recognizing the importance of the surge and the diplomatic agreements signed between president bush and prime minister maliki. this war will not be over until they come home. the this mission has changed their work is no less critical.
there is no stranger -- there's no strong bulwark against the menace extremists in the region than a moderate iraq. there is no better argument against those who preached intolerance and hatred than a free, stable, and writing iraq. success in iraq is determined not by the words politicians speak today, but by their actions in the months and years ahead. iraq will continue to remain a target for those who want to destroy freedom and democracy. the people of that nation and this nation deserve to know what america is prepared to do it the cost for which our troops sacrifices in iraq is
threatened. i hope the president will address that question as early as tonight when he speaks to the nation and to the world. over the past several months, we've often heard about ending the war in iraq. the and not heard much about winning the war in iraq. if we honor what our men and women fought for, we cannot turn our backs now on what they have achieved. when we support our troops, we support them all the way. and there is no such thing as supporting our troops but not the mission they were there to fight for. [applause] victory in iraq was the only option in 2007 and it is the only option now. the american legion understands this. and the american people understand this. that's why we're here today talking about our troops coming
home in success instead of surrender. to many of our own have returned home from iraq laid to rest. their sacrifices have not been in vain. i know that legionnaires' give their also that the families of our fallen are held up in our hearts. staff sergeant daniel clay is one of the fallen heroes. his wife, lisa, once worked in my congressional office as my personal assistant. sgt clay was killed in felucc allujah. he left a letter for his family to be read in case he did not make a home. he wrote, "what we have done in
iraq is worth any sacrifice. why? because it was our duty. i know that's a simple but all of us have a duty. duty is defined as a god-given task, and without duty, life is worthless this marine understood his duty to god and country and we as elected leaders must understand our duty as well. [applause] which had never acted doubt congress's commitment to supporting their mission. when asked to provide our troops in harm's way with the resources they need, we should do it
without delay. that means no more troops funding bills held up by unrelated domestic spending in pork-barrel projects. we need a congress -- we need congress that understands that when we send our sons and daughters to risk all in defense of our security, that victory is the only option and we will do whatever it takes to provide them with the necessary support said that they can return home swiftly and successfully. no voice, no matter how strong or committed, can support -- can substitute for the voice of the commander in chief. the president must take the time to articulate in a consistent manner to the families and fellow citizens the cause, the purpose, and the goal of this mission. these imperatives should not be
gratitude to our men and women serving in afghanistan today. the united states cannot afford to think short-term and our enemies have proven time and again that they are in it for the long haul. this is a war that began well 4 9/11, a war that the american people did not seek and did not start. this is an enemy that first tried to blow up the world trade center in 1993. this is an enemy that tickets desires to kill americans abroad. this is an enemy that seeks to
impose a pernicious code that destroys anyone who opposes them. '04 9/11we treated each incidens though it was part of the attack. we characterize the perpetrators as criminals rather than terrorists to be deterred. there are proposals to house these terrorists on american soil just to fill a campaign promise. we were told that guantanamo bay serves as a rallying cry for our enemies. we were told that bringing them here would diminish the threat.
then, we witnessed four terrorist incidents on the u.s. soil including the fort hood shooting, the attempted christmas day bombing, and the failed times square bombing. these represent new strands of terrorists. terrorist organizations and radical extremists. the government has the right authority and mine said to prevent future attacks on american soil. the justice department announced that they would not be pursuing charges against the terrorists
who allegedly coordinated the attack on the uss cole. these are terrorists who have the blood of 70 american soldiers on their hands. they worked hand-in-hand with one of the 9/11 hijackers. the commander of the uss cole who was fought for justice alongside the families has said that the obama administration is playing politics with this issue. some are holding those who kill innocent americans responsible for their heinous act, politics should be the last thing on their mind.
over the course of the last 20 months, it is clear that our country's overarching policy has been lost. we do not know the parameters for win, how, and other what circumstances we will capture, solicit information from, and detaining illegal enemy combatants. we are a nation at war, a patch work political promises this not have a strategy. we need a congress who uses every tools at their disposal to keep terrorist off of u.s. soil. stopping at nothing, this is how we can best protect the american people and said an example. our missions in iraq and afghanistan are part of our role as a beacon of hope.
america cannot become the last best hope of man by accident or by force. it was a choice, a choice made by those who faced down the most powerful empire on earth. the union chose to make war in freedom's defense rather than letting the nation perish. president reagan reaffirmed america's commitment to genuine peace to make sure that the empire knew that we would never compromise our principles and standards and we will never give away our freedom.
when reports of president reagan reached siberia in the prisons and they were tapped out to fellow prisoners in morse code. when finally he was free, he visited the oval office. he urge president reagan so the other who aspire to liberty could hear his call to arms. this ran out to another dissident, an electrician who shaped the solidarity movement that calls for the first dance in the iron curtain when president reagan died 50 years after the berlin wall came down, -- we took him so personally, why, because we owe him our liberty.
margaret thatcher said of president reagan? he took words and he sent them out for us." what words are being sent out to fight for freedom and democracy? cuba? if they hear nothing, if this is silence that echoes in their cells rather than the firm warns of american support, if they hear nothing, will they be able to when they sit in the oval office or right in the pages of a free media the facts of an american president.
never forget that this was founded by an idea. the idea that free people can govern themselves and that government powers are given only to the consent of the government. all will be respected and protected and that no one will be limited in their ability to seek liberty. ideas matter. our government must reawaken itself to the task of providing a more robust defense. when we do not send these words out to fight for us, we caused turmoil and confusion. our enemies take this as a sign of weakness or a dimming of our belief in ourselves. our allies have cause to be unsettled about what role will play in the future. when we do not seek out -- speak out, our deeds are left to speak for themselves.
the iranian regime is capable of pursuing these weapons in the face as international isolation. iran is more than prepared to sacrifice the well-being of its people for the chance to fundamentally change the balance of power in the region. it is the true source of instability in the region and we must not assume that a nuclear arms to iran would be able to be contained. the destiny of iran and israel are often interlink and with good reason. it israel is an island of freedom surrounded by a sea of repression and hate. israel is on the front lines of the ideological and violent clash that we are confronting. the attacks against are often the vanguard of what our country will face.
america has stood by israel since harry truman was in the oval office. our commitment should be no less strong today. where i come from, you stick by your friends and you stick by the people who share your values. you don't shun your friends and allies. the policy of the u.s. should not be built on a platform of apologies, corrections, and reset buttons. we will not confront and defeat the terrorists threat by a backing out on america's commitments.
we have played a high cost these past years at war and our military personnel and their families have paid the highest price. how should we address these challenges, these debates that has shown the issues. we of decisions to make about our path forward and these will be made an environment in which we are 41 cents against every dollar that we spend this year. we must work together to identify our national security priorities and military and economic superiority. this americans found it with a choice, maintain its greatness
is a choice as well today, we choose to do what needs to be done, to do what we know to be right hand to never except the next best thing for our families, our country, where for freedom. these are articles of faith worth fighting for to the last four. you have done it and our troops have risked it all for it. all they're asking for is for the full support of our elected leaders. i give you my word, they have it. [applause] high atop the dome of the capitol stands the statue of freedom. this was completed in 1863 during the darkest and most
divisive days in the history of our country. what i love most is that she faces to the east because the sun never sets on freedoms face the sun never sets on american pioneers and american ideas and, an idea that generations have fought and died for. i want to thank you. god bless you, god bless your families and god bless the great united states of america. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
-- a town clearly built on a swamp and in many ways, still a swamp. the legion has done so much for our nation and for our military. as proud eagle scouts and former long-term president of the national eagle scout association, i am grateful for your longstanding support of the boys clubs of america. thanks in part to support of the legion, the boy scouts recently celebrated their hundred anniversary. i spoke at the jamboree a few weeks ago and was pleased to see that the enthusiasm for stabbing was still strong -- scouting was still strong.
most often to me was when i asked a huge audience to stand up if they had a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, or another relative serving in the military i believe about half of the 45,000 scouts in attendance rose to their feet the most notable contributions have always been to our men and women returning from the battlefield. most recently from the post 9/11 conflicts. this commitment has been expressed through the heroes to hometowns program, the only
nationwide all volunteer reintegration assistance service which eases severely wounded soldiers back into civilian life. one case bedstands out to is the case of one soldier who was severely wounded. his wife and their two daughters moved to a home in florida, the house had been refitted to accommodate johnson needs but is still needed a lot of work. that is when the legion rallied. the sounds of the american legion, and unit 152, tampa, all gathered to do the work, and hundreds of hours of sweat, the property is ready for john and his family, the contributions of the legion are necessary and welcome now when we are asking so much of our troops each of hamas has volunteered to serve in wartime, each of whom is a fitting successor to the legacy of old every day. -- each of whom has volunteered to serve in wartime.
one soldier lost his leg and part of his left foot. he was set on rejoin his unit that he passed the army physical fitness test again within a year. he can be found of control and afghanistan. [applause] he is known as the one legged war lord. this sends a powerful message to our friends and enemies alike about our debts and determination. -- guts and determination. this generation of heroes has been tested in a daunting amount of waste. loss of friends, comrades, wounds seen and unseen.
the military institution as a whole. we would like to discuss some changes. these include the major changes under way in iraq and afghanistan. we're preparing the military threats -- for threats looming on the horizon. we're also looking to make every defense dollar counts. tomorrow, operation iraqi freedom will officially become operation new dawn. a change that recognizes that the iraqi people have assumed full responsibility for their security. this was the moment both of our nations have worked and hoped for. a moment made possible by the dramatic security gains over the past three and a half years. despite recent headline grabbing
a tax, that would mean innocent civilians. -- attacks against soft targets. this is the lowest amount of casualties and deaths since 2003. in an important victory against transnational terror, al qaeda in iraq has been largely cut off from its masters abroad. [applause] i'm not saying all is or necessarily will be well in iraq. the most recent elections have yet to result in a coalition government. sectarian tensions remain a fact of life. al qaeda in iraq is beaten but not gone.
this is not a time for premature victory parade or self congratulations. even as we reflect with pride and what our troops and their iraqi partners have accomplished, we still have a job to do and responsibilities there. even with the end of the formal combat mission, the u.s. military will continue to support the army and police, helped to develop the navy and air force, and assist with counter-terrorism operations. the president will talk about the future role in iraq during his address to the nation tonight. as our mission moves forward, we must never forget that the opportunities inside of all the rockies and especially the opportunity for political freedom has been purchased at a terrible cost.
the losses and the trauma in forward by the iraqi people, and the blood sweat and tears of the american people in uniform. at the end of iraqi freedom, 4427 service members have died in iraq, 3502 were killed in action 34,268 have been wounded or injured. the courage of these men and women, their determination, their sacrifice, and the sacrifices of their families along with the service and sacrifice of so many others in uniform have made this day, this transition possible.
we must never forget. [applause] as the u.s. military campaign winds down, and invigorated and reinforced afghanistan effort is moving ahead on all fronts. much has been said and reported about afghanistan and i would like to emphasize a few main points. first, while the u.s. has been in this fight for a long time, we should think of the campaign as two different wars. the first, from 2001 into early 2002 was won outright with the taliban were ousted from power, schools and clinics were open, and women were liberated from bondage.
[applause] with the invasion of iraq, our attention and our resources were diverted. afghanistan became a second party. starting in 2003, the taliban regrouped, rebuild their ranks, reconstituted themselves and safe havens and creating -- and the reentered afghanistan. violence increased significantly in 2005 and has grown worse ever since. we have the resources, the troops, the equipment, military, and civilian, needed for this. the total international military commitment will reach approximately 150,000, more than three times the number one i became defense secretary going on four years ago.
this includes some 45,000 troops from our allies and other partners. this dramatic increase in military capability is amplified by a tripling of deploy its ability and a substantial influx of trainers. going forward, the afghan people must accept responsibility for the future of their country, we are making slow but steady headway on that front half with about 85% of the national army and now partnered with our forces in the field train together, planning together, and fighting together general petraeus has worked with president karzai to develop a plan to locally recruited forces that will be accountable to the central government and will also give local communities the means to defend themselves.
we are committed to enforcing a hard line against the corruption that exploits the people and saps their support for the government. that includes making sure that american tax dollars and other assistance is not being misused. all of these efforts will help build the trust and to the self- reliance that the afghans will need to govern and protect themselves for the long term. encouraging that self-reliance is wide beginning irresponsible transition to the control next summer is so important, that being said, as the president has frequently noted, we are not turning off the lights next july. as in iraq, our drawdown will be gradual and conditions as based accompanied by a buildup of our military assistance and civilian development efforts. if the taliban believes that america is headed for the exit next summer in large numbers,
they will be deeply disappointed and surprised to find us very much in the fight. [applause] the realization that we will still be there after july, 2011 and aggressively going after them, i believe this impacts their morale and willingness to continue resisting their government and the international coalition. there is a good deal of concern and patients about the pace of projects -- pace of progress. it is important that we are only just now reaching a full complement of forces ordered by the president. the taliban are a cruel and
ruthless adversary and are not going quietly. their leadership has ordered a brutal campaign of intimidation against civilians, singling out women for barbaric attacks. the enemy is paying a price for these crimes as more than 350 taliban commanders have been killed or captured in just the past three months. these efforts will only celebrate as our military offensive rolls back the enemy from their strongholds and secured population centers. this will be a tough on a campaign with setbacks and heartbreak. the fact that we knew our losses would increase as the
fight was brought to the enemy makes them no easier to bear. the intensifying combat and rising casualties is in many ways reminiscent of the early months of the iraq surge when our troops were taking the highest losses of the war and to much of the coverage and commentary is similar as well. during a half years ago, very few believed that a search could take as to where we are today in iraq. they're a plenty of reasons for doubts. back then, the civilian and military leadership chose a path we believe would achieve the national security objectives as we're doing in afghanistan today. success there is not inevitable but with the right strategy and the willingness to see this through, it is possible. this is certainly worth the fight. [applause] i would remind everyone that this country's leaders, myself included made the mistake 20 years ago of abandoning afghanistan to chaos after the soviets were driven out. its power vacuum did not and
could not concern us and that we could eliminate threats from a distance of low-cost to ourselves. as events have shown in new york, washington, pa., london, madrid, pakistan, indonesia, the jakarta, elsewhere around the world, we were dead wrong. i believe and the president believes that we now have the right strategy and afghanistan, a strategy that represents our best chance of achieving goals essential to the safety of the united states. delivering a strategic defeat to al qaeda and its extremist a
phyllis by rolling back the taliban from their strongholds in building the afghan capacity to secure their own territory and said during the nine safe haven to terrorists that would attack our country once again. that is our objective, that is our strategy, this is the only possible justification for the risks and sacrifices we are asking for our troops. as i'm sure anyone in this audience is aware of, even if everyone should go perfectly in iraq and afghanistan, a year from now, five years from now, the that states will still find itself in a dangerous world. the military must remain strong and agile enough to face i diverse range -- to face a diverse range of fronts. these range from on state actors attempting to acquire in use weapons of mass destruction to the more traditional threats of other states building up their conventional forces and developing new capabilities that target our traditional strength.
building a flexible portfolio and the ability and system that can be used across the widest possible range of conflicts will be the challenge for the entire department of defense as we move into a new era. as a country, historically, we have a troubling predictable pattern of coming to the end of a conflict, concluding that the nature of man and the world has changed for the better and turning inward, unilaterally disarming and dismantling institutions important to our national security. when we are invariably and inevitably prove wrong, when war comes again, we have had to rebuild at huge cost in blood
and treasure. most recently, after september 11th. it is critically important that we not repeat that mistake again. [applause] in the coming years, the pressure will be great to ignore the lessons of our history and to reduce spending on defense going forward, we must have modest and sustainable growth in the defense budget in order to retain our fighting forces and invest adequately for future challenges. to make the case for this growth at a time of economic and physical address requires the defense department to make every dollar count to fundamentally change the way we
do business, this means shifting resources from bureaucracies and headquarters and overhead to the combat capabilities needed today and in the future. [applause] i fast the entire pentagon earlier this year to take a hard look at how the department is staffed, organize, and operated. many of these decisions were difficult but they are necessary to ensure that our fighting forces on air, land, and see, have the resources to achieve a wider range of missions and to prepare for future challenges and needs. as those of paid the price in previous conflicts for misplaced priorities when it comes to national defense, i ask your support for a leaner more efficient pentagon and a continued sustainable robust investment in our troops and future capabilities. [applause]
our troops have done more than their part to, now it is time for us in washington to do ours. i will do everything in my power to make sure that we live up to our solemn obligations for the safety of our country, for the well-being of our troops. these talented and resilience men and women in uniform are the ones who give me confidence in the future as there's no group of people anytime or anyplace more capable of confronting the challenges our country faces. i feel a deep sense of personal responsibility to each and every one of them to ensure that they have all they need to
accomplice their mission and to come home safely. the debt owed to all americans to those now serving and those who have served can never be fully repaid. you have my gratitude and my respect for all you do for our troops and for all you do for the country they have stepped toward to defend. thank you. [applause] ♪ [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> while away on vacation, the obama family had the oval office redesign.
highlights of the changes as provided by the white house with the new painted wallpaper, a new rug, new upholstered furniture. we recently spent time with president obama in the oval office before it was redecorated asking him about life in the white house and working in the oval office. >> mr. president, what's it like to live in the white house? >> this is an extraordinary experience. the thing we appreciate most is
the staff who are so diligent, they are constantly thinking about how to make the family comfortable in what to some degree is an artificial environment. they are wonderful. they are great friends. i also have the shortest commute of anyone i know. no matter how long i'm working in any given day, i could always go upstairs and see my wife and kids. that is part with something i appreciate more than a thing. >> what will you change? >> we have not read decorated this room. the tradition is that every president comes in and today we work this. given that we are in the middle of a very difficult economic time, we decided to hold off in terms of making changes. i did make a few personal changes. one, the bust of martin luther king jr. to remind me of all of the dedication of a lot of people and to allow me to have the privilege of serving in this office. we got some of these neat gadgets that were donated to us.
these four original patents that were provided. some of them stayed back to the early 1800's. this is a good reminder of part of what makes this country so great is our inventiveness. those are nice additions, initially there was a couple of plates of there. >> you captain george washington? >> i kept george washington and i kept lincoln. this picture was donated to bill clinton from steven spielberg. from a distance, this looks like a portrait of the statue
of liberty but when you look more closely, there are people up there cleaning the torch. this is a reminder that we constantly have to renew the flames of our democracy. >> when people come into this room, how do you notice them react? >> well, someone said that this is the greatest tom court advantage that you could have -- home court advantage that you could have. this symbolizes the presidency and it symbolizes what has been extraordinary record of tough
decisions that have been made in this room. usually, people have it little bit of a pause before they stepped in. my job is to make them feel comfortable. after that, they're fine. >> you have had some of the record meetings in the dining room. what is your relationship with history? >> when you occupy this office, you are constantly reminded that you are just one at a series of people who have dedicated their lives to protect in the country and making our democracy function. this is a very humbling experience. i spent a lot of time reading
history just remind myself of the standards i have to live up to. also the mistakes that have been made in the past. i have had the chance to talk personally with some of these historians. in the 24 hour news cycle that we live-in, so much of the attention is on the daily ups and downs of politics. my job is to remember that what i do here is on behalf of not just tomorrow but on behalf of the next generation. . .
>> the south lawn is extraordinary. we've built a place set out here that malia and sasha used to use. i have nieces and nephews that will come here, and someone is on a single or laughing as they go down a slide, and that reminds you of why you're doing what we're doing. every once in awhile bo runs by
and that is always cheerful. if you want a friend in washington, get a dog, and i've got a pretty good friend. >> what about the lincoln bedroom? >> i do not going to much unless there are visitors. every once in awhile i was sneaking in to read the gettysburg address, especially when i have a big speech, because i'm constantly reminding myself that that was only three minutes long. i have a tendency to get along when they -- to get long winded, it is useful to take a look at that piece of genius and remember that this -- there is something to brevity. >> you ever feel in the white house like you're going to be here for a long time? >> no, i think that me in the family recognize that this is the people's house. we're temporary occupants.
which means that we want to make sure that believe this place in as extraordinary a condition as we found it. and i think that there is a humility there. we also want to constantly bringing people into the white house. we have a lot of events with wounded warriors, with kids from surrounding schools, who may feel somehow that this is a world apart. we want to let them know that this belongs to you, this is part of your legacy as american citizens. >> what about the kids? what is their reaction? >> they are of an age where they would be comfortable just about anywhere. the degree to which they have adapted to this place is pretty extraordinary. they treated just like home, and that is exactly what we want.
it is a little bigger than at our place in chicago. the part of that is because the staff here has been so wonderful to them, and helpful to them. they are having a ball, and they are less constrained in their ability to leave the white house. they do not have the press pool following them everywhere. they end up having the best of both worlds, as does my mother- in-law, who lives on the third floor. she helps with the kids. i think she was initially very resistant. she lived in a small bungalow in chicago for several years. suddenly she is in the white house, but she has gotten to like it ok. she can always wonder out the gate and go for a wall and no one knows who she is. >> banka, sir. >> thank you so much. could to see you. -- good to see you.
>> next janet napolitano. later, the french parliament on a law that would ban face veils. one washington journal tomorrow morning, we will look at the withdrawal of u.s. combat forces from iraq with an adviser to the iraqi parliament, noaa feldman, and ben cardin. and our series on electoral politics continues with the affect of third-party candidates. we will be joined by richard winger. washington journalists live on c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern.
homeland security secretary spoke this evening. her 20 minutes speech concluded a forum on airline security. >> @ thank you for that kind introduction. it is wonderful to be here. it is a great honor to bear project to appear before you this evening. let me begin by thanking alpa and the nation's airline pilots for the work that you do every day to ensure that millions of travelers reach their destinations safely and securely. you literally keep our nation's airline industry flying and global air cargo moving. every day we can trust you with the safety of our families, the whole of the ones, our friends.
the weight of the responsibility that you carry it is not lost on us at the department of homeland security. you remained one of our most important partners, not only in protecting our aviation system, but in securing that country from terrorists, from human traffickers, drug traffickers, and other criminals. alpa has been an important contributor to many aviation security programs. for example, you work with csa on creating -- tsa on creating and implementing new air cargo screening procedures. i want to thank you for your input, involvement in these and other areas which have enhance the security of air travel and really illustrate the meeting of
partnership -- the meaning a partnership, all worth it is tossed around pretty easily, but which must have real meat on its bones to accomplish the work we must do, and i believe we do have a partnership. no airline pilots, and indeed all crew members, remain a critical part of a layered security approach. nowhere is this more evident than during the attempted to tax on christmas day -- attempted attack on christmas day aboard an aircraft headed for detroit. i know that members of the crew of flight 53 are with us this evening, and later we will be paying tribute to them. your quick thinking helped avert a potential catastrophe aboard that flight.
and we all as passengers and pilots alike 0 you a debt of gratitude for your valor. that incident reminds us that almost nine years after the september 11 attack, we continue to face big very real threats to our aviation system. including threats and individuals who will go to great lengths to defeat the extensive security measures that have been put in place since that tragic day. serves aser 25 attacke a reminder and it also serves as a catalyst for us to take a renewed and hard look at caps remaining in the aviation security system and to take swift action to address them. so over the past eight months,
that is precisely what we have done in the obama administration, working closely with all of our partners in the aviation sector, and in particular with foreign governments. this evening, i would like to spend a moment to talk about these efforts which have literally spanned the globe. i would also like to discuss some of the new security measures that we have deployed here in the united states in the past month, including the new screening technologies. and i like to talk a bit of pop up future and where we see these efforts going. so back to december 20 fe5. although the attempt involved a united states plane falling into the united states city, it
was an international terror plot in every respect, in danger in the lives of individuals from at least 17 foreign countries who were passengers aboard flight 253. the alleged attacker was a nigerian citizen educated in the united kingdom. he received training in terrorist tactics in yemen, ghana,ed his ticket anin and flew through amsterdam before departing for detroit. this plot underscores the stark reality that despite decades of advances in screening and significant reforms following 9/11, they coble aviation networks still faces a vulnerabilities. it also reminds us that aviation
security much like other international security challenges blurs the line between foreign and domestic. in other words, we cannot say this is international, it does here, this is domestic, it goes here. those lines are blurred. they come together at the department of homeland security. following the attempted attack, recognize that every airport offers a potential entry point into the global aviation system and every nation faces a potential threat from gaps in aviation security throughout the world. following the first reports on christmas on the attempted attack, we immediately inform the pilots of all of united states-bound international
flights and ask them to maintain heightened vigilance. we also immediately implemented increase security measures at united states airports, and that evening issued a security directive mandating enhanced screening for all united states-bound flights prior to departure, and additional security measures to be accomplished in flight. now and april, we introduced new protocols that use real-time intelligence-based targetting to identify potentially threatening individuals before they are even allowed to board an aircraft. these new measures, several months after, or tailored to
reflect the most current threat information available to our intelligence community, and apply to all passengers. they continue to be supplemented by multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen. indeed the whole idea has been using our intelligence, using our data bases, using that crossover between different intelligence gathering agencies that may have seen themselves as foreign or domestic, making sure that we were bringing all of that data to bear, we were making a scenario-based division between passengers that could easily bored and passengers who deserve more attention.
and that is been the focus of our effort since december 25, how you make reasonable reasons , intelligence-based divisions between passengers as they arrive, as they purchase their tickets, as they arrive at the airport, as they go through screening, as they board the airplane, and indeed actually in flight? this is involve the international aviation system. as i mentioned earlier, what you get into the global aviation system at any airport, if you potentially have access to the whole system. since january, in close coordination with the international civil aviation organization, i have taken part in five regional aviation
security summits on five continents, literally. we have gone from europe, our first one which was several weeks after december 25 to a summit of the western hemisphere which we held in mexico city, to a summit for the asia-pacific region which was held in tokyo, to a summit for africa which was held in nigeria, and a summit for the middle east which was held in abu dhabi. these summits included participation from elected leaders, security ministers, and airline officials across europe, the western hemisphere, the asia-pacific region, africa, and the middle east. and from these meetings, we began to forge an international consensus on what needs to take place to shore up remaining
vulnerabilities in the international aviation system, focusing in particular on four key areas -- developing and deploying new security technologies, strengthening aviation security measures and standards, enhancing information collection and sharing, and coordinating international technical assistance. now let me emphasize that these meetings have not been mere bureaucratic exercises with no results. each one produced and historic joint declaration on a coordinated international agenda for aviation security. and to date, 12 other countries have joined the united states in strengthening their security measures, including the deployment of advanced imaging
technology. the new screening technology that will be taking the place of the magnetometer alone, and which is objectively better in helping us to ascertain what passengers need secondary screening and what passengers do not. now i think it is important to note that the netherlands and nigeria, countries that of the maqtada -- abdulmutallab traveled through, were the first to employ this new technology. they have allowed our air marshals on u.s. carriers flying between their country and the now the states. before, that was not happening. all these efforts combined will
culminate at the acao summit in montreal, canada up where we hope to make our work for strengthening international standards for aviation security into an actual resolution the international community through acao and applicable to the entire system. it is important to note that in addition to acao the airline industry and the carriers themselves have been with us every step of the way. we have collaborated closely with the united states and international airline and airport straight associations -- trade associations and airline ceo's, shortly after christmas day, to explain what security enhancements needed to go in place immediately, but what we were striving for in the
following weeks. i personally met with all of these leaders, and i also met with the heads of the international air travel association, and also with the ata. they have voiced strong support for the coordinated international approach that we have begun and that will be expressed, we hope, this fall at the acao general assembly. through that, it is clear that our potential for collaboration goes beyond counter-terrorism. the airline industry is a first line of defense against many forms, attempting to enter our country with illicit drugs, weapons, or indeed even people. in fact, we know human traffickers seek to exploit the
to transport their victim. through our blue campaign, the campaign to combat him and trafficking, we are exploring ways that we can partner with you to combat this crime. and that is something i ask you to be collaborating with us on in the coming weeks and months. let me turn to some of our domestic action, because our focus has not been solely on the international or global stage. at home we have also taken some important steps to further strengthen aviation in recent months. for example, we have continued to leverage new technology to ensure that we are keeping dangerous people and things from getting onto airplanes. this includes significant
expansion of the ait machines which allowed the tsa to screen passengers for explosive are other items potentially hidden under clothing that would not otherwise be detected by a magnetometer. these machines are safe, they are efficient, and the vast majority of travelers prefer them to other screening options. moreover, extended privacy safeguards are built into every step of the screening process. over 180 of these machines are now in place at 45 airports nationwide, and we intend to use recovery funds to purchase even more machines and deploy them in the coming months. we are also using recovery funds purchase an additional
1500 next generation explicit trace detection machines. they scream for explosives at passenger checkpoints and unchecked baggage. these are the machines that are used simply in a want, three strikes this way, these -- three strikes that way. it is a quick test, an easy test, and also accurate. and as i am sure you know, through the secure flight program, we get sicker -- recently assumed responsibility from the airlines for checking passengers against our watch list for all international and domestic flights operated by united states carriers. let me say that again. we are now encompassed the cut over, so that we are the measuring -- measuring the
manifest against the watchless, and doing it for all domestic carriers. we are also working with international carriers and hope to complete their cut over by the end of the year. this will lead to more thorough and timely watchlist checks while reducing, i think, the type of missile identification the sometimes cause unnecessary inconvenience for travelers and undue media attention. finally we had begun screening 100% of air cargo's the travels of board domestic flights that the party united states on passenger planes as required by the 9/11 act. this is a goal that we have been building toward, and i know alpa has been working closely with tsa to shape and form the
new requirements. we will continue to work with you to make sure this program is as effective as possible, and that its implementation continues to go smoothly. so as i said at the beginning of my remarks, you remain one of the most vital parts of our layard security for the international -- for the aviation system. you're literally at the controls of the airways, and we can only secure them with that kind of participation and support that you have given us from day one. as will look toward the future, we're going to continue to work with alpa and airline -- airline pilots as well as our industry partners because we know in the face of ever changing threats, we must then together and we
must work together to minimize risk and to maximize the safety and security of the traveling public. i am here this evening but it joined in recognizing some very deserving all wars recipients, and to say personally to you that i well, our partnership and i look -- i welcome to our partnership and i look forward to what we can do in the future for our travelling public. thank you for having me this evening. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> in a few moments, a forum on muslims in the u.s. posted by the muslim congressional staff association.
in an hour-and-a-half, part of late airline pilot form. after that, a debate in the french parliament on a law that would ban facial veils. later, off four among the future of the middle east peace process. -- a forum on the future of the middle east peace process. if serb ally that is to tell you about tomorrow. vice-president joe biden will attend a change of military command program in iraq. also on c-span2, the financial crisis inquiry commission begins a series of public hearings and we will hear from the former chairman and chief executive officer of lehman brothers. that is at 9:00 a.m. eastern. you're on c-span, christina romer will be at the national press club at 1:00 p.m. eastern to talk about the economy. tomorrow night at 10:00 a.m. eastern, live coverage of the debate between the senate
candidates in california. now will form on the image of muslims in the u.s. hosted by the congressional muslim staff association. speakers include james zogby, head of the arab-american institute. this is about an hour and half. >> thank you all for being here. i am the president of the congressional muslim staff association. we welcome you to our briefing, muslims in america, myths and realities. we have a distinguished panel to talk about -- we call it a discussion on faith in the wake of the park 51 controversy. this briefing is not a ballpark 51. none of the panelists here are experts on the project or are connected to the project directly. park 51, norabout par51
do we endorse any of the positions year. the congressional muslim staff association was to bring together experts and community leaders to talk about that conversation taking place in the wake of this controversy. the conversation is taking place about where muslim- americans stand and it is a complex conversation that we're having. we represent all the muslims to work on capitol hill in congressional offices and legislative offices and many support offices. when we started this letter years ago, the first event we had was in the wake of the danish crown -- dennis cartoon controversy. we had documentary, the legacy of the prophet mohammad.
we wanted to get more information about what was going on in the conversation that was happening at that time. the one that is happening now is directly on our shores as americans. as muslim-americans who live here and worker and who of grown-up. , this is something that we can in a leak about directly and we're very honored to have the panel will force to talk about this larger conversation. it is one that is complex. it is not simple. in a time magazine poll that was taken a few weeks ago, they ask if you favor or oppose the mosque at ground zero? 61% opposed and this was widely disseminated in the public. however many would pay for a mosque in the run community. would you say that muslims are
patriotic americans? more than 21 said yes, muslim americans are patriotic americans. this is not a simple conversation as the media would believe that this is one-sided. this is complex and a conversation that the panels can speak to it that has happened in america many times before. our moderator today worked on capitol hill and started the capitol hill prayer in which every friday muslims in washington, d.c. from all parts of the country come to pray under the capitol dome every friday. we have had this for more than a decade. we have had visitors from around the world and visitors from muslim-majority countries, places where there are 90% public where they cannot pray in a government building. regardless of the ad for a city that we face at home and at
times of violence and desecration of mosques and opposition, whatever said first city we face, we're allowed to practice our faith in this country. adversity is the key. with added first city, there can be no progress. that is the conversation that we're seeking to date. i think you for being here today. i will not take up any further time. i want to introduce our moderator, who worked on capitol hill for many years, and was a major figure in the bush administration in the white house. i am proud to say that i enjoyed doing events within not only because he is a good man, but because we say we have bipartisan cooperation.
>> good morning, everybody. thank you for coming out for this very important topic. he very ably laid out the issues here. the controversy around the park 51 community center in lower manhattan has sparked a national debate beyond that construction of the community center in lower manhattan. a lot people asking themselves coming to the national conversation including what is the role of islam in america? to our american muslims? what did they want? whether aspirations and goals? and the tougher questions have begun to surface including what is the role of terrorism? is there relationship between terrorism and islam? if our muslims inherently violent? these are questions asked in the poll two weeks ago. the seen which was on
fringe, perhaps in chat rooms and on the internet, now surface and plug into the mainstream conversation to the point were mainstream politicians are closing muslims are being of this column, somehow not being capable of being loyal as americans, they might have inherent conflicts with their faces as far as their loyalty -- their faith as far as their loyalty. we thought we would assemble a panel of experts and take on some of these myths, shed light on some of these issues that have come up. i would introduce the panel and they will eat speak for a brief 10 to 15 minutes, and then we can go to questions and answers and have a real good conversation about some of the issues on people's minds. but all we did that, i remind people we are live on tape. if we could turn off cellphones and pagers, no interruptions
would be helpful. i want to introduce our panel is. our first panelist is the president of impact, the muslim public affairs council. they have chapters all over the country. he has been a champion for issues for the muslim american community for two decades. he is a fixture here in washington, working with the executive branch as well as on capitol hill. he would discuss issues related to basic overview of the role of muslims, their life in the united states, challenges, are the unique or different than every other day americans? then we have a professor of law at the university of richmond law school. she is the founder and chairman
of a muslim women's organization. we -- she can address issues with islam and the law. we have a lot of questions and its related to -- and myths related to sharia. a lot of people wanted to repeat wahhabism. i have to look it up when i was accused of it. the new dirty word is sharia. and she can address some of the issues and questions related to sharia. do muslims in fact want to impose sharia on everyone else? and the last as dr. james, -- james zogby. he has been working for over 30
in the trenches trying to empower americans of all backgrounds and faiths, particularly the arab-american community. his unique in that he is arab- american, but also irish and catholic. he has seen this movie before. he has an historical context. we will start with salam and proceed down. >> thank you and good morning. abouting to be talking the muslim-american community and islam, but tie it into the park 51 controversy, because there are a lot of questions that arise from the issue. first and foremost, the nomenclature of this particular controversy started out as the ground zero mosque controversy. by now, everyone in knowledge is
that the place is not at ground zero and it is not a mosque. it is a few blocks away, and it is a community center that was actually intended to develop interfaith understanding. that is important because of a lot of muslim-american institutions now are doing exactly that, reaching out to their fellow neighbors, to christians and jews in their local communities, and developing interfaith understandings and tackling issues such as poverty, homelessness, any kind of injustice, and trying to develop a better dialogue among the three ever hammock fates -- abrahamic faith, all rooted in abraham is the father of these three great religions. but the fact is that it was called to ground zero mosque and
it caused a lot of consternation. we have to distinguish between truth and fact. the truth is it is not on ground zero, it is not a mosque -- it is a community center. and the fact it was cult that has repeat that, it becomes reality and you have to deal with that reality. giving away from that controversy coming easy demonstration against mosques and moslems around the country. we have to be very concerned about americans about the burning the koran day on 9/11, in particular in gainesville, florida, where there will be to our religious leader who will sponsor burning the koran day. this is obviously a major issue for us, but as muslims but told
our congregations to ignore that, keep doing your good work, because this is what the koran tells you to do o. but as americans we should be very concerned about that. first and foremost, people need to understand, what is the koran? the koran is what the muslims consider a revelation from god, justice jesus is a work of god that we believe in, muhammed was given this revelation that his basic compelled to compiled in the car run today. but in the koran, there are stories about abraham, about this mail, isaac, and jacob, and about moses and the children of israel. we read during ramadan quite extensively about the struggle of the children of israel against the terrorists -- the
pharoahs. read about jesus and his mother mary. the biblical profits are also islam's prophets. and we take responsibility as muslims to present that information to people. we have as a result of this burning of the koran day, what we're telling muslims to ignore and if anyone is burning anything in your neighborhood, call the fire department because that is a fire hazard. obviously the images of that are even greater for americans. can you imagine in afghanistan and iraq images of americans earning the koran? how bad is now propaganda and recruiting material for al qaeda and other violent extremists?
and that-muslim sentiments in america is basically on mirror of anti-american sentiment on the global arena. as anti-muslim sentiment comes here -- spikes here in america, you can expect a spike of anti- american sentiment globally. piquancy experts talk about how this is undermining our efforts throughout the world and putting more americans in harm's way. i think this issue of islamaphobia is an american problem, not just a muslim problem. 70% of the american public have an unfavorable view or no view on islam. here i think the problem is that the extremists are able to tell their story more effectively
than the muslim-american community can tell its story. the muslim-american story still is not been told in terms of who we are, " we represent, how we work in american society. it is some guy in some cave in a faraway country talks about bombing innocent lives anywhere in any part of the world, if that tape is made, within minutes instantaneously you get that video played over and over again in all u.s. markets. yet we as muslim-americans, we talk about our efforts and we have a paper for you today called "building bridges" in terms of developing partnerships, we continue to do the work, but at several condemnation of terrorism throughout the years, even
before 9/11 -- that story is still not told. but in the broader sense, there ousa problem between religio nationalism and religious pluralism. when a few small groups of people exploit religion using its popularity to stir selfish interest of the few and create violence anarchy, chaos, and they exploit religion, and religion becomes something without justice. religious becomes justice leads to exploitation. they want got to serve them. they do not serve god. religious pluralism on the other hand is that we have the belief in one to hide and therefore we believe in the one human family. that means you have to support
human equality, and whether people believe in god or do not. human equality is critical to the notion to the belief in one god. there for cox will is one of racial and religious diversity. the koran says we have made aws.erent l therefore compete in doing good works. this is important for muslims to understand as for us to explain to other people. in terms of sharia, the professor will talk more about that. it simply means that the road or the way or the path to god is a general term, but one person makes an important statement about sharia.
he is a student and he says, when there is no justice, there is no sharia. if we talk about the sharia we see in the middle east, when there is oppression against women, oppression and violence against weak and vulnerable communities, that is not sharia for us and that is not what we want here in america. we will be the first to stand up against that type of exploitation. another great scholar says, where there is no security, there is no islam. where there is security, that is where islam is. america is the best place for us to observe the islam and we will work to ensure the constitutional rights of every american. thank you very much. [applause]
>> good morning. i did not intend to stand before you and stanford again talk about -- and talk about sharia. i would put you to sleep. i thought i would talk about american law and muslims in the united states, and if you have any questions about sharia, i would be more than happy to answer this. i gave a speech about the founding fathers awhile back. i went to monticello and lectin other places and look in the library congress for letters and so on, and i found a lot of interesting stuff along the way, not only from the founding bodice, but others in those days. i was very surprised to find out, for example, that on the literary level, there were plays
written about attempts to liberate muslim women who were oppressed in the harem and that places like that. there were also suspicions expressed about muslims. that there was an attempt a regime changed by the united states in tripoli, north africa. some called islam of false religion and the hum of false profits -- and mohammad of false prophet. it has been happening for a while. i do not want us to push anything under the rug. that's have an honest and help the discussion in a country which believes in the process of
law, in a country of laws and a country of due process. this is what protects all of us. it is not just about an islamic minority or a muslim minority, but all minorities. it is also about the conscience of the majority. another thing i developed while reading the history of this country, i walked along up the campus in of miami university to a historical society, and i found the that their leaders in the runtime suffered. they're not the only group that has suffered. jews, catholics, and i could name and not all the other minorities that have had it difficult kidding stabilized in this country. so i guess we all go through that. but as we mature in terms of our understanding of our constitution, the process will
become more dignified and less painful. i want listeners to understand that they are not single doubt. everyone has to go through this one way or the other. the other thing is, and i am talking to all is well, the founding fathers, after the insistence of a lot of religious groups who were christians an atheist, by the way, and other religions, they wrote the first amendment which has its origins in the bill of rights of virginia. and i am happy to say that because i live in virginia and i'm very proud of that past. but i am asking for is a double request. to reassert our commitment to the first amendment's. throughout history it has shown that it is a very valuable parts of what the united states is about.
it is one of the major attractions of the u.s. for immigrants to leave their country. they left their countries but leave them because they truly believe that in this country, they can have that free and dignified being that they have missed elsewhere. the supreme court threw out the years has again collaborated and amplified the basic principles of the first amendment. for example, chief justice rehnquist emphasize that political divisiveness alone cannot serve to invalidate otherwise permissible conduct. whatever we might feel about the person sitting next to us, they have rights, even if we politically degree -- disagree, that is the reason to behave in a way that infringes on those rights. furthermore, the first amendment states -- it does not
state but implies -- that the powers of the government can wreak actions only, and not opinions. it's wonderful that that is here and some of us would disagree on certain aspects of the discussion, but we are protected by the first amendment in doing that. one wonders about the situation recently, much misinformation about islam, and others will talk about it today. but i like to point out that misinformation does not only come from non-muslims. it also comes from muslims. many muslims themselves are misinformed about their religion. i feel that a major part of my responsibility in this country is to educate muslims about what that iran release says.
since i am a woman and i am committed to women's dignity and liberation, we at my organization run class is in which we teach muslim women, and in the future man, about their own religion. most of the women we teach our surprise that they have all this. there is a negative stereotypes about islam that goes around. it goes around even within the muslim community, because they do not see it as negative. they have misinformation about islam, but they do not understand that this holy book, this crime, has basically the principles of the first amendment in it. -- this koran as basically the principles of the first amendment in it. this is not anything new. it did not start with united
states. it started hundreds of years ago. it is not been as perfectly practice, and not perfectly practiced in the united states, but it was done in the historical era when no one else practiced it. but this long was tolerant -- when it islam was tolerant, he used it to develop society as opposed to fight progress, it's this long did that, how come we forgot all these important achievements and we went to an authoritarian structure, also understanding that has caused all lot of pain, not only for us in this country, but elsewhere. my message today is that we really need a serious conversation about islam. and by that, i include muslims
in this country and elsewhere. we need a serious conversation not based on the demagoguery of others telling us what they think islam is, but on a serious study on the text of the koran which shows that democracy is at the heart of islam for the concept of consultative approach, for the separation of power, could the election of head of state -- none of this we see today in some countries, which is why salam said the u.s. is the most congenial country to be in for islam, because a represents the principles that we believe in. so what we're calling the talk about islamic law, i would mention one verse in the koran which is para faced by
jefferson without reference to , but he owned one and i suppose that he read it. there is no compulsion in religion. that is the freedom of exercise, so that everyone is free to take what they believe in. he mentioned that in his encyclopedia. the koran also advocates that their word for the equitable word of other religions. communication, even if someone talks to you in a way that that is hostile, return the bad deed with a good one. ultimately this person who is unhappy with you will one day become your friend human beings are in the end good people.
if they understand that you are not out there to hurt them and your friendly, then they will come around and talk to you. i like to see a serious conversation about that in this country. i do not know where this came from. why is this been discussed in the united states as a threat? maybe you can enlighten me during the question and answer and i would be happy that answer? muslims have been living under the american laws since they came to the country, which is before the 1600's. much -- many think that muslims are recent visitors or immigrants but that is not true. i would like to end by quoting a first from the koran, chapter 14, verses 24 and 25. a good word is like that could
lead to read these words are firmly fixed and its branches reach up to the heaven. it brings forth its friends at all times by the will of the lord. let us try that all times for the good word. thank you. [applause] >> good morning. my daughter, mary margaret, used to tease me about 10 years ago when i was 55. she said, it must be fun being 55. you get to meet new people every day. she introduced me to her friend kelly one day and a couple of days later, kelly was over again, and i s -- and she said you met khalid. and i said, i did not think so. and she said, yes, dad, it was
two days ago. i get that feeling when i get this discussion. it seems every time there is a crisis, we have to start talking again about what it is all about and who are these people and what his religion is all about. at some point bank it will begin to dawn on us that this is something that we need to know and we ought to pay attention to. let's do it one more time. it was after september 11 that i was invited by bill clinton to in my view to a panel he had organized on a topic of identical to the one we had done to date. americans were shocked. people in new york in particular and they have a lot of questions they wanted answered. we recognize the importance of doing that, so what we did was to begin to talk about who muslim-americans were. what i did before i went is that i called a lot of friends to get anecdotes