tv Discussion on Moderate Islam CSPAN December 13, 2015 2:08pm-3:42pm EST
thoseetings between schools from all over israel. we are doing a lot in order to let them operate through the internet first of all. the macy we're all the same. actually we are dealing with the environment problem. it's not so that it goes into the mirror of differences between the communities about general ideas. they find themselves sitting altogether. i must say that some of the parents are refusing to let children go to meetings between the groups. especially when were talking about a jewish school and an arabic school in the state of israel. both schools in israel. see that theyhey
are the same. they have the same ability to analyze the issues that they are dealing with once they are in connection to the internet. after that they meet and they become friends. after that they are going to summer camps together. that would bring us to the understanding of every community from all over that is possible. ok, we are different. we upon flip between nations. ok, we have a real culture more. we really differences of opinions about how to worship god or be at peace. nevertheless we are one unit. one without the other is impossible. that has to start from the beginning, from high school, elementary school. mr. sachs: mr. president, you have to make it to capitol hill and we could continue with hours. mr. rivlin: i will return.
[laughter] it is a real pleasure to meet you. i have heard about the institute many times. i appreciate reports from your sessions. i was very proud and i'm very honored to be here and very happy. god bless all of you. thank you. [applause] mr. sachs: please remain seated by the president leaves. >> tomorrow, a panel at the atlantic council looks at a nuclear deal of pakistan. panelists include experts from the atlantic council, stimson center, and carnegie endowment for international peace. live coverage: 30 eastern on c-span3. -- at 3:30. posted to was in academics for a policy discussion on countering right allow -- radical ideology in extreme is a in islam and it
should be considered moderate or a form. this is about 90 minutes. >> good afternoon everybody. pleased to be here. i would like to begin on a rather provocative note. by suggesting to my good friend and sometime hero professor deja ni that he is in fact not a moderate. he is a reformer. that may or may not need to have to change the name of your movement. explain what i mean by the difference between these two ideas. moderate and reformists. and to do that i will start with a very brief video. it is a video i did in london,
england for the guardian newspaper. it's only about one minute long but it will give you a good foundation for what i'm about to say over the next you minutes. [video clip] ♪ moderate islam is not very modern today. they exhibit all the traits of orthodoxy, including dogma and fear. ist the are most afraid of the fear of busting out of group identity. and why do moderate muslims deny the central fact? they are steeped in group identity so that speaking out is selling out. i am not a broader muslim. i am a reformist. that means somebody recognizes -- contains versus
that encourages muslim into critical thinking instead of blind following. ok, so things are changing. i will explain what i mean by that in just a minute. -- explain the concept of the moderate muslim. i mentioned in my video that very often moderates are marked by defensiveness. defensiveness first and foremost about western imperialism. so much so that they are distracted from dealing with the imperialists within islam itself. the extremists. they study -- who study after study shows target and kill
muslims on far greater numbers than do for an imperial powers. hallmark ofs is one the moderate muslim. another hallmark is fear. fear of what? fear of busting out of group identity. is many i mean by that moderate muslims are prone to common people like me and people like professor dejani sellouts, uncles -- traiters, tom's, native informants precipitating the risk of speaking truth to power. of having the moral courage to do the right thing in the face of our own fears of being stigmatized. where does is fear and
defensiveness come from? i think it is cultural. it is not religious. containser of fact it many progressive passages about the need to display moral courage. one such passage says believers, conduct yourself with justice and bear true witness before god even if it be against yourself, your parents, where your family. when truth to your own there is injustice among your own. that is chapter four, verse 135. there is still another verse much more beautiful than this one that states, god does not change the condition of the people until they change what is inside themselves. that is chapter 13, verse 11.
i could go on but i give you just two examples of where the koran calls on us to be brave within our own tribe. so, the defensiveness and to the fear of many moderate muslims is not, i would argue religious, i would suggest it is cultural. what do i mean by that? i mean that within particularly arab culture there is a custom , known as honor and in particular, it refers to group honor. women, primarily, are the biggest victims of this as women are assigned the position of carrying the shame in the family. so that if a woman is accused of transgressing moral boundaries by, for example, being seen by a man whom she is not related to
or perhaps dating or, god forbid, dating somebody outside of the faith, she will be, in many parts of the world, accused of dishonoring the family and will pay a very heavy price for it. but i can assure you that men are also victims of group honor. in that, they too, are infantilized. they are made to be children. so that much less is expected of men in terms of maturity thing and is expected of women which means that many men under the umbrella of group honor can get away with all manner of crimes and of mistreatment of others simply because, you know, they are not the ones that bring shame to the family. it is women.
so, in different ways, made -- their choices are limited as to what they can do. and what they can stream of doing. this fear i talked about among moderate muslims comes from the idea that i must go along with the consensus in my group. , i am causing chaos. i'm causing division. that is among the worst cultural crimes that one can be accused of. but i mentioned that things are changing. you know, in this country, the
media and many policymakers continue to use the phrase "moderate muslims," "where are the moderates?" let me propose to you that moderates are not what we ought to be seeking. what we ought to be seeking and supporting are reformists. and now let me connect these two ideas of the moderate and the reformist. rob very kindly mentioned that a few years ago pbs commissioned a documentary based on my first book. the documentary is "faith without fear." pbs, in its wisdom, and i mean that quite sincerely, sent me and the star of the documentary, my mother, to detroit to do a screening among arab-americans.
my mother had no idea what was in store for her. i did. and in part i went because i was interested to see how my mother would handle the hostility. well, the hostility came, and my mother was shocked, but she was shocked by something more that happened afterwards. during the reception, during which pbs made copies of my book available free of charge, and, boy, were they snapped up. i have to believe that there was some huge bonfire in detroit that night. [laughter] irshad: out of the corner of her eye, my mother noticed that over the course of a two-hour reception, a group of young muslims was forming, and it got bigger and bigger. and after all of the tv cameras and all of the microphones left,
these young muslims approached me and my mother, and they said, "mrs. manji, thank you so much for supporting your daughter. it is so rare to see a muslim parent stand by his or her daughter as she speaks some very, very hard truths." and my mother diplomatically, graciously, but somewhat frustrated said to them, "well, thank you, but why didn't you say that when the cameras were here and when the radio microphones were here, so that other freedom-loving muslims could see that they are not alone?" and a number of these young people looked at each other sheepishly and one of them finally stepped forward, just a little bit, to say, "mrs. manji,
you don't understand. we live here. you and irshad get to leave two hours from now, but we stay in this community and we can't afford to be accused of dishonoring our families." this is america. these are children of the first amendment. and still the cultural pressure of group honor intimidated and silenced them from speaking their truths as budding reformist muslims. ultimately, this is why i suggest to you that professor dajani, as i mentioned, one of my heroes, is not a moderate. he takes risks. he takes risks that ruffle
feathers within his community. he is willing to put his life on the line for reconciliation. he is not defensive about the backlash that comes his way. quite the opposite. he seems to be extremely, if i can use that word, calm and levelheaded and philosophical about it. and what i would like to leave you with is this -- the good news is that the mohammed dajani's of the world, though they are rare, will be more and more populous as you see the next generation of muslims grow up. you know, not to recently -- not
too long ago, i did an hour debate on al jazeera about whether there is need for reform within islam. and afterwards, certainly i received hate mail. sure, i got vitriol. that's to be expected whenever you take a position on anything these days. but what i also got were love bombs, more than hate mail, love bombs from young muslims on twitter, on facebook. and here is a sign of progress, not a single death threat. sounds kooky to suggest that is progress, but on this issue, it is. i think what had happened was since 9/11, when many of the people who are now on twitter
were about this tall are now this tall. they have not internalized the defensiveness that their older brothers and sisters, that their parents and their aunts and uncles have. for them, open dialogue and honest debate are almost a given. and that is why i will go out on and predict that in my lifetime, however short or long it may be, we will see a visible movement for gay and lesbian dignity among the new generation of muslims. we will see imams and not just lay muslims arguing for the full and unconditional equality of women. and we will see audible calls
for respect of religious minorities within islam. all of which are supportable within the koran. the question is not about religious reform as such. the question is about cultural reform. and as martin luther king, jr., himself came to understand, cultural reform takes a very long time. if a country like the united states, born of the enlightenment, of scientific rationality and individual liberty, needed more than 200 years to seriously tackle legislated segregation, surely we can give some of that time to muslims to tackle our versions of segregation as well.
thank you very much. [applause] mohammed: thank you. thank you very much, and that was very touching, irshad. thanks, robert, for actually having opened this discussion. i think of myself more as a moderate rather than a reformist. and the reason is that the meaning of reform is to go back to the original, and i don't want to go back to the original. i don't want to go back to the state of affairs that was. i want to go to the state of
affairs that is. i want to move on from the past to the future. and that's why i would like to call myself a moderate rather than a reformist, and i hope that irshad will follow my road or my path, rather than lead me to her path. and maybe this way, we can be able to have this dialogue. actually, because i believe that moderation is balance, balance is justice, and justice is humanity. and this is my philosophy. this is my religion. so, basically, while i myself
believe that islam, christianity, and judaism are religions of moderation, reconciliation, and peace, and religion is an essential part of the human pursuit for felicity and security, and thus it is part of the solution, someone else may argue that religion promotes extremism, and thus it is part of the problem. who is right? who is wrong? can both be right? where you stand depends on where you sit. where i see hope, you may see despair. where i read love, you may read where you find conflict, i discover peace. so, it is like the nine blind people who have asked to describe an elephant, and each actually touched the elephant, then gave their own description, so they came with different
answers. with the point is that they are all wrong and they are all -- but the point is that they are all wrong and they are all right. we can be both right and wrong depending on where we are. this is the middle part, the gray zone that we have. a hindu knocks on the door of his muslim neighbor and asks if he could borrow a copy of the koran. of course, said the muslim, let me get you a copy from my library. a week later, the hindu returns. "thanks so much," he said. "fascinating book. but i wonder, could you give me a copy of the other koran?" "but you're holding it," responded the muslim. "which do you mean?" "the one muslims practice." similarly, i saw islam without muslims and muslims without
islam. this applies to other religions that we can look to. an extremist jew and see he is a jew without judaism. an extremist christian, and we can see him as a christian without christianity. and in this way, i believe that the problem is in whether we are muslims, christians, or jews, what divides us is how we look at the text, how we read the text, what we do about the text. so, what the holy books say and what people understand, interpret, and claim are often totally different things.
when reading the holy books, you may discover freedoms in the same line in which another may see strictures. what you see depends on what you're looking for. as english poet william blake once wrote, "both read the bible day and night, but thou read black while i read white." extremists read the holy books with a closed mind. they read it selectively, taking verses out of context or misinterpreting verses to meet their own needs, agendas, views. that's why extremists exist in all religions. we don't see things the way they are. we see them the way we are. and in this way, this is what reflects -- differentiates
between an extremist and the moderate. the question is that all religions, whether muslim, christianity, judaism, hinduism, whatever religion you seek -- all religions share the moral values of moderation, peace, love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, tolerance, charity, justice, doing good, and forbidding evil. this is the whole idea of the golden rule, present in all religions. due to others as you want them to do to you -- do to others as you want them to do to you. when we treat others kindly, fairly, and lovingly, we are truly living torah. we seek refuge in the cross. the koran also says that there may spring from among you a community who would invite to goodness and enjoin right conduct and forbidding evil.
one of my favorite verses in the koran. also, religions call for peace, whether it is christianity, judaism, or islam. here, i believe that -- what my philosophy is is to try to seek in the interface of all religion a medium value, and this value is moderation. so this is where we would all stand. this is -- if plato -- plato wrote about moderation, aristotle wrote about the golden mean, buddha wrote about the middle way. steven covey's book about "the third alternative." the wasatia, which talks about the straight path. they are all different expressions reminding of moderation as a human core
virtue. we seek moderation. in judaism, in christianity. we find it also in islam. to give an example in judaism, when the torah -- the talmud says the torah may be likened to two paths -- so, basically, it is walking in the middle, because you are protected by the peripheries. if you walked in the peripheries, you stand to fall into corruption and evil, whereas the middle road can help by making that balance. so, basically, we find moderation also in christianity
and in baha'ism, judaism, in all religions. today i want to focus on moderation in islam, because there are those who are saying that there is no moderation in islam. i'm not here to defend islam. islam has god to defend it. i am trying to seek this middle value that we have. some -- the core of moderation in islam lies in two verses. one, we have created you a temperate nation, a balanced nation. this is two verses. this is verse 143, and it comes exactly in the middle.
"wasatia" means "middle" lnguistically. religiously, it means "center." this verse is preceded by another verse. there is the foundation, built on three columns or three bricks. it's the idea that -- first, it is preceded by verse 142. "he guides whom he wills to a straight path," a path to deliver it was. "and thus we created you a moderate nation," which builds
on the golden rule. and then we walk on to justice. justice is the core. the verse itself talks about being a witness. to be a witness, you have to be truthful. you have to be honest and truthful to be able to be a witness. maybe some are not, but this is the characteristics of a supposed witness. here, we have the road taking us to the middle part that will lead us to justice, and in justice, we find humanity. this is the middle, the golden mean within islam, in terms of moderation. slam, in terms of moderation. a muslim moderate adopts an islamic understanding of the koran that is rational, progressive, and humanistic, which can only be gained through accepting the koran as the only
divine authority. he combines rationality, faith, and science in order to have a better comprehension of islam. what are the characteristics of such a moderate? a moderate believes in doing what is right, because this is what the koran says, and this is what all other books say. doing what is right is the core essence of what being a moderate -- is the core essence of being a moderate. the question is what is right and how do you know you are doing what is right. the answer is found in the holy books. -- in surah,h verse 3 and 4. so, actually, the holy books are
the guiding light for a moderate. so, basically, a muslim moderate believes in diversity and pluralism, because this is what the koran says. have made youwe into various nations and tribes." multi-religious, multilanguage. lord pleased, he would have made one nation." basically, he had created us in , in tongues and colors. so, indeed, you do not guide whom you love. god will guide. a muslim moderate believes jihad is the spiritual trouble -- struggled to rid oneself of evil
and sin, and not struggle against non-muslims or a war waged to convert non-muslims, since it is god who guides. i'm not supposed to be a preacher. it is god who guides us rather than people. and so, the best jihad is the word of truth before the tyrannical despot. we tend to see that whoever is guided is guided for himself. and a moderate believes in religious freedom, because the koran says "there shall be no compulsion in religion." "this is the truth from your lord. let him who will believe in it it."im who deny deny and god on judgment day will
judge where we differ. i'm not here to judge you, whether you believe what i believe or do not believe what i believe. this is god's will. it is god on judgment day that will decide on that in which we differ. in more than one verse, we hear the echoes. "i will judge between you concerning that in which you differ." so, if a christian believes in jesus, son of god, and i believe as a muslim, jesus is a profit, it is not my place to the crowd -- to tell the christian he is wrong. god will divide between us on judgment day. that's why i seek the values that are common and reject the values in which we differ. because those other values are not the reason why i should be in conflict with the others here on this earth. that's why a muslim moderate does not believe in death
penalty for converts, for agnostics, for nonbelievers, or at best it's -- or apostates. ifause the koran says someone does not believe in god, his account is only with the lord. it is not up to me to kill him. it also believes in the equality of sexes, because god has created men and women from the same soul. is that's why it is not man preferable to woman. i do not believe women should stay at home or be uneducated. i also do not believe as a moderate -- i also believe as a moderate that women have the right and freedom to wear and learn what they desire. a moderate does not believe feminism undermines the islamic way of life.
aisha, the third wife of the profit, was a champ and -- of was a champion of women's rights. i do not believe the female gentlemen duration -- female genital mutilation is an islamic tradition. it is not mentioned in the koran. also, a moderate does not believe in stoning an adulterous woman, since there is no correct -- no mention in the corona of stoning anyone. -- no mention in stoning anyone. the guilty women to houses until death takes them or allah ordains for them another way." there is a verse that calls for flogging, but i would like to
look at this one, which does not. moderate does not believe in suicide bombing against civilian targets. condemns committing suicide or taking the lives of innocent persons. it does not believe in punishment for lesbians or homosexuals since sex preference is not a sin and there is no sanction penalty in the koran. the koran is full of verses which talk about the children of israel. "remember that i have exalted you above the nations." god'srate believes in messengers, without discrimination between any of them, because the koran says god does not discriminate between any of them. a moderate does not believe all
the ahadith are the authentic sayings of the prophet and accepts only those in harmony and consistent -- and that are consistent with the koran. he does not believe that the koran abrogates early holy scriptures. he believes in all holy books and teaches his children the wisdom contained in them. actually, i tend to find that a lot of what we are being told -- taught as children, islamic wisdom, has been taken from jewish wisdom. so, basically, that's why i think that our children should be taught christian wisdom, jewish wisdom, muslim w for othern also religions. there is a lot of wisdom we can learn. and the wisdom of gandhi, which says religions are different roads emerging to the same
point. what does it matter that we take different roads so long as we reach the same goal? notrates fight evil by remaining by standards -- remained bystanders. a standup to the extremists -- they stand up to extremists committing terror and violence in the name of god and strive to spread the values of moderation, reconciliation, tolerance, and coexistence. an open mind leads to moderation. moderation leads to reconciliation. reconciliation leads to peace. peace leads to democracy. democracy leads to stability, security, and prosperity. this is the model of moderation. so, it leads us -- we have to have an open mind to be able to be moderate, and in this way
it leads to security event you a. even a christian, now today, when he says that muslims should not be part of this community or should not come here, has a fear that is actually telling him that an extremist will not he is eradicated by waging war of hate , but by having muslim and islam out lied to conquer fear by promoting moderation and reconciliation in the midst of crisis and conflict. when moderates keep silent, extremists claim they are right. a bystander.e i speak to an ole fear and to break the wall of silence. i am a moderate.
>> at good. thank you very much. pose a couple of questions. first, now that you have heard how mohammed has explained his view of moderation, i will just mention a couple of words in his definition. rational, progressive, humanistic, believer of diversity, pluralism, a quality. is this how you view moderation? where does that stand between moderation and reformism? are we talking about definitions? >> first of all, i do not see this as a semantic debate. i see this as a practical discussion about reality. when professor talked about moderation it with the errors that you just gave us, i'd buy
it. i love it. i think it is wonderful. and, in theory, therefore, in theory -- i would be a moderate. moderateeality is that they do not behave in weight you have just described. this is a vision, professor, that you have a nuncio before all of us. it is a beautiful vision and i believe we will get there is a critical mass of muslims. we will get there. but we are not there precisely inause moderates do not act pluralistic ways. in ways that humanize all kinds of people. in ways that give equal value and equal treatment to the lives of people other they end their own group.
i think what this comes down to a something that's martin luther king, junior, pointed out when he was having to encounter tepid liberals in the south. that in times of moral crisis, moderation is a copout. and, what he meant was that when a system of belief that has the andntial to be wise tolerant and mature, when that system of belief has become so opposite ofo be the what it was meant to be, then being moderate in the way that you described well not swing it the pendulum back to wisdom and
maturity and health. rather, one has to be what he called radical. what i would call reformist. this tohe was saying those in the united states south in agreement with him that segregation, segregation racially, was wrong. but rather they and all of these protests and demonstrations and calls for justice now, they wanted to take it slowly. -- moderate supplanted to the moderates wanted to be incremental in ending segregation. martin luther king pointed out that the impact of injustice is not incremental.
it is heavy. it is urgent. that is why we have to take a more -- again, what he called radical approach to ending racial segregation. i would argue that in the same vein, we as muslims need to take a reformist approach to ending the injustices that we see happening in the name of our religion. in, when we do, we will not get to a point of utopia. we will get to a point of moderation. describing the process. the process of reform. you are describing, in my view, the destination. the destination is, indeed, a humanistic, kind, loving, compassionate, merciful islam. but we are not going to get
doing actsy by not of terror. we're going to get there by aanding up, by vocalizing pluralistic vision of islam, and this is key, by taking the backlash that you have taken and i have taken from our peers and our elders and sometimes our own families. it, that is what stops most moderates from becoming, in their hearts, though they may be reformers, from becoming those reformers. the cousin is the fear of busting out of groupthink and out of dogma. the personal consequence and cost that it takes. that is why we see, behind moderatesrs, many
saying the kinds of things you are saying, but in public they are on script. they will condemn israel. they will condemn america. they will condemn india for kashmir and all sorts of others. are loath to point to even one finger at ourselves as muslims. in own up to the fact that we, as muslims, are responsible. for what is happening in the name of our faith today. again, i want to emphasize this is changing. in, you know, anybody who follow thatl media will attest young people, young muslims today, do not use the word moderate to describe themselves. they are increasingly using the our ward. d. the r wor reform.
so i think, professor, those using the word reform to describe ourselves, we are wanting to get to your destination, but like martin luther king, junior, we do not believe that an absence of tension will get us there. we have to work and create the construct of tension to achieve the presence of justice. robert: lahore,, powerful argument. that to achieve this goal of moderation you have to be a nadja tator. almost radical. the term that you used from reformist.er king's does one also have to be radical, reformist, to achieve the objectives you outlined? mohammed: it when i was reading the first book, i came across a
story that she has mentioned in which she talks about her being iset and as president, shoe young in high school, she was elected president of the class. and then she brought these photos of ayatollah khomeini and put them there. and the supervisor came and saw them and said, you should put them down. have not appropriate to them. so, she said, why? when iremember that's was also elected president of the american university in president of the student council, i also brought to a picture of jake of era, chen, and put it in -- of lenin, and the
president saw them and asked me to put them down. i asked the same question, why? but we are moved on from there. now she mentions martin luther .ing, who is also my hero along with gandhi. i put down the pictures of che g uevera and put up the picture of martin luther king and gandhi. however, i also believe in the , jews of this rabbi who came to him regarding a festering conflict between them and when the first said his side more right,, it was and when the second told his side of the story, he said, you are also right. and then when they left, the wife looked at him and said, but
rabbi how can they both be right? and the rabbi said wisely, you are also right. [laughter] and then one rabbi explained to it is she was upset, because usually the rabbi gets money from the one who loses. noif both wins, there is money there. so that is why she was somewhat upset. anyway, the point is, i believe worked for south africa might not work here. might not work. -- we should see things as they are and then we should learn from other experiences. but we should not copy them because they might not work. for instant, there is a lot of israelout boycotting because of what happened for
south africa. which i believe is wrong because i think that we should boycott givingwho are anti- palestinian rights. or who arere against pro-occupation. for those who do not believe in collaboration or coexistence. you do not boycott the whole entity, those who are supporting the cause and to those who are against the cause. basically, what worked for south africa will not work in our case, in israel and palestine. s.at is why i am against bd that is why a believed i had clogged is the answer. maybe that was the -- that is why i believe dialogue is the answer in our case.
that to iin the sense believe that in trying to reach out to the other, we need to bring the good in the other. withis what i am against trump and his speeches where he is trying, like mccarthy before him, he is trying to bring the evil in the individual. he is not trying to bring the good. in his appeal, he might make -- disaster.ring -- actually, this is what happened in rwanda. cause theio protest whole mess occur of hundreds of thousands of people within four months. this is what happened in germany in the holocaust. it was actually the incitement, the continued incitement against
jews that cause, eventually, to erupt into the holocaust. the holocaust did not happen in a vacuum. similarly, the rwandan massacres to not happen in a vacuum. in this way, we have to be very careful about what we say and what we do. that is why i believe in balance. i believe if we adopt balance and whatever we do, whatever we say, then we will be able to other and be the able to resolve conflicts within a balanced view. leeing ourselves, like harper's and in the novel, "to to whereckingbird," the skin of the other and see the point of view of the other. that is why i believe the israeli-palestinian conflict will be resolve one we do that.
that is my hope. that is why when people ask me, are you optimistic or pessimistic, why aren't you when you see what is happening, why are you still optimistic? i see you are looking at the present. i am viewing the future. that is why a remain optimistic and that is what i hope will happen in dealing with this conflict. that is why a remain moderate. just add quickly, i want to echo and applaud the professors condemnation of latesttrump's statements. there will be more, i am sure. -- banningng muslims incoming muslims from the united states. i recognize that to and calling suggesting that moderation, and times of moral crisis, will not solve the moral
crisis. i realize that my statement could be misconstrued as meaning that in moderation is the better approach. deration is the better approach, and therefore trumpian moderation is fine. that is not the case. back to martin luther king for a moment, one of his informal teachers, someone from whom he learned, was able -- was a woman by the name of lillian smith. a white woman from the united states itself. first of all, the fact she was a woman, defectors white, and she taught him how to stanford's rights as a lack man, puts a lie to the politics of identity. a tangent.that as regardless of our skin color,
gender, sexuality, nationality, able to put ourselves in the shoes of the other. we are able to empathize regardless of the identity we carry. martin smith taught luther king, among other things, that there is a difference between a destructive extremist and take constructive extremist. -- and all shet meant by constructive extremist was somebody who, like professor dish on a, was willing to speak truth to the power of society to change andds offer a constructive way for how to get to that change. so, even calling somebody like that an extremist in today's context would sound scary and misleading. but what she was pointing out is
that you have the choice of silence or you have the choice of becoming vocal. and if you become vocal, make no mistake, you will be deemed and many moderates, and just as i have been likened to osama bin laden by many moderates. i have been told i am the liberal version of osama bin laden, which makes me wonder, when was the last time i ordered lanes into buildings. you know, -- i ordered airplanes into buildings. you know, when we talk about change and positive change in articular, moderation is destination is both beautiful and an islamic. it is a process and a means it is what lillian smith called
walking like a chicken down the middle of the road and being won over by vehicles coming from both sides. you have to stand for something. again,is is why, professor, with every shred of respect that i can muster, i wholeheartedly embrace your point that moderation is what we , but i suggest to you that in order to get there we need tension. we need people to get out of their comfort sounds and begin thinking and engaging. to be an uglyve engagement, but it does have to be engagement. in most people will not engage and lust they are somehow riled up to do so. -- and some people will not engage unless they are somehow
wild up to do so. up to do so.iled they are exchanging platitudes about love and common ground, but they are not challenging what it is in our own believe system that is different from the others and why. in whether we need to change ourselves in order to get to that point of social cohesion and coexistence. so, tension is key. but it can be a creative tension , not a destructive one. mohammad: i believe in interfaith dialogue because i have seen there is a log of ignorance about the other. we as muslims do not know much about christianity and judaism.
christians do not know much about islam. i was at the jewish university couple years ago, a seminar about anti-semitism. i was the only arab or palestinian are muslim at that meeting in which he was arguing koran was anti-somatic. he was bringing versus saying that the koran describes muslims so jews as pigs and apes and i did notked, because think the koran does that. i had not, at that time, read the koran. , when it was my turn, i actually challenged him, saying that i do not believe the crown does that. and so he got upset, lefty room. he left. but then he came back.
he went to his office, to get the koran, went and bought the copy from the store and came back and said, may i read to you the versus? in t read two verses which said --t it god -- that said god god punished the sabbath breakers by making them into apes and monkeys and pigs. swine or something. and so i said, but this is not about jews. this is about god punishing sabbath breakers. is punish. breaker it is a punishment, not about the jews as a religion. there are many verses there that are also misunderstood. so basically he came and sat next to me and i whispered to him, i hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
but the point, my point, is that interfaith dialogue helps to clear the air, helps to actually explain. helps us understand. and, that is where i favor or support interfaith dialogue. average: let me ask you about a different grenade you put into the conversation earlier. about culture. suggested if i understood you correctly, that the problem we are focusing on is deeply connected to culture, not religion. that this has a lot to do with the arab culture, not so much how one reads the holy books or what is in the koran, but culture. thenwant to ask you, and
ask you, mohammed, if it is culture so much, why not focus on culture? why focus on islam? why not take on arab culture question mark into to you, mohammed, is this right? is this really not so much a problem of how we interpret the holy books, but this is arab culture. this is a problem that a slim at it to the 300 million arabs in this world, not the 1.345 muslims of this world. it is a particularly arab problem? ad: first of all, i want to contest the premise of the question you asked. that it is limited to 300 orlion not the one point to 1.3 billion muslims. the problem we are facing is that arab college has colonized the faith of islam. this is a problem
for all -- the arab culture has colonized the faith of islam. so this is a problem for all. even indonesia, once a haven of pluralism and tolerance, has, in recent years, become the of,pient, the reservoir, you know, billions of dollars of the tro-dollars from the arabian then saliva. llars from the arabian insula. especially where wealthy heir of tourists go. women and those parts of indonesia are now forced to wear a --. ae point is there is colonization happening, but moderates do not speak about arab culture colonization of
islam, they speak only about american or israeli or sometimes a indian colonization of what are considered muslim lands. why, youis, again, know, moderation in theory is a beautiful thing, but in practice is actually a very narrow and reclaimingroach to the better angels of islam. not, then, tackle culture and set of religion? that is precisely what i do it my work. but then, why the trouble with islam instead of the trouble with arab culture? well, in part as muslims ourselves have an twine to arab the practice of
islam. so often muslim women outside of the middle east properd that the only way of presenting herself as a muslim woman is to wear a pre-islam medicare arab garment jab and sometimes a veil. so, at the end of the day, we have to separate culture from religion and then, in doing so, take the best of both. robert: ok. mohammed? mohammed: in the culture, in a sense is that arab culture or is another? the arabs have the problem of islam because of the fact that islam, the koran, is in arabic. so they want to apply the
language, and as a result they impose their terminology or understanding or understanding of the crown. the problem is that -- or understanding of the koran. the problem is extremism and moderation. you were talking about what has happened in these countries regarding imposing. i think this is related to the extremist of the reformers, such different types. try to impose this extremism. it has nothing to do with being arab or being within the arab culture. university, a professor
tells students who are poor, unless you wear this fail you will not get a scholarship. so the scholarship is linked to what you wear. il,unless you wear this ve you will not get the scholarship. they have shifted because there is a scholarship, not because it is what they want to wear. what because of the family, or the girls are doing it because the others are doing it, the oppression. i would say that i do not know if it is an honor culture. it is a backward culture. it is a traditional culture, yes. but arab? i do not think so. i would not put it on there because it is within the other culture, you would find those also extremely modern as to have studied in the west or who are promoting values that are taken
from the west or believed in the west. robert: ok. let's open the floor to questions. a fascinating exchange. please feel free to identify yourselves when i call on you. try to keep your question brief. we will start over here. >> greeting. have issue with professor dajani's words because it is not uncommon to take words out of the koran and say this means this and so on. it is wonderful, but not practical because in reality you can feel a lot of other ideas
from extremists who emphasize ,he radical part of the koran the anti-democratic parts of the koran, and the ayatollah koran and the part against women or other people. basically, it is not a good idea to do the literal reading of say islam isr to moderate. it does not work. it has not worked so far. i think the better idea, maybe, is to take a page from the christian reformation. although i agree with the professor that each culture is different and all that. but what happened in christian reformation, they distanced themselves from the literal reading of the text. of intention. in islam, it is 700 years ago, the ideas. to berpose of which was
the intention of the law-given. not the word of the law-giver. robert: can we ever, by focusing on the literal reading, reach the goal you want to attain or do we have to transcend bad into -- transcend that into a higher level of trying to understand the intention. mohammed: the intention is humanity, the good of humanity. readingy, if you are the koran with that intention, you will read a verse that will say cut the hand of the thief a hand then you will miss that it says, but if he repents, then god is forgiving. so basically, if you want to take the first part and cut his hand, or you want to take that part figuratively speaking and say, how do i cut it not by
really cutting, or most people would be handicapped. as a result, it would be a problem in society. that by teaching him a profession. in this way, i cut his hand. basically, it is whether you read that verse with a human eye, with a human heart, or read that you read it with the heart of stone. in this way, you can cut the hand or do whatever you want. and that is what i believe the difference between the moderate and the extremist. the extremist read it with a -- the extremist read it with a heart of stone. the moderate reads it with a heart of flesh. so basically, that is what the koran is all about. that is what islam is all about. that is what all religion is all about. had: let me admit the
professor is talking about his interpretation. and yet, if we look at the koran literally, you know, one of the things i have been so surprised over the years, and researching and studying the koran, is that it does differ from the bible. both the old and new testaments in significant ways. one of those ways is, as i mentioned in the guardian video, the koran, taken literally, contains three times as many verses calling on muslims to and analyze and reflect and re-thinker rather than monfils submit. and so on that basis alone, if more muslims,many took seriously the very book that they claim to be inspired by, we would see the kind of ajaniior that professor d
is talking about. instead what we get from many thingse muslims is these like, if you kill a human being, ofis like killing all mankind. sorry, that is not what it says. it's as if you kill a human being, it is like killing all of mankind unless you're killing that human being as punishment or other villainy in the land. in other words, if you consider a american boots on the ground in a muslim land as being that clause,n within that passage of the aran, gives the extremist loophole. give us the extremist and escape hatch. and so, once again, you know, sanitizinglot of going on and what the cron says.
says. any person who reads the koran and seeks to be co-hand about it will be forced to choose. i cherry pick. cherry pick. i would argue with the greatest of respect, that professor dajan i cherry picks. beingestion is not who is true to the koran. the koran is an incredibly complicated document. the question is who is being honest about their selectivity theyo what end are selecting. i am selecting in order to bring angels of islam. in, if that forces me to cherry tick, i plead guilty. -- and, if that forces me to
i plead guilty. mohammed, it depends on how you -- mohammed: it depends on how you pick. lord'sse is like the prayer. seven verses. the last verses say, guide as to the right path, not the path of those whom you have west. not those whom with you are angry. when i learned that, i thought those who were blessed were pious. god was angry with those who do not believe in him. between. in the hypocrites. now it is being translated or arerpreted to say blessed the muslims. god is angry with the jews. the christians. same thing with the verse. we have created a moderate
nation. a middle ground nation. and a word is interpreted to be moderate, the radicals interpreted to mean there is no middle ground in islam. you are either right or wrong. it, this verse means that jews who areetween madeets and christians who their profit a god. so you must go beyond cherry picking and go into the text itself and try to misinterpret them put down interpretation into the text in order to make it look like a clash of civilization. islam is better than others.
the koran meant islam to include christianity and judaism because it meant believing in god and worshiping god. surrendering to god. the radicals would say no. islam means we have to erase all other religions were all other religions have to convert to become muslims. they are playing with the text much more. are islamat they cherry-picking, but also more dangerous as the interpretation. >> i am formally with the defense department. issues in strategic the battle of ideas in the air about world. my question to you, and there is
a lot of debate and controversy, most of the audience here is not muslim. i hear about interpretation of the koran not being muslim, it is interesting. fori could see an argument it and against people like me and governments that are not muslim, so to speak, not involving themselves in this discussion. it has to come from the muslim world. a good friend of mine who is a archbishop and express cappelli this has to bed -- he was an archbishop in and plan church said this has to be muslim. what role can the non-muslim world play in the debate you are both deeply involved in? not only in terms of non-muslims in general, i mean government. i mean think tanks like the washington institute, other think tanks and so on. what role should non-muslims play in the debate you are both,
frankly, risking your lives in what you are doing. love it: good question. -- robert: good question. myhad: i mentioned in informal -- formal remarks that supporting dissidents within the muslim world is key. to two things. one to their survival, and two, bringing to this part of the world and interpretations of islam that typically media will not offer. it is through the support of ofse with dissenting points view that we will ultimately, i think, understand there is truly diversity within the world of islam.
and, it is not like muslims understand us yet. many reforms, particularly of a certain generation. i am talking about elders. to theto believe that new generation has a different point of view are different interpretations and many, as i mentioned in my story about the kids in detroit, are afraid to fork their interpretations fear of being stigmatized and ostracized and their families, more to the point, being pilloried for doing so. so, by bringing to this part of the world those voices that offers something fresh and different and giving them places to do their scholarship, giving them platforms to express themselves and creating, at ,niversities and other places even hospitals, for example, as
muslim chaplains, reformist muslim chaplains, creating positions for them to begin to engage conversations and engage in conversations with muslims and non-muslims, i believe it is the kind of soft power that america, you know, has the genius and the resources to, you know, to offer -- too often to the world. i might add, by the way, it would not hurt to bring some reformist with chaplains to prisons as well. robert: thank you. that role still non-muslims play? see three entities. government, civil society, think tanks. believe it isi
the role of governments really to put a lid on extremism islamophobia, is anti-semitism, whatever type. the government should actually not allow this because it poisons the environment. then, there are the think tanks, whose role is to be a forum for such a dialogue in order to build bridges between civilizations and religions and communities. and then there is the civil society, which should actually, within the community, try to be open to various religions. that is why we are starting in -- to openouse that
it for christians, muslims, jews, whatever, to do entities there. in berlin there is a mosque, church, synagogue being built where people can go and pray. that i believe is very important in order to build ridges between the communities to help them to understandand this is what america's all about. multiculturalism. multi-pluralism. in this way, what we need to do is not look at islam is the enemy but as extremists within islam. so many incidents have happened before what happened in san bernardino, when not committed to muslims, but i christians walking into a church and killing. oh, if it is a christian is a murder. the first time it happened when a muslim did it, that it is islam and the religion.
so, rather they ana it is an extremist, similar things have been done before. people are being, instead of looking at the problem about 50,000-100,000 as the enemy who are the extremists within islam, they want to portray islam, which has 1.6 billion, as the enemy. in set of taking islam as an ally and order to fight this war of extremism and terrorism, so this war of enmity and hatred, they want to make islam as part of that. so that pleases people like ice is very much because they claim they represent islam when they do not. isis very much because they claim they represent islam one they do not. that is part of the big problem
we are facing and that is why any statements like trump and al hopefuls arei not helpful, because they are bringing the evil in the people rather than the good. : i think mohammed and i agree on far more than might have ran suggested -- and suggested this afternoon. suggested this afternoon. the reason i can remain a muslim with integrity is this. we as muslims are to worship one god. pointed -- not self-appointed ambassadors. it is god who guides us, not people. worship onere to god and not self-appointed ambassadors.
to believe as if we -- behave as if we have a monopoly on truth and values. it is a spiritual duty for muslims to help build societies in which we can disagree with one another in peace and with civility. because anything less means that somebody is playing god. and so here is the delicious, perhaps paradoxical bottom line. us toping one god obliges defend human liberty. maybe that makes me a moderate. maybe that makes me a reformer. but what i do know is that it makes me a friend and admirer of mohammed dajani. mohammed: and me the same. get anyit does not better than that. this is fascinating. i am c-span takes you on the road the
white house. speeches, rallies, and he and greens. we are taking your comments on twitter, facebook, and by phone. every campaign event we cover is on our website. c-span.org. newere are the results of a bloomberg politics iowa des moines register poll. a senator ted cruz on top, the choice of 31% of those likely to attend the iowa caucuses. 21%ld trump is second with and carson in third place, and rounding out the top five are -- floridater senator marco rubio and jeb bush. kentucky senator rand paul all the 3%. -- 2% ofch, t percent
those cold. jim gilmore, lindsey graham, and george pataki at 0%. be iowa caucuses are sent to held on february 1, 2016. republican presidential candidate senator ted cruz from texas says the next president must keep america safe at home u.s. leadership globally. the texas senator spoke at the heritage foundation on thursday on terrorism and national security. this is over an hour. [applause] >> it's my honor to introduce senator cruz and senator cruz did say he'd be available to take some questions at the end of his remarks so what we will do is when he's finished he will
come back up if you have a rate rate -- question measure hand and i will recognize you and do me a favor and wait for the microphones everyone can have hear you and state your name and affiliation. it would be awesome. senator ted cruz in the great state of texas serves on the committee of commerce science transportation armed services judiciary joint economic committee and the committee on rules before he was elected united states senator received national acclaim as the solicitor general of texas the state's chief law enforcement officer. he served under general greg abbott in the youngest solicitor general and the longest-serving in texas in on the first hispanic solicitor general of texas. he spent five years as a partner in the nation's largest law firm where he led the firm's u.s. supreme court and appellate litigation practice. he felt that more than 80 court briefs and argue 43 oral arguments including nine before
the u.s. supreme court. antoine thousand four and 2009 an adjunct professor at the university of texas law school and prior to that he served as director of policy planning at the federal trade commission and associate deputy general of the department of justice and domestic policy adviser of the 2008 was cheney campaign. he graduated with honors from princeton university and high honors from harvard law school and work for chief justice william rehnquist on the u.s. supreme court. please join me in welcoming senator cruz. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you ever one for coming out this morning. it's great to be with so many good friends at heritage. heritage is such a jewel in this
country such a font of ideas and creative thinking and energy, energy that i believe will change the direction of this country. it's also particularly fitting that we are here today and in just a few months we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of ronald reagan's most important speeches , a speech that he gave right here at this institution. initiating an endowment that led to so much good in reagan's times and our own. at that speech reagan discussed the present challenges including the threat of terrorist and in particular he talked about the dash that the u.s. air force had just sent colonel gadhafi and libya encouraging him to give up terrorism. the corrective came in the form of a military check