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tv   Anti- Semitism and Muslim Supremacy Discussion at Steamboat Freedom...  CSPAN  September 9, 2019 3:45am-4:30am EDT

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yes. -- on the >> watch our live coverage for the 9/11 memorial plaza. the moment of silence. the reading of the names and the ringing of the bell. a replaying ceremony at the 911 memorial. on c-span, c-span 3. and online at or listen on the c-span free span radio app. a conversation now on how the muslim and
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supremacy discussion. this is a 45-minute event. role of government in today's society, but i think the one thing that we all do agree on is that the government's most important responsibility is protecting its citizens from all threats both foreign and domestic. and we've seen a rise in anti-semitism, in radical islamic terror as well as domestic terror. so it has only gotten harder over the years for the government to take care of this very important
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responsibility. but luckily we have two really great panelists with us here today to help break this down. first, the cofounder of the muslim reform movement. she's dedicated her life to promoting peace and human rights and women's rights within the muslim community. she has a very illustrious esume, including being a reporter for the wall street journal. as well as teaching at my alma mater georgetown university. our second panelist who was actually joining us via skype is sara carter. she is an award-winning investigative journalist. she has written for the washington examiner on the washington times but now she ublishes -- her original reporting on her own website she is covered everything from the wars in afghanistan and iraq to security crisis on our southern border. please give a big round of applause for our wonderful
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panelists. [applause] so, i think if anyone knows how to keep america safe, which is the topic of this panel, it is definitely these two. i'd like to start with something that has always been important o me because i was seven years old when the september 11 terror attacks occurred. it is really one of the first big news events and the united states that i remember and was really affected by. so, for the vast majority of my life we have been fighting hese wars against radical islamic terror in afghanistan and iraq . of course, there have been attempts that nationbuilding by the bush administration. i'd like you all to start, just speak about how this threat has grown over the years because the muslim community did not used to be such radical -- didn't have such radical sects. it was quite welcoming to women. women were much for your. what are these pivotal
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moments that occurred in the muslim community to lead us to this point? >> thank you so much for having me here. i'm so honored to be here amongst all of you. and thank you for the invitation to come here. my own experience, i was a little bit older on eptember 11, 2001, but it was an ah-ha moment like it was for so many people in the world. i am a muslim born in india to a theologically conservative amily. and so, share a lot of the values of many of you in the room. i wasn't allowed to go to the dance when i was in junior high school when the senior class president asked me to go to the senior prom i said i cannot because i was not allowed to ate. e loved the arranged
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marriage. and so, there's many ideas religiously align with the religious conservatives in america. but the great departure for my family and for me was this interpretation of islam that preached violence. and this was an interpretation that has been exported to our world over my lifetime since 1979, brought sunni and shia leaders to try to compete for the hearts and minds of muslims. so, sara will speak to you about what she has witnessed but on that day, on september 11, 2001, i knew that as a muslim and as a journalist i had to get on a plane and go to pakistan and start reporting on the war. that was about to be unleashed it was there that i had my critical moment. my colleague at the wall street journal was danny pearl. yeah, you all can feel just in that reaction the tragedy that
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had happened to danny. for some of the younger ones here, he was a journalist who was reporting, like all journalists, and he came to visit me in my home in karachi, pakistan and he was kidnapped. and he was beheaded by men who laid our their prayer rug after they had had slain him. because they believed that they were doing something divine. and my journey then after that has been to stand up to that interpretation of islam that justified killing dan, because he was american, because he as jewish, and because he supports the right of israel to exist. that's how our muslim reform movement was born in the united states, to try to put forward an interpretation of islam that believes in peace.
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>> first, thank you so much for having me here, being able to speak. i really wish i could be there with the audience and -- who is such a good friend and somebody who i have so much adoration for. she is so brave. and she speaks the truth that we are not hearing often enough for uslim women. i did grow up in saudi arabia. i spent my formal years in the kingdom -- formidable years in the kingdom from the time i was six years old until i tarted
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high school in the united states. my father worked there as an american. and i remember a kingdom where, of course, it was with strict islamic law, was rooted there. this is a strict sharia nation. i remember traveling throughout the middle east as a child and like asra, in egypt and in lebanon and in the persian gulf, things were different. it was not this strict law or this strict interpretation of islam that we were facing. now today. and i remember september 11th like i'm sure everybody else who lived through it. and it changed my life, because at that point, just like asra, but that is when i decided to edicate my life to journalism. and to covering the war and covering terrorism, to
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covering the national security issues that affect our nation. and i believed because i had that experience that is what led me to it. so, it changed my life completely. it changed my life forever because i spent so many of the last years of my life in the middle east and in south asia, overing the war like asra. look, what we are seeing today and we have to understand this, these islamists are trying to divide us. they are trying to pit us against one another. we need to listen to reformers, people like asra. nd others, women who are out there speaking the truth about hat, about what -- of islam. of being muslim.
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in the middle east and i will wrap it up because i want to get back to asra. i have had the most extraordinary experiences. beautiful friends, warm and welcoming people. i don't know if people have seen the news today -- you know, a press release that two women in brooklyn actually from queens they pleaded guilty in brooklyn to basically preparing and planning to build a bomb and distribute bomb making instructions to followers. they are extremists. they are radical. they follow groups like al qaeda and islamic state. they actually had the intention of using a weapon of mass destruction on a large bomb in th united statese. these are two women, two american muslim woman that had een radicalized.
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so, i think this is a really important discussion. i'm really happy to be here. and i hope that asra and i can dispel some of the inaccurate information that is out there. and really get to the root of what's causing this rise in radicalism among some in the muslim community and what we can do as a nation to stop this and to find a way to communicate and make a difference. >> how has radicalism -- made its way to the u.s.? we are seeing a rise in domestic errorism in terms of anti-of anti-semitism, white supremacy, but also islam is impaired and i'm just wondering how you all see that making its way to the u.s.? how is that ideology gaining root in a place where we value things like democracy and freedom and liberty. anti-of anti-semitism, white supremacy, but also islam is impaired and >> for me, i grew up. i came from india and lived first in new jersey. and then i lived in morgantown, west virginia.
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in the foothills of the appalachian mountains. my father was a professor at west virginia university. and so, when i was a teen, i went for the annual party that we have that marks the end of ramadan. normally we would mix together. just like we are in the room, men and women, families together and husbands and wives next to each other but one year we were told as we walked into the front, women over there. and we were sent as women and girls into the little studio apartment that the graduate students lived in. there the men would bring the food there that the women had cooked and leave it at the door. knock on the door and run away as if they were to look at us and then turn to stone. because saudi students had come to campus and they had brought with them suitcases of their koran and their interpretation of islam. this hobby is a -- wahabiism that sara talks about. what is happened in america
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which is so important to all of you is that first but saudis and ow the government of qatar and the current government of turkey have funded muslim organizations in the united states the believe in this islamism, which is the ideology of political islam, the idea of muslims supremacy. and these are organizations that some of you might be familiar with like the council on american islamic relations. and activist like, like an activist from brooklyn. these individuals have now taken the ideology of islamism and put it forward in america as one of their agenda items. and what comes with that? what's really important to any of you that care about pluralism is anti-semitism.
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a very clear agenda to destroy the state of israel. and, as our last panel discussed, now what we are seeing is the unmasking of ideas, right? we now know where people are espousing socialist ideas. hey are saying it straight p. now with the rise of omar as spokeswoman for the sloppy, -- this lobby, we have seen really clearly, just in this past week. the propaganda trip -- was canceled by the prime minister of israel because he knew that in their agenda is destruction of israel. and so, that's the alarm bells that we want to raise with many of you that i know you are ware
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of. but what is happening is they have considered themselves into the democratic party platform. they have decided that liberal america and the left is the way they are going to enter into american politics. big muslim vote drive by all these organizations. and their interest is to have rashida tlaib and ilhan omar to the nth degree in the u.s. political system. >> sara, how do you think the left has allowed this to happen? the women's march -- was supposed of be about the empowerment of women when we know that the things that she believes in, like sharia law, do the opposite of that. so, how has this been able to become a democratic party platform when it seems antithetical to the things they claim they believe?
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sara: i could not have said it better myself. you made such an important point right there. how did it happen? it came in very slowly and it happened with the ability, especially when you have someone like representative ilhan omar or rashida tlaib coming out and making statements. it's very difficult for people on the left and many people on the right to stand up to them because the one thing they are fraid of is the one thing they will automatically throw back at anyone who criticizes them. you're anti-muslim, you are anti-woman, we do not understand the culture. do not understand where i come from. you must be a racist. and people are terrified of hat. especially when they make it a political threat. people hold back. they are afraid of asking questions. we saw what happened with nancy pelosi. she challenged them. ou see what happens when
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what happens when anyone hallenges them. rashida tlaib and congresswoman ilhan omar. israel said, we know why you are here. using that media -- that movement is so divisive and was working very closely with palestinian terror organizations early on. and you're not coming into israel. it was a very difficult decision i'm sure because they felt the wrath of that. but israel understands where these two women were coming from. i interviewed former miss iraq. she is muslim and she lives in the united states now. at the age of 18 she actually volunteered and took on a job as an interpreter for u.s. forces in iraq. became very enamored by the united states and what it stood for. and eventually came to the u.s. she was a refugee as well in yria for a time.
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and she went straight out after ilhan omar, saying you do not represent me as a muslim woman. they had a really back-and-forth battle going on publicly because she is trying to dispel what ilhan omar and rashida tlaib are putting out there. they are saying that they are the representation of muslim women all across the globe. and they are not. there are muslim women all across the globe that are -- that are fighting this fight of, uh, i would say, anti-women's movement that has been pushed forward so strongly within islam. the new islamism. just think of malala in pakistan that stood up to the taliban and almost lost her life. think of all those women in afghanistan. stood up to people in their religion,no, i'm not going to
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marry that man. [audio breaking up] asra talked a lot about his. [inaudible] as americans need to stand up for these women and stand up for -- that are willing to fight -- inaudible] unfortunately the left is not do that. instead, they -- people like rashida tlaib and do not challenge them. [inaudible] i'm not going to speak for us here. ask them what they believe. hold them accountable for what they believe and then stand up for those women all over the world that really need someone to back them up and give -- so that we can change this
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tide. when it comes to surviving islamism and terror. >> and one of the things that you speak about, a lot about, asra, is what is the alternative to what is happening with islamism. and that is what your group looks to do, provide that opportunity. asra: when i was just reminded of when sara was talking so eloquently about how israel reacted. i come from, in a muslim society, we are an honor-shame culture. that is oftentimes the leverage used to intimidate people into silence. so, that is the go to for this radical muslim lobby as i describe them. they will try to shame you into silence. so, if you get to question them then they call you and islamophobia. and i'm exhibit a for what an islamophobe looks like. i dared to criticize their
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interpretation of islam that is a problem. on some level we have to be shameless. we have to stand with courage, intellectual courage and conviction. i want to gently say that it is really important to allow in is lam and among muslims the same progress and reformation that has happened in christianity and udaism and even in the conservative movement, right? in earlier panels we talked about how you go back to tradition, but you see with cl ear eye what works for the present day and what doesn't. and so, islam is, was born in the seventh century. just think we are 700 years behind. give us a little bit of, you
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know, slack for the fact that we have all of these bureaucratic governments basically with a club over the heads of so many muslims. but what we're offering is a vision in the muslim reform movement for an interpretation of islam that is in the history of islam. called -- they were living in iraq during the 10th, 12th century, and they believed in critical thinking. they believed in this critical principle of education system in america. they believed in rational thought. and just like philosophical movements through history have been crushed and reborn, they were crushed. that is when the gates -- or critical thinking were closed. what we're trying to do is burst it open. and i so appreciate that many of you are offering us that opportunity. n this country because it is
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only in this country that offers so many freedoms that we are able to do this with relative safety and security. and so, please, please look at islam not monolithic as a monolithic interpretation but on that has a continuum. and we're not trying to, to do anything except bring principles with which islam was born that are most progressive and able to live in the 21st century. > and so please look at islam not as a monolithic interpretation, but one that has a continuum and not trying to do anything except bring principles with which islam was born that are the most progressive and able to live in the 21st century. amber: i want to sneak in one more question before we turn it over to the audience. this ties so much to immigration and our immigration policy because when you look at what has happened in europe with the refugee crisis, sweden, for example, attempted rape of girls 46 percent from 2015 to 2016, rape of girls under 2015 up 26%, and the majority of the men convicted of rape were foreign
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nationals, not native to sweden. what lessons can we learn from europe in dealing with the refugee crisis as we craft our own immigration policy, trying to protect our nation and borders? ara? sara: this is a subject that means so much to me. i spent so much of my career on the u.s.mexico border, and i was in central america in guatemala twice over the last year and plan on returning back shortly. there are so many lessons we can learn, lessons we can learn over decades of having this same problem and crisis repeated over and over again. i can tell the audience, i listened back to some of my work in 2006, on the radio or the stories i wrote, back in 2014 when there was a flood of undocumented children into the u.s., and it sounded like i was talking today about the same crisis.
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this is a national security crisis at our borders. this isn't just about immigration. our border is wide open, not just of people coming from central america, which we haven't properly vetted or can't et in time, because they don't have identification, but people from all over the world. we have seen increases of people coming as far away as bangladesh, africa, congo. while i was in guatemala, there were a number of people who had come through from bangladesh as well as africa, through brazil, up through columbia, and eventually through guatemala. we don't know who these people are. we don't know what their intentions are. and unless they are in a database, we will have no idea
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what their intentions are. i think this is why the trump administration -- in fact, i know this is why -- the trump administration has made this such a priority. shut down the loophole. make sure the people are properly vetted. it is a really difficult challenge, however, when the focus from the left or from thers is to say, well, this is anti-immigrant, this is a racist action, or you are not appropriately taking care of children, we should let them go, we should end the settlement agreement. we have a serious crisis because that border has been [indiscernible] -- the time i spent with intelligence officers. they are terrified. they even say if the american
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people really understood what was happening down here, i think all of them would want something to happen. but unfortunately we don't get all that information and unfortunately there is a lot of rhetoric out there. immigration for me is still a major priority, a major part of my work, and also looking at how that border is a national security risk. we know people have attempted to cross that border before that are wanted, people that have been identified as belonging to a terrorist organization. we know the dea and department of defense, that our border control, immigration and customs enforcement, the department of homeland security work together to try, along with our partners to the south, tried together to stop the flow of anybody
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attempting to come into this country to do us harm. but remember, it is almost impossible. there are so many people, and we miss a lot of them. every time i hear about apprehensions, i say to myself, those are who we have actually stopped. what about all the people we didn't catch? what about all the contraband that came through that we didn't catch, didn't inspect? that's what people have to realize. as for europe -- and i will make this very quick -- you see what is happening. e see what is happening to europe and asia with the flow and it has become difficult for countries like italy as well as other nations, which economically can't sustain it, but have to take in so many people flooding into their nation. we have to look at this as a comprehensive solution. it's not just one thing. it is not just building a all. it is not just negotiating a safe third country agreement.
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it's all of it. it's looking at this as a comprehensive issue and ensuring that the democrats are nvolved. people can politicize this all they want, but what will happen if someone does come across that border that conducts a terrorist ttack in this country? who is going to be sitting on that september 11 commission hearing? how are they going to -- when for decades we have been reporting and crying out that there is a national security threat at the u.s.mexico order? asra: i would add that when we talk about the radical muslim lobby and the immigration issue, they have made themselves a key part of the coalition to have open borders, to pit president
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trump's policies as a muslim ban, and they are intent on promoting the democratic agenda when it comes to immigration. and what they are not interested in doing is forcing and demanding the kind of expectations that have been surrendered, and fact, in europe that have created the kind of situation that you have talked about, related to crime and sexual assault. that is the simple principle of integration. i came to this country when i was four years old, and it was nancy drew that was my best friend. [laughter] asra: i, too, loved country music. what mountaineer wouldn't? that is, i think, the challenge for all of us. i met some immigrants that were asylum-seekers in greece this
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summer, and i introduced them to an exhibit i had done related to my friend danny pearl's story. one of them literally wore a baseball cap with an ak-47 on it, which was like a trigger for me because it is basically the god of the militants in south asia and pakistan. i told him the story of danny's kidnapping and murder, and this young man, who i had had suspicion about initially, had tears in his eyes, because this tragedy spoke to him also. this is the group that we need to integrate. if people are coming into this country, it is on all of our shoulders to find a way, the pathway to american identity is one that is in sync with our values. my father was most moved when he
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was a student in kansas state, because he went to a church and he watched the carwash. at the carwash, the pastor was there along with a teenager, washing cars to raise money for the church. it is in those simple values that i think we can preserve the incredible fabric that is america. amber: we are going to turn it over to the audience for questions. i see this young man raised his hand very quickly, so we will et him go first. >> hello. thanks for the young man. i greatly appreciate that. [laughter] i thought you were talking to somebody behind me. phyllis chesler was one of the founders of the modern feminist movement, with gloria steinem and that group. for the last decade to two, she has been thoroughly ostracized from the feminist community
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because of two issues. one, her support for the only democratic state in the middle east, israel. and secondly, because she speaks out against the treatment of women in so many islamic countries. could you both speak to the deafening silence of the american feminist community about what's happening to their sisters in islamic countries? asra: i am very familiar with phyllis chesler and her contributions to important issues, from the honor killings that are a reflection of the honor shame culture in which i was born. what has happened with the feminist movement is exactly the point of the women's march that you brought up. it has been hijacked. it has been hijacked by muslim leaders, women muslim leaders, who want absolutely no
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conversation about the women's rights issue in islam because they know it is our achilles' eel. they know that if you dare to touch that issue, you are going to end up with an indefensible argument related to segregation and lack of equal rights and so many fundamental issues. they have completely abandoned, to me, women in so many muslim countries, like the women in iran who want to simply have the right to feel the wind in their hair. such a simple idea. when you go outside as women and as men and to see a woman being able to walk freely, the feeling that i have is, wow, do you know how amazing an experience this is? because it is denied millions of women.
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unfortunately, the feminist movement today wants to say you are an islamophobe if you want to talk about these issues. that's where i say, stand up with moral courage and challenge them and feel no shame about raising these important issues. sara: exactly. thank you so much for such an important question. this isn't about culture, this is about human rights and dignity. if any of these women actually cared enough about their fellow women, they would be outraged and they would stand up against it. there is always strength in numbers. i am telling you, when i hear even someone like ilhan omar talk about, i come from a different cultural place than you, i know, because i have traveled through a lot of these regions. ike asra, i spent my childhood
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in countries with culture is completely different from my own. but this is not about culture. this is about human rights and dignity. in afghanistan, i spent so much time with young girls in villages or covering stories, and i will never forget, there was one little girl whose mother was actually recovering from opioid addiction in afghanistan. there was a female doctor, and she saw me and she saw this octor and she sat looking at us and tears started coming out of her eyes. her daughter was 11 or 12 years old. i asked the doctor why she was crying. she said, because i will never have a chance to be a doctor or somebody like you. i said, what do you mean? she said, because my father is
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forcing me to marry an elder in the village, and i will never go to school. and my heart just broke. she wasn't happy about that. this wasn't a cultural, great moment for her. her village had been dominated by the taliban for a very long time. this little girl felt like she ad no one to defend her. when you think about this and you think about what a s iraq says and took picture and defiantly said, i stand behind the israeli neighbor and i will be the israelis' friend. that is a really brave thing to do, anything that each one of us can do.
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we shouldn't turn our heads if people are suffering. because we come from an extraordinary nation, we should make sure that light shines so women get the privilege, like iran and saudi arabia, to stand up and fight for their own dignity. amber: another question, we have ne here. >> asra, you are a cofounder of the muslim reform movement. all the peaceful messages of the koran written during mohammed's life are replaced with those later messages of hatred and disgust for non-muslims. if all the things many see as hateful about islam were removed, nothing would be left. how can we reform islam if
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getting rid of the bad, like female genital mutilation, rape, leaves nothing left of islam? asra: thank you for that great question. it reminds me of a tour we want to start, because when ilhan omar was asked by a muslim activist about her position on female genital mutilation, the cutting of a girl's clitoris so he doesn't feel orgasms, she yelled at the woman and said, that is an appalling question and i refuse to answer it. we want to start a tour in the muslim reform movement of honoring islam by asking appalling questions. this is a critical question about the violent verses and violent chapters.
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when the question was asked, it started with the assumption of abrogation, which most of you ight understand means that a later verse usurps an earlier verse. when islam was founded, it was in the city of mecca and there were more peaceful versus. later when the prophet muhammad moved to medina and was at war, there were more violent verses. here is a couple fundamental ideas in that fancy word named hermeneutics, this study of sacred texts. a fundamental idea in the muslim eform movement is that we do not agree that abrogation is the kind of analysis with which we
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approach the chapters and verses in the koran so that is a really critical idea. e denied the fundamental premise of that, like, shuffle that you have got to do. the second one is that we denied the idea that you have to take each chapter and verse literally. this is something christians have had to deal with also related to the bible. so sometimes we might look at a verse more metaphorically. i will just give one example, is that in the seventh century, one of the sexist interpretations was that a girl got less inheritance than her brother. it was considered progressive because a girl was finally getting inheritance, but in the spirit of progressiveness, we say, now it is the 21st century
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and a daughter receives equal to a son. women were never witnesses to a man, so it became that two women equal one man as a witness. that is not fair, but in the seventh century it was progressive. moving along with the progressive spirit, today one woman equals one man as a witness in crime. on the violent verses, what we also do is we say that they were revealed at that time when mohammed was fighting with these tribes and they declared -- it was basically the battle plan for the war at the time, but it is not for all-time. so essentially it means, yes, ripping pages out of the koran, which could put a target on our backs if we put them forward as an idea, but having that kind of
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critical thinking is essential to having progress, and that's how we handle what we will be left with in terms of the text and the teachings. amber: unfortunately we are about out of time. i know we would love to dig into this. there is so much more to cover in terms of making sure we are protecting american values and our citizens. i want to say thank you to our wonderful panelists and thank you to the steamboat institute for putting on this very important panel. [applause] >> thank you. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, litico's gabby and mike will discuss the return of congress from the august break and talk about a new survey on credit card use and consumer debt.
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watch live at 7:00 eastern this morning. be sure to connect with us with your facebook questions. >> washington journal mugs are available at c-span's new online store. go to >> president trump holds a campaign rally in fayetteville, north carolina on the eve of the special election of the ninth congressional district in the state. you can watch online at or listen live on the free c-span radio app. on friday, democratic presidential candidate senator kamala harris was the keynote speaker at the portsmouth, new hampshire democrats annual banquet.


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