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Islam in America: A Panel Discussion

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Event Name: Islam in America: A Panel Discussion
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/19/2019
Transcript Version: 1


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why would you say that does so I'm this

is dr. Yang's a theory of expertise and

I'm not an expert by any means of Islam

in America but my own experiences they

have led me to come to arrive at certain

conclusions among which are there's just

a massive diversification of Muslims in

the United States and there's certainly

no monolithic teaching or any really

type of Orthodoxy or one group that

could could represent in any way all of

these different strains of a song in

this country and that partially has to

do with the fact that Islam is not a

church in the sense that you do not have

a Catholic tradition or an Orthodox

tradition you know at the broadest

levels people divide the Muslims into

Sunni Shia but then within the city and

within the Shia there are many many ways

of expressing their tradition so I think

that in the United States you're seeing

definitely certain aspects of Islam

emerging one of them which is probably

the most obvious for many of us is the

immigrant phenomenon because since the

United States has opened up the doors of

immigration particularly to the Arab

world and to the indo-pak area near here

asian countries that you're getting a

lot of immigrants that have come in and

initially many of them

professional people though there is part

particularly you'll see a lot of

physicians and a lot of engineers that

have come in from the Arab world Egypt

and Jordan Iraq and many of them began

to work at quite high levels if you go

into Silicon Valley Frances where I'm at

you would be amazed and how many Muslims

are working in these corporations that

are developing a lot of the technology

now and many of them working at very

high levels you'd be amazed at the

amount of professors also in

universities that are teaching in

engineering physics at some of our top

universities so you have that element

which is a very extremely westernized by

and large brood westernize in the sense

of their education not necessary in the

sense of their their the religious

background many of them will be devout

Muslims but they will still be very much

grounded in a Western scientific ethos

in particular and oftentimes alienated

from their own spiritual tradition and

then you have another immigrant group

which is more of a merchant and labor

group so you'll find in New York City

many many taxi drivers many people

washing cars gas station attendants

people in your convenience stores will

be from different places Yemenis

somalians Ethiopians also from India

from Bangladesh from a few Johnny's many

many particularly at now after the war

many of them have come here as refugees

and what's happening is is as with every

immigrant group they're having a lot of

traumatic experiences in entering into

the melting pot which is less of a

melting pot than it was traditionally

right because now there is a celebration

of diversity at one level in this

country so people are encouraged

to maintain their traditions their

encouraged to celebrate their diversity

at one level but what you're seeing

often is that their children who are

raised in this country are raised

basically Americans in the sense that

they're in schools being exposed to

American culture American ways of life

they're going to the cinema they're

listening to the music they're getting

into a lot of the adolescent adolescent

experimentation and this causes a real

serious conflict within a lot of the

immigrant families also another problem

is marriage because many immigrant

families want their children to marry

within their ethnic grouping and you're

having people falling in love and

sometimes it will be non Muslim with a

Muslim which is particularly exacerbated

when it's a Muslim girl and a non-muslim

man has fallen in love this is becoming

quite a common phenomenon in this

country so you have that that happening

and then you have also the indigenous

American situation and you will with

with the indigenous Americans I think

you'll find also a lot of different

groupings the the generation that Hakeem

and i are from is probably a it's a lot

different that we became also over 20

years ago and the people that are

becoming Muslim now are actually very

different in what they're looking for

and what their orientations are then

then ours were for instance so I think

that within the within the indigenous

community you have a very large segment

of african-american but this is also

breaking down because there are now a

new generation of children in this

country that aren't necessarily black

they're not necessarily white they're

not necessarily Hispanic you have a lot

of children of the children of the of

the 70s the 60s and the 70s and so

you're getting a lot of a mixture

no it's not as black and white in this

country as it used to be there really is

a diverse and you're all seeing it

because you're in these schools so

you're seeing this new phenomenon and

and and so there's a lot of people

coming coming out of that background

that are coming into Islam the tiger

woods phenomenon right I mean where do

you place him right because he he's not

african-american he's not asian american

he's not white American so it's this new

phenomenon so you have that aspect but

and within the african-american

community I think you have and dr.

Yang's much more verse than I am in this

but my own experiences you do have

different groups you have within the

african-american community people that

are coming out of black nationalist type

movements that are very politicized in

their outlook and approach and then you

have people also that have come out of

the Nation of Islam children of the

people of the nation of islam and you'll

see many many names even in the popular

culture like Tupac Shakur right who's

who has you know he was had Muslims in

his background he's Gaza Muslim name

you'll see many of these popular artists

now coming up with a Muslim name now

some of that is just a cultural

phenomenon of taking Islamic names but

there are many of them whose fathers

were in Muslims in the nation of islam

or had come into the what is it in

Muhammad's group things like that so you

have that grouping and then you have

many african-americans who are more

within the mainstream Sunni tradition

and so you have a lot of groups that are

really trying to discover trying to get

beyond the kind of the black nationalist

approach and really trying to see what

what is this what is this teaching about

and kind of rediscovering

Islam for themselves and that's a very

promising development I think in the

country and then within the white

American community Caucasian American

you'll also get diverse groupings but

oftentimes the white Americans tend to

be more attracted to Sufism and come in

often times through Sufism many many

white Americans have come in to Islam

through the books of Idris Shah many of

them have come through kind of groups

like dr. yang was talking about the Sufi

what he called the popcorn Sufi groups

that get into Islam through that and

then start reading and and you know

somebody will get interested in roomie

and they'll hear these sayings I'm

neither my heart is the is a temple for

the Hindu and the synagogue for a Jew

and the church for the priest and a and

a mosque for the Muslim and and think

that in the sense Sufism is this kind of

Universalist teaching but then as they

get more rooted in the tradition they

start discovering that roomy was a

practicing Muslim his whole life that he

prayed five times a day they and so they

begin to see that oh there is a place

for this thing called Sharia or sacred

law so for many many white Americans the

law is a kind of almost alien thing and

in a sense Americans I think a lot of

Americans do have a somewhat of an

aversion towards a law-based tradition

especially when you're coming out of a

tradition that may you know in some ways

as a love based or in some ways is it

certainly focuses much less on the law

and more on the spirit and so you have

that element within the community but by

and large what you find is you move out

into the landscape of American Islam is

that it's an incredibly diverse

landscape and it's actually hard to

pinpoint any strong streams you have

organizations that have attempted to

create some kind of

National Coalition like ISNA which is

the Islamic Society of North America

their conference which is yearly held

yearly brings now at about 25,000 people

will show up to that many of them are

still immigrant first that their their

immigrant with first-generation children

that are coming but again that is

beginning to change also so really I

think all of us as observers are seeing

rapid and and very very striking changes

within the tapestry of Islam in the West

the presence of Islam when I first

became Muslim in the mass 70s I'm by 77

I think Islam was just you know Muslim

there was just not and you'd be amazed

at how little understanding people had

at all and then BOOM 1979 Iranian

Revolution and suddenly Islamist is

really in the news and in the media and

but as the immigrants began to come to

this country in large numbers and the

Black Muslim presence became felt it's

more and more now Islam is really I mean

you're just seeing Muslims all over the

place there are mosques in all of the

cities of this country several you'll

find mosques in places that you would

never expect them like a vacuum new

mexico right and there's really it's odd

because you really you'll find you know

these back waters where you would never

expect to see and there will be you know

somewhere like El Centro California

there's a group of doctors their Muslim

doctors and Muslim merchants who have

come together and they pray and do this

thing in a very small community in in

Southern California so there's

definitely the presence is here and it's

it by by all of the outward signs it

would only seem that it's going to

increase and continue you are starting

to get a lot more can

versions my own experience that in the

last probably five years you're seeing a

lot more people converting to Islam than

before in our own area we're seeing more

like on a weekly basis and that was not

the case when I first became Muslim it

was quite unusual many many women have

come into Islam in the culture as well

and not through marriage you know

surprisingly enough and I think real pea

will say the same thing about England

it's a it's a phenomenon in England

you're really getting a lot of women

becoming Muslim so it's it's very

interesting you know I mean within my

own family my sister became Muslim I'm

Muslim my wife is Muslim and our two

kids so we've been arguing with the

family lightheartedly that we should

start celebrating the eat instead of

Christmas because we outnumber the

Christians now so you you know you're

seeing these type of things and I think

it's very exciting and it's very

interesting and it's also there are

there are aspects of it that are

frightening because there's still a lot

of real deep ignorance within our

culture and there's a lot of fear

related to Islam still and any time I

know that all the Muslims that I know

any time a bomb goes off somewhere

everybody starts you know hopefully

there's no Muslim names identify I

really it's it's definitely a concern in

the Muslim community because suddenly

the phone calls you know the hate calls

to the mosque the women start getting

accosted you know people are beaten up

you know we had a moss it was burnt down

in yuba city in California you know this

stuff really affects just a newspaper

some newspaper article and we we all

feel it so we're living in a very

precarious type of environment and I

think all the Muslims in this country

really feel that that that there's just

it's very very precarious and you know

Oklahoma City was an example you had

people on the

Radio immediately you know these talk

already just saying well there were

three Middle Eastern looking people

identified near the scene and boom you

know one of the Iraqi we lost her baby

she aborted her baby because our houses

the rocks were being thrown at them and

in the neighborhood there's just

recently another interesting phenomenon

is care which is the Council on

american-islamic relations and this is a

group that's actually started doing

something just about hate crimes against

Muslims started monitoring them and

having people report them it's trying to

get some statistics on just what's going

on working with the law enforcement

agencies in this country trying to go

and and talk to these people and also

dealing with a lot of harassment that

takes place in the workplace there are

many women in this country who one day

they decide to start wearing the hijab

for instance which happens you know girl

be 22 23 years old and then she's just

decides you know I want to start

practicing my well she goes to her work

with her hey Gavin and suddenly you know

the manager says you can't wear that

here and there there been a lot of cases

now and and basically so far I think as

far as i know the muslims have won all

of the cases involving this that it is a

religious right for a woman to wear the

veil and it's interesting to the french

government i don't know if people are

aware this the french government

outlawed wearing the scarf in their

public schools they did not outlaw like

wearing crosses that you know people

could show a display of their Christian

faith but they outlawed wearing the

scarf and a lot of Muslims just said

well you know what why is it they have

nuns teaching in some of the public

schools that where they wear the habit

and things like that so these type of

contradictions were pointed out but it

was very interesting so I think we're

going to see just a lot more examples of

this type of

of stuff now there are you know there's

Muslims working in Washington in you

know our congressman has a very devout

Muslim on his staff now congressman tom

campbell and so you're getting muslims

in the political process you're getting

muslim starting to get into you know

newspaper there's a lot of muslims that

are majoring in journalism in this

country wanting to go into these areas

so i think we're going to just see a lot

of interesting things in the future well

it's not too much learning to say no i

could add some things to it both Hopsin

Sullivan accession for you as teachers I

think it's probably important that maybe

we you know we might put more emphasis

on this it's important for you to get a

sense of what we've just been talking

about from a practical point of view

terms of the Muslims you meet in the

world understanding where they're coming

from so to speak and so you know I think

what we just said is pretty important in

terms of when you take away from here as

teachers I think having been a teacher

myself I mean it's pretty part we have

an obligation to to what to get to the

true picture

to truth across to our students right

and so all of these stereotypes they're

pretty well embedded and in terms of

recognizing the truth we have to be able

to enable those students to rise above

the stereotypes and to see Islam and

Muslims for what they really are and

what it really is and that's not an easy

thing to do and it's complicated by the

different kinds of Muslims that we meet

and so one of those that's important to

recognize this not only do we have this

amazing diversity in process because

it's an extraordinary process in this

honda's saying there's emerging new

elements that are emerging particularly

among this young generation the children

of the immigrants and that is going to

be a very articulate group of people who

are in the media who are in politics who

are on the public eye and are speaking

about Islam in a way that Americans can

understand it they're going to be

bringing new people into Islam and

they're going to be clarifying Islam for

what it is there's still deep-seated

things that run deep in amongst the

Americans I mean I go to high schools

and I speak to the same level of

students that you have and usually I'll

start my lecture with well if I say

Islam what's the first thing that comes

to mind now maybe you've gone through

some of this already it and of course

terrorism is one of the most important

ones and here in New Mexico I the second

question I usually ask them is if if I

were to give you the language of the app

the most likely terrorist what would it

be and you know they'll usually say

Arabic to start with and then you know

some of them will say well English you

know or the Irish it and then when they

when I tell the most likely to be

Spanish that more terrorism is done by

spanish-speaking people far and away

than any other group of people in the

Arab speaking is you know small ten

percent of the world terrorism they're

surprised and it's hard to sort of

convince people of this because they

have this other belief that the

terrorist is an Arab or that it is a

Muslim and so forth so we have to

somehow enable them to rise above the

stereotypes and teach them to think for

ourselves and we have to be able to

think for ourselves in the first place

so part of what we try to get across

here in this institute is a clear

picture of what Islam really is so that

then you can understand what the

foundation of Islam is about and then

you

can understand who comes to you because

the truth of the matter is at this point

in time to be honest if you go to many

of the mosques in America you may meet a

lot of these immigrants who have set up

a mosque and they've come to this

country for whatever reason maybe I

students originally or to turn some

money but they've set up mosques and

they've come out of a setting a

political in a social setting this made

them very angry and very difficult and

there they may not be very communicative

about Islam and is the picture they

present to you about Islam or to your

students if you want to bring your

students it may not be an accurate

picture of Islam that's why what we've

taught you here in some cases it may be

very important you may know more than

some of the Muslims you encounter so

there's many different forces out there

and there's many different kinds of

Muslims amongst the african-american

communities Islam I mean Islam has come

as far as an indigenous group of people

to the African Americans it's estimated

forty five fifty percent of the Muslims

in America now are african-americans and

Islam as a as a spiritual teaching and

as a practice is transforming these

people in a very serious way they still

have enormous obstacles because of the

social situation they still are in and

they still face but there is

transformation going on and and we see

now emerging from these people and we'll

see more of it people with great wisdom

and clarity for expressing and

articulating Islam and articulating

solutions to American problems that will

surprise people so I'm saying you know

as teachers look for the people that you

can communicate with about Islam amongst

the African Americans there'll be some

really amazing people that you can

communicate and bring to your students

or take your students to amongst the

children of the immigrants now in UCLA I

was just at UCL of human UCLA a few

months ago the Muslim Students

Association there is headed by van Wang

you know that's the head of the group

and if you look at the group they are

all children of immigrants children of

Arabs children of Pakistanis there's

Chinese there's Arabs there just this

enormous mix and they're out being very

active in the community they're starting

free clinics

and they're doing tutorial programs for

incarcerated youth they're publishing

newspapers they're out speaking to the

public that's going to be on the rise

those people are also the kind of people

that you can communicate with and that

you can take your students to and your

students can come to and so forth so I

just want to add to what Hamza said it's

it's an amazing time and it's a process

that's in the in the midst of changing

someone one of the demographers one of

the people who gave the demographics

that recently suggested I may or may not

be accurate that it within the last two

years the number of immigrant Muslims

and the number of indigenous Muslims the

number of indigenous Muslims surpassed

the number of immigrant Muslims that's

just a recent phenomenon so it means

we're a kind of turning point we're at

point now in which Islam is emerging out

of the American society as an American

phenomenon which it will continue to be

so our understanding and understanding

of foundations and all that we've been

trying to give you here is important in

managing all this good night n because I

was a disadvantage here I can't really

say very much about Islam in America

because I know very little about it but

I've listened to what the other three

speakers have said and I would say

there's an almost exact parallel really

in the UK is another western country

we've had the very similar history the

very diverse groups and I would only add

probably i think the real interest in

islam in england got going under the

time the Queen Victoria I would think I

mean they're world Muslims before that

but I think in the town of Queen

Victoria with her connections with India

and the British Raj I understand the

Queen Victoria herself learnt oh do and

had Muslim servants at the palace of

whom she was very fond and I've also

heard the rumor that she did actually

declare Shahada so whether or not

whether whether we can count queen

victoria's and muslim or not i'm not

quite sure other people in the media

these days have wondered about other

members of the royal family the more

recent ones and certainly I would say

there is a great interest in

swam in the royal family a genuine

interest in it and what we're seeing at

long last I think is the genuine

teachings of Islam being made available

to us in words that we can understand

because we've been very handicapped in

the West all the great texts of Islam

that we would like to study have not

been available to us and the

translations that have gradually been

trickling through have been horrendous

and through nobody's great fault you

know but these are things which are

improving all the time so as genuine

knowledge of Islam is coming through I

think as soon as people realize what

we're actually about it starts with a

few converts and it gradually floods and

we're seeing a lot and obviously I'm an

example of this I haven't been a Muslim

as long as the gentleman here I

converted I think in 1986 and through

personal experiences travels meeting

people I certainly didn't accept Islam

because I wanted to marry a Muslim

although as a woman of the West there is

underestimated I think we gents don't

often think about this but it did become

very obvious to me that a lot of

conversion of English women is done

through less noble Muslims shall we say

young Muslim gentlemen who are at discos

and drinking the alcohol dating the

English girls when they shouldn't be

there breaking all their own rules and

this is one of the strange ways God

moves in mysterious ways that a lot of

English ladies have come into Islam

because they've been impressed with

these young men they've enjoyed their

company in ways they perhaps should not

have done though then discovered the

rules of Islam they then discovered

these young gentlemen are not doing it

quite right they've become converted to

Islam the gentleman have gone and left

them in the lurch they have remained

Muslim and much truer Muslim probably

than the gents that converted them they

then sallied forth and gone down to the

mosques to run into a brigade of a

different type of Muslim who have not

been quite so welcoming their arms not

quite so open they run into the Muslim

males that will not shake that it's that

kind of thing and some women will then

turn around and leave because there's

very disappointed with what they

experience but others are more

Turman sort will stick at it and think

well yes there are problems here that

there are cultural problems are things

that they don't know about the religion

they have to learn and we had to learn

tolerance and how to live together and

they stick with it and I have a vast

number of English lady Muslim friends

and I agree with the previous speaker

that now I think they I don't believe

the number of charcoal and white english

Muslims as yet outnumbered the

immigrants I don't think so but it is

creeping up and we look forward very

much to the time not not I mean not that

we want to outnumber them anything like

that but we do regard is llamas as a

world faith when I started off into

Islam I thought all Muslims were Arabs

and then I thought all Muslims were

Pakistanis and I gradually learned I got

the list of figures of what Muslims

aware and to my great surprise I found

out you know they're very few Arab

Muslims actually but there are vast

numbers of Muslims elsewhere and it is a

world faith and we would like to feel

that in England we will soon see the

emergence of English Islam and that

doesn't mean it will turn the back on

our immigrant teachers and brothers and

families that have led us into it but we

do want to see our own culture as well

and of course I think it's fairly true

to say that most of the people who

convert to Islam come from a Christian

or Jewish background in England there

usually are religious people to start

with I don't know that we have vast

numbers of people coming into Islam who

are not religious to start with for

myself I mean it was very simple study

of theology I had to go where reason led

me I had to be true to what I felt was

true and made that decision I was still

attending church there came a point

where I suddenly thought I honestly

don't believe that and that overtook me

and there came a point where I realized

I had become a Muslim and I had to take

that step as I explained in my first

talk it didn't mean that i love jesus

any less or you know i just changed how

I thought about him and I went back to

the Gospels and restarted them as a

Muslim and I'm very interested now in

putting across to the west the the

Muslim teaching of Jesus it is in total

correspondence with the teaching of the

Prophet Muhammad and previous prophets

and that's another story and

one little thing I can think of them I

don't know I'm not very good at dates

I'm afraid I'm not a scholar at this

century at all but I do think the first

mosque that we had in England Oh

certainly one of the first mosque i

believe it was the first one it was the

Begum of Bhopal Muslim female ruler and

you'll hear a lot of Muslims tell you

can't have women rulers and woe betide

nations are run by women and so on and

so forth but nevertheless both pearl

that had recently suffered an awful

catastrophe and but they were run by a

series of female rulers one of whom used

to visit regularly she was very much

into education for women she was a great

feminist when she appears in the UK she

was heavily veiled you could you see her

eyes peeping out she was a little stout

lady who dis their eyes showing but she

founded the whoa King mosque and I

believe that Marmaduke Pickthall who was

the translator or one of the translators

of the Quran into English and excellent

translation he acted as the Imam of

woken mosque for a long time and there

was a stretch of time when working

mosque was taken over by sectarians

whose Islam is debatable I don't get

into that but it is now suddenly

straight down the line and I think when

I went there as a visitor the Muslims I

saw vents look to me like Afghanistan is

and Kashmir ease that that kind of

person but anyway now you can find

mosques all over the UK some are

custom-built small and more custom built

but with loads of derelict churches odd

little buildings and things that get

taken over people's private houses all

sorts of funny places where Muslims will

now meet and converted English ladies

have a bit of a problem because one of

the things in Islam we're supposed to

marry Muslims a Muslim man can marry a

Jewish woman or a Christian woman

without too much to do about it but a

Muslim woman is supposed not to marry a

Christian or a Jew but to marry a Muslim

which is a bit of a problem because a

lot of the ladies that get converted out

of turned 40 and it's hard enough to

find a good man anyway 240 but then

we've got to find a Muslim one and they

do tend to marry immigrant

and we get this calumny that they're

becoming Muslims because they want to

marry handsome young brown men and which

may be the case for some but I don't

think that's really it I was certainly

Muslim before I met and married my

second husband and I don't think he

would have married me if I have not been

a Muslim already and I certainly don't

think our marriage would have lasted

five minutes I hadn't been a Muslim

already because the culture problems

that we walked into head-on were so

enormous that had we not had this basis

of shared faith and shared culture and

shared optimism it would have hit the

rocks I think very quickly and a lot of

transcultural marriages do in fact go

wrong quite quickly you have to learn a

lot of tolerance and then they remode

other things happen and hopefully that

they don't lose Islam you just have to

cling onto that as I said enough certain

a great diversity of different types of

Muslims and we get Muslim extremism in

England like you do everywhere else and

the certain groups that caused a bit of

a ruckus they sing over extreme I always

think that the best way of Islam is the

middle way this is what the prophet

taught I have umpteen hadith of the

Prophet where he tended to disapprove of

people who became too extreme fair

enough if they want to be extreme that's

fine you could be as religious and

extreme as you like but you haven't the

right to impose that on other people or

make other people feel they're not as

good as you only God knows who are the

real good is so you know we have trouble

where people get a bit overzealous the

hearts are in the right place is no

doubt their party is not in question but

sometimes their practice can be too much

and I always maintained that you know if

you're a genuine Muslim you're drawing

people towards you and towards God and

you can sort of judge them if they're

the kind that drive people away you

would not want to marry that one you

would not want to sit down have meal

with that one and there's something

slightly wrong with their Islam a true

Muslim is always attractive that little

beaut afore we will draw people towards

God and that I think is the mark of a

true Christian as well of course the

true Jew as well but the to draw people

to God is our business not to say you're

doing this wrong or you're not good

enough you're not praying in after Angie

you've made this mistake that mistake

that's not Islam it is Islam but it's

not

the important thing important thing is

to realize that there is a God and there

is a life after death of Muhammad was a

genuine prophet and the rest of it will

follow I was the good friends over there

see their opening of course in his long

summer nana waffles how many sweaters

money pit characterized kasnia Christian

Church the United States I responded to

the growth of this mom hasn't been any

fpm movement i know i am town birds

bottom or anything that you have some

time to time you do a lot of things

across the Jupiter rev up with the

priests but i just wanted have kind of

reactions

where there's any relationship yeah the

other one going muslim-christian dyro

muslim view is dialogue there is an

annual meeting of the American Muslim

Council and the Conference of Catholic

Bishops in Washington I have attended he

says this is now almost 30 years you

have a group of Muslims who will be lit

represent leaf from the Conference of

Catholic Bishops usually they have their

scholars and the Muslim scholars and let

the leaders of the characters you know

they're promoting is a Italian food with

dialogue in with Muslims dealing with

issues that of common interests they for

example the program of Sudan as he was

trash out very fat bonus be an objective

I mean Muslim spread presented their

position have a seat bottom and of

course the Catholics express their fears

and their concerns about letras now in

into that and you have very flat this

question 23 our meetings so

you have that way and the Conference of

Catholic Bishops arranged for the

Cardinal rinzai to come and meet with

sound emotional leaders

I'll be sure morning so you have things

like that I have been present in this

event so I know and then we have you

have Christian Muslim dialogue initiated

in various localities these are mainly

the initiatives of local Christians and

Muslims like it wasn't the secret of we

have the Interfaith conference of

washington DC you have mormons Jews

Muslims Christians from the bow tested

and Catholic denominations six and now

by eyes just join in the very entrance

and some was a very hot in there right

now I'm the president of the role in

addition so I mean later you have

avoided different booty you know they

are all these groups and then ever you

know Joe have well you have all these

different Christians know moments all of

them as who are keeps all they were

former congressman on utah working with

of this limitation something

us christian denominations president of

the chairman of the interview conference

it's a creative battling prison I mean

you have a nigga's oh yeah okay you are

having Presbyterian Church we have been

making some moves toward their local

Muslims and if without a vote when the

years ago now is almost 10 years ago

Christian Muslim together you know that

it is a whole book describing they would

they do being Christians meaning

Presbyterians about their own good

Muslims there's also there's a lot of

thinking in the country now there's

there's a lot because Christians feel a

little besieged as well by the the

secular you know the secular occurrence

and forces in the country one

interesting things was pointed out to me

by a Christian priest was that

traditionally whenever there were any

new land developments there was always a

segment set aside for a church which is

not happening or a synagogue depending

if it's a Jewish area which is not

happening anymore and what's happening

is in cities that it's all there's

running out there's no place for worship

and so a lot of people are actually

buying warehouses you know office space

and things like that but then you come

up with the zoning laws they're not

zoned because churches have a special

zoning and first is in our area we've

had this problem and and the Christian

leaders have responded in support

because there's a mosque there that is

in an industrial area and there are a

couple of the particularly one lsi logic

in particular who's been fighting this

and put a massive amount of money into

this and its cost the local mosque now

it's gone into the hundreds of thousands

of dollars for legal fees and and other

things and their argument is that it

because there's children there they're

dealing with chemicals they do doping

for it's a semiconductor plant but right

next door there's a Christian Vanguard

where they teach children like

instruments or anything that's been

functioning there for years so one of

the priests came and and set on public

TV that you know this is as far as he's

concerned it's religious discrimination

because if this was a church or a

synagogue he didn't feel it would be

happening and and the Muslims were

impressed you know the Christians came

out and helped I I personally don't

think that there's a there's enough

interaction not so much on the dialogue

no but on on more on you know trying to

to work together for mutual concerns

like youth you gang phenomenon a lot of

the violence in the communities

homelessness you know things in which

really they trans these these issues

trans and religious demarcations we're

dealing with some real basic things that

all of our traditions teach like taking

care of the needy and things like that

and I think it'd be useful to maybe

break down some of those barriers and

and there's there's obviously still a

lot of infant unfamiliarity just going

to ask you since

states on the background of Islamic

history and women were involved in

military companies how American Muslims

feel about women Muslims participating

our military well i mean what i will say

is right now there are a few muslim

woman in the military never saw guitar

it's random violence as it has a favor

Monica because Gadhafi where do you stay

over in the military that I was the

woman in the military and now the US

military has recognized Muslim chaplains

so you go out Muslim chaplains who are

now safe I either by KFC among comes

from all emo boy bahama so they Queen

and their work is like the Christian

champions or the rabbi's so the way I

will respond to the question really is

if you go by Islamic history I mean some

of the Muslim woman were not in the US

military they would say that well this

is a job for them because the army is

not a trap I'm is a voluntary am and

many of the Africa woman see the Army

has an opportunity for them to have

upward mobility and Tory good job

because you see if you gotta get out of

it and you going or you had one kid but

you keep custody with your brother and

you go into the military you can laugh

skills and many of our guns all you want

to call them after for 50 years 60 did

you come out if you know electronics and

you now begin to have you won't stop

playing under the earth TVs and radios

we need to better stay in the inner city

and you don't have anything so yeah I

mean in the eyes are many of you have

random and is applied for male and

female to extend wide oceans have all

chicken o Muslims location who suicided

military I don't know because this is

what maybe we are not working for but

what we do know is that the military has

spoken up to so many bishops water in

Denali and I usually see she will be

callable by people i factor would be

they have instead investigating Leary

said and so the true will be asking Phil

questions on decisions I think the whole

issue of women in art forms and is a

tricky right away what nervously what

happen was them because I won't have to

take quite a bit that if a man was

fighting in the field next to a woman

soldier our sources natural instincts

will either to protect him towards our

soldier if you were generally are that

you

that's female soldiers a weak link in

your thoughts and they'd be totally

wrong on that one but seven in my

generation certainly I think there was

not feeling that women as armed

combatants will be more handy having

help as mothers rei readers are here

we've just had all these kind of sexual

problems you know there's all this

court-martial I going on for four men

been abused there you know they use

their stare authority over people on the

other problem from Muslim point of view

again anytime any situation where a male

will be alone with a female is

completely prohibited the problem is

when you enter into the army or you're

entering the into a situation in which

you are subordinating your beliefs to

you don't join the army if you don't

believe for instance in killing people

from any reason that you don't agree

with whereas in Islamic law you cannot

find unless you have a valid Chettiar

reason you can't gamble hamid ali refuse

to enter into the armed services he lost

his title and was barred from boxing for

a few years because you know you said on

a promise to be account this is not i

don't have any problem with them you

know so and and really i think that

would be consistent with a Muslim

thorough thorough said that an educated

soldier is usually called a deserter you

know if you really know what people are

fighting about he'll tend not to I mean

the idea that the Kuwaiti war was about

defending democracy or anything I

thought I think came out as absurd to

even most Americans you know and there

was a there was a cartoon somebody do

that the Bosnian thing happened and

nobody's helping the Bosnians and one of

the Bosnians in the cartoon said you

know what we need to do is discover

loyal and then you'd have a lot of

people coming over there to defend them

right but the idea of defending the you

know the Kuwaitis or something like that

so I don't know I think it's a main

problem you know the military just in

general not just the American military

with military everywhere you know

because it gets part of a state

apparatus and we have to question what

what is being defended right what do we

defend you here are we defending the

interests of the people or are we

defending the interest of a global elite

army defending interest to burn cheap

oil I mean these are issues that you

don't want them not really dealt with it

you know any time

level and and yet people are being put

on the on the front lines and

perspective to die if called to do so

and so for me personally I think some

real very serious philosophical things i

get rid I mean I would not feel

comfortable being in any of the armies

of the world not any country in the

world right now I really would not

whether Muslim or non-muslim I would not

feel comfortable being in the Egyptian

army right because I don't think they're

defending anything honorable you know

and that's just as my own personal

belief that's not you know that's not

i'm not speaking for the Muslims I'm

just speaking for myself at that point I

just I'm very wary of modern military

apparatus you know I really am and I'm

certainly aware of this this country's

you know because I just died I don't

think that they're they're defending

well I served recently a very critical

humanitarian missions that otherwise

couldn't have provided relief so like

Somalia hit like Somalia when I think

operation provide comfort to the curs

why heartily okay part of the problem is

I mean for me Mary Kay with all with all

respect for the problem is why do we

have a Kurdish problem in the first

place it's one thing when you going /

somebody and then you start offering the

band-aids do you know I mean the

Somalian situation is is so money it's a

classic example of a cold war victim

right some writings were very important

to the Americans and there was they we

kept this petty little dictate

in power for several years right 30

years who in order to maintain his power

took introduced rise and just play them

against one another constantly divide

and conquer you learnt very well from

his masters and then when they're no

longer any significance you know to the

global one of the British used to call

the great game when they lost their

significance in the great game of global

civilizations that all of that support

was pulled up in the next new has a type

of anarchy in the country and then we go

in for the photo opportunity well I

don't mean again into the individual

campaigns them I guess it was a more

generic question because there are

Muslims serving in the military all over

the world in other countries and I just

wondered how my first felt about women

in since non Muslim women serve in our

military

give you have several positions seem

mentioned to you good a few having

wouldn't win again but the baby hook

Olivia some of the Muslim countries

women al-hajjaj yes sometimes only son

who support is in Egypt yes subsidies

you will not find anywhere in this

saturday i mean is eros able to traffic

as oh so many easy days a matter of

national choice and of course you have

scholars religious scholars to give them

fuck was to rationalize yeah i can't

step 4 yes because it's part of this

like in the Indian Indian football or

seven overall you have to play football

Aggies you know in reality progress on

theirs from yes you see that way anyone

communica yes now we're questions event

regarding Syria time soon it's my

pressure than emotional stereotypes in

this area are not so much these are the

Islamic that so much as error or is I

think a lot of Americans they see an

error and then think of their field

stereotypes and now we know thinking a

lot of relating to Islam's just like an

errand and i was wondering in the only

our community itself in the united

states how many are actually Muslims and

of those how many are really devout

muslims to where they're really crowds

in the heirs of this come here of

Christians yes that's a good question

for these mythical realize I'm like

Ralph Nader is probably the most famous

terror of America right and he's a

Christian yeah and then how was Africa

was a congressman another very welcome

is also Christian can they lose your

honor because if you know most people

are from there with the book the

strongness and things like this not

chasing cases Jack Johnson who is

another Krishna arab-american died about

what was really kind of Shelah then it

owns shall that us shut up on the

economic the cabinet with and these are

all appreciate before more citrusy

investment Danny Thomas was that is a

question of the guy on Nash I camera was

always dressing

Lebanese Christian martyrs just go for a

lot for a lot of Americans over the Arab

that they see does the Arab alone for

gas station especially in California are

you see around and just spend I know

they're immigrants now if are they

Iranians perhaps yeah so there's a shirt

I really semester George how much is a

Christian era also Terry Collins pursue

peaceful and I think generally the most

Americans don't even know their search

terms so I'm as a true this most

American this guy they think most of

they think era yeah I think they think

and then you'll get a whole spectrum and

there was an interesting film done

called the the Hollywood Arab what the

meaty Vieira and and the point of this

guy it goes right from the Sheik of

Araby with Rudolph Valentino when Aaron

wants a woman he just takes her that was

one of the famous lines from that film

and he was a romantic character right i

mean he was he was a romantic character

and there was a lot of women that you

know became a kind of fantasy there you

know getting seduced by the Arab Sheik

but then you get into the 70s where you

get the hook nosed the OPEC Arab right

with the form the four wives with all

wearing veils driving in the rolls-royce

obnoxious I think there was a Disney

film that caused some problems where the

Habib's were the next door neighbors to

a family and they were very obnoxious

that was a recent that's the class of

stereotype is also getting to do right I

mean the missile the aeros game

I think it's interesting but if you if

you studied prop again faces of the

enemy it's a brilliant book on

propaganda and how you know how faces

are distorted one of the things that the

National then the New Republic did

during the Gulf War is that you had a

picture of Saddam Hussein and they

literally clipped off his mustache in a

way that you would not notice right they

just clipped it off enough not to make

it look like Hitler but enough to in the

subconscious for there to kind of have

some kind of anchoring or identification

there so you think you're going to get a

lot of different type of stereotypes

going on but generally most most

Americans my own experience is that they

really do associate Arab with Muslim

right they and the word is either Muslim

Arab they worship Allah this type of

thing you you'd be surprised yeah I

think you'd be surprised California you

would be amazed I'm yes I'm really

serious because I'm there in California

I'm always amazed at you know actually

San Francisco's Southern California

think it might be a little different

maybe but you're dealing with it huh

Sesame Street has st street and the they

have worked as word association thanks

with the letters coming up and they have

14

danger an era they have different things

this worked out rotisserie and those not

danger and it was a male handed white

crochet looking in writing but an era

and then at book was printed recently

which meant well it was grossing so it

were to go to all the shoulders to

children include us between services as

well as well and the book was published

with about a child saying something that

was showing a drummer sometimes I wish

he'd go back home yet sometimes maybe

thanks Carrie and as lots of things that

frighten me and the part about being

pregnant depicting him like his bed with

in herriman closet this horrible scholar

one abandoned dagger between this is

really will you see this also the Asians

got the brunt of this the fu-manchu's

syndrome which is an interesting book

also the oriental menace which was how

Hollywood kind of perpetrated because

and that was at the time when China and

Japan there was a lot of problems right

and and the Asian got the brunt of a lot

of these stereotypes and they're still

dealing right the the inscrutable asian

and you know they're still dealing the

Asian community so I think every

community that comes to this country

that is not from the dominant

anglo-saxon grouping there's a wonderful

book now just came out a little while

ago call when the Irish became white

which is just letting people know that

the Irish used to be at the bottom of

the totem pole right I mean Irish people

in this country a lot of people don't

know the history of the iris and what

and what they went through to establish

their rights and their I mean even 1960

John F Kennedy that was a big debate you

know and although it was partly because

Roman Catholic but part of it was an

Irishman you know becoming president

united states was still a big shock you

know the mick syndrome and things like

that and people from the east coast

probably are more familiar with this

because of the so i think the Arabs are

just a new

ooh group the indo-pak people these are

new immigrants to this country they're

going to have to deal with the same

stuff that everybody else had to deal

with and the problem is is that we do

have Islam it's not they don't only have

their indo-pak pneus or their Arab pneus

but they have a religious because it's

not just the color that's alien the

accent is alien it's also some

subconscious problems that we're dealing

with with religion unless we forget the

the the Muslims to the European

Christian West was the evil empire for

several hundred years you know Russia

lasted you know 45 50 years the Muslims

you know children were scared to go to

bed by telling him about Turks and

things like that in Europe so that's

part of our collective consciousness is

that there is a deep-seated fear of the

Saracen the Turks at the Viennese gates

you know the the Barbary Coast from the

from the shores of Montezuma to the

halls of Tripoli I Triple E was was

Barbara they were called the Barbary

pirates who according to the Muslims

were actually the Navy right they were

the ottoman navy right so you know you

got you've got a lot of problems and I

think that you know people have if you

want to come to this country it's sink

or swim that's the nature of America you

got to deal with it hopefully that there

will always be sympathetic people that

stand up you know for you know for

what's right and there have been in this

country there have been people from the

dominant culture that have recognized

this is wrong there are people that did

stand by the Jews as they were asserting

their rights or people that stood by the

african-american and and that's all that

that has been part and parcel of art of

the American experience that there are

good people within the dominant culture

and I think Paulo Ferraris point is

well-taken that in the oppressor

oppressed cycle the cycle can really

only be broken from from

within the the oppressive group right

because the oppressed it's it's it's not

possible for them the cycle has to come

is it's our children you know that that

have two from this dominant culture that

have to we have to transmit we can break

the cycle that it is possible but it's a

human condition as well so we're going

to have a lot of problems on the way you

know and we're hoping all of you are

going to go out and help please do some

of the work you know of breaking down

the stereotypes and you know and and

educating some people