On Contact: The Perversion of Islam

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Event Name: On Contact: The Perversion of Islam
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/26/2019
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I'm Chris Hedges welcome to on contact

today we discuss Islam and the modern

world with the Islamic scholar Sheikh

Hamza Yusuf if a 9/11 event happened

today we would not see the type of

responses that we saw there won't be any

flowers at the mosques uncon do

liberalism Lister's patriot or truth is

not a socialite in these four states for

topi and the ideology of neoliberalism

of polls on max Chris Hedges

Islamic jihadist like the Christian

Right are religious heretics they are

far more in common with each other than

they do with Co believers they each

sanctify violence they see evil as

embodied in other races they must

exterminate they believe any action that

brings them closer to paradise on earth

no matter how cruel or barbaric is

justified they have been vomited up from

the wreckage of predatory global

capitalism and Empire which has cast

millions of the young adrift they find

in their fundamentalist beliefs a

sanctification of their rage and

victimhood becoming a Christian warrior

a jihadist a champion of an absolute and

pure ideal is an intoxicating conversion

that lifts believers out of profound

despair these converts create a binary

universe divided between good and evil

they believe they are anointed to change

history by destroying power structures

around them they embrace a hyper

masculine violence as a cleansing agent

for the world's contaminants including

those people who belong to other belief

systems races and cultures they are our

new fascists RT correspondent onion

Peron Bell examines the rise of

Islamophobia in the u.s. since 9/11 in

2014 hate crimes in the United States

decreased by 8% that was a case across

the board for all demographics

except Muslims in 2014

hate crimes against Muslims rose by 14

percent However hate crimes targeting

the Muslim community haven't always been

so common in the year 2000 they made up

about 1.9 percent of hate crimes

motivated by religion while anti-semitic

attacks made up the majority and while

fortunately over the years the rate of

anti-semitic attacks have fallen the

number of hate crimes motivated by

hatred of Muslims has risen to 16 point

one percent of all religiously motivated

hate crimes but it's not just the fact

that overall hate crimes are on the rise

indeed perhaps more concerning is the

fact that according to polls the overall

sentiment in the United States towards

Muslims is negative according to a Pew

poll this year half of all Americans

believe some Muslims are anti-american

and while 50% of them still say that

they would like the candidates the

presidential candidates to be careful

when talking about religion forty

presented them do say that they'd like

the candidates to be critical in blunt

when talking about Islam meanwhile the

candidates aren't shying away from doing


with both Donald Trump and Hillary

Clinton characterizing attacks like the

Orlando nightclub shooting earlier this

year as radical Islamism a study by

Georgetown University this year

concluded as the campaign season has

contributed to a rise in the law

Islamophobic attacks in 2015 and beyond

tracing the increase to a surge in

Islamophobic rhetoric in September of


spearheaded by Republican nominee Donald

Trump but it's the media to the report

concludes that while Western media often

portrays Muslims as the perpetrators of

violence in an increasingly hostile

political atmosphere in reality

the victims Sheikh Hamza Yusuf is

America's most important Islamic scholar

he is the president of Zaytuna College

located in Berkeley California he is

also an advisor to Stanford University's

program in Islamic studies and the

center for Islamic studies at Berkeley's

graduate theological Union Sheikh Hamza

is the author of seven books including

agenda to change our condition and

prayer of the oppressed thank you thank

you I had just read this article that I

mentioned to you by jacek I it's an

excerpt from his book confronting

fascism discussion documents for

militant movement on the web it's called

a shock of recognition and he makes a

very convincing case that the vacuum the

both the spiritual and economic vacuum

that is sweeping across the globe

because of neoliberalism and

globalization is giving birth to a new

fascism and he includes in his analysis

these Islamic groups or let's call them

so-called Islamic groups I would call

them heretics such as Isis al-qaeda well

I think that fascism as you know has a

broad spectrum of meaning but if we use

it to mean the idea of people that

believe that force is the only way in

which an argument is truly made yeah

there's a famous statement about

Mussolini that he got the trains to run

on time for the first time in Italy and

the way he did it was by killing the the

engineers if they didn't actually get

there on time and and so it's also the

conflation of a an economic system a

corporate system the corporatization of

governments and so which was Malini's

original vision right so I think there

are definitely fascistic elements that

have emerged in the Muslim world but a

lot of it is is from first of all

massive suppression over many decades

with incredibly brutal governments that

were fascistic by nature and so like the

purple tyrant when

he's crushed the one that crushes him

becomes the tyrant let me go back

because pre 1948 you had very strong

Democratic movements right throughout

the Muslim world in countries like Syria

Lebanon and then with the rise of the

State of Israel where you saw massive

ethnic cleansing and the theft of lands

of Palestinians this is a country

Palestine of course that from the 7th

century to 1948 at been Muslim it gave

credence to the proto-fascist

militaristic anti-democratic

force it was the best thing that ever

happened to those forces I would totally

agree and I think that the the the

tragedy in in the Arab world is that

they they were very inspired by America

and and I think many Arabs really had

this bright future looking looking

forward even Iran with with Musa Dagh

yeah and and the D you know getting rid

of the British influence and the

colonial influences so they saw America

as this anti colonial force in the world

the Wilsonian dream of a new world order

where the this sovereignty of the people

would become realized and that's the

tragedy because most day in 1953 who you

as you correctly point out was I think

he worshipped Thomas Jefferson right was

udderly betrayed right by the Americans

on the CIA Roosevelt kismet Kermit

Roosevelt occur right how the Shahs men

right all on behalf of British portray

so I think that from that point of view

there there's been an unrequited love

affair with American I think 9/11 sealed

the deal because I just was with an

Egyptian taxi driver who said you know I

asked him were you here during 9/11 he

said yeah and I said what do you think

it was well he said in Lebanon we say

hit me so I can beat the crap out of you

and so it becomes an excuse really to

to brutalize people that really had

nothing to do with anything

yeah one of the tragedies that I've seen

throughout the Muslim world is the

assault against traditional Sufi Islam

right and I think it's fairly well

documented that Wahhabi ism which has

fed ideologically many of these

movements we see and of course with

Saudi money was certainly at its

inception promoted by Western interests

I think during the Ottoman Empire the

British stoked Wahhabi ISM as a way to

fight against sufi influence and and and

of course the current ruling Saudi

family has embraced it we saw with the

oil deals in the early 1930s you know

even to the point of American oil

companies paying for the publication of

a hobbyist literature and because of the

financial resources this has poisoned

much of the religious discourse I think

you would agree throughout not only the

Muslim world but even beyond well I

think what's happened the the I think

the traditionalist what we've called the

traditionalists which certainly Sufism

was a large part of classical Islamic

tradition the traditionals have never

dealt with the fact that they ossified

into a very sterile tradition with a lot

it was no longer a living tradition you

know Catholicism they they differentiate

between tradition and traditionalism the

tradition is the the living faith of the

dead traditionalism is the dead faith of

the living and in many ways they are

this is what happened and so there were

reactions to that what's called

Wahhabism they don't like to be called

Wahabis but what's called Wahhabism was

actually a type of protestant reformist

movement in in arabia that eventually

allied with

political force the answer dude and so

the religious and the political became

allied in this and and because of the

petrol dollars they were able to spread

a very different type of Islam that most

of the Muslim world was comfortable with

but a couple of things that I have to

say and I think that's really important

the the the scholars the of the Saudi

Arabian Kingdom have consistently been

against suicide bombing and this is not

true of the Sunni scholars generally

that they have consistently there is no

Saudi scholar outside of the heretical

ones even within their own tradition

suicide ISM is prohibited it's

prohibited in Islam and and and and they

are the only ones that that really stuck

to that other than some Sufis generally

didn't but most of the the the Sunni

scholarship I felt completely sold out

on that issue and and if you read their

foot was it's all emotional there's no

rational argument it's all about

Palestine and this is our only way I

have a friend who says what Osama bin

London who had no religious legitimacy

over just training at all and so I mean

you know the devil's game at Dreyfus is

bright which is very important book and

and I would argue there's a few bills we

should say what that is the devil's game

art is about how America really funded

Islamic fundamentalism because they were

so worried about Russian influence in

the region and and we're talking about

the war in Afghanistan many many plays

there's a lot of proxy wars and then

there's also a lot of other stuff going

on but if you really want to take it

back I think you have to go back to

David Fromm khun's the peace to end all

peas and and recognize that World War

one never ended right and that the

Middle East was a front if they eat you

know it was the Middle Eastern Front

during world war on Iraq was a big part

of that World War two is a direct result

of the firs I treaty that the

humiliation of the German people you

would not have had Hitler in the rise of

Hitler without the the collapse of the

the Deutschmark because of the vehement

republic and and the incredible

humiliation that was that was they were

faced with great when we come back we'll

hear more from Islamic scholar Sheikh

Hamza Yusuf welcome back to on contact

we'll continue our conversation with

Islamic scholar and president of Zaytuna

College Sheikh Hamza Yusuf let's talk

about what's been happening to

disenfranchised Muslim youth both in

Europe and the banlieues of France where

people are mostly North African Muslims

five million segregated I been to those

banlieues the city dekap Mill and others

the French prisons are filled with North

African disproportionately with North

African Muslims in the way that our

prisons are filled with poor people of

color the racism is overt in countries

like Belgium despair loss of hope and

this is also true in huge swathes of the

Muslim world itself which has not been

exempt from predatory capitalism and one

of the things you once said to me that I

think is true having spent a lot of time

the Middle East is that so many of the

people who are seduced by this ideology

have a kind of loss of identity or

struggle but they also don't come out of

religious backgrounds yeah you will you

will almost never find a religiously

educated and if they are their

autodidact or they've come out of an

extremist tradition already if you can

call it a tradition you will not find

the mattresses which are always being

blamed for producing these people in the

Metro says these are the Islamic school

the Islamic many of them in countries

like Pakistan right funded by the South

what some of them yeah certainly but but

many of them are still traditional

schools like I studied in a Methodist

and it was a resilient logic and

rhetoric and things like that this was

in Mauritania in

and Morocco but if you look you know

Europe is is very different from the

United States Europe the the immigration

to Europe or was the result of the of

the after-effects of World War two

because they brought in a lot of Muslims

to rebuild Europe Europe was devastated

as you know London was aerial

bombardment Liverpool so they brought in

a lot of their you know the colonial the

people's to do all the labor and work so

these were not educated people whereas

in the United States immigration has

been put it was a cold war immigration

and so that it was the brain drain from

the Muslim world so many of the most

highly skilled and educated Muslims came

to America that's why we have so many

doctors and engineers and and so they're

very different communities the American

community Muslim community is actually

doing quite well and immediately

economically and so and many of them

feel very comfortable here they feel

Frank enfranchise because the the in

America you can you can come to America

and you can become an American in about

five years and then generally most

Americans I mean we have a lot of racism

but most Americans accept the immigrant

traditionally I mean we've got a lot of

anti-immigrant rhetoric right now for

for many reasons so I think they're very

different but in Europe you're dealing

with profoundly disenfranchised people

that have never been allowed to become

French they've never been allowed to

become English they don't feel English

they don't feel French and so with the


let me just add there that when you know

they go back to Algeria or Tunisia and

they may have been born there and left

as a they don't feel out theree this is

this is this is exactly it they the

identity is in crises

right and so the third group which is

the extremist group come join us and be

part of this Brotherhood it's like a

gang and when you have in the African

American inner cities a gang is

membership and so many of the African

American youth or Hispanic youth are

pulled into the or skinheads white some

disenfranchised white youth that are

pulled into the the white gang mentality

and of course if we look at

the history of many of the people who

have carried out acts of terrorism in

Europe they come out of a petty and

often petty petty general contest

exactly criminal class I I have said the

same thing the same thing is true here

many of these people we have a large

conversion rate in prisons and if those

people aren't nurtured and cared for

because they've grown up in very

difficult situations and if they're

given a rhetoric of rage if they're

given a divinely legitimized version of

reality that other rises all of these

people they can become an incredibly

dangerous force and and that's happened

but again I want to point out that when

you look at the numbers these are very

small numbers it's so exaggerated we

have 15,000 people die every year from

low tire pressure in America and and the

numbers of people have gone overseas

from America you're looking at less than

a thousand people if you look at the

overall Muslim community it's probably

close to 10 million with the children

this a very insignificant number and yet

it's blown out of with the wit let's

talk about that because it has been