Rules of Engagement

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Event Name: Rules of Engagement
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/12/2020 7:17:33 PM
Transcript Version: 2

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 Salam alaikum greetings of peace it's my
honor to welcome all of you on behalf of
Zaytuna College about the program
tonight as we all know all minorities
and including especially Muslims face a
series of questions in working for
change for the causes that they're
interested in so the questions are what
exactly is a change we want to bring
about and then the next question becomes
what is our theory of change as they
call it
how does change actually happen how does
this change take place what is the most
effective way to influence political
authorities whether the government's
whether the Commission's whether
international organizations what are the
most effective means to influence their
agenda their policies whatever it might
be are there reasons to engage with
political authorities even if you find
there some other actions or statements
morally unacceptable or deplorable even
are there any reasons that we should
still we can and should still engage
with them can different members of a
minority community in this case for
Muslims pursue different avenues to work
for change there are people who engage
the people who lobby there people who
protest people who do boycotts people
who work in electoral campaigns these
are all methods of working for change is
it okay for everybody to do whatever
they choose to do out of these so those
are a lot of the questions we're going
to try and address at much of those as
we can tonight in the conversation
little you'll see and because this has
been in the news as you all know lately
driven by this news in the last month
about the commission of an unalienable
rights the Department of State the
United States Department of State so
that's hopefully this will shed some
light on all of these topics about
engagement our goal tonight is to try
and shed some light on this and to also
look at how influence can work within
governments and within governmental
bodies and how hearts and minds can
change and can begin to change so let me
begin by introducing some of our
speakers real quickly and then we'll get
Salameh Mariotti he has dedicated
himself to improving the public
understanding of Islam he has visited
the White House he's worked on Capitol
Hill he's worked with different national
and international organizations in Human
Rights religious freedom and a whole
host of other issues that are important
to Muslims and to broader faith
communities he is also a mention the
president and the co-founder of the
Muslim Public Affairs Council impact as
it's known and he oversees their
groundbreaking civic engagement public
policy and advocacy work so he has a
wealth of experience of working from
outside but working and facing the
powers that be so to speak and trying to
affect change in that manner Hamza Yusuf
is as you all know president of the
eternal College and he has long-standing
proponent he's been a long-standing
proponent of classical learning in Islam
and for decades now he's engaged with
political authorities governments were
here in America and across the world
lobe in many capacities
he's also participated in major
international organizations the World
Economic Forum in Davos the Vatican all
kinds of national and international
groups like that so he has a wealth of
experience to talk about how what he is
seeing how change works what influence
works within those entities that he's
been familiar with our moderator tonight
will be Holly jazzy and she's a Bay Area
native and a longtime friend and she is
also works in politics so she's a really
great person to actually have to
facilitate and moderate this discussion
I think she is a I want to be accurate
about what I say about her her extensive
public service and government affairs
experience and on the board of directors
of the San Francisco interfaith council
she's a commissioned the Human Rights
Commissioner in the city of San
she also chairs the mmm so as it's
called which stands for Arab Middle
Eastern Muslim and South Asian advisory
boards for the San Francisco Mayor and
district attorney and police chief so
she brings a lot of experience of
working both one leg inside the governor
one leg outside service if I could say
that come on who does both a religious
scholar and a policy expert on issues
related to security to conflict
resolution u.s. foreign policy and he
has considerable experience both inside
the government he worked for for time
inside this United States Department of
State under the John Kerry when he was
the Secretary of State under the Obama
administration he has he holds a PhD in
Middle Eastern Islamic Studies from UCLA
he's worked at the State Department as a
senior policy adviser on matters of
religion and u.s. foreign policy and he
also served many years for the United
States Institute of Peace he now serves
as vice president of the development and
strategy at the center for global policy
and dad is a think tank in Washington so
pretty much his entire work and there is
engaging with governments with that I'm
gonna ask all the panelists to please
come and join us please give me a round
of applause join me in this for the
mother Oh Marathi as one of our national
leaders as relates to the mobis Muslim
community and especially civic
engagement and public affairs what are
your thoughts on this evenings topic and
why is this so important and anything
you would like to follow up with
commerce opening remarks before we
proceed with the program yes sir male
come Smee laughing thank you for is a
tuna chef hamsa for inviting me to be on
this panel and I wish we had more panels
like this where we would have these
serious conversations and engaging with
community because I believe that as
we're engaging government we also need
to be engaging community because at the
end of the day our job is to represent
the interests of our community we
believe at impact that Muslims should
have a seat at the table every table the
right the left where you like it where
you don't like it but we need to have a
Muslim voice because the number one
criticism of Muslims is that we are
silent we're not heard and I know
there's a lot of noise in social media
but that's not real work the real work
is out there and change happens by
engaging decision makers and those who
shape public opinion so that they have a
better understanding of Islam we change
the way they think about Islam and
Muslims from government to law
enforcement to editors to civic leaders
there needs to be our presence for that
change to happen and at impact we
believe in the four steps of creating
change this theory of change the first
step is that you have managers to
explain the impact the Muslim Public
Affairs Council we engage decision
makers and media because the policies
and the news that shape the image of
Muslims is really the crux of the issue
involving Muslims you ask any Muslim
community what is it that you want to
change the most they want to change how
the media is distorting Islam they want
to change the laws and the policies that
are that we see the double standards in
they want our children to live with
better opportunity and hope and to end
the bullying and the harassment of our
students starting from the the earliest
years the most important years of our
children the first and second grade even
so we engage decision makers and opinion
shapers so the four steps that we aim to
do that this is our theory of change if
you will is that number one you have to
establish a presence and that means you
have to have a seat at the table and
number two when you have that seat at
the table you gain respect respect means
that you do your homework you you have
your policy papers you have your your
your your thought leadership and you
offer ideas that people did not think
about before so that when you walk out
and they walk out of the room they may
say you know I may not agree with that
with that Muslim but I respect what
Muslims have to offer
I respect the credibility that they came
to the table with because they sounded
like they knew what they were talking
about so you have to achieve respect
first after that you gain the acceptance
of being called upon whenever there is
an issue so when there is a problem they
call you to say you know what you you
need to be at this meeting because
something is happening so now you're
part of that decision-making process
even if it is at a very local level or
at a very micro level but you are
accepted to be part of that process
after you gain that acceptance then you
can wield influence on the situation you
are seen as an expert on the issue
you've developed your credibility you
you take
stands that show the principles of Islam
as the Quran says la subida are
applicable Hekmati well more edited
husana which i did home bility here
assam invite people to the way of your
lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching
beautiful admonition and when you argue
with them argue with them and engage
them in a way that you come up with
something better
and that means that we don't just
complain about problems but we are into
problem-solving we are problem solvers
not just problem makers or problem
amplifiers and sometimes that is the
image that that is seen by many
communities not just our is that they
just shout and scream but we are here
for problem solving how do we leverage
government how would you leverage the
decision-making process to offer
services to our community to protect
them and at the same time show that
islam and muslims are an enriching
element of american pluralism and that
is the theory that we see we are like
the light in this room the light in this
room is not the largest part of the room
but it is the most significant part of
the room islam and muslims it is that
light in the american room without it
there is darkness and we don't have a
direction we don't see right from wrong
so that is our theory of change in
engaging the rest of society on these
issues the last thing i want to say is
to to Palmer's point about career public
servants they are probably the most
important elements of democracy they are
probably the the people that we need to
engage the most because as commerce says
they are there no matter which
Republican Democrat far-right far-left
whatever the situation they want that
expertise from us and they are in there
as government public servants and so you
know how we say don't look don't
stereotype Muslims well we shouldn't
because there are many elements of group
there's much good in government I would
say that these career public servants
along with some other great leaders in
American society have preserved our
democracy no matter what we think about
who's in the White House no matter how
hopeless it gets that we think that it's
becoming tyrannical or it's becoming
authoritarian you know it's becoming
oppressive and I remember sitting with
President Clinton even and we had Muslim
leaders and there were sanctions on the
people of Iraq and they were dying and
they weren't changing it wasn't him
that I was interested in talking to it
was his staff around him that were going
to make the decisions and have the
analysis and even when we go to someone
that we disagree with them vehemently
what does the Quran tell us go and tell
them like it told Moosa about Pharaon go
and tell him that he is transgressing
but when you go and talk to him talk to
him in soft speech : lay in it that is
the Islamic method of engagement that
even when we raise these issues that we
feel our country is going in the wrong
direction we speak with intelligence
with mutual respect as problem-solvers
soft speech so that when we walk out
Islam is seen in a better light
inshallah and then there will be more
change for the positive for our
community and for the rest of society
share Kansa it's fair to say you have
received a decent amount of both
criticism and support for your
engagements or rather engagements
especially recently what are your
thoughts on the importance of engagement
for and with the Muslim community
mr. menorah and Rahim Solanas in the
Mohamed well first of all you know it's
very interesting being in the mapa you

Know because it's it's a lot hotter than the room right now but you know for me it's it's been an extraordinary journey
and as I come into these later years of the journey and as it begins to wind up for me looking back 
Erickson has these crises, developmental crises that people have and the one between 40 and 65 is about generativity versus stagnation.  Like actually doing something useful because by 40 this is the prophetic age you kind of have a level of wisdom that you didn't have in your earlier years and then you've got the youth still working.  
But 65 on is integrity versus despair you know did what you did with your life was it do you feel it was worthwhile or do you feel that maybe you made really huge
mistakes and it was a completely squandered opportunity these are these are the things that all human beings have to deal with.

Aristotle in in book seven has a very interesting statement.  Where he he says that there is a difference of opinion amongst those who agree, that the most choice worthy life is a life in pursuit of virtue.  And what they disagree about is whether that virtue is best actualized in the public sphere in as a political servant or by disengaging completely and moving into the contemplative life.  Thus the philosophical life the scholar left the sagely life.  And then he
says that because all people of wisdom agree that these two pursuits are the ones that the people most ambitious in the pursuit of virtue engage in either
the act of political life or the philosophic life.

It's a very interesting passage because I the two single most influential people in my life after my parents, are 2 Mauritania scholars.  One of them Murabit Al Hajj lived a completely disengaged life in the middle he actually left and and went into the deep desert.  Really hard to get to him.  He actually told me I put a barrier between me and the people of this world.  Meaning the Sahara Desert.

He spent his life teaching and people came to him but his life was a life of devotion and contemplation.  Nobody criticizes him he is the most beloved scholar in probably in the 20th century in Mauritania.  Like everybody loves Murabit al Hajj

The other person is sh abdullah bin baya whose father was a judge under the french colonial period who was raised when he at the age of 20 he was a
brilliant scholar he went to Tunisia and studied law French law and mastered both the European tradition of rights and and the Islamic person came back at a very
young age he served in almost every ministerial position he wrote the constitution of Mauritania he was vice president he met with all the major leaders of the Arab world he met I mean his life was incredible engagement then the day that he signed that the Sharia would be implemented in Modi's the next day there was a coup and he was in jail he spent the next several years in isolation in Arabia pretty much an academic life and then he reengaged because he saw things getting very so these are the two now about the engagement

he's been the brunt of incredible criticism and so the nature of engagement is that you will be criticized in fact one of the great Seneca great Roman stoic said that rumors innuendoes slander and libel are the taxes that public personalities must pay for being a public personality.

So this is part of it.  My life changed after 9/11.  

I mean some people we can all 9/11 is different for different people.  My life changed.  

I missed my children's childhood. I mean literally, my wife came to testify that because I was gone seven months out of the year on average, going around the world trying to change the perception a lot of people have about Islam

And for me, I agree with Salaam Marietti that that we should be for our community.  The great Jewish sage rabbi Hillel said if I'm not for myself then who will be for me?  But if I'm only for myself then what am i and so we had as Muslims we are for all of humanity <ARABIC> "You are the the best community that's come out for Humanity".

It doesn't say for the Muslims.  You're actually supposed to be exemplars and people vying in virtue and showing who you are.

so my own personal experience of engagement is that it's I know that it's had an impact and I'll just give you one example.  Sam Brownback, Who was the Governor of Kansas. He enacted an anti-Sharia law in the state of Kansas.  He is now the ambassador for religious freedom. I've seen the transformation.  That's how than in him through interacting with Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah.  And one of the things that really struck him when I told him that channeled open beta was was an expert on agricultural law because he's from Kansas and he's a lawyer who's an expert on agricultural law he's actually written on it and he was like shocked and I said because that's a big part of Islamic law.  I saw the transformation sheikh abdulla brought him together with the mufti the imam of encodes and I saw the Imam complain about because he said if you're in America's for religious freedom you
need to do more for little quotes whether he does or not that that's you know that's his tow vehicle or not.  

But the point is is that I saw that transformation happen in that man.  he has a different opinion of Islam after interacting with the intellect and and the legal genius of that man now for me personally, I marry an glendon who's the head of the Commission I gave her the Renovatio journal when I met her we had a very nice conversation I've actually read one of her books I had in my library before I met her rights talk she wrote in 91 but I gave her the journal and in there I had written an article called Medina and Athena restoring a loss magazine.  It was about the influence that Greek thought had on the Muslim community and then how the lot of that was transmitted back to Europe she wrote me and I took permission from her to actually quote her on this because I
told her our prophet saw him said that correspondences and and private conversations are sacred trusts you shouldn't actually quote a person in private conversation unless they allow you so I asked her if I could quote her on this and she said by all means she wrote me an email and she said first of all I want to really thank you for accepting you to be part of this but secondly I want to let you know you've already influenced me I teach a course at Harvard law called the origins of legal theory in the West and from now on that course will have a component of it's now going to be Athens Jerusalem and Medina, and that's at Harvard University.  Where these young people who might never hear something like that.  

Like what's the influence of Muslims on Western law people don't know that Napoleonic law which is one of the most important elements of statute law even in the United States and Louisiana still uses Napoleonic Code.

the Napoleonic law was heavily influenced by Maliki Fiqh.  And Napoleon had all of those books translated into French. So these are the things that I want people to see that we are a civilization that's had an incredible impact, and we're a civilization of producers that that the Stars are ours, the navigational stars have Arabic names the heavens belong to us.  We name those stars are our community.  The numerals that people add subtract and multiply by, are ours.  They're
not Indian they are Arabic they'd like to put Hindi Hindi Arabic but the ones we use are not the Indian ones they're the North African ones that were
developed by Muslims to show the angles.  So we have had a huge impact on Western civilization and this civilization the beauty of being indebted is that you actually good people feel a sense of you know that they should be grateful and then bad people it just makes them angry.

Thank You chef Hamza to follow up on that I would like to ask both of you what specifically do you consider success when engaging with government officials and just government in general and specifically what change in policy have you achieved?

I just any concrete results deliverables
that you're either you individually as
someone that worked in State Department
or you as the president of impact
through your leadership through
mobilizing resources and meetings and
directly meeting with them what have you
influenced and lobbied and successfully
gained for us you know there are two
things I can name both under the Bush
administration we worked with the
Department Homeland Security civil
rights civil liberties Division number
one we actually got more Muslims to work
in the government not just through civil
rights and civil liberties but through
other channels and now there are a
number of Muslims working on cases of
redress involving our community and one
of the most important programs that we
developed with them is called trip which
is a travel redress program where
people's names were Mis associated with
names on an oaf a class the Office of
Foreign Assets and control these are
people that the government is
investigating and so we developed a
means for people to clear their names
that they will not be harassed at
airports number two we did we lobbied
the Bush administration to drop the term
Islamic when it refers to terrorism
because we argued that you cannot give
al-qaeda religious legitimacy they
accepted our that argument and it was
the Bush administration that developed a
policy paper through Secretary of
Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and
the paper is still available where he
basically his name is on the decision
that the US government will not
associate Islam with terrorism and to me
these are minor steps in terms of
government engagement but major steps in
changing the way people see our
community on the one hand we're trying
to provide services leverage our
connections and government to provide
services and on the other hand we're
mitigating the harm which to me is
exactly what the Quran is saying Moroni band motto if you with unhone and one God we enjoying for what is a social benefit for the doing of good and we prevent what is of social harm and what is what is evil so that that to me are two examples of the work that I'm very proud of with the Muslim Public Affairs
Council okay 

Shaykh Hamza: Can I just add something about Jared off who who was the head of Homeland Security I actually gave a talk with he and his wife were present with their son and I had read his father's PhD dissertation at Columbia which is on the influence of gazali on Jewish philosophers he was actually an expert on Islam so I have that was that my talk that night I said "I know that that the head of Homeland Security knows that Islam is not an evil religion because his father got his PhD at Columbia showing the positive impact
that Islam had on Jewish philosophers."  He was floored.  His wife came up to it with tears in her eyes she said I can't believe you mentioned that my son doesn't know who his grandfather was.  So I just want to thank you for that.  

I've seen hearts change in addition to everything that was said about people's hearts changings that ambassador Brownback taking sheikh abdullah bin Bayyah more seriously having the Honorable shirt off to think about Islam more seriously these are offers great examples and in the examples that sometimes go unheard of right people don't know about these things.  I think one of the things we have and as a community broadly speaking is that we don't advertise our good work and there's a great deal of not an unknown
good things that happen all the time
whether the Muslims who are civil
servants or their foreign service
officers or at the local City Council or
a state legislature we just don't really
know the the hard work that's being done
so there are thousands of good success
stories it's just people seem to
gravitate towards things that are not so
happy and negative and sometimes so that
we're always pose posturing in a sort of
defensive defensively on these issues
one time in government and I think
specifically I think one of the greatest
things was to really think of wonderful
shakes and shrieks just like shake up a
little bit by a for government
before US diplomats take them seriously
do not see them as theologians who are
living in their own world who are just
you know talking to amongst other
theologians but the work I think we did
in those three years for Kerry's office
was to train diplomats how to think
about female Shekhar's how to think
about many men who are want to become
Imams universities and so forth there's
a whole religious dynamics in living and
appreciating life and working with other
folks that that is not understood in
sort of a very deeply secular
corporation and so breaking that not
meant numerous numerous training at with
called a Foreign Service Institute as
well as in foreign and training at
embassies so I think just sensitizing
them and showing resources and
understanding just as Salaam said
there's a great deal of thinking that
when we think of extremists or violent
extremists there should be a number of
Muslim names and I think our work was to
show that you know religion is not
really associated with violent extremism
we had another three ten ten pages of
luck all these other movements in the
last 50 years that had nothing to do
with religion and so there has to be
some sort of appreciation of why people
turn to extremism for a political cause
instead of just think you know that's
the religious reason I think the other
other thing that's really important is
having diplomats who can name who who
could never name a single shake but they
would go to the peace forum and I would
love you the annual peace forum and now
have in their Blackberry or smartphone a
hundred one hundred names they have a
hundred names from 50 different
countries who they can say in Sierra
Leone in in Ghana or it's
who can return to when we have a
question there's something happening
that's going to come as a tidal wave as
a threat which Imams can return to who
can reconvene and I think that was a
really good and contribution and there
was no less of a contribution but by
Imams and shakes and Chinooks karapa
listening and being engaged if we didn't
have them to be engaged we couldn't
provide these relationships so I think
that was a success story so I would like
to share the role of engagement with
government I'm a proud public servant so
I won the political Abba alum lotto when
I was got when I got hired by Mayor
Willie Brown and that was when my
political activism started and that's
when public service became my way of
life and it's not a job for 16 years I
worked directly for the mayor's office
and different departments and most
recently I'm not no longer an employee
but now I serve as a commissioner and
some of the things that we've done in
San Francisco and behind the scenes have
been amazing we had the first Ramadan
iftar at City Hall this year attended by
over 500 people that would have happened
without engagement we had just a meeting
the other day with Department of
Homeland Security because we had issues
of people getting in so now they promise
that they will get to us if there's any
issues with visas and they also asked us
for cultural sensitivity training not
just in their secondary training for
their cadets but for their primary
training that's huge
we don't we don't have to advertise it
but it's happening behind the scenes
they we've been asking them also to hire
more Muslims that look like us that
talked like us that share our values the
other just on a local level there's
nothing that happens in the mayor's
office that we don't have information
about when there's a mosque we're under
attack every mosque is now guarded every
mosque with the police chief himself
contacts every message in San Francisco
and make sure they're fully equipped and
has security 24/7 until they're feeling
more safe and at home and more recently
we've been dealing with the school
system we're trying to get more cultural
sensitivity we started we are from the
president's office in the Barack Obama
will always be my president
it was know your neighbor and now we
started to know your class
because of the bullying in schools so we
have ing we have era they're doing such
amazing work separately but they're
still doing amazing work to reach out to
the Muslim community and when New
Zealand attacks happened and the
terrorist attacks took the lives of
those precious Muslims across the world
what we did was make sure that every
elected official in California and I
specifically sent an email to every
single one of them and texted every
single one of them and made sure they
used the word brother and sister and
their tweets and hamdulillah they did
that's what access provides so that they
know that whether you're brown or black
Muslim or any Muslim that they will
treat you the same as anybody else so
for me Public Engagement has been
amazing why because I have access to
resources and so inshallah as we're
talking about this debate I think we
should be very mindful of the
effectiveness and the sacrifices of so
many Muslims especially Muni drivers we
have Muni drivers that drive your kids
to school that also need to be respected
and thought about whether they're in the
mayor's office or driving buses or in a
department of health so please be
mindful that government is not all bad I
would back to say 90% are people of
honor and integrity and doing the work
and sharing our values as well so come
are just going back to its it's similar
now that you know with the tank think
tank and you worked amazing the State
I just want specifically hone down on
lobbying in federal government on
Capitol and White House what are some of
the do's and don'ts what are the best
practices and who's been the most
effective at lobbying because I think
that's part of the equation as well
we're talking my engagement we're
different levels engagement right we're
more more civic engagement public
service more scholarly PR but the
hardcore lobbying like what are some of
the best practices I may not be the best
person to answer that question because
I'm not in the lobby business right
oh how did I see government people oh
yes I think I think I'll be extra fair
here in the State Department when you
come to the State Department you are
invited and you asked to provide your
driver's license and your name in your
date of birth and they register you
right so they know who's coming what's
your personal background just like any
other government building and then why
you're there and who you meeting so this
is recorded and it came up in with some
conversation someone who works in that
office and they knew I was in the the
secretary's office on Aslam overseas but
they wanted to know more about a
particular group and I said sure what's
up and they asked me for coffee I said
you know this group comes here about 400
times a year yeah 400 times years
recorded in 2017 I said oh okay and they
showed you the names it's about ten
names they're coming over and over again
like you said maybe twice a day three
times a day
and and they're just it's a it's an
International Development Foundation
it's and they come and they speak to
every single Bureau every single
political appointee they want to share
their work on a show their networks they
want to show what the type of work
they're doing they want to show what
they have what what sort of access they
have to overseas companies up and
overseas governments I'll just say it
it's the other Khan Foundation and that
came up and I just wanna be transparent
and I was like wow it's fantastic 400
times a year about and
to a point where now you say this is
that's free these are free conversations
you come you make an appointment you
share your ideas but to a point where
the government knows the activities in
Kenya in all their schools from Ghana to
Somalia to Yemen and all these schools
up in Pakistan and Kashmir that
everything they know that teachers names
they know the principles they know that
they know what's happening what's
important about all these different
departments knowing the Agathon
because when there was a need in Yemen
to remove some people out of Yemen to
rescue a hostage situation
this community played a role because
they had people on the ground they're
already there they had access that
Catholic Relief Services could not have
and so this foundation is not just seen
as you're providing this information but
they're critically important to save
other Americans lives and also do other
things I mean that's not their job
that's not a job to help Americans
policy the job is to be inform the
Americans of the activities and also
show that the activities are in a way
promoting American values because an
American base 501c3 so that's one
example that that's what I meant by
consistency and continuity maintaining
relationships 400 may sound a lot I bet
there are other groups that I have no
idea who's there a lot more and that's
just the State Department I'm not sure
where they go into USAID or as a White
House but continuity and consistency
shapes a person's mind and shapes a
group's mind and also has a very
favorable attitude of your ability to be
successful overseas so to fall thank you
for saying that as many of you know you
probably get hundreds of emails like the
rest of us talking about Capitol day
whether buying
MPAC Muslim advocates care engage those
are really important so please make sure
you donate to those causes because dads
will help contribute to lobbying efforts
to help getting the message out about
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guys can do that because I think as he's
mentioning they really work on their
they don't show up 400 times a year but
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they really do need your support so
please make sure you donate to the
capital holiday share Hamza back to you
you're famous or maybe infamous for
visiting the White House right after
9/11 and meeting with george w bush
there's been a lot of misinformation
until this day which i can't understand
about your role in that meeting before
and after can you please tell us what
you said to President Bush and what
really happened so that for history's
sake that we kind of couldn't put this
to the rest 

Shaykh Hamza: I mean first of all I met one time. I went in and actually my recommendation to them and Sohail Khan knows this story, because he was there, 
Mehboob Khan's son. I was invited in with four other religious leaders it was a cardinal who ended up getting scandalized in Massachusetts over the
covering up the pedophilia problems.  And then there was a Jewish rabbi, Franklin Graham and myself representing the Muslims.

This was before we knew anything.  I mean this is September 20th and we didn't know what was going on.  There was no war with Iraq.  Nothing.

And one of the things that they mentioned was that the I have a letter which I've never published and and I probably should.  Because I gave him a letter that that gave him my recommendations.  One of them was don't go to war in any Muslim country because this is a criminal act and it should be seen as a criminal act and and no country has done this.  And so it would be a great disservice to the people that are gonna be harmed by any war.

The letters there.  They had said that they were calling this operation to find out who did it...there's no war yet.  The war was declared later and they called the Operation Infinite Justice.  We were in the elevator going up, In the White House and I said to these religious leaders that's blasphemous and they all agreed like they nodded their heads and I said shouldn't we say something?  Like that's like saying America's God! They said yeah we should say something.  So we appointed the cardinal and so when we were leaving he didn't say anything.  So I said, "Excuse me, you know that this operation to find out who did this", ...Right there's no war..."It's called Infinite Justice and only God's Justice is infinite."  So I consider this <ARABIC> (Speaking truth to a Ruler) 
I said something that I hope on the Day of Judgment benefits me.  

I said it's blasphemous to say that an offensive to Muslims.  And he said "really" I said "Yeah". 

He said "Get the, Call the Pentagon, get them to change it, we don't have any theologians in the Pentagon."  

that's what he said

So, they changed the name.  That's my little footnote in history.  You know, this guy that got the name changed, but it became a war.  That wasn't what I was saying.  There's this idea somehow I was more concerned about the name than the actual war.  There was no war.  

For me, my family knows this, my concern at the time, was I was very worried that the Muslim places of worship would be aggressed upon.  By my estimation for the the people of his country went up enormously after 9/11 because most of our mosques had flowers we had people calling. 

I was floored by that mahogany who's not here she knows we met
and I said listen I've been watching
these now they're called Islamophobes I just said anti-muslim people for since the mid 90s and these guys are going to use this as an opportunity come to completely create a smear campaign against our community and make us look like a Fifth Column in the United States.  

That was my concern was how Muslims are gonna be viewed about how Muslim women wearing the hijab are gonna get accosted.  Our children being bullied, those were
all my concerns at the time. My concern was this community.  We're here, we live here we've been here for probably for at least 400 years, Muslims, on these

We're here and as far as I know nobody's going anywhere at least the vast majority fine we have to live here and if people don't know who we are if we allow other people to frame who we are then we've been framed right and Islam are Sharia says you have to obey the laws of the land.  The verses that were read earlier those opening verses are to the rulers.  Give people their trusts you know because you have a sacred trust as a government give people their Amanat and if you judge, judge justly.  And this is good advice.  But then the advice is to the people the citizens obey God obey the messenger in other
words be virtuous and upright because we don't have we can't we don't have any
penal code none of those things of
Shetty yet that have to do with laws of
criminal justice and thing that has
nothing to do with Muslims other than
people in authority in Muslim lands and that's their prerogative but then it says and obey those in authority from you in other words Muslims by consensus
of our scholars are obliged to bit obey
the laws of the land and if their
secular laws they have to obey them the
only thing that we don't obey is if
somebody makes a law that everybody has to drink a toast on Christmas, with wine.  We're not going to do that.  now that's absurd but those are the only things
that we obey if it actually goes against something that we can't do.  But everything else we have to do by law, that's the Sharia in the country of the
United States the Sharia is the Constitution of the United States. And and that that is what are all of our scholars have said.  Abizaid one of the earliest scholars in his in his book <> he says he was asked if somebody is in the land of the Romans meaning the Europeans if they're there and and they went in
with a like a visa at the time you know it was called <ARABIC> they called him somebody who's given you no permission
to come in there so they're they're
secured their person and then they
aggressive on them do they have to obey
the laws here's what he said if the
aggression is from rabble amongst them
or criminals they have to obey the laws
but if the aggression is from the
government then they're no longer right
bound by the law because they broke that
that government broke the trust of you being in there securely so that that is an example of how sophisticated early on our scholars were so you know my 

My goal in there was to I actually took the Essential Quran and I put all the verses and put stickies on it and said I know you don't have time to read
the Quran but just read these verses I gave him a thing from Mohammed Zakaria about the Character of the Prophet that he "Never repaid a wrong with another

And I said this has nothing to do with Islam. So I was in there to explain what Islam is.  And to be fair to him like he I think...he did horrible things
afterwards with the war in Iraq and listening to the neo-cons and what happened it's terrible.  And a lot of people died because of misadventures.  But
initially we have to be grateful that he went to a mosque almost immediately. He did that news conference he talked about how Muslims are good citizens of this
country.  So he actually did the right things initially and I think it benefited us as a community.  Unfortunately today we have a whole other problem with with just the rhetoric has been so aggressive.

It's really important to remember that Trump is not the government he is the head of the administration.  And our system differentiates between the government and the administration.  This man was a political appointee meaning that the administration appointed him for a temporary position the civil servants are there all the time.  They're a different kettle of fish and so if we start if we don't understand even the Commission by people like I joined the Trump,give me a break.

You know seriously, this commission is an independent body of academics.  It is literally illegal by federal law for the State Department to put any pressure on this committee to come up with with what they want.  One of the things that we can learn from our Jewish brethren here is that the Jews committee one they they don't attack each other in  public.  They're very even though they really own Jimmy and Oklahoma Shep though the Quran says "You think they're all United but they're very divided as well".  But they have an outward display in the head of the Religious Desk at one of the major networks, in the United States, told me of all the religious communities he covers the most vicious with one another as the Muslim community.  

And that broke my heart when I heard that. when when the Jewish community.  

I was with Muhammad Asanusi see Dr. Sanusi. We went I've been going for the last four years to the to the Baptist's they have a conference on religious freedom and they invited me so I went because Shaaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah always says, "An empty chair is not a strategy".  If they invite you, go.  

That's the prophetic practice.  I went and there was a man there.  Every time I've gone to the Right there's always Jewish rabbis.  Whenever I go to the left, there's always Jewish rabbis.  They are represented in both sides of the aisle.

There was a man that had written a book about Sharia.  He spent about ten minutes saying how evil the Shariah was.  Hhe didn't know I was Muslim in...I am in a suit and tie just sitting there listening to him I didn't say anything.  When he finished I said you know can I talk I said first of all.  I will agree with everything you said if you will agree that the Klu Klux Klan represents Christianity.  

Because everything you've described has nothing to do with my religion and I've spent 40 years studying this religion and then they let me go on for about 20 minutes explaining the Maqasid I explained the six Maqasid of Sharia that the higher aims of the Sharia.

When I finished, when I went out, people came up to me and said you know we've never heard that before that was very illuminating.  you know we've only heard that other version we went from that meeting with Mohamed Sanu seat to shoulder to shoulder which you know which is the left there were the Jewish rabbis.  

They were at both groups but the Muslims.  We're the only Muslims at the right.  They have books on the table like you know, the evil of Islam and things like that I mean literally.  you know so if we're not in there to just create a kind of even just to a
little bit of a pattern disruption to make them think because, Thomas Cleary once told me the brilliant scholar Tom's dr. Cleary told me once most Americans cannot think about thinking about Islam.  

We're all activists I know some people think it's like a bad word but we're all activists.  

scholarly activists public relations a public service but there are other activists that are also engage in an edition engage they also participate in protests and boycotts and sometimes they don't think those makes well and they take a position do you see that their type of activism as well finding a venue to work
for change as well I'm gonna ask all
three of us start with you is it also an
effective Avenue for change yes of
course I mean I was there when the
announcement of the Muslim ban through
an executive order was made
and we went to the airport and that was
a massive protest we basically shut down
half the airport there were about 10,000
people there and I have to tell you I
couldn't find 10 Muslims so while
there's a lot of talk on so especially
on social media and social media is very
toxic number one there's so much rumour
milling and we lose the Islamic
character the Quran tells us verify
something when you hear something bad
verify otherwise you will feel remorse
for letting it spread and we have lost
that character of stopping rumor Millie
but in the in that protest I was there
and I do believe that you do need both
you need the people on the outside
raising the issues pressuring the
government from from that standpoint and
you need the person at the table so
there are two different modes but they
have to work hand in hand the bottom
line the Quran tells us you must band
together if you are fractured then
corruption will continue to spread on on
earth why are Muslims still suffering
from occupation genocide ethnic
cleansing tyranny because we have not
banded together and in America we have
that opportunity the left and the right
and those who protest and those who
believe in resistance and those who
believe in engagement and see having a
seat at the table we have to become as
if you know we are one body but we're
not we're very far away from it at least
let us agree on the ideal and and
discuss it and then move towards it I
just have one last story that that you
know really impacted me in terms of the
work since chef Hamza was talking about
Christian groups and religious groups I
was at an evangelical church and there
was a person that wanted to go speak at
the event occult Church she's not very
religious her name is Diane she was a
Peace Corps volunteer back in the 70s
and she was in Muslim countries and she
said Muslims treat
her so well there now she lives in
America and she sees what's happening to
Muslims and she is disgusted by it and
she wants to tell all Americans that
because Muslims treated her so well we
should treat Muslims well here and she
told her story and then I they invited
me to speak and to we talked about the
Mikasa and we talked about Islam you
know the myth and the realities and all
the misconceptions at the end of that a
man came up to both of us he said I am a
political operative for Republicans and
I use anti-muslim tropes to get them
elected in office I'm here to ask for
your forgiveness because now I realize
what I've done is wrong that micro
change to me is validation is redeeming
for our work is that changing hearts and
minds one person at a time whether we're
dealing with scholars like she comes it
does or people in government like Lamar
does and think tanks or people in
interfaith councils and government
services like Allah does at the end of
the day it's about working with people
however you you you you know whichever
way God has decided to give you that
opportunity to engage and is this change
at fidelity he assented Avantika obey no
I da watan and no one even I mean repel
evil with goods that the one with whom
there is enmity becomes as if he is your
closest and warmest friend and who is
the best example of that is the Prophet
Muhammad SAW Allah said that I think
that's what we have to follow in this
country today it's hard but we're
getting our chart and didn't have two
questions no I just don't have more to
add just but the very thought is
protests on the streets raising your
voices being public with the protests
and and being part of all different
types of coalition's I think it's very
important to join those coalition's and
show your public presence but it is
still just
the beginning because the protest has a
beginning point and an end point and
then everyone goes on on the way grabs a
cappuccino so one has to figure out you
know what does this all mean others or
was it a feel-good emotional moment it
was it something more does it lead to
something so all I would ask is those
activist stores who are trained to think
that just need to be in the public
sphere by protesting think about the
wheel of influence and think about the
impact of touching that wheel how are
you going to move outside the street
into the legislative halls into the
State Department in different areas in
academia and so forth because after the
the protest what's beyond that what more
can you do
and I think that's what I would ask us
to reflect on and more two things one
who did the Prosise I'm sent into Mecca
do you remember at the at when they went
for Umbra the hudaibiya he sent earth
man even I've found and the reason he
did was he was the only one that had
maintained good connections with the
people of Mecca everybody else had cut
them off earth man kept he kept
relations and this is called Shara to
Moorea Moorea said I always keep a hair
between me and others if they pull I
release if they release I pull but I
don't let that hair get broken and so
it's very important to recognize that we
we have to have you know that we have to
have those relations because because
they're very important the other thing
is that the prophet sallallaahu said I'm
was somebody who he always wanted people
to be guided and that was his
overarching concern about people he did
it's amazing that his I think one of his
greatest gifts was his ability to make
his enemies his friends and if you
alienate people to such a degree that
you demonize them you do the very thing
you're asking them not to do to you and
and I've seen hearts change and my you
know people think I have Chris Hedges I
really I keep in contact with him I love
Chris Hedges but I also have a good
relationship with Robbie George they're
on opposite spectrums but I I don't know
if it's because I'm ambidextrous I just
the left and the right to me both have
valid points and I think when you
demonize one side and not recognize that
a lot of these people are decent people
and finally the Prophet SAW I said and
he said said takuna Amara telefono atone
Kieran there are gonna be rulers people
put over you they that you will see good
from them and you will see bad he said
man arafa beriah
whoever acknowledges the good is free of
the sin of whatever bad they do woman
Salima and whoever rejects in his heart
according to the commentaries because
he's not able to change it in his heart
is free of their evil Salima and then
and then he said cellulite is to them
that then they said I'll cut it a home
shouldn't we fight them if they're doing
bad he said let my son go
as long as they're still praying and
outwardly displaying us on because we
see now what happens when you try to
overthrow governments the actual human
harm that it creates is so immense and
our scholars were concerned even Hodja
says they were concerned more with
anything than with stealing the
agitation civil strife and preserving
blood because shedding blood is the one
thing this is what the the Angels they
said what are you going to put those who
shed blood and so corruption God says I
know what you don't know in other words
there will be those who choose not to do
that before we get to the lot we only
have time I'm so sorry for two questions
but before I get to those two questions
I want to follow up regarding the Muslim
ban and the day at the airport we had
major drama in San Francisco oh sorry we
had a lot of problems in San Cisco it
was similar to Los Angeles we had
thousands of people
mostly it was amazing it was just white
black millionaires poor everybody was
there I just went there on my way home I
was at visiting my parents in Sunnyvale
and decided to go drop by and I get a
call from mayor and Lee god bless his
soul and he's like you need to get to
the airport I'm like I'm already on my
way to hang out with my friends and do
table and he's like no no you need to
get to the airport so I get there the
commander at that time didn't know any
Muslim people he was trying to shut down
all the protests we had you had Yemeni
protesting doing table you had
palestine's doing table you had African
Americans doing table you had Filipinos
doing table they were all three
different people that didn't want leave
but they weren't letting people in
so me and some of the civil rights
organization had to step in but that is
the importance again of we my job was to
protect the protesters yes I needed the
people to get off the plane yes I had to
protect our law enforcement to make sure
nothing happens to them but I was not
gonna allow the protesters not to have
their day and enjoy so protests are very
very important but we also have to have
a balance and make sure that it doesn't
cause harm or disruption to people
coming off the planes or to the police
so I just wanted to add that as well so
are there any situations where we should
disengage and what are the best practice
for disengagement who wants to take this
one I mean you know it's a question and
it's an HT had engagement the Prophet
gave people so lies and the option to
disengage or to engage that's an option
for people so this I did that everybody
has to be engaged I don't I don't agree
with that and and and the you know Plato
who was a great philosopher and
political scientist he ended up engaging
he didn't want like you said in your
speech they you thought am I just to
write another book Plato thought am I
just gonna write another dialogue he so
he went to Syracuse he almost ended up
getting killed because the the ruler
there ended up deines
ended up almost killing him and then he
convinced him to come back and he made
the mistake of going back a second time
it was even worse and he actually ended
up being sold into slavery right so at
the end of his life he wrote what's
called the seventh letter and he said
sometimes the situation's are so bad
that one
is left to remain quiet pray for his own
salvation and for the salvation of his
and and that's that's an that's a
question you know but the prophets all I
said I'm said the best of you are those
who engage men hotter than s you know
that get in with the people
well yes but Elana thou home and they're
patient with the harm that comes from
that and so it's difficult to do that
because people are gonna attack you and
people are going to question your sincerity.  I mean all of that is good.  I've had enough incomes to last 10 lifetimes, so I'm gray hair,  I'm over 60, I could care less now.
I really could, because but if people think I'm going to risk my akhirah, for...I don't get any money from any I've never taken any money.  The honorary I've been given from the government, I've distributed.

So, I know what I'm doing and I know what
my heart is and I take is Tijara I
listen to my teacher and I pray it's the
Hara I don't do anything just to do it
so I think people have to do any job and
all the last thing I want to say is that
every action that a human being does
falls under one of five categories it's
either prohibited it's either disliked
it's permissible it's recommended or
it's an obligation the only one you're
supposed to condemn is the one that's
prohibited and agreed upon its
prohibition and so this idea of just
prohibiting like who are you to tell
people what they can or cannot do if you
want to criticize that fine but at least
do if you're a Muslim do it with the
head above Islam
I mean we have comportment and just I
mean can you move in every element I've
had a fairly I called higher and holiest
the Prophet gave us two choices so
lyceum whoever believes in a God in the
last day speak good say something
beneficial call me up tell me you're
crazy what were you thinking right but
this idea of just slandering and
attacking you're saying libelous things
I mean I feel sorry for you on the day
of judgment can I just make it an
another point lately just I just want to
bear weight so I'm gonna not I'm so
sorry I might not be able to
as this last question from the audience
but I'd like for you guys to each take a
moment to do a closing remark and you
can start with you
oh okay well on the issue of a
disengagement and it's the same for
engagement sometimes we look at
engagement and disengagement as if
they're the goals they're not goals
they're just tools they're their
decisions that you make on each
situation for example we were in the
White House for a faith-based organizing
meeting and we had Muslims there we walk
into the White House and we are with
Abdullah arjan and as we sit down the
White House said Oh
Abdullah cannot be in this meeting he
has to go we talked for about two
minutes and we said if he goes we all go
that's right so we all walked out so
that was a time for disengaging to send
a message that if the table is not going
to respect our community and who we
decide should be at the table
then we're not going to be at the table
they apologized afterwards they brought
Abdullah back and there were people in
the White House who saw this and from
that point on they said this is where
they realized they have to work on
Muslim inclusion and integration of
Muslims in decision-making and so on and
so forth so that is an example of
disengagement at a moment where we felt
we needed to remove ourselves from that
the last thing I want I want to say then
is that as we as we think about these
goals and and really what's happening to
our country were only 1% of the
population we have to build the
coalitions we have to be involved in
coalition building and who is the our
example of coalition building is the
prophet Mohamed Salah Larry Center he
developed treaties he talked to people
he was a political authority not just a
religious authority in Medina the
Muslims were the minority when he
arrived in Medina he was invited to
Medina because he was a peacemaker
and that is the real goal is to show how
Islam and Muslims are about achieving
peace in our society with that then
people can decide how they want to
protest they want to be involved in a
political party they want to go and on
the right or the left but we really have
to band together this this is something
that takes me every day is when I see
Muslims fractured when I see us not just
this United but you know this
viciousness against each other so I
think this is our our our objective now
so that we can have a better opportunity
for the future that one of the proudest
things that we have an impact now is
called congressional leadership
development program where we select
Muslims to go in turn on Capitol Hill
they learn so much from that and the
Congress asks impact to find Muslims in
our community inshallah we'll find
somebody from Zaytuna some of the
students here who can apply for the
program and intern with impact as well
but that is really what it's about it's
about Islam in America for the future
that's the goal just a few words and
just to add on to salams know most
really important workers if you go on
the hill for our Jamaat prayers or for
iftar doing Jim our prayers you'll have
a close to 2 to 3 to 250 Muslims praying
there at the under congressional hill
and this is a lot because of the efforts
of having interns there people who
deciding I want to work there I want to
I want to be a researcher here so these
are the efforts I mean no one would have
thought in 15 years ago maybe 250 people
praying in the Rayburn building and on
the hill so that's just sort of a
footnote to all of the good work that's
happening here I would I would say that
in addition to everything that's been
said about engagement and disengagement
I would like to leave just one idea that
given the culture of social media and
the culture of responding before
thinking and shooting from the hip is I
think what we need more is more
reflection on
we don't know and what we really need to
assess of the things that we're so
committed to a cause whatever that cause
may be would it be non-violence of gun
violence whatever protecting youth I see
a lot of activists who are so committed
and the whole body is committed to it
but they're not open to listening to the
other party now you see this not just
and the activist groups and NGO crazies
in academia you find professors whose
job is to be a professor and teach into
learning study and be curious but are
now just like activists are not open to
saying is there something wrong with my
thinking is this something you can learn
from this argument is there a persuasion
here that I'm not understanding
I think these fixed positions are
hurting us and that hurts us to really
fully understand what engagement means
because you don't know what to do then
because you just stuck in this fixed
world of your own echo chamber right so
I would say whether engagement or
disengagement and we think we need to
pause and think about what we don't know
before we say what we should do
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf: Thank you. I think there's definitely a lot of criticism.  And like I said these, are hot issues they're people I think trying to make the best decision that they see.  Like for me, I've been engaged for a long time, I mean since the 90s.  I went in and Qamr ul-Hooda knows this in the Obama administration we were very engaged because there was a lot more access.  And and I hope that that engagement helped.  In terms of this administration, it has a wretched track record with our community. I think that's why I feel that there should be some voices of counter valence.  Just because
one of the things that I've noted about being in the room; By merely being in the room the conversation shifts.  And I've seen this again and again so the
prophets SAW them said, and this is a Sahih Hadith, and I work from my tradition like I believed in Islam the Prophet said <ARABIC> whoever wants to
give sincere advice to political authority <ARABIC>let him not do it openly, let him not do it openly and then he said <ARABIC>.  

If he listens, the man gets the reward of giving good advice. If he doesn't, then you have fulfilled a responsibility of just giving sincere advice.

So that's all my intention is.  To give sincere advice.  In terms of representing the community: I don't represent a community.  

I'm trying to represent an Islam that I studied for many years and and I'm committed to the religion.  I see a very fragmented community of people.  The Quran says work together <ARABIC>.  The Prophet (SAW) took counsel from certain people he didn't take counsel from everybody. 

 He took counsel from certain people.  He had an inner core group that he took counsel from.  He took counsel from his wife.  Umm Salimah gave him the good advice when all the Muslims had doubts about what he was doing.  

 So, even the Prophet did things that everybody doubted, because he compromised on eight points when at hudaibiya he pretty much compromised on almost every point but he never compromised his principles.  So I try never to compromise my principles.  I hope I don't

 The Prophets SAW  said, <ARABIC> and this is Sahih hadith, He said don't curse people in authority, don't deceive them, don't cheat them, don't hate them, because God put them over you. And have piety and patience and know the day of judgment is very close.  I'm looking at it, I feel it every day of my life you know the day of to end people are gonna get their due.  

We'll see on the day of judgment who's who. Either I'll get some lights or I'll be thrust...that's God's decision.  I thank God people aren't my judge, I mean I'm really glad, because God is my judge.  

The Prophet SAW said, Whoever is given something and is grateful, is prevented from something and is patient.  Is wronged and forgives and wrongs and asks forgiveness and then he was silent.  

They said "What?"

And he said <ARABIC> They will be safe on the Day of Judgment and they will there will be the rightly guided ones.  

I try to live that I try to be grateful with blessings patients with tribulation I try to forgive people when they wronged me and I asked forgiveness if I've done
anything wrong 

But you know I wasn't elected by anybody.  I'm not I'm not an elected official, I'm not a government employee.  I'm somebody who studied this deen and and I'm trying to spread.  I converted to Islam, I'm not I'm not part of some tribe or something like that.  

I don't have any Muslim ethnicity I'm mostly Irish you know we have we have a bad history too so you know the Irish support the Palestinians because we both suffer from the British, right.  So you know that that's the end and this wasn't meant to be a democratic that was just meant to be a discussion amongst people that are engaged because the name was rules of engagement.  These are people that are engaged so other people aren't engaged and that's fine that that's their prerogative it's a free country, thank God. People can can protest can be against the government or they can try to work to make a better government.  

I mean we are the choices that we have in this country but I'm not judging you. I hope you're successful in your activism. if you want to judge me that's fine it's your prerogative, you know I really and and I I don't think you were rude but that just that level the tone was little but that's good because if sometimes you have to do that if you feel like you've been stifled so I appreciate that you brought that up and God bless you and I just went out you know I think doctor is a Dean it does bring up an important point and I wish we did have more time to discuss because we did we definitely don't want to be used by those who have
nefarious intentions against Muslims and be and to be put in compromising positions and then end up looking like we're validating something that we don't

Hooda:  definitely I don't think Sheikh Hamza would ever would ever do that or put himself in such a position I would rather have him there in in these
commissions and talking to people about
Islam then you know anyone else
practically so that that's one thing as
he said there's no unanimous decision on
who goes where you each person is
involved in something opportunities
arise they say can you serve on this and
you either find you either say yes or
you find somebody else who can do it
because you don't have the capacity as
far as the commission that the dangerous
thing about you know what Pompeyo is
saying what the Secretary of State is
saying is that he's now dividing
inalienable rights from adhoc rights and
claiming that there are rights that are
manufactured by special interest groups
and that might be the case but we should
never be a people that endorse the
division of human dignity laqad karramna
bani adam' we we have bestowed dignity
on the children of adam' that's
everybody atheists those who agree with
our religion those who are against our
religion it is always about human
dignity and so we should be advocating
for this unification of human rights are
there special interest groups yes and
they exploit human rights but let us
have a serious discussion about those
groups they're not the vulnerable
communities and the powerless that that
it's in it is actually the powerful that
exploit human rights and they kick out
Human Rights Watch monitors from there
countries and they exploit the multiples
in their societies so should we be
concerned about where the direction of
the State Department is on human rights
absolutely I agree and we should not
allow a Pompeo or a Trump or anybody
from telling us what the definition
definition Human Rights is it should be
based on academia scholarship and what
is in the best interest of humanity and
I think with that then we go forward and
then we consult with one another and we
exchange ideas and I think by being
then as the profit audience analysis and
I'm said his Oman will never make a
wrong decision so we we will we will be
together in moving forward and I know
you know you you look like we're just
kind of glossing over these issues if we
want to have a serious discussion about
the Commission itself well then let's
create a symposium about the Commission
and discuss it and break it down but
this was a discussion on engagement the
philosophy of it why we do what we do
and and I hope that we at least shared
something that's useful to the community
I'd like to add regarding that point
thank you
Shaykh Hamza: I'm the first to admit this this could be a huge mistake I mean I I really I we're all fallible I have no sense of like I'm absolutely right on this one I'm a little surprised how a lot some of the people on the other side feel they're absolutely right I think absolutism is very dangerous in in the world.  You know this idea that you're absolutely right and I'm absolutely wrong.  

One of my favorite quotes from Imam Shafi he said I never got into a debate but I always assumed my interlocutor might be right and I could be wrong so I think 

You know, I don't know. I thought about it, I prayed on it, I took guidance from several people I spoke with Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah actually thought it was
was an QAJIB and he's an Usooli scholar.  he said no the Italian I take
you know so a low island I mean anything
we do we have to say Allah Adam God
knows I hope but like I said I already
influenced a woman on her curriculum at
Harvard so law students are going to
hear about the influence of Medina
on Western legal theory so I think just
that alone to me is something thank you
so can we give them a round of applause