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The Stream : Preaching against poverty

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Event Name: The Stream : Preaching against poverty
Description: Original transcript Youtube.com, then edited
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 4/30/2019 1:10:07 PM
Transcript Version: 2


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Hi, I'm Lisa Fletcher, welcome to the streams online pre show today.  We're extending both our pre and post-show because we have so much to discuss with two very special guests: Islamic scholars Hamza Yusuf and Zaid Shakir.  Welcome to the pre-show everyone.

Tthank you so much for being here

Alright thank you for having me

First start with talking a little bit about "United for change" tell us what that's all about.

"United for change" was an initiative of Imam Zaid to try to get an umbrella organization get a lot of people together on different areas of focus.  So in this one it's about poverty he's done other things and I participated as a guest really.  Imam zaid you want to jump in on this?

yes United for change was really conceived to bring a...Shaykh Hamza mentioned many different scholars representing various fields of Islamic work in this country who might not ordinarily cooperate with each other to come together to address issues that are larger than any the resources or the scope or returnees of any individual group.  So we've done four of these.  This is the fourth one the first one dealt with the issue of malaria and Africa and we were able to raise over four hundred thousand dollars for the assisting anti-malarial work in Africa the second one dealt with the family and focuses on issues that aren't usually dealt with,  such as domestic violence, Some of the problems that Muslim teenagers are facing and other issues that sometimes fly under the radar. 

The third one was last year in Washington DC we dealt with the issue of education in that context we focused on the mission and the unique effort of zaytuna College and this year we're dealing with the issue of poverty, particularly poverty as it affects our inner-city communities and what some of the Muslim communities in the inner city particularly messy, Dallas & New Haven Connecticut are doing to address that issue

Host: So how was this initiative different from your work that you had started doing with Islamic Relief on malaria.

Zaid Shakir: I think that work was focused on a single organization that's out there in the field what we were trying to do was, bringing the resources of the Muslim community to bear on that problem.  So if Islamic Relief was really on the front line we were trying to provide a stronger network of support behind the scenes to Marshall particularly the financial resources of the Muslim community to help address the issue shaykh hamza

I want to shift gears there a little bit and talk about Occupy Wall Street it's something that you've spoken out a lot about what do you think some of the issues were in terms of how that movement went wrong

Zaid/Hamza: Well, I think first of all the language of the movement was problematic for me because the whole concept of occupying anything is problematic for me and I think what it is, is it's engaging the quote-unquote enemy.  I mean here it's in a civil sense but exactly an invasive language and oppressive language I mean.  I think for me it's really more let's abandon wall of Wall Street you know let's look at different models.  I think that for me it's really about checking out of this system as much as we're possible and divesting so I'm much more interested in educating people about how they can divest from the system for instance I personally you know I I don't fly certain airlines because they get f's in terms of their overall their social responsibility their commitment.  you can get the "Better world buying guide" and actually begin to buy ethically certified products things like that, so I think people have to really stop empowering them by giving them your support I mean and that's a consciousness raising awareness that I'm much more interested in I'm much more interested in looking at strategically how we can get out of this mess that we're in because trying to occupy the mess is not going to do it for me that's any other thing I just would say also is that the one percent the United States were five percent the rest of the world's 95% so everybody in America is engaged in some sense in helping support oppression because for instance we buy chocolate in this country.  most of the chocolate is is harvested by slave labor the cocoa and that's been well documented by CNN and many other things, so I don't need chocolate unless it's fair trade certified something like that, and these are the ethical commitments of the trials and tribulations of trying to live an ethical life in a very unethical world and that's something I want to talk more about in the show this idea of sneaking up your values and with the way you live your life every day. 

Imam Zaid : I would agree to Shaykh Hamza in terms of the names and things but I think it's important for us to focus on the fact that some of the issues that the Occupy movement were raising our legitimate issues addressing income distribution and the growing gap between those who possess and those who are dispossessed some of the structural issues that need to be addressed and then the more recent effort to be in to link some of those concerns of Occupy Wall Street with Main Street and to address the foreclosure issue and others who those are valid concerns but i would agree agree with shaykh hamza you know

Host: On that note that we're gonna put it on pause guys because the pre-show is over but we're about to start this dream in 10 seconds

Host: Hi I'm Lisa Fletcher and you're in the stream today poverty politics and conflict we put it all on a table with renowned Muslim American scholars Hamza Yusuf and zaid Shakir, following protests against an anti-islam video many have focused on negative depictions of Islam.  Here at the streamwe've tried to broaden that global conversation this week by bringing you other perspectives and today we're continuing on that path with two prominent Muslim scholars Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is known as one of the world's most influential muslims in fact he's been called a theological rock star like the Elvis of Western Muslims.  Imam zaid shakir served as a chaplain at Yale University and he's co-founder along with shaykh hamza of zaytuna college which will soon be the first accredited muslim college in the US. 

They're here to help us examine some tough issues facing the world today and we want to start by looking at poverty how does it take root even in wealthy countries like the  United States is government failing or our individuals overly focused on consumerism of course a new che hossain is here grabbing all your live feedback and members of our community are also with us on Google+ so let's jump right in shaykh hamza you and imam zaid are doing this initiative focusing on poverty why right now?

Humza: Well I mean we're in a globally we're in a major crises I think in the United States we're seeing economic conditions that haven't been around for a very long time poverty is always presen.  Like Jesus said, it's always with us but right now in particular a lot of people are suffering I know for instance the food banks are in crises and a lot of the inner cities and places where there just so many people are needing help right now and so it's it's it's an important issue for me personally though I think a lot of the the what I see is so much not as against poverty but elevating and dignifying poverty. 

I've lived in many countries, I've lived in one of the poorest countries in the world in West Africa and and the people there are materially impoverished but they're actually spiritually and and in terms of their community they're actually very rich and so I think even our wealthy people in this country are often very impoverished in terms of their community their their lives people are very stressed out and you can see it on the road you can see it just look at the faces of the people out there they don't look happy you know.  We're called prozac nation so I think poverty limiting poverty to an income distribution problem for me it's a much broader issue.  I would consider intellectual and spiritual impoverishment one of the major ones not to mention food because poor people in a lot of countries eat much better than the wealthy people in the united states.  They eat healthier food, better food I mean, the average Indian his Daal is much more healthy than all this fast food that's causing all these health problems here in the United States.  That's where that's now spreading around the globe

Host: Right go ahead. I hope to pick up on the theme of wealth that you just mentioned I'm going to go to our online community here for a second I have a tweet from Maggie Carter.  She says a lot of Muslims don't really want to have to educate people about themselves or Islam but must work with community to counter disinformation. 

I also have a tweet here from Muslim IQ, he says the fact that the GOP has officially adopted an anti-islam platform that is horrifying as much as it is stupefying

I want to also quickly go over to our google hangout Logan you have a question about it for us about redistributing wealth and since it's election season there's been a lot of discussion in America about wealth redistribution in the safety net of welfare especially we've been seeing this brand of conservatism that is hyper individualism and hyper capitalism so I'm just curious what shaykh hamza and imam Zaid, how you'd have to say about it.

Humza/Zaid: About redistributing wealth to those who are wealthy to those who are poor and it is actually being carried out in Muslim communities or in muslim-majority countries among the yah I would first of all say that the Quran is very clear on this issue in the sense that is trying to strike a balance between private ownership and respecting private ownership and personal initiative and honoring that and on the other hand trying to prevent extreme differentials in terms of income distribution that renders some people impoverished and there a basic standard of dignified living being met even if those people might be considered poor so it is very clear in the Quran that <> that the wealth should not just circulate amongst the wealthy and a society the wealthy have a right to their wealth but if there are people in need and those people have been structurally prevented from earning a decent living then it's a responsibility of the entire society to address that issue and I think in that regards there has to be a a consciousness a public moral consciousness that facilitates bringing those resources to bear and the Islam emphasizes cultivating that consciousness so if the questioner mentioned and mentions this are in a sense rabbit individualism that builds on the philosophy of the likes of iron rent the Koran is saying we want to create a consciousness of public moral consciousness that endorses selflessness and and honey will you clear une you see rune I'll enthusiam well oh canopy mahesana they give preference to others even though themselves they themselves have dire needs so we need to cultivate a public moral consciousness that is amenable to sharing our wealth and also amenable to respecting the rights of those who have earned the wealth so that we can have a more balanced view and a more balanced Society.  That's what Islam is aiming for a balance between extremes of extreme selfishness that would leave the poor even when they're structurally render poor in other words there's no fault of their own that. 

For example, the farmer can no longer farm because organic seeds have been rendered extinct due to cross pollination with GMOs and they can only buy the seeds now from a corporation and they don't have any money because they're locked out of the cash economy well not yet another aspect of this.  We were just teaching yesterday we were discussing at zaytuna College in the ethics class book five of Aristotle, where he talks about distributed distributive justice so this was a problem that the ancient Greeks were dealing with it's not something that goes away.  But one of the things that he points out in there is magnificence you know the idea of actually people giving back to society I mean that was an ideal in their society that that wealthy people and the philanthropists in this culture traditionally that's what they did a lot of America was built in fact there's a program on I think on the history channel now about the men who built america about vanderbilt and rockefeller and all these different you know philanthropist and you have people like bill gates that are obviously trying to follow in those footsteps

But this situation where you have like, Imam Zaid set you have a structural situation that does not really allow for a certain segment of the population to get out of the poverty that they're in so you have failed schools in the inner cities I mean these are issues that if they're not addressed you destabilize the entire project and so the wealthy people end up like in third world countries where they have to live in sheltered environments with armed protection and increasingly we're seeing this in the United States as people move into these it's becoming like a third-world country in that way where people begin to move into gated communities where you get private corporate police and and it's unacceptable a civil society I mean America was a very different culture 30 years

You know, I'm old enough to remember how I wanted to get at because you know imam zaid I don't think anything that he's suggesting would be  rejected by most faith-based communities however do you think that America has lost its its faith well I think America used to reflect this a lot more.  five, yeah absolutely i mean faith was a much more fundamental component i mean if you look just in modern you know housing now than they built they don't factor in churches anymore or you know this isn't factored into the community anymore so I mean we're definitely seeing America still has a lot of faith-based people undeniably but you're seeing that the faith community no longer has the type of impact that they had in the past.  I mean the Catholic Church was one of the major benefactors in the United States so a lot of this has been either privatized or moved into government so the whole entitlement project you know this idea that government has to do everything for the people i mean in some ways it's actually had a profound impact on communities that used to do these things. 

Let me give you one example.  When I was a kid we had a house burnt down in in in the neighborhood they went and collected buckets and everybody pitched in to rebuild this person's house that was fire insurance in the United States not that long ago so you know a lot of people you know we forget that insurance was actually just the community if somebody was in hard times other people would pitch in and Frank Capra made a career in Hollywood making films about that aspect of America yeah I think though yeah I think in the past though it was the case that not only the the wealthier philanthropist who you know how they gained their money might have been questioned and challenged by some answer in terms of the immorality of their economic activity but the ordinary person the middle class upper middle class taxpayers gladly paid ninety percent of their excess wealth and saw it as an investment in the future the future and that that's what built the public highway systems that's what sent a man to the moon that's what built the great public universities of this country and I think it's nothing beyond oneself yeah exactly and it's not ironic that as we move away in a sense as a society at least from a richness of faith regardless of our respective faith communities and we've been beginning to glorify atheism atheistic ideologies that we see the emergence of this individual selfishness even though there are a lot of people who don't profess a faithful a very municipal munificent generous but in general though we see a movement away from a spirit of selflessness self-sacrifice doing something for the greater glory of God in terms of public good and a movement towards more rampant and sometimes rabbit individualism

HOST: I want to bring in our online community here for a second.  I have a tweet from Michael a droid he says why is it that Western Islamic followers are more willing to allow the existence of opinion or behavior not necessarily agreed with. 

I have another tweet here from Betsy d she says agree it's always struck me as bizarre then entire economic system is based on acquiring stuff

I want to quickly head over to our google hangout, we have Sameer he has a question to us about poverty Sameer can you hear us?

Caller: yeah my question is that Muslims are so poor and so backward in many countries for example in a country like India they even lack basic needs like education and the housing and yet he see so many Muslims collect money for building new mosque every Friday I go outside the mosque i see them collect more money for building new mosque I mean there's no harm in building laws but at least use ten percent of that money for education or hospitals it will change so many lives couldn't agree with you more

Imams: yeah i mean that's you know it's no brainer yeah no comment you know

I mean yeah good point I think though the implication in that question one of the assumptions is that somehow Muslims in this country who are trying to build their mosques and schools and other projects and other infrastructure problems our projects rather are are not doing enough to assist Muslims in other countries.  Whereas there are Muslim countries that have billions of dollars in excess and I think where that money is going how that money is being used Muslims might collect a hundred thousand dollars to build a masjid in Peoria, Illinois, where as a particular Muslim country might be spending 300 million dollars to build a skyscraper that's not even going to be fully occupied so I think that question might be a little bit misdirected

Well Samir was coming to us from India I think you're taking about that's how I understood I thought I thought he was talking about the Muslim lands and I and I agree with him i think the the lack of focus on education on especially the education of the muslim community but you know importantly also is the neglect of religious education which has caused a lot of the the climate that we're in because we don't have really seriously trained Muslim intellectuals anymore that are conversant with their tradition as as well as being able to grapple with the the issues that we're dealing with now and so we've got a lot of village preachers and and people that could not get into other types of schools and so they ended up going to religious schools is very common phenomenon and so unfortunately you get a lot of demagoguery and you get a lot of shallow thinking provincialism and it causes an immense amount of problems so I'm very committed to religious education for that reason but that's not to neglect other components of Education what are your concerns right now in terms of globally it seems that this American liberal model of democracy is being blueprinted around the world

Well I think one of the things about in the West that we have an exceptional lyst approach to ourselves before we were liberally democratic we were a very Christian civilization and we were attempting to thrust Christianity on the rest of the planet believing that that was our divined sanctioned right to do that so we sent missionaries all over the place and this is the you know this European colonialism it was quote-unquote to civilize all these savages and turn them into images of our

religious self well now that we're in a

post-christian era suddenly it's liberal

democracy but I still feel that the

impulses is the same impulse it's the

impulse of this kind of exceptionalism

this idea that somehow we're different

in the West we have Aristotle and

Socrates you know our foundations are

rational and the rest of the world the

Asians these inscrutable people over in

China and Indonesia they don't really

think the way we do and then these these

savage Muslims look at them they can't

even live civilly amongst each other

even their religion is a violent

barbaric religion so this is the type of

narrative that is constantly projected

and unfortunately a lot of Muslims and

other peoples fall into these kind of

ways of objecting to this imperialistic

tendency that's very Western imam zaid

the the narrative is certainly changing

in the Middle East much as a result of

the Arab Spring a lot of people

attribute that to discontent with

politics but I know you and shaykh hamza

think differently give us your

perspective on that

ah can you be more specific my

perspective on what the reasons that the

Arab Spring uprisings happened a lot of

people think it was political and I know

both of you have commented on it being

more economic I think definitely

economics are factor political there are

political motivations economic

motivations there are social and

cultural motivations but I think a lot

of it can be attributed to the general

frustration that prevails especially

amongst the younger population who

aren't seeing economic opportunities

that they've been believed to be waiting

for them once they finish their college

education at him well as easy was a

college graduate and he's selling

vegetables on the on the one hand I

think there's a fell so there's a

failure of politics and economics but

there's also a failure of religion in

the sense that one views ones our state

state of contentment and peace of mind

and one's ability to persevere and to

patiently endure economic and political

trials in the light of one's

relationship with Almighty God and find

a sense of self satisfaction a sense of

self-importance of one is has a solid

and meaningful and rich relationship

with Almighty God so I think when you

bring these factors together that

frustration builds up because it's not

mitigated by a rich relationship with

God and then you get into a fight and

flight situation where under the

property popular stimulus that stimulus

might be wise easiest car turned over

and being slapped by a police woman that

that stimulus might be this the likes of

this film that recently came out and you

get a fight-or-flight reaction and

sometimes where the ration takes a

rational faculties stop and then you

have an explosion if you will so I think

it's very important for us to see the

factors that are contributing to that

frustration on the one hand the factors

that are not there to help mitigate it

and construct and focus it and

constructive avenues and then

you what is constructive in the Arab

Spring there's a lot that's constructive

there's a lot that could be criticized

but i think it is i dropped you for a

second really quick and bring in our

online community i have a tweet here

from nawaz she says what just scholars

think of the cultural ethnic and

religious discrimination of Muslims in

the West why are muslims fair game i

also have a tweet here from shabad ville

he asks Islamophobia being number one we

are not politically organized at all and

barely some of us vote I also have a

video question from one of our viewers

I'd look what Sunday mom I'd like you to

answer this said I'm gonna go my name is

yes Mina and I'm currently a student at

the American University in Cairo I have

a question for both of the amounts

whether willingly or unwillingly you

both become part of a response to racist

depictions of Islam as inherently

violent that presents Islam is

inherently pacifist specifically is

compatible with Christian pacifism and

this is one of the main topics of a

common word which you both signed and so

my question is this do you worry that

the fact that the Muslim community in

the US has been forced to adopt such a

defensive posture results in the spread

of a distorted image of a stem that

downplays Islam's very real

prioritization of social action and

resistance you know I just in response

to that question I mean first of all

there the earlier question about the

depiction of the end of American Muslims

and Islam overall I mean America has

been at war in Muslim countries and so

this is a very common result of war you

tend to demonize your your enemies and

and there's people on the right that

have done that very effectively but on

the other hand it's also part of the

enfranchisement of a community in

America every community that's come here

with the exception of the anglo-saxon

community has had to duke it out

literally on the streets of America you

know the Gangs of New York the Italians

they used to be day goes and wops you

know the Jews were kikes and the you

know my own ancestors from Irish

background were mixed you know and yeah

it's my wife's Mexican so it's the

beaners and the spics I mean this was

part of the enfranchisement Muslims are

fair game right now and it's going to

take a while but they have to organize

and do the things that other communities

have done as part of a process in terms

of this the last questioner I mean first

of all I don't think either imam zaid

Nora have

presented Islam as a pacifist religion

and christianity is also not a pacifist

she's conflating peacefulness I yeah I

think exactly and I think resistance

takes on many different forms and part

of the wisdom of any religious teaching

is to use the most appropriate

resistance in the given circumstances

Christians did not passively fight

Hitler they they had preachers and

ministers and rabbis as well that we're

arguing for a just war agustin is part

of the Catholic Christian tradition and

explains just war so the Muslims do you

know we we do have a just war theory and

jihad is definitely part of Islam but on

the other hand I think the aspect of

Islam that has been sorely neglected is

the prophets Eliza nums basic and

fundamental responses to oppression and

persecution they were they were

responses when they were disempowered

his responses were to have patience he

was commanded to have patience and this

is something the Muslims view a lot of

these verses to be abrogated and I think

this is one of the fundamental problems

fahad a dino rossi the great theologian

said that to say these verses are

abrogated is to say that there's no

ethics in Islam I mean just you throw

out the ethics of our tradition so I

think a lot of Muslims very confused

about that and don't realize that that

one of the ways of resisting is actually

to shame the oppressor when you're

powerless and I think is important to a

question to understand that you're there

in Cairo there's a lot of social

activism going on here in the United

States the Muslims have been involved in

the Occupy movement and also critic

critiquing a but not shunning it in

terms of not being involved this United

for change program is dedicated to

addressing issues of poverty in the

inner cities of our of our country here

and specifically in New Haven

Connecticut masjid al islam that has a

food pantry that has a re-entry program

for prisoners muslim prisoners who are

coming out of the prison and need to be

in reintegrated into society that has

ads trying to create a youth

counseling program that has programs to

address issues that arise from poverty

so there's a lot that's happening but I

agree with shaykh hamza Einstein's

definition of stupidity was to continue

to do the same thing and accept

different responses we've had a response

to the Rushdie crisis that people flat

out into the streets they a yell and

scream and then the Danish cartoon

crisis people flood out onto the streets

and yell and scream and nothing changes

so I think we need to strategically plan

to look at these issues and develop you

know a meaningful solution yeah just a

dovetailing that you know Bernard Lewis

said that Westerners tend to forget that

the reason that they were so successful

is that they learn how to kill people

better than any other civilization prior

to Western civilization and so one of

the things about Western civilization is

they love violent responses because

those are the responses that they're

most effective at dealing with and

certainly the Israelis have learned very

well the Israelis were persecuted for

2,000 years in Western civilization but

they definitely internalized Yeah right

that you know the oppressors techniques

for squatching any type of resistance

absolutely and I think as Muslims in

this day and age there are 700 billion

people on earth they're 1.7 something

billion Muslims that's a clear minority

globally and here in the West that

minority is even smaller our strength is

our moral and ethical strength and we

negate that strength sometimes by trying

to build on the strengths we don't have

in that strategic strength we don't have

strategic strength right I'm gonna have

to stop you there a problem we are going

to put this conversation briefly on hold

shaykh hamza imam zaid in the post show

we're going to continue this

conversation in fact we're extending the

post show today at streams at

aljazeera.com now on monday us child

obesity rates they've tripled over the

last 30 years will this generation of

Americans be the first to live shorter

lives than their parents we're going to

talk about that on Monday until

MC online

welcome back the streams online

post-show joining us today shaykh hamza

yusuf and imam zaid shocker we want to

pick up our conversation not quite where

we left off I want to shift gears a

little bit for all of you who've been

with us this week you know one of the

things that we've been talking about is

the role of the media and how sometimes

the media either chooses not to cover

something or just completely misses it

che comes out how would you rate

coverage generally in terms of the

issues we've been talking about today by

the media and then specifically I want

you to talk about the area well you know

you're involved in media you understand

how it works but you know they have what

they call the media magnifying glass

that can really blow up and distort

certain images and and so people see

these violent looking Muslims with their

contorted faces on the front cover of

Newsweek and they suddenly think that

you know everybody in Cairo has a

violent orted face or wherever they are

Pakistan and if you actually go to these

places you find hey it's not all rioting

and it's not all people are just living

their lives so you know a few thousand

people end up pretty much determining

the views of millions of people about

millions of other people and so I think

the the media has really failed in

explaining and showing people the

reality on the ground and and so that

media distortion I think does a grave

disservice and all set it also sets up

the possibility of of really aggressive

and violent responses to a lot what's

happening you can see like what the

ambassador killed they didn't mention

that there were Libyans who died

defending the ambassador they were just

ordinary Libyans that were out there in

front you could see it on youtube videos

and things like that so Libyans gave

their lives to defend diplomatic

American diplomatic mission in Libya but

that wasn't pointed out so suddenly all

the Libyans are bad guys it makes it

much easier for aggressive strikes I

mean the drone strikes that are

happening all these things you know are

creating the Stanford just did a study

that was released a few days ago about

the drone strikes and the fact that

they're terrorizing civilians in

Pakistan so when you start seeing all

these angry Pakistanis you know nobody

talks about why they're angry it's

always just as this irrational

behavior it's about some movie that came

out no the movie is a trigger incident

it's it's it's just the trigger for a

much deeper problem and that problem has

to do with a lot of these misguided

misadventures that we're having overseas

bringing our online community real quick

totally picking up on the theme that you

just touched upon I have a tweet here

from zip 3 Salim he says has the

conflation of Islam and Arab culture

influence public opinion of Muslims in

the West if so how i also have Anika

she's waiting for us in our google

hangout and you could you have a

question about islamic culture yeah hi

thanks for having me thank I did have a

question that relates to a point that

we're talking about a little bit ago

having to do with her tests that are

going on is there something inherent in

Islam that makes people in Muslim

countries kind of go up in arms every

time there's something offensive like

you were talking about Imams am we lost

her we just lost hang out go ahead in

mumsy yeah no I think there there's

nothing inherent in Muslim societies

that makes muslims explode when these

various stimuli occur the as shaykh

hamza mentioned the overwhelming

majority of muslims are going about

their business trying to live dignified

lives sometimes on the extremely

difficult circumstances but there is

there are elements who are frustrated

and then these stimuli as i mentioned

earlier they serve as triggers that

bring that frustration to the surface so

i think is very important for us to look

at the underlying issues that build into

that frustration there's also something

inherently for me it is this inherit

problem with that I mean is there

something in the English psyche that

makes them riot after their football

team loses a match you know people do

stupid things you know and so I mean

seriously there's violence after

football games all the time in England

is that part of the English drinking

class culture do you know is that is

that what's going on so you know and

right this kind of goes to the bigger

disconnect though between how the west

view's must live exactly and I think

also that this idea of you know the the

idea that somehow Muslims are irrational

you know there's a strong underlying

prejudice that people have about Islamic

culture so you know I think we need to

really get out of talking about concrete

izing these these abstract things that

we talk about Muslims and is so you know

Islam in Indonesia is very different

Islamic turkey is very different

moroccan islam is very different i lived

in west africa I've been all over the

Muslim world the safest cities I've ever

been in heaven in the Muslim world I

never worried about some guy you know

walking up like I've felt in say New

York or Washington DC or somewhere I

never felt that ever wherever I went in

the Muslim world the thing Muslims are

afraid of is their governments and

that's what they're they're afraid or

American bombs dropping on their head or

drone strikes those are the things that

Muslims are afraid of they're not afraid

of their next-door neighbor you actually

have a great leader of our online

community from below I'm just going to

quickly read this Muslims in North

America are split along ethnicity

parties and home countries they are not

one block like jus so that goes to

exactly what you were saying is I agree

we're not monolithic you know and I

think also they're not the Jews aren't

one block either I think that's a gross

generalization generalization the Jewish

community has people from Eduardo Kohan

Noam Chomsky to you know po turrets and

these right-wing people you know the

Weekly Standard so you get a whole

spectrum in the Jewish community and you

know they're very liberal Jews their

Marxist Jews there are you know Zionist

Jews yeah i think is important to

introduce into this conversation that

the language of us and them this

language isn't going to advance the

human project at this point it's time to

redirect the language and think that

we're all in this together and and to

it's time for our society here in the

West it's time for us to do some

introspection it's indeed terrible that

400 4,000 or 5,000 American soldiers

light lost their lives in Iraq but it's

even more terrible that over

Iraqis have lost their lives due to the

same okay so that also also we've got

we've got ten suicides a day of American

soldier actually a it's 1818 yeah 18 a

day I mean we're using cyl intersections

here between the Islamic message in the

Christian message in the Jewish meshes

where does this all converge to to

actually change this is the human mess

it's a human message right I'll call

that bet yeah I know but the religious

look first of all you know you you've

lived long enough to know that most

people just want to be left alone you

know people don't like to have their

toes stepped on you know I once stepped

on somebody's toes imam zaid was with me

I almost got my head cut off you know

because you know people don't like to to

be a you know dist as they say in this

culture and and when you go around

denigrating people we have laws almost

every European nation has hate laws you

know first freedom speech like look look

up the the the Irish law of 1989 of hate

speech you know you have we signed on to

the United Nations we have a covenant of

political and civil rights article 20 of

that covenant says that you cannot

insight to hatred of of race nationality

or religion and a lot of what's

happening now is this is incitement to

hatred that there are people that really

have a lot invested in creating a lot of

hatred Stephen King wrote an interesting

novel called needful things you know

about this character that goes into a

town and opens a little store and

everybody wants to buy they go and they

find what exactly what they want but he

makes them do a little thing and by the

end of it the whole town is just

fighting each other and he packs up and

leaves you and that's the devil's role

whether you believe in Devils you know

these kind of spiritual beings or just

human demons it's a demonic role to

split people I have no reason to take

offense from you unless you give me

reason and and I think most people are

like that but you have people out there

that have you know just they have

agendas there are people that make money

off war there are people that make money

off weapons these are real people out

there and we should be forewarned about

them and do everything we can and we

should be presenting an alternative

Bailey agreeing with you I want to

quickly bring them in on society because

it just makes sense we have a tweet here

from war fail Oakland he says you both

keep bringing up patients us from the

third world have been dealing with

oppression occupation colonization for

200 years I also quickly want to go to

Google hangout listen we're not talking

about just gonna hang out really quickly

I'm so sorry hint oh sorry go ahead and

finish sticker I'm so sorry sir no

saying the word patients came up once or

twice in this conversation we're talking

about how we can begin to look at these

problems differently how can we

introduce new parameters to frame right

discussions are ongoing on responding

instead of reacting and I mean that's

that's a different approach and also

framing these issues in terms of human

problems so we can take remove the

ground from under the demagogues who

capitalize on these divisions rather

their religious ratio or otherwise that

we we're in this together and these

extremists on both sides and it's a part

of the problem you know they're

extremists in this country you know that

are articulating these visions you can

there's an interesting book that just

came out about the the Muslim tide and

what he argues in that book is a

guardian writer but what he argues in

there is that you know this guy brevik

in in in Finland when he went out went

berserk which is I think a Scandinavian

word when he went berserk and killed 69

people wounded 150 if you actually read

his screed which is a 1583 pages it's

all about Muslims taking over Europe

this thing that but yeah or calls

eurabia and and they've proven and

there's a TED talk that proved that

Muslim demographics are dropping

radically Iran has lower birth rates

than many European countries right now

so there's this whole myth of the

Muslims are coming the Muslims are

coming be scared be afraid that used to

be the Red Menace you know my mom grew

up with the Red Menace alright that used

to be the the you know the Communists

were coming why do we need these

boogeymen when we're dealing with real

problems we have global warming we're

being told that that the ice is

melting on the on the plant we've got

fish are disappearing from the oceans

they say that in 20 years at current

fishing rates we won't have tuna fish

you just mentioned obesity problems

we've got one out of four people in this

country is dying of cancer right one out

of three women are going to get cancer

in their lifetime why aren't we

addressing all of this human energy to

the real problems of human beings and

not all these artificially created

problems because many of these problems

are really artificially created I'm

actually going to quickly go to Google

hangout we have hens from Chicago you

have a question for us about young

Muslims him can you hear me yes I can

hear you so I take them to the Imams

thank you for your really lively

discussion I actually agree with you

that it's important for the Muslim

community to take back the narrative but

my question is more around some of the

work that American Muslims specifically

are already doing many young American

Muslims are already working in the inner

city I'm from Chicago so I know a lot of

the work that myself and my friends are

doing working in the city trying to

prevent violence I'm trying to get some

healthy food in the inner city and

addressing like the food desert

situation and I want to maybe get an

answer from both of you do you think

that this kind of work that a lot of

American Muslims are doing even though

it's not really documented in a in a

narrative sort of way do you think

that's a of the maturation of the Muslim

society here in the US and then what are

some of your thoughts in terms of

actually sharing these stories with our

neighbors thank you well we know like

Iman the inner city project Rama Rama

Mississippi and others that are doing

also you have violence prevention that's

going on former gang members that became

Muslim to do these things I think one of

the major errors of the immigrant

community was not to recognize the

importance of the African American

Muslim community in these inner cities

so a lot of the inner-city Muslims were

neglected so you have this a lot of

wealth from doctors and engineers and

they fail to recognize that actually

these people aren't immigrants there

they're a large Muslim community that

have been here for decades and in fact

you can trace it back over 100 years for

some of them

so you know these have been strategic

errors and and ethical errors in my

estimation but I think there are a lot

of positive things happening and

certainly Chicago is one of the main

hubs for a lot of some of the most

positive Muslim activity in the United

States so hats off and I think that that

this is a very important sign of

maturation that you do have the

wealthier suburban more immigrant based

communities working with inner-city

initiatives such as in Chicago amen and

other efforts we job recently had an

Oakland California humanitarian day to

provide school supplies and other goods

to inner-city children and most of those

supplies were purchased by members of

the suburban community so you see these

efforts of Muslims crossing lines that

have formerly kept them apart you see

those lines being transcended and you

see a car leasing of collective action

so I think it's a sign of maturity and

it speaks for itself we don't need

orchestrated media campaign to lend an

artificial sense of just we're doing

some let's grow organically build a

better mousetrap in the whole world

including the media will beat a path to

your door I actually want to quickly go

over to our google hangout we have a

sama you have a question to us about

zaytuna college salma I think we lost

Google and all of their you are great

can you hear me yea Somali come to you

to imam zaid and touche from the end

everybody else here I just had a quick

question about zaytuna college I know

it's not really on topic but um since

you guys are still on accredited

institution and no really educational

governing body really in the world kind

of recognizes the college of degrees

that it Awards how do you guys plan on

maintaining say to the College in terms

of financially from in its image without

the world to make sure that keeps

getting students and tap trees its

revenue to increase its like just it's

like extending well i mean first of all

we are we are our degree is recognized

by a few different universities that

will accept for instance we just signed

a

of understanding with jami al fatiha in

istanbul in turkey that the prime

minister's son was actually the host

that evening of the event and they will

take our students in their masters and

PhD programs when they graduate we also

have understanding its in its developing

but we have an understanding and our

student from a pilot program was

accepted into the Graduate theological

union which has a joint program with UC

Berkeley so we are students can go to

accredited graduate schools in terms of

the sustainability jake onson so sorry

we have about 30 seconds left in the

program for you to just more

philosophically than talking about the

nuts and bolts of the school wrap wrap

this up for us right wrap up this

discussion you know I think it's good

that you guys are facilitating

alternative voices I think al Jazeera

despite the fact that you know some of

the aspects of it are troubling in their

imitation of Western media I think it's

it's important to have alternative

voices and I certainly think that giving

opportunities for people like ourselves

we're often completely marginalized in

in other media outlets I mean I've done

pre-interviews where they just say okay

we don't want to talk to you you know so

I you know I want to thank you for

allowing this this opportunity support

our college please and imam zaid you can

close it out this is how we are out of

time with imam zaid and shake council

you so thank you so much for being with

us we do want to take one more minute

that i gave over to a new shay with a

few story leads were following

the University of California is awarding

close to 1 million dollars to students

and alumni for police violence during a

campus protest you may recall this image

of university police pepper spraying

peaceful demonstrators who are

protesting tuition hikes that's public

money paying the cost of brutality

tweets Parker Higgins our next leads

from reddit where forum users attempt to

embarrass a woman took an unexpected

turn a user posted this photo of a Sikh

woman with the caption I'm not sure what

to conclude from this but user ball

Preet Kaur who identified herself as a

girl from the picture responded I'm not

embarrassed or even humiliated by the

attention that this picture is getting

because it's Who I am yes I'm a baptized

seek woman with facial hair Sikhs do not

reject the body that has been given to

us her response prompted an apology from

the original poster he wrote after

apologizing and talking with ball Preet

I've seen how stupid this post was in

the first place it isn't funny at all

our last lead is a new website that

tracks homophobic language in real time

on twitter canadian university officials

created no homophobes calm as a social

mirror to show prevalence of casual

homophobia and society the site tracks

mentions of four different derogatory

phrases over time lastly a little red

line on Iran's nuclear program drawn by

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu is sparking online comments

speaking at the UN Netanyahu took a red

marker to a bomb diagram to show that he

thinks Iran is close to having a nuclear

capability netizens were quick to react

and Netanyahu's name skyrocketed to

20,000 mentions on twitter many of the

tweets were tongue-in-cheek sorry can't

tell you what the red line is av Meyer

tweets I can just tell you it's about an

inch and a half from the fuse on the

cartoon bomb others thought Netanyahu's

approach was effective Omri says every

single article is going to be about

Netanyahu drawing a red line on Iran

bomb message managed no you can find

links to all those leads on Twitter so

make sure to follow us at aj scream Lisa

alright that's all the time we have

thanks so much for joining us for this

extended version of this dream now on

monday us child obesity rates have

tripled over the last 30 years will this

generation of Americans be the first to

live shorter

lives than their parents tweet us your

questions and your comments or go to our

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until Monday we'll see you online

you