RAUF: In spite of the polls, the fact is that American Muslims are very happy and they thrive in this country. One of the misperceptions that exists in the Muslim world, which needs to be fixed, is the perception that Muslims in America are -- are -- are living in -- in very, very, very bad circumstances. They cannot practice religion freely.
It is not the truth at all. The fact is, we are practicing. We fast, we pray, we do our prayers. We are able to do that. The laws protect us. Our political systems protect us. And we enjoy those freedoms in this country. And the Muslim world needs to -- needs to -- to recognize that.
AMANPOUR: Do you think Muslims feel more afraid today here in America than they did right after 9/11?
RAUF: the recent controversy, I think, has heightened the concern among Muslims, but we feel that there is a spike of -- of -- of Islamophobia which is reaching and perhaps even possibly exceeding what happened right after 9/11.
And I'm joined now by Eboo Patel. He serves as an interfaith adviser to the president. By Irshad Manji, author of "The Trouble With Islam Today." And by Richard Cizic, founder of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. Welcome to all of you. Thank you for being here.
Can I start by asking all of you, how and what do you think of the imam's rationale for not moving? He basically puts it down to an issue of national security. But there are others, for instance, others in the Christian movement like Richard Land of the Southern Baptists who says that religious zealots, wherever they are, with no regard for human life, can't be dictating decisions that Americans take about religious freedom and where places of worship are located.
So what do you think of that?
CIZIK: Not much.
CIZIK: Because religion -- religions today are transnational. And we live in a globalized world, where globalization both moves people in reaction to what happens here, but also can help move them in a positive direction. So the actions that we take vis-a-vis Park 51, for example, in New York City, will have an impact around the world. And I happen to think that we as evangelical Christians should acknowledge that fact, acknowledge that there are billions of people who don't always understand us, and act accordingly, rather than simply suggesting, as Richard Land and others have done, that to take this action -- in other words, to leave it there is to bow down. That's what they say, is to bow down to Islam, and that's totally unwarranted.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think?
MANJI: Well, at the same time, though, I do think that Imam Feisal's reasoning on this is wrong-headed. He says that relocating the mosque will play into the hands of what he calls Muslim radicals. But why then are you asking us, Imam Feisal, all of us to play on the terms set by Muslim radicals? The fact of the matter is that terrorists, regardless of their religion or lack of it, are opportunists, first and foremost. They will use any excuse and twist it into a rationale for intimidating entire populations. So we don't need to give them this mosque debate. They'll take anything. Let's do the right thing regardless of them.
AMANPOUR: And what is the right thing?