MANJI: Well, I would suggest that the right thing is to build a mosque near ground zero, but use it as an opportunity to make it the most tolerant, the most transparent and the modern Islam that the world has ever seen.
AMANPOUR: Eboo, you've done a lot in interfaith dialogue, trying to really build bridges here since the disaster of 9/11. What does this say to you, this fervor that is being whipped up, this rising tide of anti-Islamic sentiment in this country? Because let me just read you, actually, some of the poll numbers, which are -- which are interesting here. Mainstream Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims. That was a question by ABC News, and 31 percent of the respondents said yes.
The next question, do you have a good basic understanding of the teachings and beliefs of Islam? 55 percent of the respondents said no. So what has all your work done over the last nine years?
PATEL: Christiane, I have to tell you, the story of this last week is the story of the bridge builders in America coming out. When the faces of intolerance show themselves, the forces of inclusiveness in America go into action. On Friday afternoon, when I came back to my office after Eid prayers and a set of interviews, there was a sixth-grade girl at the interfaith youth corps who said, I heard about this planned Koran burning in Florida, and it hurt me in my heart. I think religions should be nice to each other. I'm donating my allowance to your organization.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's wonderful, but you yourself have said that you feel even more scared now as a Muslim, and many people have said, than you did at 9/11.
PATEL: Well, you know, Christiane, that's true. My mother called me yesterday and she said, Eboo, I've been in this country for 35 years as a Muslim, and I have never been scared to say I was fasting, I've never been scared to say that I call god Allah, but I'm scared now and I'm scared for your kids, Eboo. I'm scared that their names might be too Muslim, that they might get bullied in school.
And what I tell her, is, mom, you know, this is a blip in the broader arc of inclusiveness that is America. And the history books will read, as they have read before, that the forces of inclusiveness will defeat the forces of intolerance.
MANJI: Only, though, if we also acknowledge, Eboo -- and I know you're the kind of guy who would acknowledge this -- that there are plenty of people who are not Muslim in this country who have legitimate fears of their own, who are worried and anxious about, you know, what Islam means for this country.
And one of the reasons that they do have those anxieties is over the last nine years, moderate Muslims have failed -- moderate Muslims have failed -- to make the case for why there is nothing to fear about Islam. When Major Nidal Hasan opens fire on a group of fellow soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, shouting "Allahu akbar," God is great, and the first thing you hear out of the mouth of a moderate is, please don't misunderstand, Islam has nothing to do with this -- you can't blame ordinary Americans for scratching their heads and wondering, well, what role does religion play here?