'This Week' Transcript: Holy War: Should Americans Fear Islam?
Transcript: Holy War
October 3, 2010 — -- AMANPOUR: So we're going to start now by talking to Peter Gadiel, whose son was killed on 9/11 in the World Trade Center. Let me ask you, Peter, should Americans fear Islam?
PETER GADIEL, SON KILLED ON 9/11: Well, I'd like nothing better than to say that I was not afraid of Islam. I'd like nothing better than to say to my Muslim friends and fellow citizens, welcome to America, I'm glad you're here, make yourself at home. But the fact is that we have too many history of -- of Muslim terror attacks and many of them so-called homegrown, second generation. And I think to ignore that threat is to ignore the -- the history of Islam.
AMANPOUR: Donna Marsh O'Connor, you also lost a daughter--
DONNA MARSH O'CONNOR, DAUGHTER KILLED ON 9/11: Yes.
AMANPOUR: You lost your unborn grand--
AMANPOUR: Do you think you, America, should be afraid of Islam?
O'CONNOR: I think Americans should fear criminal behavior. I think we should do the best we can to control criminal behavior. But I can't raise my two remaining sons to fear the people who live next door to them. That is not what my grandparents came to America to escape you know, we are a group of 9/11 family members. I know a lot of family members are here. We share that pain and, you know, I think the unfortunate piece of this is that we don't agree on this.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, Reverend Graham, you have said -- and you said not so long ago -- that President Bush and President Obama made a great mistake when they said that Islam is a peaceful religion. It's not, you said. There's no evidence in its history. It's a religion of hatred. It's a religion of war. And repeatedly you've said that Islam is wicked and evil. Why do you say that?
REV. FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PRESIDENT, SAMARITAN'S PURSE/THE BILLY GRAHAM EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION: First, Christiane, I understand what the Muslims want to do in America. They want to build as many mosques and cultural centers as they possibly can so they can convert as many Americans as they can to Islam. I understand that. And--
AMANPOUR: That's what you -- that's your position?
GRAHAM: Sure. And I understand -- I understand what they're doing. And I just don't have the -- the freedom to do this in most Muslim countries. We can't have a church. We're not able to build synagogues. It's -- it's forbidden. But let me just say something about Islam. I -- I love the Muslim people. But I have great difficulty with the -- with the religion, especially with Sharia law and what it does for women -- toward women, toward non-believers, the violence that is given in -- under Sharia law.
AMANPOUR: Imam Osama Bahloul of Tennessee was listening intently.
AMANPOUR: Is it allowed under Sharia law?
IMAM OSAMA BAHLOUL: please let me say this. I am so sorry about anyone who lost any -- any member of -- in September the 11th. We denounce this and we feel so bad. And we share sadness with everyone who went through such an experience. For someone to say we are not allowed to build a church in a Muslim country, this is absolutely not right. You can Google this.
BAHLOUL: You can go to church in Egypt, a church in Syria. Now all this, the church -- we have it in the Middle East. This is something for you to say that Islam is is an Muslim thought, to beat a woman, this is absolutely not right.
AMANPOUR: let me ask you Robert Spencer, should America fear Islam and why?
ROBERT SPENCER, JIHAD WATCH: Well, Islamic jihadis point frequently -- they actually consistently explain and justify their actions and try to make recruits among peaceful Muslims by pointing to texts of the Koran, the actions of Muhammad and the teachings of Islamic law. And so this is something that moderate and peaceful Muslims have to confront. But instead, they always just displace responsibility and blame the people who are calling attention to these things. And in -- and then, of course, you have even peaceful Muslims like the Imam Rauf, advocating for Sharia, which does deny equality of rights to women. It does deny the freedom of speech, even cultural restrictions on the freedom of speech in his book, "What's Right with Islam." And, you know, you talk about that Islam doesn't allow for wife beating. Well, it's in the Koran---- to beat your wife. And also, there's a television show in Saudi Arabia where they discuss the right implements to beat your wife with.
AMANPOUR: I want to talk to Daisy Khan, who -- obviously, you've just mentioned her husband, Imam Rauf. What do you answer to what Robert Spencer has just said?
DAISY KHAN, AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MUSLIM ADVANCEMENT: Well, let me assure all Americans that the vast majority of Muslims around the world and in the United States -- are living a peaceful life. We are law-abiding citizens. We have people in the armed forces. My own niece, who's in her early 20s, went to Iraq for two years and just came back from there -- young, Arab-American, born in this country, served the nation to keep it secure. We have 1,000 police officers just in the New York Police Department keeping the city secure.
AMANPOUR: I want to turn to Azar Nafisi and ask you, you fled the ayatollahs of Iran. You are an intellectual. You're a writer. Should people fear Islam?
AZAR NAFISI, AUTHOR: I came here to America because I expected that that image which those people had imposed on us would not be imposed on us again. And look at my surprise. From both sides of the aisle, what you hear is that there is one Islam. If we think there is only one Islam, then we have to take sides. Either it's evil or it's good. But there are as many interpretations of Islam as there are Muslims.
AMANPOUR: I would like to go to Reza Aslan, who is joining us from Amsterdam, and who is a scholar on these matters. Reza, you have heard just right now several points raised. One is that Muslims in this country are trying to bring Sharia law. Is there a shred of evidence for that?
REZA ASLAN, WRITER, "THE DAILY BEAST"/author: No, not a single shred whatsoever. I think somebody needs to remind Franklin Graham that we don't judge our values in the United States by comparing them to what the Saudis do. This is a common refrain that you hear from a lot of anti-Muslim activists in the United States, including Robert Spencer, that, well, if, in Saudi Arabia, you can't have a church, then, therefore, in the United States, you shouldn't be allowed to have mosques. This is an appalling and laughable argument.
GRAHAM: You know we can have an argument -- but I'm not here to argue. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life and that no man comes to the father in heaven except through him. I don't believe in Islam. I don't believe a word of it. I do respect their right to -- to believe whatever they want to believe. My opinions are not based on hearsay. My opinions are based on 50 years of working in Middle Eastern countries. I'm 58. I was -- eight years old when I made my first trip to Egypt. And I've been to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia. I've worked in these countries. But I disagree, Christiane, with -- with the Sharia law, because they do stone women. They do imprison -- I -- I've worked in the Sudan, where they've burned over a thousand churches -- a thousand.
ASLAN: Who is they? I mean Azar Nafisi said something very important. There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. It is unquestionably the most diverse, the most eclectic religion in the history of the world. This concept of just using this word "they" to describe one-and-a-half billion people is actually the definition of bigotry.
AMANPOUR: Well, let -- let me -- let me just ask you something.
NAFISI: Who is a Christian, Reverend Graham? Who is a Christian?The Inquisition claimed to be Christians. The gay Episcopalian bishop is a Christian. The Methodists are Christians. The Baptists are Christians. Sarah Palin and Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are all Christians. Who is to say which one is more Christian than the other?
NAFISI: And that is the point about Islam. I am not defending it. I lost my -- my cousins were executed, who were Muslims. They were executed by this regime. My best students were executed by this regime. I was deprived of my identity as a woman. They might -- some might be evil, but we're not all good. That is the point
GRAHAM: When we talk about -- there are millions of Muslims in this world that are wonderful people, who don't beat their wives, who don't practice honor killings--
AMANPOUR: Why do you call it a wicked religion, an evil religion?
GRAHAM: I think to -- to take your daughter, because you think that -- and the religion gives you the authority -- Sharia gives you the authority for honor killing. And we saw the young girl in Ohio just a few--
IMAM: It does not.
AMANPOUR: But does it?
IMAM: It does not.
GRAHAM: It does.
IMAM: It does not.
GRAHAM: It does.
IMAM: No it does not.
IMAM: -- justify those honor killings.
GADIEL: -- justify it. You can't deny that--
GRAHAM: It's true.
GRAHAM: But that's true.
GRAHAM: The young lady in -- in Ohio.
AMANPOUR: -- you will admit that it's used to justify it?
IMAM: Hold on. He said someone can kill his daughter because, under the religion support him. Justify this from the Koran. Go ahead.
GADIEL: Your people justify it from the Koran.
IMAM: He said that.
GADIEL: -- for me to justify it--