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How Widespread Is Anti-Muslim Sentiment?

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pr5RYujjhEI

Video published September 10, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: Amita Sharma speaks with Imam Taha Hassane, director of the Islamic Center of San Diego, about Muslim sentiment following a Florida pastor's intention to burn copies of the Koran.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

BURNING BOOKS HAS BEEN USE ADDS A FORM OF PROTEST AGAINST IDEAS. A FLORIDA PAST HER PLANNED TO BURN THE KORAN ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE SEPTEMBER 11th ATTACKS TO PROTEST ISLAM AND SEND A MESSAGE TO MUSLIMS. HE HAS SINCE CANCELED THE BURNING BUT HIS ORIGINAL PLAN HAS ALARMED MANY ABOUT SEEING RADICALISM IN THE UNITED STATES. THE DIRECTOR OF THE ISLAMIC CENTER IN SAN DIEGO WELCOME.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THE CANCELLATION OF THE KORAN BURNING?

FIRST OF ALL, THE PLAN ITSELF WAS, YOU KNOW, HURT THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY NOT ONLY IN THE U.S. BUT ALL OVER THE WORLD. WHEN WE HAVE HEARD THE CANCELLATION, WE ACTUALLY WELCOMED THE CANCELLATION, BUT IT IS STILL THERE. THE PLAN IS STILL THERE, SO WE DON'T KNOW WHETHER HE'S GOING TO MOVE FORWARD WITH HIS PLAN OR CHANCEL IT FOR GOOD. WE ARE JUST, YOU KNOW, STANDING BY AND WAITING FOR THE FINAL DECISION.

WE SHOULDN'T SAY THAT IT'S BEEN ON AGAIN/OFF AGAIN.

YES.

BEFORE THE FIRST CANCELLATION, WHAT HAVE PEOPLE IN YOUR MOSQUES SAID TO YOU ABOUT THIS?

MUSLIMS AS WELL AS ALSO NONMUSLIMS, PEOPLE OF FAITH AND CONSCIENCE ARE DEEPLY CONCERNED AND TROUBLED SINCE THEY HAVE HEARD THE NEWS. YOU KNOW, SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS NOT EXPECTED TO BE DONE BY A MAN WHO CLAIMED TO BE A MAN OF GOD, A MAN OF FAITH. AS YOU HAVE MENTIONED AT THE BEGINNING, YOU KNOW, PREVENTING MUSLIMS FROM PUSHING THEIR AGENDA, I DON'T KNOW WHAT AGENDA HE'S TALKING ABOUT, BUT THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT THING TO DO AT ALL. THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT THING TO DO, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO THE MOST SACRED BOOK FOR MORE THAN ONE POINT 4 BILLION MUSLIMS ALL OVER THE WORLD.

SOME PEOPLE ARE CALLING THIS ANGER TOWARD ISLAM. WE'VE HAD LOTS OF PROTESTS AT GROUND ZEIER PRO FOR THE PROPOSED MOSQUE PROJECT. IN OUR OWN BACKYARD WE'VE HAD PEOPLE RALLY AGAINST A MOSQUE PROJECT IN TEMECULA. WHY ARE AMERICANS SO UNSET ABOUT ISLAM?

BECAUSE OF STEREOTYPES TOWARDS ISLAM AND ALSO BECAUSE A PORTION OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS IN THE WEST AND IN THE UNITED STATES IN PARTICULAR, THEY DON'T HAVE ANY IDEA ABOUT WHAT ISLAM IS ALL ABOUT AND WHO ARE THE MUSLIMS. ALSO LAWS I BELIEVE THAT MUSLIMS IN THE UNITED STATES DIDN'T DO A GOOD JOB IN TERMS OF REACHING OUT TO THEIR NEIGHBORS TO OUR FELLOW CITIZENS TO SAFE ORGANIZATIONS. SO THAT'S WHY THERE'S SO MUCH STEREOTYPES AND MISCONCEPTIONS GOING OUT.

ONE THAT WE HAVE HEARD IN THE PAST IS THAT WHEN THERE ARE TERROR ACTS DONE BY ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS THERE IS NOT CONDEMNATION IN THIS COUNTRY AND ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD. DO YOU, FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE, UNDERSTAND SOME OF THE ANGER?

I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH THE STATEMENT BECAUSE IF YOU CHECK ANY WEB SITE FROM ANY NATIONWIDE ORGANIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES AND MANY WEB SITES OF DIFFERENT LOCAL ISLAMIC CENTERS EVERYWHERE, THEY HAVE VERY STRONG AND POWERFUL STATEMENTS DENOUNCING ANY ACT OF TERROR DONE BY SOMEBODY UNFORTUNATELY WHO BELONGS TO MY FAITH IS A NAME OF MY FAITH. SO JUST PEOPLE, THEY DON'T, YOU KNOW, SOME OF THEM THEY DON'T BOTHER THEMSELVES TO MAKE OR DO THEIR OWN HOMEWORK IN ORDER TO FIND OUT WHAT MUSLIMS ARE SAYING.

WHAT, IF ANYTHING, CAN A MUSLIM COMMUNITY DO TO DIFFUSE THIS ANGER?

FIRST OF ALL, MUSLIMS ARE NOT ANGRY. MUSLIMS ARE JUST SAD WHEN THEY HAVE HEARD THIS NEWS. WE ARE SAD BECAUSE THE SAME KORAN THAT INCLUDES THE TEACHINGS TO MUSLIMS, IT CONTAINS ALSO THE LIVES AND THE LIVES OF THE PROPHET GEESE, MOSES, ABRAHAM AND SO ON SO IT'S NOT ONLY A BOOK FOR MUSLIMS BUT ALL OF HUMANITY. IT'S THE WORD OF GOD FOR ALL MUSLIMS. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT MUSLIMS SHOULD DO MORE IN TERMS OF REACHING OUT TO THEIR NEIGHBORS, TO OTHER FAITH COMMUNITIES AND TO EVERY, SINGLE ONE ESPECIALLY AT THIS DIFFICULT TIME.

OKAY. SO MUSLIMS SHOULD REACH OUT, BUT AT SOME POINT, OTHER PEOPLE HAVE TO REACH OUT, TOO. HOW DO YOU BRIDGE THE TWO COMMUNITIES? HOW DO YOU GET AT THIS FESTERING ANGER TOWARD ISLAM?

THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS GOING ON. BY THE WAY, AT THE ISLAMIC CENTER, WE HAVE BEEN RECEIVING IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS A LOT OF LETTERS, E-MAILS, PHONE CALLS AND SUPPORT. WE'VE HAD SOME OF THE FAMILIES AND FAITH LEADERS FROM OTHER FAITHS COMING INTO THE ISLAMIC CENTER BRINGING BOUQUETS OF FLOWERS JUST TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT AND EMPATHY. AT THE CONVENTION CENTER, WE HAD A GOOD NUMBER OF POLITICIANS WHO CAME AND SUPPORTED US.

I WANT TO END THIS ON AN UPBEAT NOTE. YOU JUST CAME FROM THE END OF RAMADAN SERVICES. GIVE US A LITTLE BIT OF INFORMATION ON WHAT RAMADAN MEANS FOR MUSLIMS.

A SEASON OF SPIRITUALITY, OF SHARING THE BLESSINGS OF GOD WITH OTHER PEOPLE. IT MEANS THAT THE TIME WHEN WE STRENGTHEN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR CREATOR AND STRENGTHEN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR FELLOW CITIZENS.

OKAY. THANK SO YOU MUCH.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Comments

Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | September 13, 2010 at 8:41 a.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

This is a really important topic that needs open and honest discussion. Are Muslims really confused by the concern and in some cases hatred directed at them? Are people who feel concerned about Islam really just ignorant of the facts?

I think Sam Harris says it best in his book "The End of Faith." For a look at some of what Sam Harris has written on this subject and religion in general, please follow this link. Whether you agree with him or not is not the point - he makes some valid arguments as to why many of us do feel threatened by Islam.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20060207_reality_islam/

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