tv Today in Washington CSPAN January 4, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EST
with the water. >> and began closing the gulf to fishing, the man and distributed at the height of tourism season beaches are empty as the swimmer's question the safety of the waters. >> in many executives are called to washington ultimately agreeing to an initial 20 billion-dollar compensation fund. subsequent hearings reveal all three companies operating the rig ignore safety warnings but
tenth annual impact convention. this year is unlike any other year that we have had with the convention. we are trying an innovative new format in response to the request of suggestions and the recommendations of previous attendees of our convention so we are very excited about the day we have planned him before we get started that program and i will tell you more about what is coming up, but like to introduce our southern california government relations director who will be offering a brief recitation from the holy koran. >> makepeace in god's blessings be upon you all. i will be reciting from chapter 5, verse 48. [speaking in native tongue]
it and guarding it in safety. so judge between them by what god has revealed and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that has come to the. to each among you, have been prescribed a lot and open way. if god had so willed, he would have made you a single people, but his plan is to test you with what he has given you, sis drive in the race of all virtues. the goal of you all is to god. it has, it is he that will show you the truth of matters in which you dispute. god speaks the truth. so, it is our tenth annual convention. for 10 years, we have been gathering together as a community to hold is convening
which means that we have been making an attempt over the years to bring our community together in addition to our interfaith allies, our civic heart nurse, or government partners and beyond in order to hold much-needed conversations about the timely and often controversial issues of the day. that are impacting not only the muslim-american community that america at large. and we have always operated on the belief that we must have vibrant candid conversations along both of those channels simultaneously and that we must find ways to fuse those who -- to congregations because they are inherently related. for that reason, today we are conducting our convention at a unique format. we are having to back to back roundtable sessions like you see the first one collected in front of us here already, onto timely subjects, and we have expanded the links of the sessions in order to allow for a rich,
candid and open conversation to take place between our panelists and also with you here in our audience and beyond. the beyond aspects takes care of two things, which is that first that we are being recorded here today by c-span and the proceedings will be aired on c-span before the end of the year within the next two weeks, so you can refer your friends and family and contacts to that. and then beyond that we also are doing a live webcast so our folks here at the table are right now taking questions and comments from people not just around the country but around the world. i have been told already that we have people who are logged in from eight different countries and at least 13 states. so, this conversation takes place within this room and beyond. part of what will happen today is that in addition to the questions that you submit to our panelists and those offered by our moderators, we will also be taking questions from the webcast, from indeed around the
world today. so, with that, i want to talk a little bit about why we selected our theme for this year, which is the struggle for americans conscience. in light of all that has taken place this year, and if you close your eyes and think back to what a rollercoaster of the year it has been for the muslim community and for america at large, we have been through some struggles that involve race, religion, identity, challenges of the integration, questions of whether we will be an exclusive country or an inclusive country, questions of immigration, radicalization, the future of our country, of congress, of the two-party system, new parties and beyond. not to mention issues around the economy and ongoing questions around jobs and beyond. these issues are impacting all of us on different levels, and that is precisely why we are here to talk about them.
because we cherish the pluralism, the diversity of our country and the place that each of us has in creating a vibrant and healthy and serious debate and a conversation. that is what today is. one long, or at least two long conversations. so with that i will turn it over to salam al-marayati the president of mpac who will moderate or for session and we will begin with one housekeeping item. our request is that if you can keep the center aisle clear because of the cameras in the back so we can use the side aisles. there are water stations in the back for anybody who needs refreshment so with that i will turn it over to salam. >> thank you very much. thank you for joining us for this important conversation. the conversation is entitled the state of our union. race, religion and american identity. and for some decades we have seen various efforts of groups
to raise issues that are considered to be revolutionary intellectually and politically. and it was the movement of barry goldwater. there was newt gingrich's movement with the contract for america. there and the number of groups associated with ronald reagan that have talked about bringing in more fiscal responsibility for our country. and lately, there has been the tea party movement that really i think our panelists can talk a little bit about that, but the questions that arise from this tea party movement are of note and interest to us today. in particular, the concern over having an african-american president and the response to it. there is an interesting poll that we were discussing before our session commenced today that 40% of people on the right believe that the president is a
muslim, and this kind of perception that is out there has in some ways driven the sentiment that our country is under attack and there is the theme of it is time to take our country back. another issue is the sense that there is discrimination against the majority, and therefore the shirley sherrod case, the woman involved, africa and a woman -- african-american woman who was fired based on statements attributed to her that were later retracted and an apology was given by the secretary of agriculture for firing her. and also there is the sp 1070 case in arizona that involves immigration and really a kind of scrutiny and a kind of measure that is invasive in terms of peoples private lives and
identities. and so, this kind of unicode via is affecting all of us and we have said that there public affairs council islamaphobia is part of the chain of sina phobia. it is an american problem. is not an -- problem. we have assembled this panel to have a discussion about race and identity and pluralism. where's our pluralism today? are we seeing something we have never seen in our country or is this part of the process in terms of integration, in terms of pluralism and american, throughout american history? with that i would like to introduce our panelists starting from my far right but definitely not politically on the far right angela oh is the executive director of the western justice center and the western justice center is involved in conflict resolution. it brings different parties,
different groups to the center for very candid discussions about race, about identity and about pluralism. some of you may know that angela also became a very outspoken figure during the 1992 unrest in los angeles and was really part of the process in los angeles. next to her is rashad hussain. rashad is president barack obama's envoy to the organization of islamic conference. he was formerly, is formerly also the deputy associate counsel to the president and he has received his jurist doctorate from yale university and a spinning gauge with several conversations here and abroad on the status of muslim americans and u.s. policy toward the muslim world. next to him is fernando kiera. fernando and i had the privilege
of going to the vatican on our interfaith trip sometime back in the '90s. he is the director for the center for the study of los angeles and follows demographic polling, public opinion and is a pollster i believe for some political groups. to my left is reem salahi. she is a civil rights attorney, has done some post-9/11 discrimination cases in coordination with the aclu and is also involved with a number of young muslim groups throughout southern california and has been a speaker in many islamic centers on that issue in terms of the sentiment coming from young muslim americans. to her left is pastor bob roberts. he is the founding pastor of the northwoods church in dallas,
fort worth and coming from an evangelical background, bob roberts has been at the forefront of dialogue with muslims both here in the united states and abroad. and finally, we have reverend madison shockley. madison also i think we got to know each other after the 92 unrest and even before that with the gulf war in terms of the peace coalition that we were working on back in the early '90s. i think 1990 and 1991. madison is the pastor of pilgrim united church of christ in carlsbad california. he is also on the board of directors of the interfaith community services in san diego county. now i have made my introductions of our panelists very brief. if you would like to know more about them you can always google their names and definitely when the google we find out not only what we want to say about ourselves but what our political
opponents want to say about us this so have at it. as i said this is going to be a conversation and then we are going to have a brief conversation here on the stage and then we will turn to you and the people on the web who can also ask questions to continue the conversation. i want to start with fernando. you know in terms of the tea party movement, as i stated earlier there seems to be this concern of antiwhite discrimination that muslims and african-americans and latinos and asian-americans are getting preferential treatment, and therefore there is a strong grievance that is driving a lot of what is happening in the tea party movement. and interesting to note, two of the more far to the right if you will candidates in nevada and new jersey loss but it is still a phenomenon. can we describe what is happening politically in terms of public testaments that is
driving some of these views from the tea party movement? >> it is not unusual that when you have economic dislocation, when you have a fast movement of population, immigration, migration within the united states people get displaced and they become uncomfortable with what is happening and they look to return to a romanticized past. they romanticize that past as being economically very well-ofd they associate that with white christian america. nothing could be further from the truth that people are very selective in terms of how they view the american past. america has always been diverse in terms of native america. even if you take a look here in los angeles which wiped -- at one time was one of the widest cities ever, enumerated by a diverse population. the original settlers of 1781
were of african, european, obviously north american origin and all those types of pictures but there is that response. interestingly enough the narrative is especially after we look at the results of the tremendous republican victories that have occurred in the house and a lot of that attributed to the tea parties. the second narrative was how bad incredible wave stopped really in the western states, nevada, colorado, the state of washington, all elected or reelected democratic senators where many expected a republican might win. and then of course, the whole california stories where not a single tea party candidate for a partisan office one in california and as a matter of fact, democrats overwhelmingly one. as contrasty mention newt gingrich and the contract for america in 1994. a very similar way.
in 1994 you have to recall that the republicans in california captured four of the seven statewide offices including the gubernatorial elections. they captured several congressional offices. they captured the state assembly and also passed opposition 187. so many people compare 2010 and 1994 is very similar and it is true nationally but at the state level in california nothing could be further from the truth. it actually was -- california was very different and why is california different? it is the diversity and the degree to which we are comfortable with it, even to the extent that we talked about pulling. i have been tracking polling at the city of los angeles and the state of california and nationally but even whites in california including republicans are much more tolerant of different groups, specifically latinos, african-americans in terms of winning public office
than ever before and because they are comfortable and they are aware of the situation in california. as the country becomes more comfortable with that i believe you will have less movement than the tea party tends to try to create that environment. the tea party was a significant player, but in terms of some of the analysis i have done, i would not attribute any true republican victories to the tea party. in other words, believe that many republicans would have won those seats that tea party republicans won whether it is kentucky are different places. as a matter of fact, one could achieve if they lost for instance in delaware or in nevada where clearly -- excuse me the republican should have won one and probably would have won had they not nominated t. party activists.
so the tea party i think herd and actually prevented the republicans from capturing more seats than they would have had their just been a typical like 1994 election. and i will stop there for the moment. >> fernando gave an excellent analysis of what happened politically but what is happening at the grassroots level? what is the sentiment of the various groups in response to some of these sentiments that are coming from sina phobic group's? >> you know i want to remind everyone that we are in a place and time where we understand discrimination and racism to manifest itself had three very distinct levels, the individual level, at the institutional level, and then at the structural level. so, at the grassroots on the individual level for example at the western justice center, we do a lot of education. we believe that is the only vehicle really, and we focus a
lot on children because they are the future. not to sound cliché, but in fact that is where we put a lot of our energy. we work with school districts and you know there is a skill to doing conflict resolution work. it is not just understanding the concepts. our mission is to displace the power of violence in society. that is a huge mission. what does that even mean? and it is no longer a time when people are comfortable with it intra-group organizing only. for example, the problem of structural racism can only really be addressed if white people begin to educate white people. i mean, they are the social and cultural distance is not as great. you can go to other parts of the country in other parts of the world to try to set rings right.
try doing it in your own backyard. try doing it in your own family, okay? so these are challenges we are starting to put out. conflict resolution, listening, really listening. not just with your ears but your whole being is the hardest soft skill that you are going to ever learn. we work with police officers. we work with gang involved youth. we work with school, both at the teacher level and the student level. we will work with parents who are at a loss about what to do when their child comes home and has been you know made fun of or humiliated or walid. we are trying constantly to do renovations in the state. but people are not easily able to embrace change. changes what you saw their rallying cry to be a few years
ago and of course change is really difficult. people don't really want it. i used to use an example. in new york, they changed some of the area codes for phone numbers. it created such a disruption that made the front page of "the new york times." if people can't even deal with area code changes how are they going to be dealing with the changes in their communities, with cultural changes, with political shifts, with a new voice emerging? so we just heard that the d.r.e.a.m. act wasn't passed this week. the senate rejected it after the congress, the house passed it. the lives of so many young people, who through no fault of their own, are put in this really you know grace space. how are they going to negotiate those waters? they are not empowered to do so in a political way. they are not empowered to do so, you know, through their position
economically leveraging things but they are going to continue to organize and those voices will not be silent. silenced. they will continue to be heard and more and more, think there will be a groundswell. as far as the tea party is concerned, think it is very important that we learn from what happened here because this is a ramp up to 2012. there is going to be a huge challenge to the current administration for all of the reasons you are discussing here over the next day. and that ramp up began more than a year ago when we were running up to this year's election. the demographic data that are coming out this year, along with the experiences, now we have identified who the players are in the tea parties who are going to mobilize nationally. we have identified with their messages are. we have identified with the infrastructure looks like. there is a lot of work going on right now and 2012, just for those of you who follow the chinese calendar and you don't
have to believe it, just you know thousands of years old and aliens of human beings that have come up with this. but, in 2012 we are talking about the year of the dragon. it is a significant year. next year is the year of the rabbit. you know what rabbits are like? that is where the energy will be next year but the year of the dragon is 2012. >> okay. well, with rabbits, dragons and demographics, let's turn to texas. bob, you are from texas. do you see the same thing coming from your neck of the woods or is it a different assessment altogether? >> i think most people know that texas is an overwhelmingly democratic state and so as a result of that we have more liberal views than most places around the country. [laughter] no, i would say i don't think you can position the current conversation in the world around democrats and republicans and
conservatives and liberals. that is a previous generations way of defining the world. frankly i belong to but when i look at people like rashad and dreamed that are coming to the forefront, i honestly believe that the world we are inheriting is a radically different world so as a result of that continuing to try to define our culture in those two terms is not going to cut it. you know, i am not a researcher like you are fernando, but i work with young pastors in america. we start many churches. i work with young people that are volunteering all over the year and engaging. the recent president obama was elected because young mighty and and -- evangelicals help put him in office. lozenges the democratic party turning out. had there not been evangelicals that were behind him and supporting him, they were promoting him he never would
have i believe made it to office. i believe we know that the world is shifting. it is a scary world. changes right around the corner and we don't have the right templates or paradigms for understanding the current world that we face. so as a result of that you are going to see a lot of tea parties. i don't know whether we'll be the democratic party or maybe the most party. i think you are going to see the rise in the next few years and even third parties for people that are trying to figure out how do we, how do we take the 21st century and make it work? a lot of the leaders, if you read one of the magazines i just read talking about the baby boomers are now in early retirement, so what is going to look like for the gen x'ers and millennials that are coming along? i think there is a sense in texas that we feel because of the metropolitan areas of
dallas-fort worth, san antonio, austin and houston it is no longer much like people would receive of this big wide area. for example dallas-fort worth 40% of the population are new americans. they are over 228 languages spoken in dallas. in 1995 there was one mosque and today there are 43 mosques. multiple temples. in my community alone the suburb i'm and we have a mosque and we have a buddhist temple. we have churches and b of a synagogue. it is all present and not everyone goes to those, so i think the world we are living in right now has shifted. we are all connected and the biggest problem is we don't know how to talk to one another. and there is no privacy anymore which i think it's a wonderful thing in one sense because it forces all of us to have one conversation, and what ms. oh said is incredibly true. we don't know how to talk among our own tribe. i bring greetings to my cousins
that are muslims. i love you guys and have come to know you over the last several years from around the world. at my biggest challenge frankly is not loving muslims or jewish or buddhist or anything else. my biggest challenge is not getting crucified by my own tribe for loving people of a different tribe. and i have met muslims who face the same thing. is real interesting the largest mosque, the largest synagogue in our church came together and you need to understand i'm an evangelical. i don't know if you understand what that means but it is a more conservative christians so it is not a big thing for mainline or liberal churches to reach out to other groups but for a conservative evangelical church it is. and being the rabbi and imam broader conversations together in january. not just us but our congregation so friday we all went to the synagogue, eight kosher desert, watch their worship and the imam and rabbi and i took q&a. the next day we did the same thing at the mosque and we did
the same thing at our church. was a pretty incredible experience that what we all three learned from that is our biggest challenge with our own tribes from the rabbi to the imams to myself. it was fascinating because here i am as an evangelical, passionate believer in religious freedom writing blogs supporting the mosque being built while the imam is saying let's realize where we are and let's be patient. every other religious group. so we were arguing one another's cases with one another tribes without realizing that. so i just think what is make in a confiscated if everything is present. everything, we are connected. if i want to know what muslims think about me i'll have to do is go to the muslim web site. if i want to see what muslims want always to do was google christian great commission. you can find out anything you
want about anybody. the problem is we have a lot of smart people who don't know how to speak with one voice in a the global conversation in a clear way where people can understand them. that is what is not happening. >> thank you, bob. [applause] madison. how does it look from your lens in terms of these kinds of issues, in terms of what is happening in the progressive field? >> well, i first want to commend you for the theme of this conference and for the theme of this panel and those that you have gathered because this is the kind of conversation that needs to take place not just here but throughout the country. it takes muslims to have these people brought together. thank you very much. >> highlights the point i want to start with and what pastor roberts just said.
know where they are harassing assuming everyone is undocumented and posing of these regimes that make it hard to live and there is a kind of paranoia in the air about people who are different that it is shocking to me having moved from los angeles there's a whole different atmosphere to north counties san diego and when i have listened to my members who are for the most part very liberal progressive people, they are brother and sister and cousin of literally to members of the tea party and that is what is enlightening to see that even among the white communities there's not a place for conversation and they get all these e-mails with madness and craziness and they simply sometimes just shut down the conversation within their own family. when i moved there in 2004, it
was an may the first holiday came around without a member of my members coming to me after the election which bush was reelected and they said i have to go to thanksgiving. i can't stand it. what do you mean you can't stand thanksgiving? i have to talk to my right wing brother-in-law. this has simply continued. but i think in this moment what is important about the conscience of america and the panel american identity you have mailed it. do not neglect this talk with in the tea party and beyond about american exceptional was some. that drive their world view and american exceptional was some has taken a feeding in the last four or five years and the major beating that it has taken is the election of president barack obama who refused in their terms
to exceed to this political ideologies, this political theology of american exceptional was some. so when he refused to accede to their understanding of that, and then you get the statistics you mentioned earlier and there's a lot of overlap that 40% of the republicans or right wing or whoever feel that president obama wasn't born in the united states and therefore is not to the legitimate president of the united states because electing him was a major shift in this country because the president serves not only as the executive but also the head of state and the symbol of the nation and the words used to looking at a white male as a symbol of the nation that holds us all together so everything underneath can be going from and it's settled out because there's a white man at the top. but when that was changed and
that image was changed, profoundly believe psychological harm that his son to many that have come onto that so now you have said in a kind of mass hysteria that says the president is not the duly elected president but he is a muslim and as well at the same time a radical christian perform early belonging to my denomination the church of christ, and there is no way to engage people in a reasonable fashion about how to move forward. so the mosque in new york, why that was such a controversy was because of the feeling of impotence that a year to american exceptional was on hand. 9/11 was the first strike. it was an exposure of america's vulnerability to it because you have this image the rest of the world was subject to these
things we were in permeable, there for the strike of 9/11 x pos stifel portability and in the impetus to do anything about it is what is driving this madness and so the idea that in a muslim congregations could erect a building on what they call rounds evo from their own impetus has failed to wreck their own monument, so i think you'd be different if the monument of 9/11 had already been constructed, but that is the sign to them of this rise of islam and they see it even though they are such a proportion of the society, they see it as a threat because the person at the very top, president of the united states in their mind is a secret muslim who has this conspiracy of cooperation with international islam to take over the united states and so everything had connected to that poses this
disproportionate threat to anything and everything they do. that is why it's ground zero, it represents the ascendancy of islam and what they view as an exclusively christian nation. the sad thing about mass hysteria is it's not subject to medication or other typical treatments. [applause] >> you traveled throughout the world in europe obviously has a different structure from the united states, but some people feel like we are approaching the way europe is structured in terms of having the power to help the few and the rest of us are visitors. tell us about the structure held it relates to the united states
and how you see things changing here in america. >> i will back up a little bit and say in our work with creating partnerships with people all over the world including muslim are really focusing on looking forward in a way that emphasizes what we share in common and emphasizes our similarities with the president termed mutual interest and mutual respect going back to his landmark address and cairo is not focused so much on difference is that we have political coloration become ethnically. and when we talk about these issues we are constantly saying that when you look at muslim communities, you look at muslims, we should understand that muslim people share the same fundamental concerns, share the same fundamental as parisians as everyone else so when we engage in these conversations the first topic of discussion shouldn't necessarily
be issues of security and the controversies regarding the building of mosques because on a day-to-day basis what muslims are worried about our jobs, just like everyone else. they are worried about education for themselves, for their families. they are worried about taking care and supporting their families. they are worried about health care for their families and that is not only true in the united states, but around the world. so our work in partnering with muslim communities and other communities it's important that we work in a way which creates an initiative and partnership in entrepreneurship to deal with issues like the economy for example and science and technology and health and other areas as well and that is not to say there aren't very important political issues but our sources of tension between the united states and communities around the world but it's important we
realize those aren't the only if she was by which we engage with the muslim community and far too long people think our muslim communities a round the world think of muslims immediately those hot-button issues come to mind as i want to take a step back into first say our approach is different to engage people based on what we all share. of course there are real issues and concerns and those are the issues that tend to get the bulk of the headlines more so than the creative partnerships and, you know, maternal child health and the eradication of polio or entrepreneurship, and there's no doubt that the concerns are real but there is another powerful narrative that's building if you look at some of the controversies such as the controversy regarding the proposed burning of the court on -- koran. the case where the individual with a congregation probably ten times smaller than the people in this room here came up with an idea that was rejected
immediately by other evangelicals in florida. the city of gainesville denied a permit to go forward with that activity and was condemned with people on the left and right so you also have the narrative of people coming together. a couple months later a press conference of major leaguers from all religious faiths and ethnicities coming together to condemn some of the sentiment that has been feeding parts of the country. it is mentioned dallas when i came from my was learning up there there was one mosque. we talk about opposition to building mosques now there are 43 in the dallas-fort worth area. and on the issue of europe, you know, which you raised, there is data that shows for example on the issue of the head scarf that americans overwhelmingly reject restrictions on religious freedom and what individuals can
and cannot wear to be implemented by the government. so why do think there are areas of serious concern, which are the ones that we have focused on but i also think it's important to understand, you know, that there is another narrative that also building, and even on the issue like the ground zero. when we spoke of ground zero it wasn't that muslims were somehow the exception but it was very much in the context that just like christians have the right to build a church, just as hindus have the right to build synagogues, muslims, too have the right to build places of worship so our place is one that focuses on areas of mutual interest, mutual respect and what brings us together and there is very powerful allies and that also emerged in the last couple of years. >> you talked to a lot of young people and there were times i
would read from younger people, people of all backgrounds, and they just don't get the sense that their american identity is very strong. and that may affect. do you get that sense talking to various young groups, muslims in particular leader but just in terms of what you see in terms of identity and in terms of civil rights in this particular era? >> guest: for me i can speak specifically because that is where i learned a lot of my work has been based on the community and i -- i appreciate what rashad hussain is saying there is definitely this sense of nativism and america that has caused a lot of muslim youth to feel ostracized and targeted and a lot of times they feel it's not just coming from their peers but it's also coming from the
government above which makes it difficult for them to feel american and connected to that sense of american and some. one thing that is striking is muslims are portrayed in the media and while a lot of muslim see the media does not necessarily reflective of the truth, there is a point it becomes consumed and they began to see themselves through the lens of the way the media portrays them and so in the media a lot of times when we read and hear about muslims they are divided into three glasses. there is a passive muslims who play to the capri and read the speed and there's the financiers of terrorism and the terrorists themselves so it is completely stripped of humanism. muslims are stripped of their sense of being americans and humans and so that is something that is becoming more and more difficult, particularly now where there is a focus on homegrown terrorism in this world where you have people like
the kid in part of oregon and the youth in baltimore who were basically tried to engage in these terrorist actions through the fbi, and this continued rhetoric of and inflation of islam and terrorism and muslim, american muslims was becoming extremely problematic and threatening to a lot of muslim youth becoming more and more isolated and feeling more and more under attack and also because it has become the discourse and the understanding of a lot of americans throughout this country where muslims are seen as the other and so there is a tremendous increase and bullying and harassment in schools. one thing that is interesting is both when you and i went to the mosque, talking to the mosque not there, just hearing the
rhetoric that has come out so uncensored. just hearing about how a flag is going to be fleeing the for the white house. this is a planning commission. just hearing that uncensored comment was shocking to me that this has become acceptable and that there is no sense of the need to sensor that rhetoric, which for many muslims, including youth and individuals like myself, it does create a sense of auster's asian and off fear and wanting to be american but feeling rejected in many ways from being american. >> i want to go back to fernand boe. today the senate voted on the dream act and it failed. there's going to be no immigration reform for the time being. so could we also extract the
sense that there is a large community that doesn't feel like they belong? >> what we are talking about is exclusion and how do we get the previously excluded groups to be included in the political social religious life of america and this is one case where part of the problem is where we can complete we were just simply to talk about the dream act and getting young kids brought here very young who are immigrants come on documented to have done everything america says he should do to be america, they are the epitome of what is to be american and yet, they are not american and this to me is something i lived with at the university where i teach. i have several of these kids and i know several of them at usc and northridge and different places where they have been incredibly successful and have done everything asked of them
come in yet when they graduate they cannot get a job because they are not documented. the vote was 55 in favor, 41 against. most say wait a minute, as a majority, that should pass. but in the senate rules it needed 50 votes to create closer and bring its for the vote and of the 55 who voted in favor of the dream act, 52 were democrats and 53 were republican. of the 41 who voted against it, i think all but four or five of them were republicans so there was a partisan aspect and from the republican party, they were covering this little different politics and messages and some of them talked about a comprehensive immigration reform. but the reality here is the heading moment to talk about america's conscience, to talk
about the american inclusion and about the best and the brightest we have and bring them into american society and they failed and i am ashamed for what has happened and how we have convoluted this issue and it is going to hurt thousands of kids today. this isn't a theoretical issue today there are tens of thousands of kids whose lives could totally completely changed. american kids. they may not be u.s. citizens but they are raised here and have every single american dalia they are not mexican war they are not canadian or european or african because they didn't drop their and they cannot go back because the of no place to go back. most of them don't even speak the language of their origin or speak it very well, and we have just abandoned these kids here in our next, and i've got to tell you, it is something that
may be pessimistic today. i am usually optimistic. i do believe that race relations have gotten better and we tracked from public opinion polls. i believe like madison talks about the different incidents in other parts of california we have to be vigilant against antimuslim, and i religious, and in mexican issues, constantly we have to be vigilant but over all things have gotten better. the progression of american liberalism and inclusion whether it is african-american or latino, and it will include and it's been including muslims. it will happen but there are times when we stall a little bit, go back and sometimes when we are in an era where we have stalled or gone back we get a little bit pessimistic, and by and pessimistic today. i am pessimistic today. >> angela? >> i'm not. [laughter]
i'm not. i just want to try this out. if you cross your hands like this, all of you, and you don't have to raise your hand yes, but just look at your hands. and again, you don't have to buy it, it's only thousands of years and billions of people that we have observed so they say that people who have their left thumb over their right thumb tend to be people of the heart, okay? the people who have their right thumb over their left thumb tend to be people who are more of reason and it's very uncomfortable for people who are one to cross their hands the other way. it's not natural for them. so you don't need to raise your hands about this, but i would guess that about half are the
left some and about half or the right thumb so i'm going to preface my remarks so you keep in check your tendency. [laughter] so yes, the senate rejected the treen act. they also repealed the mask "don't ask, don't tell." what does that tell us politically? and i don't play politics anymore. i used to but i descended the system is broken and corrupt i really cannot and i have to think with all sincerity people like this young man who have the wherewithal to step into the most powerful political office in the world which i played with for a short amount of time back in the 90's. it is an office that covers all of its contingency's every day. it runs 24/7 and inevitably every 24 hours there is an emergency which is the american people or any people frankly
knew that we could fit into a crisis out of panic that they handled it. it is an incredible offers. so don't ask "don't ask, don't tell" to get past and what is the political dynamic that occurs? human beings, politicians are not god, they are just people who have to ask for money and understand what it takes to get what they want to accomplish as a politician. and so there was a trade made somewhere, and we will never know where unless we explain the memo. [laughter] and we will be able to understand if we step back just a minute that there was a negotiation that went on at some level that i will give you integration wartell mask "don't ask, don't tell" in exchange for integration this time around and somehow we will revisit this because it is inevitable because we know that there are forces of their that will bring it up again and again and again and nobody is ever going to be happy and people who really play
understand politics. you know, this is the thing. so we have some of the american people who are very powerful politically or happy today because the mask "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed and then we have others in the american body of politics to are very sad today. i don't happen to agree that is as tragic because i already had in my mind many things that these young people can be doing which i will be having separate conversations at the universities in the next quarter about the other options are which are much more productive in my opinion in reality. and it is true with our pastors sit here from texas that you know, everything is happening now and if you don't understand that, you should read it karkh poll about the power of now. it's not to say that the history doesn't matter. it's in you, it is present now. nor can it say the future
doesn't matter or we can't do something about it because what you do now will have a certain effect on the future but it is now coming and we live in an extraordinary time where the transparency is so tremendous that even the secretary of state has to go on the airways and protect the terrible things that we keep leaks did, the despicable things that they have done and yet there is an analysis that says, you know, transparency may be the next big change always have to accept and what are the implications of that? if you ponder that for just even a few minutes, it's quite extraordinary what could be happening. so for me when i look at the situation, every generation feels it's in the worst of times and the best times. we live in the worst of times and the best times.
i just came back from a city on the other side of the globe that has 21 million people living in it. the rule politically is one order, one act. they built a train that goes from one end of the country to the other and less than a year. that used to take six hours like train, boat, truck. the bullet train was built in less than at a year and goes in 70 minutes from point a to point b. there is no reason on the talk of a superpower was operating in the world right now. when you do it on that level, when the analysis is on the level of what it's a society can produce. i saw it play performed entirely on the surface of a lake in november with lights and boats and people running across the surface of the water. there is no understanding i
think in this country about how we are positioned right now. there is just no understanding. those of you that have families and other parts of the world, you have some sense about positioning. so the next political cycle is going to be very interesting in my view. and if the next sort of opportunity for discourse is enormously important. it is going to happen in a cyberspace, it's going to happen in face-to-face opportunity and happen with books. it's going to happen through blogs. and the trick will be whether or not you remember this or this and whether or not -- this is just my opinion. it isn't count for swat. it's just you invited me here, on the panel, expressing an opinion to remember as you are going through all this information, and my left over
right or right to left, do i know somebody that is the other, to have a chance to process the stuff that i am seeing and what ultimately think? and when you ultimately 10i would suggest it's not going to be prescribed anywhere. we have to a start understanding what is right and what is wrong and move with that but we have to move with it in a way that is gentle. the other way to be brutal brutal about it, and spirited, and, and at every moment, you lose that and you could invite disaster to it i have made mistakes even into a move into the states trying to displace the power of my society in my own small way continue to be very violent and i try to at least be conscious of it supplied of repeat it again. so you never have the opportunity, i would say to you,
to do it again. it only comes once. even the exchange of a glance with another person to beat you only have the opportunity once. we collectively only have this opportunity now to move in the proper way and i am looking into leadership like impact, which holds the space for the middle way. my teacher used to say to me you know what the trick in life is? we are trying to walk a straight as we can on a very crooked road called life. that is what the impact is trying to do. i think organizationally that has always been my impression of the organization and the leadership that i have met. [applause] >> i just want to get a response
from rashad on how we deal with these marginal as communities right now? >> addressing the question of rising sentiment against religion certainly regard to anti-semitism, the completion of terrorism is something that's dangerous. it's something that feeds the narrative of terrorists who will point to those who say that there is a link between the two and say they are again on doing islam and terrorism are the same and so therefore there is no way of bridging this defined and that's something that we have been trying to be clear about and going back to cairo when the president made clear when it comes to the issue of the violent extremism it is opposed not only in cairo but after the massacre in fort hood and the attempted terrorist attack on
december 25th again after the get him that terrorist attack in times square, you know, we made the point very clear again and again and with regard to this question on authorization. as i stated earlier, it's important that when you look at particular religious communities keep in mind there is a unique set of issues but at the end of today, the fundamentals operations, the fundamental concerns are the same, and so to engage on the basis of those. and when the president talked about this issue at a press conference on the economy, he said we have to be careful when we are talking about communities like muslim communities whose kids are going to school with our kids as he said who are co-workers. he said i have troops that are fighting alongside each other and some of whom are muslim and some from are not and what does this say when we act as if
somehow islam is in and of itself offensive? and i think taking this point head-on it said when it comes to these issues there is no them and us it is just us so from the government perspective of course it is important to counter this emeritus of islam somehow being completed with terrorism and it's important to counter this narrative of the other. and then as communities work together, such as this conference it's important for the communities to work together in coalition and it's important we talked a lot about in terms of solutions, civic engagement, muslim communities are working on the issues that are all communities, the clinic for the simple right here in los angeles that provides health care services to people regardless of their religious faith, that kind of engagement is something that can transcend these barriers of religion and race and ethnicity and those are the areas of partnership we also try to
establish and that is very important at the time when you have increased in numbers and visibility and certain communities and muslim communities that we are able to achieve what we have achieved in the past what is the history of the united states, the history of the united states is a position of tolerance winning over whether that is with african-american communities, whether that's with jewish communities, irish communities, hispanic communities, asian-american communities, and so that it is a challenge that we face and one of the reasons why i remain optimistic despite the challenges is because i see movements in the right direction of some of the areas before would also really because of the youth and that is something that i think they are focused on. you know, i come out this from a little bit different perspective.
we have in my college years and to school and graduate school just like any other topic late-night conversations about philosophy and religion and the experience of young americans growing up in the generation of young people growing and now they are growing up and going to school with muslims completing sports with muslims, being involved in all types of projects, community service projects and other endeavors with muslims, they see islam in a different way perhaps than many americans saw 20 or three years ago. that's not to say there wasn't a strong muslim presence. it was engaged at that period, too but if you look at the numbers and demographics and the number of students studying in the universities and organized in different communities of religion working together and those we now see in islam and the integrated into universities, not only do you
have a future of a core group of muslims that have had different interactions than 20 or 30 years ago but leaders of the future. they have a very different understanding of the sovereign muslims that we have seen not long ago in this country as well. so we think you asked about solutions. i think part of it is that there is a natural movement that will occur in the right direction that is occurring but that is not enough, that's not suspicion, it's not appropriate to say let's wait and things will get better. there are real things that can be done in terms of civic engagement, but suspicion, coalition building and the e elimination of this idea that somehow islam condone terrorism to continue to work towards the issue for the muslim communities to work on this issue and other communities to continue to acknowledge that and recognize that and dialogue through that
idea will continue to be important. thank you. [applause] >> i just want to tack on to andrew's comment and i'm glad he would be for me because i want to tie them together. i hadn't seen the wikileaks fever but i believe there was a deal struck between the dream act and duenas "don't ask, don't tell." so my point is 11 dhaka the other? i don't think you can have one but not both, pick one. i think that this engagement question is the key. that our congregation in the united church of christ is one of those we call an open and affirming a contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons. but i've learned at church through the experience is those are conversations that are hard to deny within the family. look at dick cheney's family.
it's not just on the military. it's an impact on the humanity of every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender person in this culture and those conversations are hard not to have. we avoid them but there is more opportunity because in every family whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there are persons or lesbian, gay, bisexual conference center -- transgender somewhere in your family tree so when you voted for the us "don't ask, don't tell" whether they acknowledge it or not, those are conversations they have had, and recognizing the impact on people that they loved and cared about when you come to questions of immigration from mexico the conversation as i don't know anybody. there's nobody in my family that's going to be impacted as directly as tosk "don't ask, don't tell" or what it means for the whole society and what we say about the engagement is the
key so when there's no one on the other side of the conversation, and all of this and saying conspiracy theories and takeover series go unchecked by a dialogue partner we are in a very dangerous, so we and many people's mind who subscribe to this american exceptional osteology, moderate muslims if the excess to doesn't matter because moderate muslims and terrorist muslims simply have different strategies to the same goal, which is domination, and they feel this domination is happening with their it is unsure real lock the you're going to go for our court system and when you say one mosque and you were a child and 43 now and you're still a child that sounds like domination to me. that when they predicted that exploration of expansion and
look at themselves and their own it impetus and the fact is christianity as a whole is in a small slow decline its proportion of the hearings with an american culture and so they sense that and feel this decline even though islam is a very small group, they see it on the rise and you go to the 143, the rate of increase is astronomical and so the latch onto these things and feel free only way to solve the feelings of impetus is to strike out people they feel threatened them ultimately. [applause] for the most part we deal with these problems by focusing on the head. i disagree with that. we ought to start with the hand and by that what i mean is when our congregations can to get their sitting down talking about
the speed and the new testament and the beating that wasn't going to get us anywhere at all, so we had a cooking class and learned to eat different foods and you still get fat eating fat. [laughter] we have done that. the men came together, we are building houses together and what happens is when you sweat together and are working on common problems in the community you get close to people and you know what, it's hard to take a shot at someone your friends with. i taught him the year hunting in east texas and it of him he can't wear his pakistani outfit and muslim imams running around with a rifle might get shot. [laughter] would wear jeans and t-shirt and i'm going to take you. i believe the key -- [laughter] i really am, we are going to eat it. [laughter] i believe the key has got to be building relationships and that's not what we've done. and here is the meat of the day, not for more academics,
intellectuals, geopolitical people to talk, it is for people who have the power of the mass to do more than preach servants, but to mobilize the congregation and say i don't agree with you. theologically i don't accept mahomet as the profit. slash would be a muslim. i don't disrespect him. i'm on the koran for the third time trying to understand it. the imams, we go back and forth. i'd better not go there. but anyhow, we have conversations, but it's based on what are we doing to build over city together? we are pluralistic every other way. the idea of talking to someone of a different faith is almost a compromise of your faith. it shouldn't be. if anything, if i going to be more liberal in my translation of understanding the bible and what jesus said i love people all the more but i would agree with ms. oh on 23 accounts. we were talking about an issue of immigration. whether it's muslims coming to
america or the muslims face emerging in america or hispanic the question is how we handle migration because that is one of the conversations of the world and so i think the chinese have a huge listened because the chinese don't always tell you what you're thinking working in china and east asia but they smile and so they have -- andres serious about this. chinese prosper all over the world. like no other people in the face of the earth. why? it's how they handle their difficulties. you don't know about it and i think it is kind of like gandhi. he saw this man who committed nonviolent and he's sitting there about afraid he's going to die and looks very sad and gondhi looks at him and says what's wrong with you? he says i'm about to suffer. he says if you can't stand for truth and smile and be happy go home, you to our cause no good. in the mix of the struggle. even if you are hurting on the inside, smile. suck it up, move your feet forward.
that's what i tell my kids if they are hurting smile because people who smile it's hard to throw rocks. i'm gerry optimistic about muslim relations in america. you may think i'm crazy but i really am. let me tell you why. using a yardstick to measure know it's not that is like the sunni and shia getting together. it's not. we may not get along good but ultimately we are going to do that. they were europeans. here's what you have to compare to. please don't be offended. we were having a conversation, right? let's have some fun. the reality is -- here is the reality of you to understand relations it's like i heard a scholar he blew me away. i thought this guy is right on. most of muslims muhammad ali but
we like muhammad ali and then we thought of iran and that scared us a little bit and then we begin to see what was going on in the middle east that scared us and then after 9/11 if hit us hard. don't compare how people are responding to islam by catholic or irish. instead you have to think in terms of pearl harbor. stay with me while i say that. here's why. what you had was the first attack on the american continental's wilson's 1,812th so you've got a lot of americans open-minded but now they see this is scary them to death. they think is this muslims and so the result of that is there is a tremendous amount of fear. christine was interviewing and by -- she said nothing is changed in the last ten years. are you disappointed? i wanted him to say no, i'm excited to read think about it, we have no interment camps, and
you list all the things that happened to the japanese after pearl harbor. it was horrible and the reality is it's not better i agree that it's not worse and it's like hernan those ultimately your place is coming and i agree with you, rashad, we can't be still and ignore it and the honest is on the majority. people like me opening their churches and say we want to get to know you, we want to get along, if we want to do that, please, come, we are not going to shoot you or we are not protected baptize you but to can't hold that against, that's who we are. there's nothing wrong with that. these ideas about everything else. we can't talk about god. so i frankly -- i know it's hard but you are at a turning point in a healthy way. and all right, we are just
talking so don't get upset with me. but like most americans when they hear people come on television do you realize the impact of somebody like rashad on the camera instead of a first-generation immigrant? all the seven americans can handle that because this one story about her friend a second-generation american muslim indian, very good friend of mine, love him to death, he is in and out of our home and has worked with the government and president bush so i brought him to my church one sunday, his hair slicked back. he wears cowboy boots, dark complected so i get him up in front of our old church and said so highlight your cowboy boots. he's a like them to act. in texas you have to understand what the casing is triet what's your favorite music? i love johnny cash degette you must be so it baptist mexican who works with george bush, it?
[laughter] so he goes know i mean indian muslim. after the was laughing. they thought it was a joke but it wasn't a joke secures would freak timeout. he talks like us, he likes country music, and what they were experiencing that we haven't seen a lot of its second generation american muslims they can relate to and think it's what you were talking about. >> what do you think, pearl harbor? [applause] >> i have to conceptualize my word i actually put my right thumb over my left. >> that's why your civil rights. >> i don't think the bar is pearl harbor to but i don't think the way we can look at from a muslim and growing up in this environment i don't think the way that for me to see that this is everything is okay is
because i was thrown into concentration camp. that's hard for me to digest and working with muslims to say it's fine as long as you are not in a concentration camp you are okay. that said i am optimistic but i'm also strategically optimistic. i think there is so much that needs to be done within our communities and across the communities. i do see immigration, that is a huge concern and but we are going to see this next term the next few years is the continuation of politics of fear or there will be conference in of terrorism immigration and unfortunately islam will all three will be completed and that is going to not only affect obviously the muslim community that the latino communities and many other come yet use of color. so i think for us as a community and across communities how can we work with one another and how can the muslim community work with the christian and jewish community and other communities, of our ethnic communities to address this problem that we are
so and that we are still in america, we are still in this nativist exceptional the state where we are constantly fueled by fear and what can be stopped the fuehrer from a lot and policies to are emerging everyday alarming the policies to be selected on populations the exclusion of other populations that are now trickling down to the private-sector and where we are seeing in the community the highest level of employment discrimination ever. more so now and after september 11th where we see more heat crimes now than before. how can we really -- that is something we need to start thinking about this strategically how can we undermine the fear that is constantly being fed to the american populace that is allowing for the continued think study, very explicit statement and targetting population based on not what i as an individual and doing or what rashad is doing but based on this notion
that islam and muslims is equated to a certain group of people overseas that frankly i have never met a and i don't think i will ever need and so for me as somebody that is still relatively young that is something i want to see growing up continuing in this country and working on from a civil rights and civil liberties perspective how can we undermine the sense of fear and using the rules lot to do that and i think that is absolutely fundamental and not taking pearl harbor as a standing but the fact that i am an american and i have constitutional rights and the right to the due process equal protection etc., that is my standard, that is what i look at. i don't the theater experience of minorities. i look at what i have the right to and will aspire to. >> also, just we are going to be
taking questions, so please, write down your questions and we will be taking your questions in the next part. >> i need to respond because i feel this passion and its righteous passion by the way. but a man died last week was 93-years-old, a japanese-american internee from world war ii. he is what we were calling a no-no boys. after they in turn all the japanese-americans after the bombing of pearl harbor, over a period of time of course politics, people of political pleas out in the camps and question 21 and 22 or 22 and 23, 27, 28, so the first or used to forswear any allegiance to any
other government the united states of america and second asks you to fight for this country. so it isn't popular to answer now. those who did were labeled the no-no boys and they were ridiculed, beaten, called treaters, the rationale was how can i answer yes to these questions his government put me in camp now they want me to go and possibly die when my sisters and brothers, what's come on buckles with no due process. i do believe it is possible for a society to become hysterical and make bad decisions even this one. so in fact what is very clear to me is of the leaders of the movement were among the first to support efforts to organize and give voice to a different
analysis than what was coming through the mainstream media after line 11. what is recognized as a man of honor, much later in life, guys like him or marginalized, hardly ever spoke of the experience to his own family members throughout his life. we kind of courage that it takes to find less plaintiffs names in a lawsuit, the kind of courage that it takes within an agency that is going down the path on a policy that you know in your gut is wrong isn't and i will not be complicity. the kind of courage that it takes to speak of in a workplace to see this is not right i'm not going to be complicity and its enormous. the job of new leaders is not to
give more information, not to give necessarily skills, not talking about people who are managing an organization, but i am talking leaders. you must know how to get to other people. that is the greatest gift that you can use. [applause] what i want to say is in the government papers that were unearthed by bill and the guys in the 80's they found the government saying things like we just can't tell from the goats and the sheep. the united states attorney's office and the generals, the admiral who knew the intelligence data were telling them no evidence of espionage on the west coast, they knowingly suppressed so that 120,000 people were ripped from their
homes and they have never been properly redressed. you go to the state's most of that is japanese farm land, strawberry fields. those people never got their land back. you know how much property that is worth in southern california? so i just, you know, want to thank you for doing this work because you are mostly going to be rejected and lose as a civil rights lawyer. it has been that way since civil rights litigation has happened. brown v board of education didn't happen because third marshall was a brilliant lawyer. it happened because they were historians, psychologists, educators, they were kenya to organizers. they all made it possible, and the stars were aligned. it had all but the been tried before right here in southern california with the, they tried to get the segregation and integration. it had already happened in
mississippi in the 1800's. thurgood marshall got lucky because all of the stars were aligned and people were ready to move. you have to see yourself in context. you are part of a much larger movement in fund universe. we are living in a time of spiritual awakening. your base is one that calls upon your spirit rather be to guide you, not your brain, not your degree, not your business, not your bank account, not your influence, whatever you think that is, but your spirits, you're human spirit to guide you. so you all take a piece of it, some art dealers, samore at tickets come samore mall first and fathers and grandparents, but you know, every piece has to be happening and consciously now all i am calling on people to recognize this in all of the work we do. i should be in a community-based
organization. i should be a civil rights lawyer on the bench. i should be so many things other people tell me what i should be. but where do i find myself in a nonprofit dedicated to building peace. how does that happen? it's not because i get a bigger paycheck when i was in central city as a lawyer let me tell you. [laughter] so we have to have the courage to follow what our intuition is telling us right now because everything else is not going to take us. our intuition will take us, you have to trust it and have the courage to go with that. [applause] >> there are many questions. we will only be able to get to a few of them and hopefully we will save the rest and we can have all of you answer the questions online on the impact website. one of the questions is, and i think going back to what angela
is talking about the next two years is going to be a roller coaster ride for a lot of fuss. one of the changes that is when to happen because of the republican-led representatives is a man by the name of peter king is going to be the chair of the homeland security committee. and some people feel that he is going to have faith mccarthy like next year's telling muslims that they are tied to terrorist completion we are talking about that because they are actively involved as muslims therefore they must have ties to terrorism. so the question is what should muslim americans be doing about it? and we talked about coalition building, we talked about positioning ourselves in terms of the kind of issues we should be raising. there is the issue of real terrorists that we should also
what some random other people did it wasn't even the action of a particular government. >> that is what i was trying to say is we didn't respond to the hysterical extremist manner. great, congratulations, what i would say is we did not respond in the same extremist manner that we have in the past. >> will not in that strategy. i still refer it does hysterical. my point is the answer is we, all of us who are americans, all of us have to claim this as a problem for america. we've got to say that this focus, this mass hysteria is tearing our country apart, it's undermining our ability to harness american children who want to make a contribution d-day mexican-american heritage, mexican heritage or can you call
what islamic heritage hedge it is a religion, and again, not to pick on you, but to say that america, like muhammad ali for 30 years later when muhammad ali changed his name from cassius clay to muhammad ali, american hated muhammad ali. he denied the draft and then refuse to fight in vietnam. america heat muhammad ali and thought of islam and fought as elijah mohammed and malcolm x. it took a long time for muhammad ali to become domesticated enough in that dimension for america to embrace him. the ultimate thing is about the willingness for america to change its perspective on who the hell it thinks it is and whether or not we can exist in this world respecting other nations, cultures, people, faith
and live both in the world and in our society with an acceptance that we are not everywhere not everyone has to become like us in order to be acceptable human beings. but we live here in this diversity and this diversity is in fact our strength and this diversity is what makes america. [applause] >> you can chime in but there's a question to you from the web from someone in maryland who wants to ask why it is the american muslim community seem resistant to accepting the notion that there are homegrown terrorists among us and how can we stop the use from radicalization? >> before i answer that i just have something quick to say about the committee's that he months to set up. i think it's ironic that he's looking into this. i was just looking at his own
background and he's somebody who supported the terrorist organization in the 1980's. he actually financed them and he ran for them, some interesting now he's turning around and trying to figure out the reason he broke ranks with them i ron ackley in 2005 is because the irish didn't support the war in afghanistan and iraq. that is the reason he broke with them so i think it's very ironic that he's turning around now wanting to do this mccarthy investigation of the muslim community, but, you know, and again a quick comment before i answer this question. i think the most powerful thing i've seen in the past few years was the sb 1070 how the country come together. i thought that was incredible, and i hope that it is something like this comes around is representative is successful in setting up these committees that the whole country can come together and say not on our watch, we aren't necessarily muslims but we are not open to allow the scapegoating of a certain population for your own
benefit and to promote the politics this year, so i hope we can recreate the csb 1070 environment at that time. as far as the question that was just asked to me there is a resistance. i do agree there is a resistance of home grown terrorism and i think part of it -- i was looking before i came here i was looking at the statistics and the studies point law and security at in 1q had this study where they set out of the 156 prosecutions, terrorism persecutions, 97 of them involve fbi agents and provocateurs, so there is a concern within the muslim community that a lot of the stuff that we are seeing now is being either promoted or enhanced through the involvement of the law enforcement, and fortunately eric holder recently came out and said that he does not have a problem and that he
supports what the fbi is currently doing and there is a problem that clearly muslims are not like -- muslims are like any other population. there are criminals among us, there are good guys and bad guys the problem is how -- what is the government doing and how is the federal fbi and the agent provocateurs, what are the doing to enhance the narrative that tie together this notion of homegrown islamic terror. ..
>> there is a resistance, and i think that resistance -- it's not, you know, it's not realistic. we have problems within the community, but there is a tremendous amount of fear that i see and concern that i have with the level of interest of our community and the suspect nature of our community that's promoted by intelligence community as well. >> okay. back to, i guess somebody from the muslim groups. i am a christian and a female, what can regular citizens like me to bridge the tribal gap? as a woman i feel intimidated
among muslims that i may be rejected or my ideas not as valuable as a male's. overall, this is an american problem too. >> there's always stereotypes of muslims and latinos that we are male dominating and overbearing and don't allow women to take leadership roles, but as we all know out there, nothing could be further from the truth. some very specific data, there are seven latino members of congress from the state of california, five of them are women. in the state legislature about four years ago, the last time i had the data there were ten -- there's only 40 state senators in california, ten of those are latino, five of them are women. today in the l.a. school board, the larger school board in the
nation, a budget of over $6 billion, there is seven school board members, three are la tee knows, and all three are women. women have a role. the same in the african-american community. three members of congress from l.a., all three are women. the idea that quote on quote, nonwhite communities, muslims, blacks, asians dominate the women, those groups together have more women in power in california than white communities do. nothing could be further from the truth in terms of that stereotype. >> thank you. [applause] >> anybody else want to add? >> to roberts, are the fear of the right wing about islam real or to spread fear in elections?
>> i'm not afraid, so i'm we have terrorists that are muslims, and we have terrorists that are not limited to a particular race, so i don't fear muslims. i teach our people not to fear muslims. when we had in our church, the muslims and jews come over. i did have people get nervous. you know, what are we doing for screening to be safe and so forth. [laughter] we -- [inaudible] we're in texas and everybody has guns there. [laughter] we had a global forum in our church. we had over 700 people, and the impact of that was phenomenal as people just got to know one another. i think the biggest challenge there is we don't know muslims or people that are different from our background, and so when we get to know them, that tension comes down. i do think there are people --
>> i'm sorry -- >> okay. i'm sorry. okay. >> there you go. [laughter] >> testing, one two three. [laughter] i'll start quoting bible verses or something. [laughter] okay, i'm sorry. okay. i just i would just say i don't buy it that i'm afraid of muslims. i think it hurts not just the muslim community, but the broader community when we live in fear of people. we are a nation with the rule of law, and i think we can count on that to prevail. >> okay. >> i agree that civic engagement is key and something that i advocate in my own work, however, it's my sense that muslim communities tend to isolate themselves and are reluck at that particular time to let -- reluctant to let themselves be
known. also, more should be entering fields of media, journalism, and politics. i guess he's complaining there's too many muslim doctors. [laughter] >> i'll add sports to that too. look at someone in france, nobody asks him there where are you from even though east algiersian. the impact a young athlete can have by entering the homes of people all across the country is something, the importance of which can't be overstated, and you know, the same thing is true of the arts and entertainment where i think much of the advocacy on issues oftentimes affecting muslim communities goes towards washington when in reality it's really the people across the country, the people in middle america that have a lot of questions that need to be addressed, and so, you know,
activism in all of these skills including sports, the arts as you said. i do see a strong increase in civic engagement through organizations like the oma clinic and the emon in chicago that provides services again regardless of people's religious affiliation, and it's not only muslims working there, but side by side with communities of other faith holsaert as well. i do -- faith as well. i do agree with that sentiment, but i don't think it's quite fair to look at muslim communities and say that broadly speaking about that engagement is not occurring because i think it is at a number of levels, it's just not recognized. going back to extremism, muslim communities are condemning terrorism and violent extremism, major muslim organizations have
been doing that for years and years and years. major muslim american thought leaders, major scholars, all, you know, you can look at people across not only this country, but around the world. people, you know, with the requisite qualifications have been largely unequivocal that islam is opposed to terrorism, so i also wanted to add one point going back to the previous discussion is that, you know, how is it then that we continue to have some of these cases that are occurring when clearly the overwhelming majority of muslims have condemned it, the leadership condemned it. it's condemned to be antiislammic. well, it's because of a small group of people using sophisticated means including new media that is exploiting the grievances of young people and getting to them in very sophisticated ways, and you
know, in addition to engagement and participation in all aspects of society, i think it's also important going back to the question of what can be done, the question you got from maryland, that muslim communities also, you know, continue to engage in sophisticated means to address this question and make it clear that there is no grievance, no policy grievance whatsoever that justifies the killing of innocent people. as they continue to do that in sophisticated ways, continue to engage in civic engagements and other activities whether it's arts, sports, entertainment, you know, all these skills you mentioned, i think that will continue to be important and not only in, you know, addressing some of the sentiment that we've seen, but, of course, addressing the very real problem that i think we have to acknowledge does exist which is a problem of terrorism that must be, you
know, eradicated from all communities. >> thank you. and i agree with you, there definitely is the problem of an extremist ideology that takes on a veneer to gain popularity among muslims, and many young muslims through the internet are being exposed to this problem, so impact has taken it upon itself to deal with this issue, and i believe that the next panel is going to cover this issue of ideology and theology in a much more elaborate manner, so i really welcome everybody to come to the next panel to talk about this issue of extremist ideology and muslim-americans and scholars dealing with this problem. pastor madison, many people called president obama's election as a movement in america toward a post-racial society, but there's a difference between post racial and post-ray cyst.
are we in a post racist society and should we be moving to a post racial society. >> i'm not sure i can say the difference, but i feel we're we're in neither, but still in a racist seat. >> that takes care of it. >> no, no, the election of president obama was a historic and great moment for america. there's no question about that, but he has a unique set of personal qualities that i've written about that allowed him to succeed in this election. his biracial background is not the least of them, and so i see obama as a bridge towards a less racist society. the real and ultimate challenge is when we can see each other, then our differences and still
be okay. it is probably like more french than algiersian, and the moment that these celebrities, including obama come into our living room, they lose their differentness, and that makes them acceptable and also exceptional, and they leave their group behind to suffer still the racism and discrimination that is heaped upon them, and black folks experienced this for a long time, and i've often lived biculturely going to white schools and so forth, and they say to me, but oh, yourself different. what we need to do is not lose ourselves as we engage others so they'll like us, but to be who we are and really force the question of can you accept someone who is different within a diverse culture and accept the gift of that differentness, and
finally, the problem with, again, so much emphasis on the muslim community and their responsibilities and how they engage, engagement is key, i don't deny that, but there's not enough muslims to engage all the people in the country. there's simply not enough to have a bible study with, and those who lead muslim congregations have other responsibilities than talking to, you know, christian pastors about why we shouldn't hate muslims, and so it really has to be something we own as a real problem of racism, of discrimination, of being a phobia that we as a society have to solve, and one thing that was on the title that we really haven't talked about and that's the ethnic dimension of this. i've always teased you about the fact that many studies show that
half of the muslims in america are black or african-american, but when white america looks at any of the current athletes or with islamic names, some of them do it for personal reasons, others, you know, are muslims. america doesn't see them in the same category as we talk about on the panel today. they don't see them as terrorist, but black folks or whatever they are in terms of their religion, they see them as athletes and so forth. there's an ethnic dimension that we totally missed today that makes this problem and this question much more complicated, even as complicated as it is. i didn't want to solve it, but throw it out there. >> one thing i'll add on civic engagement is that part of the power is it allows muslim communities to tell an affirmative story of who they
are, and so they are talking out, talking about an acting out, what it means to be muslim, and not always talking about what islam isn't. they are in other communities and acting in a way in which they believe is inspired by their faith and living out what islam is, and to many networks -- it's a bit unfair to say the primary job of muslim communities is to constantly play defense and condemn what a small fraction of the community is doing, and the communities have largely done that, you know, overwhelmingly, but there is an importance to, you know, of course, telling the story in an affirmative way, creating that affirmative discourse, and civic engagement is one of the ways of doing that. >> i want to say something quickly about what you said, and
i'm glad you talked about the racial divide in the muslim community. whenever we talk about muslims they look at the imgrant populations, but not african-americans. unfortunately, you know, one thing that's really also struck me is that even when there is an expose of african-americans, i'm thinking specifically of the man in detroit, and he was against the thsm because they have to connect him back to islam and look at the rhetoric behind islam, and there still, unfortunately even despite the racial divides, there's still a connecting narrative that unfortunately we need to work on, and i'm very glad to hear the ownership that you are taking as an individual in your community to try to work on that behalf. i think it is very important that other communities support and work and our community
supports and works with other communities on various issues that we're all facing. >> well, we're going to take that question, i think, and i'll send that to the next panel in terms of ethnic makeup of the muslim community, african-american component because we'll have both in the next panel, and they will have an introspective look in the issues we've been talking about. i think this has been quite the eye-opening panel. we have discussed a number of issues, namely the issue of change and how we need to be repositioning ourselves to have a discussion about this issue, the issue of which thumb goes on top, the right or left, in terms of using both reason and the heart. the issue of demographic shifts and political issues that political leaders unfortunately
will trade off our rights, not just civil rights, but our human rights, and so it's hard to appease us to think there is change being made, but most importantly what i think this panel represented is a cross section of america, a cross section of who we are. [applause] regardless of our ethnic background, regardless of our religious background, what we are committed to is justice, and if there is injustice against anyone, violence against gays and lesbians, against jews, against christians, against muslims, african-americans, latinos, marginalization against anyone, we stand together saying that is wrong and stand together in unison saying the greatness of america and the greatness of where we all come from is working together for justice, so
fruitful discussion with my esteemed colleagues here. we will primarily talk about al qaeda and the islamic -- akim, acme. it is a new group. it is something that occurs hoffmann mentioned in his opening discussion this morning -- that bruce hoffman mentioned in his opening discussion this morning. i want to frame the discussion and give us an understanding of where acme fits in global terrorism and fits into the region of magrib itself. broadest comment i can make is what it was formed in 2006 and formalized in 2007, we would talk about one al qaeda. now we think about three al qaeda. s. it may sound like a
multiplication, but in fact it is a positive story. i will tell you why that is cur. one of the reasons that the multiplication is a good story is that it is not clear that there is any operational coherent among the three groups that exist in north africa. there is a group in, based outside aspen they seem cut off. it is not clear what they want. we talk a little bit about what the terrorists want, what the ideological aspects are, but with aqim, it is not clear.
the one thing we have to be aware of is a veteran of the afghan campaign. he is a mujahideen. he is about 38 years old. he used to be a legitimate -- but he is more of a mafia said today. oso today. a mafia s he seems to be primarily motivated by generating revenue, not necessarily engaging in terrorism or spreading to a lot. there is another who is probably a terrorist. he is probably the most lethal of aqim. all of those who have been murdered have been murdered by
his grip. but his operational capacity is not clearly delineated, and his goals are also unclear. he negotiated with the alliance with al qaeda prime. another operates in the mountains outside of algiers. he seems operationally cut off. a fellow researcher in the room was recently in algiers about one year ago and was told by some of his counterparts that the two groups in the sahara are no longer sending money or weapons to the group in the north. he is struggling for relevancy and a mission. he made a recently about one month ago, and earlier in the fall, seven employees were kidnapped. they ended up in his hands.
this is perhaps unwelcome news. all of this, i think, is a fairly positive trajectory. al qaeda in islamabad seems to be on a downward track. there are several things that may change this. the evolution of aqim may change in a different direction. fundamentally, the biggest game changer for aqim are the increase linkages between organized crime and terrorism in the sahara. organized crime is taking on many characteristics, drug running from latin american cartels, from west africa,
shuttling primarily cocaine of west africa, leveraging the facilities aqim has, and they're able to do this undetected. i do not know if philip morris and knows this, but there is a factory that sells cigarettes up into north africa, and there is also a human trafficking. about 150,000. it sounds like a small number, but about 150,000 since parents are transported by every year. saharans ared0,000 transported every year. i would show a picture on a cell phone. some new weapons that al qaeda in the sierra is actually able -- in the saharas.
blocks -- gas blocks. mauritania is encouraging exploration. there is intense vacation in the area that is relatively unexplored and uninhabited. ms. is potentially problematic. this was a very interesting organization. aqim has struggled to maintain its relevancy. if we can deploy the proper policies vis a vis aqim, we may be able to use them to test proper counter-terrorism methods around the world. we have a speaker that will be talking about connections with
organized crime. dario is from naples, italy, so we also have some historical ties to organized crime. [laughter] following him, we have jean-luc. he is a senior fellow at the institute for strategic research in paris but also a senior fellow here at sais. and then finally, we have andrew mcgreggor. what is interesting about his comments is that they have been basically been based in the ninth year -- niger.
what we have not seen is that going eastward towards a van. indre is the director of a consulting firm, aberfoyle international, and also works at georgetown. with that, i would like to pass it over to dario. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> so the thank you very much, first of all, for inviting me here. normally, i am used to speaking at boring and empty academy gatherings. if i should die because of the emotion of what is going on, -- actually, i will try to do this the best that i can and explaining in my view the three
main developments related to the evolution of al qaeda in the past few years. ok, well, the background, this is, in my view, this is an organization which has been weakened in the past few years from the algerian efforts and counter-terrorism. the algerian government now was far better in preventing the entrance of raw materials. they have been able to get lots of surrenders with the organization. moreover, this is a development that we have also.
there is a sort of consensus in the population because of the effects of 2007 into 2008, and so now, the question is is aqim a normal al qaeda, sort of a and i have some expertise on this. the three main focuses of the presentation are the increasing role of narco trafficking, the creation of the sort of kidnapping industry, and the salehization and factionalism related to these kinds of
this is also in peru, brazil, and bolivia. these drugs arrive in africa from a very small country, but it is one of the most important hubs. mali, all of the countries of the area. then, they go through morocco and algeria towards europe, to spain, which is the main entrance door to drugs in europe. there is the geographical know how. this region is a real complicated area, which is where harsh to operate their -- which is very harsh. they can sell protection.
organization, because european governments, they are more ready to pay ransom to save the lives of their citizens instead of, for example, america, or china. they do not care what is one line with this kind of -- [laughter] as i said before, there is a sort of multi level action. this is what i call a win-win
they are looking for more visibility and more prestige as an organization. these three main developments, there was another one that i decided to keep up from the presentation, because otherwise it would be a bit long and boring, and it is about the new role of nigeria in the region. then, we should discuss which type of model is in the galaxy of the islamic groups. there are in the islamic groups in the balkans.
an italian-style organization. there is a high degree of conflict with the different families and factions of the organizations. as i said, this is a point that i would like to stress again. this could be very dangerous development for the countries of the area, for the europeans, for the west in general, -- in spain, there are some groups
serious risk to the security of europe and in general to the security of the countries of the transatlantic partnership, and the last two remarks involve the coordination. it could be good on one side and then dangerous on the other. they will have a al qaeda, though they may look like a mafia-style group. this is in a different way, other than another type of group because of the brand, because of the fact that if you carry this out, without any jihadi aims,
someone else can claim the attack. this is on a different level rather than on a level of a normal mafia organization. so it is really hard to understand what they want. it is hard to understand who is in charge of the organization, but this is one of the most important developments. these other things which we should keep on discussing. so thank you. [applause] >> thank you, dario. it is very interesting. i want to welcome now jean-luc marret.
it is a particularly silly and talk big. president sarkozy declared war on al qaeda, which obviously led them to declare war on france -- it is particularly salient. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. the foundation has invited me here, and thank you for that, to make a presentation on some elements of french counter- terrorism. i am going to say "ct" operations. i have been currently living in at d.c. four 3.5 years, and i am a fellow at a think tank. dan wheeler a non-partisan think tank, -- and i am in a non- partisan think tank.
i would like to state at the outset that the views presented here are subjective, and i only speak for myself. the subject of french counter- terrorism is not an easy one, and i say this for several reasons. number one, by tradition, there is a whole lot of tradition that surrounds this type of activity then, there is also this issue of transparency. it is far different from the american one. public relations and public diplomacy. very recently, one service required a spokesman -- acquired a spokesman. number two, but i do not have time to work too much on that, i
think here in the u.s. and there in europe or in france, we have a different view to represent the threat. it seems to be they hear, you are more inclined to talk about al qaeda, al qaeda central, and now, more recently, homegrown terrorism, while in europe, especially in france, we are mostly focused on this global- local nexus. let's a global, which means we are mostly working on the made in france or made in german terrorism in connection with countries of origin and diaspora. having said that, i think we need to talk about the threats. i should start to say that almost every week, france received threats from networks
or individuals. some are very explicit. such as a fatwa to identify a radical here or there, or a radical from aqim, and there is intelligence gathered from some in africa. this has to be evaluated. french territory, which is not a big secret, managed to work against anti-terrorism since 1996, but it is feared that an attack will successfully do something one of these days. like the u.s. counter-terrorism, it can only delay the moment.
this is inevitable one of these days. so french specialized services are announcing their readiness with counter-terrorism. the french city swat teams, we have two national swat teams in france. there are a number of trained officers simply preparing to manage the big scale terrorist attack, like in mumbai, or massive takings, and we aren't doing this with other european swat teams. similar to the u.s., i think, france seems to be much more of a target in africa or overseas, where we have roughly around
90,000 nationals, citizens, north africa, even though it is declining in algeria, and we have around 110,000 french speaking, and we should also mention the economic activity in french-speaking africa. i think is more less in the basement. the next time one man moves, he will be arrested. i think the aqim are using the
in the french side, a lack of compound closure of companies working the fields. and the traditional factors that i have mentioned. we should not forget that the french military has had an event from 1881 and ask for military intervention against these tribes because since roman times, they have been known to openly welcome those into the fold. there is nothing new. and there was a very recent
example. we have a bunch of guys who were affiliated with the capacity. the name was typically local. from the western view, you can see that with aqim. there was a very prestigious city with a lot of culture and a lot of cultural of activity -- cultural activity. this is a very specific and militant reference to the local past. there is nothing local year.
in order to analyze various pieces of data. overall, this is not jack bauer. it can be very basic. at the same time, high-tech, too. it mostly comprises of inputs from paid or unpaid conformance from local tribes and looking at sensitive areas to check aqim moves. i would not be surprised if the u.s. side is doing its at the same thing at the same time. i hope, actually.
we have a branch, but we also of special forces from the military side better able to intervene. this is what we call special ops, c.o.s., and there is a fairly long field experience in africa, which is significant. we also have the french police cooperation, and now, this has been brought up since it was in 1961 but also ordering drug trafficking. there is the lack of compound
culture, the number of citizens we have there. and with the money they receive, they can increase their capacity. this is around 50 million. this is a lot of capacity. so there is some worrying situation. in northern mali. the french purpose is to avoid a situation like iraq and afghanistan. this means we went to be supporting others, and the big
thing for us is that we have a few hostages, and we need to have actual intelligence, and this is not so easy to do. i would be surprised if they did not try to enhance the capacity is, like multiple bombing attacks, or things like that with a massive impact, and it could potentially change the format in the field. especially if this is a worst- case scenario.
thank you. [applause] >> i hope you often on the presentation as fascinating as i did. it was a very interesting expose on what is taking place in france, particularly within the ct community. i found it particularly instructive. he has laryngitis, so please bear with him, and please keep the rustling of papers down, because he is not going to be speaking very loud. please join me in welcoming andrew mcgregor. >> thank you, geoff. bear with me as i do this in my best very wide imitation.
may i have the slides, please? thank you. the january 9, 2011 referendum will mark either the creation of a new african nation or the beginning of a third civil war. both north and south have been farming in preparation of such conflicts. both sides might be expected to use proxy's or to create alliances with neighboring countries, raising the possibility the entire region could be drawn into the conflict. a breakdown in regional security might allow entry into the region of non state terrorist groups, such as al qaeda and its affiliates. sudan currently possesses an oil reserves estimated at 6
billion barrels. production provides 60% of the total no. revenues and 98% of the south revenue stream. sedan's growing oil industry has funded the rearmament of both north and south, but it has also added a new geopolitical dimension to a potential conflict. china's continued economic growth with eyes on securing oil supplies from nations like sudan, supplies that will be immediately threatened by a conflict that would be largely fought in the oil fields of south sudan, and united states is expected to become a player in the south sudan oil industry, and the development could only be made possible by southern independence, as current sanctions prevent this. american investment groups are already buying up large tracts of agricultural land in south sudan.
their interest is in untapped oil reserves rather than farming. oil currently represents nearly 20% of the cidoni is gdp. an interruption -- 20% of the sudan gdp. this is a significant sum to a developing country. neighboring countries would also secure cost be to trade. -- costs to trade. if they block oil shipments to the pipeline, the result would be the loss of all development gains made in the last five years and possibly even starvation. the south however cannot just live happily ever after. the refineries are all located in the northcom and the only pipeline for export in the
landlocked self runs through the north at the red sea -- the refineries are all located in the north, and the only pipeline for export in the landlocked south runs through the north at the red sea. an important oil producer like sudan, it would have immediately -- it would immediately produce an effect. unless we forgive, there it be terrible loss of life in a renewed conflict. in the other civil war, roughly 2 million people lost their lives with twice as many displaced, many permanently. the failure of sudanese politicians to reach agreement on the citizenship issue will directly affect the many southerners who've unit -- who left the north. the ruling national congress party has indicated that these seven cities will lose their right to work or receive health
care in the north. the sudanese president still wanted on international criminal court indictment for war crimes in darfur, has at times said nothing other than a vote for unity would be acceptable. but other times, he will except whatever outcome is reached. the south has made some of the in strides -- has made significant strides. the peace agreement gave the south the right to maintain its own army. with south sudan spending 50% of its budget on arms since 2005,
and you conflict will look different than the one before. battle tanks from ukraine have been obtained, making the south at least equal to the north in terms of armor. this preparation for war has, however, , and a great cost in the oil-producing areas, which obscene little money while there is environmental degradation for the facilities. this could easily lead to internal struggles with in the south. the 10,000 man united nations -- it cannot increase the size of its force without getting the permission of cartoon. they have proven in a sexual -- proving ineffectual will