...CNN: Why has radicalism lost support?Too bad Imam Rauf is a fork-tongued sharia-aficionado heavily into da'wa who thinks Israel should disappear and America brought 9/11 upon itself by shedding Muslim blood. Other than that, he's a heckuva fellow, and next time I'm in NYC I look forward to davening in his Jewish "prayer room" and swimming in his interfaith pool.
Zakaria: People who felt that way in Indonesia, in Jordan, even in Palestine have realized that these guys [al Qaeda] are as opposed to the secular regimes of Indonesia, Jordan and in the Palestinian Authority as they are to the United States and when they attack Indonesia and Jordan, they kill innocent Indonesians and Jordanians, innocent Muslims by the way.
That reality has also produced a kind of rethinking about Islamic extremism that has been very important. I should emphasize that it is not enough and there needs to be more persistent condemnation of radicalism and violence but there's no question, and the polling data make this clear, the number of fatwas issued against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden make this clear -- there has been a huge shift in the Muslim world over the last nine years.
CNN: Finally, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is reaffirming his plans to proceed with Cordoba House, the controversial Islamic center near ground zero. What do you think of that?
Zakaria: This is to be a community center that will have a swimming pool, meeting rooms, athletic facilities, modeled after the 92nd Street Y. It will have Jews and Christians and Muslims on its board, it will have prayer rooms for Jews and Christians as well as Muslims. It will have both physical spaces and programs to encourage interfaith dialogue.
Now to me that sounds like precisely the American answer to Muslim radicalism, to affirm a Muslim-led process of interfaith dialogue, of tolerance for other religions ... the plan here is to build a center that is really trying to bring people together, this is such an American response to intolerance, extremism and violence. It is about inclusion, dialogue and respect for other faiths.
Of course, I also look forward to winning an Olympic gold medal medal in luge, besting Bobby Flay in a cooking battle on Iron Chef America, and welcoming the 12th imam.