Q. As you know and I’m sure heard often, the perception within many Muslim countries is that this is a war against Islam, not terrorism.Got that? The jihad is our fault--for responding to the jihad. At the same time, there is no jihad ('cuz Islam is "much like Christianity and Judaism"). There's only a rumble between all the moderates versus all the extremists--you know, sort of like the thing between the Sharks and the Jets in West Side Story.
A. This is a perception battle because perceptions have been shaped. The fact of the matter is Islam as a religion is much like Christianity and Judaism. We believe in the same prophets, the same God, the same ethical principles . . . We need to work together. We ourselves have been victims of extremism. We were among the people who perished on 9/11. Extremism today kills lots of Muslims — look what happened in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, all the suicide bombing, we are the victims of them.
Q. There have been recent controversies, however, about profiling among police forces, or the revelation Thursday that a U.S. military course — now discontinued — instructed troops on preparing for “a total war” on Islam. (Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Pentagon news conference Thursday that the material was “totally objectionable, against our values and it wasn’t academically sound.”)
A. I am deeply, deeply concerned about this because these are the kinds of things which will create the headlines in the Muslim world and it will further the perception that America is against Islam — which it’s not. I don’t believe our policies are targeted against religion, they’re targeted against extremists.
Q. Does this revelation surprise you?
A. This is an example of extremism on the American side of the aisle which fuels extremism on the other side. The real battlefront is not between Islam and West. The real battlefront is between all the faith traditions . . . atheists among that . . . all the moderates against extremists.
Rauf, by the way, is flogging his new book, Moving the Mountain. That's what it's called in English, anyway. Who knows what it's called in Arabic--Moving the Obdurate Kafir Out of the Way, perhaps? Considering the duplicitous history of his previous book, which had one title for the kafir market and was called something completely different in Arabic, the latter title is not entirely out of the question.