“Is Shariah Consistent with the U.S. Constitution?” – Suhail Khan v. Frank Gaffney at the Harbour League Club


The following is a transcript of a debate sponsored by The Harbour League on the subject, “Islam: a Religion of Peace? Is Islamic Law (“Shariah”) Consistent With A Religion Of Peace – And The U.S. Constitution? Eli Gold, president of The Harbour League, introduced the participants. Moderating was Mark Hyman; for the affirmative was Suhail Khan and presenting the negative was Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy.

The Harbour League was founded in 2005 as an organization to promote conservative and free market dialogue on the state level. In looking at this question, “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” the League wanted specifically to look at whether Islamic law, Shariah, is consistent with a religion of peace and with the US Constitution.

MARK HYMAN: Thank you, Eli. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to The Harbour League’s debate. Islam: A Religion of Peace. Is Islamic law consistent with a religion of peace and the U.S. Constitution. I first wanted just to offer a couple of words before we get into the actual debate. I was flattered when I was asked earlier this year to join the board of trustees at the Harbour [League] and that’s primarily because of the mission of the organization itself – that’s to research, analyze and promote conservative public policies related to Maryland and the nation. And it’s work grounded in intellectual discussion and debate. Which is refreshing when you consider the silliness we see in today’s cable news shows, the national news networks, or in the daily pages of the newspapers and the weekly news magazines that treat conservatism with ridicule and derision.Tonight is an example of the type of program that the Harbour League offers. Two gentlemen, informed, impassioned about their respective positions take center stage tonight in front of a standing room only audience. It is a topic worthy of debate, evidenced by the fact that we have media presence. This is why I ask of you tonight, each of you found on your chair an application form. We certainly encourage all of you to join the Harbour League. We also encourage all of you to make a charitable, tax-deductible contribution to the Harbour League. Two weeks ago, we’d have gladly accepted your stock offers. [LAUGHTER] Tonight, that’s all up in the air.
This is the format for tonight’s debate. Mr. Frank Gaffney, Mr. Suhail Khan will each have ten minutes for their opening remarks. Each will have five minutes for rebuttal. Then, there will be opportunity for Q and A. I may or may not ask any questions. But I certainly as the moderator reserve the right to ask follow [up] questions for the audience if they ask. After the Q and A session is done, each individual will have five minutes for closing remarks.
Now, this is the very important part for you, the audience. I will recognize people for Q and A one at a time. And when you ask your question, the first thing I want to see is a little thought bubble forming over your head and it will be filled with no more than two sentences and a question mark at the end of it. No statements, no arguments, no debate, no soliloquy, simply a question. If you fail to follow the rules, we’ll pass you by and go to someone else. I also ask the audience to refrain from applause or outbursts. Unless it’s applause and outbursts of adulation for the moderator, for that’s acceptable. [LAUGHTER]
In the interest of time, I will give a brief biography for each of our speakers for this evening.
Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Suhail Khan graduated with a BA in political science at the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. He received his JA from the University of Iowa in 1995. He is a veteran Capitol Hill staffer and is currently serving as assistant to the secretary for policy under US Secretary Mary Peters at the US Department of Transportation where he was awarded the Secretary’s Team Award for 2005 and the Secretary’s Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 2007. He served on the Board of the American Conservative Union, Indian-American Republican Council, and the Islamic Free Market Institute.
Frank Gaffney is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. He holds a Master of Arts degree in international studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. And he has a bachelor of science in foreign service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. From August of 1983 until November 1987, Mr. Gaffney was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy under Assistant Secretary Rich Pearl. He is the lead author of the book War Footing: Ten Steps America Must Take To Prevail In The War For The Free World.

And now for our debate. Islam: A Religion of Peace? Mr. Suhail Khan, will start with the affirmative.

SUHAIL KHAN: Thank you, Mark, for the introduction and I want to say I’m very grateful to all of you at the Harbour League and to my friend, Eli Gold, for the opportunity to speak to you this evening.

My name is Suhail Khan. I’m a Reagan conservative, a Muslim, and I’m an American. I believe that every American has a right to live their life as they see fit. Free from government interference or dictators. I believe the government should not discriminate against anyone because of their color of their skin, because of their ethnic heritage, or their faith or their religious beliefs. Last May, Eli kindly invited me to attend an event featuring Herb London. And while the evening’s topic was America’s Secular Challenge, regrettably, Mr. London attacked Islam and Muslims using the very argument the secular left uses to attack religion in general.
After the lecture, Eli suggested I give a talk about Islam and Muslims and we both agreed a debate would generate the most interest and open discussion. But I was disappointed that so many were unwilling to participate in our honest debate. A local radio show host who rants for hours on how Islam is evil backed out on participating in a discussion, admitting he didn’t know enough about the subject. He knew enough to hate, but not enough to learn. Funny enough, he offered to moderate the discussion. Robert Spencer, who has written hate-filled screed after screed on Islam and Muslims, after initially agreeing to debate, soon backed out.
When I spoke at the Council for National Policy last year, a woman asked me whether my religious beliefs and practice was consistent with our Constitution. Her question was sad. The first amendment is quite clear, that all Americans are free to worship as they wish. No one is disqualified from citizenship or high office because they are Catholics, Jews, Muslims, or Mormons. During the great immigrant waves of 1900, a rabbi once said of our melting pot, all names are American names. How wonderfully true. So, too, are all faiths. All are American faiths. Every faith in the world is found in our nation. All are protected by the constitution. Bigotry is un-American. Racism is un-American. America is made up of men and women of all faiths. Women have lived in America–Muslims have lived in America before we were America. More than one in ten African slaves brought to the colonies were Muslim. Alex Haley’s Roots tells the story of Kunta Kinte, a Muslim slave brought to Maryland in 1767. Morocco, a Muslim nation, was the first country in the world to recognize American independence from Britain. Muslim doctors, scientists, businessmen and farmers have immigrated to the United States over the past two hundred years. Many like me have been blessed to have been born here.
The founding fathers excluded religious texts from the constitution, knowing fully that one day, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and even atheists could conceivably secure a good office. Indeed, when the first Muslim was elected to Congress last November, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a descendant of slaves, he swore his Oath of Office on a copy of the Koran, the Muslim scripture that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Today, more than six million Muslim-Americans are proud to live, work and serve our country. And like their fellow Americans, they serve in uniform. Both in the armed forces and as first responders. Arab and Muslim-Americans have served their country in every war since the American Revolution. And over six thousand serve today and have done so with honor. In the audience, I want to recognize company first sergeant Jamal Bidahi [SPELLED PHONETICALLY] who has served over twenty years in the US Marines and has done so with distinction, defending our country in missions from Beirut in 1983 through Enduring Freedom.
American-Muslims share much in common with their fellow Americans of the Jewish and Christian faith, people who are honored as people of the book in the Koran, having received divine revelation, including the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel and answering all to the same God, the God of Abraham. The late Pope John Paul the Second and Pope Benedict have reached out to the Muslim world to condemn religious bigotry. So have the National Association of Evangelicals. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Catholics and Evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Jews and others on issues of shared concern, including free religious expression, education, and national security.
Is Islam a religion of peace? For the vast majority of the faithful in the Muslim mainstream, living their lives, raising their families, going to work, serving the uniform, starting small businesses, paying their taxes, playing by the rules, the answer is a resounding yes. In recent years, and especially since the horrifying events of 9-11, racists have falsely claimed that my faith commands its followers to violence. Some, like Spencer, have taken [UNCLEAR] and out-of-context quotations from the Koran to suggest that Islam sanctions violence or terrorism. Certainly Bin-Laden has tried to make the same claim.
The good news is that there are over a billion Muslims and a relatively small number of extremists. In my faith, as in the Jewish tradition, the taking of even one innocent life is akin to the murder of all humanity. Suicide, as in Christianity, is strictly forbidden. Some Americans believe that the Muslims did not condemn the terrorism of 9/11. In fact, there were many strong condemnations. But you won’t find them on the websites that promote hate against Muslims. That would muddle their message. I have passed out a compilation of a series of denunciations of terrorism by Muslims.
Sadly, demonizing Muslim-Americans is a threat to our national security and indeed our American way of life. Some have questioned the loyalty of Muslim-Americans. Some have called for the barring of all Muslim-Americans from public service. And others have even proposed that we criminalize the practice of Islam with twenty years in prison.
This has affected me in a very personal way. For some years now, these racists have tried to invade, to publish outright lies and falsehoods about me, my family, and other Muslim-Americans serving in our country. Not [UNCLEAR] attacked my father’s memory, for example, had the decency to even try and call me and get the facts straight. They wanted their hate. Not the truth. While honest journalists have dismissed this smear campaign, some have been fooled into publishing these lies. And in most instances have published retractions or simply removed the falsehoods outright from their webpages.
But we’ve seen this before. The same things that are being said about Muslims were said about Catholics. About people of the Jewish faith. And about Mormons. Anti-Catholic sentiment became so bad in the 1840s and 50s that the Davidist movement of the time whipped anti-Catholic mobs to violence. The burning of Catholic businesses and the killing of Catholics. As recently as even 1950, Paul Branchard wrote American Freedom and Catholic Power, a book where he ominously warns of a Catholic plan to take over America and the world. The oldest hatred, of course anti-Semitism has been present since the Roman Empire and we’ve seen anti-Semitism, as well.
And now the haters are attacking Muslims and Islam. Like those who warned against a nefarious plot by Papists to control American schools, banks and the government, the haters ominously warn us of the dangers of Shariah law. Or a cultural jihad where, God forbid, if you let Muslim TSA employees wear skirts, the next thing you know, we’ll be stoning adulterers. I’ve handed out a column where Robert Spencer says exactly that. I guess we must protect the constitution from women wearing pantsuits.
I think it’s good that America accommodates all faiths. Yesterday’s bigots objected to a New York school giving students Jewish holidays off. Today’s bigots object to Muslims working with employers to trade holidays to take Muslim holidays off. You can only imagine what the haters think of Congress taking two days off last week for Rosh Hashanah.
The newest target of hate is Islamic finance. Islam, like Catholicism, objects to usury or interest on loans. Europe and the U.S. have allowed Muslims to enter voluntary agreements where they pay the same taxes as everyone else, no special favors, the taxes are the same, but the haters don’t like it because Muslims do it. The guy leading the charge is David Yerushalmi – a guy who hates Muslims, blacks, women, Asians and liberal Jews. Objecting to Islamic finance has nothing to do with terrorism or anything, but it has everything to do with hate.

And in their zeal to attack Muslims, some of them attack others. Spencer, for example, has said that Muhammad was betrothed to a girl when she was nine. Eli points out that Isaac was betrothed to Rebecca when she was three. Spencer’s bigotry easily morphs into anti-Semitism. Spencer has written in celebration of the Crusades. [During] the first Crusade, you will recall, the Jews of Europe and the Middle East were murdered by the thousands. The fourth Crusade, the followers of the Greek Orthodox faith were killed along with the Muslims. Cal Thomas, in a recent column, asked how can the president say that we all worship the same god when Muslims deny the divinity of Jesus? In seeking to divide Muslims and Christians, Thomas attacks Jews as worshipping a different god.

MARK HYMAN: One minute.

SUHAIL KHAN: And after claiming we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity when referring to Muslims, Ann Coulter declared Jews need to be perfected by becoming Christians. Anti-Muslim bigotry is simply anti-Semitism on training wheels and we’ve seen this time and time again. And it should be no surprise that after a flood of books criticizing Islam, we now see a flood of books criticizing religion in general. Christopher Hitchens when asked, after 9-11, whether Islam was the enemy, said yes. And Judaism and Christianity are the others. And this anti-Muslim rhetoric leads to real violence. Time and time again, in California, in Texas, in Dallas, Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims have been attacked and many times because of some of the anti-Muslim rhetoric they’ve read in newspapers and columns. Such bigotry – and this is bigotry, plain and simply – is giving in to our terrorists, demonstrating to our enemies that we are willing to respond to their hate with hate of our own and giving in to the fear, succumbing, and succumbing into prejudice.

We should be thankful that our president has stood against this and may take to heart the words of President George Washington when he wrote in the 1790s to a Jewish congregation, that Americans would give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution, no assistance.

MARK HYMAN: Thank you, Suhail. [APPLAUSE] And the negative, Mr. Gaffney.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Good evening. Well, that certainly set the predicate for tonight’s conversation. I was one of those who jumped at the chance to debate Suhail, so I hope I will do an adequate stand-in for those who were unable to make it. I come at [this topic], I’ll be frank with you, from a national security perspective. I’m not a Koranic scholar. I doubt there are any Koranic scholars in this room. But I’m not one.

But I am one who I think has studied the subject enough to be able to identify a very significant nexus between the texts, the traditions, the practices of authoritative Islam and our national security interests and, yes, the constitution of the United States. The nexus comes about in the form of something Suhail touched on. A program that’s theo-political-legal in character, that the authorities – the recognized authorities – in Islam call Shariah.
I am here to discuss the implications of Shariah for both our security and our Constitution which [as Slide 2 shows] makes very clear that it is the supreme law of the land in the United States. It does not countenance having other laws that supplant it or displace it, to say nothing of [any] that would have the effect of its violent overthrow.
The origins of Shariah are to be found in the Koran which Muslims regard as the word of God, or Allah – although much of it is, in fact, the product of scholars and caliphs who generated it hundreds of years after Muhammad’s death.
Of particular importance to this debate is a principle found in the Koran and embedded in Shariah law. The principle called “abrogation.” [Slide 3] According to the recognized Islamic authorities, Allah made plain in the verse of the Koran known as Sura 2:106, the earlier passages of his revelations to Mohammed would be replaced by “something better.” Hence, the chronology of the Koran is all-important.
[Slide 4] This is a generally accepted breakout of the chronology of the Koran. There are four periods represented by these columns – early Meccan, middle Meccan, late Meccan and Medina. These periods, broadly speaking, are captured in the experience of Mohammed in Mecca for the first three and in Medina for the last. And it’s interesting that in almost every case the texts that are referred to – Suhail mentioned some of them, at least in passing – that are peaceable, that are tolerant, that refer favorably to People of the Book, fall into the three periods of the early part, the Meccan part.
But the problem is, according to the principle of abrogation, what counts is what came after. Namely, the Medina period. And by and large, the texts from the Medina period are not tolerant, are not peaceable and are not favorable or accommodating [to others], certainly to People of the Book.
Specifically, I’d like for the purposes of this brief overview to talk a little bit about the last two according to this generally accepted chronological breakout. [Sura] 9 and 5. Number 9 talks about something called “jihad.” [Slide 5] Note that [Sura] 3 talks about whoever seeks a religion other than Islam will never have it accepted of him which results in [Sura] nine, it’s a directive which says “fight and slay unbelievers wherever ye find them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war.” And “fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day be that if they are People of the Book.” That’s the last word of the Koran on the subject of jihad.
[What] about interfaith relations? This speaks to is there compulsion [in religion.] According to [Sura] 2 at the beginning of the Medina period, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” Sounds okay. [Slide 6] [But Sura 5 says] “But whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, will never have it accepted of him.” “Take not the Jews and Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other and he amongst you that turns to them for friendship is of them.” “Verily, Allah guideth not the unjust.”
[That is] the last word on interfaith relations. So as these slides make clear, the earlier passages that are often cited as evidence of Islam being a religion of peace and tolerant of other faiths, in particular those of People of the Book, [namely,] Christians and Jews, have in both cases been abrogated in favor of what are believed to be divine directives to use violent means where necessary to assure the triumph of Islam over other faiths and, indeed, the world.
This is not selected quotation of passages of the book. This is according to Shariah. According to the adherents to Shariah, according to the recognized authorities of Islam, all of them. All four schools of Sunni Islam and the one or two, depending on who’s counting, of Shia Islam, all of them, agree on the principle of abrogation and its definitive, final words having been “something better” than the more peaceable stuff that was said [by Allah] under very different circumstances to Mohammed back in Mecca.
Those schools all agree on the following points:
One, that it is God’s will that Islam will rule the world.
Second, that jihad is an obligation of all Muslims, whose purpose is to achieve the global governance of a caliph (or ayatollah in the cases of the Shia) pursuant to Shariah. Those who don’t adhere to Shariah, to the Muslim community, are apostates. A crime punishable by death.

[Third,] where possible, jihad is to be pursued with terror-inducing violence. Where it is not practical, “soft” or “stealth” jihad is to be employed, backed where possible by the threat of violence – or, in fact, the use of it elsewhere.

MARK HYMAN: One minute, please.

FRANK GAFFNEY: I’m not going to get through all of this. But let me conclude with a key piece.

In 1928, an Egyptian by the name of Hussan al-Banna created an organization called the Muslim Brotherhood for the purpose of promoting on an international basis soft or stealthy jihad until such time as the conditions were ripe for violence.

His purpose was memorialized in a 1991 memorandum introduced into evidence by the U.S. government in the Holy Land Foundation trial. It’s entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group – the Brotherhood – in North America.” It was written by a senior operative of the group. The essence of it is in this quote. “The Muslim Brotherhood must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western Civilization from within. And sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

MARK HYMAN: Time, please.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Interestingly enough, this memorandum identifies virtually every one of the prominent Muslim-American organizations in America as Muslim Brotherhood front organizations or friendly organizations. It is an enemy within, a Fifth Column, that is promoting an explicitly jihadist program aimed at the destruction, the seditious destruction, of the Constitution of the United States and its replacement by Islamic rule that we are up against, ladies and gentlemen, and we best be alive to that danger. Thank you.

MARK HYMAN: And this will be the five minute rebuttal.
SUHAIL KHAN: Thanks, Mark. I’ll say a few things in response. First of all, you know, I thought it was telling that Frank admitted that he’s not an expert on Islam or Shariah and yet he proceeded to tell me what Islam and Shariah are all about. It was interesting, first I’ll say that the important thing about the theory of abrogation is that only Frank and the anti-Muslim crowd seems to believe in. There are scholars in the United States that do know about Islam and the Muslim faith but don’t in any way subscribe to the teaching that Frank has, uh, has proposed here this evening. The only people I know that, that believe in that are the terrorists. And Frank Gaffney and his cohorts.
Anybody can go to any of the holy books and as a friend of mine said, each religion has its issues, and pick out selectively different verses and try to make them sound horrible. In Numbers, for example, we read in, in Verse 31, “Behold, these call the sons of Israel through the counsel of [UNCLEAR] to trespass against the Lord to the matter of [UNCLEAR] the plague was among the congregation. Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known men intimately, spare them. Spare it for yourselves.” And again, in Joshua, we read, in Verse 21, “They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey with the edge of a sword.” And of course, the Bible, the Old Testament is replete with verses that, in some cases explicitly, are very violent and some would say exhort the followers of either faith to violence.
The verses that Frank points out in the Koran, first of all, as he noted by his own chart, were during a time of war, and the Prophet, peace be upon him, was commanding his followers, in a time of war for those that were making war on Muslims to defend themselves. That was very specific to a specific timeframe. It was not that all Muslims should kill all Christians and Jews or all pagans or whatever religion there might be.
If that were the case, when India was ruled by Muslim rulers for centuries, then you would have had all the Hindus and all the Christians there killed, which they weren’t. India, still to this day remains, a predominately Hindu country and the Muslims are in the minority. So either they weren’t going to Sunday school or that is not the case when it comes to Islam and its treatment of other Muslims.
Now, are there some extremists who believe that theory? Yes, and we need to defeat them. We need to stop them. But generally speaking, the vast number of mainstream Muslims do not subscribe to any type of belief like that. Because when they read the Koran, like I do, you read the entire context and you know those verses were specific to a time of war.
Secondly, when it comes to Shariah, Frank called it a black box, which somehow some mysterious scholars out there who are trying to define Islam for everybody else and [make] people, whether they’re Muslim or otherwise, follow it blindly. That’s not the case. Shariah means “the way” in Arabic. And it’s an interpretive law that governs the protection of religion, life and property for Muslims. And it’s specific to Muslims. There is no strict static set of laws in Shariah. Sharia is a system of law that is interpretive. And my friends in the Jewish community will appreciate this because, much as in the Jewish faith, you have an interpretive law, there’s the old saying, that when you have two rabbis, you have three scholars, you have three opinions. Well, the same thing goes for imams.
For example, Islamic finance. The experts on Shariah who do know about Islam and Shariah got together in the United States and said Muslims can buy their homes with interest, no problem, because you need, you need to buy a home to live in. You need something, you need to put a roof over your heads for your family, and the American society is based on interest and so it’s, therefore, we have no problem with that. Interpretive law. Not the draconian type of law part, that interpretation of law that Frank wants to make it out to be. Now are there people in Afghanistan who do that? Absolutely, and we need to stop them. But that, I would argue, is the minority. The vast majority of the world’s billion Muslims who live peaceably, live peaceably with their neighbors, whether Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, do not subscribe to these violent precepts or beliefs.
MARK HYMAN: One minute, please.
SUHAIL KHAN: The last thing I want to say in closing out on this issue is going to terminology. Terminology is so important. And you heard Frank use terms like the Islamic terrorists or the jihadists, etc. These terms are very nefarious and they conflate religion with a political movement. And the [UNCLEAR] we, we certainly know that Bin-Laden and other types of terrorists are trying to do that. But they want to take Islam. They want Islam to be theirs. They want to have these medieval, narrow interpretations of Islam. And the only people who believe it are not the Muslims. The Gallup organization did a poll of over a thousand Muslims around the world and when they came to terrorism, the vast majority of people who actually supported terrorism did so for political reasons. Those who opposed it did so for religious reasons.
The [Muslim] people who know their religion are against terrorism. And terms like jihadist or Islamist only validate the actions of the terrorists. And they do not in any way describe the religion. And that’s why the President and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and people in the military stand against using terms like Islamist or jihadist because they don’t want to validate the enemy – like bin Laden wants us to do. So that’s why we call terrorists, terrorists or murderers because that’s exactly what they are. I don’t want to give one inch of my religion to people that murder in the name of faith. And no one else should. Thank you.
FRANK GAFFNEY: I’m actually going to finish my [opening] remarks and then I’ll rebut in the Q and A and closing comments.
The focus of the soft jihad being perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood has three purposes. [The first] is to dominate the Muslim population. Particularly in societies like America where, as Suhail says, most Muslims do not want to live under Shariah, do not want to have to live under the repressive, brutal regime that’s imposed upon Muslims in places like Saudi Arabia and Iran. And the Sudan. And in the Taliban’s Afghanistan.
The strategy is to segregate the Muslims; to promote a sense of victimhood — this idea, as Suhail said, that there are many of them [in America] that are being attacked – [is] a laughable proposition; radicalize them; and recruit them to jihad. [It’s] a classic totalitarian strategy [that] is being promulgated in; mosques; prisons; the military; schools and campuses; unions – [Suhail] mentioned switching out Labor Day for Eid in Shelbyville, Tennessee, a hotbed of Muslim activism; our government; and most recently what’s left of Wall Street. There are serious questions about Shariah-compliant finance, because I believe this is very much part of the stealth jihad [the Islamists] wage against our country.
A second focus is intimidating opponents. We’ve heard much about bigotry and racism. There’s not been a single rebuttal [tonight] of the scholarly work that Robert Spencer has done. There hasn’t even been a rebuttal of what I’ve just said. Except to suggest that [Suhail] knows more about his religion than somebody who is serious about it and has worked hard to understand it using the recognized authorities and their texts. Which [Suhail] has not done. Because if he had, he would be laughed out of your average mosque – even the non-Wahhabi ones – when he purports to say nobody believes in this abrogation principle. That’s simply preposterous. Simply preposterous.
And I would ask anyone, our friends in al-Jazeera most especially, who is interested in getting to the bottom of this, to check out the Reliance of the Traveler, for example. One of the most authoritative, if not the most authoritative reference work on the Muslim faith. There’s no question about my being correct on this and him being wrong.
Thirdly, the idea, the objective here of these Brotherhood types in America and in other Western societies is to create parallel societies. [Their] society, for example, that would have its own set of laws, [namely,] Sharia. Notwithstanding the Constitution of the United States. Notwithstanding [the] solemn requirement [in] Article 6 that it [is] the supreme, the only law of the land.
This is done through establishing preferential arrangements for Muslims in the name of religious accommodations: a [separate] legal code [and] courts, territorial no-go zones and political benefits. None of which in the beginning seem terribly dramatic. [For example,] we’ve got a Muslim dress code – pantsuits for TSA. Who could object to that? Except that it’s about Shariah, folks. It’s about insinuating Shariah by creating separate arrangements, which then are extended inexorably as their beachheads grow further and further.
This is, in short, utterly at odds, with the Constitution of the United States, its precepts, freedoms, and institutions. The good news is that most Muslims, at least here, still don’t want to go there. But they are being inexorably encouraged, and in some cases intimidated, into following the line of the Brotherhood. And to the extent that we have government officials who have taken a solemn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, some of whom are Muslims, I submit they have a special responsibility to reject Shariah and the Muslim Brotherhood organizations [that are] stealthily trying to impose it on all of us. To do otherwise, to fail, to act in the face of seditious behavior
MARK HYMAN: One minute.
FRANK GAFFNEY: which is a felony offense under the US Constitution and code. It is a felony offense known as “misprision of treason.”
We need the help of all patriotic, law-abiding, tolerant Americans who are Muslims in fighting our mutual enemy, Shariah-adherent Islamists in this country and elsewhere. A key test of which camp they are in is whether they acknowledge the true nature of authoritative Islam Shariah and the threat it represents to our country and Constitution and work against, not with, the groups seeking to impose it, this seditious agenda, on us and undoing our Constitution. Thank you.
MARK HYMAN: Thank you, Mr. Khan and Mr. Gaffney. One hour from now, I only hope that Barack Obama and John McCain have the same passion that these two have shown tonight. Anybody who watched that debate ten days ago, what a sleeper. So hopefully you guys can inject some passion into the folks in the Belmont University tonight.
SUHAIL KHAN: I’ll try.
MARK HYMAN: All right, first of all, by a show of hands, who anticipates or would like to ask a question? See that makes my job easy. Cause I have a whole list of questions I don’t need to go to. So
why don’t I go ahead and start off if you raise your hands and remember my rules – I want to see a thought bubble over your heads with no more than two sentences and question mark at the end or else we’re going to move on. So I’ll start off up front.
WOMAN: Okay. Do you want me to come up there, Mark, or–

MARK HYMAN: Or just, you can stand up, we can, just speak loud.

WOMAN: I have a, a question for Frank. Talking about numbers. And I’m bad at math, too. Could you help me out here?


WOMAN: That’s exactly right. So if there are roughly four to six million Muslims in our country, arguably, let’s just pretend that’s a good number and twenty-five percent of those are African-America, roughly thirty percent are Asians, so you end up with about twenty-five percent Arab in our, in Muslims. Most of them go to mosques. So we’re talking about eight hundred thousand people. If they’re all, you mentioned the [Muslim] Brotherhood, the other organizations, where are these guys? I mean, how come we’ve not been blown up here? How come we haven’t had, if there are that many of them and they’re that angry and they’re that anti-American, where are they all?

And, and my other question is, you did a study on, you looked at a hundred mosques out of the two thousand, which is roughly five percent. Extrapolated that three quarters of the people were what you would term as Islamists. How do you get to that number? I mean, did you go into the mosque and ask them? I mean, how do you come up with this number of this many people that you claim have this attitude? So number one, you know, where are they and why aren’t they doing anything? And number two, how could you, how does anybody possibly know what’s in their heads and how did you get that information for your report?

FRANK GAFFNEY: Thank you. Good questions both. Could everybody hear them?

MARK HYMAN: Cause we’re not repeating that question. [LAUGHTER]

FRANK GAFFNEY: If I’m right, and first of all, that’s ridiculous that there’s six million Muslims in America. I don’t believe that for a moment. I think it’s, by the census, probably [closer to] 2 million. So your numbers shrink even further from what you suggested. The problem is, those of us who live in this corridor of the United States may remember what two guys with a sniper rifle and a weird car did to millions of Americans.

If you want to do harm here, if you want to blow things up, we are the most open, the most vulnerable society in the world. So your question is a good one. Why haven’t more things been blown up since 9/11?
Well, in fact, there have been a number of efforts to do that. Fortunately, the government has, using powers that were generally resisted by the Muslim Brotherhood front organizations, been able to stop them. I suggest something else is at work here, though. Robert Spencer, who has been mentioned here several times by Suhail in a very defamatory way and by me in a complimentary way, has a new book coming out shortly called Stealth Jihad, which I hope everyone will read. Whether you’re on Suhail’s side or on my side, it’s a very important insight into why the Brotherhood [believes] that they can, for the moment, make more progress using stealthy techniques, soft jihad techniques, than they can by blowing things up. They blow things up here, we tend to blow things up over there. That’s netted out not-positive for a lot of these bad guys. So that’s my answer to the first question.

On the mosques, the report that you refer to has not been fully and finally released. It’s still a work in progress. There have been about two hundred of these mosques that have had on-site inspections done. The advantage of using the methodology that’s been used is, if you’re looking for Shariah adherence, it’s very evident. People dress in a certain way, people carry themselves with their beards and their jewelry, and their clothes in a certain way. They follow, in other words, what is a very strict regimen – though Suhail doesn’t seem to be familiar with it – a very strict regimen that is being [followed] in approximately seventy-five percent of the mosques in the United States, based on this sample. More are being investigated every day. We hope to have an even more full sample set. But let’s just say that it’s off by a factor of two. It’s only thirty-five percent of the mosques in America that are practicing a virulent form of Shariah and seem to have a pretty high correlation – as Shariah dictates – of support for jihad. That’s a problem all by itself. And it [gets back] ultimately to the [first] part of your question which is, at some point, the stealth jihad gets sufficiently far advanced that violence is accepted as workable again. And that’s what we need to prevent from happening.

MARK HYMAN: Can you stand up please?

WOMAN: Okay. You were saying that we shouldn’t use the words like jihad, too different, I’m not a, I’m not an Islamic scholar and, no offense, but I’m not really particularly interested in the proper interpretation of Islam or any other religion, to tell you the truth. I really, you know, the 9-11 survivors that [UNCLEAR] blowing things up–

SUHAIL KHAN: Absolutely.

WOMAN: And all that kind of thing, but I wanted to know if you’re saying Islam is [never] a religion of peace, because I’m not going to doubt that. But if you’re saying that it [always] is, it seems to me that the terrorists who are claiming to use your faith to support their acts – even if they’re doing it wrongly – the people who are using the words are just doing it to acknowledge that this is happening and it sounds like you’re suggesting that we not use any words, saying like “Islamic terrorism” and then we see no connection. We see no connection

MARK HYMAN: And your question

WOMAN: like it’s all random.

MARK HYMAN: Your question is?

WOMAN: Can you acknowledge a) that it sometimes is not a religion of peace and b) when people [UNCLEAR] use it for violence, I mean, don’t you think that the people you should be criticizing are the Muslims doing that and not the people making the observations? Those are my questions.

SUHAIL KHAN: Okay, okay, I got it. [A] couple of comments. First, I would never say that some have not misinterpreted Islam in the call for violence. Absolutely. The terrorists are doing that right now. The terrorists who attacked us on 9-11, they attacked all of us. They attacked me. I was in the White House that day, they attacked my country. I stand against that. But I don’t want to give them my religion. Just as terrorists in the past have attacked in the name of other faiths, whether they be Christian or Jewish or whomever, I don’t want to give them [my] faith. Faith is something that is interpreted by their followers and my argument is that the vast majority of mainstream Muslims in the United States and in the world, do not follow that extreme interpretation of Islam that bin Laden and his cohorts do. They are the extremists. They are the minority.

But the vast majority of Muslims that Frank conflates as engaging in this soft jihad, uh, just because they want to wear a headscarf or dress in traditional clothing or want to go to church on Friday just as people go to synagogue on Saturday and church on Sunday, that somehow because they’re strict in the adherence to their faith, that that somehow makes them suspect. That is what I call anti-Semitism with training wheels. Because really what they’re saying is that anybody who practices their faith is, is suspect. And in this case, today it’s Muslims. Yesterday it was Jews. The day before that it was Catholics. Right here I have a whole book, published in 1950, about the plan for the Catholic takeover of our country. It’s a very well-written book. Very reasonable, smart guy, Paul Blanchard, he spends a lot of time saying he’s not a bigot. I bet most Catholics are good people. But he spends a lot of time in the book saying that Catholics have a secret pernicious plan to take over our country through the banks and the school educational, uh, system, etceteras. And now this is laughable. And a few years from now, Frank’s theory about the soft jihad and the vast majority of Muslims that live in this country who have peaceably served their country like Jamal in the back there are not engaged in a soft jihad. They’re living their life under the Constitution like all of us.

WOMAN: But the word, my question was about the word–

MARK HYMAN: No, no, we’ll, actually I’m a practicing Roman Catholic, I’d like to borrow the book afterwards. [LAUGHTER] Uh, can we get some geographic diversity here? Uh, uh, looking for another question for Frank. You had a question? All the way in the back, yes sir?

MAN: Yeah–


MAN: Hi, my question is, if Shariah is so contrary to the Constitution cause it supplants the law of the land, do you share, do you also believe that the Catholic ecclesiastical courts, the Jewish courts, and even the Methodist ecclesiastical courts are also contrary to the Constitution cause they’re [UNCLEAR] contrary [UNCLEAR]

FRANK GAFFNEY: This is one of the efforts at moral equivalence that we often hear from apologists for Shariah. I think there’s no equivalence, to be perfectly honest with you. Catholics, whenever the defamation of them in the past, Jews, Methodists, Baptists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, I believe without exception, acknowledge that there is a supreme authority, a national authority within which they practice their faiths. That is not true of Sharia.

And I just have to say that this isn’t a matter of conflating. There is a tradition within Islam – authoritative Islam. And when you hear Suhail continue to say things that are simply not true, [about] his faith, it raises the question of whether he simply doesn’t know his faith as he professes to do and I have to assume he’s studied it seriously, but none of what he’s just said is true. The recognized authorities of Islam, all of the schools, all of the schools – he may find a person in this country who has no standing within the community. [But] his father, for example, would not have said what he just said.
SUHAIL KAHN: Thanks, Frank.
FRANK GAFFNEY: His father’s successor in [their] Wahhabi mosque out in California would not have said what he just said. They understand the authoritative teachings of the faith [that] involve supplanting any laws other than Islam. They involve placing a religious authority the world-over. Now, I can’t be accused of defaming the faith if this is what the faith says itself. It’s not bigotry to point it out. It’s taqiyaa to suggest it is bigotry. And I submit to you that we’ve got to have in this country at least [the latitude to discuss this]. It’s going away in Britain, it’s going away in France, it’s going away elsewhere in the world under the Brotherhood’s efforts, the Organization of Islamic Conference’s efforts, to ban free speech whenever a guy like, well, maybe Suhail, takes offense at what is said about Islam. That would be the end of the Constitution of the United States. Certainly it’s freedom of speech protections on which I think everything else is built. And I personally am not going to go quietly if they’re going to try to impose that upon us in this country. Especially under excuses that this is in fact just sort of like Jewish courts and Catholic ecclesiastical law. It’s simply not.
MARK HYMAN: Question for Suhail? Hands. Gentlemen standing all the way in the back.
MAN: This is for Suhail. My question is this. The questions being asked are asked as if they are [subjective] when the fact is these are issues of fact. Almost all Islamic law is translated into English for over thirty years and all you’ve ever had to do was read it. Would you suggest that you were basically saying [UNCLEAR] written by Muslims or are you [UNCLEAR] get it anywhere, in any mosque, go get them and go read them and find out what the answer is. My question is, do you think that’s a fair thing to do? Seven years into the war on terror, asking questions, they are simply an indication of mindless institutional endeavor, seven years into it decided [UNCLEAR]
SUHAIL KAHN: Yeah. No, that’s a good, that’s a good question. To answer your question, if you were to read a text on Islamic law, it’s an interpretive law. So if, [UNCLEAR] if you read a text on Islamic law, I think that’s a great idea. People should do it, just as you would read a text on Christian law or Jewish law to learn. But you would never have a definitive answer on Islamic law as you would on Christian law or Jewish law because it’s, it’s interpretive. It’s interpretive.
So for example, if you read a book on medieval Christian law, you would probably take umbrage at some of the things said in that book. Likewise if you read, because it’s contextual. It’s contextual. Islamic law is interpretive. And if you, if you, as you do have Muslim scholars in this country who interpret the law, they interpret it for the land that you live in. Now, you have to remember that having said that, that Islamic law in any way, shape or form, whether it’s for buying your home, or what you’re going to wear, when you, you know, when you go to church or things like that, that’s going to apply to people in their personal lives.
The U.S. Constitution is the supreme land of our country. And we have an establishment clause that clearly says the U.S. government will never establish any one faith over the other. That is the protection. So that’s what we need to remember, that, as Americans, we don’t want to establish any one faith. At different times, at different times in history, Judaism was interpreted violently, Christianity was interpreted violently, the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers who engage in suicide bombing interpret their faith against majorities in Sri Lanka in a violent way.
It’s sad that God has been called down in every side of a fight and I’m sure God wearies of it. But we as human beings should remember that we live in a country of laws under the U.S. Constitution where no religion or religious law is going to take precedence over another.
Number two, the last thing I want to say [is] about taqiyaa. Taqiyaa is brought up by people who want to say basically that Muslims can say anything they want in defense of their religion, even if they have to lie. Taqiyaa was not a principle that is accepted by all Muslim scholars, number one, definitely not by all Muslim schools of thought. Taqiyaa was a concept that was developed by Shia scholars which are the vast [minority] of the Muslim faith because of the persecution they faced at the hands of the majority Sunnis. And they said that you can’t, if you’re being persecuted, at times of death, you can say I’m not a Muslim, I’m not a Shia, whatever to defend yourself. That same principle was also espoused by Mamonides in Spain. When Jews were being persecuted by the Christians, he had the concept of a Jewish taqiyaa, the same type of concept that, if you’re Jewish and you’re going to be put to death because you’re Jewish, by Christian inquisitors, you can say, I’m not Jewish. God knows the truth. And that was a very limited type of response for people that are being persecuted and Islam is not unique, even the minority opinion to have that type of theology.
FRANK GAFFNEY: Well, this is not a matter of interpretation. This again suggests either an ignorance of the faith or the practice of taqiyaa and I’d like to [note Suhail’s] acknowledge[ment] that at least it is an accepted practice by some in the faith. I believe it is an accepted practice by Sunnis, as well as Shia. It’s certainly being practiced. But the point is, the interpretation of this faith stopped about twelve hundred years ago. There was a consensus of the scholars, the “gates of ijthahad” are closed. And I don’t know where you’ve been, but that’s the authoritative view. I’ve got to stop reading your faith’s authoritative texts. That’s what you’re suggesting. Believe me, I appear to have read more than you have, Suhail, and that’s what really is astonishing to me.


FRANK GAFFNEY: I’ve got to get on The Reliance of the Traveler, which is recognized as an authoritative text by al-Azhar and the Saudi clerics and many of the Brotherhood organizations that [Suhail has] been associated with for many years. This isn’t me making it up. This is [what] was mentioned by the questioner, [things] anybody can get their hands on, anytime they want to. And the people who keep telling you otherwise, don’t want you to know the truth.
I’m not going to assign any particular motivation to that, maybe [Suhail] can clarify it. But all I’m telling you is, when you hear that this is “interpretive,” and it’s all sort of special cases depending on the nation and its rules, [that’s] simply not true.
Under Islam, the beauty of Shariah, the beauty of [its] program is that [it is] going to be a source of world peace because it is absolutely monolithic. It is going to be imposed and everyone will submit to it either by becoming practitioners of the faith if they choose to or by having to accept a “Dhimmi” status, or by dying. Those are the three choices that all of the schools [endorse] and that’s where this leads us if we don’t recognize it as such and counter [it].
[One] last point. The establishment clause is just one of the pieces of the Constitution that clearly is incompatible with Shariah. My point is they’re trying to impose Shariah in a way that is inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States. Don’t tell me the Constitution is going to protect us against it unless we actually use it to protect us against it – and prevent this seditious program from being insinuated in our country.
MARK HYMAN: Amazingly, Frank and Suhail actually carpooled together. [LAUGHTER]

SUHAIL KHAN: That’s why we were late.

MARK HYMAN: Actually, this gentlemen’s been so patient here. Question for. . .?

MAN: For Frank.


MAN: I’m not an expert in the Koran either but I’ve spoken with a number of theologians and missionaries who are and they seemed in agreement, at least the ones I’ve spoken with, the passages you labeled as latter Meccan are actually –


MAN: Medina, I’m sorry – are actually denouncements of sort of a quasi-Christian cult known as the [UNCLEAR] and that the interpretation that you’re reading becomes not so much from the Koran but from [UNCLEAR] and the Wahabbi doctrine. With that in mind, don’t you at least see a glimmer of hope that the recent announcement that the Turkish scholars are going to be editing the Medina?

FRANK GAFFNEY: Look, I can find hope in all kinds of things. But I’m reluctant to find hope in the suspension of fact and its pursuit. And I don’t believe for a moment – and Suhail continues to insist, as do most people who are promoting this lie – that it’s just al-Qaeda and minority [of Muslims] on a tear. That they’ve got this whacked interpretation of a religion and there’s no talking to them because they’re crazy and they’re terrorists and we don’t want to complete them, as you say, with having something to do with Islam.
But what I’m telling you – and he’s not – is that they are actually reflecting authoritative Islam. The people who are the guys who run the faith, who run its institutions, who hold sacred its interpretations, its texts, its practices are indistinguishable from the people that he’s describing now as terrorists who somehow have some lunatic ideas [about] Islam. With the greatest of respect for the interfaith dialogers, and their numbers are legion, I don’t believe they are studying up on this either. And to the extent that they’re seeking desperately to find some ray of hope in the gloom of the factual evidence that I’m talking about here, I think they’re mistaken and frankly they’re misleading you.

MARK HYMAN: We’re running out of time here. But we have a question over here for Suhail. Gentleman on the left.

MAN: I think that the question should be just a little bit different. Instead of “Is Islam a religion of peace?”, the question should be: “Is Islam possibly compatible with the modern world?” It’s not just the Christians and Jews, there is nowhere in the world that you can reconcile Islam with modern practices and modern lives there. And this is leading to what’s really a clash of civilizations. And short of complete separation, I mean apartheid; you’re going to have war.

SUHAIL KHAN: I would agree with that. I don’t agree that there’s a clash of civilizations, I believe that it’s a clash of civilization with those against civilization. The terrorists are against civilization. Malaysia is a majority Muslim country. In Malaysia, women are equal to men and they are practicing Muslims. The women wear their headscarves, they go to the mosque, but they are the most educated, even better than men, in Malaysia. When I was in Malaysia, they complained that the men tend to be a little lazy. Women are leading institutions.
In the Muslim world, we’ve had three, at least three Muslim countries that have elected Muslim women leaders. Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan. So there are countries that have medieval interpretations of their faith, including Afghanistan. But the vast majority of Muslims again are very compatible with modernism and with democracy. Iraq, for example, is a predominately Muslim country that instituted Shariah law there, even though the U.S. is there. But that’s what that means. Shariah law means that they [UNCLEAR] for people to eat kosher-types of food, what we call halal, women can wear scarves in public, etceteras. They don’t have a draconian interpretation of Islamic law like say Afghanistan does. There they have integrated their Islamic principles with democracy. They have a parliament, they have a president, they have a prime minister. And it’s completely cohesive, it’s completely cohesive. The same goes for Malaysia, the same goes for other countries.
So Shariah itself is not antithetical to democracy or modernism, because, again, it’s interpretive. Frank seems to be reading all these whack-job websites put up by terrorists and/or people who hate Muslims, saying this is what Muslims are saying. and no matter how much Muslims like me say that’s not the truth, he says, I don’t know my faith. Or he seems to say that my dad, you know, would know better. Who, my dad, a high-tech engineer, very modern, came to this country with his freedom, well, of course, Frank decided he must be a Wahhabi because he goes to mosque, God forbid, on Friday.
And I promised I would answer the issue about terminology. I said about terminology that to call terrorists, because they do something in the name of their faith, it only validates them, I think is wrong, it’s because it gives them the religion that we don’t want to give them. And we’ve heard it before, remember when people were against communism in the 20s and 30s, many misguidedly called it Jewish bolshevism. Winston Churchill called it Jewish bolshevism in order to conflate Judaism with communism. He was wrong then and those that say Islamic terrorists now are Jihadists are wrong now. That’s the simple answer there. That they are doing it in the name of their faith, we shouldn’t give it to them because they are not manifesting true religious belief.
MARK HYMAN: Now, I’m told we’re running out of time, but I’m a dangerous man. I’m a television personality with a microphone. So I’m going to squeeze in one more question for each of our guests. And this gentlemen is about to explode. Okay, your question is for, for. . .?
MAN: Suhail. Very short question. Telling people that Shariah law is peaceful, I believe, the only way to do that is to provide one example [that clearly and unambiguously of Shariah law text for Islam that clearly and unambiguously stands against any of the following concepts: a) death for apostates, b) beating women and stoning them to death, c) calling Jews pigs and monkeys and d) declaring jihad or wars against non-Muslims to subjugate them to Islam, e) enslavement of female war prisoners and raping them as in Darfur, f) fighting Jews before the end-days and killing of all of them and g) killing gays. Provide one single evidence, by one single book, not two, believe me, one single Shariah book that stands clearly and unambiguously against these concepts, I will come with you and say Shariah law is peaceful.
SUHAIL KHAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. Let me comment. There are, there are several Islamic scholars, first of all, you’re a little [UNCLEAR] again, these medieval interpretations of [OVERLAPPING VOICES] Absolutely, absolutely. And there are modern ones: Khaled Abou el-Fadl, a graduate of Yale University, University of Pennsylvania Law School and a PhD. graduate of Princeton University, currently at UCLA, is developing a book on Shariah. And Sheik Hamza Yusef, whom Frank called a Wahabbi. He is developing a book on Shariah and he also has a seminary —

MAN: They don’t exist.

SUHAIL KHAN: They do exist. And they have Shariah and they have developed Shariah specific to the American context. They are graduates of the schools in the Muslim world and they’re graduates of schools here in the United States. And just as I said, they have taken the interpretation of Islamic texts, the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, and they have integrated that into a Shariah-compliant, constitutionally compliant program for American Muslims to live their lives under the Constitution, in no way abrogating the Constitution, and in no way running up against the Constitution, but just living their lives under the free principle that all of us Americans can do to practice our faith freely. That is what their principles are.
I always want to remember that you can always take negative quotes from the Koran and put, the quotation that Frank, you know, when I went to Sunday school I would see them there every weekend, we learned do not contend with the People of the Book, Christians and Jews, except in the fairest way. Those are the controlling verses. “Be they Muslims, Jews, Christians, those who believe in God in the last day and who do good deeds have their reward with the Lord. They have nothing to fear and they will not sorrow.” Which is why, when the Jews are being persecuted in Spain at the hands of the Catholic church at the time, where did they go? Muslim countries, Morocco, Iran. And to this day, there are Jewish communities living in those countries. Now, have they been persecuted subsequently? Absolutely. In the name of politics. People might use religion to do it, but again, it’s not something that represents the faith, it represents the ugliness of politics.
FRANK GAFFNEY: None of the people you mentioned have any standing.
SUHAIL KHAN: They absolutely do.
FRANK GAFFNEY: They turn to the authoritative practices of the faith. They do. If what you say is true – and these are books that haven’t been written yet.
SUHAIL KHAN: They have been written. They have been written.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Well, they haven’t been published yet. They haven’t been authoritatively affirmed yet.

SUHAIL KHAN: They have.
FRANK GAFFNEY: They are not going to be anything other than apostates if they actually –
SUHAIL KHAN: To you, to you they will be.
FRANK GAFFNEY: [are exposed] within your Muslim
SUHAIL KHAN: Look, al Qaeda maybe. But not to everybody else.
FRANK GAFFNEY: I’m talking about Al Azhar in Egypt. I’m talking about the grand muftis of Palestine. I’m talking about the Wahabbis in [Saudi Arabia]. And, by the way, just so we’re clear. It is absolutely the case that there are lots of Muslims, I said it in my remarks, who don’t want to live under Shariah. Many of them are lucky enough to live in places where the Arab influence has not yet become dominant.
But you look at Malaysia. It is in the throes of being taken over by the Wahhabis. And it will be the case when that happens, as it is happening in Turkey, as it is happening in Indonesia, as it is happening in the Philippines – [where] the moderate practice of the faith, which bears some resemblance to what he’s talking about, not any resemblance to the authoritative practice, but nonetheless the way hundreds of millions of Muslims have practiced the faith – it will be extinguished. Because it is not consistent with Shariah and when the Wahhabis are done with [them], and the Brotherhood is done with them, they will all be compliant with Shariah.
MARK HYMAN: Methinks it’s going to be a really quiet car ride home for the guys [LAUGHTER] And I need one more question to balance it out for Mr. Gaffney. Yes, please sir.
MAN: Yeah, Frank, I mean, dialing back to this issue, and I promise, Mark, I will make it very quick and there is a question here. You know, it just seems to me that there’s a flaw in your logic inasmuch as, you know, you equate the extreme views of certain scholars with their approach to religion with pushing out the moderates in that religion. I mean, according to my own faith, I’m not really Jewish because I don’t practice the same way as the Lubavichers in New York. And so I want you to comment on that aspect of it which is the fact that there are extremists in any faith who study the faith quite a bit more than anybody else, but they’re not controlling everybody else. And I wonder how you sort of equate that. Number two, jumping back to this issue of constitutionality, again there are extremists in every faith who would do things that would subvert, there are extremist evangelicals who would subvert what the high court has said is a fourth amendment right to privacy in terms of blowing up abortion clinics. Do you think that they’re – the Evangelical Christians who want to blow up abortion clinics – are subverting the constitution?
FRANK GAFFNEY: Well, there you go again. [LAUGHTER] The moral equivalence between lunatics who are blowing up big abortion clinics in the name of their faith and a faith that is waging jihad against the world, I mean, it’s not even apples and oranges. [OVERLAPPING VOICES]
SUHAIL KHAN: Cause you’re not, Frank. In the end, your, cause they would say, the people who are blowing up these clinics would say that it is their faith and they are being taught, by, by certain scholars who know more about the Bible than you and I do. Who are interpreting this – wait, that’s what you’re getting at here. That’s the —
FRANK GAFFNEY: No. The reason I would be able to answer your question, and then you tell me whether I am or not is, I disagree with your proposition. You’re suggesting, as Suhail is doing, as in fact Islamists do all over the world, that for the purposes of waging soft jihad, it’s just extremists. You don’t need to worry about the mainstream. But what I’m saying to you, and I apologize that this hasn’t been sufficiently clear, what I’m saying to you is the “mainstream” adheres to these views. It is the authoritative version of the faith. And you can listen to Brotherhood folks, you can listen to pathologists, you can listen to interfaith dialogers till the cows come home. And it doesn’t alter the very fundamental fact that the gentlemen at the back of the room pointed out and that is, this is something that lends itself to absolute proof. Just look at the authoritative texts.
Don’t take [Suhail’s] word for it, because either he’s dissembling or he doesn’t know. And I’ll let you be the judge. And I’m telling you, not on the basis of some whack-job’s website but on the basis of his faith’s authoritative texts. And authoritative practices as they have been settled in all of the schools. I don’t know if this means anything to the non-Muslims in the room, but these are the guys who determine the faith in all of the schools of Sunni Islam and all of the schools of Shia Islam.
FRANK GAFFNEY: So, when he says not true.
SUHAIL KHAN: It’s not true.
FRANK GAFFNEY: Again, find out, folks. You can do this. And I’m simply saying to you, your country is on the line. If you don’t do it and you listen to this siren song, you will wake up some fine day and discover that you’re a dhimmi. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll have the chance to convert. Or worse, you’ll just be dead. And that’s not a pretty picture and I’m not a racist or a bigot for saying it, though he and his friends have often said so.
MARK HYMAN: All right, we’re going to wrap it up with five minute closing comments. We’ll start off with Suhail.
SUHAIL KHAN: Thank you, Mark. Basically what you’ve heard tonight is that there are two world views.
Resembling two world views, and you have a choice to decide which world view you want to follow. One wishes to protect America, her people, her values, her land, her Constitution, her reason for being. Those of us who adhere to that world view, we have opposed any and all attacks on America and Americans and we will defend our country to the death. We defend Americans of all faiths for their freedom, in their freedom. We oppose murderers who attack us and whatever, whatever their claimed religions or reasons they might have, we will defend our country. That’s one world view.
And there’s another world view. A different world view. That’s bin Laden’s. He wants to divide America and the Muslim world. He believes America and Islam should be at war. There is a fifth column in the United States that agrees with bin-Laden. They share this world view. They join in this unholy desire to foster hatred between Muslims and all Americans. We must stand united against bin-Laden, as I said, and we need to stand against the racists who share that same world view. They are wrong and they will be defeated.
There’s a book I’ll recommend. Who Speaks For Islam? Frank seems to be the one who wants to interpret who that is. Let’s, let’s read the people who’ve actually done the study. There was an extensive Gallup poll throughout the Muslim world and they pointed out that for Muslims overseas who support violence, they do so for secular or political reasons. The vast majority, over 91%. Those Muslims most opposed to violence and terror cite their faith as the reason for opposing violence. It is religion that is the answer, not the problem.
Robert Pate in his study of terrorism in the world, Dying To Win: the Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, the central fact is that overwhelmingly, suicide terrorist attacks, he cites ninety-five percent are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective to compel the withdrawal of military forces from a territory. He cites Lebanon, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Chechnya and the West Bank. Years ago, we saw the kamikaze pilots. It’s politics people, not faith.
These facts are known to the United States government and this is why our president and military leaders opposed confusing fighting a political foe with promoting hatred for an entire faith. These facts are known to the bigots. And they have their own agenda which does not include protecting or strengthening America.
Americans of all faiths, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, bring strength to America and are protected by our constitution, included in our national fabric. The historian Gerald Early once said that there are three things that are uniquely American: Jazz, the Constitution and baseball. Well, baseball is a great metaphor for what we’re talking about today.
Our national pastime only truly became so when all Americans regardless of race or faith were allowed to participate freely. Hank Greenberg, in 1930, began playing for the Detroit Tigers. And despite virulent anti-Semitism from other players and fans, he became one of the game’s all-time greats and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. And on April 15th, 1947, Jackie Robinson, the grandson of slaves, stood on the shoulders of greats like Greenberg and broke the color barrier when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. That evening, at 1574 50th Street, in Borough Park, Brooklyn, a family gathered for the seder, a feast of Passover, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” asked the youngest male in the centuries old tradition. And before the father could respond, the boy answered his own question. Because a black man is in the major leagues.
Today, I tell you we are at a similar crossroad. We’ll continue to be a shining city on a hill as Ronald Reagan called us when all Americans may feely – freely – participate in our democracy. And I’m confident [UNCLEAR] will prevail. Why? Because America is a great nation. We’re a beacon of hope. And time and time again, we’ve overcome hate and ignorance to welcome new Americans into our great national fabric. And despite the organized campaign of hate, I’m proud the same is happening for Muslim-Americans everyday.
MARK HYMAN: One minute, please.
SUHAIL KAHN: Even after 9/11 and all the lies and hysteria, true Muslims have been elected by their fellow Americans to serve in Congress, both from majority non-Muslim districts. President Bush appointed Americans like me and, despite all the lying and the shameful attacks, the president has stood with me and not with the racists who attacked me.
I’m an American, an American who is optimistic, Frank, about our future. A future where all Americans, regardless of race, ethnic origin and faith – or no faith at all – can join and work together to promote our right of free expression, a political vision of shared concern and of personal faith. Our forefathers boldly proclaimed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” As people of faith, Jews, Christians, Muslims, as Americans, we should join together to promote life and liberty – political, religious, economic liberty – for all people.
This is what I had hoped Mr. [UNCLEAR] would have discussed when he was here and those of us who wish us harm must be defeated, no doubt about it. But in doing so, we should work with all freedom-loving people in this important cause. Likewise, we should resist the call to respond to the hate of our enemies with the bigoted hatred of our own making. We are Americans and we take great pride in the fact that regardless of ethnic or religious heritage, we stand united as one people. As Americans. As Americans, we are united in defending our cherished liberty in the many long days ahead. Thank you.


FRANK GAFFNEY: Well, that’s a very elegant closing comment, And I actually agree with much of it.
I agree that we are in fact confronting, in the form bin Laden and his ilk, a radical, a totalitarian, a
dangerous ideology that is bent on our destruction.
I agree that there a Fifth Column, Suhail’s term, inside the United States, [only it’s] working to advance exactly that agenda.
I agree that they must be fought ruthlessly and successfully because everything we hold dear, and I take Suhail at his word that he holds dear all the things that I hold dear, we ought to want to see survive.
And that won’t survive if this ideology, which embraces explicitly, by its terms – not mine, not Robert Spencer’s, not whack-job websites’ – by its terms, Shariah law and accepts as its express purpose establishing that law over the whole world. Not just here. Not just in Malaysia or Indonesia or the Philippines or Western Europe. But the whole world.
Don’t take my word for it, that’s what they say. And it’s not just bin Laden who says it.
And I must say, I would feel infinitely better about our conversation tonight, infinitely more encouraged by particularly that wonderful rousing patriotic, love-America closing if Suhail hadn’t spent the entire evening denying what I am saying about Shariah.
Because that’s kind of a test, folks. If you don’t acknowledge what this Fifth Column is animated by, if you don’t recognize that it’s not just bin Laden and whack jobs on that side, terrorists who don’t really, according to Suhail, have anything to do with Islam – except they have everything to do with Islam. They wrap themselves in the mantle of Islam. And rightly or wrongly, so do the authoritative interpreters and practitioners of this faith.
Now there are many in this room, I recognize them from past associations, who have developed a friendship for Suhail. And he’s a likable fellow. He articulates beautifully what we all hope to see and obtain from patriotic, law-abiding, tolerant Muslims in this country. But you will not find such people denying the reality of Shariah as defined by the authorities, and practiced, sadly, by millions of their co-religionists. Not all of them. Certainly not all of them in this country.
And as I said in my opening remarks, our only hope – especially if this gentleman [in the audience] is correct that we’re in a clash of civilizations – our only hope is that we are able to enlist those Muslims who are genuinely tolerant or genuinely law-abiding, who genuinely want to live side-by-side with People of the Book, who genuinely appreciate the uniqueness, the extraordinariness of our Constitution, and the form of government and the opportunities that it has presented us. [We need] those Muslims [to] join us in defending everything we hold dear, against those who adhere to Shariah and who have stated in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood’s 1991 directive, in al-Banna’s writings and in the authoritative texts that their duty, their obligation as Muslims is to destroy everything that I’ve just talked about.
MARK HYMAN: One minute, please.
FRANK GAFFNEY: So you, ladies and gentlemen, have troubled yourself to come out and listen to this. You can walk out of here tonight saying, well, the guy who was Muslim says the guy who wasn’t is all wet. And you can let it go at that. Or you can do what al-Jazeera may do and you can take my quotes and you can [construe me as] some sort of rabid hatemonger.
Or you can go do what your civic duty requires. And that is to go study up on this. Go expose yourself to these facts, which are knowable, which are readily available. If you want to, get them from Robert Spencer, because he’s [readily accessible]. If you don’t, go to the [Islamic authorities], go to the texts that they themselves use, translated conveniently, by the Saudi government, into English. For your edification. Actually, for your submission.
But this is the moment, ladies and gentlemen, because the soft jihad is progressing inexorably. And it can be dismissed and people like me who are pointing it out can be called racists and bigots. But it’s up to you to decide. It is your civic duty, if you love this Constitution, as I’m sure you do, if you care enough about finding out what the truth is to not only bestir yourself to get out to wherever the hell it is we are today, [LAUGHTER] but to find out what the truth is, then I urge you to do so. And if you do, I will bet you dollars to donuts, you will come out recognizing that I’m right and [Suhail’s] wrong. Thank you.


MARK HYMAN: This much I can promise you. Tonight’s presidential debate will be anticlimactic in contrast to what we have witnessed tonight. Please give a round of applause to both of our debaters. [APPLAUSE] I’d like to thank Suhail Kahn and Frank Gaffney for their participation not only in their remarks, but also in the Q and A session. I’d like to thank the Harbour League for hosting such an important event. I’d like to remind all of you, again, the Harbour League would love to have you as members, certainly welcome your tax-deductible contribution. The web address is theharbourleague.org. And on behalf of the Harbour League, thanks for coming this evening. Have a good night. And please travel safely. Thank you.
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