On CNN, Qanta Ahmed Explains The Danger Of Anti-Muslim Backlash After Terrorist Attacks

Dr. Qanta Ahmed: Anti-Muslim Xenophobia “Ignites” Terrorists, They “Benefit On The Idea That Muslims Are Under Siege”

From the November 17 edition of CNN's New Day:

Video file

DR. QANTA AHMED: I understand there is denial all around. Denial on the part of Islam that Islamism emerges from within us. You are right. Islamists are Muslim.  Denial that Islam is not monolithic. We are a huge diverse population, most of whom do not subscribe to this ideology. And denial that there is actually a growing unprecedented hatred directed at Muslims. Forget what's happening in the United States with its governors, which is unimaginably un-American in my opinion, but also that the Syrian refugee has become the amorphous shape, the embodiment of anti-Muslim sentiment. These people have turned into and merged with the idea of the attackers that committed these atrocities here in France. That shows a lack of nuance all around, which is very dangerous. But we're seeing it coming out of the lips of high level politicians in the United States, only feeds into one beneficiary and that's Islamists themselves. Islamists benefit on the idea that Muslims are under siege, That the west has a war on us. That secularism is really a Zionist conspiracy. So when you have U.S. governors saying  “no Muslims allowed in, no Syrian Muslims allowed in,”  that absolutely ignites that in a way that is far more dangerous. I think ISIS could not have imagined that kind of incendiary repercussion from even these huge events. It's astonishing.

ALISYN CAMEROTA (HOST): So what is the answer? I mean we've heard here in Paris how insulated the Muslim community is. There's not a lot of assimilation. What is the answer?

AHMED: Exactly. The U.S. is so tremendous at allowing people to have their own identities and encompassing them in our society. Ghettoization and citizenship only in documents, not in spirit is very prevalent at least in Britain and France that I've seen, and other western European. One is giving people full embodiment of citizenship in whatever way we can. But the other is empowering civil Islam. This issue of radical Islamism, or Islamist terrorism is actually a ten century-old tension between civil Islam, Sufism, the Islam that existed in Kosovo before the war, other kinds of pluralistic Islam and the imposition of orthodoxy, which began with a rejection of that thought, rejection of Islamist rationalists and now into the fact that Islamists that commit these attacks that have happened in Paris define every single one of us, 1.7 billion, in the eyes of the onlookers. That's deadly. That's much more dangerous than Islamism itself, and a misconception -

CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): How much is this a war for the soul of Islam, for Muslims like yourself to take back your faith from those who are defining it now as the perversion?

AHMED: I think it is absolutely a battle inside Islam. And whether we have a soul left or not, I believe we have. But it is being engulfed and parasitized by Islamism. It is almost immaterial how many Islamists there are. And remember Islamists can be violent as we've seen here in Paris twice this year, or several times this year, and non-violent which gives the engine, the ideological basis for this violence. It's almost immaterial that they are a numerical minority, which they are. They enslave millions of Muslims around the world. Iran is an Islamist so-called democracy, one that the United States has chosen to partner with. Pakistan is already corrupted by Islamism in its democracy, so hundreds of millions of the Muslims are subjugated by it already. But yes this is a violent upheaval inside Islam, that's pulling the external world into it.


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