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Atlas EXCLUSIVE: Imam Rauf Exposed Off Mic, “I’m the head coach of this strategic initiative, and the President of the United States, or the President of Malaysia, or the President of England, is a player to bring in for particular plays”

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The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam. Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, 263.

With all the talk about “building bridges” and Imam Rauf’s books being used for Muslim Brotherhood Dawah (proselytizing for Islam), it would be good to take a look at how they understand the bridges they build.

Building on the revelations exposed in the new audio posted at Atlas, now comes new exclusive audio of the very connected, very influential stealth Imam radical Rauf.

9/11 was a watershed, was a major milestone, and a major catalytic force in, in catalyzing the attention towards the issue of Islam, its presence in the West, and it brought into much greater prominence our work and the importance of our work. Imam Rauf

– No we’ve created a different concept a different model, Mark. I’m the head coach of this strategic initiative, and the President of the United States, or the President of Malaysia, or the President of England, is like a player you want to bring in for particular plays. Imam Rauf

So if we have strategic action plays, designed plays, in the area of foreign policy, in the area of healing the divide, and then you unpack and give up  Israel, and then what do you do, what are the specific actions that you might do, because things are always moving, things are always happening. Imam Rauf

My blood ran cold listening to this latest audio of Imam Rauf. It is the stealth jihad, open warfare in the information battlespace, in action on a global scale. Chilling. Civilizational jihad, stealth.

Back in March 2009, I warned Atlas readers of Obama’s implementation of the here and here and here and here. Read the document here: US MUSLIM ENGAGEMENT“Changing the Course”. This is a charter, a large-scale effort by the US government to open areas of cooperation (dhimmitude) with the Islamic world in the political, cultural and economic spheres.

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project – Leadership Group on U.S.-Muslim Madeleine Albright, Principal, The Albright Group LLC; former U.S. Secretary of State ….. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is Chairman of the Cordoba Initiative,

Madeleine Albright heads the Leadership Group of the US Muslim Engagement along with Imam Rauf and Daisy Khan.

What does it mean? In real terms? Finally, we get a peak behind the curtain. We can see, in the concrete, the left’s coalition with the Islamic Supremacists and how it is undermining American sovereignty and our national self interest — as is meticulously documented in my book, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America. It’s hard for Americans to understand how to fight a shadowy enemy you can’t see.

Here it is evidenced in this post radio interview exchange with Imam Rauf from June 2006, A World of Possibilities. What follows is talk of a Machiavellian backroom power grab and the takedown of American sovereignty by Rauf’s sharia puppets in positions of enormous power. He refers to these heads of state and cabinet ministers as his “players” in a global game of …………..football.

Imam albright

Here is the interesting exchange between the interviewer and Rauf:

Imam Rauf: Thank you very much Mark, it’s my honor that you’ve had me –

Interviewer:  So good luck in your work and please keep in touch with our producer if there are more things you would like to bring to our attention

Imam Rauf; I would certainly would love that, I mean are we offline now.

– Sure, the interview is over

 Imam Rauf: Okay good, I mean things have been done for example, I didn’t want to say it on your show but, you know with for example Madeleine Albright’s book when she approached me last fall and she said I’d like you to review the Islam section for any corrections and we did that and she invited me to write a blurb for her book and she is now pushing these ideas in many places, she is in constant communication with me, or continual communication with me about certain things, we have been in touch with her, with Karen Hughes, and the issue of Hamas, and how America should really engage with them and not just push them out of the picture, but bring them, make them responsible for creating positive change because if you don’t do that, you know we’ve even mapped out, what the downside would be if they didn’t do that, because you push Hamas out, and you force them into the arms of the Syrians and the Iranians, and they will be a proxy for Iran and the region, you’re creating more of a mess!

– So we’ve tried to unpack for them the chessboard or it’s like you know when football coaches when they create these circles and lines and so forth so you can see what’s happening very often we, people don’t think of the situation in a dynamic way, they tend to think of it statically.

– You don’t realize when you do something, you create a web of reactions, to your action, and with the United States you create a multi, the reaction even multiply more. You know, if you are a third rate country, or a third rate power, you’re not going to create much of a ripple. But when the United States does something there is an enormous ripple effect.

Mark Sommer: You are likening it to chess, I often feel that while much of the world plays chess, a diplomatic version of chess, the United States plays checkers.

Imam Rauf:  That’s why I use the imagery of football. Cause football is like chess in motion. You see the nice thing about football is that, is that football is a very good analogy of what is happening in the world. It is strategy in motion, and you have plays, you know you have to design your plays, and you have to design your plays knowing that the other side is not going to be passive. While you’re throwing the ball, they will try to make you fumble the ball, they will try to catch the ball from you, in fact they will try to prevent you. So part of achieving your objective is you have to be strategic, you have to do all the requisite blocking, and tackling, because there are vested interests, who are vested against your success.

– One of the things you have to do in strategic thinking is think 6 moves down the line, and many directions at once because it is such a multi-dimensional world.

– Preciously, in other words the analogy with American football is that your defense team, your offense team, and kick off team, are all on the field simultaneously. – Uhhuh

– Its not like one team is on the field and the other team is off. They are all on the field, and the field has many sectors to it. And there are different geographies, different subject areas, so we have designed our Cordoba Initiative to be designed, in order words we have 5 major areas of our program. So we have foreign policy, is one area, you have communications is another area, you have education as the third area, for example, you have intra-Islamic issues is the fourth area, arts and culture is the fifth area. And lets say this Abrahamic pathwalk may be in the arts and culture, a blend of the arts and culture and you know maybe the religious aspect in some respect, but it’s kind of an interfaith type of activity. Now in the area of foreign policy, you have different issues, number one is the Palestinian conflict, cause if you heal that, you will have contributed a lot. If the entertainment media, the news media, was broadcasted in print, describe and speak about the issues in a different way it can help change perceptions profoundly, because it’s the media, which helps shape perceptions to a great degree. So if we have strategic action plays, designed plays, in the area of foreign policy, in the area of healing the divide, and then you unpack and give up  Israel, and then what do you do, what are the specific actions that you might do, because things are always moving, things are always happening, so you have to analyze the situation constantly, and you have to have your just like you have your offense coach, defensive coaching staff, and you have your head coach and so forth, we think of ourselves as an analogy of that. We had to have our head coaching staff, we had to have our foreign policy head coach, our Palestinian head coach etcetera, and then you design plays for that

Interestingly enough it doesn’t mean that the head coach is necessarily the President, because, of whatever country, or Prime Minister, because they may not be, they may still be, trapped by various constraints in an old game.

– No we’ve created a different concept a different model, Mark. I’m the head coach of this strategic initiative, and the President of the United States, or the President of Malaysia, or the President of England, is like a player you want to bring in for particular plays.

– They are members of the team that you want to bring in, because if we are looking at it exactly like American football, you want to gain yardage, so you just want to keep scoring first downs. So what’s the first down that we can score based upon where we are on the field, where would we like to be, what’s realistic, what can we obtain? Can we obtain 3 yards, can we obtain 10 yards, can we obtain 7 yards? Let’s try and get those 7 yards. And whom do you need to bring for that? So the the name of the game then becomes, how do you move the ball forward, and who are players you can bring in to help move that ball forward on a particular issue, at a particular moment in time. – But the irony is that in this case, you don’t really have, I mean the other team, who’s the other team? Because if fundamentally you’re trying to bring people together, so who’s the enemy there? 1-3-15

– There are interests one has to make sure do not push back. You have to make sure you have enough power on your side to be able to push the ball forward.

– Right, but at the same time as you’ve written elsewhere, “peace requires the cooperation of your enemy,” so in a certain sense to move the ball forward, in this case, is rather paradoxical, it’s not a linear strategy. It’s actually…

– Yeah, but let me give you a very specific for instance, one very specific example is that we need to move forward on the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations process,for a finalization of borders. Now, Ehud Olmert has been pushing the notion of unilateral designation of borders by Israel. In November, of the last election he didn’t win completely, he had to develop the coalition government with other people. As of a month ago, our Palestinian expert, who is very tied into Abu Mazen and Saeb Erekat and those people told me that Saeb Erekat who is a lead negotiator on the Palestinian side, has gotten the commitment of 35 members of the Knesset, that the negotiation process should be bilateral not unilateral. Okay, that’s an important strategic thing, so to get people of the Knesset in agreement with you on certain issues, are critical for certain aspects and certain specific intermediate milestones which are important towards that particular milestone. That’s an example of being strategic, and using people who are sympathetic to your position, who have the traction and capability to bring about that particular end result that you want at this point in time on the particular issue, which is a stepping-stone to the next stepping-stone of that issue. Sounds complicated, but I think you get the idea

Mark Sommer: No, I understand, you know I wanted to ask you I did say this is off the record, and we’ll keep it all off the record if you wish. But the analogy to football is probably a useful one for a lay audience, and I wondered whether you’d allow us to use some of that

Imam Rauf: Yes, I would, because I use it all the time. Look did I use, did I use, did I say anything right now that is potentially off the record?

Mark Sommer:  Well I wouldn’t use anything I suppose about Madeleine Albright

– Yeah that part would be talking out of, I can say this in private to you – Yes

– Um, and the fact that, I think there is a blurb by me in the back of her book. So, and she herself has publicly stated that she has benefited by her conversation with me, and Rabbi …oh my god, that’s so embarrassing, Rabbi uh…Saperstein, – Oh yeah. David Saperstein

– David Saperstein and others from the Christian tradition as well, in helping her understand the importance of the role of religion. I mean look, we supported a Jewish state in the Middle East, why not support an Islamic State? But give it a meaning, which you can live with.

– Yeah within the parameters of an acceptance of other …

– Right, and this purpose exists, because they are part of our … In Islamic theology, in Islamic jurisprudence, those norms exist. You just have to extract them, and put them on the table, and say these are the valid reasons. I don’t want a demographic Islamic state, a demographic Islamic state is not part of tradition, never was, until recently. Until the mid 20th century, we were very pluralistic societies. Egypt had 4… Alexandria had 400,000 Greeks, it was a Greek town. Until 1923-24 vast tracks, of what is today modern Turkey, were Greek. Neighborhoods were Greek areas. Izmir, which is ancient Smyrna, was a Greek town. Cappadocia has large sections of Greek communities. What happened with the rise of the nation state idea, was virtually this geography had to be homogeneous. Now, that’s not apart of our assigned tradition of theology, not our tradition, not our theology, not our jurisprudence. What happened was, the 20th century, we bought into the nation state idea, we created the notion of demographic nation states. We had to be of one type, so you had massive movements, and a lot of killings between people, with the creation of the Otto-Turkish state, you had Greek-Turkish conflict existing before Israel and all of that, where as before they were all living together.

Here he says “I don’t want a demographic Islamic state” — it’s clear that he DOES want an Islamic state. And that he doesn’t have to have a Muslim majority to have one here. It’s stealth jihad.

More extreme “moderation” from Imam Rauf on what he thought when he heard the news of the attack on twin towers on 911:

Imam Rauf: …this may have been a result of what turned out to be the, the um, many decades of rising hostility between and tension between the West and the Islamic World, particularly on certain political issues and geopolitical issues.

Question: Did you find that uh, 9-1-1 dramatically shifted your efforts? Did it make them go more difficult, but also more important than ever from the point of view of, not only of, uh your own community but of the broader society.

Imam Rauf: No doubt, I mean 9/11 was a watershed, was a major milestone, and a major catalytic force in, in catalyzing the attention towards the issue of Islam, its presence in the West, and it brought into much greater prominence our work and the importance of our work. Initially after 9/11, you know like many Muslims, we were invited to speak at countless temples, houses of worship, synagogues,churches as well as institutions, academic, even companies who were interesting in learning about it

[…] –

Question: It seems like at least initially, after September 11th, you and the American Muslim community were treated with a full amount of respect, and curiosity, rather than with contempt or suspicion. Is that right?

Imam Rauf: I think both, there were certainly an amount of suspicion and amount of fear, which has resulted in certain actions like the Patriot Act, which some of us believe, not only the Muslim community, but also the Non-Muslim community, has resulted in a certain degree of an erosion of what we might call, our right of respect of freedoms. Um, but there has also been simultaneous with that, the recognition of a need to pay adequate attention in various ways. For example, in the area of foreign policy, as the result of our work and explaining our ideas and thoughts to, in certain circles, for example, I was at an Aspen institute discussion a couple of summers ago, in which I pointed out the fact that U.S., our understanding of church state separation which results in our refusing to either factor or think about religion on our radar screen, results in an insufficiency in terms of developing coherency of our policy visa vie countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, being a broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if we do not factor the role of religion, understand it’s importance, in helping us shape our foreign policy. Now, Madeleine Albright was there, and as a result of that she took many of these ideas to heart, and it was a fact in (participating) in her latest book, The Mighty the Almighty, in which she recognizes the fact that the U.S. foreign policy by ignoring the role of religion was a mistake.

Click below for full transcript (I have the full audio):

A World of Possibilities

Interview Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Author of What’s Right with Islam : A New Vision for Muslims and the West, Imam whose mosque is only 12 blocks from the World Trade Center site

Mark Sommer: Imam Rauf you have been, um you, you have run a mosque in New York City just 12 blocks from the World Trade Center. Were you there, at the mosque, at the time that the World Trade Center was attacked in 2001?

Imam Rauf: No I was actually on my way back from conducting my daughter’s wedding just outside Denver in Golden, Colorado. – I see

– And, I couldn’t. I was shocked to hear that the flights were cancelled and we, we saw the events unfolding on television, from our place in Denver.

Mark Sommer: What were your first responses to the events, as you saw them unfold?

Imam Rauf: The first response was one of shock. I mean, shock and surprise. And you know one made sort of, one brain synapses made connections with that famous film about the fire and the, you know, the um World Trade Center, and wondering about the, how life was depicting fiction here, um and at the same time very rapidly thereafter the following days, wondering who was behind it, and what it is all about, and having an uncomfortable sense that this may have been a result of what turned out to be the, the um, many decades of rising hostility between and tension between the West and the Islamic World, particularly on certain political issues and geopolitical issues.

Sommers: :So when you saw that occur, did it immediately come to mind that this probably was something that came from disaffected Muslims in some part of the world?

Rauf: Oh, that was not the primary thing on my mind, although it was certainly a possibility. I was hoping that, that would not be the case. Uh, you know we’ve had, a couple of years before we had the Timothy McVeigh incident in Oklahoma, and we, um we did not know at that point, and we really would have loved it not to be any from the Muslim source, and we were hoping that it wouldn’t be from a Muslim source.

Sommer: And when you returned to New York, um what was the scene like for you, being just four blocks away, you must have been in some degree involved in the aftermath

Imam Rauf: Well, uh for the first few weeks thereafter, the first two weeks you couldn’t even approach. They had I think everything south of 14th street had been cornered off and since I live in New Jersey we couldn’t actually come to the mosque until I think three weeks later, which was the first time I was able to approach the mosque. And we were, we were certainly happily surprised by, over the period of time, by the enormous support we got from friends and neighbors in the community, who were very much aware of our outreach and our inter-faith activities and were very supportive of us and concerned that we would not be targeted by any unwarranted action on a reactive basis towards us as members of the Islamic community

Sommer: So, you had been involved in bridge building efforts between American Muslim and Non-Muslim Americans for many years?

Rauf:  Oh yes, I mean for decades, I mean my father was very active in inter-faith activity from the time he came here in the mid 60’s. At that time the word interfaith wasn’t used it was ecumenical activity and was the terminology used but substantively in terms of substantive inter-faith activity my father was involved in this and I have continued that work and tried to reshape and to identify the important issues facing the Muslim community as we are evolving from an immigrant community. 2/3rds of the American Islamic demographic is um is immigrants. And as we are shifting from an immigrant society towards an American society, trying to frame the questions surrounding the evolution of an American Islamic presence, not only sociologically but in terms of Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic thinking, in terms of Islamic institutions for many decades, now for almost four decades practically, being very actively involved in doing that and certainly in interfaith and outreach to other faith community as well. Um, has been a major part of our work.

Sommer:  Did you find that uh, 9-1-1 dramatically shifted your efforts? Did it make them go more difficult, but also more important than ever from the point of view of, not only of, uh your own community but of the broader society.

Rauf: No doubt, I mean 9/11 was a watershed, was a major milestone, and a major catalytic force in, in catalyzing the attention towards the issue of Islam, it’s presence in the West, and it brought into much greater prominence our work and the importance of our work. Initially after 9/11, you know like many Muslims, we were invited to speak at countless temples, houses of worship, synagogues, churches as well as institutions, academic, even companies who were interesting in learning about it. And in the process of that, we answered many many questions but were also approached by people from the other faith communities as to what could be done. There was a recognition, that this is an issue that has a history, and that we needed to understand the history that has brought us to where we are today, and then how do we move forward, and out of the invitations that I received and the requests that we received from people as to what can be done collectively, I founded the Cordoba Initiative in 2002. It took us a year to design what we thought would be the formula, the algorithm that would really achieve traction in healing the divide between the United States and the Islamic world, and with plenty of time frame, so we’ve given ourselves until the year 2015, at the outside to bring about what we would call a tipping point in the relationship between the United States and the Islamic World on all the various fronts, frontier, boundary lines, where the West in general and the Islamic World in general intersect. By boundary lines I mean the, there are foreign policy issues which are a major factor of shaping perceptions in an exacerbating way that has exacerbated the relationship between the United States and the Islamic World and the issues of media, communications. There are issues of education and there are also some, um considering those 3 broad areas, areas in which work needs to be done to reframe the way we look at these questions and the way we think about them has been an important part of our work.

Sommer:  It seems like at least initially, after September 11th, you and the American Muslim community were treated with a full amount of respect, and curiosity, rather than with contempt or suspicion. Is that right?

Rauf: I think both, there were certainly an amount of suspicion and amount of fear, which has resulted in certain actions like the Patriot Act, which some of us believe, not only the Muslim community, but also the Non-Muslim community, has resulted in a certain degree of an erosion of what we might call, our right of respect of freedoms. Um, but there has also been simultaneous with that, the recognition of a need to pay adequate attention in various ways. For example, in the area of foreign policy, as the result of our work and explaining our ideas and thoughts to, in certain circles, for example, I was at an Aspen institute discussion a couple of summers ago, in which I pointed out the fact that U.S., our understanding of church state separation which results in our refusing to either factor or think about religion on our radar screen, results in an insufficiency in terms of developing coherency of our policy visa vie countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, being a broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if we do not factor the role of religion, understand it’s importance, in helping us shape our foreign policy. Now, Madeline Albright was there, and as a result of that she took many of these ideas to heart, and it was a fact in (participating) in her latest book, The Mighty the Almighty, in which she recognizing the fact that the U.S. foreign policy in ignoring religion was a mistake. 10:18

Sommer: You have written in a new book that you call, What’s Right With Islam, which indicates I would imagine, that you think that many people have been saying what’s wrong with Islam, why do they hate us so much sort of question. But you see in the book, the ______ to substantively an Islamic country, what do you mean by that.

Rauf:  What I mean by that is that the foundational societal contract, it seems that the existential world view on which the American Declaration of Independence is based is something which is fundamentally Islamic and more broadly Abrahamic. I speak about a theme of what the Abrahamic faith religions did, what was novel about the Abrahamic faith religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which share the fundamental, two fundamental components of loving God, and loving thy neighbor, which means developing the best relationship with our creator and developing the best relationship with our fellow human beings, based upon the concept of the equality of the human race. There is, and based upon the monotheistic idea, the principal, that the creator is only one, was what differentiated the Abrahamic ethic and their religions, from the rest of the religious spectrum. In the other religious traditions, pre-Islamic, uh pre-Abrahamically or the other faiths traditions of the Far East and so forth, there was a sense of a different class structure, whether it’s a royal class or a priestly class, a merchant class, there were classes. And human beings were locked into their particular, what they were born into. Whether you were in the priestly class, the untouchable class, etcetera. But the Abrahamic ethic is one which fundamentally _______ the idea that all human beings are created equal, and we say this in our declaration. We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. Endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights. They are unalienable because they inhere in the nature of being human. Because they are given to us by the creator, not by the Constitution, like the French Constitution which grants its citizens rights. Our rights are given to us by the creator. They cannot be taken away from us, by any human agency, any government agency. Among which are the rights of to life, liberty, property, and then property was edited by Jefferson’s pursuit of happiness. Well that particular existential worldview point is fundamentally an Islamic view point. The notion that we have rights given to us by the creator, that there are, that we, and then the Declaration goes on to speak about the laws of nature, and of nature’s God. All of Islamic Law, what we call The Shariya, is based upon, all the laws of the Shariya, are intended to further… to protect and for the five matter objectives of the law. This was written 5 centuries or more before Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence. And these 5 matters objectives of Islamic law, are the protection and furtherance of the right to life, religion, to property, to family, and to the intellect. And we can see here, residences already between life and property are like specifically the rights to be enjoyed and protected in both world view points, and one can argue, uh the fact that religion, family, and pursuance of intellectual expansion and so forth, is part of the pursuit of happiness. So we can see residences here between the fundamental core viewpoint and values of the Declaration of Independence and the Islamic worldview.

Sommer; At the same time, you’ve written that America has historically acted in a way that gives a strong impression that it seeks to deprive Muslims of their unalienable right.

Rauf: Correct

Sommer: Well. Um, in other words, there is a certain shared almost sacred sense of commitment to unalienable rights. But in practice you say American policy was, has been to deny these unalienable rights in the case of Muslims.

Rauf: Yes, in fact this is, up until World War II, America was very popular in the Muslim world. In fact, many countries in the Arab Muslim world, had developed in the first half of the 20th century, movements towards democracy. In fact, in Egypt, which is the country of my parentage, my parents were Egyptian and I was born and raised over seas, um the first initial movement to establish a political party and move towards democratic lines began in the late 19th century, and evolved through the beginning half of the 20th century. We had the Wafd Party, which was quite active in the mid, nineteen, nineteen teens, you know, through the 1940’s until Abdel Nasser came and just outlawed all political parties. And established the dictatorship basically. Um, so what has happened is the, the Cold War, after the end of World War II, the rise of the United States and the Soviet Union as the two global super powers, and the conflict, the Cold War basically reframed the geopolitical scene. And both the United States and the Soviet Union through much of the Cold War period preferred to have strong armed dictators in many countries of the world, the third world, and um, and actually worked towards that end. So the um, the coup that was conducted in Iran, for instance, like Mosaddegh in 1953, which was instigated by the British and the CIA, and the Americans actually cooperated in that event to bring about the Shah, resulted in, in a reversal of the democratic process in Iran and the United States was not really very proactive in encouraging democratic, the principles of democracy and the unground culture for democracy which the people themselves wanted in much of the Islamic world. Now into the point, when Islamic parties have won, like Hamas for instance, is the latest example, and the previous one was in Algeria in the early 1990’s where a legitimate election was held and the party came to power rather than engaging with them and holding them responsible for delivering life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which the people want, and ensuring that the process would take route, the West actually elected to push them out of power, which created the perception in the Arab Muslim world, that while the United States speaks about democracy, they do not really support it.

Sommer:  So, um, and since 9-1-1 has that sense of estrangement from American policy, not American values, but American policy intensified in the Muslim world?

Rauf:  It still is there, in fact, uh just this last February I was at the Brookings Institution, has been having an annual conference, for the last 3-4 years now in Delhi, hosted by the Brookings Institution, and a number of the people who are Democratic activists in the Arab World were there, and ___ Ibrahim who is a well known figure in Egypt and actually well known even in the United States, among those who are actively involved in the those issues said that you know the thing that most Democratic activists in the Arab world fear about the United States is the betrayal of the United States towards the Democratic Activists. So the concern, is still there that you know U.S. foreign policy, might give lip service to Democratic movements, but does not really uh committed to that direction.

Sommer: And do you think this carries over from one American administration to another, in the sense, so that it is really not to be depended upon, as an ally in democratizing the Arab world?

Rauf: Well, I think that there is a sense of ambivalence at this point and time. I think that going back a couple of years, this Bush administration post 9/11 became rather proactively activist in trying to promote democracy but there’s a sense that perception that interests have triumphed that. That geopolitical interests, economic interests, which tend to prefer stability and are concerned about the, the chaos which may come about from pushing democracy may have resulted in a revisiting of that thinking on the part of this administration. However, having said that, the concern, the perception which many of us who are knowledgeable about the region and about the aspirations of the United States in terms of reshaping a New World Order in that region is that they went about it the wrong way. And if you want to bring about change, and you want to bring about change in a positive way, one has to be strategic about it, one has to frame the issues in a way that people in the region can accept and swallow and can act upon at any given point in time. Um, and the perceptions is that the United States have not been as strategic as they possible could have been. And I think that’s the weak link in the chain that we’ll need to strengthen that link, I think the movement to democratize the region can actually get some better traction.

Sommer:  You said that the unfinished business of America and of the Muslim world, are two sides of the same coin, and that the unfinished business of the United States is religious and the unfinished business of the Muslim world is how to introduce democratic capitalism in the constitutional framework. Can you explain that statement

Rauf: Oh sure, if you look at what happened in Europe, the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason and all of that was kick started in Europe, as a result of Europe escaping the clutches of the church and of religious dogma, and the notion, and the introduction of the concept of secularism as it was articulated in the Western world. That understanding of secular…wait let me just say another thing, that’s the experience of the West and particularly Europe. Now the experience of the Islamic world is that our enlightenment literally peaked between the years 800-1200 of the common era, were really kick started as a result of religion and of Islam. Now Islam was the factor, which resulted in our glorious civilization so to speak. So the rise of reason, and the application of reason in the pursuit of secular knowledge was very much a religious mandate. When the prophet, in some of his teachings, he urged his followers to seek knowledge even if you go as far as China. Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. The ink of the martyr is holier than the … The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr: are among the prophets teachings. So Islamic scholars interpreted these teachings to mean not only to underline the importance and preciousness of knowledge which is why the intellect is one of the five objectives, but also they interpreted the prophets teachings to seek knowledge, even if your in China, as not meaning you know religious knowledge, you know knowledge of the interpretation of the Qur’an, and his teachings and Arabic grammar, but rather to learn what we call secular knowledge, math, geography, science, astrology, and so forth. And a result of that was that the notion of pursuing secular knowledge in and of its own right in accordance with its own principles in the development of the scientific method was something, which the Muslims did. So the Muslim experience of civilization embraced within it the concept of secularism understood that way in terms of the scientific method and so forth. So the, what people regard today as the conflict between seculars and the religion is not really a coherent metaphysical conflict It really comes out of the experience, the historical experience, of each side. And less to do with the real substantive issue of the issues involved. Now, the United States, what the United States did, interestingly enough in crafting its Constitution, in crafting its Declaration of Independence, costly or not, it actually took from both sides. What the United States did was, it took the, it regarded itself as inheriting from Europe important aspects of the Enlightenment, and what we did in the United States was we developed a societal contract which embodied aspects of the Islamic principle, a nation of under God, the belief in a creator as part of our foundational principles. It took the values of Christianity, Islam and Judaism stripped it of its liturgical investments, took its ethical principles, it took the mandate of the second commandment in a certain sense and developed a governmental construct. So the United States has a very interesting, did a very interesting thing. It created a society where all religions could thrive, it endorsed the notion of religiosity and of religion, but ensured that the powers of the state would not be utilized to further any particular ideology. Um, and this is what is important to the United States. Now, in the process the United States also developed the notion of democracy that way, the notion of the separation of powers, it developed a notion of what we would call democratic capitalism, which to me, in fact one of the points that I mention in my book, is that in my opinion, is really an extension, of the corporate concept, the notion of the corporation, which really, what happened was, America established a country on the basis of a corporation, and in a corporation you have shareholders who own a corporation, you have a president, a vice president, you have the people who run the company and you have shareholders. What the United States did, was it basically extended the concept of the corporation to the United States, so the President of the United States, Vice President and people who ran the government of the Untied States, and the shareholders are people who own the land. Land was the shares that one held in the corporation. And of course the notion of democracy, evolved from that and the right of the shareholders to determine who their presidency was and so forth. So it developed democracy, it developed capitalism, the notion of capital markets, and what we have seen is that these notions have done what we called democratic capitalism, which came out of the removal of the ideological hold the church had upon Europe, freed the society to develop these things. So the United States took the best of both sides so to speak. So the unfinished business of the Untied States, is to bequeath to Europe, the understanding of the importance of religion in society, number one, and to the Muslim world, and to help the Muslim World within the contracts, the contracts, of Islamic thinking, or it’s not jurisprudence how to develop democratic capitalism within the vocabulary and norms of Islamic thought. And that is how you bridge, an important part of bridging the, what is perceived to be the barriers between the west and these Islamic world.

Sommer: Let’s go back for a moment to the common root of the three major religious traditions in the Middle East, the Abraham. As I understand it, Abraham who himself has been viewed a diety, or he is a human being..

Rauf: Yeah

Sommer:  It’s interesting that he, that a human being would be the father of all three religions. He’s not some divine figure, and that he was in a certain sense, a man who kept running all his life, and what can we learn from Abraham, take a closer look at Abraham perhaps, that might enable us to be as ecumenical as you say or as accepting of both the differences and the similarities between them

Rauf: Yeah, well the Qur’an, which from the Muslim point of view, is God speaking to human kind, is God speaking to man, depicts, let us speak about different religions per se, it speaks about right religion versus wrong religion, and the Qur’anic picture or the story of the narrative of religions throughout human history is that God sent messengers, human beings, to every community on Earth, to teach them the principles of right religion, and of course in each society was packaged to the prophet that will speak the language of the community, and the specific liturgy or forms of worship, they were all basically the same, celebration of the creator, etcetera, and some similarities as you know being, you know fasting and so forth, and some pilgrimage to various sites. These are the common liturgical aspects, the religion may have been different, times of prayer, frequence of prayer may have been different, but then on the ethical side, you have the same principles. So they are not different religions, in other words Abraham did not come to start a different religion, Moses did not come to start a different religion, Jesus did not come to start a different religion, they all came to basically finish the job that was sent by many different messengers of God. All teaching the same principles. But if one looks at it through that prism, one gets an idea then of what the story of Abraham is within the Islamic narrative, and the difference however is between the religion, the right religion which comes from God and false religion which is the creation of human beings. Now according to the program or the ethical program, or the man to man interactive program shared by the Christianity, Judaism and Islam, as we call them today, is a very important thing which are those two major commandments that I mentioned earlier, that is to worship, to love God, with all of your heart mind body and strength, strength of soul and strength, and to love thy neighbor as yourself, or to not do to your neighbor, that you would not want done upon you, which is the negative way of you know, eliminating the negative rather than ______ the positive, but they are both the same thing. And upon all, I mean Jesus Christ, said and you know this is in Deuteronomy, that upon these two commandments hang all of the laws and all of the prophets, and Islamic Law builds upon those commandments (32). Love of God means how do you worship God, how do you pray to God, and the laws go into specifics of that but these are kind of like, the laws are like a manual, on how to love God so to speak. And the laws regarding human beings, which are laws of criminal laws, and personal status laws and etcetera, are really laws of how not to hurt your fellow beings, how to be just because being just and not hurting people is part of loving your neighbor. This is the broad picture, worldview. And what was common about the Abrahamic faith traditions as I said is the equality of men that there’s no such thing as a priestly class that is more elevated, there’s no Brahmin class that is more pure by birth. It is by your actions, it is said “by their fruits you shall know them.” It is the ethics of an individual human being that determines his value or his nobility in the eyes of God. The Qur’an says that, all people we are created from one male and one female, and we fashioned into varieties of nations and tribes so that you might celebrate our differences, you might get to know each other. The most noble of you in the eyes of God are those who are most ethical, those who are most God fearing, which all implies that idea of loving God and loving your fellow human being

Sommer:  The Abrahamic tradition is also referred often to as a family, as we also know that families can, are not necessarily, harmonious, and to use the modern term, many of them are dysfunctional and even going back into the Old Testament, you’ll find many of the bitterest quarrels occurring within families, brother against brother, various parts of families warring against other parts of the families. Civil wars, religious wars, they often seen to be fiercest between, a sort of intra-communal rather than inter-communal. So does the fact that they come from the same family and the same root necessarily mean that they will find their higher harmony with one another

Rauf:  Well, when it comes to certain ideas, that are common, that is the basis of commonality, the reason why people who are closer then to have more conflict is because the sources of conflict are structured that way. Conflict occurs when you have two parties or more, competing for a shared asset. They are competing claims for the same asset. The asset can be of economic value, such as land, money, inheritance, like Johnson vs. Johnson, you know where the granddaughter Johnson, heiress, sued for her right of the, of what she believed was her right. It can be about power, which is where people fight over a shared claim to power, which is the basis of the conflict in Ireland between Catholics and Protestants, it has nothing to do with Christianity, nothing to do so much with Protestant thought versus Catholic thought, but the fact that groups calling themselves Catholics and Protestants are those who are Catholic Irish do not believe they have an equitable share in power and economics as their Protestant brethren. And that, so if, it doesn’t matter what the identifying differentiating factor is, it can be, if you take the Israelis versus Arabs, again or the conflict in the Middle East, it’s basically a conflict about land, about that particular asset, that people are fighting over, but how it was obtain and how it was won and of course that the differentiating line between the parties that are fighting around that asset, once it has, the defining difference is of a religion nature, then over a period of time that religious nature, becomes the basis on which the conflict exists. So let’s say two people fight on a particular issue, when let’s say you know you were young kids and the kid brother is being beat up, if it was your older brother you would fight, you would take the side of your brother not because of the justice of your conflict but you felt a certain obligation to protect your brother right or wrong. That’s the basis of nationalism, and many things, and very quickly the conflict expands, very often people forget the source of the conflict, and think that the conflict has to do with the familial difference, or with the religious difference, where in reality the conflict had another source, in a shared competition for a particular item.

Sommer: It does seem that one aspect of the competition that makes it especially fierce, is that it is over something in some ways even larger than material things, its over the very definition between God and faith, and who has the one true faith, in relation to the father. In other words who is the one true descendent, of the father Abraham.

Rauf: Well, if people, if differences of belief, um in other words, you know you can think the sky is red and I think the sky is blue, there are many many differences we have over issues of belief. It’s when that belief translates, into something which has to do with positions of power, which is why it is dangerous, the wisdom of making sure that the institutions of political power, the police and so froth, the army, are not deployed to enforce a particular ideology. Unless that ideology is threatening to the position of those who hold it, and that’s what has happened in many countries of the world, where if a particular, it can happen in an organization, it can happen in a company, can happen in a country, where those who hold a certain belief, differently from those who are in power, are deemed to be a threat, or are perceived to be a threat. Then they begin to deploy the positions of power to deem them heretic and to deem them as enemies of the state that is when you begin to have a conflict. So what is important is to recognize, is to create a society, not only a national society as we have in the United States, and Western Europe, and many other parts of the world but a global society in which we create a space of people to have different beliefs and yet can exist, in a societal state harmoniously. Not to make the differences in our items of belief, a reason for us to fight, against each other

Sommer: here are of course, a great many initiatives, these days in the wake of 9-1-1 to try to knit back together the Muslim world with the West, and more broadly to bring three Abrahamic traditions back together. One such initiative is attempting to, is putting together a pilgrimage, essentially a path that runs through 6 nations, from trekking through Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and it’s based on the notion that if people begin to walk together, and also that around that develop not just a sense of commonality and opportunities for connection, but a shared economy of tourism along the route that will begin to create a tangible reason to cooperate in the same way perhaps that Europe after World War II, and after indeed centuries of war developed a community that today has become essentially a federated Europe

Rauf: Right

Sommer: Do you see any potential in that sort of initiative to get at the, to begin to draw back together the three great traditions of Abraham?

Rauf: Certainly, I mean initiatives, again as I mentioned to you, we thought a lot about what we would do if we had the resources available to deal the divide between Islam and the other faith traditions in the West, and the initiatives that we’ve analyzed fall into two categories, one which I call the enhancement of the positives and those that deal with the elimination of the negatives. It’s like having a football team you need to have both an offensive and a defensive team. And this would call very strongly into the category called the offensive type of actions, which mean the enhancement of the positives. It’s very important to engage in things like this, which bring people physically together, which creates the bonding, which happens when you bring people together, it allows for serendipitous things to occur. It allows for people to not only recognize what they share in common, but it creates the space for people to then become more proactive in furthering the impulse to build permanent bridges between the different communities. Therefore it is actually very very useful.

Sommer: You’ve stated, you’ve mentioned, in your writings one particularly interesting insight it says that the Qur’an states that God does not change the condition of a people until they change themselves

Rauf: Yes

Sommer: What do you mean by that?

Rauf: Well, I mean that is what the Qur’an literally says, and the uh, I think this ties into the fact that human beings share with God, God has granted human beings the freedom of will, and freedom of will in the domain of actions which we deem to be of an ethical nature, and therefore as Jews sometime say, we are co-creators with God in what we do. Therefore, in other words, there are other words in the Qur’an, which say if God, although God has the power to force a human being to believe in him, he does not enforce that. You have to chose, and if you chose to believe in God, then God will help you and give you the faith, but you, its _____ enforcers, our ethical actions, our decisions, are based upon the fact that we, we have to be proactive. What happens in life, is the vector sum, if you will, of our will and the divine will, and therefore if you want to change a situation, we have to be proactive and engage, and then God will walk with us and God will help us to open doors for us, and create what we believe to be serendipitous but nothing is serendipitous from the point of view of an all knowing creator.

Sommer: But to change yourself, does that mean to, the first thing you need to change, when your in a conflict is your own attitude about it

Rauf: That is the mystical interpretation of it, that if you want to change your relationships, with the outer world, changing yourself is the fastest route. So if you have a bad relationship with someone for example, the most expeditious way and a very important part of doing it is to work on yourself because there is something within yourself that is creating the energy field or the kinds of stimuli that cause people to react to you in a certain way, so if we act in ourselves and make sure we are the best possible type of human being and if we express the values that the prophets came to, that they embodied, and we express the prophets and the saintly people who reflect the highest ethical evolution of what it means to be human that you will find people react to you differently and when we act that way as an individual, as a community, as a nation, the world itself will change its attitude towards us

Sommer:  But when you feel that you are being victimized and that someone else or some other group is unfairly attacking you, isn’t it very difficult to turn back on yourself and say what am I doing wrong or maybe you don’t ask yourself what are you doing wrong but what can I do without blame to change the situation?

Rauf: Right, this is why it is never just a one sided thing, but it is part, this is one side of the equation. The other side of the equation we also have to look at the other side and seeing what they are doing wrong. And help them correct their erroneous ways, and we have to do this in a way that is firm but also as helps, in a wisest of possible ways. Now, it’s like when a couple comes to me for marital counseling, for example, and you know you tell the husband when you say this your wife hears something else, and we’ve all had these situations where you know, a young man is dating a girl and he says something, she smacks him, he doesn’t know why, and he asks his sister, and she says you said that, it’s no wonder she smacked you, and he’s totally ____, as to why he offended her. So part of the role that we have to play, as mediators, is to explain to each side, to use that kind of language, even when we’re the ones that have been wronged, to say you when you say the following, you know I hear this, or I experience this, or I respond or feel inclined angerously, because it comes across this way, and people say what we didn’t mean it this way, I know you didn’t mean it this way but this is how it’s heard. It’s okay if it’s one on one, it’s an easier thing to handle, but when we are talking about relationships between communities, relationships between nations, then it is important for those of us who are mediators to understand what it is like to be an American from the inside, to be a Muslim from the inside, to be a Jew from the inside, that how certain things are heard across communities, and to teach our respective spokespeople be the political leaders, the community leaders, etcetera, or even media leaders, that when you say certain things certain ways you create those realities. I mean, as many people have said, when you identify a criminal with religion, when you say a Muslim terrorist, when you say a Muslim this, like the eleven guys who were caught in Canada for example, if the media constantly identifies them as Muslim, it tends to create and further that reality. Whereas we don’t say they are a Christian criminal or a Jewish criminal, or a Hindu criminal, let’s just change the nature of our description because the way you describe someone the way you frame them will tend to create a paradigm of thinking in people’s minds that very often furthers the reality that you want to eliminate.

Sommer: So, uh, there seems to be at the heart of this Abrahamic family quarrel you might call it is an oddly shared sense of victimization. That is many Jews feel there is decades of ostracism of them within the Middle East and indeed thousands of years of Anti-Semitism where they have been the victims. Muslims feel the same way in relation to Christianity ever since the Crusades and certainly in more recent decades as you said with certain policies coming from the West. And even indeed Americans who’ve had a rather more fortunate history until now, after 9-1-1 many of them feel like they are the victims as well. In this family quarrel does there need to be a letting go of the psychology of the victim.

Rauf:  Yeah, I personally don’t like the victim psychology although I understand it, but I think the victim psychology I try very hard not to and not to use that approach because that tends to make us focus on what’s wrong with each other, and that’s why if you look at my book its called What’s Right With Islam. And there’s another chapter that’s What’s Right With America. If we look to what is best in each other, if I look across the bar and said look this is what is important about me and what’s best about Christianity is the following, what’s best about Judaism is the following, I want my Christian bothers and sisters to be, to embody the best of what it means to be Christian, because if we embody the best and highest meaning, and each of us knows that we want to be the best we can possible be, so we also simultaneously, there is also a gap, between our aspirations and our reality. But if we engage in helping each other, and say look, I want to be the best possible Muslim I can be and I know that I’m not a perfect Muslim, I know you want to be a perfect Christian, but I know that you know that you’re not a perfect Christian or you would like to be, so if our approach and the nature of our discourse, is not one of look how bad a Christian you are, or you are not a good Christian, or Christianity is bad because your reality represents your ideals, is to understand our respective ideals, and say it is in my interest as a human being that you be the best possible Christian you can be, and that so and so becomes the best possible Jew that they can be, and that you be the best possible secular humanist you can be, if you happen to be an atheist you believe in secular humanism. And you’re the best possible Hindu, etcetera. And then we have the basis of not only a wonderful sense of discourse, but also of having a harmonious society, and building a society where we are encouraging each other to be the best we can possible be, recognizing our ideals not defining the truth of the other on their reality and how they fall short of their ideals and help them to achieve it. And athat’s the nature of the discourse that we would like to further, and see being furthered. So that even at a foreign policy level for instance, or the media, the communications media is not where terrorists equal Islam, therefore Islam equals terrorism, but Muslims are people who are ethical and we in the United States in our foreign policy those who want to have an Islamic state, an Islamic party, that’s fine but has to achieve the perfection of the ideals of what it means to be Muslim. (53) And many of us in the Islamic community both domestically and overseas want to part and would be glad to establish to help flesh out the principles of what it means to be in an Islamic society, because it is not that different from a Christian society, a Jewish society, a secular society, or the American society. The ethical principles are at their core, identical.

Sommer:, One final question, and this is built in what you just said, is there any unique and special rule for American Muslims in helping to heal the breach between the Muslim World and the Western World

Rauf: Yes, absolutely. If you look at what happened in American history, the past as it evolved from being a protestant society, to a Judeo-Christian society, with the Judeo-Christian ethic, came about because of a critical mass of American Catholics and American Jews who, over a period of time as they gained their American legs, played a very important role in mediating between, on important issues, between the Untied States and their respective communities back home, beginning with the protestants for that matter, but the America Catholic bishops for example were instrumental in bridging important divides between the United States and the Vatican. It is also to me, very evident, that the American Muslims who appreciate America, and appreciate Islam who understand the issues domestically in both the United States and in the Muslim world are therefore the ones who are best qualified to play the role of interlockers, mediators, of those who help reframe the issues that each side wants to commit to the other and therefore identifying those of us who understand these issues and who are able to play a role in these issues is important and that’s exactly part of what the Cordoba Initiative is positioning and has positioned itself to do, and have already begun to do and to make an important penetrations along these lines

Sommer:  Thank you very much, for taking this time to speak to us I gained a great deal from the conversation

Rauf: Thank you very much Mark, it’s my honor that you’ve had me

Sommer:  So good luck in your work and please keep in touch with our producer if there are more things you would like to bring to our attention

Rauf: I would certainly would love that, I mean are we offline now.

Sommer: Sure, the interview is over

Rauf: Okay good, I mean things have been done for example, I didn’t want to say it on your show but, you know with for example Madeline Albright’s book when she approached me last fall and she said I’d like you to review the Islam section for any corrections and we did that and she invited me to write a blurb for her book and she is now pushing these ideas in many places, she is in constant communication with me, or continual communication with me about certain things, we have been in touch with her, with Karen Hughes, and the issue of Hamas, and how America should really engage with them and not just push them out of the picture, but bring them, make them responsible for creating positive change because if you don’t do that, you know we’ve even mapped out, what the downside would be if they didn’t do that, because you push Hamas out, and you force them into the arms of the Syrians and the Iranians, and they will be a proxy for Iran and the region, you’re creating more of a mess!

Sommer: MmHmm

Rauf: So we’ve tried to unpack for them the chessboard or it’s like you know when football coaches when they create these circles and lines and so forth so you can see what’s happening very often we, people don’t think of the situation in a dynamic way, they tend to think of it statically.

Sommer:  MmHmm

Rauf:  You don’t realize when you do something, you create a web of reactions, to your action, and with the United States you create a multi, the reaction even multiply more. You know, if you are a third rate country, or a third rate power, you’re not going to create much of a ripple. But when the United States does something there is an enormous ripple effect.

Sommer: You are likening it to chess, I often feel that while much of the world plays chess, a diplomatic version of chess, the United States plays checkers.

Rauf: That’s why I use the imagery of football. Cause football is like chess in motion. You see the nice thing about football is that, is that football is a very good analogy of what is happening in the world. It is strategy in motion, and you have plays, you know you have to design your plays, and you have to design your plays knowing that the other side is not going to be passive. While you’re throwing the ball, they will try to make you fumble the ball, they will try to catch the ball from you, in fact they will try to prevent you. So part of achieving your objective is you have to be strategic, you have to do all the requisite blocking, and tackling, because there are vested interests, who are vested against your success.

Sommer:  One of the things you have to do in strategic thinking is think 6 moves down the line, and many directions at once because it is such a multi-dimensional world.

Rauf:  Preciously, in other words the analogy with American football is that your defense team, your offense team, and kick off team, are all on the field simultaneously.

Sommer:  Uhhuh

Rauf:  Its not like one team is on the field and the other team is off. They are all on the field, and the field has many sectors to it. And there are different geographies, different subject areas, so we have designed our Cordoba Initiative to be designed, in order words we have 5 major areas of our program. So we have foreign policy, is one area, you have communications is another area, you have education as the third area, for example, you have intra-Islamic issues is the fourth area, arts and culture is the fifth area. And lets say this Abrahamic pathwalk may be in the arts and culture, a blend of the arts and culture and you know maybe the religious aspect in some respect, but it’s kind of an interfaith type of activity. Now in the area of foreign policy, you have different issues, number one is the Palestinian conflict, cause if you heal that, you will have contributed a lot. If the entertainment media, the news media, was broadcasted in print, describe and speak about the issues in a different way it can help change perceptions profoundly, because it’s the media, which helps shape perceptions to a great degree. So if we have strategic action plays, designed plays, in the area of foreign policy, in the area of healing the divide, and then you unpack and give up Israel, and then what do you do, what are the specific actions that you might do, because things are always moving, things are always happening, so you have to analyze the situation constantly, and you have to have your just like you have your offense coach, defensive coaching staff, and you have your head coach and so forth, we think of ourselves as an analogy of that. We had to have our head coaching staff, we had to have our foreign policy head coach, our Palestinian head coach etcetera, and then you design plays for that

Sommer:  Interestingly enough it doesn’t mean that the head coach is necessarily the President, because, of whatever country, or Prime Minister, because they may not be, they may still be, trapped by various constraints in an old game.

Rauf: No we’ve created a different concept a different model, Mark. I’m the head coach of this strategic initiative, and the President of the United States, or the President of Malaysia, or the President of England, is like a player you want to bring in for particular plays.

Sommer: Uhhuh!

Rauf: They are members of the team that you want to bring in, because if we are looking at it exactly like American football, you want to gain yardage, so you just want to keep scoring first downs. So what’s the first down that we can score based upon where we are on the field, where would we like to be, what’s realistic, what can we obtain? Can we obtain 3 yards, can we obtain 10 yards, can we obtain 7 yards? Let’s try and get those 7 yards. And whom do you need to bring for that? So the the name of the game then becomes, how do you move the ball forward, and who are players you can bring in to help move that ball forward on a particular issue, at a particular moment in time.

Sommer: But the irony is that in this case, you don’t really have, I mean the other team, who’s the other team? Because if fundamentally you’re trying to bring people together, so who’s the enemy there? 1-3-15

Rauf: There are interests one has to make sure do not push back. You have to make sure you have enough power on your side to be able to push the ball forward.

Sommer: Right, but at the same time as you’ve written elsewhere, “peace requires the cooperation of your enemy,” so in a certain sense to move the ball forward, in this case, is rather paradoxical, it’s not a linear strategy. It’s actually…

Rauf: Yeah, but let me give you a very specific for instance, one very specific example is that we need to move forward on the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations process,for a finalization of borders. Now, Ehud Olmert has been pushing the notion of unilateral designation of borders by Israel. In November, of the last election he didn’t win completely, he had to develop the coalition government with other people. As of a month ago, our Palestinian expert, who is very tied into Abumazen and Sayeb Erekat and those people told me that Sayeb Erekat who is a lead negotiator on the Palestinian side, has gotten the commitment of 35 members of the Knesset, that the negotiation process should be bilateral not unilateral. Okay, that’s an important strategic thing, so to get people of the Knesset in agreement with you on certain issues, are critical for certain aspects and certain specific intermediate milestones which are important towards that particular milestone. That’s an example of being strategic, and using people who are sympathetic to your position, who have the traction and capability to bring about that particular end result that you want at this point in time on the particular issue, which is a stepping-stone to the next stepping-stone of that issue. Sounds complicated, but I think you get the idea

Sommer: No, I understand, you know I wanted to ask you I did say this is off the record, and we’ll keep it all off the record if you wish. But the analogy to football is probably a useful one for a lay audience, and I wondered whether you’d allow us to use some of that

Rauf:  Yes, I would, because I use it all the time. Look did I use, did I use, did I say anything right now that is potentially off the record?

Sommer: Well I wouldn’t use anything I suppose about Madeline Albright

Rauf: Yeah that part would be talking out of, I can say this in private to you

Sommer: Yes

Rauf: Um, and the fact that, I think there is a blurb by me in the back of her book. So, and she herself has publicly stated that she has benefited by her conversation with me, and Rabbi …oh my god, that’s so embarrassing, Rabbi uh…Saperstein,

Sommer: Oh yeah. David Saperstein

Rauf:  David Saperstein and others from the Christian tradition as well, in helping her understand the importance of the role of religion. I mean look, we supported a Jewish state in the Middle East, why not support an Islamic State? But give it a meaning, which you can live with.

Sommer: Yeah within the parameters of an acceptance of other …

Rauf: Right, and this purpose exists, because they are part of our … In Islamic theology, in Islamic jurisprudence, those norms exist. You just have to extract them, and put them on the table, and say these are the valid reasons. I don’t want a demographic Islamic state, a demographic Islamic state is not part of tradition, never was, until recently. Until the mid 20th century, we were very pluralistic societies. Egypt had 4… Alexandria had 400,000 Greeks, it was a Greek town. Until 1923-24 vast tracks, of what is today modern Turkey, were Greek. Neighborhoods were Greek areas. Ismear, which is ancient Smyrna, was a Greek town. Cappadocia has large sections of Greek communities. What happened with the rise of the nation state idea, was virtually this geography had to be homogeneous. Now, that’s not apart of our assigned tradition of theology, not our tradition, not our theology, not our jurisprudence. What happened was, the 20th century, we bought into the nation state idea, we created the notion of demographic nation states. We had to be of one type, so you had massive movements, and a lot of killings between people, with the creation of the Otto-Turkish state, you had Greek-Turkish conflict existing before Israel and all of that, where as before they were all living together.

______________________________________________________________

Leadership Group on U.S.-Muslim Engagement

The Leadership Group on U.S.-Muslim Engagement drives the project.

The Leadership Group includes a former Secretary of State and a former Deputy Secretary of State, former members of Congress, a former U.S. envoy on the Middle East peace process, and leaders and experts from business, faith communities, foreign policy, social sciences and related fields. One third of the group is Muslim-American. The participating leaders have been drawn together by their collective recognition of the issue’s urgency and the need to create wise, broadly supportable solutions. In four plenary meetings and numerous exchanges since January 2007, they have reached an extraordinary convergence of views and have committed to see the project through to completion.

Leadership Group Members

Organizational affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

  • Madeleine Albright, Principal, The Albright Group LLC; former U.S. Secretary of State
  • Richard Armitage, President, Armitage International; former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
  • Ziad Asali, President and Founder, American Task Force on Palestine
  • Steve Bartlett, President and Chief Executive Officer, Financial Services Roundtable; former U.S. Representative; former Mayor of Dallas, Texas
  • Paul Brest, President, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Red Cavaney, President and Chief Executive Officer, America Petroleum Institute
  • Daniel Christman, Lt. General (ret.), U.S. Army; Senior Vice President for International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Stephen Covey, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman, FranklinCovey; writer, speaker, and academic
  • Thomas Dine, Principal, The Dine Group; former Executive Director, American Israel Public Affairs Committee
  • Marc Gopin, James H. Laue Professor of World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution; Director, Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
  • Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Shamil Idriss , Chairman of the Board, Soliya
  • Daisy Khan, Executive Director, American Society for Muslim Advancement
  • Derek Kirkland, Advisory Director, Investment Banking Division, Morgan Stanley
  • Richard Land, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention; Member, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Robert Jay Lifton, Lecturer on Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; author of Superpower Syndrome
  • Denis J. Madden, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore; former Associate Secretary General, Catholic Near East Welfare Association
  • John Marks, President and Founder, Search for Common Ground
  • Susan Collin Marks, Senior Vice President, Search for Common Ground; author of Watching the Wind: Conflict Resolution during South Africa’s Transition to Democracy
  • Ingrid Mattson, President, The Islamic Society of North America; Professor of Islamic Studies and Director of Islamic Chaplaincy, and Director, Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Hartford Seminary
  • Sayyeda Mirza-Jafri, Strategic Philanthropy Consultant
  • Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; co-author with John Esposito of Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think
  • Vali Nasr, Professor of International Politics, The Fletcher School, Tufts University; Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Feisal Abdul Rauf, Imam, Masjid al-Farah in New York City; Founder and Chairman, Cordoba Initiative; author of What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America
  • Rob Rehg, President, Washington, DC office, Edelman
  • Dennis Ross, Consultant, Washington Institute for Near East Policy; former U.S. Special Middle East Envoy and Negotiator
  • S. Abdallah Schleifer, Distinguished Professor of Journalism, American University in Cairo; former Washington Bureau Chief, Al Arabiya news channel; former NBC News Cairo bureau chief
  • Jessica Stern, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • Mustapha Tlili, Director, Center for Dialogues: Islamic World-U.S.-The West, New York University
  • William Ury, Co-Founder, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School; co-author of Getting to Yes
  • Vin Weber, Managing Partner, Clark and Weinstock; Chairman, National Endowment for Democracy; former U.S. Representative
  • Daniel Yankelovich, Founder and Chairman, Public Agenda; author
  • Ahmed Younis, Senior Analyst, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; former National Director, Muslim Public Affairs Committee
  • Dov S. Zakheim, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton; former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)

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