KELLY FILE

Muslim advocates heighten concern over 9/11 museum film

Documentary's reference to Islam sparks outrage

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," May 13, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER"/HBO)

DINESH D'SOUZA, FILMMAKER: There's a civil war in the mind of the liberal. On the one hand, you have the defense --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We're right here, dude.

D'SOUZA: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

On one hand you're defender of individual rights and if this were --

BILL MAHER, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: And minorities.

D'SOUZA: Right. And minorities, if the Catholic Church, you'd be all on it.

MAHER: Right.

D'SOUZA: But on the other hand, you're committed to multiculturalism and Islam is the victim and we don't want to make the Muslims feel bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHANNON BREAM, GUEST HOST: That was Bill Maher and Dinesh D'Souza last Friday talking about western society and radical Islam. A debate that's playing out also in the run up to the opening of the 9/11 memorial museum next week. The museum under enormous pressure to remove the terms "Islamist extremis"t and" Jihadism" from a brief seven minute film about the 9/11 attack.

Joining us tonight, Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative commentator and creator of the upcoming film "America," and Harris Zafar is the national spokesperson and director of Youth Outreach for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA and we're going to start with Mr. Zafar. Welcome to you both.

HARRIS ZAFAR, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON FOR AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY: Thank you so much.

BREAM: All right. Mr. Zafar, what are your specific objections? Do you know enough about the museum, about the film, about the concerns that have been raised?

ZAFAR: Yes, yes I do. I begin by saying that 9/11 is an integral part of the U.S. history and we wholeheartedly agree on the need to accurately capture what happened that day. And that's what the purpose of this museum is. And even mentioning Al Qaeda is no problem at all, because in fact, they should be identified in their role on that awful day. What gives Muslims including us pause -- as well as non-Muslims including given the museum's own interfaith advisory group -- is when acts are used or labeled as Islamic or they're referred to by Islamic such as "Jihad" because the use of those terms implies that this terrorism, the violence and the murder are consistent with the teachings of Islam. So, there's not a sufficient amount of nuance applied when these terms are used.

So, all we're asking for is that the 9/11 museum use language of then-President George W. Bush, who was very clear that there's nothing Islamic about what happened on 9/11.

BREAM: Well there is a difference, obviously in using the word "Islamic" and "Islamist extremists." Those are different phrases. And, you know, the folks of the museum say they are aware of this concern. They've tried very hard to make sure that everybody is accommodated but without sacrificing the historical content.

I want to read a little bit of the film. It's not been released. But we have a little bit of the narration which is done by Brian Williams. Part of it says, "The program tracks Al Qaeda's embrace of violence and the decision of its leadership to commit mass murder at the dawn of the 21st century." There are other portions though that do identify this as a Jihad and use the words "Islamist extremists." Are you OK with that phrase?

ZAFAR: Well --

BREAM: Do you think it's accurate?

ZAFAR: Well, it's not in the way that it's being used. And in my new book "Demystifying Islam : Tackling the Tough Questions," I have an entire chapter dedicated to Jihad. So, I'm absolutely -- I strongly agree that there are people who commit these atrocious acts that hide behind this name of Jihad. But by claiming that this is Jihad -- which is not the true meaning of the word Jihad -- what you're doing is, you're alienating those people that can help resolve this issue, which are Muslims.

I know many Americans, including yourself Shannon, and your viewers want to see the moderates fight the extremists but it's very difficult for us to do that job if the faith that we cherish is being conflated with extremism.

So, that's what we want to do is explain that you can't just say that what they are doing is committing Jihad. Because what I'm doing on this television screen right now is Jihad, it's that struggle to do good and also defend what the true teachings of Islam are.

So, all we want to do is give an opportunity for the true, authentic documented teachings of Islam to defeat this hatred ideology that the cowards are hiding behind.

BREAM: All right. Mr. Zafar, thank you very much for your time, we appreciate it.

I want to turn out to Dinesh D'Souza, conservative commentator and creator of that film that we mentioned, upcoming film "America."

All right. Mr. D'Souza, how do you respond to that? Is there a way to parse these words? Should the museum be more sensitive to the concerns that folks like Mr. Zafar have?

D'SOUZA: Well, I certainly think it's important not to give the idea that all Muslims commit terrorism or condone terrorism. Seems like the museum isn't doing anything like that. Now, there is a fact about our modern world, and that's while most terrorists -- while most Muslims are not terrorists, the vast majority of terrorist acts that happen these days do occur in the Muslim world or in the name of Islam.

Now the terrorists who did 9/11 said they were doing it in the name of Islam. So it becomes a little weird for us to then say no you're not, you actually have other motives, you're outlaws or you have some other -- these are very pious Muslims who did what they did in the name of Jihad.

Now, there are different types of Jihad, but the predominant type of Jihad historically has in fact been holy war -- Muslims conducting if you will violence, very often to spread the faith. And this is-in fact, something that is gone back to Islam to the seventh century.

BREAM: How worried are you about the issue of political correctness as we try to responsibly identify those who are behind these acts of terrorism accurately when, you know, we see that certain manuals and government publications are scrubbed of certain words. I mean, can we go after things and target the right people if we're afraid of using certain words?

D'SOUZA: So try to imagine these events of 9/11 if you can't use the word terrorism -- which of course the Obama administration has backed away from -- you can't use the word Islam or Muslim and you can't use the word Jihad. You're rendered almost mute and you have to make up a new vocabulary.

So, I think what's going on here is the most liberal force in the world which is radical Islam is now being protected in the name of liberalism. These interfaith alliances have all gotten together and they're essentially demanding a certain kind of control over the vocabulary and the understanding of the events. And I don't think that shouldn't be conceded them because what they are really objecting is not that the 9/11 guys are getting things wrong, they are actually objecting to what they are getting right.

BREAM: All right. Mr. D'Souza, thank you for joining us. We appreciate your time.

D'SOUZA: Thank you.

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