God’s Muslim Warriors

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Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe, and tension between Muslim and Western cultures is also growing.

Geneive Abdo, author of Mecca and Main Street, says that since 9/11, a majority of U.S. Muslims report feeling targeted by the government and ordinary citizens for suspicion of terrorism.

In London, Amanpour speaks with Ed Husain, a young Muslim who now describes himself as having been radicalized as a youth to accept an extremist Islamist ideology – seeking to return peace to the world through a restoration of a governing caliphate.

Similarly radicalized young British Muslims are responsible for the July 7, 2005, bombings of the London Underground subway system, and the recent attacks on the Glasgow Airport in Scotland.

God’s Muslim Warriors was filmed in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Iran, Israel, the Netherlands and the United States.

Featured individuals

Geneive Abdo is the author of several books, including Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11, the culmination of her spending the last few years visiting Muslim communities within the United States.

Davoud Abdolhadi fought and was wounded in the Iran-Iraq war as a teenager.

Mohammed Mahdi Akef is the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia, became a Dutch citizen and, in 2003, was elected to the Dutch parliament. She is outspoken about the treatment of Muslim women and caused heated debate within the Muslim community because of her short film, Submission, in which verses of the Koran are projected onto the bodies of naked women. Hirsi Ali now lives in the United States and works for the American Enterprise Institute.

Yahya Alimirzai is a bus driver in Iran who directs a passion play about the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Mohammed and the holiest figure in the Shiite branch of Islam.

Karen Armstrong is a former nun who is now a religious historian and the author of books including The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism.

Malika el Aroud is a strong supporter of Osama bin Laden and his cause. She is the widow of an al Qaeda suicide bomber who bin Laden chose for an ‘important’ mission.

Mahfouz Azzam is the uncle of Ayaman al Zawahari, the second-ranking leader in al Qaeda. He was also a student of Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian whose works laid the foundation for the modern jihad movement.

Khalid Batarfi was friends with Osama bin Laden as a teenager and was his neighbor in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Rafat Bayat is a member of the Iranian parliament. She tried to run for the office of president of Iran, but clerics blocked her candidacy.

Peter Bergen is CNN’s terrorism analyst and the author of The Osama bin Laden I Know. In 1997, he was a CNN producer for Osama bin Laden’s first-ever TV interview with CNN.

Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer and Iran’s first female judge. After the revolution, she was removed from the bench by the ayatollahs. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work for women’s rights.

Massoumeh Ebtekar was the spokesperson for the students who stormed the American embassy in Iran and took hostages in 1979. She later became Iran’s first female vice president.

Prince Turki al Faisal is the former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, and the former Saudi ambassador to the United States. In the mid-1980s, he was responsible for funneling Saudi funds to the mujahideen in Afghanistan.

Amir Fakhar is one of the hundreds of thousands of young Iranians who volunteered to be martyrs during the Iran-Iraq War. He was 13 when he first went to the front, and both of his brothers were killed during the war.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross was born Jewish before he converted to Islam while in college. In his book, My Year Inside Radical Islam, he describes how he spent a year as a radicalized Muslim before leaving the radical world.

Fawaz Gerges holds the Christian A. Johnson chair in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College in New York and the author of numerous books including Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy.

Shadi Ghadirian is an Iranian photographer whose images contain strong messages about the lives of Iranian women.

Anthony Glees is a British professor who explains how Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist movement banned in most Middle Eastern countries but legal in the United Kingdom, recruits and converts people.

Kamal el-Said Habib was part of a paramilitary group that plotted and carried out the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. Though he denies actively taking part in the assassination, he was imprisoned for 10 years and was a part of the first generation of jihadists who wanted Egypt to have an Islamist government.

Jamal Harwood is the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain, an Islamist movement banned in most Middle Eastern countries but legal in the United Kingdom.

Ed Husain is a Muslim and British citizen who recently published a book, The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left, which traces his road to fanaticism—and why he walked away from it.

Imam Fawaz Jneid heads a mosque in the Hague and has been accused of making radical statements.

Osama Khalek is an entrepreneur, a pilot and the founder of an Egyptian airline who wants the Egyptian government to be based in Islamic Law.

Bruce Lawrence is a religious historian and an author.

Ahmed Marcouch is a Muslim and a member of Amsterdam’s city council. He worries about how to integrate young, devout Muslims into liberal Dutch society and has started a program in his district to try and prevent the radicalization of young Muslims.

Taji Mustafa is a spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist movement banned in most Middle Eastern countries but legal in the United Kingdom. The group’s goal is a worldwide Muslim caliphate ruled by fundamentalist Islamic law.

Hojatolislam Ali Lari, Abdollah Rezaie, Mohamed Rezaie are Deputy Director, Director of Culture and Arts and Magazine editor, respectively, at the Bright Future Institute in Qom, Iran that studies the Hidden Imam and which Christiane visited.

Peter Rodman is a former assistant secretary of state in the Bush administration.

Grand Ayatollah Yusef Saanei is one of the more liberal ayatollahs in Iran and was a protégé of Ayatollah Khomeini. In the 1980s, Saanei served on the first Council of Guardians in Iran and later as Prosecutor General.

Rehan Seyam is an American-born Muslim who lives in New Jersey and is part of a new generation of Muslim-Americans who are embracing their faith.

Yousef Swatat’s family members are Palestinians living in the West Bank. Yousef, along with an accomplice, opened fire at a busy intersection in the Israeli city of Hadera, killing four and wounding dozens before Yousef was shot dead himself. His family talks about their pride in Yousef, saying he became a martyr that day.

Emerson Vermaat is a Dutch lawyer and investigative journalist who has written two books on the Hofstadgroup, a terrorist cell in the Netherlands.

Geert Wilders is a member of the Dutch parliament who proposed a ban on women wearing burqas in the Netherlands because he says that Islam is a violent religion and a threat to the west. He is under 24-hour protection because of threats on his life.

On a personal note …
A few words about the two presentations, yesterday the “Jewish Warriors” and tonight the “Muslim warriors“.

About the “Jewish Warriors” …

I did highly appreciate Christian Amanpour’s professional way of shedding light on the single issues, to explain points which are in MOST cases not even mentioned. Whenever anyone criticizes Jews or actually I should better say Zionists, one is immediately and without any hesitation and second thought called “anti-Semite”, which shows very clearly that the word itself is not understood correctly.

Personally I am strictly AGAINST settlements and found it interesting to learn which lies and betrayals were used by those individuals to START certain settlements … without the Israeli government to react and in fact look the other way. That says a LOT about their real intentions …
I wish the Bush-father government had put the foot down and enforced what James Baker clearly stated .. that America is willing to support Israel IF there’s a hold to settlement policy. Unfortunally the Jewish Lobby managed to do “some distinct convincing” … and consequently the issue was dropped.

To call Islam a “pagan religion” and consequently “satanic” is MORE than outrageous and utterly unacceptable. It is incitement for hatred and I really wonder why Gary Cristofaro, the pastor at the First Assembly Church of God in Melbourne, Fla, can make this statement without even have to THINK of being persecuted!! Everyone else who talks that way has to fear the full brunt of the law … but he – promoting Zionism – seems to be a convenient exception.

History IS written in blood, there’s no doubt about it … definitely not only in the Middle East though there it is made apparent on a daily basis.

I would have LIKED to hear some words about the “Naqba”, about the creation of the state of Israel – something which was not mentioned. It is convenient to say “GOD gave the land”, confiscate the land – and excuse every single action with this statement … I wonder if the same GOD excuses and agrees as well to building a state on the suffering, bones and tears of a people who lived there since peacefully since generations and generations (“A country without people for a people without a country” won’t work anymore – it is widely known it is NOT the truth) without an army nor weapons to defend themselves! I don’t think so …

About the “Muslim Warriors” …

I liked very much the way it was presented, starting with a chronological explanation of the developments of all kind of groups during the last decades. Needless to say I am AGAINST ANY kind of radicalism and violence – in order to be able to discuss though, one has first of all to KNOW and UNDERSTAND! The choice of issues was brilliant – no question.

I would have liked a different ending though. It was my perception that to leave right after mentioning the (in my eyes of course UNACCEPTABLE!) suicide bombings of radical Palestinian groups left a bad aftertaste, presented an incorrect picture of the Palestinian people. I felt it was generalized …

Except the very end, I thoroughly enjoyed the program which Christian Amanopour presents in a most formidable and professional manner and am very much looking forward to tomorrow’s third and last part, “God’s Christian Warriors”!


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