The John Gibson Show
AUDIO: Minnesota Muslim Students Association Defamed in Local Newspaper
JOHN GIBSON: Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR Chicago joins me now. So Ahmed, do you know about this situation with this college in Bloomington, Minnesota?
AHMED REHAB: Well I’ve read the column by Kathryn Kirsten so I know her version of the story.
GIBSON: What’s a… I take it you think the facts are at variance?
REHAB: Yeah I do. I think that her column is total gobbledygook.
I think that she was seeing everything in her own terms rather than as how they were in reality. When we spoke to the students, they vehemently denied the presence of any such posters or literature, and when we spoke to the administrators they couldn’t find any such information in that room either.
It’s not the first time that she has written something that has been disputed by her subjects. As a matter of fact, not just Muslims, but even the archdiocese of St. Paul also said that her last column that quoted the archbishop was also very one sided and bias and that it didn’t include the facts. So, you know, her story telling is in question and I think we need to investigate how she comes up with her stories.
GIBSON: Well I think we need to investigate whether the Islamic students are taking over the meditation room and turning it into a mosque. I mean, do Islamic students accept the presence of people from other religions, particularly Jews and Christians?
REHAB: Of course they do, and they don’t have any authority to take over anything. I mean they…
GIBSON: Well they just do it on their own authority. That’s what happens.
REHAB: Well they’re given access to the room just as everybody else is, and they worship in their own traditional ways just as the Jews and Christians do.
GIBSON: Is there a barrier set up to separate the genders?
REHAB: I don’t know if there is, and even if there was, it’d be temporary and it’d be taken down once their done. Muslims do segregate in prayer but it isn’t something that is imposed upon everybody else that shares this room.
GIBSON: Do Muslims believe that women should speak in such a manner as they are not heard?
REHAB: I don’t know what that means. A woman can speak…
GIBSON: It means whisper to each other and not bother the men in the room.
REHAB: No, Muslims don’t believe that and you don’t get stoned for talking as you were joking earlier. It doesn’t happen. I mean, are you familiar with the concept of Orientalism?
GIBSON: I don’t know exactly what you mean by that.
REHAB: Orientalism, Edward Said had wrote about that, and that is ways in which Western individuals, supposedly scholars or commentators, will look at the Middle East or the Muslim world and see things that aren’t factual but rather things as they want to see them. It’s the tea-sipping, safari hat-wearing, shorts-wearing, binoculars-bearing, you know, “very civilized” white people that came to Africa a century ago, and they came back with stories of savages eating their children.
GIBSON: Nice try Ahmed. We know what’s going on in Minneapolis. We know the cab drivers.
REHAB: I don’t think you do.
GIBSON: Come on Ahmed, look it was from a million different sources. We know what the cab drivers did. We know how vehemently they opposed the rules being imposed on them that they treat everybody the same. That they carry people that carry a bottle of wine or have had a drink, that they take Seeing Eye dogs and the rest of it. And I’ve seen this happen over and over and over in stories out of Minnesota.
So even though you don’t believe this one reporter, this is a general trend. And what happens is, when there is a preponderance of Muslim students in an area they start imposing their rules. And they say these are Islamic rules and you’re going to follow them infidel.
REHAB: You’re following a particular exercise that we call “dishonest journalism.” You are looking at sporadic incidents and tying them together in a larger then life story (CROSSTALK GIBSON: I’m connecting the dots) that doesn’t fit reality.
GIBSON: Well it does fit reality in those places.
REHAB: It doesn’t. These students don’t worship that way. These students don’t have that literature in the room of meditation that is shared by people of other faiths. What next? Is she going to tell us that they have nukes in their basements? I mean come on. This is totally sensational.
GIBSON: Ahmed, you are in complete denial what happens in these schools when there is a sizable population of Muslim students.
REHAB: It’s not called denial if the facts don’t support her accusation. She’s the one who keeps throwing accusations around.
GIBSON: I don’t believe… your making this about her. And it’s not about her.
REHAB: No you’re making this about her.
GIBSON: Its about those Muslim students who think they can take over a room, who think that separating people by gender and telling women who come in that meditation room, “Oh you’ve got to go over to the women’s side now because we’re here and this runs by our rules.”
REHAB: Nice try John. Okay, you are making this about her because you are basing your comments just now on her report. You weren’t there, you didn’t talk to the students, and you didn’t look at facts on the ground. So this is about her. This is about the way she has spun reality (CROSSTALK GIBSON: I don’t believe it) and is lying about facts on the ground.
GIBSON: I don’t believe it, I don’t believe that she’s, I don’t believe she’s lying.
REHAB: Well then go look for yourself.
GIBSON: I may just do that Ahmed. And what I constantly find is whenever there is some criticism of a Muslim student or a Muslim organization, what happens is I call you up, and you say “Oh this Kathryn Kirsten is unreliable. This person lies, this person has an agenda. (CROSSTALK REHAB: Well this is the first time we’ve spoke about Kathryn Kirsten. I mean we haven’t spoken about her before.) You switch it off from the people who are doing what they’re doing, to the reporters reporting what their doing.
REHAB: Well I’m sorry. If you send some polemical pundit to go tell a story – who’s not even a professional journalist – who doesn’t look at the facts and quote people rightly, then I’m sorry I’m going to question their objectivity and the reliability of the report.
GIBSON: Well you’re just sliming the reporter here because you don’t like what she said
REHAB: I’m not the only one. I’m not slimming her (CROSSTALK GIBSON: who else? who else?) I’m asking her to please give us evidence of what she’s reporting.
GIBSON: Who else?
REHAB: The Archbishop of St. Paul also questions her accuracy.
GIBSON: Come on, Ahmed give me a break. She walked in there and saw this. Now 10 minutes later they can take it all down and do something else. But she walked in and saw this and what happens is, when she reports it, or I report it or anybody else, “Oh you don’t know what you’re talking about” says Ahmed.
REHAB: John, every sentence in her report is sensational and out of this world.
GIBSON: The facts she’s reporting are sensational.
REHAB: Oh come on, she’s talking about Muslims believing that we got to wrap women up and they can’t talk, they gotta whisper.
GIBSON: Is there a hijab or not?
REHAB: Hijab is not that. Hijab is first of all a choice for every particular woman. It is not something imposed on anybody.
GIBSON: Oh really? Where was that, where was that story last week? Upstate in…
REHAB: That was in Canada.
GIBSON: In Canada?
REHAB: I just spoke on FOX news in the morning the television show today about it today. It’s interesting how you guys always focus on these stories as representative of Muslims.
GIBSON: Well what are we suppose to do? Ignore them?
REHAB: No, you can talk about them but there’s no need to tie them to the community from which they come.
GIBSON: What are you talking about? Where else would they be tied?
REHAB: Well, when we look at a woman who killed her kids in order to have free time with her boyfriend who happens to be a white Christian. You’re not going to talk to the “arch bishop of white Christians”.
GIBSON: There’s no Christian tenet that says “kill your kids.”
REHAB: There isn’t a Muslim one either. That’s just the point, thank you. There isn’t a Muslim one either.
GIBSON: Excuse me, are you denying the existence of honor killings?
REHAB: I’m not saying… It’s not in the Koran, it’s not Islamic.
GIBSON: Yeah, but the Muslims are the ones who do it.
REHAB: But it’s an aberration and we Muslims find it just as bizarre as you do.
GIBSON: Yeah but you don’t condemn it, you condemn the person who reports it.
REHAB: No, of course we condemn honor killings. There’s no honor in killing. It’s an oxymoron. It’s not an Islamic thing.
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