FOX News: Ahmed Rehab Debates Whether America is Islamophobic
Ahmed Rehab debates guests on Fox Business' Money Rocks regarding the rise of Islamophobia in America as seen by recent attacks against several mosques. Rehab and conservative commentator Bo Dietel also debate the merits of building a mosque in lower Manhattan, near Ground Zero. See transcript below
Watch Ahmed Rehab's previous FOX Business interview HERE
ERIC BOLLING, HOST: I'm Eric Bolling. Welcome to MONEY ROCKS. Joining me today in all-star, all-star panel, Bo Dietl, founder of Beau Dietl & Associates, former Wall Street trader Ross Mandell and attorneys Ron Kuby and Joey Jackson. Hey, you're back.
ROSS MANDELL, WALL STREET TRADER: I am back a few nights.
BOLLING: Dietl, we got a big show for you tonight. A special, a special guest for you later on. He wants to talk to you.
BO DIETL, FOUNDER OF BEAU DIETL & ASSOCIATES: Yeah let him talk to me. I've cleaned up my 9 mm. I'm ready.
RON KUBY, ATTORNEY: He's ready.
BOLLING: He's not the one --
KUBY: America travels.
BOLLING: He's not the one I'm talking about, Bo.
DIETL: You know what, at any time I can lose my mind, just remember that.
BOLLING: That train has left the station. Ladies and gentlemen, Joey Jackson, first time on the show, sir.
JOEY JACKSON, ATTORNEY: Thanks for joining me.
BOLLING: Have some fun today, all right? Ready to talk about everything, right?
JACKSON: Ready. Let's go play some baseball.
KUBY: I'm just saying.
BOLLING: By the way, feel free to jump in. If you don't, Bo will jump in for you, right? All right. Here on MONEY ROCKS we rule out corruption, violence in the public… violating the public trust, giving the voice and will of the people like this Quinnipiac poll released. This week, 71 percent of the New York state voters think the group behind the Ground Zero mosque should voluntarily move it someplace else.
That's just New Yorkers, you might say, but a recent CBS news poll says that very same percentage, 71 percent of adults nationwide think it's inappropriate to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center.
Joining us now is Ahmed Rehab, he's the executive director of CAIR Chicago. Sir, go ahead. You know, a lot of people said, hey, what happens in New York, stays in New York, but apparently, 71 percent of adults across all, you know, culture men, women, cultures, ethnicities, religions, say move the mosque not because -- supposed to be moved legally because they should just move it.
AHMED REHAB, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: You know, if 71 percent of the public votes to put Muslims in internment camps, it doesn't mean that we should. The problem with having a poll that is going to poll the emotions of people is that it doesn't make a rational or logical argument necessarily. There has still been no reason given, any good reason given why a mosque, or a center, that's really what it is, being built two blocks away from Ground Zero --
BOLLING: Mr. Rehab, by 45-31 percent margin New York state voters said they generally have favorable opinion of Islam. 24 percent are undecided. So, it's not a question of favorability towards Islam. Just move the mosque. Hold on. Let me bring in Mr. Bo Dietl. Bo, you want to comment on this argument.
DIETL: Well, you know, I think keep missing the issue. The issue here is hallowed ground. It's hallowed ground. They're talking about now putting gambling casino in Pennsylvania near Gettysburg. We shouldn't be doing this. People died. 3,000 Americans. Families are there. I've been there. I've seen how close it is. It's down the block. What about the respect for the children?
REHAB: You're still not making -- you're still not making an argument.
DIETL: What's wrong with that argument?
REHAB: That's why building and Islamic Center there would not make it hallowed ground. I agree it's hallowed ground. How does that change if an Islamic Center is built there?
DIETL: You don't push it to people's faces that would have a --
KUBY: What are you pushing?
KUBY: First of all --
DIETL: No, no, no, not because they are Muslims, but the fact that people died there and just happened to be that the 20 hijackers were Muslim, OK?
KUBY: OK. So, so, right
REHAB: Muslims died on 9/11 as well.
REHAB: Muslims died amongst the 3,000 as well.
DIETL: Right. But the people feelings of New York have to be at issue here with children that they lost, and you're going to tell a parent, it's a case of sensitivity.
REHAB: OK. Let me be very clear here. There's a campaign of misinformation. People are reacting to it. What you're asking me to be is to be sensitive to people's misinformation about reality. Muslims did not commit 9/11. Al Qaeda did.
BOLLING: Hold on, Ross.
DIETL: I tell you right now, under your Sharia law, the part of the Muslim area that I'm talking about which is under the Muslim religion, the constitution of the Koran when you can stone women…
REHAB: Bo, you don’t know a thing or two about Sharia law.
DIETL: …who are 18 years old to death for kissing a guy.
REHAB: You're not experts. You're not even knowledgeable on Sharia law.
DIETL: You got some kind of strange things in your mind there --
BOLLING: Hold on, guys.
REHAB: You can't even pronounce the word Sharia.
DIETL: You know what I really don't want to pronounce the word --
DIETL: No, no, it ain't graceful when you see a young girl being stoned to death and there's a religion in back of it. That's pisses me off.
BOLLING: Hold on, guys. We have the whole block to discuss this, guys. Hang in there. Earlier this week, details started to leak about the criminal past of Ground Zero mosque developer, Sharif El-Gamal, WNYWs Lisa Evers has the story. Take a listen.
SHARIF EL-GAMAL, DEVELOPER OF GROUND ZERO MOSQUE: It matched the needs of my community. It matched the needs of my Muslim brothers and sisters, my Christian brothers and sisters, my Jewish brothers and sisters, who live and work in Lower Manhattan.
LISA EVERS, WNYW (VOICE-OVER): That's what Sharif El-Gamal told CBS's "60 Minutes" about the Ground Zero mosque. We learned he's racked up an arrest record. In 1990, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, in 1992, driving while intoxicated, 1993, petty larceny, in 1994, an arrest for patronizing a prostitute, but he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, then in 1998 and 1999, two more disorderly conduct charges.
He now says I regret many things that I did in my youth. I have not always led a perfect life. My faith teaches me every day about humility. Court papers show that an assault charge was dropped and later settled civilly. El-Gamal paid just over $16,000 to a tenant who charged that he punched him in the face and broke his nose and cheekbone while trying to collect rent.
El-Gamal told police, I don't know how he got hurt. Maybe he ran into the door or maybe the door hit him when we swung the door open. I didn't hit him. His face could have run into my hand, and about a sudden appearance in the spotlight, El-Gamal insisted never crossed his mind that the location of the mosque would be so controversial.
EL-GAMAL: Because I did not hold myself or my faith accountable for that tragedy.
BOLLING: All right. Mr. Ahmed, his face could have run into my hand. That's what El-Gamal had said that may have happened. Is this guy -- you know, he seemed to go from restaurant host to multimillion-dollar developer overnight. Should we really trust this guy?
REHAB: Well listen, this is not about this guy. This is about the community and this is about the intercultural interfaith efforts that people are attempting to take place in the center in New York. You know, you're talking about this guy's youth. Nobody cares about his personal life.
BOLLING: But --
REHAB: He is not the center, this is not the Sharif El-Gamal Islamic center.
BOLLING: What we do care about is where the money came from. I'm going to bring the panel in guys. Joey, should it matter where the money comes from? Do we have right to know this?
JACKSON: I think we do. There's a couple of things here. First of all, his past. You know what? He could have a criminal record, disorderly conduct, whatever. There are couple issues here, Eric, and here's what they are. Number one, we do have constitution. I respect that wholeheartedly. There is religious freedom in this country. I respect that, establishment clause, pre-exercise clause. Establish you religion, practice whatever you want.
Here's my issue though, my issue is it is hallowed ground now. Not only that, though, I have to defer to the families, the families say no. The families think it is not an appropriate place to build it there. It shouldn't stay there.
REHAB: Don't generalize.
JACKSON: They have lost that, excuse me.
REHAB: You're generalizing it.
JACKSON: The fact is, excuse me one second. There is a poll here. There's nothing about generalization. If you didn't see at the beginning of program --
REHAB: It’s not the families, it’s some families.
JACKSON: Eric, at beginning of the program, right off the polls here, the poll suggested what the majority of people believe. I'm not making any generalization. I am speaking fact.
REHAB: You're not talking about polls now. You're talking about the families.
JACKSON: The fact is that I do not. The families as a majority. This is fact to not want it there.
REHAB: You're not a spokesperson for the families.
JACKSON: And as a result of that, it is --
REHAB: There are some families that are against it, some families that are for it.
JACKSON: It is not incumbent upon me to dictate my values to the families. If they don't want it there, that's good not enough for me.
REHAB: Don't hide behind the families. Don't hide behind the families.
KUBY: I’m sorry… don’t… First of all, there is no united group of families, OK? Because there are so many people who died in 9/11. But even if the majority of family members did not want the mosque there, it wouldn't matter. They don't get to dictate public policy. They don't get to dictate other people's rights. You know, do the victims of child sexual abuse get to dictate where --
DIETL: Counselor under the law of this land is the democracy, and the majority rules.
KUBY: No, no, Bo, we don't --
DIETL: It's a law that majority rules. You're a counselor. You're a lawyer. You know that.
KUBY: Bo, there's a constitution. That's why we don't like take a majority vote like do Jews get to vote this year? Let's see a show of hands? I'm sorry, Jews you lost. We don't do that in America.
JACKSON: We have to be sensitive to what the family's issues are.
KUBY: We don't have to be sensitive.
JACKSON: Of course we do.
BOLLING: Guys, please, please.
DIETL: Does not mean that you should.
BOLLING: Mr. Rehab, go ahead.
REHAB: Do you understand that there were families that lost, that Muslim families lost members on 9/11 as well?
JACKSON: 100 percent.
DIETL: Of course, we all do.
REHAB: OK. So, when you talk about families of the victims, they include, you know, Muslims are part of the diversity of this country, including the diversity of those who died, those who were injured and those who were first-responders on that day. We're part of the American experience. We're not part of al Qaeda. Guess who's side we're on? We're on the side of the United States.
BOLLING: I'm speaking for myself, guys, here. I'm not saying that there should not be a mosque in Lower Manhattan below Canal Street. I'm just saying maybe not in that spot. Not so close. Go ahead, Ross, jump in there.
MANDELL: You know, it was a religious crime. They were killed in the name of Islam. There were all Muslims that commandeered all those planes. I'm not saying you shouldn't have a mosque. God bless America. There should be plenty of religious freedom. Move it a few blocks away.
BOLLING: Hang in there guys everyone wants to jump in. Hold on there. So, if New York City comptroller has its way, the Big Apple could be stepping up to offer up to $70 million in public bonds to help build the Ground Zero mosque. That makes us want to know who's going to buy the $70 million worth of these bonds if this gets built. I did some investigating into this, Mr. Rehab. Here's how it works.
The city will back the bonds. The bonds will still be sold by whoever sells them on behalf of the mosque, but here's the issue. The tax money that the city would receive from profits on those bonds or the interest rates on those bonds will go bye-bye. My point if it's 71 percent of the people in the city, 71 percent of the people in this state and also 71 percent of the people in America, say, move the mosque, should we really forego all that tax money? Why should we do that, sir?
REHAB: You keep talking about 71 percent.
BOLLING: It's the same number.
REHAB: Let me ask you a direct question, do you believe that Muslims are collectively guilty for the crime of 9/11?
JACKSON: Not at all.
KUBY: Then why can't build the mosque?
REHAB: Why cant they build a center in the city which they live, work and worship? Why can't they build a center even if it's two blocks away from Ground Zero? What's the connection between them and what happened on that date? They’re not an extension of Al Qaeda.
DIETL: I apologize for getting so emotional. I was there that day when those towers came down. It is a graveyard because the bodies of 3,000 people were pulverized.
REHAB: We understand that.
DIETL: When those towers came down. Please, let me finish. When I make the mistake --
REHAB: You're not the only one that was there, by the way.
DIETL: When I make the mistake of calling Sharia law, Sharia law -- I make a mistake about it, but you're a Muslim. Will you stand here tonight and renounce that law of what they do to young women? Will you renounce it as human being, as a Muslim? Let me hear you renounce that part of your law right now. I'll have more respect for you, about the law, about stoning women. Tell me about that, sir.
KUBY: Let him talk.
REHAB: I'll have respect for you if instead of cleaning your 9 mm, you clean your mind and actually understand what Sharia law really means.
BOLLING: Mr. Rehab, tell us this, tell us what you think Sharia law is. Should Sharia law be allowed to be practiced in the mosque or Lower Manhattan, in the area, or not at all?
REHAB: When I, as a Muslim, refrain from eating pork, I'm practicing Sharia law. When I get married, I'm practicing Sharia law. When I divide my will amongst, you know, my relatives --
BOLLING: Sir, what is the proper punishment for someone who is caught stealing something then?
REHAB: Well, you know, it's not chopping of hands because you need to have witnesses. And Sharia law --
KUBY: Could we please, just -- take a look.
REHAB: Those individuals who misapply Sharia law and commit crimes against humanity including, you know, marrying underage girls which I considered to be a crime or including --
BOLLING: Punishable by what, sir? Punishable by what, sir?
REHAB: That's not Sharia law. I'm against that.
BOLLING: Is adultery punishable by the stoning yes or no?
REHAB: You need four witnesses.
BOLLING: All right. So, you got the four witnesses. Hold on. Allow me to do this.
REHAB: It's a living process.
BOLLING: Please, allow me to ask you this question. With four witnesses, sir, with four witnesses, do the adulterous couple, should they be stoned?
REHAB: No. It depends who you're talking to. Sharia law is a very complex law. Different scholars approach it differently. It's Interpretive.
BOLLING: Ron, do you understand what I’m getting at? You’re shaking your head like you think I shouldn't go there.
KUBY: I do and here's the problem. If anybody studies any religious law, take a look for example a Judaism at 613 commandments in Leviticus, if my daughter curses me, for example, I'm required under Leviticus to personally put her to death. Now, that's a religious law. Now, I don't do that. I would cut off her telephone because we live in Democratic society.
BOLLING: Didn't this happen a couple of weeks ago, Bo?
DIETL: I mean, what we're talking about here --
DIETL: What we're talking about here is the denouncing of the extremist Muslims and that's what I'm standing about. Personally, my 9 mm at hollow points to shoot it because if I hit one of the terrorists and I get to the 72 virgins.
JACKSON: Listen, Eric, this is not about indicting any particular religion. I don't want to indict anybody.
KUBY: Sounds like it, though. It sure has that indicted kind of feel to it.
JACKSON: But at end of the day what has to happen is common sense has to prevail. If there is a mood that it should not go there, should not belong there, this is not a discussion about it not being developed and that Muslims cannot practice their religion. They certainly can. I worship with you, but the problem is is that this is a particular area which is deemed to be sacred, and it should be moved to another location.
KUBY: And if people don't want to make the argument, for example, just because they're not real comfortable, you should respect that and go some place where you're more wanted, is that it?
JACKSON: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
BOLLING: We're going to have to leave it there, guys. We have a lot more to the show. When we come back, is America Islamophobic? Our brother Americans show their true stripes in the heartland. More MONEY ROCKS in about a minute.
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JOHN DON (ph), WCTZ (voice-over): After months of heated debate and vocal protests, a call for calm in Murfreesboro.
CLAIRE ROGERS, VIGIL PARTICIPANT: Things have escalated to a point where many of our community members simply don't feel safe.
DON: The group, middle Tennesseans for religious freedom organized this vigil in hopes of quieting what has been a turbulent few days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't understand it. I just do not understand it
DON: The ATF is now investigating what they're calling a suspected arson at construction site of Murfreesboro's new mosque. A large truck was burned in the incident, and witnesses believe other vehicles were also targeted.
BARBARA KIBRO, VIGIL PARTICIPANT: I felt so sorry for the, the people that are just trying to build a place to go.
JIMMY DEANE, VIGIL PARTICIPANT: If we have tolerance within our community for this issue then it wouldn't be happening, you know. It's not that hard of a thing to do. Just accept each other for who we are and let it be.
DON: The group gathers by candlelight outside the Rutherford County courthouse calling for non-violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know anything.
DON: But even this event was attended by people who don't want the mosque, the spokesperson for the Islamic center of Murfreesboro tells us local Muslims are frightened but still encouraged by an event like this.
CAMIE AYASH, ISLAMIC CENTER OF MURFEESBORO: The amount of supporters that turn out and give us their support, it really shows what a great place Murfreesboro is.
DON: And while investigators are not calling the suspected arson terrorism or a hate crime, Camie Ayash believes it's clear.
AYASH: Then I feel that is some type of hate crime. You know, whether it has to do with religion or just someone being hateful, I feel personally that's a hate crime.
DON: The tensions are certainly high in Murfreesboro, but leaders on both sides of the mosque controversy tell Fox 17 news, violence has no place in this debate.
BOLLING: Protest at the Ground Zero mosque, and people upset about Murfreesboro mosque, is America Islamophobic? Let's welcome back from Chicago, Ahmed Rehab from the council on America-Islamic relations. Sir, go ahead, is America Islamophobic?
REHAB: I think America has an Islamophobia problem and it's on the rise. I'm glad to see the segment, and what really tells us is that the conflict is not between Muslims and non-Muslims but rather between level- minded Americans that believe in pluralism of this country and scare mongers on the other hand. You know, on your show, not too long ago, you were holding up diagrams of this very same mosque that was attacked, you know, by this arsonist and you're pointing at different aspects of the land as if it was some battlefield. And I think you can't detach this kind of historical frenzy that is on the media airwaves and people reacting violently on the ground. You have to be careful about how you talk about these issues so as not to incite the ignorant.
BOLLING: OK. Just in defense of our show, we were pointing out the Murfreesboro mosque and the proximity to -- I believe there's a church very nearby. That's all we were doing. But, Bo, are you Islamophobic?
DIETL: No. You know what scares me is, honestly, scares me is the right-wing nuts that are going to watch the TV, and they're going to react and do stupid things like set mosques on fire, which I'm totally against. People have the right to religion.
REHAB: I appreciate that, Bo. Thank you.
DIETL: But my point is, trying to segregate before, I didn't mean to be mean to you, but trying to segregate before where the sound Muslims, the people who believe in love fairly, what we believe --
BOLLING: Bo, let me ask you --
DIETL: Why don’t they step up and denounce these garbage cans?
BOLLING: Bo, talk to me here. Bo, so, it's OK in Murfreesboro but it's not OK at Ground Zero?
DIETL: It's a little different as far as I'm concerned. This is, like I said, a graveyard down there. Murfeysburs there, I'll be honest with you, wherever it is, to me, I don't have any problem with a mosque going down there.
KUBY: You know what, we can only do this for so many months portraying Muslims as terrorists, ask questions without any basis whatsoever, but insinuating telling, and where do they get their money? We want to know. You can only hold so many signs that have the word Sharia written in blood letters before some three-eyed cousin fornicator in Murfreesboro decides to take gasoline to a truck.
BOLLING: Hold on. Joey, here's the difference, I mean, Mr. Rehab talked about Murfreesboro. We have this picture right here as well. David, you take this one right here. Here's the Ground Zero. It's a little different than the Murfreesboro picture. Murfreesboro is a nice little, you know, diagram of what was going to go there. This is a real shot. This is five days after 9/11 happened. Right there. There is the ash. There is proposed mosque. A lot of death, a lot of destruction in the area, a little different, though, a little emotional.
REHAB: Guys, why are we singling out the mosque? I mean, there is a strip bar in that very same proximity. There is a Deli. There are churches and synagogues. Why is the mosque the one that has a red dot on it. Why is that the problem?
JACKSON: I don’t think we’re, no one’s singling out a mosque in particular. I don't think this is about strip bars or anything else. It's about religious freedom.
REHAB: But you are singling out the mosque.
JACKSON: OK. It's about religious freedom. It's about the ability to practice that. Now, the question was about Islamophobic. I think we should be a society which respects religion, respects the differences that people have amongst religions and can get together. You know, Rodney King said once upon a time, can't we all just get along”. That's what we should all practice.
I think, and just Mr. Rehab, in deference to you and I respect completely your point of view in what you're trying to say, I'm just saying at this particular time, there are intense emotions. There are major wounds. I don't think salt should be added.
BOLLING: Go ahead, Ross, you want to jump in.
MANDELL: Yes. I think it's about sensitivities, as we said. Just because you can doesn't mean that you should. And I think that everybody better wake up and be sensitive to the sensitivities of the 71 percent that are against it or things that are happening in Tennessee might just become the norm rather than the exception.
KUBY: I find that, I find that statement sort of deeply troubling, that unless people --
MANDELL: Of course you do.
KUBY: Surrender their rights and are allowed to be bullied by the majority, that the consequence will be more physical attacks? That's what you're predicting? And you think that's an American --
MANDELL: I live in the real world. The real world dictates these things.
KUBY: No you don't. No you don't live in the real world.
DIETL: Ron, how beautiful would it be for that imam to have a press conference say, we respect the Americans that were killed on 9/11. We are going to put a mosque up, a big beautiful cultural center mosque, but we will respect the people of that area, and we'll make one nearby, and we respect them, and we love each other, and we love America.
BOLLING: Mr. Rehab, we're running out of time. Last word, sir, go ahead.
REHAB: OK. Let's just zoom out for a second. There are two groups here. One that believes that Islam is at war with America and vice versa, that's al Qaeda. They're violent. They're against us. The other group led by people like this imam are trying to erect a place of dialogue, understanding. He is going to have a memorial for the victims of 9/11 in that very center. This whole project is about talking to fellow Americans about our collective faith as Americans under the constitution. This is a pro-American initiative.
BOLLING: And we're going to leave it right there. Thank you very much Ahmed Rehab for joining us today.
All right. So, remember these snoozers? Well, they're at it again. More abuse in one of -- actually, the America's biggest public transportation system. You don't want to miss this.