‘Unauthorized Disclosure’ – Episode 25: Malik Mujahid on Muslim Ban, Rania Khalek In Syria
Host Kevin Gosztola welcomes Abdul Malik Mujahid, imam and founder of Sound Vision, who is based in Chicago. He also is an executive producer for the daily Radio Islam program on WCEV 1450 AM.
Mujahid warns the Supreme Court’s supposed benevolence toward American Muslims over the issue of “bona fide relationships,” will not necessarily guarantee innocent people are exempt from President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. Whether Muslims are treated decently depends on who is patrolling borders or working airport security.
The “sad part” of the Supreme Court’s decision to offer a “fig leaf” to the Trump administration is that it may be codifying the explicit targeting of Muslims by government, Mujahid argues. There were laws that allowed for secret evidence or indefinite detention without trial, however, neither specifically singled out Muslims or citizens from Muslim countries.
Mujahid has been involved putting up billboards that say, “ISIS Sucks,” to challenge the misperception that Muslims condone violence by the Islamic State.
Asked about the burden placed on Muslims to condemn terrorism all the time, as if they are somehow responsible, Mujahid responds,”Condemning terrorism has become a sixth pillar of Islam. We have to do it six times a day. But still nobody’s listening to that because it has been accepted by and large, thanks to [an] extraordinary effort by Islamophobes, with a $250 million hate machine behind that, promoted by a billion dollar operation like Fox and affiliated entities.”
Later in the interview, when addressing the refugee crisis, Mujahid asserts, “Who is producing these refugee? Where are these refugees coming from? Who is bombing them? Why are they bombing them? There were no suicide bombings in the Muslim world until America bombed Iraq and occupied it. None.”
“War, terrorism, and dehumanization of people, which is Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, they’re all connected phenomena. So it’s a cycle,” and, “You can’t eliminate terrorism without eliminating warfare.”
We also talk about Abdul El-Sayed, a Muslim who is running for governor in Michigan, and why Mujahid has donated and enthusiastically supports his campaign.
During the discussion part of the episode, Rania Khalek does the show from Syria. She describes how Syrians really enjoy HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and why.
“There’s an extreme level of violence in the show. There’s a lot of escapism here, especially in Damascus,” Khalek suggests. “People watch a lot of TV shows that we watch. They binge watch what we do, and they also try and go out a lot and enjoy themselves as much as they can because they’re surrounded by war. They’re surrounded by al Qaida and ISIS and all these kinds of groups.”
Shelling and warfare from al Qaida is unfolding no more than 100 meters away. That is always happening in the background near Damascus.
“When there’s war around you, you just kind of try and enjoy life as much as possible, and so ‘Game of Thrones’ is a part of that entertainment that people seek out and kind of escapism. And also … people really do relate to it in a unique way. They really do feel like they are surrounded by zombies who want to devour them. Just outside of the wall, like al Qaida and ISIS zombies.”
In fact, according to Khalek, Syrians are reminded of the Islamic State when they see the White Walkers.
The show’s hosts get into the anger over Trump reportedly ending a CIA program to arm the rebels in Syria. Khalek points out President Barack Obama adopted a policy of curtailing the flow of weapons because “al Qaida-dominated rebels were losing very, very badly.” Trump is somewhat continuing a policy.
“It’s amazing the amount of people who are so upset by it. You’ve got people whining, like David Axelrod is whining and complaining. Like we’re not going to fund al Qaida anymore and now it’s going to help Russia. First of all, if the only way for you to hurt Russia is to arm al Qaida, then you’re on the wrong side,” Khalek declares.
The episode runs a bit longer than normal, but we get into a critical and important discussion of the left and the lack of clear opposition to what right wing forces are doing to Venezuela.
To listen to the entire episode, click the above player or go here.