AUDIO: Interfaith movement discussion

Yesterday’s panel discussion titled “Building Bridges, Not Walls: A Conversation on the Interfaith Movement in America Today” was held at the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation convention in Washington, DC.

Moderator: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Panelists: Rabbi David Saperstein, Dr. John Esposito, Farhana Khera and Dawud Walid.

Click to listen.


Questions on Obama’s Afghanistan speech

Last night’s speech shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone.  President Obama’s campaign platform was to decrease troops in Iraq, which he alluded to as being an unjust war to having a troop surge in Afghanistan if he won the election.

Many questions are continuing to be raised regarding his plan, which I believe will not succeed as outlined:

1) Is not the capturing of Al-Qaeda leaders more an exercise of intelligence and surgical operations more than escalation of ground troops?  I mean, we do have satellites that can intercept all phone and radio communications and can take a picture of a penny from outer space.

2) Won’t a troop surge cause fighters to retreat into Pakistan in which our troops will not enter?  And if our troops were to enter Pakistan, wouldn’t this turn Pakistani public opinion MORE against us?  It’s not like Pakistanis trust our actions in the region.

3) Will paying warlords money instead of Karzai’s government bring more stability to Afghanistan and lessen corruption?  Aren’t these the same warlords who are involved in exporting the world’s largest quantities of heroin and opium?

4) Despite the planned “civilian surge” and the warm words about not wanting to be an occupying force, does anyone honestly think that the masses of Afghans will not view us as occupiers with over 150,000 foreign troops on their soil who don’t look like them, don’t speak their languages and don’t practice their religion?

SEE comments below two people in Congress from the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

Black lawmakers hit Obama on Afghanistan surge

Dec. 2, 2009, 3:50 a.m.Some black lawmakers say they oppose President Barack Obama’s plan to send more than 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.Rep. Barbra Lee, who is head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said she is prepared to offer legislation that would halt funding for the surge in troops.

“While I recognize the harsh realities of war and I applaud President Obama for his thorough review of United States Policy in Afghanistan – I must respectfully disagree with the president,” the California Democrat said. “His decision to implement yet another unnecessary and counterproductive escalation of troops in Afghanistan is disappointing.

“We can’t continue to send more troops and expect different results,” she said. Our military is already stretched too thin.Afghanistan needs a political solution — not a military one. Adding more troops won’t change this important fact.”

Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. also apposes Obama’s planned surge in Afghanistan. However, the Illinois Democrat stopped short of saying if he would support Lee’s legislation to cut funding.

“I consider myself one of the president’s men,” Jackson said. “But, I’m deeply skeptical about his plan. I hope and want to be convinced that it will work.

The remarks from Jackson and Lee indicate an even further split between the president and members of the CBC.

The caucus is already withholding support for an overhaul in supervision of the nation’s banks. CBC officials have said that they are concerned about blacks having access to money.

87 members of congress blast anti-Muslim rhetoric

Congressment from the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus released recently released this statement:

Four of our colleagues, Reps. John Shadegg (AZ), Paul Broun (GA), Trent Franks (AZ) and Sue Myrick (NC) recently requested that the House Sergeant at Arms to launch an investigation of the civil rights group CAIR, or Council on American-Islamic Relations, to determine whether it was placing staff and interns in key Congressional offices who they fear are acting as “spies.”

This proposed investigation coincides with the launch of a book by Dave Gaubatz, an anti-Islamic activist and author of the book “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America.” It features an introduction by Rep. Myrick, and was written after Gaubatz posed as an intern at CAIR in an effort to “infiltrate” the group.

These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of “un-American” agitators were identified. We should be affirming the importance of diversity and tolerance for all interns and staff who serve in Congress without suspicion of being identified as “spies.”

The idea that we should investigate Muslim interns as spies is a blow to the very principle of religious freedom that our founding fathers cherished so dearly. If anything, we should be encouraging all Americans to engage in the U.S. political process; to take part in, and to contribute to, the great democratic experiment that is America.

We all have experienced the sting of discrimination and we know that there will be challenges ahead. But our message should be firm that the America we believe in welcomes people of all backgrounds to the U.S. Congress.

We ask these charges be disavowed and we issue a hearty welcome to interns and staff of all creeds, color, ethnicities and sexual orientation.

Walid speaks at historic Congressional Black Caucus program

On panel with Rev. Jesse Jackson

On panel with Rev. Jesse Jackson

Yesterday was a first in American Muslim history when the community participated in its first panel discussion focusing on Muslim – African American interfaith dialogue at a national forum.

“African-American/Muslim-American Dialogue: Building an Interfaith Movement” was yesterday’s panel at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.

Some of the panelists included Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), Mahdi Bray (MAS), Rev. Jesse Jackson and myself.

The panel was sponsored and moderated by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).

Press TV News story:

Audio of panel: