August 13, 2002

Ibish on CNN's Crossfire talks about teaching Islam

Paul Begala, Tucker Carlson, Hussein Ibish, Joe Glover

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We are coming to you as always from George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C.

Down at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, they're trying to raise Islam awareness by requiring all 3,500 incoming freshmen to read a book called "Approaching the Koran, the Early Revelations." The assignment has sparked a lawsuit by the Family Policy Network, which says the book is a one-sided presentation. It leaves out passages terrorists use to justify their attacks. Stepping into CROSSFIRE, Hussein Ibish, communications director for the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and in Lynchburg, Virginia is the man behind the lawsuit, Joe Glover of the Family Policy Network.

BEGALA: Hello, Mr. Glover. Welcome to CROSSFIRE. I thank you for joining us. There you are.

I want to first sort of get you on record in one of the great debates on the American right today. On the one side is the son of Billy Graham. Billy Graham, one of the great legends of the American faith community. His son, Franklin Graham, one of the great losers. He said Islam is, and I quote, "wicked" and "violent." That's one side. Islam is wicked and violent. On the other side, here's our president. I want to play a piece of videotape from President George W. Bush, and here's what he says about Islam.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We share a commitment to family, to protect and love our children. We share a belief in God's justice and man's moral responsibility. And we share the same hope for a future of peace. We have much in common and much to learn from one another.


BEGALA: Mr. Glover I think Reverend Graham is all wet and I think our president is all right. With whom do you agree?

JOE GLOVER, FAMILY POLICY NETWORK: Well, I would say that in order to understand what Islam really teaches, you'd have to look at the final authority, and that would be the Koran itself. The question of whether or not Islam is a religion of peace or a violent religion can be answered in the pages of the Koran. One of our concerns with this fight at the University of North Carolina is they've selected a book that leaves out surahs four, five and nine from the Koran, which is where you're going to find all the hate and bigotry, all that is replete in the Koran, against Christians and Jews.

BEGALA: But with respect, I'd like you to answer the question, though. I want you to tell me as a conservative and a pro-family leader that you t