TRANSCRIPT OF CAIR REP ON MSNBC’S ‘TUCKER’ – TOP
Host: Tucker Carlson, 10/26/06
It looks like the Democrats’ midterm election momentum may have reached the Muslim community. A poll of Muslim voters by the Council on American- Islamic Relations found 42 percent were Democrats, 17 percent Republicans. Twenty-eight percent, meanwhile, had no party affiliation.
So what is the appeal of the Democratic Party for American-Muslims?
Joining me now from Washington to answer that question, Ibrahim Hooper. He’s director of communications for CAIR. That would be the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Ibrahim Hooper, thanks for joining us.
IBRAHIM HOOPER, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: I’m a little confused by these numbers, considering, as far as I understand it, most American-Muslims are strikingly conservative on a lot of social issues. They are not enthusiastically for abortion. They are definitely not for gay marriage.
Why would they be backing the Democrats?
HOOPER: Well, it’s not necessarily backing the Democrats. I think you saw in 2000 that Muslim — the Muslim community generally backed Bush at that time.
Muslims tend to be issue-driven. If a candidate supports the issues they are concerned about, if — they will back them.
We see Iraq being a problem. A vast majority of American-Muslims are against our policy in Iraq. A vast majority of American-Muslims want engagement with Iran, some kind of negotiated solution to the Iran situation.
So when you look at the issues that are currently being focused on, that’s what Muslims are going for. Back in 2000, it was secret evidence and other things. The candidate, Bush, at that time was against secret evidence, surprisingly enough.
CARLSON: Would you say — back to something you said that I wasn’t aware of, you said the vast majority of American-Muslims would like to see a negotiated solution, I guess, to the (INAUDIBLE) in progress with Iran.
HOOPER: Iran, yes.
CARLSON: With Iran. Would you say that most American-Muslims are horrified by the thought that Iran might possess nuclear weapons or not?
HOOPER: No, I think they are horrified by the results of our invasion of Iraq, and they don’t want to see a repeat performance in Iran.
CARLSON: But how do they feel — wait, hold on.
HOOPER: That’s probably in line with the majority of Americans of all faiths.
CARLSON: Maybe. But to the very specific question, the question that could be causing another invasion, in this case of Iran, the idea that Iran may get nuclear weapons, you know, that’s considered by most Americans to be really kind of unthinkable. Do you think most American-Muslims think it’s unthinkable, shocking, wrong, horrible, scary?
HOOPER: We didn’t ask that question. All we asked was about…
HOOPER: … whether we should have engagement with him. Perhaps in another poll we can ask that question.
CARLSON: Do you think it’s true that — you know, polls have shown worldwide the overwhelming majority of Muslims asked in other countries believe the invasion of Iraq was intentionally anti-Muslim, the U.S. government did this because it has a problem with Muslims and wants to punish Muslims.
HOOPER: Well, you can maybe extrapolate from the question we did ask was, “Are you afraid that the war on terror is becoming a war on Islam?” And a majority of American-Muslims said they are afraid that is the case.
CARLSON: That the U.S. government is targeting the religion of Islam?
HOOPER: No, they said, “Are you afraid that that is what’s happening?” And many people said, yes, they are afraid that’s what’s happening.
CARLSON: I’m just wondering what that — I mean, does that mean, this is becoming a war on Islam? That the U.S. government, which is the only…
HOOPER: Well, for instance, look at what has happened in the last couple of days. In the last couple of days, we have had respected Muslim leaders who wanted to come to this country to engage in religious activities barred from entry. Two South African religious leaders from the Muslim community in South Africa barred from the country, treated disrespectfully, and put on a plane out of the country.
CARLSON: Is there a recognition — OK, I think the average person in this country — in fact, I’m certain of it — if asked this question, “Are Muslims more likely to commit acts of terror than members of other faiths?” would answer yes. Do you think that the average American-Muslim would answer yes to that question?
And what do you think?
HOOPER: No. Obviously, Muslims don’t believe that Islam is inherently violent.
CARLSON: No, I’m not saying that. That’s — hold on. Slow down. I’m not suggesting now, nor do I think or have I ever suggested it.
Islam is not inherently violent. I’m not saying it is. I’m saying…
HOOPER: Is there a growing anti-Muslim bias in this country? Yes, unfortunately.
CARLSON: No, that’s not the — I’m asking — I’m asking a question about reality. Do you think a person — a Muslim is more likely to commit an act of terror than a non-Muslim? That’s the question. And you were answering no, you don’t think that?
HOOPER: I don’t believe that is the case.
CARLSON: All right.
Ibrahim Hooper, I appreciate your coming on. Thank you.
HOOPER: Thank you.