Canadian journalist Raheel Raza and I have collaborated together to come up with a new book How Can You Possibly be an Anti-Terrorist Muslim?, which is now available on Amazon.
Who is Raheel Raza? Well, you may not be aware that she and many other Muslims came out in open opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque. Consequently, Raza was interviewed by Bill O’Riley on August 9, 2010.
Here are a few choice snippets from that interview:
O’Riley: Ms. Raza, why do you oppose building that mosque downtown?
Raza: I oppose the idea along with other members of the Muslim-Canadian Congress because it’s confrontational. It is in bad faith. And it doesn’t really set up any kind of dialogue or discussion on tolerance.
O’Riley: Well, the pro-mosque forces, including the mayor of New York City, say… the reason [for the mosque] is to show respect for the victims of 9/11. You’re not buying that?
Raza: No. As a Muslim, I’m not buying that at all. How does building a mosque in the very place where Muslims murdered so many other Americans... create any kind of respect?
What I’m hearing from people, especially those who are victims... is that this is very hurtful, and it’s very painful.
As a Muslim, I read in my holy book, the Qur’an, that we should be very sensitive towards people of other faiths… and these are our neighbors and our colleagues and the people we care about.
Building a mosque… across the street from Ground Zero is a slap in the face upon Americans. I can’t begin to imagine how they would even conceive an idea that building a mosque there–an exclusive place of prayer for Muslims–would, in any way, build tolerance and respect.
Personally, I never really had much of an opinion about the Ground Zero mosque. I had always considered this issue to be the main concern of New Yorkers and the family of victims of 9/11. And yet I was surprised by my own personal reaction to Raheel’s words. To my surprised, I felt so consoled, as if I had been waiting for someone to come to my personal defense. A certain tension had lifted.
Her next comment put her on another level:
Mayor Bloomberg and other bleeding-heart white liberals like him don’t understand the battle that we moderate Muslims are faced with in terms of confronting radical Islam and Islamization and political Islam in North America, which has only grown since 9/11 because of political correctness and people because of their politically-invested agenda does not speaking out against issues like this.
As a self-respecting conservative Republican, when she called Bloomberg a “bleeding-heart white liberal”, I jumped out of my seat as if I had seen a touchdown. I admit it!
You see, though most people have trouble understanding Islam, these days, conservatives and Christians are especially shallow in their assessments. This is why I had been searching for a Muslim with the particular kind of ideology that would appeal to conservative and Christians, in particular.
I don’t know a thing about Canadian political parties or ideological terminology. And I don’t technically know if Raheel Raza is or would consider her-self the American political equivalent of a “conservative Tea Party Republican”. But there’s no doubt that calling Bloomberg "a bleeding-heart white liberal", would be a huge credential to many of those right-wingers who keep misunderstanding Islam.
Right after I saw Raza’s interview, I called her. We had a most enlightening conversation. She quickly caught on to my idea of using a “How can you possibly…” question as the title of a book about Islam and terrorism. She really is an eternal optimist.
The results of that phone call have finally come to fruition, as I said, with the recently published book, How Can You Possibly be an Anti-Terrorist Muslim? by Raheel Raza, with a Foreword by Clinton Joe Andersen, Jr. (that's me!)
I hope this is only the first in a series of books on Muslim individuals who break paradigms and shatter stereotypes.
I also recommend checking out Raheel's website at http://www.raheelraza.com/.