Akbar Ahmed: You have a complicated culture Michelle like most modern cultures they‘re very complicated and especially a large country like the United States. But you see I’m talking about what I call the great American conundrum. So with the one hand America is the most generous of friends to a country like Pakistan or Afghanistan or Egypt. Billions and billions of dollars given in aid, billions of dollars. Where that goes, what happens to it is a separate issue. With the other hand, you have pastors wanting to burn the Koran, and mosques are being attacked. Mosques were being refused permission to build. Now to the Muslim world they’re not distinguishing between government or an individual or the pastor who may as an individual be perfectly in his rights to do what he wants to do burn any book he wants to burn. Their saying a society that’s coming to them and saying we’re your friends we want to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world. And while one wanting to win hearts and minds some Americans are gong to abuse your profit, abuse your holy book, abuse your religion, and they are then confused and they say Americans are not serous. Americans are not sincere about being our friends. That is the confusion I’m talking about. A foreign policy needs to be based on clarity of vision because it is crucial for America to have that clarity in terms of foreign policy. If foreign policy can not have at its heart a contradiction, because if you have a contradiction because you have a confused foreign policy.

Michelle: Well how is that and maybe we can go to the questions? Let’s go to questions do we need to have a microphone?

Person: I’m positioned in Alexandria.

Akbar Ahmed: Did you say Dr. Osama?

Michelle: Doctor. Okay Dr [IB]. A surgeon in private practice in Alexandria Virginia [IB] but doctor thank you very much it’s always a pleasure to hear you and thank you Michelle. The question I have is I think you put your hand on a very critical issue I believe earlier on in the talk and in your travels about the leadership within the Muslim community or the American Muslim community. And I think… What my question would be is what would be the components that would constitute a qualified leadership for that audience? And that’s what the question is but and will highlight it with a couple of comments because I think one of the things that we need to recognize is the fact that the community needs to be inspired by a unifying vision that takes it beyond the reality of it being a very diverse and potentially having this factors in hand they work against that issue of unity and I think until we’re able to espouse a unifying vision for who we are as Americans, who we are as Muslims and a degree of fusion that helps to define us as we envision a greater and better America and I think that’s key. So to me that’s a comment that has to come arguably form scholars, arguably from people who have the ability to envision and reflect upon these issues. And the second is some degree of credibility in the history and in the involvement in the segments that are needed for. But I’m more interested in our answer than the comments that [IB]

Akbar Ahmed: No I agree doctor that a community needs to have that kind of leadership and that we have a problem because an ordinary Muslim leaving in this community has so many competing identities. You have as I said sectarian identities and this matter to Muslims. Are you [Shia]? Are you [Suni]? A lot of Muslims still certainly of the older generation still tend to be a little bit traditional? What is your region? Will you have your own… A classic example is from, in mosques. Very often we found the board of the mosque would be divided. If it was immigrants you’d have a certain tension between South Asians and the Middle East. Especially for leadership. There’s always that kind of tension. And I’m hopeful that the young generation will transcend this so that the young generation growing up here in the United State will respond to this problem in American terms.

Viewed 7324