The previous century we had the country tearing itself apart with the civil war. And again the question, what is America to be? And I think we are just entering another phase of American history where American identity is being very intensely debated. And in that context, to predict any kind of pattern of Muslim leadership would really be full hearted because we really can’t imagine what kind of leadership would emerge. We already have some very talented people speaking on behalf of the Muslims and also being Muslims themselves. We talked of people like [IB] Patel and so many others young Muslims. But a lot of members of the community would say that this individual or that individual doesn’t belong to my sect or my community and not are he accepts them. So the notion of an easy Muslim leadership emerging has not really taken hold even today in this time of crisis.

Michelle: Do you think that that’s one of the most, I mean I raise that issue but I don’t know if you think that’s one of the most of the most important things. I mean I saw the pieces that you wrote on foreign policy that laid out some of what you found in the book. And you paint a picture of, in a sense an urgency, that’s how I read it, not just in terms of how you know the fear and the prejudice that you describe hearing American Muslims describe from the outside. But also from the inside I mean, people being weary of talking to your team, people seeing sort of enemies every where. I mean like a community that has a lot of issues. So I want to know if you know, do you think I’m depicting that right and what would you say are the most important internal issues?

Akbar Ahmed: I would say Michele that we need to be very fair about the Muslim community. One of the characteristics we found both here and the Muslim world is the characteristic of hospitality. Muslims by definition are very hospitable its part of Muslim culture, its part of Muslim theology. And it goes back to Abraham. Abraham if you recall from our religious shared history and tradition, left one part of his tent open and that was for the stranger. Now that’s something we’ve inherited as part of the Ibrahamic tradition. So we’ve found through out this trip, Muslims are constantly hospitable. Our problem very often was we are being pulled into three directions the same evening every where we went. At the same time we were aware that Muslims and community are living through extra ordinary times of pressure. They may have wanted to be minimizing that kind of fear and tension around them but we were scholars looking for hints and clues. So for example, we’d see a mosque maybe a window broken, maybe some thing smashed, maybe some graffiti. In one case in Columbia a mosque, five bombed in Tennessee. Now this is before the controversy of which is now erupted around this other mosque the [IB] mosque, we saw that and our team went down and interviewed the people running that mosque, the mosque had been fire bombed, the Muslim told to go home. And the Muslims said, ‘we are home’. Some of them were white converts some kids had been born here in America and they said, ‘Where do we go? This is our home’.

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