Esther Sassaman: a little bit of a selfish question, but very useful to us - You already said that such an alliance [between Muslims and socialists] can prosper in the US. My question is - how? One of the main problems we have here as progressive Muslim and non-Muslim activists in the US is we have trouble mobilizing the larger Muslim community due to an atmosphere of fear after September 11th. How - how do we overcome that?Esther jumped on a bus to Washington from Cleveland just to see the man. She ended up inside the hallowed halls of the self-styled "world's greatest deliberative body" to see an UnAmerican Activities Committee make history, by collectively taking the fifth on the grounds that anything they said might incriminate them.
George Galloway: Well, ithats understandable, and at the beginning you will only be able to mobilize the most courageous and the best established. There's a clear difference between someone who - whose "jacket is here on a shaky nail" as we say, and someone who was born here, of Muslim extraction. That person is likely to be more courageous in facing up to the prevailing atmosphere - than someone who has just arrived or thinks that that they might be just a transient here. But of course the local population is, more and more, the second generation population. And that's where I'd start. I'd start with the most politically advanced of the older generation and I'd start targeting the younger generation. And say to them: politics can change things. Democracy can change things. The extremists .... the Salafids, they argue that voting is haraam, that elections are haraam, that working with what they call the kufr, the unbelievers, is haraam. We say, no, it's vital. And, it works. And Bethnal Green is a good example of it.
May 30, 2005
Sorry I'm so late with this but the friend of mine who actually conducted the interview in Washington for Counterpunch didn't tell me about it until yesterday. My fault I suppose for not phoning sooner! Click the headline above for the full interview.