Friday, June 1, 2012

Interview with Wajahat Ali: Public Opinion & Cultural Diplomacy

Interview with Wajahat Ali | FPIF

"John Feffer: As a playwright, can you talk about the culture of Islamophobia? Despite these polling numbers, are we seeing any changes in how American view Islam?

Wajahat Ali: It's really scary to see the mainstreaming of Islamophobic sentiment – on talk radio, on Fox News. The anti-Islamic rally at the Islamic fundraiser in Orange County – that was really scary. But I believe that most Americans are well-intentioned. They want to be good American neighbors. I think a lot of Americans are on the fence. Their lack of knowledge about Muslims and Islam is the main cause of their doubt and fear. Statistically speaking, the people who know Muslims and know something about Islam don't have such bigoted views. They might disagree with Islam, but they don't see their Muslim neighbors as a threat. We need a form of cultural diplomacy in this country where Americans get to know Muslims and Muslim-Americans."