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Violence & Religion

Reported by Eleanor - September 11, 2004 -

On Heartland with John Kasich (Sept. 11, 8:00 p.m.), the opening interview was with Sheikh Omar Bakri who is with a radical Muslim group that praises the group they call the "magnificent 19" who flew the planes into the World Trade Center. Kasich blasted the man with a diatribe against his radical group affiliation on the anniversary of 9/11.

Bakri's only comprehensible response to the barrage of questions by Kasich was that "no one condemns the violence against life" and the "American forces are killing people." Kasich was merciless with accusations like Bakri is following Osama bin Laden, and he said he wasn't. Kasich said the group is not about education, but about praise for the terrorists. He lectured Bakri with the observation that Islam is not a religion of war, but of peace, and this is shameful, disgraceful to Arabs, and against the word of God. God doesn't kill innocent people. Bakri ought to reject, rather than think about, those radical groups.

Comment: I'm not sure why Bakri was interviewed other than to inflame passions. The interview did not really delve into the life and death issues that caused 9/11. This man was clearly against the U.S. war because of the destruction of life; he was not clearly for Osama bin Laden; and the interview did not determine why the group called the hijackers the "magnificent nineteen." Kasich accused him of glorifying 9/11. If the intent of the interview was to get at the psychology of the enemy, it failed. Kasich did 90% of the talking, and said, "I can't get a straight answer out of you" when the answers were evasive, rather than delving deeper. The interview ended with an expression of Kasich's own religious views.