December 21, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2710

Bahraini Liberal Dhiyaa Al-Musawi & Egyptian Islamist Ibrahim Al-Khouli Spar Over Interfaith Dialogue - Al-Khouli: "Allah Has One Religion - Islam... Calling 'Divine' What Has Been Distorted By the Church and By the Jews Is a Deception"; Al-Musawi: "Down With the Claim That Allah Cursed the Jews and Christians, the Offspring Of Apes And Pigs..."

December 21, 2009
Bahrain, Egypt, Bangladesh, Bangladesh | Special Dispatch No. 2710

Following are excerpts from an Al-Jazeera TV debate on interfaith dialogue, in which Bahraini intellectual Dhiyaa Al-Musawi and Al-Azhar University scholar Ibrahim Al-Khouli participated. The debate aired on October 27, 2009.

· To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit

· To view the MEMRI TV page for Dhiyaa Al-Musawi, visit

Al-Musawi: "God Created Us to Live in Coexistence and in Love"

Bahraini intellectual Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: "In my view, love between the religions – between Christians, Jews, and Muslims – might crawl, but will not die. That is the truth. God created us to live in coexistence and in love. To all those who want to prey on the flesh of interfaith tolerance, to those who want to plant many a dagger in the backs of the religions – regardless of whether they are extremist Christians, Muslims, or Jews – we say that we choose to plant jasmine, whatever the circumstances."

Al-Musawi: "The Politicians are Behind the Destruction of Interfaith Relations"

"We are not interested in the political plans, or in military plans that were created for the sake of political pragmatism. We are interested in the religions – religions are one thing, and political plans are another thing.

"Therefore, if tolerance and coexistence are somewhat 'anemic,' it is because of the politicians. Like Anis Mansour says, 'Politics is the fine art of ignominy.' The politicians are behind the destruction of interfaith relations." [...]

Al-Musawi: "Down With the Claim That Allah Cursed the Jews and Christians, the Offspring of Apes and Pigs... We Say, Long Live Love Between Religions"

"The extremists may have different genes, but they share the same DNA. Those who would like to keep the public snoring, so that the nation will be weak, ignorant, and in shreds, reject dialogue, under the pretext that Israel or the U.S. is doing so-and-so... These people are one thing, and dialogue is another.

"I respect religious people, but I am not responsible for these [extremists]. Therefore, I say: Down with the theory that Islam is terrorist or Fascist. The extremist right does not distinguish between Muslims and non-Muslims. The extremists want to destroy everybody. Therefore, I say: Down with the claim that Allah cursed the Jews and Christians, the offspring of apes and pigs. Instead, we say, Long live love between religions. We, as Muslims, are distinct, but we respect the Christians and the others." [...]

Al-Khouli: "Allah Has Only One Religion – Islam... Calling 'Divine' What Has Been Distorted By the Church and By the Jews... Is a Deception"

Al-Azhar University scholar Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "Our Christian and Jewish brothers should consider giving you a Nobel Prize."

Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: "A Nobel Prize?"

Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "Yes. What love are you talking about, man? Who is more reliable? You or Allah, who said: 'Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with you, unless you follow their religion.' Don't try to find another interpretation for these words. You won't succeed. The Jews and the Christians will not be satisfied unless you leave your religion, and join theirs.


"First of all, the title 'Dialogue of the Divine Religions' is a deception and a lie."

Mediator Faysal Qassem: "A lie?"

Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "That's right. There is no such thing as 'divine religions.' Allah has only one religion – Islam – from the birth of Adam to the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad. The word 'religion' appears in the Koran and the Sunna only in the singular, and not in the dual or the plural. So the notion of 'divine religions' is a lie. To call 'divine' what has been distorted by the Church and by the Jews – as testified by the Koran... Calling 'divine' is a deception of Muslims and non-Muslims alike."[...]

Al-Khouli: Interfaith Dialogue is "A Dialogue Between a Lamb and a Wolf – With the Lamb Being the Muslims"

"With whom should we conduct dialogue? Moreover, as mentioned earlier, such a dialogue is a dialogue between a lamb and a wolf, with the lamb being the Muslims and the wolf being the others. Why did I use the metaphor of a lamb? The Muslims are shackled in bonds, the first of which is that their religion requires them to recognize Moses and Jesus, and to recognize the New Testament and the Torah, whereas the others are not required to recognize [the Koran]."


Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: "The Abbasid state brought Christians to translate Greek philosophy. There are many common denominators. We can agree on matters of human rights, of culture, of technology, and many other things. If every person closes his mind and says: 'Let's use the language of knives,' there won't be... Look at what is happening in Iraq." [...]

Al-Khouli: "What Moral Values Do [Christians, Jews, and Muslims] Share? Fornication and Promiscuity? The Values of Homosexuality?"

Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "Between Islam and between Christianity and Judaism, there is a basic contradiction in the essence of faith.


"What moral values do we share? Fornication and promiscuity? The values of homosexuality? Of the marriage of monks in churches? The marriage of one man to another? Childbirth out of wedlock? Is this the civilization that he is talking about? This is the downfall of mankind – descent to a level lower than animals. The brother is saying that evil is temporary and can be staved off by love..."

Faysal Qassem: "By jasmine..."

Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "This is empty rhetoric, nonsense." [...]

"I am a Muslim, and it is my right to say that Islam is the truth, and this or that is my evidence. I believe – and I do not mean to offend anybody – that what the other believes in is false. He has the right to believe the same." [...]

Al-Musawi: "Let's Benefit [From Civilization], Just Like the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Malaysian..."

Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: "Civilization means democracy and civil society. Civilization gave rise to civil representation and human rights. Why should I deny the industrial revolution? Why should I deny the philosophy that deals with many issues? If Dr. [Al-Khouli] or I got sick, where would we go? To a European hospital. If we rejected Western civilization, we would leave the Al-Jazeera TV studio on a donkey, not in an airplane. Who can deny civilization, when it is the civilization of Sorbonne, of Oxford?


"Pour out your French perfumes, take off your Swiss watch, and throw away your Dutch flower, if you want to deny civilization. Civilization is a beautiful thing. We reject the negative aspects, but accept the positive, which do not run counter to our religion and culture.

"Therefore, I say: Let's benefit, just like the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Malaysian... They all took avail of the beautiful things that Western culture has to offer, and rejected the not-so-beautiful things. That's what life is all about – taking avail of the beautiful things and rejecting the others... That's why China has developed, while we sit and cry over spilt milk, puffing out our chests in narcissism, living with anxieties, and with ideological cholesterol clogging up the arteries of our consciousness.

"Therefore, the Arab world will not develop until it draws lessons from the experience of others."


Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "How come the oppressive state of the Jews has a nuclear arsenal, while Iran is forbidden from this? How come? Because Islamic powers are not allowed this. Why was the Iraqi nuclear reactor bombed, although Iraq was fighting Iran on behalf of the West?"

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