Following is an excerpt from an interview with Egyptian-American writer Magdi Khalil, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on April 19, 2009.
Magdi Khalil: First of all, I think it is obvious that the deliberations are focused on Israel, based on what happened in South Africa in 2001. The second thing that is very clear is that the Iranian president is present. This racist president will attend [a conference] against racism. This president calls for the destruction of a state that is a U.N. member. How can this possibly be? How can the Iranian president possibly be invited to a conference that calls for tolerance and combating racism? How can this president possibly be invited?
Let me say very simply that the South African conference focused on the issue of Zionism, and on whether it is tantamount to racism. The truth is that we have a serious problem. Some people may believe that Zionism is tantamount to racism, but many people around the world believe that Islamic religious law, as implemented in Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia, is worse than racism.