The following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian Islamist Dr. Kamal Habib, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 17, 2005.
Host: Do you deny that in some of our Islamic curricula, some of the lessons call to reject the Other, and use phrases such as: "The Jews and Christians are the eternal enemies of the Muslims"?
Habib: Obviously I cannot deny this, because it appears in the Holy Koran. There are verses in the Holy Koran that refer to the Muslims' position towards non-Muslims, the Jews, for example, in the words of Allah: "You shall find that the most bitter enemies of the believers are the Jews and the Polytheists."
Host: True, but this verse does not incite to kill them.
Habib: Yes, and that's what I want to say. This is not incitement to kill. This verse is related to belief, and not to everyday life. The proof is that Jews, or non-Muslims, have always lived in Islamic countries, and these Islamic countries treated them in the best possible way. For example, the Ottoman state accepted non-Muslims, and so do we in Egypt and other countries. So where does the problem lie? The Jews today... or rather, the Americans... What I want to say is that the curricula are not the problem, nor are the students who graduate after using them. The problem lies in the reality of our life. The problem is that there is a Zionist plan, a plan for a Zionist state, which aims at changing the nature of the region and at turning Muslims into the victims of what was done to the Jews in the West. The same is true of our relations with the Western world. Before the events of 9/11, there was an entire school of Islamic moderation, which talked about tolerance and coexistence with the West. But we were surprised that the West uses the concept of Dar Al-Islam and Dar Al-Harb, but the other way around - in this case, Dar Al-Harb includes all the areas that do not follow the American logic.