Following are excerpts from interviews with Iraqi politician Iyad Jamal Al-Din, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on October 10, 2005 and on Al-Fayhaa TV on November 30, 2005.
Al-Arabiya TV, October 10, 2005:
Iyad Jamal Al-Din How come this country (Israel) has developed a democratic regime, although it too has been at war and is surrounded by enemies, whereas the Arabs have not developed democratic regimes, using the existence of Israel as a pretext? How come Israel is not using the Arabs as a pretext for delaying its democratic development, its free economy, and its free press? Are they better, smarter, or stronger than us? We have oil, we have water, we have land, we have great minds - we have it all. Nevertheless, we have backward, tyrannical, and dictatorial regimes - and the peoples readily accept this. There is no real demand for democracy in Arab countries.
Of course, we are grateful to America for ridding us of school curricula which promote hatred and animosity. There are no indications of the reforms coming from within.
Is there really a conflict between American interests and our own interests - as individuals and as peoples? Some people whine about Iraq's natural resources and about its oil. They say that America has come to plunder Iraq's resources. I ask them: Were Iraq's resources ever yours? Did you ever benefit from these resources? We hear about this oil, but never see it. There has always been a gasoline shortage. Our countries are rich, yet our peoples are poor.
Al-Fayhaa TV, November 30, 2005:
Islam has various interpretations. Some of these interpretations are completely divorced from humanity, let alone from Islam itself. The well-known ideology of accusing others of heresy is an ideology of terrorism. Who turned Al-Zarqawi into a criminal murderer? Who? He was just a little boy crawling into his mother's arms, but then, out of his love for the religion and the mosque... He began to go to the mosque, and the imam got hold of him, and turned him into what he is. He didn't emerge from his mother's womb as a murderer, or as someone who makes car bombs, and so on.
We face a bloodthirsty religion, or rather, a bloodthirsty interpretation of the religion. This is the truth. Some people's interpretation of Islam is bloodthirsty, while others' interpretation of it is civilized and human. There is an abyss between the two.