CHRIS BURY: Joining me now, Dr. Maher Hathout is a senior adviser to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a civil rights organization for American Muslims. A retired cardiologist, Dr. Hathout is the author of a new book entitled "Jihad Versus Terrorism." He joins us from Los Angeles. Daniel Pipes is the director of the Middle East Forum, a think tank, and the author of "Militant Islam Reaches America," a book being published later this summer. He joins us from Livingston, New Jersey.
And Mr. Pipes, this young man at Harvard, is giving a speech in which he says, look, the definition of "jihad" has been, essentially, corrupted by militant Islamists, and that doesn't have much to do with moderates like me. What's wrong with him saying that at Harvard?
Mr. DANIEL PIPES (Middle East Forum): What's wrong, Chris, is that it's a fabrication. Jihad has historically meant, almost always one thing-which is expanding the territories ruled by Muslims through armed warfare. That's what it's meant. Now I'm happy to see a development occur whereby it means something more spiritual. But we have to start by acknowledging that that's the real meaning of the word, the historic meaning of the word, the traditional meaning of the word, and we can't ignore it. And this young man is ignoring it.
BURY: Dr. Hathout, one of the criticisms that is being leveled at this speech is that while it tries to install a new definition of jihad, it fails to criticize the more violent strain of that word.
Dr. MAHER HATHOUT (Muslim Public Affairs Council): Yeah, let me address a couple of basic things. I don't think that the definition of Islam is up to Daniel Pipes or to anybody else, it is up to the Muslims according to their text and according to the language of their text to put their definitions. And it is unfair that every time someone wants to broaden the definition to project the right perspective-the broad perspective, jihad, somebody jumps and says, 'Don't believe him. This is not what he means. He's lying, basically.' This is wrong. The second thing is the issue of what that person is going to say or not going to say. This is censorship in the greatest institution of intellectuality, which I think is a very degrading situation.
BURY: Doctor, let me interrupt just there because, Harvard, as I understand it, is letting this young man go ahead with his speech. So I don't see how it's censorship.
Maher Hathout of MPAC
BURY: Mr. Pipes...
Mr. PIPES: I'm sure that Dr. Hathout-I'm sure that Hathout-Dr. Hathout is an excellent cardiologist, but he knows very little about the history of Islam which is my subject. And by the way, I got my BA and....
Dr. HATHOUT: It's my subject, too. It is my subject, too.
Mr. PIPES: ...degrees from Harvard-excuse me, I didn't interrupt you. I got my BA and PhD from Harvard, so I say this with regret. But the fact is, historically speaking-I speak as a historian, jihad has meant expanding the realm of Islam through armed warfare. A cardiologist is not an authority on that subject.
Dr. HATHOUT: No, I am authority on that because I study it...
Mr. PIPES: You're a....
Dr. HATHOUT: ...and I think your definition is wrong. And your reading it wrong.
BURY: Mr. Pipes, without casting aspersions on the credentials of anybody here tonight, what about the broader point that we heard in Dave Marash's piece that this young man is interested in fostering some kind of understanding, that he wants to be able to say, 'Look, I believe in the Constitution and the Quran and you non-Muslims have to understand that there are more of us than there are of the terrorists.' What's wrong with him trying to start a dialogue like that?
Mr. PIPES: I would be delighted if he started a dialogue based in truth. But it's based on a deceit, and the deceit is the problem. He's pretending that Islam-that a jihad is not what it is. He's pretending that the attacks on Americans, notably in September, but many, many other times, are not jihad. Osama bin Laden understands what jihad is. Ayatollah Khomeini understands what jihad is. It's attacking infidels to spread the territory of Islam.
BURY: Dr. Hathout, let me bring you in here. Is it a fair point to suggest as this young university graduate-soon to be graduate-does that jihad really is about a personal, spiritual quest. After all, we have organizations with names like Islamic Jihad, that certainly mean something else. Is this view a bit naive?
Dr. HATHOUT: I will never say that jihad is only a struggle for self-purification. I say this is the peak form of jihad. This is the full-range of jihad. And if Mr. Daniel Pipe reads the definitions in the text, it talks about the measure of jihad, which is the self-struggle, it talks about other forms of jihad, like intellectual jihad using the book. It talks about financial jihad, using the wealth and the money and the resources. And it talked about confrontation of jihad, against those who fight against us to push us away from our religion or kick us out of our homeland. This, we are not apologetic to say that jihad is just a spiritual trip into self-purification. No. It is a full range of things. But once someone tries to suppose the full range, somebody else jumps in and says, 'No, no, you are lying, you are using the word in deceit,' etc. This is what we mean by jihad and we are saying it.
BURY: Mr. Pipes, so let me-let me bring you in here just a minute. Beyond the content, which we've discussed tonight, and as you mentioned you are an alumnus of Harvard, do you object to the very idea of this speech being delivered in this setting-this commencement setting?
Mr. PIPES: This is really what I'm upset about, Chris. It's not so much about what one young man is saying, it's what Harvard, this major American institution is doing. My analogy is if in 1943, a German-American had wanted to give a commencement speech about "My American Kampf," and the university had let him do it, it is absolutely abhorrent. Harvard must decide on which side it is in this war. Harvard does not allow ROTC to be present on its campus. Harvard does allow fund-raising for radical Islamic groups. Harvard does encourage this young man to give this speech, which is based on a fallacy, apologizing for jihad. I think Harvard needs to look very hard at its own soul and understand where it stands in the war on terror.
BURY: Dr. Hathout, very quickly, just a few seconds left, is jihad too loaded a topic for such a thing as a commencement address?
Dr. HATHOUT: Not at all. As a matter of fact, this is an opportunity to let people be exposed to different meanings to a broader perspective, and let someone speak out. This is his right. This is America, people. This is not a totalitarian regime. Let the person speak. If we don't like what he said, we can challenge him. But to try to...(unintelligible)...
BURY: All right Dr. Hathout, we are-we are out of time. I'm sorry. Thank you very much for joining us, and Daniel Pipes as well.