We've heard a lot about Islamic fundamentalists who hate the West. Some people can't wait for the United States to invade Afghanistan. But no one would be happier to see the back of Osama bin Laden than the average Afghan. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the crucial differences between the people of Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the terrorists. Also, the forgotten tradition of secular Islamic intellectuals. And the poetry of 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi.
English journalist Jason Elliot wrote "An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan" about his time there during the Soviet occupation and subsequent civil war. He tells Steve Paulson that Afghans are proud and pious people who still suffer from the aftermath of a decade of war. They despise Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban regime, and deserve better than some of the harsh rhetoric they're getting from the outside world. Also, poet and translator Coleman Barks talks with Anne Strainchamps about the 13th century Sufi mystic and poet, Rumi. And we hear some of Rumi's poetry - read by Coleman Barks and performed by Iran's Dastan Ensemble.SEGMENT 2:
Rabbi Arik Ascherman, executive director of Israel's Rabbis for Human Rights, tells Jim Fleming his organization hopes to protect the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians, and gives some examples of the group's successes.SEGMENT 3:
Tariq Ali is a historian, activist and writer. He talks with Steve Paulson about the history of the Ottoman empire, and the Islamic clergy's rejection of modernism. But, he says, there has always been a secular tradition of intellectual inquiry within the Islamic world. Ali is the author of the Islam Quartet, the latest volume of which is his novel "The Stone Woman."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 01-09-23-A.
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