Jan 9, 2013 No Comments ›› Toro520
(CNSNews.com) – As a college student in the 1970s, John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee for CIA director, traveled in Indonesia where – he recalled in a speech in New York in 2010 – “despite my long hair, my earring and my obvious American appearance, I was welcomed throughout that country, in a way that is a reflection of the tremendous warmth of Islamic cultures and societies.”
Brennan’s Feb. 13, 2010 address to a meeting at the Islamic Center at New York University, facilitated by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), provided an insight into his views on Islam, a faith which he said during the speech had “helped to shape my own world view.”
Travels around the world over more than three decades had taught him about “the goodness and beauty of Islam,” said Brennan, whose 25-year career at the CIA until 2005 included a stint as station chief in Riyadh.
“Like the president during his childhood years in Jakarta, I came to see Islam not how it is often misrepresented, but for what it is – how it is practiced every day, by well over a billion Muslims worldwide, a faith of peace and tolerance and great diversity.”
In the speech, during which he drew applause after speaking in Arabic for more than a minute, Brennan used terms evidently designed to appeal to his audience, such as “Al-Quds” for Jerusalem, “Palestine” and “as the Qur’an reveals” – in keeping with the Muslim belief that the Qur’an was “revealed” directly by Allah to Mohammed through the angel Jibril (Gabriel).
He condemned what he said were negative stereotypes in the U.S. about Muslims and hostility towards Islam, adding that government actions and policies had contributed to the problem but saying this would change under Obama.
“Ignorance is a threat to our national security, prejudice is a threat to our national security, discrimination is a threat to our national security. And those who purport to be religious are frequently the most egregious purveyors of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination – and it must stop,” he said.
“We must also acknowledge that over the years the actions of our own government have at times perpetuated those attitudes,” Brennan continued.
“Violations of the Patriot Act; surveillance that has been excessive; policies perceived as profiling; over-inclusive no-fly lists subjecting law-abiding individuals to unnecessary searches and inconvenience; creating an unhealthy atmosphere around many Muslim charities that made Muslims hesitant to fulfill their sacred obligation of zakat [an Islamic tithe or tax] – these are challenges we face, we face together as Americans, and President Obama and his administration are pursuing a comprehensive approach to address them,” he said.
As Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, Brennan – a Jesuit-educated Catholic – has played a prominent role in the administration’s outreach to Muslims, American Muslims especially. He has also been a leading proponent of the effort to stop using terms many Muslims find offensive, such as “jihadist” as a descriptor for terrorists acting in the name of Islam.