By Jacqueline L. Salmon
A Muslim member of President Obama’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships says she was misled about the nature of a British TV talk show on which she was interviewed earlier this month. It was hosted by a representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which the U.S. State Department has condemned for its “radical anti-U.S. and anti-Semitic ideology” sympathetic to acts of violence against the United States and its allies.
Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst for the Center for Muslim Studies at Gallup, did a call-interview on the show, which is hosted by a member of the group, Ibihal Bsis Ismail, and featured the group’s women’s officer, Nazreen Nawaz, as a guest.
In a letter to the U.K. Daily Telegraph, which wrote about the show, Mogahed said she did not know about the affiliation of the host or guest until she was introduced on air “and would not have agreed to the interview had we known ahead of time.”
“I suspect the host knew this and therefore deliberately misled us to score propaganda points for an ideological movement,” Mogahed wrote.
During the 45-minute discussion on the show Muslimah Dilemma, Nawaz and Ismail and various callers condemned democracy, praised sharia law and advocated for the restoration of the caliphate–governments based on Islamic law.
Nawaz criticized such countries as Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh for inadequate implementation of sharia law and praised the caliphate, a form of government inspired by Islam that proliferated after Islam was founded in the 7th century. “These were times when Islamic governance was intertwined with states, these were the golden years of Islam,” she said.
In its 2005 “Country Reports on Terrorism,” the State Department accused Hizb ut-Tahrir of publicly calling for Muslims to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight Coalition forces although it said it has no evidence that the group had committed any terrorist acts.
On the show, Mogahed stuck to neutral comments describing the results of her research into the attitudes and beliefs of Muslims worldwide. In her letter to the Telegraph, she said she did not take issue with the “objectionable remarks” of Nawaz or Ismail “because as a Gallup analyst my job is to explain the opinions of others…I do not in any way endorse Hizb ul Tahrir. My participation in the program does not serve as endorsement of any group or cause.”