Americans must outgrow the unbecoming arrogance that leads us to assert that America somehow owns a monopoly on goodness and truth - a belief that leads some to view the world as but a stage on which to play out the great historical drama: the United States of America versus the Powers of Evil.
There are moderates in Israel. There are moderates in Iran, there are moderates in the Republican Party, moderates in the Democratic Party. What we need to do is we need link all of these moderates together and to figure out a way by which this particular coalition can speak to important issues to marginalize the voice of the extremists.
There are individuals who are working very hard to promote fear and antagonism towards Islam and Muslims in this country. It's fueled, in part, by the first African-American president that we have. Obama's father was a Muslim and people have used this to arouse hostility against him.
In Malaysia, where Western culture was extremely influential, I'd grown up listening to Elvis and the Beatles and watching American movies. People wanted to be like Americans. In contrast, when I got here, I saw prosperous middle-class American college students wanting to somehow join the Third World.
The truth is that killing innocent people is always wrong - and no argument or excuse, no matter how deeply believed, can ever make it right. No religion on earth condones the killing of innocent people; no faith tradition tolerates the random killing of our brothers and sisters on this earth.
The fundamental idea which defines a human being as a Muslim is the declaration of faith: that there is a creator, whom we call God - or Allah, in Arabic - and that the creator is one and single. And we declare this faith by the declaration of faith, where we... bear witness that there is no God but God.
When I arrived in America, I experienced serious culture shock. For someone with a religious upbringing, the 1960s were an extremely difficult time. Even though religion was a big part of the civil rights and peace movements, in my college religion was treated as irrelevant, hopelessly stodgy, and behind the times.
I was completely surrounded by religion from a young time. I was taught by my father. I engaged in discussions with him and many of these scholars who visited and came around the dining table, the lunch table, and attended many lectures with my dad. And so I learned the apprentice way.
One of the misperceptions that exists in the Muslim world, which needs to be fixed, is the perception that Muslims in America are - are - are living in - in very, very, very bad circumstances. They cannot practice religion freely. It is not the truth at all. The fact is, we are practicing. We fast, we pray, we do our prayers.
We are Americans. We - we - we are - we are doctors. We are investment bankers. We are taxi drivers. We are store keepers. We are lawyers. We are - we are part of the fabric of America. And the way that America today treats its Muslims is being watched by over a billion Muslims worldwide.