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tv   Amanpour Company  PBS  December 18, 2018 12:00am-1:01am PST

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hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour." here is what's coming up. war and peace, love and hate in the middle east. first yemen where warring ies agreed to a ceasefir after more than two years. and i speak to the u.n.'s tireless negotiator martin then true hat sparks hate in israel. a jewish/muslim marriage between two a-st media stars. ♪ and finally, theower of empathy, h an iraqi refugee and a trump supporter became unlikely friends. ♪
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uniworld is a proud sponsorn of "ampour & co." bea tolman is synonymous with style, she's brought a similar style to rivers with a test nation designed for each ship. bookings available through your travel adviser. for more information visit >> additional support habeen provided by rosalind p. walter, bernard and irene schwartz, sue and edgar wachenheim iii, the cheryl and philip milstein family, seton melvin, judy and josh weston and byontributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. welcome to the program,
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i'm christiane amanpour in london. the brutal murder of the saudi journalist jamal khashoggi may turn out to have forced e positive outcome. it focused world attention on the devastating war in yemen where saudi air strid a u.s.-backed coalition are fueling a massive humanitarian crisis. met now there is a rare gl of hope, a tentative truce between warring fatiions was need at peace talks in sweden. it was the first such talks 16 since and the ceasefire has just been announced and set to start at midnight local time tuesday. if it holds, it could help moreo than 20 min people in yemen who are desperate need of humanitarian support. over 100 children are dying of cholera and famine every day. meanwhile, in the united states the senate, for the very first time ever, invoked the war powers resution to order president trump to end u.s. support of saudi arabia's war in it's at protest also against crown prince mohammad
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bhin sal -- bin salman from the wake of khashoggi's murder.n leaders from i washington expressed guarded optimism at the progress towards peace. but the negotiations advanced so quickly that crucial details ar remain unc as u.n. special envoy to yemen martin griffiths spearheaded thv tenttruce and joins me now from brussels. martin griffiths, welcome to the program. thank you very much. thanks for having me on. >> so a special envoy, clearly ow what i just announced. it's just been said there is a o ceasefire that is set toto effect tomorrow. give me as much as you know and what you expect that to achieve. >> well, as you were sin yo lead-in there, there's a lot of work that needs to be done t flesh out the exact timing of different withdrawals but essentially it's as follows the cease-fire will go into ghrce at midnight tonight, one minute after mid
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we would expect the parties at that point to stop fighting, the skies to grow quiet over the data. we will plan to hold the first meeting of the monitoring committee, the u.n. will chair with the parties, and that committee is tasked to flesh out the details which wewe discussed inn but need further elaboration. essentially this month, by the end of this month, we should have seen withdrawals of a substantive nare from both the port and away from the main sana/hodeidah road. soe he system is in urgent m at the moment. >> let me ask you before i get itty-gritty of the whens and the wheres and the mings and withdrawals, e cetera. just overarching this seems like extremely good news, and you descbed it as happening very fast after, i mean, literally no
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movement whatsoever despite all your best efforts over the last two and a half plus years. >> yes. it was a breakthrough, in fact, because to get parties together around a table or in the s building after two and a half years, a battle which is er continuing -- battles over yemen -- to get them in the same room was itself something of an achievement. and then to come out from that after eight days in sweden of really, you know, hard work with is kind of agreement i think is remarkable. but bear in mind that we had spent many months before sweden trying to negotiate similar arrangements of hodeidah. with the border security council, so we knew where we wanted to go, but for the partieso agree with where we all wanted to go istill a remarkable tribute to them. >> so hodeidah, let just be
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clear, is the main port, it's the one where all the humanitarian aid shoul come into, and it's really the lifeline, the major sea lifeline anyway of yemen. i want to ow if you agree some of the awful things that have happened recently including the irder of jamal khashoggi played a significant pafocusing people's attentions. how did you notice the willingness of the major parties changed, the willingness to engage in this way? >> well, i think we were able to see movement to see change in that regard back in august, august,september, october, before the events in istanbul. we saw the saudis, for example, who were clearly a k actor in this, in the lead of the coalition supporting the government of yemen. we saw them moving to the realization i think because of what happened on the battlefield
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and because of the looming famine tt there was really no alternative now but to move rapidly on a political solution. the security council united on hiyemen, has been lucky for yemen which has been calling for that exactly for some time. so we saw this predating these more publi eventshat you were describing, we saw a shift in favor of peace. having said that, there's no doubt the attention -- the world attention is helpful in the sense that it focuses all our minds on making this happen. what made sweden work was international consensus and the specific acts of a number of different leaders, one of which, mohammad bin salman, w instrumental on three different occasions in regards to the swedish talks.
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>> well, you are throwing a bone to the crown prince of saudi arabia who is under huge internat criticism.cism and caat were the critical moments you say, three crimoments in getting to where we are now. >> the key one was a on conversahe secretary-general of the u.n. who, as you know, came to sweden as the closer the last 24 hours. spoke to the crown prince and he also spoke to the president of e yemen, and t conversations behind the scenes sort of made a the confidenilable to agree on hodeidah in particular. so that was of critical importance in ose last hours. i'm not throwing anyone a bone. i'm simply describing what happened, and what is important to remember aboutmen, i think, is that there is a consensus internationally in many countries in the security council and amongemenis that
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this can be resolved and should now be so. >> so let's go through some of the public statements. you just mentioned the secretary- pneral. at you think is going to ctly happen at hodeidah. this is what he said about what should happen at the pt. >> we have reached an agreement on an hodeidah port. we will see a redeployment from the port and the city and the establishment of the cease-fire. these will facilitate the humanitarian success to the civilian population and will improve the living conditions for millions of yemenis. >> so do you know now any more details how that is to work? i mean, have warring parties said that they will hand othr control o port to the u.n.? is there a fixed timeline? are you confident that this actually will happen?
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that. for example, it will be the world food program that will take the lead in backstop is the port authority and improving conditions in the port and e making shat customs and revenues are handled in a new way, and they have aeady plans for how many people they need to deploy and when they can do it. so in terms of the united nations systems response to what the secretary-general was announcing there, i think we're well on the way to putting those things in place. what we hope will happe is this. the cease-fire will come into force, as we say, in a few hours' time. we hope the fighting will stop, but in the beginning it won't be moittored. u.n. ms will deploy as soon as possible. we hope to get the first core team in there before the end of the week. to monitor and report to the
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security council weekly on whether the parties are complaint, and the first withdrawals are from t port and then to allow the key humanitarian road from hodeidah tona where supplies will go from the port through sana to the rest of the country of vial wimportance. l then open up, and we hope that that will happen, as i was saying earlier, before the end of december. i think it's important toiz recothat these withdrawals and redloimts aeployments are g the sense of humanitarian needs. allowing it to be backstopped as a humanitarian need from hodeidah to sana similarly. i th a humanitarian project, a humanitarian stop gap to enable the people of yemen to avoid the catastrophes that we fear but it goes beyond that.
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there is, as the ra secretary-ge said, a government-wide, a provincewide sees fireworks and we have to remember not only is hodeidah the humanitarian hub for the country, is also the center of graffiti for the wars where the main battles have been going on for recent weeks a so calli cease-fire in hodeidah is a massive signal to the people of yemen that something new is possible, that we might see something happening. so i think if we canake all of this happen according to plan, we will be very, very fortunate, and the peopl of yemen will notice a new prospect for the future. >> so the future will that involve another round of convening of all these affirmative action russia official once the humanitarian corridors have been opened if indeed that does happen to your edpectations? is there next pla political settlement? >> yes. we have to -- we have to negotiate a political selement on the basis of the security
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council resolutions that guide s me, of c 32 is the main one,nd essentially we need a political agreement between the governor of yemen and the parties in sana and elsewhere who came togethert in swede resolve the issues of the war, to return to the opstate, the my of force, with withdrawals and disarmament to for a coalition iovernment. whope to do is to reconvene the parties in late ranuary. the secretary-gespoke to the prident about that last thursday so that we could start the process of looking at the political issues and theny substance ofventual agreement. there is so much experience in previo talks in yemen of the options that the latest, the last one sadly being two years, but such a lot of experience that we can draw on, that i believe we can go fairl quick
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if the political will is there to a settlement that will end the war, and that will give us the basis to start building peace. >> let us talk about the political will, and, you're highly experienced, and you know what this is is all about. this proxy war between saudi arabia and iran. that's what is being portrayed as. it's the saudi-led coalition for the free yemeni forces versus the iranian-backed houthis or at ublic that's what the narrative is. why all of a sudden there will be a political will to settle what is essentially a fight between the u.s. a the saudi arabia and the uae versus iran? >> well, don't actually agree with that narrative. i don't thinkt is a simple proxy war even though as you say it's described as such. i thit's firstly a yemeni war between the houthi movement and the government of yemen.
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clearly there are interests at take. we all knowt. there's nothing surprising. i don't think there's anything shocking about that, so to resolve this conflict we have to combine both mediation between the yemeni parties of the sort that we saw last week as well as sort of anlignment of international interests, and indeed sweden did that, too, because sweden was not only negotiated around the tablen sweden. there was constant contact lstween these various capi to get help to ensure that what were the parties that were discussing could be tred into agreements. we need to continue that. i believe there is a new wave of political will to settle this conflict. i thinkhe that terrible threat of famine haseen a huge focus for allf our minds.
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secondly i think it's very clear that the battleground is not the place where this conflict will months of assault on hodeidah did not lead to a solution there, so i think the parties concede that military solution is not available. political soluti has to be the one that is now therity. >> so is this a contradictory statement or a statement that recognizes whatus you've said? ambassador to the u.s., this is as these talks were underway, deceer 13, last week. he said the legitimate government of yemen supported the poverty hodeidah.he the houthisesisted pressure from armed forces until they were forced to agree. he's saying it was a milt solution and he's beate them to the negotiating table. >> well, i think he may be right. i'm not at military person, and, u know, there's a limit to how much you or i can peero ie
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mintz ever those who may be responding to pressure or may be responding to opportunity or maybe just doing the right thing, so i think everybody has are dif narrative where they come to. for me, what'sim rtant, and i'm sure for the people of yemen what's important is simply sensible offers put to the parties that can be backdropped by verifiable compliance, anwh the yinkss brings to this, for the support of the security council, of course, is e second. we're able to put offers in front of the table to the b iorties, we can also help with the verific of those offers and the compliance of the parties, so it may be political. it may be pressure. it may be political opportunity. whatever it is, happened last week in sweden, and it's up to me to capitalize on it. >> indeed, and you seel to be capids very well, and the people of yemen will thank you,
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and theybviously need an enormous amount of help. millions and millions, as you said, are on the verge of starvation if nothing changes, and we've en, as said, so many children dying every day o cholera anmine, and the pictures are truly heartbreaking. i just want to put this to you though in terms of pressure. i mean, clearly saudi arabia cares what happens in the united states, in washington. its biggest armed supplier, biggest backer is the united states, and thesenate, as i said, did invoke thes war pow resolution to prevent president trump continuing support obviously thouse has a say, and the house disagrees, but thise.ould cha so clearly the -- the participants were also looking atto what has happeninheir backing, but where i actually want you to respond to is the following. i spoke to the houthi-backed foreign minister abdullah who said as much as they thank you for your efforts in the u.n., the real center of gravity is in
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washington. this is what he said. >> the onl country in the world that can stop the war, and i say it in front of the whole world, is the unitehestates, not united nations. it's the u.s. who can stop this war because they are the strongest backers of the saudis. >> what do you say to that, martin griffiths? hose basically saying, well, it's not you actually, it is t united state >> i'm happy with that. the u.n. doesn't have any battalions, the pope has no battalionsay the u.s. is g a crucial role at this moment, i believe. and i say that because i have many, many contacts with u.s. officialsegoth in then and back in washington and the secretary-general even more so e than me so.s. has a key
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role in helping nudge the events forward in the right way, and they have been doing so. they have been very, very active on this file. not just with their udlies in the saled coalition but with oh, and the british foreign secretary, as you know, came to sweden also as a sortf closing encouragement, and he met with the leadership ofthoth paefrmts 's the first time i think that the british foreign minister has met with the representatives. that's good news for me. the more help we get from powers, the happier yemen wil be, but, and this is the u.n. view as well, it'si a yem solution that need to be decided. the solution is not in washutgton. the sn is not in riyadh. the solution is between yemenis, and that's partf then.'s job i think is to preserve that value. incrediblyit was important for me that the secretary-general decided to attend to help and made us work very hard to help the end of
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that eight days in swen and to understand what happened there. i mean, you -- you don't say no to thesecretary-general very easily, so i think that was also very, very im lrtant. >> ast not to his face. of course, we have to wait and see what actually does transpire on the ground and whether the ase-fire does go into effect and everybody will be hoping it does. i jt wanted to just end by sort of laying out the disastrous fate of the yemeni people under -- under this bombardment, under t you know, this war that's gone on for the last throw-plusee-plurs. we talked about millions of people facing famine, and it is extraordinary, extraordinary, that people in the united states are really attuned now to this, and it's really since the murder of khashoggi that yemen was put front and center and they have seep pictures, and they are really horrified by it. just explain what will happen to the people there if this cease-fire doesn astick. >>nd i'm glad that is your
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question, because, you know, nobody should be too complacent about that. there are lots of reasons why it may not stick, why things may go wrong or not in time so i think it's incredibly important on trying to stay ndfocused, i'm glad you put that question because the alternative is. horrifyi famine is different, as you know, from hunger. famine is a viral problem, and famine is already in some of the provinces of yemen, and if we don't preserve the humanitarian pipeline whichs where w started this conversation, then there is every likelihood that mine will grow and cholera with it, and unicef, i remember having a conversation with the executive director of unicef, henrietta ford who went toen y not long ago, and she said to me that people talk about this ing a failing state. it's failed. the systems aren't there now.
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the numbers are frightening. the u.n. is feeding 8on mil people, and there is fear that it could go to 14. that's half the population of yemen. the costs of the pro are enormous, and i believe one of the reasons why this war has gone on ag l it has is because those pictures haven't come out of yemen. it's been difficult, as you know, of course, for journalists to get t accesso -- to thoughts of yemen that they need to to tell the story, and it's extraordinarily important that they have done and they are doing, and this is a spear to alof us, and finally yemen is important not only for the gulf region, but i'm in brussels at the moment, the red sea sndpping nameshe trade that comes through there is of huge importance, of course, for europe. yemen, its geography, makes it a
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critically important state and stability in yemen, and we haven't even touched on the issue of terrorism in yemen. civility in yemen is important for all of us, not just for people in their region and not just the yemenis themselves. >> yes, ieed. well, we really want to focus on the plight of the people but, of course, weem do rr how huge it was as a -- as a generator of terrorqam, aa in the arabian peninsula and all the plots that have come out of thore, so every reason it's important that this be solved. martin griffiths, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you very much indeed. >> yemen is hard lit only place in the middle east where people e coming together to form a better future pore try. like romeo and jewel vote lucy and tashi halevi ce from different parts of the world. one jewish and oneoslem. she is the first arab-israeli to present the news inre h on national television and he's an
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actor on the hit netflix showed called "foughta" whi a show about the palestinian conflict and like shakespeare's characters they got marri in secret in a private ceremony away from the public gaze. it's hard to believe that the israeli government don't like all ts and doesn't recognize israeli interfaith mriage and doesn't condone assimilation. joininge m now are lucy and tsa hi halevi. welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> let me start by askingou- >> oh, now, tell me ur greeting. >> i will say it in hebrew. >> of course. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> and actually, lucu let me ask say it in arabic as well because that's what kind of started getting you into trouble. how do you open your broadcast every eveng?
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>> i open my broadcast every evening by saying. [ speaking in foreign language ] this is lucy aharish. and this is causing me a lot of trouble for some people. some people don't like i am greeting in arabic, also. i can say that on a weekly basis we're getting some complainings from the viewers that this is th not okay i am basically greeting in arabic, that this is d israeli channel, that this is a jewish country, should know my -- where i am living, and i should know not to open the show in arabic. and that caused, let's say, a lot of buzz. but i've been doing that for the last six years on my show. i started the show sn the morninthen i said [ speaking in foreign language ]
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and then when the show started being broadcasin the evening, i said [ speaking in foreign language ] for some viewers it really irritated them and they felt uncomfortable hearing it in arabic. >> >> the minute we heard about the letters, since then basically a musician, a singer/songwriter. we took one of the letters and put on a nice melody and pr ented it as asong, and this is what brought birth to the ecng. ay yeah,se unlike other -- actually i have tohat unlike other letters that we got to the channel, that letter wasw actualtten in a really polite, nice way. nobody cursed me like other times. nobody threatened me like other time and that was like he just said,
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that it's not okay and that my managers need to do something d out that. >> so you respon >> what do you say, maybe we should compose that. >> you we're going to play it. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> so, tsahi, what does the song say? >> well, it talks -- actually it just talks about the letter was complaining about the fact that lucy is using the arabic greeting and since it's an israeli channel there shouldn't be any arabic, you know, spoken arabic on the show.
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what i took out of it, actually he said -- actually it's to greet, to give greetings to someone. what's so bad in greetin't it doe matter in any language. it's something positive so let's takehat as kind of a chorus. and just, you know -- because it's one thing to have people upset about a greeting that you make on your television channel, but let's not forget that you guys are actually married and you are in an interfaith marriage, as i said, tsahi, you're jewish, lucy, you are an arabisly, you're moslem, and there's been aot of backlash to that. what is the heart of the criticism, lucy,hat you guys are getting? >> basically that. that we got married. that a muslim woman married a jewish man. you ow, yes, we got a lot of backlash, i have to say. a there weot of bad comments
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from all over like the arab side and the jewish side, extremists from both sides. but, you know,f we had to focus on something we want to focus on the enormous amount of love that we got from any -- so many in israel likeewish and arab that at the end of the day said, you know what, guys, this is your life. do whatever you want. you love one another, l love win. the biggest clichever. and, yes, yes, i cannot tell yot t was not hard, it was nots harsh, and it t painful to look at all the bad comments that we're getting.f at the ende day -- you know, the day after the wedding we got this post that a principal in one of the schools in israel started the day, the day after the wedding on the
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school day by talking with all the students about tolerance and being equal and treating people in an equal way and loving no matter what. and at the end of that day, the students put on the wall this big poster and saying love no matter who you are, what you are, and where you are coming y om. congratulations, ld tsahi. for us that was not the purpose when we rried. this is what is coming out of this marriage. so, you know what, we did our job. >> so we understand completely at it's not something that's very typical that it happens. we have muslim sit tecitizens a christiansews and we have different people working as doctors and judges, so it is something that there is a mutual life. we can understand why for se people it's hard to -- you know, to understan why, you know, ohether it's on the muslim side
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or the jewish side keep -- you know, to keep the heritage, or, you know, whatever -- each one hasis own idea and opinion and we respect it. verynot that it was al easy for us. you know, within our inner circles, but the minute we got the -- you know, the backup and the love froliour close fa, then, you know, that was the most important thing for us, and the like i said, we respect each one's ideas. a so let's -- let's not forget that this is happening in the backdrop of an unresolved war between the israelis and palestinians and ongoing war and no politic or peace settlement. it seems like yemen is doing more towards peace than israel d the palestinians right now, so spill. police to say that, tsahi, you play a character in an amazing
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drama, an netflix sires called "fauda" and here's a clip with someone trying to get a little r bit of ition out of hamas. we're going to play this little clip. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> so i just want to ask you what it was like playing that part and several oyou, several of you who are the actors also like many israelis served in the israeli defense forces. i believe you were an undercover operative perhaps doing some of
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these actual jobs when you actually had the idea. it's sort of like life imitating art, but just speak to that role at a time, you know, whe there's still no real peace efforts between the two sides. >> well, actually i think what h was speciaher it's the first season or the second season, the whole essence of "fauda" although it's not a icumentary, it's a fictio does deal with the israeli/palestinian conflict. the fact of us, first of all, muslim and jewish actors playing together in this project. and besides being a great action series, i think it does expose th israeli/palestinian conflict in a certain way that is not exposed when yosee it through the media. eventually it deals -- you get
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to know both sides, but you get to know the different colors. you get to know the humanity besides the fact of being a palestinian or an israeli. and to understand you cannot generalize. when you say palestinians or when you say israelis, it's not a whole. you know, both sides have different opinioou have different people with different ideas. you have people with feelings that they all live -- they have fear. they have hate. they have love. so i think in that sense it made all of us as actors we're part -- all of us as actors t understand t we're part of something that is very important. and that scene with the great muslim actor that i hadhe privilege of playing -- we both started our acting i careern a movie, and so for me those
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things were kind of, you know, closing a circle with him after five years playing together. it was incdible. meeting a palestinian, and actually developing empathy and feelings and understanding for each other. i want to ask you, lucause you told us a while back that perhaps this enormous division, you said, we used to speak of it as a war between jewish and arabs, israelis and palestinians, but it's not that anymore, you said. this is a war of religion. so, you know, there used a to be consensus amongst the israeli people for peace and for a two-state lution. do you feel that anymore? >> you know, i'm optimistic. i'm an optimistic person. >> a lot of people are asking me how can you still be optimisryc about eing that is happening in the middle east,
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about everything that is happening in israel? you know, the end of the day, i think that you can understand s guy fell in love with t because at the end of the day, yes, we are -- there is a lot of co-existence in israel and there is a lot of co-existence in the region, but us as media are not actual showing it. on this phrase by generalizing, you know, christiane, i'm getting a lot of critiques ainside the israeli socieut me criticizing either the arab side or the jewish side about things that are happening in the state of israel. and a lot of times i was called a traitor. i was called someone who forgot who she was. or where she came from. i was called by names or threatened. one and a half million things. at the end of the day i'm living
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in a democracy and the only democracy in the middle east. as an arab, as a muslims, a an israeli, i know that in one way or another i'm standing on some kind o a bridge, and this bridge gives me the opportunity to look at things in a different way. the course of my life, the things that i went and the things that i saw gave me the opportunity to actuallyee things from both sides, and can i tell you today that both side in this conflict are wrong and both sides are not like saints, and, yknow, i -- i love my country and i love israel, and for me it' -- i'm always saying that loving your country is like loving your parents, like, you know, you love your parents to ath. youill do everything for them, but sometimes you can also criticize you parents, and sometimes you can say that, well, maybe i won't raise my children the way that my parents
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did. lucy aharish and tsahi halevi, i wish we had moreu ime to talk. e public about what love between two different sides can look like. i and tha pressure point. we appreciate you being with us. from love to friendship, the barriers that seem to keep people apart can often vanish within minutes. actually meeting and talking. that is especially apparent with our next guests. he was an iqi refugee living in america. she was an enthusiastic supporter an thendate trump's you have to stance against muslim refu wes. only by a stroke of luck that the two met and developed an enduring friendship that ni overcame theiral differences. their story went viral after a kereport was published on om and they told our michel martin about their transformative relationship.ha >> bnyadf and maggie anderson, thank you so much for
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being with us et me just start by asking how you met. i understand it was a photo shoot for catholic relief services. bnyad, do you want to start? >> yes, so i was with my -- i was working with an organization in nashville, tennessee where i live and i was asked to be part of a campaign. therwas a photographer named jeremy. they made this project to get together iigrants and refugees together with people who are in some ways aren't verf welcome o immigrants and refugees, and that's how i went into this. it was just a day long thing, and that's where i was photographed with maggie. >> maggie. okay. maggie, did you sign up for this, or how do you geloinvolved withda? ho i was walking in the mall trying to get my fixed. someone came up to me. i said i don't want to answer your question, bause they were the people with clipboards.
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eventually they asked me do you think refugees should enter t country and i said no. i was the first person to say that. they asked me to join this campaign. i told them yes. >> really? what made you do iti >> i love po. i've been obsessed with it my whole life. they offered me $300. i would have done it for free. r go downtown, my small town, and debate people n. it would beoo aopportunity. >> did you realize you were going to be paired with somebody from an immigrant background and take a picture togetr? >> no. but once i got there i saw people who were obviously like ref. and i was disappointed with myself because i should have saw it me. urse, they are going to make me tell this to an actual person, not just like ideas. >> and so what happened? >> they had us taking a photo and i had my rowsarydead aro my neck. i'm catholic and i took it off and we took a photo where bnyad
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held the prayer beads. nc how did you feel about that? >> i was a little ned but it was pluralistic. he was the opposite of what i pictured muslim people to be in my head at the time. >> and how did you feel about it?l, >> w mean, i had no idea even while i was being photographed with maggie. i had no idea she didn't welcome -- she didn't want refugees to be in the s. she was just a young person there, and we talked a little bit, very normal conversations. so you didn't get a vibe from her that she didn't like you? >> no, yeah. vi or she was scared of you. you got no negativs? >> i didn't get that, no. >> how did youind out later that have she really wasn't digging your act? >> yeah, so we talk on the set and she's like i've studied islam and religions d we talked more and i asked her if she wanted to continue the conversation over coffee. we exchanged contact information, and i found her online. and as soon as i go to her facebook page i see her facebook
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cover photo is of he trump rally and her news feed is very obviously all right-wing news sources, like not welcoming refugees, things like that. i think she got trump's autograph or something, very involved and was very vocal out it. like all her news feed was headlines about refugees being bad or committing crimes and doing bad things in this untry, and it came as a shock to me. >> when you saw that did you still want to get coffee? >> no. i was like, i think she just tricked me or she has another ve moor seeing me. maybe she's going to harass me or make fun of me. like, it was an unknown to me. >> maggie, tell me. i know that you're interested in rogue and you've spentot af time studying religion. our choice to embra catholicism was a choice, something that you came after a period of study. what was it about muslims that so concerned you?
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ye i was studying islam a lot, like my sophomor of high school. i read the whole koran. and in parts of islam there's chronic abrogation. because it contradicts itself so much, everything in the back of the book everything muhammad says later supercedes the beginning. the problem with that all the stuff in the back of the book is the not so peaceful verses. >> you aociated it with olence and hostility toward non-muslims? >> and terrorism in general, too. i had also takenrnn inional terrorism class, but after that class i continued studying, but the sources i had were like very right-wing sources. obviously, there is an issue with terrorism in the islamic community. they generalized it to every single wmuslim. n bnyad saidet's get together and continue this conversation? >> i thought he would try to convert me to islam. i studied so much to try to
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counter, conolrt him to caism. then we -- our conversation we had was just a normal conversation that we respected each other and we didn't talk about topics but it wasn't ilike -- it was pluralist nature rather than hateful. >> man ractually. lly? >> the one thing that was bizarre to me, i don't -- i re can't cond how i had these beliefs because my senior year of high school my two best friendwas a girl from pakistan a girl from kazakhstan. one of them only was very religious, but in my hate feel as ihough i blamed on the male -- men in islam rather than the women. i saw the women and children as victims. >> and what about the refugee aspect of it, the immigrant aspect? >> i was fearful people would come and rape statistics would go up and women would be abused and gay crimes and hate crimes
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would occur.y those wereggest concerns, i guess. and so i was just fearful that with a huge influx of refugees, like all the parts oamerica that i love would be taken away because it's a relatively safe country comparison, but i no longer find that to be true. bnya dshk i'm just going to ask you. is it hard to sit here and hear that, to hear like somebody titting next to you thought t you, your family, other people that you know would be -- would come here marauding, you know, attackin people? is that hard to >> that is really hard and what's even harder is that she's not the only person to believe that. it's, yeah, i think it speaks to that a lot of people think the sameay, and that is very unsettling to think about it. >> you were born in iraq, and your dad was a translator for the u.s. army. tell me why its your family decided to leave.
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me so my family, my dad, worked with the u.s. gove at the time the u.s. forces came into iraq around 2002 and '03. iraq, as soon is i was hrn, ir been in a turbulent place over the years. what my dad did when there was e promise for er future for iraq and a democratic, free future and my dad really believed in that and he was -- he wanted this new promising future and he was wito risk his life to help be part of it.ow ungly that affiliation with the u.s. government had turned him into a target to a lot of people. >> what was it that made your father, your parents, feel it was finally time to go? >> well, it was the final straw was that in 2014as when the isis was gaining a lot of stronghold in northern iraq and
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becoming a much bigger problem. en was, i think, at that m my father decided it was time for him to get on this program that the u.s. government had established to bng resettled allies to the united states. and he had the opportunity to do this before, but iwas at that moment when he decided it was finally time to do it. >> and how long did it take before you were able to get your visas? >>t took about three years when they finally gave us the yes it was around december 2016, around election time here in the u.s. >> were you following what was going on in the election in iraq? were you aware of the conversations that people were having? >> we were very loosely following it. we weren't that detailed into it. >> and then it did happen that there was an attempt timpose a ban and it aually happened ernight and then you were caught in it. i want to play a short clip from
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that day. >> t s is my wife and this is my little daughter. i was denied boarding flight to jfk. >> you suleman worked with the u.s. government as a translator. it took two years to getpr visa ed for him and his family. it was just hours afe travel ban went into effect. >> i sold my house. i quit my job. my wife quit her j. the kids left school. all these and i paid $5,000 for the ticket, all went down the drain. >> i can only imagine at that felt like, but do you mind trying to describe what it was like for you when you were on that plane and your family was taken off the plane? >> yh, well, it was very, ve nerve-racking and a lot of despair. i mean, told us they're not going to let
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us board. i just completely fell to the floor and we were just sitting there not kning what's going to happen next. >> maggie, you saw the story about bnyad on abc when it first aired. what was your reaction? >> i was sitting in the living room of my house with my sister. i turned and looked at her and said this is liberal propaganda, taking one famils story and generalizing it to all muslims. >> and then you saw it again. >> i was trying to say his name. >> and you realized it was the guy you just met. >> i watched it and it make me cry because i was so horrified. in my head that's not the people i was stopping from entering the country. bnyad is far from a terrorist. i saw the statistics, not people. after tching that video, i removed the stuff off my social media and then i continued researching and hearing other people's storie and then that point i changed my mind about refugees. >> did you tell bnyad? >> i sent him a text. >> i couldn't believe what
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happened.ed i just cheer facebook and she had removed everything. i was like -- i realized how powerful it was to have interaction and have a human connection. so i was jt -- my reaction was i need to tell somebody what happened because i don't believe it. >> and the rest is kind of history, right. the rest is history. now you all are friends. you're sort of friends. so kind of let's dig in here. maggie, it's not that that information wasn't available before. and, in fact, you saw bnyad's story before and you chose not to believe it. now you've chosen to believe it. why do you think that is? >> it was the difference between seeing aideo on the internet and then seeing like an actual person in real fe. >> the question i'm having is what do we do with this? so much of the way we interact is projecting through social mediand stuff like that.
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do you think in your friendship there's sort of a way forward for the sst of us? whuld we do? >> people in general and americs when you talk about politics, they're so concerned about i need to be right, i need to change this person's mind. instead of looking at an issue and saying this is a problem anb what's thet way to solve it. so i feel like most people are so prideful in their opinions, at least in my case, where it's too hard to say, no, i'm wrong. so people just start getting upset rather than actually listening, actively to the t person they'king with. >> bnyad, is there anything maggie has changed you about? >> yeah. i think i had a lot of stereotypes. i pictured trump supporters as one prototype thing.dn i view them as more complicated. there's a lot of people who voted for trump for something that, like one issue they believed in, thereally wanted their political candidate to speak on that issue, and he
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picked up on that issue. that's why they supported him. st's not that maybe that person is probably not t all. >> i don't know if you still considerourself a trump supporter, but what was your main reason for supporting trump? you said it was part of his policy towards immigration you agreed with, but were there other reasons? >> yeah. i still agree with some of the things donald trump stands for. i'm li for free speech of all forms, no matter what. and i found that he suppor that more. i'm also, like, o the second amendment and i'm very pro-life. that's one thing i will never change my mind about. and it's also part of the reason i changed my mind about immigration. >> tell me more about that. >> i'm pro-life and concerned about you can't just kill, in my opinion, the life of a baby even if they're not born, but you can't be pro-life for person. i need to be pro-life for all people, so that means if there n are immi that want to enter the country to better their lives, that's a pro-life stance as well. it's not just about abortion.
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u so you're talking to people in part because nt people to know this kind of conversation is possible. where do youhink it goes next? any thought about that? what i want in my message is to not take everything you see like a news story, for example, do not take th and believe in that as your total belief. there should be -- eing is more complicated than we realize. >> americansn general on both sides, in my opinion, need to e arn to look at the other side with a critical t with an understanding what they're saying could be true and there's a possibility that you're wrong. >> maggie, has your friendship with bnyad changed the trajectory of your life, changed what you want to do? >> yes. now i'm planning on going to college to become an immigration
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attorney, so i've changed people's minds against refugees before in my past, the thingy i've done inwn and debating people. and i feel morally obligated to undo that. i also would like to help. immigratn is one of my most important political issues. >> thank you both so much for talking with us and for being g the story of the other, the essential ingredient to any kind of conflict resolution, that and having an open mind. and that's it for no thanks for watching "amanpour & kc. see you tomorrow night. uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & co." when she acquired uniworld, a
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boutique castle, she a brought similar style to the rivers with a destination-inspired design for each ship. pva bokkingsable through your travel adviser. for more information visit additional support has been provided by --ou rasalindp walter, bernard and irene schwartz, sue and edgar wachenheim iii, the cheryl and philip milstein family, and by contributions to pbs station from viewer ank you.. james and merryl tisch sue and edgar wachenheim iii
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