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6 Jul, 2009 09:13

“Obama a prolongation of Bush” – Islamic leader in Russia

“Obama a prolongation of Bush” – Islamic leader in Russia

In an interview with RT, Geidar Jemal, the head of the Russian Islamic Committee, had some candid views about US President Barack Obama, and many other things.

As a Muslim, do you anticipate improved relations between the United States and the Islamic world as a result of Barack Obama being in the White House?

Geidar Jemal: No, my view is that Barack Obama represents a prolongation – or worse – of the policies of the Bush administration. After all, many people, Americans especially, were expecting the abolishment of the most odious acts – wiretapping, astronomical military budget, for example – of the Bush administration.

RT: But certainly there must be a sense of relief in the Muslim community. It seems that Obama is really striving for some political change not only in the US, but across the world.

Geidar Jemal: No, the administration of Barack Obama is nothing more than neocon policy dressed up in an African-American Democratic glove. The Middle East, at least, is not buying the change. They are not idiots. People have big expectations in America (for Obama) but not in the Middle East.

RT: Okay, what about Obama and his chances for mending the political chasm between Washington and Iran, specifically Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Geidar Jemal: First, let me say this. You cannot clean out a house when the situation is more or less stable. The radicals in Iran need to clean out the liberals – students, journalists, secret opposition groups. To take out 100,000 people – this is absolutely necessary to ensure the future of the radicals. But this cannot be done in ‘normal’ conditions. The fact is, the Iranian radicals need a civil war, which will be quickly lost by the liberals. They are no match for the Revolutionary Guard; they would be annihilated. Washington fails to understand this. It somehow believes that a civil war will overthrow the establishment, as if Ahmadinejad is hanging onto power by the skin of his teeth. This is not the case.

RT: So you don’t foresee a democratic revolution happening in Iran?

Geidar Jemal: It is important to understand that for Ahmadinejad, the interests of Islam are more important than the interests of his people. He is one of a core group of individuals who believes that the world is full of oppression and Islam can correct it.

RT: At the weekend, the Iranian president said he would be willing to sit down to talks with Barack Obama. He told a group of students that he would “go to the United Nations… and invite Obama to negotiations.” Is there any chance that such a meeting would represent a thaw in US-Iran relations?

Geidar Jemal: Barack Hussein Obama was a Muslim, but one who ultimately rejected Islam. Later, he left his Christian faith when he was publicly challenged with comments by his spiritual leader. How can Ahmadinejad hold serious talks with a man of such principles? I don’t think we should overestimate… his (Ahmadinjad’s) words. Talk does not necessarily mean a result. Results are clearly another thing.

RT: Thank You.

Robert Bridge, RT