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MSNBC’s Mohyeldin Defends Islam Against Charges of Intolerance: ‘This Is Not a Religious Issue’

MSNBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin disaggregated terrorism from Islamic stereotypes on Morning Joe Thursday morning, arguing that radicalized violence was a societal problem that was not endemic to or correlated with Islam.

“What I would say is there’s no freedom in this issue,” Mohyeldin said. “This is not a systematic problem of the way the religion teaches people to go out and practice their religion. The problem in the societies across the Arab world, where there is no plurality of ideas because they are such oppressive societies, you get one interpretation and that becomes the only way these individuals feel they have a right to defend their religion.”

“But if you think that you can go into countries in the Middle East and criticize their leaders — you’d be thrown in jail,” Mohyeldin said. “If you can’t criticize and interpret their religion openly and you can’t criticize the political leadership in many of these countries, you have a society that lacks freedom, not a problem with a religion.”

“These are the points that are sometimes lost. We want to jump out and say Islam has a problem with tolerance. It doesn’t. Societies have a problem with tolerance and we’re not teaching these young individuals to be tolerant.”

Host Joe Scarborough asked if Mohyeldin believed Islam had a problem with tolerance, especially toward women.

“Absolutely not!” Mohyeldin said. “It’s the thing that a lot of people in the west like to throw out very quickly, say, ‘look, Saudi Arabia doesn’t let women drive.’ That is not a religious issue. There were no cars at the time of Islam, so nobody could have come out and said you can’t drive. But some people have decided to interpret their religion in a way that has become counter productive to women’s rights.”

“You’ve had Muslim countries that have had prime ministers that are women and you have Muslim countries that have had women not even allowed to drive a car,” he continued. “So two Muslim countries, predominantly Muslim populations, have interpreted their religion to mean two different things on capabilities of women and what women can do. This is what gets lost. You can’t brush the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.”

Watch the clip below, via MSNBC:

[Image via screengrab]

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