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Muslim Population Growing at Tremendous Rate. Pakistan Expected to Grow by 70 Million While US Will Double Muslim Population. Social Aspect of Muslim Population Growth. Chinese Tennis Star Li Na Moves to Finals in Australian Open. 2011 Australian Open Makes History in Many Ways. Connector of the Day Iain Canning, Producer of "The King's Speech." Parting Shots of Record-Breaking Snow in U.S.; Groundswell of Anger in Egypt Grows; Bombings in Baghdad; Nelson Mandela's Health; Gay Activist Murdered in Uganda

Aired January 27, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: A key opposition leader heads home, calling for change in Egypt.

As anti-government protesters prepare to took to the streets en masse, Mohamed ElBaradei says there's no turning back.

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, EGYPTIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: They have to understand that they have to listen to the people, listen to them quickly, take concrete action toward reform.


FOSTER: And across the Arab world, the anger continues to spread, this time to Yemen.

Also tonight, killed for being gay or a robbery gone wrong -- a Ugandan activist is beaten to death in his home.

And she's the first Asian ever to advance to her grand slam final -- Li Na smashes her way into the record books.

On the third day of anti-government protests in Egypt, the groundswell of anger is only getting bigger. Friday's demonstrations could dwarf anything we've seen so far. Two of the government's biggest challengers, Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood are both ready to join the fight.

Let's hear first from Mohamed ElBaradei.


ELBARADEI: I hope and I will continue to support peaceful change, peaceful demonstrations. I'm asking the regime to listen to the people before it is too late. I'm asking them to stop using violence because it will be completely counter-productive and everybody will hurt. So I am here, hopefully, to work with -- with everybody to ensure that we go through an ordeal peaceful process of change.


FOSTER: Well, as you can see, some chaos there.

And Fred Pleitgen is in Cairo for us.

He's been monitoring today's events.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protesters and security forces battle on the streets of Suez. This eastern city of half a million people has seen some of the most violent clashes since protests erupted earlier this week, leaving at least three dead so far.

CNN obtained this amateur video from a local resident.

When we visited earlier in the day, hundreds of people had already gathered outside this police station, demanding to see their relatives, who had allegedly been arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We want to speak out. We don't want trouble. We want these people to get what they want -- to get better. We want them to have a good life.

PLEITGEN: Many blame the security forces for the recent violence.


PLEITGEN (on camera): What is that?

What is it?


PLEITGEN: Rubber bullets?



PLEITGEN: They shoot at the demonstrators?

Were you hit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man is going to kill you and kill me.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Suez has long been known as a bastion of resentment toward the Mubarak government. Most told us it is a lack of economic opportunity and social freedom that is driving them to the streets in protests organized via Facebook and Twitter and inspired by the events in Tunisia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When Tunisians started their action, they encouraged us, even though Egypt should have done this a while back. The story here is quite different than Tunisia. We're not trying to bring down the government. We just want social justice, some freedom, a bit of mercy and work for all those who can't find jobs.

PLEITGEN: The evidence of the past days fighting scars the city. This local council building was badly damaged when it was stormed by demonstrators.

(on camera): This is what's left of the interior of this council building here in Suez. And the people who work here tell us that around 2:00 a.m. In the morning, protesters stormed in here and set everything on fire.

(voice-over): Some are caught in the middle. This man says his shop was destroyed in the clashes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You see this here?

Everything is gone. The people were on this side. The police were on the other side. I was stuck in the middle and they started clashing and I took all the hits.

PLEITGEN: While Mahmoud (ph) weeps, others continue to gather outside the Suez police station and they promise if change doesn't come, there will be more of this.


FOSTER: Fred Pleitgen reporting there.

Well, the U.S. president, Barack Obama, is calling on all sides in Egypt to show restraint. He spoke at the White House a short time ago and encouraged the Mubarak government, a long time ally, to address the people's demands for reform.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My main hope right now is, is that violence is not the answer in solving these problems in Egypt. So the government has to be careful about not resorting to violence and the people on the streets have to be careful about not resorting to violence. And I think that it is very important that people have mechanisms in order to express legitimate grievances.


FOSTER: More of this today. The anti-government anger is spreading throughout the Middle East, as well. Thousands of people in Yemen staged a mass demonstration calling for their long time president to quit. Ali Abdullah Saleh has already served for 32 years. Now, if a draft amendment to the constitution passes parliament, he could remain in office for life.

In Tunisia, meanwhile, the place where all of these anti-government protests started, demonstrators have won more concessions. The foreign minister and other key officials with ties to the ousted president's regime have been replaced. Protesters wanted -- want a clean and total break with the past government. But there is at least one big holdover from the former ruling party. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi has survived a cabinet reshuffle. He's promising to lead Tunisia into its first democratic elections, monitored by international observers.

So are we seeing a domino effect across the Middle East?

Well, in Tunisia, anger over poverty, unemployment, authoritarian rule led to the violent protests there. And when the military refused to crack down on the demonstrators, the president fled the country.

Egypt is a much larger country, with greater freedom of the press. And analysts say there's a much stronger relationship between the military and the ruling party.

In Yemen, protests have been largely peaceful so far. But it's among the poorest countries in the Arab world. The government is already struggling with a separatist movement and a growing threat from al Qaeda.

So these countries have many differences, but they also share similar frustrations.

Just how likely is it, then, that we'll see a repeat of Tunisia's revolution in other countries?

Well, Fawaz Gerges is following the story for us.

He's our Big Thinker on this subject tonight.

Thank you so much for joining us.

How do you link the three sets of demonstrations we've had so far?

FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: You have similar conditions. You have pervasive poverty. You have political authoritarianism and you have the lack of a -- any sense of hope, a future for the young men and women.

Take Egypt, for example -- 82 million people. Forty percent of Egyptians are either in poverty or below the poverty line. That is on less than $2 a day. That is 40 percent of the 82 million people.

President Mubarak has been in power for the last 30 years. Egypt is a broken country. It used to be the jewel of the Middle East. It's the capital of its cultural production. Egyptians have no outlets, don't feel that they have a sense of hope for the future.

So, yes, they are a bit different, but the reality, the social conditions and the political conditions are the same.

FOSTER: And there is frustration in these countries with the political system before. But I guess the added economic worries right now have tipped frustration into anger and demonstrations.

GERGES: You see, Max, the crisis is not the product of today. The crisis has been -- I mean with us for the latest 10 years. It's simmering structural crisis. What you are seeing today in Tunisia, in Yemen, in Algeria, in Egypt, is what I call the intensity of the crisis, of the social crisis -- poverty and the convergence of poverty with political authoritarianism.

What Tunisia has done is to provide the spark, the spark that has ignited that social turmoil in Yemen, in Algeria and Egypt. And, in fact it -- what -- what's the most important point to keep in mind is that the barrier of fear has been removed. Arabs no longer really don't feel basically I mean terrified of the security apparatus. In fact, regardless of whether President Mubarak remains or -- or go -- or goes, in fact, you're going to have a new era of politics.

We're talking, really, this is a major watershed in our politics, not just in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Yemen, almost everywhere.

FOSTER: It's funny, isn't it, because Facebook has been a big player, certainly in Egypt.

Do you get the sense that there's going to be a coordinated effort across some of these Arab countries that are suffering similar problems and frustrations?

GERGES: Yes, absolutely. That is -- I mean this is why the -- Tunisia is so important. What you have, Max, is what I call the new era of globalization. That is, the governments no longer have a monopoly on the flow of information. You have Al Jazeera. You have social networks. And that's why, really, what's happening in Tunisia is migrating into Yemen, into Algeria, into Egypt. You have a rainbow coalition of Arabs and Muslims. You have young men and women, liberal language, Islamists, secularists, leftists. And tomorrow, Max, as you said, tomorrow is a critical day in the life of Egypt. Two variables.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the most powerful religiously-based movement, has called on its followers, for the first time, to join the protests. And as you said, Mohamed ElBaradei, who basically is a unifying figure for the opposition, basically will be joining the protests tomorrow. Tomorrow, we'll see the size and the power of the social protests. And also we'll see whether the government, the political will of the government and how far the government will go in order to suppress the opposition.

The big factor, if there is one particular factor that will determine the future of Egypt, it's not the government, it's the military. In the same way that the military in Tunisia was the decisive factor, basically told them that Ben Ali, the dictator of Tunisia, to go, tomorrow, all eyes and ears on the military.

How will the military...

FOSTER: Just very quickly, are they likely to lean toward ElBaradei if he's popular among the people?

GERGES: And that's why tomorrow is so important...


GERGES: -- because the size of the protest, the size of how many people on the street, how durable this particular movement and also they're going to be listening to what the Western governments, in particular, Barack Obama, is saying.

You see why Barack Obama is trying to walk a fine line between supporting, I mean, Egypt, which is one of Washington's strategic allies and supporting the aspirations of the young people in Egypt.

FOSTER: Fawaz, thank you very much, indeed.

We'll be watching very closely tomorrow.

Now, ahead, a call for calm in South Africa amid reports about the health of Nelson Mandela. We'll get an update on the condition of the 92- year-old former president.

Also, grief and shock after the murder of a gay rights activist in Uganda. Now, there are international calls for an investigation.

I'm Max Foster in London.

CONNECT THE WORLD returns in just 60 seconds.


FOSTER: Remember this controversial headline?

Well, last year, a tabloid newspaper in Uganda printed the names of what it called the country's "100 top homos" and called for them to be executed. Now, a leading gay rights activist who was on that list has been murdered. We'll bring you the full story ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Max Foster in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

And Iraqi police are investigating a wave of bombings across Baghdad that left dozens of people dead. More Iraqis have now been killed in the past 10 days than in the entire month of December.

Jomana Karadsheh has more.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The deadliest attack on Thursday was when a parked car bomb detonated near a funeral tent in Northwestern Baghdad in a predominantly Shia part of the capital. According to an interior ministry official, more than 150 people were killed and wounded in that attack.

With this bombing, this brings the death toll in Iraq to more than 200 people killed in a little over a week. We have seen persistent attacks, high profile suicide and car bombings across the country, taking place almost on a daily basis and mainly targeting Iraq's security forces and the country's Shiites.

In that attack on Thursday, following the attack, we are being told by police sources that people started protesting and throwing stones at security forces at the scene of the attack. And after security forces were not able to handle the protesters, they withdrew and an Iraqi Army unit had to intervene later on to disperse the crowd and a vehicle ban was imposed on the neighborhood.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Baghdad.


FOSTER: There's a new wrinkle in the sex scandal swirling around Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Prosecutors have now linked him to a second underage girl. Mr. Berlusconi is already is facing allegations he paid to have sex with a nightclub dancer known as Ruby. She was 17 at the time. Both Ruby and the prime minister deny it.

South Africa is on edge, awaiting more details about Nelson Mandela's health. The 92-year-old former president was hospitalized for what his office says are routine tests.

Robyn Curnow joins me now from CNN Johannesburg with more on -- on this -- Robyn, how serious is it?


It's a question all of South Africa is asking today. It's been a day of huge concern, because nobody knows exactly what is wrong with him. His office coming out saying on Tuesday that he was in hospital for routine tests. But it's his second night that he's spending in hospital and no word whatsoever on what is wrong with him and if he's getting better or worse.

And this has created a real concern among many South Africans, because let me just give you some examples. Here is a newspaper headline in Afrikaans saying, literally, "Concern about Madiba, which is his clan name, Mandela. There's another headline here saying, "Madiba Called for Calm." And the reason people are anxious and are worried about just how serious this health scare is that there's been a long trooping of family and friends, of great ministers, of army generals, of political icons going into the hospital to see him.

And many people say, listen, if it's more than just routine tests, why are all these people going to visit him?

FOSTER: Yes. And the other thing soaking (ph) this, really, is a - - a sense of secrecy around everything, as well.

Why do you think that is?

CURNOW: I mean, again, a good question. And I -- and I think many South Africans are saying, well, why is the government not coming out and giving some updates or the hospital saying, listen, this is what the situation is and this is his status.

But there is a lockdown, also, amongst the Mandela inner circle. I think many people are too scared to be seen to be leaking any information about what is wrong with him.

So on all levels, on an official public level, the government, the - - the hospitals are saying, you know, no comment. The -- the family is not saying anything.

And that, of course, breeds a sort of rumor and conjecture and a whole lot of speculation. And, of course, that's not helpful for anyone.

That said, it is a very sensitive issue, Mandela's health. And I think many people are quite unsure of how to deal with this step, if this is what some people think is happening, that it is particularly serious.

But we just don't know and we all -- everybody in this country, I think, is just on tenterhooks, not quite sure what to expect in the coming days.

FOSTER: Robyn Curnow in Johannesburg, thank you very much, indeed.

Now, rescuers in Northeastern Columbia, meanwhile, are scrambling to find four miners missing after a coal mine explosion. A buildup of methane gas is believed to have caused the blast yesterday. The bodies of 17 miners have been recovered. Another six survived, but have serious injuries.

An explosion at the same mine killed 31 people in 2007.

In Davos, Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, talked about preventing future accidents.


JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, COLUMBIAN PRESIDENT: By putting more controls. I was informed today that we have very few people controlling the -- the mines, how they themselves control the safety of the mines. And we have to upgrade the regulation and the controls.


FOSTER: Well, President Santos says he'll return to Columbia on Friday to address the mining disaster.

Smugglers use tunnels and airplane, boats, and, of course, people. But this video shows what's -- what has to be a unique method to move drugs across the Mexico-US border. Mexican smugglers used a catapult to launch marijuana over a fence. A video surveillance camera tipped off U.S. Border Patrol agents, who contacted Mexican officials. The smugglers fled before they could be caught, though. Agents did seize 20 kilograms of marijuana, a car and the catapult.

Just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, a gay rights activist has been murdered in Uganda. It comes just months after his name appeared in a tabloid paper hit list. The full story coming up.

Plus, a spike in the Muslim population could dramatically transform our world. A look at the numbers ahead.


FOSTER: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for a full investigation into the murder of David Kato, a leading gay rights activist in Uganda.

David McKenzie, who was one of the last international journalists to interview him, has the story.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A simple sign marking a crime and a tragedy. Some inconsolable in grief, others quietly remembering a man who defined the battle for gay rights in Uganda. David Kato, who made fighting homophobia his life's work, was bludgeoned to death on Wednesday by an unknown assailant.

His murder has left a community in shock.

JULIUS KAGGWA, UGANDA HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Very angry, because everybody who knew David, I mean he was dynamic. He was -- he didn't have any trouble. He was just an activist. This, to me, is a hate crime, rape, to put it bluntly. It is a hate crime.

MCKENZIE: In October, Kato was outed by a Ugandan tabloid that called for gay Ugandans to be hanged. When I met him then, he was clearly a scared man.

DAVID KATO: So I was on the newspapers. So (INAUDIBLE) say, ah, the villagers want to set my house ablaze. They want to burn my house. And I go away (ph) before my house is burnt. Because the poison makers, they go out and say, arrest them, beat them.

MCKENZIE: Activists say that those words are now prophetic. Human rights groups are calling for a full investigation, but police say that it's too early to tell and hinted at robbery.

JUDITH NABAKOOBA, POLICE SPOKESWOMAN: Right now, we are focusing on (INAUDIBLE) we are looking for and that's when we can be able to dig deeper into what really took place.

MCKENZIE: Whatever explanation comes out, in a deeply conservative country, where draconian anti-gay laws could still be passed by parliament, David Kato's mission was left unfulfilled.

(on camera): Is there space in Uganda to be a -- a man and openly gay right now?

KATO: No, public space, we don't have that. And, by the way, the problem here is identity. I can do with you and my friends (INAUDIBLE). When you don't know that I'm gay, it's fine. We can drink and eat together. But the moment I -- I identify that I'm gay, soon the problem comes.

MCKENZIE: David McKenzie, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.


FOSTER: Well, here are some key background details about where the law on homosexuals stands in Uganda. Human rights organizations say there are around 500,000 homosexuals living in Uganda out of a population of 31 million. Their growing persecution was highlighted back in October of 2009, when a bill was tabled in the country's parliament proposing the death penalty for repeat offenders.

The legislation prompted an international outcry. U.S. president, Barack Obama said it was odious.

It's unclear whether the bill has been shelved or if it's still pending. As it stands now, gay sex is a criminal offense in Uganda, officially punishable by a prison sentence.

Uganda is not an isolated case. There are 80 countries with laws on the books against homosexuality. Seventy-two of them include imprisonment.

And there are at least five countries in the world with even harsher penalties. In Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, gays can be given the death sentence, part of Nigeria and Somalia also have the same punishment.

Well, David worked for a coalition of lesbian and gay human rights organizations in Uganda called SMUG. And they say they are now mourning the loss of a dear friend and a colleague.

Joining me now from New York is the executive director of SMUG, Frank Mugisha.

Thank you so much for joining us, Frank.

It's unclear exactly what happened in this case. Some suggesting it could be a robbery. But you don't think that's the case.

FRANK MUGISHA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SMUG: Yes, I -- I definitely believe that most of these hate crimes have been because of the influence of the religious community in Uganda that has been calling on for hate toward gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgendered people in Uganda.

I also think that part of this is to do with the -- the hate media that has been calling for genocide and inciting a lot of violence against the LGBT community in Uganda.

FOSTER: We've been hearing from him from past interviews and how he feared for his life.

He sort of saw this coming, didn't he?

MUGISHA: Well, yes, because with communication with him before he passed away, he was -- he was receiving a lot of threats. Actually, even at the -- after the -- during one of the hearings where we were suing the writings from a Uganda magazine, he was threatened. He was attacked by some of these anti-gay groups at court. And they threatened him.

And I mean this happened after even he -- he was saying, I don't think that I'll even go to court another time because I fear what these people can do to my life. And he continued receiving the threats and the intimidation.

FOSTER: And when we do find out the cause of this -- police are obviously investigating it -- we'll have -- we'll know more about it.

But what difference do you think that the death of this very well known campaigner will have?

What will be the effect in Uganda and around the world?

MUGISHA: Well, the effect, I hope -- I hope that people -- anti- (INAUDIBLE) groups around the world will see this as a call, will see this as a call for unity, will see this as a call for inciting (ph) the public, will see this as a call to try and stop the violence and to try and stop exporting their hate. I hope the -- that mostly the U.S. Evangelicals from the United States that have traveled to Uganda look at this and think say to themselves, what we did in that country was bad, what we triggered off in that country wasn't good.

We should stand up now and say what we did was wrong and we protest (ph) to the Ugandan LGBT community that this was a kind of violence and we will -- we shouldn't have done it.

FOSTER: OK, Frank Mugisha of -- well, he's actually the director of SMUG.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from New York.

Now, the Muslim population boom -- ahead, we'll chronicle the rise of Muslims across the world and how this dramatic growth will impact governments in the future.


FOSTER: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, Muslims on the move. Their world population is growing, in some areas at a tremendous rate. We'll show you the numbers, then look beyond.

Then, a stunning victory for Chinese tennis sensation Li Na. She moves to the finals of the Australian Open after staving off a match point. We'll get reaction from Beijing. That's all ahead for the next half hour.

All those stories ahead in the show for you, then but, first, let's check the headlines this hour.

"The barrier of fear is broken." That statement from one of Egypt's leading dissidents as he returns home to Cairo. On Friday, Mohamed ElBaradei plans to join the mass protest challenging Hosni Mubarak's longtime hold on power.

More evidence that anti-government anger is spreading throughout the Middle East. Thousands of people in Yemen staged a mass demonstration calling for their longtime president to quit. Many fear Ali Abdullah Saleh will try to stay in power, though, for life.

A wave of bombings tore through Baghdad today, killing 51 people and wounding more than 120. Most of the dead and injured were outside a funeral tent in a predominantly Shia neighborhood when a car bomb exploded.

A lawyer for a prominent gay activist in Uganda says his client has been bludgeoned to death. David Kato was pictured and named in an anti-gay tabloid in Kampala late last year. It's unclear whether Kato's killing is tied to the front page listing. Police say they suspect it was a robbery.

Stocks edged up on Wall Street with the Dow and the S&P 500 finishing at two-and-a-half-year highs. Blue chips gained four points for the day, not quite cracking the 12,000 level. The NASDAQ added 15 points.

Sometimes the numbers tell the story. Case in point, the world's Muslim population. It's growing by leaps and bounds. Right now on CONNECT THE WORLD, we want to examine, though, the impact of a growing Muslim presence across the globe. We'll start with Richard Greene, who crunches the numbers and tells us why it's happening.


RICHARD GREENE, CNN RELIGION CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Twenty years ago, there were just over a billion Muslims in the world. Twenty years from now, there will be just over two billion.

GREENE (voice-over): That's what one Washington think tank projects after completing a massive study to figure out how many Muslims there will be in every country on Earth in 2030. "People are going to have to get used to some changes," the study suggests.


GREENE (voice-over): Remember the controversy over plans for an Islamic Center near the site of the September 11, 2001 attacks? Well, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the number of Muslims in the United States will more than double by 2030 to over six million.

Or take Afghanistan, where American and British troops are leading a NATO fight against the Taliban and drug trafficking.

GREENE (on camera): It's going to become a much, much bigger country in the next 20 years. In fact, with a projected population of 50 million, it'll have the ninth-largest Muslim population in the world.

GREENE (voice-over): And what about the Middle East? Well, according to the Pew researchers, Israel is going to become nearly one-quarter Muslim by 2030. Christianity will almost certainly remain the world's largest religion over the next 20 years, but Islam may be growing faster.

So, what's causing this? Well, Muslims are living longer than they used to. And the global Muslim population is relatively young. That means there are lots of Muslims of childbearing age.

Birth control is OK in Islam. For example, the Pew study found that in Iran, married women use birth control at exactly the same rate as married American women. About three out of four married women use it in each country.

GREENE (on camera): But even so, Muslim women around the world are simply having more children than non-Muslim women. And that's why the most popular name for baby boys born in England in 2009 was Mohammed. Richard Greene, CNN, London.


FOSTER: And you heard Richard, there, talk about Muslims in the United States. We're going to visit there shortly. First, though, a look at Pakistan, which could add 70 million people over 20 years. One analyst says that could cause, in his words, a "potentially lethal cocktail of extremism." Not everyone agrees, but all can see Pakistan faces big challenges moving forward.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Reza Sayah here in Islamabad. By the year 2030, Pakistan is going to have the largest Muslim population in the world, overtaking Indonesia. That's what this latest Pew Forum report predicts.

So, what does this mean? Does it mean more extremism coming to Pakistan? More militants that could possibly overwhelm this government? Analysts here say no, not necessarily.

But they do say this report is a wake-up call, a big warning sign, that Pakistan's problems today, including extremism, will continue to escalate unless the Pakistani government and the international community tackle the root causes of Pakistan's problems, and they include poverty, lack of education, lack of jobs, and very little law and order.

If those root causes are not addressed, analysts say, Pakistanis who are angry will continue to get angrier, and that's going to open the door for these extremist groups, who always give Pakistanis a place to vent their anger towards the Pakistani government, and its ally, Washington.

If these root causes are addressed, analysts say, this Pew Forum report will only mean more Muslims by 2030. If they're not addressed, analysts say it will mean more problems, more extremism, and more suffering.

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Jonathan Mann in Atlanta. The United States likes to boast that it is a nation of immigrants, that for centuries, wave after wave of foreign community has come here and found a new home.

This street, for example, offers everything from Mexican cuisine to Malaysian. I think there's even some Korean Karaoke here. And this street isn't that unusual. There are places like it in many parts of the country.

The Pew Center is suggesting that the Muslim population of the United States is going to boom. It's going to more than double over the next 20 years. But even so, it's going to remain a relatively small part of America's total, diverse demographic mix.

The numbers play out this way. According to Pew, if current trends continue, the 2.6 million Muslims in the United States in 2010 will more than double to 6.2 million in 2030. That's a big jump, and it's going to be fueled, in large part, by immigration from places like Pakistan and Bangladesh on the Indian subcontinent.

But at the same time, there will be many more non-Muslims coming into the country. So, demographically, the Muslims will still be a tiny number, all things considered. To put it another way, right now there are fewer than one percent of the US population that describes itself as Muslim. In 20 years from now, it will be less than two percent of the total population. Roughly speaking, there will be about as many Muslims then as there are Jews or Episcopalians today.

What does that amount to? Well, immigrating here is never entirely easy, but the historic trend has been pretty clear, for the most part. Communities come, they settle in, and they succeed. The Pew figures don't suggest that there's going to be an enormous or unsettling boom in Muslim immigration, just the very kind of thing that the United States has experienced and been enriched by many times in the past. I'm Jonathan Mann, CNN, Atlanta.


FOSTER: What about Muslims here in Europe? Well, migration is expected to drive up Muslim numbers on the continent, with Italy's Muslim population expected to double to three million by 2030. The study predicts France and Belgium will become more than 10 percent Muslim by that time.

Then, there are the current controversies, including the banning of burqas in France. France's ban will take effect this spring. There's also the ban on new minarets in Switzerland in a 2009 referendum approved by voters. Minarets, like this one in Cairo, are prayer towers on mosques.

I want to talk about the social aspect of Muslim population growth with Omid Safi. He is professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina. He joins me from the university's campus at Chapel Hill. Thank you so much for joining us.

I just want to, first of all, ask you about the Pew study. Was it a surprise to you in any way?

OMID SAFI, PROFESSOR OF ISLAMIC STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: I don't believe it actually comes as a great surprise. It confirms the information that we have had for a long period of time that the majority of the world's Muslim population, in fact, resides in places far away from the headlines.

Because of the political reasons, we pay attention to the Arab Middle East but, in fact, the majority of the world's Muslims are Asians who reside in Indonesia and India and Bangladesh, far away from the political headlines.

FOSTER: Are there going to be more Muslims in communities around the world in the next 10, 20 years, is there going to be a boom of the awareness in communities?

SAFI: What we notice from the Pew study is that there's going to be a slow, gradual increase in the number of Muslims. And what is significant is, when we pay attention, is that there's a direct relationship to non- Muslims' positive impressions of Islam and their personal face-to-face, human-to-human encounter.

In other words, the people who are most likely to be filled with dread and fear of Muslims are the people that do not know Muslims personally. So, if one can hope for greater face-to-face communal interaction, one can hope that the current wave of Islamophobia will also subside.

FOSTER: Well, that's the point, isn't it? Islamophobia comes from ignorance, often. So, this could be a positive things for Muslims and non- Muslims, because the sense of threat from Muslims, which is created by a few extremists, will go away. So, this is a positive social trend, would you say?

SAFI: I would say so. I think that the Islamophobia that we see is the latest manifestation of racism and prejudice and even anti-Semitism that we have previously encountered. And as long as there's greater education, greater awareness, and greater communal mingling, I think that those waves of fear will wash away.

FOSTER: And if we can talk about the extremists, because they often make the headlines, unfortunately, but they are a small proportion of Muslims, of course. But if the Muslim population is growing, so is the proportion of extremists, isn't it? Are there going to be more Muslim extremists in the future?

SAFI: Well, the number as a percentage is likely to remain what it is today. The real question is going to be, will the political causes that serve as the rallying cry for extremists be dealt with once and for all?

So, for example, in the Pew study, we have noticed that within the Israeli context, we're finally going to see the number of Muslims in Palestine, including West Bank and Gaza, reach the point where the crisis there will have to be dealt with, finally. Everyone knows that the status quo cannot endure.

And so, the question will be, when that situation is dealt with, then hopefully, one of the recruiting tools of the extremists will be eliminated.

FOSTER: OK, Professor Omid Safi, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Chapel Hill in the United States.

Next up, the history maker and giant slayer. Li Na is proving the star of the Australian Open, but can the Chinese tennis sensation go all the way? We weigh it up after this quick break.


FOSTER: She is the toast of China, cementing the nation's emergence on the new global stage. Chinese tennis star Li Na has just become the first Asian player, male or female, to make a Grand Slam final. The number nine seed upset Open favorite Caroline Wozniacki to make tennis history, but only after fighting off a match point.

Li Na will face Kim Clijsters, a favorite of Australian tennis fans, in the final on Saturday, but the Chinese star can be sure of plenty of support. Melbourne not only has a large Asian population, but Australian crowds also love a battler, of course. And as Stan Grant reports, that's precisely what Li Na is.


STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It has been a long, long struggle for Li Na. She's 29 years old, and that's old in tennis terms. She had to reach the final the hard way.

She was playing Caroline Wozniacki, who is the world's number one. She was down to match point in the second set, she'd lost the first set, match point in the second. She rallied and recovered. She eventually won the second set and then took out the third.

When asked afterwards what inspired her, Li Na said, quite frankly, the prize money. She has fought a very long, hard battle to get to where she is. Her father passed away when she was young. She was raised by her mother, and she very much credits her mother with giving her the inspiration and the will to go on.

Her mother, though, has not been able to watch one single match. She simply finds it too nerve-wracking. Lots of Chinese, though, will be watching this final when it takes place on Saturday.

Last year, 400,000 people just watched one Beijing television station alone when she made the semi-final of the Australian Open. You can multiply that many, many times over, when it comes to this weekend's final.

Of course, this is another step, not just for Li Na, but also for China. They've seen Yao Ming succeed in basketball and, now, entering into a new realm, here, a new frontier in women's tennis. She is the first Chinese woman to reach a final on this major Grand-Slam final.

Will she be able to win? That, of course, is the big question, here, with so much expectations, so much riding on this. The good news is, she's meeting Kim Clijsters, of course, a champion of the game, that a couple of weeks ago in the lead-up tournament in Sydney, she beat Kim Clijsters. Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.


FOSTER: Li Na is not alone in making this year's Australian Open truly history-making. These two ladies are now in the record books. Italy's Francesca Schiavone and Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova played the longest women's singles match in Grand Slam history. Schiavone finally triumphing after a grueling 4 hours and 44 minutes on the court.

Roger Federer may be out of the race this year, but he still left his mark on the event. The four-time champion overtook his idol, Swedish star Stefan Edberg as the player who has won the most Australian Open matches. He now has 59 victories under his belt. Edberg a mere 56.

And before his eviction at the hands of Novak Djokovic, the Fed Express had also made his 27th Grand -- straight Grand Slam quarter final, equaling the long-hailed record of Jimmy Connors.

To talk more about this history-making is -- at the Australian Open this year is Pedro Pinto. You weren't expecting this when we were going up to Melbourne, were you?


FOSTER: All these records?

PINTO: I wasn't. I was impressed by all your pronunciations on the names.

FOSTER: I'm a huge fan.

PINTO: And I've got my notes, because there has been so much history.


PINTO: I don't want to get any of the numbers wrong. Let's start with today's big news, I think, is Li Na. Amazing, her feat. China really is starting to show some signs that it could become the next superpower, at least in women's tennis.

Russian players and Soviet-based players have dominated the last decade, and Li Na, considering that she's done so well, recently. She had made the quarter finals of every other major tournament, but she --neither any Asian player had made the final.

What I want to talk to you about, Max, as well, is how much of a personality she is. And you'll enjoy these three nuggets. First of all, the night before she beat Caroline Wozniak, she couldn't sleep properly, because her husband, who's also her coach, kept snoring.


PINTO: And she had to wake him up every hour and say, "Would you please stop." In the morning, he didn't remember anything.

FOSTER: Be considerate, please. Yes.

PINTO: Pretty inconsiderate.


PINTO: Especially because he's her coach as well. She was down a match point, as you mentioned. She was asked at the press conference, "What kept you going?" She said, "Well, the prize money."


PINTO: Which is pretty honest. And the third one is, everybody's really enjoyed her press conference and say, "You're not like most other Chinese people we know that are very shy." And she said, "Well, it's not necessarily that we're shy. It's just not that many Chinese people speak good English, so we're not going to say that much," which is very fair.


FOSTER: Putting it very plain.

PINTO: Yes, exactly. So, she's been very entertaining, both on and off the court.

FOSTER: OK. And let's talk about the men's games, as well, because it's not the outcome most people would expect but, nevertheless, it's been fascinating up to this point.

PINTO: It has. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, everyone expected them to make the final, at least one of them, because it's the first time in three years that this hasn't happened, that neither Roger nor Rafa will make a title match.

As far as Novak Djokovic is concerned, he's really walking on sunshine, we could say. A bit cheesy, I know, Max, but --

FOSTER: You are.

PINTO: Overall, right? But this particular comment is a bit. But he won the Davis Cup with Serbia last year, first time ever for that nation. He's been playing incredibly well. And he's beaten Federer again in the semifinal of a Grand Slam tournament. He'll face either Andy Murray or David Ferrer in the final.

Roger Federer, maybe a little worried, his fans should be right now, because he hasn't made the final of a Grand Slam, now, in the last four major tournaments. He's 29 years old. I had a chance to speak with him recently, he said he's just as motivated, working just as hard, but I think other players sometimes are hungrier than he is.

FOSTER: Is he feeling older?

PINTO: I don't know if he is. He says that he's keeping in shape, many times following and chasing his twins around. And he's definitely got other priorities. He keeps on saying that he is just as motivated, I just think it's the hunger, sometimes, that some of these younger guys will have. He's won 16 Grand Slams. I still think he'll finish his career with 20.

FOSTER: It's been fabulous for tennis fans, hasn't it? This whole tournament.

PINTO: It has.

FOSTER: And talk about this record-breaking game in the women's match as well, because that was unbelievable.

PINTO: Yes, it was. It was a case of whatever you can do, I can do better. And it made me remember the fantastic match on the men's side, we had at Wimbledon last year between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut, and that match lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes across three days. That's the longest tennis match in history.

This one, now, 4 hours, 44 minutes, the longest in women's tennis history. So, we've had it all, really. Upsets, records, entertainment. It's been fantastic, so far.

FOSTER: Put Melbourne on the map again.

PINTO: It has.

FOSTER: Pedro, thank you very much, indeed.

Next hour, you'll hear what Roger Federer had to say, in fact, to Pedro, and we'll check in on his friend Tiger Woods while we're there, as well. How did it do in its first golfing round of 2011? Or he, even? Find out on "World Sport." Pedro will be back in 40 minutes from now.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, Colin Firth is hotly tipped to win an Oscar for his latest film "The King's Speech." Up next, we put your questions to the movie's producer.


FOSTER: Well, tonight's Connector of the Day has brought many intriguing characters to the big screen, but it's his latest film portrayal that is putting him in the spotlight. Becky introduces us to "The King's Speech" producer, Iain Canning.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): It's that time of the year again, as people around the world race to see this year's Oscar-nominated films before the big awards ceremony in February.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He hasn't seen --

ANDERSON (voice-over): And one film that's got everyone buzzing is the historical drama, "The King's Speech," featuring a much-talked-about performance by Colin Firth.


KING GEORGE VI: Because I bloody-well stammer!

LOGUE: Do you know any jokes?

KING GEORGE VI: Timing isn't my strong suit.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The movie explores the life of King George VI as he tries to overcome a painful speech impediment with the help of an unexpected friend.

The film has garnered 12 Oscar nominations in the year's competition, and it's been recognized in numerous other arenas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Geoffrey Rush for "The King's Speech." And David Seidler for "The King's Speech." Tom Hooper for "The King's Speech." Colin Firth for "The King's Speech."

ANDERSON (voice-over): And for its relatively inexperienced producer, Iain Canning, the attention is anything but expected. I caught up with him and asked him just how he was digesting it all.

IAIN CANNING, PRODUCER, "THE KING'S SPEECH": The stories that we've been hearing about the audience reaction, as well, and sort of stories of applause at the end of the film, and even people fighting over the last couple of tickets.

So, to have got that sort of reaction from the audience has been incredible. It's almost unbelievable. And at the same time, for Colin to be recognized in the awards is an amazing thing.

ANDERSON (on camera): Shane from Toronto asks, "Did you face any unique challenges producing this film?"

CANNING: We did. We sort of arrived in pre-production with a few timing challenges in terms of our actors. We had the most incredible set of actors that, normally as a producer, you hope one of these actors will say yes. But they all said yes to this film, and we were faced with Colin Firth touring for "A Single Man."

In terms of award season, we also had to shoot Geoffrey Rush out in three weeks. And we also -- Helena Bonham Carter and may of the other actors were in "Harry Potter" at the same time. And so, "Harry Potter" had Helena for the weekdays, and we had Helena for the weekends.

ANDERSON: Well, I'm sure you're absolutely delighted that you got her. What do you think it is about this movie that has elicited that sort of reaction?

CANNING: I think maybe it's just the prefect solution to January blues in some way. And also, I think that it brings out -- I think the film's conclusion brings out the best in people. I think it's about somebody being selfless and helping somebody become a better version of themselves.

And I think we all, like the King George character, we all wish we could be slightly better versions of ourselves. And I think there's a part of that in all of us, and through his friendship with Lionel Logue, King George VI is able to -- to give speeches and lead the nation.

ANDERSON: Rory Schwartz asks,what influence the royal family has on films about them. So, I'm asking you, do they ever give you -- or did they ever give you any feedback on this one?

CANNING: In terms of help, in the early days, when you're developing the script, they have a very clear distinction between drama and documentary. They -- they're obviously involved in documentaries in -- a little bit more of a hands-on way.

But in terms of drama, they're incredibly helpful at fact-checking and making sure that you know who was where at certain times and ceremonial aspects.

But also, in terms of whether they've seen the film, we don't know. It's on release in the UK, so --

ANDERSON: Have you asked them?

CANNING: They could.

ANDERSON: Have you asked them?

CANNING: N -- we've not been told. Whether we've asked them or not, we've not been told. And as our director and I've been saying, is that we still don't know in the UK whether the queen watched "The Queen." So, I don't know whether she's seen this one.

ANDERSON: In an e-mail sent out on -- after Sunday's Golden Globes, an anonymous writer has criticized "The King's Speech" for, and I quote, "largely glossing over the Nazi sympathizing past of the protagonist," England's King George VI. How much creative license did you take with this story, Iain?

CANNING: I think sort of smear campaigns have been around as long as the awards, probably, have. But I think that, in terms of care that we took, we took a lot of care.

We made sure we had a historical adviser, we made sure we had a royal adviser, we made sure we had even the son of Lionel Logue, the speech therapist, we discovered just before pre-production, and he was able to provide us with the diaries of Lionel Logue that no one else in the world had seen at that point.

So, we were even able to bring in some of those sort of personal facts from the king into the film.

ANDERSON: So, if I said to you --


CANNING: So, we took it extremely seriously.

ANDERSON: "Fact or Fiction," you would say?

CANNING: I would say that, unfortunately, you've got two hours to tell a story. So, in that sense, we've got to -- there is that aspect to drama. But I think in terms of films, we were as incredibly accurate as we could be.


FOSTER: The Academy Awards will be center stage when Colin Firth and stars of "The King's Speech" talk to our own Piers Morgan. It's a red- carpet edition of "Piers Morgan Tonight." Viewers in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East can see that on Saturday right here on CNN.

The US is once again under a blanket of snow. Meanwhile, let's take a look at tonight's Parting Shots. New York has a new record, more than 48 centimeters of snow in Central Park, the most that's fallen in a single day in over 80 years.

And with the snow comes travel chaos. Thousands of airline travelers were stranded across the northeast. Drivers didn't fare much better. Commuters were stuck in massive traffic jams around Washington, stretching well into the night.

A big headache for some, but a joy for others. You're looking at a massive snowball fight that broke out in Washington organized through Facebook and Twitter, of course. More than 100 people got in on the action. Snow, love it or hate it, on tonight's Parting Shots.

I'm Max Foster, that is your world connected, thanks for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break.