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CONNECT THE WORLD

Donald Trump Faces Criticism Over Proposal to Ban All Muslims from Entering U.S.; Qamishli in Syria Peaceful, Still Touched by Civil War; Mark Ronson on the Making of Uptown Funk. Aired 11:00a-12:00a ET

Aired December 8, 2015 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:00:11] DONALD TRUMP, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can be politically correct and we can be stupid, but it's going to get

worse and worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAIN ASHER, HOST: You heard the man, that's U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump is calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the

United States. His remarks have been slammed as unconstitutional and un- American. Still Trump remains defiant standing by his comments in an interview with CNN earlier on. We'll have that interview plus reaction

from around the world, next.

Also ahead, hope and resilience: the Syrian town of Qamishli is a melting

spot where people live surprisingly in harmony. We're on the ground there later

on in the show.

And...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK RONSON, MUSIC PRODUCER: I have to accept I'm never going to have a record that's going to be as big as Uptown Funk. That would be

ridiculous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: That's award-winning music producer Mark Ronson telling us why it's so

hard to follow the success of one of this year's catchiest tunes.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

ASHER: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher at CNN Center. No apologies and no backing down in the face of worldwide disgust and outrage. Donald

Trump is defending his call for a, quote, total and complete ban on Muslims entering the

United States. The Republican presidential frontrunner says, and I'm quoting him here, it is a common sense approach to preventing another

terror attack in the United States.

He told CNN's Chris Cuomo that, quote, "we need a certain toughness in this

country." Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Look, I'm talking about a temporary situation until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on, Chris.

CUOMO: The timing is irrelevant.

TRUMP: Listen, we had the World Trade Center number one. We had World Trade Center number two. We had many other things happen. Then the

other day we had the California attack where these two animals, they're total animals, they

became radicalized and they wanted to do far more damage than that.

What's even more disturbing, if you look into the future, is other people knew what they were doing. There were bombs -- pipe bombs laying

all over the floor. We had other people that knew what was going on, Chris, and nobody reported it. They used the excuse they didn't want to be

racial profilers. They wanted to be politically correct.

By the way, the people that said that I think in their own way they're guilty. The mother knew, the parents knew. Everybody knew.

Now even his father is under watch. They just found out.

CUOMO: But you used politically correct. This isn't about being politically correct.

TRUMP: We can be politically correct, but we have a problem in this country. And we should solve it because you're going to have many more

World Centers if you don't solve it, many, many more and probably beyond the World Trade Center.

CUOMO: I don't see the point of scaring people with the possible when the reality is we haven't had another World Trade Center. You and I both

lived through it. We both lost people there. We know what the real deal is. We know who celebrated and who didn't. We know what is scaring people

and what the reality is. We haven't had those kinds of attacks. The security network has held

up.

And one of the reasons is our unity as a people. And I don't understand how you can see banning an entire religion as a way of saying

anything other than, we are what ISIS says we are. We want a war against Islam. That's who America is. And as you know, or you should know, that

is not who America is, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Chris, we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism.

CUOMO: Right. Not all Islam.

TRUMP: Whether you like it or whether you don't like it...

CUOMO: Not all Islam.

TRUMP: We have a president that made a fool out of himself the other night. He doesn't even mention the term. He refuses to use the term.

Nobody understands why. Hillary Clinton, because she is afraid of the president because of her email scandal, Hillary Clinton refuses to use the

term.

If you're not going to even use the term, you're never going to solve the problem.

CUOMO: But I don't get how you connect these dots, because of the email scandal? Look, everybody knows who we're at war with.

TRUMP: They are looking to do great damage. You look at what's going on

in the Middle East. They're chopping off heads. They are looking to come over to other places too, and they want the jihad. It's very simple. They

want the jihad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: Donald Trump there incredibly not making any apologies, not backing down, and his rivals cannot move fast enough to distance themselves

from his remarks. Nobody wants anything to do with this, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Jeb Bush, take a look here, he tweeted, Donald Trump, there you have it, Donald Trump is unhinged. His policy proposals are not serious.

And this tweet from Hillary Clinton, this is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive. Donald Trump, you don't get it, this actually makes us less

safe.

We are following this story from all angles. We're getting reaction from around the world. Our senior correspondent Sara Sidner is live for us

in Istanbul. But first, I want to go to our Athena Jones who is live for us in Washington.

So, Athena, Donald Trump actually told our Chris Cuomo when he spoke about banning Muslims at a rally in South Carolina yesterday that he

actually had a, quote, standing ovation before he even finished his sentence.

So one thing I think that might surprise our international viewers is that not everybody thinks Trump's comments are that crazy. I mean, he has

clear support here.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Zain. He does have clear support and that is, of course, the big question. Will he lose support

from the folks who back him after saying these remarks? And that does not appear to be the case at least so far.

Yes, he told our Chris Cuomo that he got a standing ovation last night in

South Carolina when he read -- he reread this policy proposal, this statement that he's making about banning Muslim. Our producer on the

ground there says that, yes, he did get big applause. Most of the people stood up in the audience, maybe not a full standing ovation, but there was

clearly a lot of support there. The crowd saying, yes, we agree when he asked what do you think about this plan.

Also several of our members of our CNN team caught up with folks attending that rally and 6 out of 8 people that they spoke with supported

Trump's plan to ban Muslims. One said you can't look at a Muslim and tell if he's friendly

or a terrorist. Islam is not a peace-loving religion. This is what we need to do to

keep us safe.

Even the other two people that our team spoke with who didn't agree with Trump still said they support him.

So he's playing to people's fears and it's clearly appealing to a certain part of the Republican Party, Zain.

ASHER: Yeah, the base of the Republican Party is clearly motivated by this.

Sara Sidner, if I could just bring you in for one quick second, because you're in Istanbul. And many people where you are condemning

Trump's comments, especially because it plays right into ISIS's hands.

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, I mean, that's what some of the Muslim folks that we spoke to said. They said, look, this

is exactly what ISIS wants. They want this idea that it's an us against them mentality and

want people to rise up against the west who doesn't accept Muslims for who they are. That is the very thing they are worried about that this is going

to fuel that even further.

But there's also a sense of disgust. There's a sense that they are seeing words that sound quite fascist. And we have seen that word spelled

out quite a few times on social media, but also in the mouths of the people in the street. There's concern, though, also because they do realize that

there's support for Donald Trump. They do see the poll numbers. They understand that he is running

as a presidential candidate.

And I think that's what surprised people the most, that this isn't just a person who is talking out of complete emotion, this is a person who

is talking about potential policy as the president of the United States, a place that has actually formed to open its arms to immigrants around the

world. And so they really feel like what he's saying is really counterintuitive to the American way.

ASHER: Not to mention how well he's doing in the polls. Athena, if I could just bring you in again. You know, Trump always says the most

outrageous thing. I mean, this could be his way of just trying to get everyone's attention and we in the media, we continue to (inaudible) time

and time again.

JONES: Well, certainly he knows what he's doing. He knows how to keep his name in the headlines and he also knows the kinds of arguments to

make to appeal to exactly the base of supporters that are driving him to the top of the polls. It's important to note, though, that we're still

talking about a third of the Republican Party base, primary voters. So another two-thirds are not supportive of him.

But I just want to play for you a little bit more reaction not just from his competitors on the GOP side, but also from Democratic candidates.

Let's go ahead and play.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your reaction to hearing what Donald Trump says?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Disgusted. I want to talk to the Trump supporters for a minute. I don't know who you are and I don't

know why you like this guy.

CARLY FIORINA, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump always plays on everyone's worst instincts and fears and saying we're not

going to let a Muslim into this country is a dangerous overreaction.

MARTIN O'MALLEY, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Donald Trump's statements are the sort of demagoguery that sometimes proceeds

fascism and I think it's outrageous and I think all of us have an obligation to speak out against this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: And so there you have Trump setting the agenda, driving the conversation. Everyone is responding to him. That keeps him in the

headlines even if you have someone like Senator Graham saying that he's race baiting, xenophobic, people calling him divisive, it still keeps him

right on top of the news and that -- you know, it's I guess in some ways you might call it a mutual using the media

is covering what he's saying because he's get a lot of attention and because it's important he is the GOP front runner.

He is using the media to help get his message out. So, it's an interesting situation here. I think most interesting is the fact that he

says these things and almost no matter what he says he does not lose support, Zain.

ASHER: Right, he keeps rising in the polls. And Sara, let's talk about the facts here, because Donald Trump's comments are especially

controversial because when you look at the data, an overwhelming number of people in the Middle East are actually vehemently opposed to ISIS.

SIDNER: Right. If you look at those poll numbers, I mean, just about everyone has said -- we're talking in the 90 percentile, people have said

ISIS is not Islam, it's not what we want to see. It is a terrible thing. It is a terrible scourge on this Earth and it's killing more Muslims than

it is anybody else. And so you do hear that sort of reaction.

But what you are also hearing from people, and this was kind of an interesting quote from someone who tweeted out saying, you know, perhaps

it's our fault as Muslims because clearly he hasn't met enough Muslims. We should let him understand what a real Muslim is like. And so there was

that reaction as well. It wasn't just anger, it wasn't just frustration, it wasn't just fear, but it was also sort of a teaching moment that you

would hear from people here in Turkey as well.

And an interesting idea that in some people minds that perhaps he needs to be better educated about Muslims who are living both inside and

outside of the United States -- Zain.

ASHER: Right. One minute he says, quote, "I love the Muslims," the next minute he's banning Muslims from coming -- or proposing to ban Muslims

from coming to the United States. Sara Sidner, Athena Jones, thank you both so much.

Trump's comments have made headlines around the world and one of his business ventures in the Middle East is now getting a lot of attention.

The billionaire's Trump organization is managing a golf course that's under construction in the UAE. The project in includes a gated community

of 100 mansions and villas. And the Dubai-based developer Damac Properties is calling it, quote, signature Trump style.

I want to bring in our emerging markets editor John Defterios. He's live for us in the UAE.

So, John, just give us more detail on Donald Trump's business interests in

Dubai, in particular, and how you think they might be affected by his controversial

comments.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Thanks very much, Zain.

Let's start with why Donald Trump is in Dubai. It is, indeed, the golf and entertainment hub for the broader Middle East and North Africa.

Let's get the response first of his partner here. This is quite a large

development if we take a look. It's called the Koya Oxygen (ph). It's pitched as a green development as you see him walking through the golf

course in the last year trying to launch and build up momentum for the project itself.

It's worth $1.5 billion. And I find it interesting today that the developer Damac tried to court away the controversy, if we will, deflect

the controversy, but trying to still keep Donald Trump in the camp of Damac going forward. Perhaps because he may win the White House in 2016.

Let's take a look at the first response here from the senior vice president, Niall McLaughlin. He said, "we would like to stress that our

agreement is with the Trump organization itself as one of the premier golf course operators in the world. And as such, we would not comment further

on Mr. Trump's personal or political agenda right now nor comment on the internal American political debate scene going

forward."

In fact, Ivanka Trump, his daughter, was here in May of 2015, a very high profile Arabian hotel investment conference and she was suggesting

they are not just only happy in the UAE that perhaps they would like to look to more conservative Muslim countries going forward for potential

investment, that would be Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

But it's not been all roses for Donald Trump in Dubai. He launched back in 2008 in New York a very high profile project on The Palm Jumeirah,

which is off the waterfront here in Dubai. It was supposed to be the Trump Tower on the Palm Jumeirah and that got swept up in the 2009-2010

controversial real estate correction here in Dubai and that never broke ground.

But it's worth noting, Zain, that Donald Trump has moved into other Muslim

countries. So, he's not suggesting he wants Muslims coming in to the United States. We have to be very careful when it comes to security, but

he announced just in September in Indonesia, a major property development in Indonesia and has a presence in Azerbaijan in Central Asia, another

Muslim country as well.

ASHER: Yeah, there's a huge amount of irony in this.

But I want to talk about the potential -- about rather fallout, the potential fallout, from his comments, because in the U.S., John if you'll

remember, when Donald Trump made controversial comments about Mexican immigrants we immediately saw NBC cut their ties with him, particularly

with the Miss USA pageant. Is there outrage there that Middle Eastern developers are not doing the same as of yet?

DEFTERIOS: I would suggest that many people are surprised by Donald Trump, but they are not shocked by his reaction. And also having been

based here for five years, but actually covered the region for 20, we have a very

different perspective. They wouldn't take the outlandish view and cancel projects straight away as I suggested before, Damac wants to see if he gets

to the White House so they are trying to keep this alive in the interim.

They play their cards close to the vest. They are shocked by the comments, even particularly surprised that U.S. citizens right now are

supporting him in the polls and perhaps he could make it to the White House and change Middle East policy, which they are very concerned about going

forward.

As one official at Meade (ph), a project manager that tracks the construction spending suggested here, you won't see a big public display of

going against Donald Trump, but there has been one exception, and it comes from a very high

profile developer in Dubai called Halaf al-Haptouri (ph), he's one of the most prominent

developers, in fact, in the Middle East and North Africa. And four months ago he was supporting Donald Trump, suggesting, Zain, that he was a breath

of fresh air and this is what he had to say now.

"I believe, and still do, that America is lacking strong leadership. He's very disappointed with President Obama, and particularly in the

position on Syria and the threat to religion. But when strength is partnered with ignorance and deceit, it produces a toxic mix threatening

the United States and our world."

So, this is somebody four months ago said this might be good for the United States to have an outspoken, plain speaking person. And then four

months later saying, look, it is too much. And this is certainly not one that's in business with Donald Trump right now, Zain.

[11:15:57] ASHER: Also, John, also worth noting that these comments only came out Monday. They only came out less than 24 hours ago. So,

perhaps the business impact could change in the coming days.

John Defterios live for us in Abu Dhabi, thank you so much.

Still to come...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's stupid. I don't think such intolerance and passionate people should become president. They don't deserve to become

president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: We'll show you how Donald Trump's comments are causing a stir around the world.

But first, one city in Syria stuck in limbo as the civil war rages not too far away. We'll take you there after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHER: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Zain Asher, appreciate you being with us.

The civil war in Syria has torn through the country's social fabric. It's ethnic and religious diversity increasingly a source of tension and

animosity. But in the city of Qamishli in the country's north, Kurds, Armenian Christians and Sunni Arabs live side by side mostly in harmony.

Still, the war there is being felt. CNN's Ben Wedeman found it is strained by a complicated limbo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[11:20:21] BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The flag of the Syrian regime flutters over the city of al-Qamishli, a city in the

northeast of the country partially controlled by the Kurdish YPG, the People's Defense

Units, and partially controlled by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

On a cold morning, shoppers are looking for vegetables in the market, their woes not about war, but about soaring prices and the political vacuum

in this land in limbo.

"There is no regime here," insists this man. "Prices are out of control and no one could stop it."

Tell me, I ask another, here in the market where's the state?

"Which state? The merchants are the state, they rule us," he responds. "They do what they want."

Laments this lady, "sugar is expensive, tea is expensive, oil is expensive, vegetables are expensive."

There are no bombs falling on the city. We heard no gunfire, saw no destruction, but the reality of the long, bloody war ripping Syria apart is

also felt here.

"Everybody is leaving. Half have left to Turkey or Iraq or Germany," this vegetable vendor says.

And another interjects, "there's an Arab saying," he tells me. "Who has been killed is killed and who has fled is fled. No one is left."

But al-Qamishli is one of the few places left in Syria that hasn't been divided along sectarian lines. Its population of Kurds and Arabs,

Turkman, Armenians and Assyrians still appears to live in relative harmony.

"In Qamishli We're proud the people here are diverse," says Samira Ahmed (ph), a Kurd. "We hope it stays that way. Without Christians it

wouldn't be nice, without Arabs, it wouldn't be nice, without the Turkman, it wouldn't be nice."

On the other side of town, Fraig Babasian (ph), an Armenian, runs a metal workshop.

"I have Armenian, Arab and Kurdish workers," he says, and everything is fine. We don't differentiate.

In this remote corner of a country at war, at least here there's a slight glimmer of hope.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, al-Qamishli in northern Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ASHER: That was our Ben Wedeman there.

And our extensive coverage of Syria continues on our website. There is really so much at stake as the U.S. coalition continues to fight ISIS

and as winter approaches, even the weather, even the weather, is being used as a weapon

of war.

ISIS militants used fog as a cover to storm Kurdish lines and for the full story of that assault, there's a lot more detail as you can see on our

website. Just head to CNN.com.

Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, Donald Trump's

comments dismayed critics, but appear to delight many of his supporters. We'll get the view from the Middle East and we'll hear how Muslims there

are reacting as well.

And using architecture to enhance learning, we'll take you back to school in

Singapore.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[11:27:19] DEFTERIOS: Both financial power house and multicultural city, the small island state of Singapore has some of the world's best

education facilities. 60,000 university undergraduates enrolled last year alone, and this number is expected to grow.

In preparation, leading institutions Nanyang (ph) Technological University, or NTU, is undertaking a $540 million expansion. NTU's new

learning hub has been designed from a fresh perspective by London-based Heatherwitt Studios (ph),

and local architects CPG consultants, the traditional classroom has been redefined.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact have changed. Technology have changed. The way people learn has changed. Now, so much information is accessible

on the net, right, online. So one question has always been is a university still relevant in the 21st Century? So, I think NTU has gone through a lot

of this soul-searching. And I think the answer is that university is still relevant. University become a meeting place for people to come together

and apply their learning.

DEFTERIOS: The final creation is a cluster of 12 towers, a central communal space provides shelter from Singapore's tropical heat. Within

this 14,000 square meter site, there are no linear corridors, only curves.

The open design classrooms are stacked upon each other, their architecture meant to reflect NTU's flip learning teaching methods.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, the classrooms look completely different if you're at the modern university. Roundtables where the students sit in

groups. All the computers on the walls. You can be interactive. And the teacher is not a lecture anymore, it's like a facilitator.

Flip learning is learning for the 21st Century.

DEFTERIOS: Already affectionately nicknamed the hive, for students the new open spaces have helped fuel academic buzz in the classroom

fostering more opportunities for exchange and debate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The nature of the teacher changes, because usually in classrooms what happens is that you come in and you have a

lecture so the teacher kind of lectures and you listen to the teacher, but what happens here is that you

actually kind of read up about the material beforehand, and when you come into class it becomes a model for multidimensional kind of experience, they

help you solve problems together.

So, I think the nature of learning changes and I think that makes it a lot more exciting, even within class.

DEFTERIOS: A second learning hub will rise up in 2017. But the next phase of construction NTU hopes to explore further the idea that a building

with no doors will lead to open minds.

John Defterios, One Square Meter, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

[11:35:05] ASHER: Taking you back to our top story now, and the backlash over Donald Trump's call for Muslims to be banned from entering

the United States, despite criticism from nearly all quarters Mr. Trump is not backing down. Here he is talking to CNN's Chris Cuomo earlier

defending his plan as, quote, common sense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have people out there that want to do great -- they want our buildings to come down. They want our cities to be crushed. They are

living within our country and many of them want to come from outside of our country. I am saying that until we figure this out, we should have a ban.

It's very simple.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: Now, as we have been hearing, Muslims and non-Muslims alike have slammed those comments from Trump.

Joining me live in London is Sultan al-Qassemi, a columnist with the National

newspaper based in Abu Dhabi.

So, Sultan, as you've been hearing, Donald Trump is banning not just some Muslims, but all Muslims from entering the United States. That's his

proposal.

What's your reaction, sir?

SULTAN AL-QASSEMI, COLUMNIST: My reaction is that this harks back to the darkest days of America. This person is impressed with what happened

with Japanese internment, for example, in World War II. This person would like to see

the darkest days of McCarthyism come back to America. So, this is not somebody who should be leading the world's greatest country, or so we were

thought -- we thought so.

I believe that a Trump presidency would herald the moral decline of America.

ASHER: And Sultan, you know, Donald Trump makes these comments. He goes up in the polls. He continually rises in the polls. It seems as

though no matter what he says, no matter how controversial his comments, he continues to go up in the polls.

When you hear rhetoric like this, what is your biggest fear as a Muslim?

AL-QASSEMI: Well, for me, Trump is just an extension of the entertainment industry, but he just happens to be a very dangerous clown.

However, what happens is that in one year's time, this person I don't think will even be in our mind. However, we will have to work so much in

order to undo the damage that he has been doing over the past few months and perhaps even well into 2016.

It worries me as someone from the Middle East, as someone who is a proud Muslim, to see somebody from the U.S. a potential president,

generalize a billion and a half people.

ASHER: And Sultan, CNN has been talking to people on the ground in Abu Dhabi to get their reaction about these comments. I want you to listen

to what they had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's racist, yes. They are saying that Muslims are

racist. They refuse other religions. He is refusing a religion, so he is himself a terrorist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you will ban all Muslims that (inaudible) that religion of Muslim and Muslim people, they are bad and they are not. Of

course. Of course not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: So, Sultan, people on the ground we spoke to were calling him fascist. They were calling him racist. We have seen GOP rivals,

Republican rivals, condemn his comments, various Muslim-American organizations also calling him out, even David Cameron, the British Prime

Minister also condemning what he said. Is that enough?

AL-QASSEMI: The truth is what Trump is doing is that he is pushing the rhetoric and the narrative further and further to the right. In the

next Republican presidential debate you will see people sort of trying not to disagree with him too much in order not to disenfranchise his potential

voters.

ASHER: You know, you mentioned that you see him as an extension of the

entertainment industry, but how seriously are people actually taking these comments? Do they think that it's just a ploy by Trump just to get more

attention, or is there some genuine concern that this man could actually be the Republican nominee?

AL-QASSEMI: I don't think that people in the Middle East believe that he could be a president. I think that people still think that this is a

joke. Even some Americans believe it's a joke, but it's getting more and more serious by the day. He could just throw these balloons and one day

somebody might adopt one of his policies.

And, you know, this makes me feel as though this is a president that J -- that Hoover, the FBI -- the head of the FBI would want, you know, the

former head who was complete right wing.

So, this is very worrying and I think that he potentially might be breaking some American laws in the next few months. If he continues the

next step might be what potentially second tier citizenship for Americans? Could he propose sort of

legislating racist laws and regulations? There's no end to his craziness.

[11:40:05] ASHER: Yeah. And Sultan, you know, I want to make it very clear just to take up your point, I want to make it very clear that a lot

of people have come out calling his comments unconstitutional, un-American and characteristically Trump didn't say anything about how he would adopt

these policies. I mean, these are just ideas. And I think a lot of people have been calling him out.

But just to get your point on this, the fact that Trump is doing so well in the polls despite making these controversial comments, how does

that change the perception that people have of America? What does that do to the American brand, do you think?

AL-QASSEMI: As I said, America is slowly losing its moral high ground. America could not go and preach to other countries and tell them

what to do and what not to do and treat their citizens when America -- when a potential presidential candidate is proposing sort of either racist or

bigoted legislation against so many people from their own citizens. America could not go and

preach to others, they could not issue these annual reports about how other countries are doing democratically and treating their own citizens.

This would be the end of America in terms of moral high ground, at least for us in the Middle East they cannot criticize dictators and

autocrats and how they mistreat their citizens when a potential presidential candidate is doing the same in America.

ASHER: Right. So you think it's hypocritical.

But I do want to make it clear that just because he's rising in the polls, that doesn't automatically mean that he's going to get the

nomination. But, of course, anything is possible. We shall see.

Sultan al-Qassemi, thank you so much, appreciate getting your perspective. Appreciate that.

AL-QASSEMI: Thank you.

ASHER: Turning now to the investigation into the San Bernardino massacre, U.S. officials say the couple behind the attack was on a path to

radicalization, excuse me, even before ISIS proclaimed itself a caliphate.

Tashfeen Malik and her husband Syed Farook killed 14 people at a holiday party in California last week. Investigators are now trying to

figure out where they were radicalized and by whom, two very important questions.

Our Saima Mohsin joins us now from Multan in central Pakistan where authorities are looking into Malik's background.

So, Saima, we're learning a bit more about Tashfeen Malik, particularly

about her education at a religious school there in Multan.

What more can you tell us?

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We spent the day here looking

at the al-Houda (ph) Institute. I went inside today as well.

This is a religious institute. It is specifically for women. It's run by a woman who has a PhD herself. And they seek to teach people about

what they told me were the basics necessities of being a Muslim, that is to understand the Koran, to translate the Koran and to understand and practice

the five pillars of Islam.

What they say is they are not an extremist or violent movement. They are a social movement. And they specifically seek to teach women.

Now when I went inside, the teachers weren't willing to speak on camera, but they gave CNN a statement saying that they knew Tashfeen Malik

who had visited and attended classes at the institute from around about May 2013 until April last year. So for a year. And they knew her to be a hard

working, obedient as they put it, helpful and positive-minded, in their own words, person. They said that it was unthinkable that anyone like

Tashfeen, but she could have carried out what they called such a horrible act in San Bernadino, which is what they say 100 percent un-Islamic.

I put it to them, do you teach an extremist mindset? Do you veer towards radical forms of Islam, they said absolutely not. This is not the

teachings of Islam, this is not the teachings of al Houda (ph) Institute.

So they really say that the person they knew that studied at their institute is a far cry from the person that carried out what they called a

heinous attack today.

And it's really interesting, Zain, we have also spoken to one of her colleagues at the university that she attended before the al-Houda (ph)

Institute, right here in Multan (ph), the Bahowadeen Zakaria (ph) University. A student there describing her as a jolly, jovial character

like any other girl at a university talking about boys, social networking and chat rooms.

Very different personality from the suspect we see in the San Bernardino shootings -- Zain.

ASHER: Yes. So many unanswered questions about how she became radicalized. We'll see what this investigation digs up.

Saima Mohsin live for us in Pakistan, thank you so much.

Coming up next, CNN's Silk Road series continues with a high altitude trip. We'll take you to the grape harvest in Georgia. That's coming up

next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[11:48:00] SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just over an hour to Tblisi, we drive through a valley at the foot of the great

Caucuses. This is Karkheti (ph), home to some of the oldest vineyards in the region, that's what brought George here. He runs the local winery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason why grapes in Karkheti (ph) so good is that here is a very special climate, soil, land, humidity.

UDAS: Georgians believes wine making here dates back some 8,000 years. Little has changed over the millennia. The process starts by hand:

the picking, the packing.

Back at the winery, though, modern machines make sorting and crushing the grapes much easier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Technologically, everything develops, you know, and it changed a lot, but the idea how to make wine is the same like it was

8,000 years old.

UDAS: The fermentation and storage tanks are also modern. European- style bands and oak barrels. But traditional methods are still used.

Centuries ago Georgians fermented wine in underground earthen vats, covered with sand. They still do, producing this uniquely orange colored

unfiltered wine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is traditional, this Georgian style of wine making. And if you take this smell, this is like dry fruits. It's

beautiful.

UDAS: Wine is still very important in Georgian culture. It's used to mourn and celebrate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are finishing the harvest. Now it's kind of a celebration.

UDAS: Every fall, George Pierdashvili (ph) and his wife Nino (ph) celebrate the end of harvest with friends and family. They pick the last

grapes of the season, then they are crushed the old fashioned way.

It is stored for several months before you can drink it. And that's, say all, is when the real fun begins.

Sumnima Udas, CNN, along the Silk Road.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[11:53:45] ASHER: Welcome back, everybody. Chances are you probably heard

this song from our Parting Shots, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' smash hit Uptown Funk was of the biggest songs of the past decade, but as our John

Jensen found out, it actually wasn't much fun for Ronson to make.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RONSON: You know, it's been an extraordinary year with the success of Uptown

Funk and it's a song we worked so hard on and the fact that people just kind of took it on the way that it did, it's amazing to have a song like

that that people connect with.

JON JENSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But why is it that you think that song resonates with so many people around the world?

RONSON: I think the place that it originally came from when we and Bruno and Jeff had that first writing session it was started to jam --

Bruno on drums, me on bass, Jeff on keys playing the music that we kind of love the most.

Bruno was an incredible singer and performer, you know, everything about it that he brought from the dance moves and directing the video just

kind of all these things that add on top of it.

JENSEN: Before the success, you described in the past my career sort of went cold.

RONSON: I just knew that I had to make something that was maybe the - - try to make the best thing I had ever done, which what, you know, I tried to do with Uptown Specials. I knew that whoever I worked with on this

record had to be the kind of best person in their lane of what they did, because this record was a bit go for broke for me.

[11:55:19] JENSEN: Finding those people and recruiting them wasn't easy. It took, what, seven months to make this track.

RONSON: You know, Uptown Funk really went through the ringer. The last was the guitar line and I was trying to record it and I just couldn't

get this thing and we had gone through 50, 60 takes of just recording it over and over. And I basically collapsed and fainted. I got these crazy

nerve rashes. Yeah, I knew that a lot was hinging on this album.

JENSEN: How do you follow up on that success?

RONSON: You're never really thinking about that, you're just sort of going in a room with people that you love or admire or respect or that

inspire you and you're going to make a piece of music.

JENSEN: There has got to be pressure, though, right? There's got to be pressure to follow up with something bigger.

RONSON: I have to accept I'm never going to have a record that's going to be as big as Uptown Funk. That would be ridiculous. It would be

like making Avatar twice. It's just not going to happen.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ASHER: That's a very catchy song, incredible that it took seven months to make, though. But you can always follow the stories our team is

working on throughout the day by going to our Facebook page, Facebook.com/CNNconnect.

And of course you can get in touch on Twitter as well, you can tweet me that was Connect the World. Enjoy your evening wherever you are

watching from. Thank you so much. I'm Zain Asher.

END