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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi; Interview with Lebanese Education Minister Elias Bou Saab; Behind International Cyber Wars; The Story of Irshad Manji, Muslim Reformer. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired April 24, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:08] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
We'll begin today's show with the dashing and energetic 41-year-old prime minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi. An exclusive interview on the migrant crisis that is threatening to tear Europe apart, on the ISIS terror threat, and on the comparisons between Donald Trump and Silvio Berlusconi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTEO RENZI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I consider Donald Trump, a man who invest a lot in a policy of fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Also looking at the migrant crisis from another nation's point of view. Lebanon's education minister explains how his nation of four million is dealing with the refugee population of two million. Imagine 170 million people coming into America in just two years, he says.
And with each new terror attack people have begun to ask again that question. Why do they hate us?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tomorrow will be Washington. It will be New York. It is coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Why do some Muslims seek the death and destruction of the West? That's a question I'll ask and answer in my latest special premiering Monday at 9:00 p.m. I will give you a sneak preview this hour.
But first here's my take. Should the United States cut off its ties to Saudi Arabia? That is the question of the week that emerges amid the swirl of controversies and President Obama's recent visit to the kingdom. Now I've been a critic of Saudi Arabia for decades, but with all the
problems, I think that the United States is better off with the alliance than without.
Let me be clear. I believe that Saudi Arabia bears significant responsibility for the spread of a cruel, intolerant, and backward extremist interpretation of Islam, one that feeds directly into jihadi thinking. But as the scholar Gregory Gause points out in an important essay forthcoming in "Foreign Affairs," Saudi Arabia lost control over the global extremist movement in the 1980s. The Saudi regime itself has been targeted by that movement since the 1990s.
If America was target number one for al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia was target number two. While in the 1950s Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi version of Islam, a product of Nomadic desert culture, was practiced by a tiny minority of Muslims. Saudi Arabia makes up of 1 percent of Muslims worldwide round about. Then came the oil boom and Saudi Arabia, its government, charities and people spread these ideas throughout the Muslim world.
This globalized Wahhabism has destroyed much of the diversity within Islam, snuffing out liberal and pluralistic interpretation of the religion in favor of an arid, intolerant one. In the 1980s, as the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union turned into a religious conflict doctrines of jihad flourished. In many cases Islamic fundamentalism turned into Islamic terrorism.
In the years that followed 9/11, after much defensiveness and denials, the Saudis began to reverse course, shutting down government funding for Islamic extremist movements. Retired U.S. General David Petraeus once told me that the most significant strategic shift during his time in uniform was that Saudi Arabia went from being a tacit supporter to an aggressive foe of jihadi groups.
Today Saudi intelligence is a major ally in fighting al Qaeda, ISIS, and its ilk. And yet Saudi funding of Islamic extremism has not ended and it's pernicious effects can be seen from Pakistan to Indonesia. The funds now come from individuals, not the government, still it is hard to imagine that the absolutist monarchy of Saudi Arabia cannot turn off the pipeline of money to extremists.
The reason probably is that Saudi Arabia is reluctant to take on its religious extremists for fear of backlash. Hardlined preachers and ideologues have significant sway in Saudi society. The kingdom is well known for its vast and growing social media, less well known is that within that social media the biggest stars are Wahhabi preachers and extremist ideologues.
Were the Saudi monarchy to fall it might not be replaced by a group of liberals and Democrats but rather by Islamists and reactionaries.
[10:05:02] And having watched this movie in Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria, I'm somewhat cautious about cavalierly destabilizing a regime that is at the end of the day in many areas -- defense, foreign policy, oil, finance -- a stable ally. Saudi Arabia has created a monster in the world of Islam, and it is
now a Frankenstein's monster, one that threatens Saudi Arabia as much as the West. The kingdom must reform itself and its export of ideology, but the reality is that this is far more likely if America engages with Riyadh rather than distancing itself, leaving the kingdom to fester in its own world.
Foreign policy often means dealing with the world as it is, not as you would wish it to be. It means foregoing the satisfaction of some grand moral victory and accepting instead small quarter measures. In few cases is this more true than in America's relations with this strange desert kingdom.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Joining me now in the studio is prime minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi. He is in New York this week along with many other world leaders to officially sign the climate agreement reached in December.
Welcome back to the show, Mr. Prime Minister.
RENZI: Thank you so much.
ZAKARIA: Italy has now become the new entry point it seems for all these waves of migration that are coming into Europe. Of course it has always been, but for a while Greece was the central entry point. That seems to have been shut down, slowed down. You saw this tragedy of this boat this week.
What is the solution to this immediate crisis which is these waves of refugee? Where will they go? What happens to them? Are you going to have camps to put -- to keep them?
RENZI: There is not solution in the next two days, two weeks, two months. We need a strategy, we need a very intelligent program for the next month, and only Europe could solve this very great problem because for me the real question is not tackle against the people who arrive on the -- with the ships in our borders.
The real question is block these sisters and the brothers who came from Africa and give them an opportunity in Africa. So --
ZAKARIA: Meaning find something in the places that they are -- that they are migrating from so they don't have to migrate.
RENZI: Absolutely. We have alternatives.
ZAKARIA: But what do you do in Syria? This can't go back to Syria.
RENZI: We need time. First, block the war. Block the cause of migration in Syria finally, which is a very important first step of peace. It's not the definitive solution, but it's a very important step.
ZAKARIA: But do you have time because you're getting these waves of migrants and its changing the politics in countries like Italy, like France?
RENZI: Yes. Now we have a very great controversy, and controversial situation in Europe. A lot of countries said, oh, this is the time of new walls, we block the people, we build new walls. I think this is not the solution. This is good for consensus, but I think I prefer laws, some find in consensus in the polls, but don't lose my decree. Italy continue to save the people in the sea. Also my position consider this a mistake I think is absolutely important, maintain my dimension of human being.
If there is a woman in the Mediterranean who risk life, I save this woman. I try to save these people obviously. Maybe I lose some points in the polls, but I don't lose my dignity. This is very important.
ZAKARIA: What about the other issue of the climate of fear, which is that the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Europe. Over the last year you have had a series of terrorist attacks in Europe and many people say that one of the problems that Europe faces is that its countries while they are all part of the Europe economic union they do not share intelligence, they do not have the same standards on borders. Somebody comes into one country and is a suspicious person, that has not been reported to other countries.
[10:10:06] How serious a problem is this? Because there are people who say Europe will fall apart because of this, because countries will start putting up borders rather than accept the idea that, you know, they just have to let in somebody from Greece or Bulgaria.
RENZI: I agree with you, Fareed, about the intelligence sharing, absolutely, and this is a problem for some countries in Europe, but, first of all, let me be very frank. First, there is not a connection between migration and terrorism. Terrorists come not with the ships. Terrorists, in part, come with the very strong organization and in part grew up in Europe.
ZAKARIA: They grew up in Europe?
RENZI: Absolutely. Molenbeek, a quarter, a part of Brussels, is a part in which a lot of these killers grew up and this is a problem for Europe. So in Italy we change legislation. I put on the table a lot of money to fight against terrorism, but at the same time I give this message. For every euro invested in security we must invest one euro in culture, education. For every euro invest in police we can -- we must invest one euro in a different cultural approach because when you see some colleagues said, OK, this is a time of war, I think this is not correct. This is not war. This is terrorist attacks inside Europe, but we need a reaction also in the education system, in the cultural system, security, start from education.
There is also a problem in Syria against Daesh. We must destroy the army of Daesh everywhere. We fight against these terrible people everywhere, within the United States of America, but at the same time, I think Europe, Brussels, we have a problem, and the problem is in Europe, not only outside.
ZAKARIA: Mr. Prime Minister, we need to take a break.
When we come back I will ask the prime minister about the comparisons between Donald Trump and Silvio Berlusconi. What can we learn from Italy's experience?
[10:17:02] ZAKARIA: And we are back with the prime minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi.
So, Mr. Prime Minister, I wonder when you come to this country, and you see that there is a very rich man, a billionaire, who is appealing to people at a very populous level and is very funny and is able to make jokes and laugh and nobody thought he was going to do well and then suddenly he does better and better and better.
Are you watching Donald Trump but thinking to yourself, I've seen this movie before and his name is Silvio Berlusconi?
RENZI: Every country present a different history, and I respect American people and so I think it's better for a prime minister of Italy don't enter into a competition -- electoral competition in USA. This is my personal position and official position of the government.
As member of my party, Democrat Party, obviously I support very strongly Hillary Clinton because I think she is a woman able to give security to every partner, to give a message of cooperation with other partners, to continue the good policy of President Obama.
Our experience with a billionaire as prime minister is very complicated. I consider Donald Trump a man who invest a lot in a policy of fear. Use it, the expression about migration or about Muslims or about also relation with European people. So I don't know. I respect, as a prime minister of Italy, I will host every president from the United States of America in the next G-7 in Italy in 2017.
I respect the vote of American people, the Republican Party, the Democrat Party, independent party, everything. We respect because we consider American people as a brother. People and -- our first ally, our first partner, our first friend, at the same time as a member of a party, of Democrat party in Italy. I hope the next president of the United States could be a woman finally.
ZAKARIA: But let me ask you as an Italian politician, there are many politicians, political figures in Italy who feel that Berlusconi in many ways set back Italian democracy because of the extraordinary use of his private power and mixing it with public power, turning the celebrity status into political status. Do you worry about Trump in that way?
RENZI: I'm not worried. I'm not worried. I don't -- I don't agree with Donald Trump's positions, but at the same time I consider American democracy is a model for the rest of the world, also for Italy, and so I'm not worried.
[10:20:08] The American people will be able to decide about the next president in freedom and in respect of everyone.
ZAKARIA: Will you miss President Obama?
RENZI: Everyone in Europe considered the Obama presidency as a great presidency. Obama changed a lot of things in United States for labor market reforms, for the economy after the terrible crisis of 2008, for a lot of -- for attention about climate change, energy sector, universe -- a lot of things in your country, but they think Obama gives also a great message on the world. And personally I consider good, positive legacies by Barack Obama the agreement in Cuba and also the agreement in Iran.
I visited last week Iran, I visited Tehran, I met President Rouhani. I think the decision to involve Iran in a new strategy for the area but also for the rest of the world, it's good. Obviously we must control, we must verify the respect of the agreement, but I think President Obama will be -- this part, the legacy of President Obama, will be very good in the judge of the future.
ZAKARIA: Mr. Prime minister, pleasure to have you on.
RENZI: Thank you so much. Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next up, as Prime Minister Renzi says, the refugee crisis has no short-term solution, but imagine being a top official in a country whose population has gone up 50 percent because of the influx of refugees. How in the world do you manage that? Find out when we come back.
[10:25:56] ZAKARIA: The waves of the Mediterranean washed up on the shores of Lebanon, but from the nation's inland borders with Israel and Syria, it is waves of human beings that have been washing up, waves of refugees. These refugees have been coming for decades, but now Lebanon seems to be at its breaking point as it tries to figure out how in the world to feed these people, keep them healthy, and educate the children.
The challenge is astounding, as are the numbers involved. Listen in to my conversation with the nation's education minister, Elias Bou Saab.
ZAKARIA: Elias Bou Saab, pleasure to have you on.
ELIAS BOU SAAB, LEBANON'S EDUCATION MINISTER: Thank you very much.
ZAKARIA: So explain, it strikes me you have one of the most difficult jobs in the world. So Lebanon is a country of four million people.
BOU SAAB: That's correct.
ZAKARIA: How many refugees does Lebanon have from the Syrian civil war? BOU SAAB: You know, we had 500,000 Palestinians from before, and now
we have 1.5 million Syrian displaced people that are now present in Lebanon.
ZAKARIA: So there are two million refugees for a country of four million people?
BOU SAAB: Exactly that. So it's like as if you are comparing to the United States, about 170 million refugee decided to walk into the country in less than two years.
ZAKARIA: And when you look at this problem you are looking at it from the point of view of the Ministry of Education. What became your principal challenge once you have these 1.5 million people coming to the country?
BOU SAAB: I have 1,200 schools in the government system. I have 250,000 Lebanese school-age in the system, in the government system, and I have 450,000 Syrian refugee child ready to go.
ZAKARIA: So you have almost twice as many refugee children as there are in the entire public school system in Lebanon?
BOU SAAB: Exactly. So I had to think outside the box. First thing we tried to do, to look at a case study to see where did this happen in the world, how can we learn from what happened to deal with the situation, and you will not find anything like that.
You know, Lebanon, according to the UNHCR's report, is the highest per capita country that have displaced people. Actually they have listed like the top 10. Lebanon alone, put together all the nine, the other nine, Lebanon alone is double the figure.
BOU SAAB: So we are in a situation that is unheard of in the world.
ZAKARIA: So what is your plan?
BOU SAAB: I started operating double shift system. I use the school twice, one shift in the morning, another shift in the afternoon.
ZAKARIA: Like a factory almost.
BOU SAAB: Like a factory almost.
ZAKARIA: How did you get double the number of teachers, or did you make teachers do double shifts?
BOU SAAB: We do have a lot of part-timers, adjunct professors. Because of the unemployment rate is so high, we have a lot more teachers than what we need and they do three or four hours a week. The problem was with the funding. You know, the Lebanese government's financial situation is known to the world, you know, we have big debts, unbalanced budgets. We had the crisis prior to the refugee situation. Still, Lebanon
opened its doors to all these refugees. They are there and we went to the international community and said we need funding to be able to make a difference. We need funding. We are committed to put all these children in schools, we are committed to give them healthcare, we are committed to take care of them on a temporary, you know, solution until the situation in Syria permits, until there is a political solution in Syria where they can go back, where they can safety go back home.
ZAKARIA: And what happens, in your view, when these children are not in school? Many of these are teenage boys. This is the easiest recruiting ground for groups like ISIS, Hezbollah, groups like that.
BOU SAAB: Well, usually they are ISIS. You know, because Hezbollah is a Lebanese group and they have nothing to do with this. But in the ISIS -- anytime you have children out of school they are -- you know, they get abused, for either child labor, easy recruit for the terrorist organizations like ISIS and Nusra and others.
You have child prostitution, you have earlier marriages, you name it. Everything becomes -- even crime rate goes up in the country.
ZAKARIA: And with all your work, you've only got half the kids -- right, there are about 450,000 school-aged kids and you've managed to find -- you know, your plan can take care of 200,000?
ZAKARIA: So even if you succeed and get fully funded, now you have to double it?
SAAB: Right, we have a plan to take all 450,000 by the end of the academic year 2016-2017. However, this will depend on the financing. But right now, we are at a point where, you know, we need to help. We are human beings; it is an obligation. I myself was a refugee one day in Syria for a year, and I lost a school year when...
ZAKARIA: During the Lebanese...
ZAKARIA: During the Lebanese civil war?
SAAB: Nineteen-eighty-two, during the Israeli invasion to Beirut, to Lebanon. We had to flee the country. So I understand what it means when you leave your country and go somewhere else. And I thought we need to help.
ZAKARIA: Elias Bou Saab, pleasure to have you on.
SAAB: Thank you very much.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the United States is under attack from China. In fact, China attacks the United States every day, not with fighter jets or missiles, but with ones and zeros. And the United States attacks right back. We will take you deep inside international cyber wars when we come back.
ZAKARIA: What do Ronald Reagan, Matthew Broderick and the People's Liberation Army Unit 61398 have in common?
Well, quite a bit, actually. It all relates to the rather frightening reality the world finds itself in right now, a reality where nations are attacking other nations on a daily basis, not with conventional weapons but computers. The most troubling part is there are no rules, no laws, no way to stop this from spiraling into real war.
Slate's Fred Kaplan has been digging into all of this for a great new book, "Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War." Listen in on our conversation.
ZAKARIA: Fred Kaplan, welcome.
FRED KAPLAN, SLATE: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: So you say this all began when Ronald Reagan was watching a Matthew Broderick movie?
KAPLAN: Right. It's an odd story, but it's the first weekend in June 1983. He's up in Camp David on one of his five-day weekends watching a movie every night. And on Saturday he watched "War Games."
Remember, this was Matthew Broderick. He plays this tech whiz teenager who unwittingly hacks into the main computer at NORAD and, thinking he's playing a computer game, unwittingly almost -- you know, almost sets off World War III. So the following Wednesday, Reagan is back in the White House. There's a big national security meeting -- not about this, something else -- but he can't get this movie out of his mind.
At one point, he puts down his index cards and says, "Has anybody seen this movie 'War Games'?"
Well, it had just come out; nobody had seen it. He launches into this very detailed plot description. People are looking around, rolling their eyeballs, you know. And then he turns to his chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and says, "General, could something like this really happen?"
He says, "Well, I'll look into that, Mr. President."
And he comes back a week later and says, "Mr. President, the problem is much worse than you think," which led, 10 months later, to the first presidential directive on computer security, which reads remarkably like the things that you read all the time now, you know, our computers are coming under -- they're vulnerable to electronic interference from terrorists, criminals, foreign agents...
ZAKARIA: What we hear about a lot now is how vulnerable the United States is, how there are all these attacks coming in from the Chinese, from Russian hackers, how our nuclear facilities may not be safe. What's the -- what's the scenario that you worry about?
KAPLAN: Well, you know, I guess I'm not really quite clear on why, for example, China or Russia would want to shut down the lights in New York City, even to gain leverage in a conflict over the South China Sea, which is a common scenario. But what if terrorists all of a sudden start getting this stuff or they get enough money to pay people who know how to do it to do it, and they just want to wreak havoc?
ZAKARIA: And shutting down the power grid strikes you as something that's, kind of, doable and would have devastating consequences?
KAPLAN: They couldn't do it over the entire country or even over the entirety of a region because we are decentralized to some degree, but, yeah, they could -- they could shut down, say, the Eastern Seaboard for a fair amount of time. It's not at all out of the question.
ZAKARIA: What do you make of the numbers you hear about Chinese hacking that, you know, the Pentagon gets hacked -- I don't remember the numbers -- a million times a day or whatever it is?
KAPLAN: A lot. It's a lot. But...
ZAKARIA: And it's mostly Chinese?
KAPLAN: Chinese, Russia, a little bit our friends.
We do the same thing to them. You know, you don't hear about it as much. We don't hack into their banks or get their trade secrets. We don't need it. We don't need it.
ZAKARIA: We are virtuous...
KAPLAN: But we don't need -- or we don't need to know the design of their airplanes. They stole it from us in the first place. But we hack into their military networks. We have plants in their critical infrastructure just as a deterrent. It's just that, to their attacking our -- we're all wrapped up in each other's systems.
ZAKARIA: You know, it strikes me that this resembles, a little bit, the early days of the development of nuclear weapons where, you know, everybody had this new stuff; it seemed pretty amazing and powerful, and there were no rules about -- about it, and that then you got arms control because people realized this thing can get out of hand.
Is there any prospect that there would be some kind of arms-control- like agreements where the Chinese and the Americans, say, come up with a set of rules that say, "Look, we both understand we each do it, but here's what we -- here are the lines we shouldn't cross?" KAPLAN: There's been talks about this, but, you know, right now, there are 20 countries that have cyber units in their military. And maybe we could strike some kind of deal with the Russians and the Chinese and the French and the Israelis. But what about the Syrians and the Iranians and the North Koreans? And I could go on and on. How do you bring them into a Congress (ph) of Vienna of the cyber age?
It's -- it may have gotten out of hand a bit too quickly.
ZAKARIA: Fred Kaplan, pleasure to have you.
KAPLAN: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next up, Islamic jihadis the world over have great expectations about the 72 virgins that will be waiting for them in paradise, but my next guest will tell you that it's all a big misunderstanding, probably a mistranslation. The jihadis will be sorely disappointed. We'll tell you the story when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Donald Trump says "Islam hates us," but does it?
Certainly, some Muslims do. How many and why? And what in the world can we do about it?
My team and I have been hard at work preparing my next special, which seeks to answer these questions. It's called "WHY THEY HATE US," and it's premiering on Monday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on both CNN and CNN International.
One of the people I interviewed for the program is a woman with an extraordinary story, Irshad Manji. One imam said that Manji was more dangerous than Osama bin Laden.
Why? Because she's a Muslim reformer who's trying to change her faith from within, a vocal, feminist, reform-minded gay Muslim.
Listen in to Manji's fascinating tale.
ZAKARIA: Talk about growing up in Vancouver in a Muslim household and going to a madrassa.
IRSHAD MANJI, FOUNDER, THE MORAL COURAGE PROJECT: Well, my family and I are refugees from Idi Amin's Uganda. And we wound up on the precious soil of Canada in 1972, and that's where I grew up attending two kinds of schools, Monday through Friday, the public school, and then every Saturday, for several hours at a stretch, the madrassa.
And that is where I began to ask, you know, very simple questions. But those questions, including why can't Muslims take Jews and Christians as friends, angered my madrassa teacher. And at one point, you know, at the age of 14, he said to me, "Look, either you believe or you you get out, and if you get out, get out for good." And I stood up and I walked out of the madrassa. And indeed, what I did every Saturday, now that I was no longer welcome at the madrassa and had eight hours, you know, to work with, I went to a secular institution called the public library, where I read everything I could about belief systems. And that, Fareed, is where I also discovered something that revolutionized my faith. I discovered that Islam has its own tradition of independent thinking and debate and dissent and reinterpretation. And it's a tradition known as "ijtihad," "ijtihad."
And what is so ironic, if not sad, is that I would have never learned about it at the religious school. A secular institution saved my faith in my faith.
ZAKARIA: What was it like when you realized that you were gay and had to try to reconcile that with your faith?
MANJI: I really haven't struggled. And, you know, my lack of struggle about being a gay Muslim really comes from the fact that I have deep faith in God, and this is not a God whom I fear; it is a God whom I love and I believe loves me back.
And what I find so ironic is that, you know, even mainstream Muslims, especially mainstream Muslims, say that Allah is omniscient and omnipotent; he cannot make mistakes; he knows what he is doing. Great. Well, in that case, he knew that he was creating somebody like me. Did he make a mistake in doing so?
Fareed, I'm not saying I'm right. I'm saying let's have the humility to leave the final judgment to God himself.
ZAKARIA: You say it's very important not to sanitize Islam. Explain what you mean.
MANJI: Well, I mean that moderate Muslims have a tendency to sanitize Islam. So, for example, the next time a bombing or beheading occurs, and God knows it will, the first thing you will hear from the mouth of a so-called moderate Muslim is, "Oh, no, no, no, please, don't misunderstand; Islam has nothing to do with this."
That's simply not true, because most of the people doing these bombings and beheadings say that they are doing it in the name of Allah, and they actually cite verses from the Koran.
So here's the thing, religious symbolism does play a role that moderates are still not willing to own up to. Reformists own up to it, but we also acknowledge that Islam is being manipulated; it is being used, and that is why we are coming to the table as reformists with bold and competing reinterpretations of the Koran. And reinterpreting, I want to emphasize, is not the same thing as rewriting. It is rethinking the meanings of the words that already exist.
ZAKARIA: And to those who say, "Well, you are cherry-picking," what do you say?
MANJI: I say "Yes, that's correct, and so are you, by not acknowledging the freedom-loving verses of the Koran. And so let us have diversity of interpretation within Islam. I could be wrong; you could be wrong; maybe we'll both see each other in hell. Who knows? We won't know until we meet our maker."
ZAKARIA: You make a point that I feel not enough people are aware of. So one of the most famous points about Islam that you will hear across popular media everywhere is that the Koran promises a martyr in the name of Islam 72 virgins. Is that true?
MANJI: It is not true. Nowhere in the Koran does it promise 72 virgins, 70 virgins, 48 virgins. What it promises, as far as heaven goes, is something lush. And, you know, there was, a few years back, a controversy over a scholar who came to the conclusion that the Arabic word for "virgin" has been mistranslated, that the original word that was used in the Koran was the word for "raisin," not "virgin" -- in other words, that martyrs would get raisins in heaven, not virgins.
And some would laugh out loud, saying "How in the heck could this be possible? Why raisins?"
Well, remember, in the seventh century, the desert of what is now Saudi Arabia would have been a place that is dry enough that something like a raisin would have been pricey and would have been a heavenly delicacy. So it is entirely possible that the Koran has been mistranslated to give this impression of virgins being delivered to martyrs in heaven. I don't buy it, and there's nothing in the Koran that suggests 72, that's for sure.
ZAKARIA: Don't miss my new special, "Why They Hate Us," on Monday night at 9:00 p.m. We'll introduce you to radicals and reformers, angry Muslim activists and angry American politicians. We'll dig into how Islam got to this point and how many Muslims are there out there who want to kill us -- Monday night at 9:00.
Next on "GPS," a refreshing pause from the coverage of the campaign trail today. In a moment, an intimate portrait of a past occupant of the oval office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
ZAKARIA: President Obama is in Hanover, Germany, this Sunday, the first visit of a U.S. president to that city. It follows a trip to Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom and it brings me to my question: Who was the first sitting U.S. president to visit Germany? Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, or Dwight Eisenhower? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is actually a set of films on DVD. It begins with a unique glimpse inside a presidential campaign, but don't worry, I'm giving you a break from the 2016 circus. The collection is called "The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew and Associates," and the films are a firsthand look at 1960s politics from the primaries to the presidency.
ANNOUNCER: You are about to see a candidate's view of this frantic process.
ZAKARIA (voice over): Using what was then revolutionary hand-held camera gear, the documentaries provide a real fly-on-the-wall experience. First we see then Senator John F. Kennedy challenge his Minnesota colleague Hubert Humphrey in the 1960 Wisconsin primary.
HUBERT HUMPHREY, 1960 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Hu Humphrey, just stopping by to say hello.
HUMPHREY: You betcha.
ZAKARIA: The film allowed real-life moments to unfold in front of the cameras, telling the story without interviews and with little narration, a radical departure from the documentaries of the day.
The finished product is said to have impressed the future President Kennedy, who later allowed the crew to film him in the highest office in the land.
ANNOUNCER: Now you will begin to move with the president.
ZAKARIA: In one fascinating hour, the camera's eyes watched JFK working with his brother, then Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, and Bobby's deputy, Nick Katzenbach. The trio is trying to skillfully navigate the politics of the 1963 desegregation of the University of Alabama in the face of the obstinate Governor George Wallace.
FORMER GOV. GEORGE WALLACE (D-ALA.): I believe that separation is good for the Negro citizen and the white citizen.
ZAKARIA: And the viewer is privy to all sides.
NICK KATZENBACH, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, the governor cannot block all those classes.
BOBBY KENNEDY, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: If he still doesn't move, then we'll try to get by him.
B. KENNEDY: By pushing a little bit.
ZAKARIA: The films will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the Criterion Collection on Tuesday. They will likely make you nostalgic for an era of politics where the rhetoric was less like this...
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, first of all, this guy is a choke artist, and this guy is a liar.
ZAKARIA: ... and more like this...
FORMER PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: When the cause of freedom is endangered all over the world, when the United States stands as the only sentry at the gate, when we can see the campfires of the enemy burning on distant hills, that's what's at issue today. That's what we are attempting to determine. In the coming months and years, all of us...
ZAKARIA (on camera): The correct answer to the "GPS Challenge" question is C. Harry Truman was the first sitting U.S. president to visit Germany when he attended the Pottsdam Peace Conference in 1945. Richard Nixon was the first president to go to Saudi Arabia in '74 in the wake of the oil crisis. As for Britain, Woodrow Wilson made the first visit of a U.S. president to the U.K., arriving in London on Boxing Day in 1918 after the Armistice that ended World War I.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.