As the Middle East changes, the hatred persists ... sometimes


The good thing about CNN is that it sometimes has the depth that other networks lack; the bad is that it might change its schedule at the last moment. So Fareed Zakaria crafted an in-depth look at the U.S. and Muslims ... then saw CNN switch on the day the hour was supposed to air. Originally set for April 11, "Why They Hate Us" is now set for April 25; here's a revised version of the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

Two mega-worlds –
Muslim and Christian – have filled Fareed Zakaria's life.

He grew up in India,
where his dad was a politician and Islam scholar. But most of his
adult life – Yale, Harvard and journalism -- has been in the U.S.,
where he's pondered the rage between those worlds.

After the Sept. 11,
2001 attacks, Zakaria wrote a long Newsweek piece that asked: “Why
do they hate us?” Now his CNN report, “Why They Hate Us,” sees
an altered picture.

“The whole
political orrder in the Middle East” has faded, he said. In part,
“there is no Libya, there is no Iran, there is no Syria.”

Instead, there are
factions, emphasizing different parts of the same book.

Islam is an
“egalitarian” religion, Zakaria said. “There is nothing
in between you and God.” Its Quran (or Koran) is massive –
77,000-plus words – and ancient.

“My father used to
remind me that this was a very old book,” said Zakaria, 52. “For
something written in the 7th century in Arabia, it had a
very progressive spin.”

Women, for instance,
were given half the status of men. That seems awful now – but was a
big jump from the zero status of the time.

Scattered in there
are a few passages of hatred and intolerance ... but Zakaria points
to similar ones in the Old Testament. “Christianity is a great
example of a culture or a religion that was able to” re-intrerpet
itself for changing times, he said.

Most people have
also ignored the harshest parts of the Koran. Some, however, “have
found a way to use Islam to support their thugs.”

Zakaria traces the
hatred back to 1949, when a conservative Muslim was shocked to see
dancing and kissing in Greeley, Colo. He returned home to Egypt and
wrote about Western evils.

And he takes it to
modern times, with the power of the Internet. One American-born
zealot remains a strong influence, five years after he was killed.

In between, Middle
Eastern governments – often supported by the U.S. -- had an effect,
he said. “There's no doubt that the old dictatorships were breeding
grounds for the opposition.”

In the U.S., he
looked for extremes. He found both in the northern Midwest:

-- Hamtramck, Mich.,
feels “more like the European communities.” Once a Polish
enclave, it has added a large Muslim influx. “We were literally
searching for a while” to find that example, Zakaria said.

-- A Minneapolis
neighborhood -- with scenes that didn't make it into the final version of the docuentary -- seems to be the opposite. “It feels very isolated and
ghettoized.” It has also become the leading spot for recruitment of
Americans to join ISIS.

-- “Why They Hate
Us,” 10 p.m. ET April 25, CNN; originally scheduled for April 11, then moved because of political coverage