|The story quoted from an interview I gave in 1999 while traveling for the State Department; the quotation implied I supported terrorism. But the story did not mention that the excerpt -- inaccurately translated from Arabic -- was preceded by sentences in which I clearly and unequivocally denounced terrorist violence.
I do know political and religious extremists. In my work for the State Department, I spent time in embassies with diplomats, but also with people on the fringes of society in the countries I visited. I believe that maintaining a dialogue with those on the fringes is one of the free world's greatest defenses against terrorist violence. I talked to such people, using their own rhetoric at times, to persuade them of the uselessness and waste of terrorism. Everything I did on my State Department trips, I did as a service to the United States.
This double role -- of State Department representative and trustworthy Muslim brother to potentially violent, misguided men -- was not easy. I am criticized by many of my associates for believing that violence is never justified by any religion. Many have a deep mistrust of all American things and people -- including mistrust of me.
BTW, you have a slight typo on your link (extra letter at the end).