What Did Carly Fiorina Really Say About Islam After 9-11?

With the 2016 presidential campaign now fully underway, I’ve been seeing a lot of the alleged quote about Islam from a speech given by Carly Fiorina, then the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, a couple of weeks after 9-11. One instance of it was pasted in a comment on last night’s post about Obama:

“…Not only was the civilization of Islam capable of defeating arrogant and proud empires. It displayed a complexity and richness unmatched and able to unite the human race under the truest and most harmonious way of life, that even the more honest of the kuffar are able to glimpse.”

That quote has been floating around on the Internet for years. I’ve always been suspicious of it, mainly because of its inclusion of the word “kuffar”. It seemed unlikely that a CEO of Hewlett-Packard would use it, especially not back in September 2001, when 99% of Americans had never heard the word.

So I did some careful searching, and tracked down what seems to be the source of the supposed quote. It appeared in an article at Militant Islam Monitor — which is a reliable source — but it was not presented as Ms. Fiorina’s words. MIM was quoting from a text on a now-defunct Hizb ut-Tahrir website. That version does not accurately reflect the words spoken by Ms. Fiorina in September 2001.

The prepared text of her speech is available at the Hewlett-Packard website. A global search of that page reveals no instance of the words “arrogant” or “kuffar”. What we have been seeing is evidently a paraphrase that had been modified from the original when it passed through the corpus islamosum in the brain of some Hizb ut-Tahrir writer.

Her publicly-presented remarks about Islam comprised the last 500 words of a 3,600-word speech given on September 26, 2001. The text of that section is posted below. As you can see, her ideas about Islam were clearly drawn from the Muslim Brotherhood “narrative”, which even then had already been successfully inserted into the minds of the oligarchs who manage political, cultural, and commercial affairs in the United States.

Her actual words are bad enough. Let’s not discredit ourselves as reporters and historians by presenting an urban legend as if it were an authoritative fact.

Here’s the official transcript of what Carly Fiorina said about Islam on September 26, 2001:

I’ll end by telling a story.

There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world.

It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.

One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilization’s commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.

And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.

Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.

When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.

While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.

Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.

And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population — that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.

This kind of enlightened leadership — leadership that nurtured culture, sustainability, diversity and courage — led to 800 years of invention and prosperity.

In dark and serious times like this, we must affirm our commitment to building societies and institutions that aspire to this kind of greatness. More than ever, we must focus on the importance of leadership — bold acts of leadership and decidedly personal acts of leadership.

With that, I’d like to open up the conversation and see what we, collectively, believe about the role of leadership.

50 thoughts on “What Did Carly Fiorina Really Say About Islam After 9-11?

  1. ” One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilization’s commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.

    And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration. ”


    • She could have been describing the British Empire which was indeed driven by invention, Christianity and scholarship. As you have said, this sounds like an op-ed from the muslim brotherhood and we all know how truthful they are.

      • I don’t believe she wrote that speech. She probably found it somewhere and “rewrote” something from a book she read or something. Sounds like a fairy tale and is!!

        • PS Wonder how many murders were committed by this wonderful group during the years they were so awesome as Carly Fiorina describes…..just sayin’

          • The best estimate for the number of people killed by this religion during its prior terms of expansion is 270.000,000.
            You cam google it, but be persistent.

    • It is likely that the great accomplishments of architecture, science, architecture, mathematics, etc. claimed as Islamic were achieved by persons conquered, forced into labor by these war lords.

      That’s the way it is today. There are no automobiles, airplanes, few medicines, inventions or discoveries by Islamists. All they seem to do is fight, kill, rape, bomb, burn, hate, run into the streets and yell ‘Death to America’ then sit around smoking hookahs and drinking coffee these days.

  2. Baron, I agree with everything you just said, and thanks for the clarification on the origin of that quote.

    I will reiterate my main point, (and hopefully will follow my own advice in the future.) Carefully vet your choice of candidates. Listen to their words. Read what they put down on paper.

    I suspect that our current chief executive would have had a much more difficult time in the last two elections if more voters had bothered to read, and to understand, what those ideas in “Dreams from My Father,” and “The Audacity of Hope,” would mean in an American Commander-in-Chief.

  3. Oh, and regarding the suspicious use of another culture’s vernacular, one reason that “Kuffar” didn’t raise any red flags with me is that I find, after more than half a century, such idioms as di di mao, sin loi, bac si, and sat Cong, still creeping into my conversations.

  4. You bring up an important point: I’ve been asking for years that someone with the skills and time take an interest in applying forensic linguistic analysis to Breivik’s “Manifesto” to see which parts of it were written by a NATIVE English speaker. No one acquires that kind of fluid second language without growing up with it. The style is uneven…not to mention his ‘insider baseball’ knowledge of relatively obscure (to anyone outside the US) “conservative” politics.

    Same goes for Obama’s two books. He has put his other writings from the past through the shredder but we do have a kind of control for this one: his buddy from Chicago, the unrepentant and tenured terrorist, Bill Ayers, has written a great deal on his own, which would give us a comparison. Some report Ayers’ authorship of BHO’s book as something he admitted freely, adding that he made it up out of whole cloth – without Obama even bothering to read it.


    That’s either careless braggadocio (iow, “we’re in charge now. Doesn’t matter what you peons think”) or inflated prose…or some version of truthiness. The PC rulers treat Truth as fungible and relative – the same way they treat the other two necessities of life, Beauty and Goodness. There are sick, creepy permutations on the “social sciences” side of academia; they extrude that creepy “po mo narrative” until there is no linearity or morality or reason left. A man for all seasons was Marx.

    The Great Carly Quote is pure Muslim Brotherhood in style and content. Again, it would be interesting to do a linguistic analysis of her other words to see how closely – or not – they match her usual style. They are strangely Islamic…

    It would also be interesting to fisk each sentence and correct it with the truth. Wherever Islam went it created horrific bloodbaths – ask any Hindu in India. I don’t think it’s possible to count the bodies though some rulers proudly attempted to do that.

    Baghdad was an important center of early Christianity when it was invaded. Priceless documents were burned in piles. The only interest Islam ever had in science was utilizing it in warfare. In family life, in public, curiosity was suppressed brutally. Still is.

    Had petroleum not transformed modern life, and had it not existed under the deserts of the Arab Peninsula, the AP would still be a backwater where the fatalism of Islam still reigned.

    Now the Saudis are scared of going bankrupt in the face of shale oil. And what did it take to produce shale oil? Ingenuity, curiosity, innovation. Those three were brought into the desert a la carte by Western engineers. The latter discovered it, got it out of the ground, and as law-based Westerners they paid the Saudis for what was under their feet.

    Islam would still be snoring in the desert heat were it not for the West’s rule of law. Read ANY Western writer’s observations about Islam before the discovery of oil.

    • Dylann Roof’s writing is not what I’d expect from any young American male, even one in college. It seems that only someone more educated than he could have written it.

    • There really needs to be more investigation into these things. While things like false flag attacks and brainwashing sound far fetched and “impossible” to the average person, tremendous research has been put into such things. Even if the involvement of such seems unlikely in a particular case, it is equally unlikely that such research would never be put to use.

      It’s exactly like saying that with all the research into finding and exploiting security vulnerabilities in computer systems that nobody will ever hack anything because “who would would want to do something like that?”

  5. So, to recap:

    If it were not for the West
    the uses for petroleum would not have been created/discovered. It would still be useless sticky black gunk.

    If it were not for the West
    the most efficient methods for the extraction of crude would not have been found.

    If it were not for the West
    the many uses of petroleum would not have multiplied and spread, improving the common lot of us all

    If it were not for the West
    modern methods of refining crude, devising transport, finding uses for its by-products, etc. would not have come about.

    If it were not for the West
    the rule of law would not have underlay its negotiations with those who happened to live on top of this ‘black gold’ .

    Was greed and a lot of chicanery involved? Sure. That is human nature. But where the West’s rule of law has set down deep roots, there is at least the chance of rough justice.

    In Islam the veneer of ‘westernism’ is very thin and easily thrown off. Take Libya. Moammar Gadhafi was no saint, but he was no worse than, say, the Saudi family. In comparison to other Muslim countries, he wasn’t ‘that bad’ and he was making overt, public moves toward his own version of peace-making. Obama wants a “Legacy” but he will end up in history as the author of Libya’s ruin.

    Thoughtful people wonder if Obama really believes in Western forms, beginning with the rule of law….

  6. If Fiorina really did say that, then to quote someone who posted on another blog: ‘How could anyone so smart be so dumb?’

    Just about everything in that speech is wrong, naïve and just plain silly. There’s just no end to westerners who actually believe in the islamic ‘golden age’, particularly in Spain, yet who somehow fail to follow up on the fact that when those ‘oh so smart, inventive, learned’ muslims were chased out of Spain by Ferdy and Bella they invented NOTHING and contributed NOTHING to humankind ever after….
    Most sane people would find that just a tad suspicious, and come to the inescapable conclusion that just maybe the muslims’ Jewish and Christian slaves were the smart, learned inventors; particularly since they have continued inventing and building to this day.
    After all, who is responsible for all those ground-breaking buildings in the arab states? Westerners.

  7. Thanks guys for your research. She was just repeating Bernard Lewis, as was everyone else at that time (including Bush)….except Spencer.

  8. My ignorance and gullability at 86 appal me. Forgive my spelling. I am losing it but at the same time I search for my truth and that is why I come to you. Thank you sir.

    • Throughout the West, ignorance and gullibility continue to be the main roadblocks keeping us from comprehending reality. For instance, if you search for the story behind the story, it can be frustrating to get to the beginning, or especially to get to the “cui bono” – esp. who benefits from *telling* the story to begin with. The nightly news shows are selective snippets they want you to see. What they leave out can be treacherous…e.g., only the “rightwingnuts” have kept the bumbling, treasonous fiasco of Benghazi alive. How many other military missions have gone similarly awry and we’re kept from knowing??

      It’s not a matter of your age but the fact you’re still willing to search despite the vast “Conspiracy to Keep Us Poor and Stupid” (economist Donald Luskin’s words, the title of his discontinued blog, which was full of interesting economic tidbits…and deliberately un-PC blond jokes on Saturdays).

      Surviving to the age of 86 gives you certain liberties that younger folks don’t have. You can be as outrageous and contrarian as you want.Please don’t apologize for a condition imposed on ALL of us. That you lived to push back the curtain makes you unusual.

    • The thing is, you’re actually reading this. If I sent this to my mother, though, she would ignore it. I know this because I have sent her various articles (the full text of them so she doesn’t even have to click a link in the email) and she does ignore them.

      I don’t know if it’s because she doesn’t know why anything I send her could possibly matter, or if she just doesn’t want to know anything.

  9. That quote by Fiorina was from a speech made just two weeks after 9/11. She majored in medieval history at Stanford at time (one assumes) during which Edward Said’s discredited, anti-Western ideology on colonialism and “Orientalism” flowed within MESA Nostra intellectual/university circles.
    With 14 years having passed since that speech, Fiorina should revisit the topic and clarify.
    In the meantime, we should all stand alert to inject some sanity into similar dialectic mis-characterizations which soften the image of Islam. For instance, the word ‘great’ in “Great(est) civilization” implies ‘large’ and‘ good’. Yes the Islamic empire was large, but in no way should we continue to overlook such mis-characterizations and allow the image to reflect ‘good’. Instead keep it real by insisting on substituting the characterization “vast” or “extensive” or “far-reaching”.
    When I read about the “golden age” of Islam, the idiom, “all that glitters is not gold” immediately pops up. Bill Warner illustrates in 70 seconds Islam’s destruction of Classical Civilization over 12 hundred years here, ff 12:14 and reveals there were three, not one, but THREE Dark Ages brought on by Islam, one in Europe, one in Turkey (Byzantine) and North Africa. (ff 24:27). Then fast forward once more to 31:50 where Mr. Warner specifically addresses the so called ‘golden age’ of al Andalus (Spain) and asks, was it a “multicultural golden age” or a ‘reign of terror‘? His brilliant illustration answers that question leaving no doubt.

  10. I had never before known of this speech by Carly Fiorina, and I would be glad to hear her evidence for what she asserted.

    She reports that “this civilization [the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600] was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity.”
    Remarkable. Their gravity-defying carpets are famous, but what ever happened to these gravity-defying buildings? How did these Islamic architects discover the art of levitating buildings? Did they have any help from jinns?

    “The reach of this civilization’s commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.”
    So Islamic influence extended “from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between”? Well, what is smack dab in the middle of this realm between Latin America and China? Yes, it’s Hawaii! I wonder whether any of this Islamic influence still lingers over the sons of Hawaii.

    • By gravity defying buildings, I suppose she means buildings that seemed to defy gravity. She must be talking about arches, or what she copied did. If it is the horseshoe arch, it actually dates back to Byzantine times in Syria and the Visigoths in Spain. The book The Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World talks about the pointed arch and claims it started in 705. But this book also notes it is an Assyrian invention.

      You can read about it here:


      As for Latin America, I have no idea where she gets that from. She’s implying that they crossed the Atlantic, not the Pacific, by the way.

      • Shockingly, even a center-left resource such as Wikipedia claims that the pointed arch was mostly used by Gothic builders:


        Wikipedia also notes that the true arch first appeared in the Ancient Near East, thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Religion of Peace.

        • I’ve just read that entry, and I don’t understand it that way.

          The pointed, “gothic” arch, with flying buttresses, became widespread in ecclesiastical architecture ( a particular enthusiasm of mine) in the medieval period; St Denis (c 1140, north of Paris) brought these and other elements together for the first time.

          While travelling in Europe a couple of years ago, I was stuck by the absence of such arches south of the Alps, apart from the recent (and ongoing) construction of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Returning to that city this year, and visiting the spectacular monastery at Montserrat, I shared a seat on the funicular with a retired Canadian architect. He explained that the construction of high gothic arches required support from tall, straight tree trunks, which grow only in northern climes. Obvious, of course, once it’s been pointed out!

          • BTW, and OT would those tall straight tree trunks be also associated with the advent of sailing ships? As opposed to ships driven by slave power.

      • The arch is not a gravity-defying structure, it is a gravity-*dependent* structure. What keeps the keystone in place? Gravity.

  11. It shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. I knew Michelle Malkin ran some exposes on her in the past and pretty much showed her to be a liberal pretending to be a Republican. I know she’s gushing over her now, but when Fiorina ran for the Senate in California her positions mirrored Jeb’s on amnesty, globalization, Federal control over education, etc. And yeah she got beaten badly because her positions kept Conservatives and Independents from voting for her.

    And the fact that no company hired her after she was fired from HP after wrecking the company(and prior to that Lucent) and worked as a economics adviser for the McCain presidential campaign IMO pretty much disqualifies her for POTUS.

  12. Peter BetBasoo is of Assyrian descent and he excoriated Carly Fiorina in a letter written to her many years ago.
    “You state, “when other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.” This is a very important issue you raise, and it goes to the heart of the matter of what Arab/Islamic civilization represents. I reviewed a book titled How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs, in which the author lists the significant translators and interpreters of Greek science. Of the 22 scholars listed, 20 were Assyrians, 1 was Persian and 1 an Arab. I state at the end of my review: “The salient conclusion which can be drawn from O’Leary’s book is that Assyrians played a significant role in the shaping of the Islamic world via the Greek corpus of knowledge. If this is so, one must then ask the question, what happened to the Christian communities which made them lose this great intellectual enterprise which they had established. One can ask this same question of the Arabs. Sadly, O’Leary’s book does not answer this question, and we must look elsewhere for the answer.” I did not answer this question I posed in the review because it was not the place to answer it, but the answer is very clear, the Christian Assyrian community was drained of its population through forced conversion to Islam (by theJizzya), and once the community had dwindled below a critical threshold, it ceased producing the scholars that were the intellectual driving force of the Islamic civilization, and that is when the so called “Golden Age of Islam” came to an end (about 850 A.D.).”
    He covers many other points and they are well worth a read at this link.

  13. Is nobody noticing here that Carly Fiorina gave a termination date for this civilization? She was not saying that things are like that now or was recently.

    She said:

    There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world.

    The strange thing about this is that she has this lasting until 1600 – much too late.

    Ronald Reagan would talk about this thing too, but had it over by the time of Ibn Khaldun.


    Now there are some other possible problems with this.

    It can also get lost that this did not start with the Moslem conquests, but happened later. It was in the period 750-825 that many things translated into Arabic. The start date should not be before 825. Another problem may be that too much is attributed to it. Another problem is that there were periods of religious persecution by factions even when this was going on. But there was more religious toleration in the Islamic world than in the Christian world. It;s not like that now of course.

    The termination date is approximately the year 1100 in the east (with many surviving manuscripts being destroyed by the Mongols later) and the year 1300 in Spain. There were Christian kingdoms that did have some toleration, especially Portugal, until 1497.

  14. This is a “civilization” so interested in invention and learning that they created ISIS and Boko Haram. If she had said that they were always striving for new and inventive ways to spread misery and death, she would have been telling the truth.

  15. Egypt & Muslim Brotherhood
    Praised Egyptian El-Sisi’s speech about the need for Islamic scholars to confront interpretations that promote extremism and terrorism. ​”The President of Egypt, El-Sisi, gave a very interesting and courageous speech today in which he spoke with scholars of his religion, and said that we need a reformation.”

    Iraq, Syria and ISIS
    Criticized the Obama Administration for not providing enough support to Arab and Kurdish allies fighting ISIS. She said that the U.S. denied requests for arms by Jordan and the Kurds and refused to share intelligence with Egypt.

    Supports the invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban but the U.S. should not have engaged in “nation-building” or trying to build a central government.
    Opposes a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

    Then there is candidate Rand Paul who does not have a clue about Radical Islam and their threats and who has stated, a Nuclear Iran is NOt a threat to Israel or the U.S. and the following
    Rand Paul slams GOP foreign policy hawks
    By James Hohmann
    NASHUA, N.H.—Rand Paul ripped into his hawkish rivals for the Republican nomination Saturday, suggesting that problems in the Middle East would actually be worse under them than President Barack Obama.

    • The above are Fiorina’s comments on Radical Islam and then the weak comment by candidate Rand Paul

  16. Sounds to me that she admires Islam, or Muslims. May I remind you of USS Cole, Kobar Towers, Beheading of christians and jews, Two attacks at the twin towers, Bengazi, embassy bombing all over the world, US Hostages taken and held for over a year. I would not be praising these people.

  17. Eloquent speech with many well crafted points, many of which are objectively true (some are her subjective statements).

    I still take issue with a couple of issues surrounding the speech however. This was Sept 26, 2001. In comedy there’s a saying “too soon?” meaning is it too soon to tell a joke pointing out or poking fun at what is usually a horrific tragedy including death. So to even include a seeming defense of Islam via an historical account of The Ottoman Empire’s successes seems to me a bit “too soon” and in poor taste (yes this was in Minneapolis and not NYC but the entire nation suffered that tragedy). Secondly, the same could be said of the Greeks, or The Roman Empire in their heyday, or of Spain when The Spanish Galleons sailed, or when The Lady Britania ruled the seas and profited from The British East India Company.

    No, instead she deliberately chose The Ottoman Empire for a reason. She was connecting the events of 911 to an Arabic Empire and choosing to defend it in the wake of a tragedy committed by many thugs from Saudi Arabia of all places, which she fails to mention in detail.

    Our so called ally, Saudi Arabia. Iraq didn’t do this. Iran didn’t do this. 19 so called box cutting Saudi Arabians did this. You know, the country we help support and then stabs us in the back funding terrorist activities throughout the middle east. The country with which The Bush Family is in real tight. The country , many of whose citizens, including some of The Bin Ladin family itself, were allowed to leave the U.S. VIA AIRPLANES when the entire country was shut down by the FAA. Sorry Carly, bad timing to defend Islam and Saudi Arabian culture. Not to mention that she ran HP into the ground during her tenure there while ticking off The Board and Walter Hewlett while killing share price by about 50%.

    Just goes to prove that all the fancy words and articulate poise in the world does not a leader make. That’s why I’m sick of most leadership conferences. They are a waste of time. They are a way for big shots to show off their staff’s latest politically correct speeches. Tell me what you did last quarter or last year that made us even 25% better than the prior year and spare me the history lessons.

    • Bravo John, especially the last paragraph about leadership conferences that are a waste of time.

  18. Just because Carly Fiorina was CEO of HP, a leading high-tech engineering company, does not mean that she knows anything of engineering, mathematics of physics.

  19. It is impossible to reconcile a speech made when Fiorina was CEO of Hewlett-Packard with responsibility for marketing and customer relations – – with a quote of dubious origin and an attempt to stick the label of Islam supporter on this current candidate for the Presidency.
    I want to hear the question by a legit reporter or interviewer put live to Fiorina, in a public forum with her complete, unedited answer recorded and reported fully.

    Only then will I make a judgment as to her feelings and position regarding Islam.


  20. Unfortunately for her the web has entangled her pandering to islamists a la clinton style though no where near the pinnacle of that demo’kraut corruption. She of course was basking in the hundred million dollar dealing with iran ranting about her infatuation of her ottoman fantasy. Yes, look at that face.

  21. Wasn’t it the Persians that were responsible for the inventions she mistakenly credits to Islam?
    What did the Persians do after Islamic takeover?
    Usually when Muslims take over, they retrograde back 100’s of years.

    • what persians were doing before that?????? how many scientists they had??? we have muslim turk,arab,persian,chinese and… go and check history amigo…
      what happened that made them to accept islam and go ahead with it’s believes and make those inventions??

      • Persians were converted to Islam by the sword, which is why they created their own version of Islam and still hate Arabs to this day.

  22. Hi All
    Carly Fiorina Tell the truth. She Showed True picture of Islam. and should keep in mind Islam will win with or without you but without Islam you will get lost and lose.

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