The Center for American Progress Fear, Inc. Report: A Roadblock to American Progress

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) responds to the Center for American Progress (CAP) Fear, Inc. report. CAP’s severely flawed document accused AIFD and it founder and president Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser of Islamophobia and being an “expert in misinformation” among other allegations. This despite the fact that Dr. Jasser is a devout Muslim and the CAP report failed to list any instance of misinformation.

AIFD joins American Muslim leaders in speaking out against the enforcement of shariah law in America

AIFD today joined a broad-based coalition of American Muslim leaders of the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) to speak out against the enforcement of Shari’ah law in America.


American Muslims speak out against the enforcement of shari’ah law in America

Islamic Coalition announces support for Michigan legislation that will bar state courts from enforcing ‘foreign law’ above U.S. and state constitution

Washington, DC (September 7, 2011) – A coalition of diverse American Muslim leaders has announced support for a proposed bill in the Michigan State Assembly, HB 4679, that is intended to bar Michigan courts from enforcing any foreign law, if doing so violates any rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and/or the state of Michigan’s constitution.

Like many Americans, members of the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) have been observing the efforts of a growing number of state legislatures, which are seeking to address the incompatibility of various shari’ah court systems around the world with the principles and foundations of our Constitutional republic and its laws. As American Muslims, we believe that the law should treat people of all faiths equally, while protecting Muslims and non-Muslims alike from extremist attempts to use the legal instrument of shari’ah (also known as Islamic jurisprudence, or fiqh) to incubate, within the West, a highly politicized and dangerous understanding of Islam that is generally known as “Islamism,” or “radical Islam.”

We see no evidence that statutes like HB 4769 will adversely impact the free exercise of our personal pietistic observance of Islam, which is not in conflict with the U.S. or Michigan constitutions. We recognize that not only Muslims, but also Jews, Christians and all people of faith need the government to protect their right to peaceful assembly, mediation and arbitration free of coercion, but also within the bounds of American constitutional principles. Therefore, we stand together as a diverse coalition in support of any legislation that serves to protect and integrate our communities into the fabric of this great nation, by strengthening our accountability to the laws of the land, and the constitutions of the various states in which we live.

As American Muslims we are conscious of the fact that Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups and other Islamists and their surrogates in the U.S. are trying their best to portray any opposition to manifestations of shari’ah law as “racism” and “discrimination against Muslims.” However, as a coalition of traditional, liberal and secular Muslim Americans, we denounce this fear-mongering and playing of the race card, which only serves to mask the Islamists’ highly politicized agenda. According to AILC member C. Holland Taylor, “the Islamist agenda threatens not only the well-being of the United States and its inhabitants, but also undermines and distorts the highest principles of Islam itself.”

“Michigan House Bill 4769 seeks to ensure that American Muslims can live in freedom and safety, in accordance with our constitutional principles, and not be enveloped by the tentacles of medieval, man-made laws that have been falsely accorded divine status,” said the AILC.

“To equate Bill 4769 to racism is not only dishonest, but is a poor and clumsy attempt at making ordinary Muslim Americans feel alien in their own homeland, while creating a rift between Muslims and the rest of our country,” said AILC member Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser.

Michigan House Bill 4769 states:

“[To] …limit the application and enforcement by a court, arbitrator, or administrative body of foreign laws that would impair constitutional rights; to provide for modification or voiding of certain contractual provisions or agreements that would result in a violation of constitutional rights; and to require a court, arbitrator, or administrative body to take certain actions to prevent violation of constitutional rights.”

The AILC statement reinforces the American Muslim community’s commitment to the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the separation between religion and state. Unfortunately, Islamist groups would like to compromise this separation and provide cover to medieval, misogynistic and homophobic laws that no Muslim is obligated to demand as public law.

“Shari’ah law, wherever it has been applied in the public domain, be it in Iran, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, has resulted in untold misery and oppression of Muslims, in particular Muslim women, by Islamists and dictators who invoke shari’ah law to justify their rule,” said AILC member Manda Ervin. “Many of us fled the Muslim world to escape shari’ah law and to practice Islam in our personal lives, by moving to the USA and other western countries. We do not wish these laws to follow us here,” she concluded.

The Michigan state senators are not alone in expressing concern about foreign laws creeping into North America under the guise of religious freedom. Many Muslim academics, religious scholars and human rights activists have voiced their concern.

The contrast between what has occurred in Britain and in Canada provides a roadmap for how the U.S. may address these legal issues. In Britain, shari’ah arbitration courts have been allowed to assume virtually unchecked control of legal arrangements in many Muslim communities. This is creating a ghettoized, medieval and separatist state within Britain. In Canada, however, local Muslims led strong opposition to the Islamists’ shari’ah agenda and were successful in preventing its implementation, thereby sparing our Northern neighbor the fate of so many Muslims in the United Kingdom, where women are commonly subjected to forced marriage and the denial of basic human rights.

“We Muslims in Canada defeated an attempt by Islamists to sneak shari’ah law into Ontario,” said AILC member Tarek Fatah, who has been on the front lines of this struggle for many years. “We recognized the damage shari’ah had inflicted on Muslims in the UK, and its oppressive nature in Muslim-majority countries, and decided to oppose it. We urge American Muslims not to succumb to the Islamists’ propaganda, and to back the Michigan Bill, which will protect Muslims and non-Muslims alike from the impact of foreign laws that violate the U.S. or Michigan constitutions.”

About the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC)

The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) is a diverse coalition of liberty-minded, North American Muslim leaders and organizations. AILC’s mission advocates for defending the US Constitution, upholding religious pluralism, protecting American security and cherishing genuine diversity in the faith and practice of Islam. AILC provides a stark alternative to the Islamist organizations that claim to speak for what are diverse American Muslim communities. For more information on AILC, please visit our website at

AILC Coalition Signatories

Bahman Batmanghelidj

Founding Member

Alliance for Democracy in Iran

Virginia, USA

Manda Zand Ervin


Alliance of Iranian Women

Maryland, USA

Tarek Fatah


Muslim Canadian Congress

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Farid Ghadry


Reform Party of Syria

Washington, DC

Jamal Hasan

Council for Democracy and Tolerance

Baltimore, MD

Farzana Hassan, Ed.D.

Past President

Muslim Canadian Congress

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Phoenix, AZ

Hasan Mahmud

Member, Advisory Board

World Muslim Congress

Dallas, TX

Behrooz Sarshar

Virginia, USA

C. Holland Taylor

Chairman & CEO

LibForAll Foundation

Winston-Salem, NC

Jalal Zuberi, MD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Morehouse School of Medicine

Atlanta, GA


Gordon C. James Public Relations



AIFD joins — “A Call to McGill University and the Universite de Montreal to Support Freedom of Expression”

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy joined a coalition of free speech advocates in signing the following statement released to the public today, September 6, 2011:

“On September 7, 2011, the Second Global Conference on World’s Religions after 9/11 will take place in Montreal. It is organized with the active cooperation of McGill University and the Université de Montréal. The Dalai Lama will open the conference and many personalities have confirmed that they will attend.

In a communiqué released at the beginning of May, the organizing committee of the event stated that the following question would be submitted to the participants:

Should violating the sanctity of the scripture of any religion be considered tantamount to violating the sanctity of the scriptures of all religions?

The original English version of the communiqué is still available on the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions website.

Yet, before the Montreal meeting has taken place, the organizing committee of the event has published on its website a Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World’s Religions that answers the question mentioned above. According to the program of the conference , this Declaration will be at the heart of the participants’ discussions.

Article 12.4 – Everyone has the right not to have one’s religion denigrated in the media or the academia.

Article 12.5 – It is the duty of the follower of every religion to ensure that no religion is denigrated in the media or the academia.

If this principle were to be adopted and turned into law, it would open the door to a wide range of blasphemy-type criminal and other legal proceedings. This is because it would suffice to claim that a criticism of religion was “denigrating” to justify legal action. In effect, this Declaration immunizes religion from criticism.

These measures embrace the line promoted for many years by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC represents 56 Muslim majority countries and it pressures non-Muslim countries at the United Nations and in other international forums to prosecute their own citizens for blasphemy if they criticize Islam. Article 22a of the OIC Declaration on Human Rights in Islam reads as follows: “Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.”

If certain of the principles found in the Declaration that will be discussed in Montreal were ever to become law, it could be impossible to criticize even the severe punishments meted out in some jurisdictions to those who abandon their religion. Those Islamic religious authorities calling for the punishing of “apostates”, (1) for example, could claim that such punishments are protected from criticism and public-policy discussion by their ostensibly “religious” quality. The same thing could be said of the sharia law provision according to which parents who kill their children may not be charged criminally, a situation implicitly endorsing honour killing (2).

The principles espoused in the Declaration are totally incompatible with basic human rights and the ideals that universities should be endorsing in a free and democratic society.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee asserted in July 2011 that “Freedom of expression is a necessary condition for the realisation of the principles of transparency and accountability that are, in turn, essential for the promotion and protection of human rights.”

In these circumstances, we the undersigned, enjoin the authorities of McGill University and the Université de Montréal to endorse freedom of expression by publicly dissociating themselves from the censorship towards which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World’s Religions leads.”

(1) Section o8.1-2, Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), Beltsville (MD), Amana Publications, 1994
(2) Section o1.2.4, Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller)

Sonja Eggerickx, President – International Humanist and Ethical Union

Roy Brown, IHEU Representative, United Nations Geneva

Tarek Fatah, Writer

Tahir Aslam Gora, Secretary General – Muslim Canadian Congress

AC Grayling, Philosopher

Farzana Hassan, Author

M. Zuhdi Jasser, President – American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Salim Mansur, Ass. Professor of Political Science – University of Western Ontario

PZ Myers, Scientist

Taslima Nasrin, Writer

Raheel Raza, Writer and Interfaith advocate

Soheil Raza, Director – Forum for Learning

Terry Sanderson, President – UK National Secular Society

Ibn Warraq, Writer