Dr. Jasser joins Fox and Friends to put Bin Laden’s death into context as it seems to exploited for partisan purposes.
For the crime of advocating moderation over extremism and American principles like the separation of mosque and state, M. Zuhdi Jasser has made a lot of enemies among radical Islamists.
But nothing this uniquely American Muslim has done to date has set the radicals’ hair on fire quite like his recent appointment to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, has denounced the Jasser appointment as “farcical” and is circulating petitions — including petitions at Jasser’s own Scottsdale mosque, by his own imam — to have his appointment rescinded.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper called him “a mere sock puppet for Islam-haters and an enabler of Islamophobia.”
The Muslim Peace Coalition declared Jasser’s appointment “a huge insult to American Muslims,” and the Muslim Public Affairs Council sent out “action alerts” frantically urging supporters to protest Jasser’s appointment.
Why the hysteria over the appointment of an Arizona medical doctor to an obscure religious-freedom oversight organization? In Jasser’s view, it is all about control of the filter through which Americans view Islam.
“They’ve had a monopoly on representing Muslims inside the Beltway,” he said of the groups attacking him, many of which, he points out, seek their funding from Saudi extremists.
“These people prefer to label us as heretics rather than deal with our ideas.”
And label him they do, circulating vile ad hominem attacks that are made up out of whole cloth, falsely accusing him and Muslim members of his American Islamic Forum for Democracy of being non-practicing Muslims, at best, and Islam-haters at worst.
They have had their successes in their remorseless effort to marginalize him. Shortly before confirmation of Jasser’s appointment to the State Department’s Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the White House suddenly rescinded the appointment without an explanation.
Unfortunately for them, Jasser is just as remorseless in his mission to prove to fellow Americans that Islam and American principles and virtues are not incompatible.
Jasser is just as undaunted in a still more courageous mission: To confront the radicalization of Islam in this country and overseas — a radicalization that organizations such as CAIR contend does not exist — and identify it for what it is, a political hijacking of his faith.
Small wonder they fight so hard to keep his voice from being heard.
This time, they have failed. Nominated by Sen. Mitch McConnell, Jasser’s appointment is not subject to confirmation. He already has attended two panel meetings.
His presence there affirms exactly what his strident opponents fear most — that there indeed is a diversity of voices, of points of view, among Muslims.
They can’t control those voices. And they certainly can’t control Zuhdi Jasser.
‘Where are all the moderate Muslims?” It’s a question often posed by Americans who watch with disgust as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other apologists for radical Islam hog all of the attention. CAIR, which was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror-financing Holy Land Foundation case, and which regularly denounces any effort to combat radical Islam as anti-Muslim prejudice, is routinely described in the press as a Muslim “civil rights” group.
Moderate American Muslims exist though. And it’s not that hard to find them. Just see who CAIR and MPAC (the Muslim Public Affairs Council) are denouncing.
This week, they are after Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Senator Mitch McConnell has appointed Dr. Jasser to serve on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and this has sent the most prominent Muslim American organizations to the barricades. A dishonest character-assassination campaign has been launched against Jasser, urging Muslims to protest the appointment. CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told The Blaze that Jasser “has long been viewed by American Muslims and the colleagues in the civil liberties community as a mere sock puppet for Islam haters and an enabler of Islamophobia.”
That gives you the flavor of CAIR’s level of discourse.
So who is Jasser? He’s the son of immigrants who fled Baathist Syria in the 1960s. Syrians, as we have seen in the streets of Homs and other cities over the past twelve months, are among the bravest and most oppressed people in the world. Zuhdi, a devout Muslim, attended the University of Wisconsin, and then joined the U.S. Navy and earned a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. His eleven-year service in the Navy included deployments to Somalia and service as the internist on call for the U.S. Congress.
Now a full-time physician and specialist in nuclear cardiology in Phoenix, Dr. Jasser also founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. “AIFD’s mission,” he explains, “is derived from our love of America and our devotion to Islam. We believe that Muslims can better practice Islam in a free environment that protects the rights of all individuals to practice or reject faith as they choose.”
In contrast to CAIR and some of the more frequently quoted American Muslim groups, Jasser and AIFD do see a problem with radicalization within the Muslim world. They reject the reflexive cry of discrimination in response to fears of Islamist penetration of mosques, prisons, schools, and other institutions. “Our civil rights should be protected and defended,” Jasser testified to the House Homeland Security Committee, “but the predominant message to our communities should be attachment, defense, and identification with America, not alienation and separation.”
Jasser insists upon the centrality of ideas. Most American Muslims are not radical, but the lures are plentiful. He compares himself with Colonel Nidal Hasan, the military psychiatrist who committed mass murder at Fort Hood. In so many ways, their lives were parallel, but Jasser became a profound American patriot and Hasan became a murderous traitor. The key, Jasser insists, is the poison of Islamism (political Islam) that has infiltrated the American Muslim world just as it has spread throughout the globe in the past 50 years. Supported by petro dollars, and disseminated through the North American Islamic Trust and the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, among other organs, Islamism alienates young American Muslims from their country by teaching that their first loyalty is as citizens of the “umma” (the Islamic community).
“Hasan did not go to sleep one night a normal, compassionate, patriotic constitutional American Muslim military psychiatrist and wake up the next day a barbaric radical wanting to viciously murder his fellow soldiers,” Jasser testified. His mind and character were distorted by Islamism.
Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes has said, “The problem is radical Islam. The solution is moderate Islam.” Most non-Muslim Americans are not in a position to affect the ideological struggle that is going on within Islam. The battle must be waged by groups like the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
But there are things we can do. We can stop enabling the most destructive voices within the American Muslim world by pretending that they speak for American Muslims. We can stop indulging the fiction that concern about Islamic radicalism amounts to anti-Muslim discrimination. And we can do everything possible to support and honor those, like Zuhdi Jasser, who are manfully battling the forces of darkness.
– Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
For Immediate Release
On Yom HaShoah AIFD remembers the Holocaust
PHOENIX, AZ (April 19, 2012) – Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) issued the following statement to mark the day of Yom HaShoah.
“Yom HaShoah serves as a profound reminder for all of us of the devastation inflicted on the Jewish people in the Holocaust. It is a commemoration of the over six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories. It ensures that we will never forget. It commemorates the Jewish resistance in that period, and all of those that fought to ultimately defeat Nazism.
At AIFD, as Muslims we lift up the example of the Albanian Muslims featured in the Yad Vashem exhibit Besa: A Code of Honour who under Nazi occupation risked their own lives and defied orders by sheltering Jews. The exhibit features, for example, Albanian Muslim brothers Hamid and Xhemal Veseli who helped protect their Jewish brethren.
Yom HaShoah is an opportunity to renew our commitment to each other and to renew our vigilance to protect the sanctity of religious freedom for each and every one of us. As we witness the inhuman atrocities being perpetrated in Syria, the Sudan, and in regions all over the world, we must remember that the evil that led to the Holocaust can only be kept at bay by our commitment to and our unwavering defense of humanity against evil in all of its forms. The recent massacre at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, France is a stark reminder that the Jewish people are still one of the primary targets of Islamist radicalism.
At the American Islamic Forum for Democracy we mark Yom HaShoah with a solemn prayer for those lost and our collective strength to make sure that the Holocaust is never repeated.”
About the American Islamic Forum for Democracy
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AIFD’s mission advocates for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. For more information on AIFD, please visit our website at http://www.aifdemocracy.org/.
Gordon C. James Public Relations
The president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) has some harsh words for opponents of his appointment to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
“You could actually use the list of people protesting us, it’s a pretty good list of some of the leaders of the Islamist movement in America,” Zuhdi Jasser, who has been a vocal opponent of political Islam, told The Daily Caller.
Last week 64 Muslim organizations – including Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) – expressed “deep concern” with Jasser’s appointment in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.
“It is imperative that Congress rescind the appointment of Dr. Jasser to serve as a Commissioner. We believe this appointment will undermine the Commission’s credibility and international respect,” they wrote.
According to his opponents, Jasser – a practicing Muslim who professes to “love [his] faith” – is intolerant of Islam and is a supporter of anti-Islam movements. Opponents cite his opposition to the “Ground Zero mosque,” his support for a 2010 Oklahoma ballot initiative barring courts from using Sharia law, his support for law enforcement surveillance of Muslims and his affiliation with groups opponents deem anti-Muslim.
Jasser contends, however, that the real enemy of religious freedom is the coalition of groups opposing him.
“This is a classic way of Islamists of not dealing with the issue and I think it demonstrates that,” Jasser said of the campaign against him.
Despite the complaints, Jasser remains on the commission, spending time this week in Washington, D.C., to fulfill some of the accompanying responsibilities – including meeting with a delegation from Canada about religious freedom.
His first meeting with the commission was last week.
“[My message] is that religious freedom is the canary in the coal mine as far as human rights and the ability of countries to demonstrate whether they truly have democracies and recognize the inalienable rights of their citizens or whether they don’t,” he told The Daily Caller.
“The ability of people to have that religious freedom and express it, is the first freedom that has been known,” he added. “Our work, in pushing back specifically against Islamism, as initially domestically it came as our sense – when we formed AIFD in 2003 – was that terrorism is simply a symptom of an underlying ideology.”
McConnell appointed Jasser to the commission in late March. His office did not respond to request for comment.
With the scorched earth smear campaign being waged against Dr. Jasser by American Islamist groups like CAIR and MPAC, we thought it appropriate to post a few of the testimonials submitted to AIFD during the week after Senator Mitch McConnell’s March announcement of Dr. Jasser’s nomination to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
MUSLIM LEADERSHIP SUPPORT
1] Self-proclaimed custodians of Islam have launched a defamation campaign against Dr. Zuhdi Jasser for his appointment to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. I hope they realize that this deformation campaign itself is against the teachings of Islam!
These politically-motivated groups stand for the establishment of Islamic Caliphate and Islamic State for which introduction of legislative sharia as Muslim Law, justification of jihad for establishing the Islamic State, support of capital punishment for blasphemy and apostasy are critical tools. I hope they realize that none of these doctrines are part of the Islamic faith. These doctrines have been engineered in the last century, after the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate and the colonization of Muslim empires (Ottoman and Mughal) at the dawn of the industrial revolution in the 18th century. Opposing these misrepresented doctrines has earned Dr. Jasser the wrath of these hypocritical hate mongers.
Their duplicity can be gauged from the fact the same groups deny equal rights to minorities in Muslim majority countries while demanding equal and more rights in the US. Demanding equal rights for all religious minorities in countries that claim to be the bulwark of Islam (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, etc.) can result in imprisonment.
Rather than hate and fear mongering, the American people, particularly Muslims, will welcome a public debate on the real issues (Islamic Caliphate and State, sharia, jihad, blasphemy, and apostasy) to understand the faith of Islam from the scripture and differentiate it from Islamism – the politically motivated movement for monopolizing power under the guise of Islam. Such civilized discussion on real issues will be illuminating for all Americans.
Arif Humayun, President & Co-founder, Circle of Peace, Vancouver, WA
2] I know Dr. Jasser personally. He is an extremely genuine Muslim intellectual, dedicated and exceptionally talented to lead the moderate sane Muslim voices in confronting the radical Muslim propaganda, currently engaging in hate campaign against him.
Jalal Zuberi MD, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
3] Dear Dr. Jasser: As an American Moslem and who had a privileged of meeting you and heard your talks several times and resident of Arizona over 50 years, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to you for being appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Your devotion to Islam with right leadership in this very critical time of ours is most needed. We admire you and proud of you. We wish you all the successes in all your actions. May Almighty bless you and all your work.
Edib Kirdar, Scottsdale, AZ
4] Dr. Jasser is a devout Arab Muslim but not a fanatic which is why those who have a Muslim agenda are against him. I have heard his views and consider him to be a very balanced Muslim, a decent person and a good American citizen. In my opinion CAIR is a front organization. Dr. Jasser speaks his mind and is neither influenced nor deterred either by the Fox News Channel, the leftist Media or the Islamists. I congratulate Dr. Jasser on a well deserved appointment. Hope his message about militant Islam is widely received and embraced by the Muslim world for their own good and for world peace. Much Love.
Dr. Bahram R. Shahmardaan, Ph.d, Walnut Creek, CA
5] Muslims like Zuhdi Jasser are the ONLY hope for Islam to truly live in harmony with the world.
Tawfik Hamid, Islamic Reformer, Washington DC
6] Dr. Zuhdi Jasser has been a strong proponent of pluralistic and spiritual Islam. For the last few decades most of the Muslim organizations in USA covertly or overtly have been helping the cause of global jihad. Dr. Jasser singlehandedly had been fighting the hydra monster of global jihad.
Jamal Hasan, Council for Democracy & Tolerance, Baltimore, MD
7] I have fled to freedom from the dictatorship of the extreme Islamists who have taken my religion, my homeland and my culture hostage of politics and power. I have come to America where there is no fear mongering, no intimidation of the opposite opinions and no hateful statements that come directly from the fear of truth and facts. I have come to America to be free from the people who use uninformed people to advance the agendas that have been refused by the majority. I have come to America to live in the civilization that allows dialogue instead of illogical personal attacks.
So if you are attacking Dr. Jasser it means that you are afraid of the truth that he speaks of and represents. Otherwise let us have a dialogue, like the civilized people that we claim to be, instead of waging war!
Manda Ervin, Alliance of Iranian Women, Washington DC
8] Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is a devout Muslim, descended from a long line of prominent Sunni ulama (religious scholars) from the city of Damascus, Syria. Those who accuse him of lacking sufficient knowledge of Islam to speak publicly on the subject, display a lack of familiarity with Dr. Jasser and the traditions of Islam itself, or are simply using such baseless claims to pursue a political objective – viz., discrediting one of the most outspoken and courageous voices of moderate Islam living in the West today.
The same is true of accusations that Dr. Jasser – a specialist in internal medicine and nuclear cardiology – financially exploits his work in the field of counter-radicalization, or serves as the paid mouthpiece of an Islamophobic conspiracy.
Dr. Jasser realizes that loyalty to his faith does not supersede or displace loyalty to his nation. This puts him squarely at odds with those who hold a supremacist understanding of Islam, or a hostile view of America and the West. However, it places him directly in the mainstream of America, including the silent majority of Muslims living in the U.S., who are grateful for its blessings of freedom.
C. Holland Taylor
Chairman & CEO, LibForAll Foundation, Winston Salem, NC
9] I want to affirm the appointment of Dr. Jasser to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Dr. Jasser has been a member of the Board of Directors of the ARIZONA INTERFAITH MOVEMENT for many years and there are two things you never need to question about Dr. Jasser. 1) He is always totally Muslim. You never need to question where he stands as to his faith. He is a very committed Muslim man of faith. 2) He is totally committed to Religious Freedom for all people everywhere. Locally, he has stood with the ARIZONA INTERFAITH MOVEMENT at all times in these issues, and Internationally he has been a leader in promoting religious freedom for all people.
I am proud to support Dr. Jasser in his appointment to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Dr. Paul Eppinger, Executive Director, Arizona Interfaith Movement. Phoenix, AZ
10] We are extremely grateful for Dr. Zuhdi Jasser’s appointment to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and cannot think of a better contributor to this Commission. Dr. Jasser is not only well informed and a clear speaker on issues of international concern, but also just a genuinely good person. I am deeply saddened about the bad press and comments he is getting. I’ve heard Dr. Jasser speak in public forums many times, as a fellow Arizona Interfaith Movement Board member, and have always appreciated his sincere and devoted sharing of his Muslim faith, and his reasonable discussions about the challenges he is facing as a Muslim. He has invited us to visit his Mosque, and to be part of the ground breaking when it was being built. While I clearly understand that not everyone within a faith tradition will agree on all the issues, matters of interpretation, standards of practice, and what even may define one’s faith to be involved with political issues, or not – I do know that Dr. Jasser is sincere and he does all he can to practice what he preaches. I feel he wants what is good and best for the greater good. I’ve heard him speak from the heart on many issues that I feel touch people’s lives around the world, regardless of what faith or no faith they may practice. He strikes me as always being thoughtful, and caring of others as he shares his perspectives. I have no reason to doubt that he is a dedicated and devout Muslim, who loves Islam deeply and wants others to understand what it is all about, while still respecting our pluralistic society. As a Christian Scientist, I have always felt comfortable in talking with Dr. Jasser about issues, and have felt that my viewpoint was always respected. At the same time, he has done so much to educate me to what the issues are at more of a root level, that I can never express enough appreciation for him. I wish him well in this new appointment, and may God bless, guide and protect him each step of the way.
Blessings and gratitude,
Christian Science Board Member of Arizona Interfaith Movement
11] Congratulations on your appointment. The ferocity of the attacks against you are just testimonials to how much Islamists fear you.
12] When the fanatics rile against you, it is proof that you are succeeding. Stand your ground bravely and firmly, the one God will be with you. May He bless you and your work.
— J M
13] The opposition confirms the rightness of your appointment. I always welcomed this criticism as proof that I was doing the right thing. Keep up the good work, people must know that one can be a devout Muslim, and a good American.
14] I was pleased to learn of your recent appointment to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. As you may know, I authored the original legislation that created the commission. Since its inception, USCIRF has been envisioned as a voice for the voiceless-unconstrained by the diplomatic considerations which often paralyze the State Department. Now more than ever that voice is needed as people of faith the world over are under assault. You have a proven track record of boldly speaking truth to power-this will serve you well on the commission. (full letter)
Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA)
Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
NB: Congressman Frank Wolf also later sent this letter to Imam Mohamed Majid of ADAMS Mosque in Northern Virginia in his district on April 9, 2012. April 9, 2012.
15] The groups opposing him are headlined by the Council on American Islamic Relations. So you already know how the passions will align. In danger of being lost sight of here is just what an impressive person Jasser is-and how decent and humane his message is. Here’s an opportunity not to turn every decision of government into a cable-news food fight. Americans of goodwill of all parties should be able to agree on this: Jasser belongs on that commission, and CAIR’s opposition is only another of the man’s many accolades. [LINK]
David Frum, contributing editor, Newsweek and The Daily Beast and a CNN contributor.
Letter from Cong. Frank Wolf (R-VA) to Imam Majid re: Jasser Appointment to USCIRF
Email from ADAMS listserv on Jasser appointment
The following letter from Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), Virginia’s Tenth District was sent to Imam Mohamed Magid, of the ADAMS Center Mosque located in the Tenth District of Virginia. Imam Magid also happens to be the national President of the Islamic Society of North America. His ADAMS Center listserv was used to distribute this email communication.
PO Box 1085
April 5, 2012
Dear Imam Magid:
I was disappointed to learn that the ADAMS Center listserv had been used to encourage members of your congregation to sign on to an online petition that features slanderous information about Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a recent appointee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Dr. Jasser, a patriotic American Muslim who proudly served his country for 11 years as a medical officer in the U. S. Navy, is a first generation American Muslim whose parents fled the oppressive Baath regime of Syria in the 1960s. Dr. Jasser is a prolific writer and commentator. He has been a Muslim representative on Arizona’s largest interfaith board of directors. He is routinely called upon to brief Congress. He has lectured on Islam to deploying officers at the Joint Forces Staff College at Fort Benning and was chosen to be part of a select group of Muslim leaders that briefed Admiral Mike Mullen on the “Contest of Ideas with the Muslim World.”
Sadly, because Dr. Jasser has dared to engage in this ” contest of ideas,” he has endured repeated personal attacks. These libelous assaults have spiked since Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed him to serve on USCIRF-a group charged with advocating on behalf of persecuted people of faith globally. Rather than engaging in respectful political discourse about philosophical and policy differences, in recent weeks Dr. Jasser has been personally insulted and demeaned. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islam Relations (CAIR) went so far as to call Jasser a “mere sock puppet for Islam haters and an enabler of Islamophobia.”
In March 27, 2010 Dr. Jasser penned an op-ed for the Milwaukee Sentinel which addressed local controversy surrounding the proposed construction of a mosque. Dr. Jasser wrote, “I am a devout Muslim who has recently spent the past eight years dedicated to fighting the radicalization that has permeated my faith… About 1981, my parents and a few other Muslim families built the first mosque in northeastern Wisconsin. It was in that mosque and as a student at Neenah High School that I learned the values of Americanism and pluralism and their synergy
with my faith of Islam. It was there that I learned about the value of the separation of mosque
He continued, “When my family sought to build the small mosque in the Town of Menasha, many local residents in the Neenah-Menasha area presented a vocal opposition protesting the zoning request. That was a long time before Sept. 11, but it had a significant amount of media attention and controversy much like what is happening in Sheboygan now. Thankfully, reason prevailed, and our community moved into our new small mosque in the Town
of Menasha. The opposition missed the boat on the meaning of religious freedom in the United States. I was blessed with parents who taught me that religious freedom in the U.S. is unrivaled anywhere in the world. I was taught that I could be more Muslim in Neenah, with just our few families and a mosque, than anywhere else in the world.”
As these words clearly demonstrate, along with his distinguished career, Dr. Jasser understands and deeply values America’s “first freedom”-that is religious freedom. As such, I believe he will be a profoundly impactful addition to USCIRF. While some may disagree, that opposition ought not take the form of personal attacks.
I recognize that there is a disclaimer on ADAMS listserv indicating that ADAMS does not endorse any of the non-ADAMS announcements that appear. Nevertheless, I believe it would send a powerful message if ADAMS were to issue a public statement on your Web site disavowing these attacks and urging respectful discourse, especially as it relates to Dr. Jasser.
Member of Congress
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