Egypt’s Christians worried by Islamists’ rise

By , Published: January 7

The Washington Post

GIZA, Egypt — Egypt’s Christians were worried about their safety on Monday as they marked the first Christmas under Islamist rule, with Coptic Pope Tawadros II urging worshipers “not to be afraid” and some complaining that their lives had gone from bad to worse in the nearly two years since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

At St. Mary’s Church in the dense and religiously mixed neighborhood of Imbaba, where sectarian clashes have flared before, midnight Mass on Christmas Eve started early because of safety concerns. The church, which was torched by an Islamist mob in 2011, was protected Sunday by a larger police presence than in past years, a signal to some that the Islamist government wanted to avoid trouble after political clashes flared last month on Egypt’s streets.

To read full story


Where is the US Government in defense of Pastor Abedini and religious freedom?


Published January 27, 2013

Read this at


Recent news of the January 21 Iranian trial of Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini before a Revolutionary Guard Court lit up social media and religious freedom activists and circles with sheer outrage over his plight and the rampant increase in Iran of persecution of religious minorities. But is religious liberty and these litmus cases a priority for the leader of the free world?

Pastor Abedini did nothing more than convert from Islam to Christianity 13 years ago and begin preaching his message in an underground network of churches in Iran. He then came to the United States and became an American citizen raising his family in Idaho. His family reported that he returned last fall to Iran to start an orphanage and was snatched from a bus by the Iranian regime on Sept. 26, 2012.  He was sent to the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran. The regime’s bogus claim? He was undermining their authority and national security. Many of the claims from the Iranian State News Agency on this case and others have been proven patently false throughout. Yet there has been little public repudiation from President Obama.

The judge assigned to the case has been sanctioned many times by the European Union for his court actions and sentences. Last week it was even reported that the pastor and his attorney were not allowed to attend their own trial. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Pastor Saeed stands now convicted to eight years in prison in an Iranian gulag. This American citizen, who, like so many of our families came to the U.S. for religious freedom, went back only for charity work and is now jailed, having lost the freedom of his adopted nation.

With all the information known on this case, why the irresponsible neglect from the bully pulpit of the White House? The administration embarrassingly so far could only muster a statement from National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor saying, “We remain troubled by the case of U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini, who was arrested by Iranian officials more than three months ago on charges relating to his religious beliefs; we call upon Iranian authorities to release him immediately.” Yet, hypocritically, in June 2009, when two Current TV reporters were imprisoned in North Korea, the Obama White House and Clinton State Department made the reporter’s plight a top priority. They even dispatched former President Bill Clinton as an envoy who was then thankfully able to secure their release.

One cannot help but realize that even though our nation was founded on the “first freedom” being religious freedom, the defense of that freedom abroad is sadly no longer “first.” Secular, a-religious causes like that of so many courageous reporters seem easier for many on the left to defend and trumpet against nebulous universally decried fascists like the president of North Korea. However, when the victims are targeted for minority religious speech and liberty, their causes seem all too often to be less palatable to reflexively defend. This seems especially true for this administration when the religious repression is found to be in the hands of Islamists — a theocratic form of fascism.

As a devout Muslim, relishing my American freedoms, I know that if the freedoms of Christians, Baha’is, Jews, Hindus, other Muslim sects or atheists are trampled upon, so too soon will mine. In countries like Iran, the defense of religious freedom is the most accurate barometer upon which we can hold their nations regularly accountable to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet, we run from the confrontation.
Is the Obama White House fearful of confronting Iran?

History has shown that when Islamists see the defenders of freedom withdraw from conflict with their supremacist goals, they push forward even harder against religious minorities with abandon. This is not  just about one pastor, or one American citizen, it is about our credibility as a nation, which defends religious liberty domestically and abroad.

Paul Marshall recently laid out how flagrant and rampant these cases have become with now too many to count — including Pastor Yusef Nadarkani, Pastor Vruir Avanessian, Behzad Taalipasand and Mohammed-Reza Omidi to name a few of the ever growing number of Iranians and Americans persecuted in Iran for their ‘first freedom.’ Fifty members of the House of Representatives recently implored Secretary of State Clinton in a letter to leave “no stone unturned” in gaining the release of Abedini. It is time to hold up cases like Pastor Saeed’s and tirelessly demand accountability and reform inside Iran for every prisoner of conscience. Such a policy from the White House, while perhaps angering Islamists (a good thing), could ultimately also free many innocents and move to reawaken the Green Revolution that we abandoned in 2009.

This administration has proven over and over again to be unwilling to take on Islamist ideologies and defend their victims on the front lines. Whether it be the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, or the Khomeinists of Iran, the Obama White House has dodged any diplomatic engagement that pushes directly up against a confrontation between western values of freedom and liberty and Islamist values of theocracy and the empowerment of the shar’iah of the Islamic state.

The passive-aggressive nature of White House policy towards Iran has led to the outsourcing of the Syrian conflict to Bashar Assad’s allies (like Russia). It has led to a signal of our weakness in preventing their nuclear ambitions. It has led to the often overt bypassing of EU and American economic sanctions with impunity. And now it is leading more and more to the lonely abandonment of icons of religious freedom inside Iran.

M. Zuhdi Jasser is the author of the recently released book, A Battle for the Soul of Islam (Simon & Schuster) and is President and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is also a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (the opinions here are his own).

Read more:

Al “Jazeera” Gore gives spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood a home in the U.S.



Distributors should drop Current TV in wake of its sale to Al Jazeera– the world’s largest purveyor of Islamism


PHOENIX (January4, 2013) – Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith” issued the following statement on behalf of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy on the sale of Al Gore’s Current TV anti American Al Jazeera network:

“American cable companies need to seriously reconsider their commitments to Al Gore’s Current TV in the wake of its sale to the Al Jazeera Media Group.  Al Jazeera, an often virulently anti-American media organization ideologically dominated by Islamists, has announced its intentions to convert Current TV into Al Jazeera America, its latest endeavor to spread the Islamist agenda in the United States.

To this point, despite years of effort, Al Jazeera has been unsuccessful in America because it could not secure the cable television distribution networks necessary to spread its message across the United States.  In one fell swoop, it has secured those networks and access to over 40 million homes with the purchase of Current TV for $500 million.

Al Gore, Chairman of Current has sold his progressive free speech principles for the Qatari petro-dollars, having personally lobbied cable executives and according to the New York Times strong arming them into maintaining their contracts so that the sale could go through.  As part of the deal  Mr. Al “Jazeera” Gore stands to gain $100 million and will be given an unpaid seat on the Al Jazeera board.

Gore is quoted as saying “[Al Jazeera’s] global reach is unmatched and their coverage of major events like the Arab Spring is thorough, fair and informative.”

Clearly the petro-dollars have blinded him to the dangerous Islamist ideological roots of Al Jazeera.  For informed viewers, this is clearly an organization that is a central stomping ground to the Muslim Brotherhood and global Islamist interests. We regularly monitor Al Jazeera Arabic and English, and it is clearly a network which provides its global viewership a steady supply of news and opinion through only one ideological lens—an Islamist lens. Al Jazeera seeks only to give global dominance to the interests of Islamist nations and their tools as seen through the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

For example, Al Jazeera gives Imam Yusuf Al-Qardawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, regularly an outlet to spew his hatred to 60 million viewers worldwide with his program Sharia and Life. In 2009, he stated that the Holocaust was “Divine punishment” for the Jews.  He openly advocates for the killing of apostates.  The Daily Telegraph reports that in his book The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam Qardawi, insists that it is permissible for a husband to beat his wife as a last resort. Qaradawi has also repeatedly stated that homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. He has been refused travel to the West because he has openly advocated for terror against Israeli citizens as well as Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the height of the Iraq War, Al Jazeera was obviously the primary distributor of anti-American sentiment in the region bringing untold harm to our forces and mysteriously they also often became a conduit for the release of many Al Qaeda videos.

The Islamists which Al Jazeera promotes hardly fit the progressive or free speech values that Al Gore founded Current TV to spread. Qaradawi is just the most well-known of the many anti-American hosts that call Al Jazeera home.

Direct TV, The Dish Network, Comcast, Time Warner and any cable company that is considering carrying this new network need to take a hard look at the ideological underpinnings of this endeavor and stop it in its tracks. Al Jazeera is not only a purveyor of Islamism which is inherently incompatible with America but the network has been reported to suppress free speech even within its own ranks.

Just because Al Gore has sold his soul does not mean that they have to give this pure anti – American organization airwaves in the U.S.  Have the courage to pull the plug.”

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


MEDIA CONTACTS:         Gregg Edgar

Gordon C. James Public Relations



Obama Administration Arms our Enemies




Obama Administration Arms our Enemies

Military equipment transfer underscores lack of understanding of Brotherhood’s ideology

 PHOENIX (January 25, 2013) – Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith” issued the following statement on behalf of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy on the Obama Administration’s decision to allow the transfer of 16 F-16 fighter jets and 200 Abrams tanks to Egypt which is now controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood:

“The decision of the Obama Administration to allow the transfer of sophisticated military technology to Egypt underscores its dangerous foreign policy position of “normalization” with regards to the Muslim Brotherhood.  This administration has at every step of the way facilitated the ascension of a political party in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, which lives and breathes anti-westernism and anti-freedom policies.

The Muslim Brotherhood is founded on an ideological belief in Islamist supremacy. The Egyptian state Constitution just ratified in Egypt and drafted by members of the Brotherhood is Islamist and included radical salafist positions that denies other faiths equality, calls for shar’iah as the law of the land and empowers the Islamist Al Azhar University to serve as morality police just to name a few problems of this supremacist document.

Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi, leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is on record numerous times supporting the terrorist organization Hamas and has recently come under scrutiny for comments he made in 2010 where he called Jews “the descendants of apes and pigs.”

Yet this is the man that the Obama Administration relied on to bring a negotiated settlement between Hamas and Israel.  He is the man that the administration believes can be a responsible owner of 16 F-16 fighter jets and 200 Abrams tanks.

The White House mistakenly views the election of Morsi as a victory for the democratic process, completely ignoring the fact that the Brotherhood was simply the most organized political entity in the country and in no way represented the vast number of liberty minded protestors who had brought down the reign of Hosni Mubarak.

Islamists movements like those epitomized in the Muslim Brotherhood will never be genuine allies with the West or any free secular societies based in liberty.  Even the most basic understanding of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists reveals that their world view is incompatible with nations based in liberty and freedom. Would our government ever have found it appropriate during the Cold War or even since to transfer arms to “non-Soviet” communist regimes? Never, because the worldview of the communist ideology in nations like China, Cuba, and others is inherently incompatible with ours.

Call it ignorance, wishful thinking, or willful blindness, anyone who justifies sending arms to the Muslim Brotherhood ignores the central fact that Islamist ideology is both completely incompatible with secular societies based in reason and liberty and also sworn to the defeat of free secular societies. Just like with Iran in 1979, we are now destined to ultimately be in conflict with the MB led Egyptian government run by Islamists. We cannot and should not engage a government like the MB of Egypt without understanding their Islamist ideology. The MB is guided by a theocratic mindset which seeks a global evangelism of their political platforms. Their political oxygen is vis-à-vis the empowerment domestically and abroad of the Islamic state(s). Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood have long openly preached hatred of the west, hatred of Israel and Jews, and outright misogyny. When they do not, they are often just giving their critics “what they want to hear”.

No sane American who values our national security would think twice about sending F-16s or any of our military technology to Islamist nations because of their inherently anti-Western ideologies and behaviors. This is disastrous for our national security.

The fact that this transfer is happening in the wake of a now obvious ascent of radical Islamist groups in North Africa with Al Qaeda attacks in Algeria and the radical Islamist offensives in Mali is simply astonishing.  37 western hostages were killed by Islamists who essentially emanate from the same ideology as the Brotherhood. Even Secretary Clinton in her Benghazi testimony yesterday stated that “the jihadist ideology is rising rampantly in the region and needs to be countered.” How does one say that and then send arms to the Islamists?”

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


MEDIA CONTACTS:         Gregg Edgar

Gordon C. James Public Relations



Government Should Protect Nonbelievers

Government Should Protect Nonbelievers
By: Katrina Lantos Swett and M. Zuhdi Jasser
The following Op-Ed appeared in the Richmond Times on January 20, 2013

On Wednesday, the United States observed its annual National Religious Freedom Day. This day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption in 1786 of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and celebrates the enshrining of this right in the U.S. Constitution and our country’s culture.

While religious freedom is an integral part of our heritage, it also is misunderstood. A key misunderstanding concerns the matter of belief. Simply stated, religious freedom means not only the right to believe, but the freedom to disbelieve — to embrace any religion and to reject every religion.

People express their religious freedom by choosing theism, atheism or any other response to ultimate questions. Religious freedom allows them to follow wherever their conscience leads.

Through such documents as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, nations around the world have acknowledged on paper that freedom of religion or belief is an inalienable human right.

These documents capture the broad essence of the right, speaking of “freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” Yet according to a Pew Research study released last August, nearly 75 percent of the world’s population lives in countries in which this fundamental freedom is significantly restricted.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), on which we serve, has found that countries that typically persecute atheists also target members of disfavored or minority religious communities and individuals belonging to majority faiths who dissent from government-sanctioned interpretations.

In a number of nations, disseminating atheist views is specifically prohibited or restricted. Among these countries is Egypt, which USCIRF recommended in 2012 that the State Department add to its list of the world’s worst religious freedom violators. Just last month, Alber Saber was given a three-year jail sentence in Egypt for “offending” religion as a result of administering an atheist Facebook page.

Another such country is Indonesia, which USCIRF continues to monitor due to its permitting serious religious freedom abuses. Last June, Alexander Aan, a 31-year-old civil servant, was sentenced in Indonesia to a 2½-year prison term for creating a Facebook group supporting atheism and posting questions about the existence of a deity and cartoons depicting and insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Both of these cases underscore how states that persecute atheists violate not only freedom of religion or belief, but other precious freedoms, including freedom of expression. They remind us that, in the end, freedom is indivisible. There is no bright line that can be readily drawn in the sand to separate them.

The implication is clear. Those who stand unequivocally for other freedoms, including freedoms of speech and press, association and assembly, also must support religious freedom, just as those who stand for the right of believers to follow their conscience must do the same for nonbelievers.

While history bears stark witness to the persecution of atheists in the name of belief and believers in the name of atheism, the call of conscience requires us to pursue a brighter path of freedom and dignity for all. Thus, as we mark National Religious Freedom Day, we’d do well to recall these wise words from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom:

“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever … nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief.”

For believer and skeptic alike, freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief merits our firm support around the world.

Katrina Lantos Swett is the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. M. Zuhdi Jasser is a USCIRF Commissioner. To learn more about the commission, go to

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, please contact Samantha Schnitzer at or (202) 786-0613.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress.

Visit our Web site at
Katrina Lantos Swett, Chair • Mary Ann Glendon, Vice Chair • William Shaw, Vice Chair
Elliott Abrams • Sam Gejdenson • Robert P. George • Azizah Y. al-Hibri
M. Zuhdi Jasser • Jackie Wolcott, Executive Director

202-523-3240 | 202-523-5020 (FAX)

Egypt’s Morsi remakes cabinet, increasing Islamist presence

Washington Post

By , Published: January 6

CAIRO — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi rebuilt his cabinet Sunday, replacing 10 ministers and amplifying the Islamist presence in the government. The move, in which at least three Islamists were appointed to head major economic ministries, comes a day ahead of a planned visit by a top International Monetary Fund official to discuss an impending $4.8 billion loan.

To read the entire article

Assad’s speech calling for him to stay in power draws criticism from State Department

Published January 06, 2013

A defiant Syrian President Bashar Assad made a rare public appearance Sunday, ignoring international demands and calling for Syrians to fight the uprising against his rule in a speech that drew a sharp rebuke from the State Department.

In his first public speech in six months, Assad laid out terms for a peace plan that keeps himself in power and pledged to continue the battle “as long as there is one terrorist left” in Syria.

“What we started will not stop,” he said, standing at a lectern on stage at the regal Opera House in central Damascus — a sign by the besieged leader that he sees no need to hide or compromise even with the violent civil war closing in on his seat of power in the capital.

Read more: