MEDIA CONTACTS: Gregg Edgar
Gordon C. James Public Relations
PHOENIX (March 13, 2014) – On March 7, Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) sent a letter to Corey Saylor, Director, “Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia” for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. On March 12, Mr. Saylor declined our invitation.
In his response, Saylor expressed “disappointment” that we posted the letter publicly, alleging that our challenge was nothing more than a “publicity stunt.” Given CAIR’s repeated refusal to engage us directly and honestly on the issues, resorting instead to very public ad-hominem attacks issued in deceitful reports and countless press releases, we find Mr. Saylor’s “disappointment” revealing. While CAIR regularly pushes its narrative about Dr. Jasser and AIFD to every media outlet that will listen, Mr. Saylor would rather we not publish our mildly worded and entirely honest request for a debate on our website and social media. Why? It should now be obvious that CAIR would rather deal with its Muslim dissenters through deception and intimidation rather than through transparency, honesty and debate.
Saylor’s response continues CAIR’s malignant and defamatory approach to our ideological differences. Most stunning of all was his likening of AIFD to the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Semites and seditious “anti-government organizations”, as well as his dishonest yet unsurprising assertions that we oppose First Amendment protections for Muslims, oppose the building of mosques, and support unwarranted surveillance of Muslims. Again much like the Islamists and the conspiracy theories they propagate, the more they repeat lies and delusions the more they become convinced of their own fabrications. Each of their points is easily refuted by statements and actions made by Dr. Jasser and AIFD, which are all on public record. Simply put, Mr. Saylor’s letter serves to highlight CAIR’s open refusal to be held accountable. As self-appointed ambassadors of the Muslim community, their behavior is unIslamic and in fact stands in opposition to the Islamic tradition of open debate, which was championed by Prophet Muhammad. CAIR’s disrespect for the Qur’anic commands to honesty and moral courage is indeed disappointing and should cause their small membership to rethink the fear and moral depravity their organization actually represents.
Saylor’s response highlighted several events or initiatives that AIFD participated in, but conveniently ignored actual statements made by Dr. Jasser and AIFD about these events and initiatives. Instead, his letter was self-congratulatory (he inappropriately likened CAIR’s cowardly approach to the courage of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) and refused to address the real need for reform within the Muslim community.
In addition to the above, Mr. Saylor repeated CAIR’s refrain that AIFD is funded by what they define as “the U.S. Islamophobia network,” and that AIFD is anti-Muslim because of who might mention us positively in a blog. This weak attempt at discrediting us would be entirely laughable if their much larger budget didn’t lend them such significant access to the public arena. Of course, Mr. Saylor has perhaps forgotten that many who support CAIR also support the Muslim Brotherhood, and that their own Executive Director is on tape saying he would “support the Hamas movement,” – a U.S. government recognized terrorist organization.
It is important for Muslims and non-Muslims alike to realize that groups like CAIR only represent the minority of Muslims in the U.S. A study by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center reported that only 12% of the American Muslim community – hardly a majority – said that CAIR represents their interests. Nonetheless, they are a vocal bullying organization who uses any tool they can to stoke fear among American Muslims and crush any voices who oppose them.
When we posted our request for a public debate on our website, CAIR balked at what would have been a prime opportunity to advance their mission and debate our differences in a neutral and transparent setting. Since CAIR is ultimately afraid of the impact of actually standing on a stage and defending their ideas, AIFD has decided to take the debate to them. AIFD will now engage in a series of discussions and commentary that is aimed at highlighting the reform that is necessary within the Muslim community. We will examine the public positions of CAIR and other Islamist organizations and contrast them with AIFD’s approach which is rooted in a sincere commitment to protecting the individual rights of all people.
AIFD calls on those Muslim voices CAIR would seek to silence: stand with us in discussion and introspection, addressing those issues within our community that remain in dire need of reform. We must dismiss CAIR and all of their Islamist allies as the ideological relics that they are.
Our debate will begin in the coming weeks, on social media and on the broader public stage. Our community cannot continue to refuse internal reforms. If we want our children to have a better future both in America and abroad we must look within, find our individual and collective strength, and make it happen.
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/.