Hamas: not Freedom Fighters, but Terrorists

The conflict in Gaza escalates by the minute as Hamas continues to fire rockets from within civilian populations, triggering Israel to respond with aggressive military action targeting the terrorist group as well as its rockets and tunnels. The loss of civilian life is a tragedy, undoubtedly scarring families and communities. But who is responsible for perpetuating the bloodshed?

As supporters of individual liberty and self-determination, we at AIFD stand in suppo­rt of all legitimate movements for freedom, modernity, and human rights. As such, we absolutely support those Palestinians who resist violence and seek to live in peace with Israel. Indeed, these individuals themselves are also targets of Hamas, a group with no regard for human life and which seeks the complete destruction of Israel. Its charter calls for the genocide of Jews, while its behavior endangers the Palestinian civilian populations within which they hide like the cowards they are. Muslims who reject their Islamism and war mongering are also victims of their wrath. As of Sunday afternoon, July 20, nearly 2,000 rockets had been fired from Gaza. While Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) compete in their efforts to destroy the state of Israel, they endanger civilians by hiding weapons in homes, schools, mosques and ambulances.

Hamas, the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood, is no “freedom fighter” whether in times of war or relative peace. When Hamas isn’t firing rockets and digging tunnels to target Israelis and ignite wars, it is restricting the rights of women through prohibitions on gender-mixing, harassment of female journalists and citizens who appear in public without a headscarf, inaction and even participation in proceedings wherein women are killed for “honor” and their murderers go unpunished; and more. Religious minorities and dissidents have been targeted, churches torched and many innocents killed as Hamas tries to enforce its Taliban-style interpretation of Islamic law on a desperate and disempowered population. And now, Hamas stokes its base by endangering civilians – particularly women and children – and churning out propaganda to gain sympathizers.

Ultimately, Hamas has no chance at survival if does not make itself out to be a victim – and it does so by starting wars and sacrificing innocent lives.

Even if the current conflict were to calm down soon, Hamas will remain a terroristic regime, tormenting the very civilians they claim to be protecting from Israel. Sadly, too many in the West fail to recognize this aspect of the conflict, and support Hamas and its sympathizers rather than agents of real peace.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which regularly and loudly proclaims itself to represent the voices and interests of American Muslims (despite polls revealing this is not even remotely true), was founded and continues to be led by individuals who have expressed support for Hamas. Despite their insistence that they protect the civil rights of American Muslims, their regular abuses of reformists and their toxic connections should raise concerns for all who wish to see peace not just in the Middle East, but between faith traditions.

Until all people – American Muslims, the broader Muslim community and our non-Muslim allies and friends – recognize that Hamas is a cancer to all people, there will never be peace.


07/09/2014 Liberty and the Secular State: Guarantors of Religious Freedom for Muslims

Source: Berkley Center

M. Zuhdi Jasser, July 9, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Islam’s holiest month, Ramadan, is a time for intense personal and community reflection. As we abstain from all food and drink from sunrise to sunset, we are given an opportunity to feel a new level of gratitude for our blessings, as well as to share more of what we have with the less fortunate. No denials, no excuses.

As Americans, we are free to accept or reject any tenet of our individual religions. Individuals are also free to reject faith entirely without fear of state reprisal. As a practicing Muslim, I fast during Ramadan, observe the five daily prayers, give to charity, read Qur’anic scripture, and adhere to a range of guidelines prescribed by my faith, such as abstinence from alcohol and pork. I have practiced my faith not just as a civilian, but also as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy. I have never experienced any conflict between my American identity and my Muslim faith. If anything, the fact that we have the freedom to practice any religion or none makes me freer to practice my faith with sincerity than I would be in any Muslim-majority society where a particular interpretation of the faith is coerced. In many Muslim-majority societies, the fast is enforced by law or social coercion, prayer times are mandated, and work schedules are modified during the month of Ramadan.

As a Muslim, I must ask myself: Is a coerced practice of Islam as meaningful—and as rewarded by God—as one freely chosen? The logical answer is no, that in order to sincerely practice one must have the choice not to. “Doing good works” requires no personal fortitude if no other option exists.

Freedom of religion is the first right in the US Constitution because without it, no other right can stand. The Founding Fathers, who espoused a range of personal views when it came to God and faith, shared a common commitment to individual liberty. It was their vision that America would be a nation wherein faith would be a matter of personal choice and the expression of it an inalienable and protected right. It is this understanding that my family embraced as patriotic Americans the moment they arrived here in the 1960s to escape the persecution of Syria’s Baathists.

Contrarily, while it is certainly true that anti-Muslim bigotry exists—including efforts by some to prevent the building of mosques and to restrict our religious rights—it is also true that we Muslims, like all Americans, are protected by the United States Constitution and a whole host of laws protecting our civil rights. Further, Muslims are not alone. Other religious minorities, in fact, continue to face a much higher level of persecution than we do. According to the FBI, 66% of hate crimes against religious groups over the last decade targeted members of the Jewish community, while 12.1% of these crimes targeted Muslims. Some Muslims point to the rise of “anti-sharia” legislation as an indicator of the oppression of Muslims in the United States. Indeed, bills like the one proposed in Tennessee have been far too broadly written, seeming to make any gathering of Muslims an illegal act. (This bill was later amended). Yet, on the other hand, those bills which did not explicitly identify sharia but more appropriately targeted those foreign laws which violate American standards of gender equality and religious freedom (like the Michigan law) were in fact supported by many Muslims, including our American Islamic Leadership Coalition. On either side of this debate, the American system is designed to give us room to comfortably support or actively dissent against policies and people who fail to fairly represent us.

Read More 

07/23/2014 Meriam Ibrahim Is Free From Sudan

Source: National Journal 


Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who’d been sentenced to death under Islamic law, arrived in Rome on Thursday, less than a day after U.S. lawmakers held a hearing in search of ways to help her.

Ibrahim and her two children were accompanied on the flight by Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli, who posted a photo from the trip on his Facebook page, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Federica Mogherini, Italy’s Foreign Affairs minister, called the development a “great joy” and thanked the “efforts of many” within the Italian government.

It isn’t immediately clear whether the U.S. State Department was involved with her flight to Italy. The flight was provided by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s office.

But a State Department spokesman told National Journal on Wednesday that Ibrahim and her two children “have all the documents they need to enter the United States as soon as the government of Sudan allows them to exit the country.”

Pistelli told Reuters that Ibrahim plans to stay in Rome briefly before traveling to the United States.

Ibrahim, her husband, and two young children were reportedly staying at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum before they left for Rome, although the State Department had declined to discuss the family’s location for safety reasons.

Read More 


07/27/2014 AIFD Wishes Muslims a Blessed Eid Al-Fitr

PHOENIX (July 28, 2014) – Muslims around the world commemorated the end of their month long daily fast of Ramadan on Monday, July 28, 2014 with the Holiday of the Feast (Eid al-Fitr). Eid al-Fitr is celebrated in congregational prayer, the giving of gifts and gathering over meals.

To all our Muslim friends and supporters, we at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) wish you a most blessed Eid al-Fitr. May your fasts be accepted and your prayers answered.

As we celebrate Eid al-Fitr, may we commit to carry the awareness of our blessings throughout the year, the humility of Ramadan never straying from our hearts. Allow us to see every day as an opportunity to appreciate and strive for freedom, for liberty, and for universal human rights. These commitments are a service to God and to our country. May we remain grateful and committed to service, never taking for granted the blessings of freedom, of health, and of living in this great nation.


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/.