AIFD and other Muslims Against Islamism in the New York Times: See the ad, Join the Movement

We at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy are always seeking new ways to expand our reach and impact. We were honored to be approached by the Gatestone Institute to place a full-page ad in the New York Times featuring text inspired by the writing of one of our fellows, Ahmed Vanya. Ahmed’s piece, “Beautifying Islam,” served as the basis for the ad.

The ad was finalized before the horrific attacks in Paris, but was published today, January 11, 2015. It is exactly the right moment for the ad’s renewed call to action. Please see the ad here, and read the full text below. Please also stay tuned to learn where we will take this movement from here, and for an opportunity to sign onto this document.


What can Muslims do to reclaim their ‘Beautiful Religion’?

As people observe beheadings and savagery by ISIS, female genital mutilation and honor killings, the abduction of girls by Boko Haram, the execution of innocents in Iran, the slaughtering and enslaving of Christians in Egypt and Africa and Yazidis in Iraq, rampant anti-Semitism and other crimes against humanity committed by those who claim to represent Islam, many people are understandably asking:

  • What is the true nature of Islam?
  • Is it that although there are many peaceful Muslims, Islam itself is not peaceful?

If Islam is a religion that stands for justice and peaceful coexistence, then the quest for an Islamic state cannot be justified as sanctioned by a just and merciful Creator.

Neither jihadism nor Islamism permit the equality of all humans irrespective of their race or religion and should therefore be rejected. Our denial and our relative silence must stop!

It is the duty of us Muslims to actively and vigorously affirm and promote universal human rights, including gender equality and freedom of conscience.

As our Holy Qu’ran states (4:135):

“Believers! Conduct yourselves with justice, bearing true witness before God, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, or your kin.”

We must engage in and promote reforms where necessary, including an honest and critical reinterpretation of scripture and shariah law used by Islamists to justify violence and oppression.

We must also recognize and loudly proclaim that the quest for any and all “Islamic State(s)” has no place in modern times. Theocracy, particularly, Islamism, is a proven failure. The path to justice and reform is through liberty.

It is also our responsibility to reclaim the faith we love from these monsters, forcefully rejecting and combating all components of their ideology.

If we Muslims believe that “true” Islam, genuinely aligned with the will of the Creator, is fundamentally peaceful, comprehensively merciful and objectively just, then it is our duty to do what is necessary to live and promote an Islam that is based in liberty and worthy of being called a beautiful religion.

We must seek out necessary support from non-Muslim allies in order to be successful in our work.

We the undersigned are Muslims who embrace a pluralistic interpretation of Islam, rejecting all forms of oppression and abuses committed in the name of religion or culture and particularly Islamism.

We are joined by non-Muslim allies who sign here to affirm their commitment as Americans to support those Muslims and all people of conscience who courageously speak out against these abuses and who advance reforms within our community.

  • Sherkoh Abbas, Chair Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, Washington, D.C.
  • Tarek Fatah, Founder, Muslim Canadian Congress, Toronto, Canada
  • Farid Ghadry, Reform Party of Syria, Washington, D.C.
  • Iftikhar A. Hai, President, United Muslims of America, San Francisco, CA
  • Dr. Tawfik Hamid, International Center for Countering Radicalism, Oakton, CA
  • Husain Haqqani, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to U.S., Washington, D.C.
  • Jamal Hassan, Council for Democracy and Tolerance, Baltimore, MD
  • Sheikh (Dr.) Usama Hassan, Quilliam Foundation, London, UK
  • Farzana Hassan, Director, Muslim Canadian Congress, Toronto, Canada
  • Arif Humayun, President, Circle of Peace, Portland, OR
  • Farahnaz Ispahani, Director, Americans for Pakistan, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Phoenix, AZ
  • Naser Khader, Former Member of Danish Parliament, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Zainab Zain Khan, United Nations Association, Chicago, IL
  • Courtney Lonergan, Arizona Interfaith Movement, Phoenix, AZ
  • Hasan Mahmud, General Secretary, Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada
  • Salim Mansur, PhD., Professor, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
  • Maajid Nawaz, Co-Founder and Chairman, Quilliam Foundation, London, UK
  • Raheel Raza, President, Council of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada
  • Munir Pervaiz, President, Muslim Canadian Congress, Mississauga, Canada
  • Oubai Shahbandar, Principle, Dragoman Partners, Washington, D.C.
  • Jalal Zuberi, MD, Associate Professor, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
  • Ahmad Vanya, Fellow, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, San Jose, CA


International Holocaust Remembrace Day: AIFD remains committed to “never again”

We at AIFD would like to take this opportunity to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Berknau.

As we remember the six million lives lost – young men and women, elders, husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, loved ones and friends – may we not speak the words “never again” and allow them to prove hollow. May we vow to make “never again” a solemn and enduring vow, both to honor of the spirits of those lost during that most horrid time in history; and to inspire our continued commitment to combat oppression and tyranny.

Tragically, even seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the world is not post-anti-Semitism. Please watch our most recent video blog on this issue here, read the transcript below, and join us in our commitment to combat anti-Semitism both within and outside of our community. Never again.


Hello, and thank you for taking the time to let me speak to you on behalf of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, or AIFD.

AIFD is founded on the principle that freedom of conscience is an inalienable human right; and that we Muslims have an urgent responsibility to combat Islamism, an ideology responsible for the repression of religious freedom worldwide.

We also believe that we Muslims must admit to and address the uncomfortable but undeniable truth that anti-Semitism remains a rampant problem within our communities – both in Muslim majority societies and in the West.

It is outrageous, but it is true, that too many in our communities support groups like Hamas and their apologists. It is also true that we don’t do nearly enough to challenge anti-Semitic interpretations of our religion disseminated at dinner tables, in mosques, online, and on the street.

Even a quick perusal of Arab and Muslim media outlets reveals an avalanche of hatred and incitement against Jews. Leading Muslim politicians from countries the United States treats as allies, as well as religious leaders and even musicians echo one another in hatred: they call the Jewish people apes, spreaders of disease and perversion, and worse. Some outright call for the extermination of Jews and express their admiration for Adolf Hitler.

Unfortunately, it seems that too many people – both within and outside of our community – seem to think that we live in a world that is “post anti-Semitism,” and thus do not take seriously the vitriol so many spout against the Jewish people, failing even to see continued violence against Jews (including the recent stabbing in a New York synagogue and the attack on a visibly Jewish man also in New York City, just in the recent past) as part of a larger, alarming trend. Not only have Muslims not moved beyond anti-Semitism; society at large as not moved beyond this evil.

As we witness a rising tide of attacks on Jews worldwide – from anti-Semitic riots in Europe to attacks on Jews in Israel and even right here in the United States – we must be sure to take a vocal and uncompromising stand against anti-Semitism both when the perpetrators are from our community, and when they are not.
We at AIFD vow to stand with our Jewish friends against anti-Semitism, no matter the source and most especially within the Muslim community. We will continue to do so vigorously and without apology, recognizing that your freedom is tied to our own, and that it is our sacred duty to protect that freedom.
We invite both our Muslim brothers and sisters and our non-Muslim allies to join us in this fight. Please visit our website at to learn more about our work, subscribe to our email list, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Thank you.

01/07/2015 PARIS TRAGEDY DEMANDS WORLDWIDE REJECTION OF LONE WOLF THEORY Broad ideological threat of Islamism must be countered by the Free World

PHOENIX (January 7, 2015) – AIFD condemns, in the strongest way possible, the actions that took place in Paris today and send our deepest condolences to the families of those killed or injured. The effects of this despicable action go beyond the streets of Paris, but represent an attack on freedom of speech and the human rights of all to live and work – free of fear.

 We can no longer continue to be deceived into accepting the “Lone Wolf” theory as recent events have clearly exclaimed. The deep and intense ideological invasion within Islam must be thwarted from within the House of Islam.

 There is no reason to believe the events of today can be held in isolation but must be considered part and parcel of the world-wide terrorist threat from those ideologically radicalized in the name of political Islam. Calls for would-be combatants to stay in their home location and fight, our very places of work and worship, have come to fruition and demand that we accept this new reality with a legitimate response.


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. AIFD also supports Muslim youth and adult leadership initiatives, and efforts to protect universal human rights including women’s rights and freedom of conscience. For more information on AIFD, please visit our website at

About Dr. Zuhdi Jasser

Dr. Jasser is a Syrian-American activist, Navy veteran, physician, and observant Muslim. He is a noted expert on Islamism, Islamist terror groups and Middle East foreign policy.  As the founder of AIFD, Dr. Jasser is dedicated to the support of human rights and democracy.  He is the author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam” published by Simon and Schuster.


Comments on the Death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

We at AIFD will shed no tears for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who passed away yesterday, January 22nd.

As the head of a tyrranical, murderous and notoriously repressive government, King Abdullah is responsible for the execution of dissidents, the torture of minorities, and the exportation of the most malignant strain of politicized, radicalized Islam the world has known.

We do not share in the saccharine and morally bankrupt assessment of many in the media. King Abdullah was no “reformer,” and we grant him no credit for “nudging” the Kingdom forward. Under King Abdullah’s reign, Saudi Arabia remained the country where bloggers are sentenced to potentially fatal lashings, where writers are jailed for tweets , dissidents and “witches” are beheaded, and where the monarchy itself participates in child marriage and the religious establishment calls Jews “apes and pigs.” We have to question the integrity of those in the media and ruling classes who are now eulogizing King Abdullah as though he were worthy of admiration. Even Queen Elizabeth has ordered Britain’s flags to fly at half-mast today. While we do not revel in death, we also will not celebrate or participate in the fictional retelling of King Abdullah’s legacy.

The House of Saud, with the king at the helm, likes to refer to itself as the “Custodian of the two Holy Mosques” – that is, the owners and overseers of the holiest sites in Islam. We at AIFD reject not only this structure, but also the Saudi regime’s stranglehold on contemporary Islam. From the megalomania of the House of Saud to the cancer of Wahhabism, we at AIFD recognize that the real reformers of Saudi Arabia are languishing in its jails, dying by its sword, and living suffocated behind its walls; while those in power fuel the radicalization that brought us 9/11, the attack at Fort Hood, and even ISIS. The real human tragedy and loss is that today, the world sends condolences for King Abdullah while heroes like Raif Badawi remain in prison, the marks of severe lashes yet unhealed.

While we will not cry for King Abdullah, we are also not optimistic about his successor, King Salman – said to be even more repressive and problematic than King Abdullah, particularly with regard to women’s and minority rights.

In the wake of King Abdullah’s passing, we will not just pray for, but also continue to work tirelessly for the day when we Muslims and the world rid ourselves of the evils of theocracy and dictatorship. At a time when the movement to advance individual liberty and autonomy within the “house of Islam” is already challenging, we who stand for freedom and universal human rights must be more diligent than ever. Our hill just became steeper.