Anniversary of Bin Laden’s death should not be a political ping pong ball

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Anniversary of Bin Laden’s death should not be a political ping pong ball

American Muslim group looks for opportunity to advance real dialogue on threat to U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC (May 1, 2012) – As the U.S. marks the one year anniversary of the death of Usama Bin Laden the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) recognizes the valiant contributions of the brave men and women of America’s armed forces, in particular the members of Seal Team Six who made this anniversary possible. AIFD also hopes and prays that our nation uses this day to come together free of partisanship in the war against Islamist extremists. We should refrain from reflexively exploiting major national security threats as a political ping pong ball between right and left and instead use them as opportunities to foster genuine dialogue on how to advance a real bipartisan American strategy to defeat the threat of Islamist militancy both at home and abroad.

While significant to American morale and a body blow to Al Qaeda, the death of Bin Laden did little to dismantle the threat from Al Qaeda and even less to diminish the threat from Islamist extremism. The U.S. is just beginning down the road of a growing battle of ideas against the ideology of Islamism (political Islam) and the political gamesmanship around Bin Laden’s death distracts us from the very important task of actually addressing root causes. In order to counter the new heads of the Islamist hydra, the US needs to develop a coherent bipartisan domestic and foreign strategy to defeat the ideology that drove Bin Laden to his murderous rampage against the United States.

“In an election year you’ve got the administration again basically saying “Mission Accomplished” and that Al Qaeda is done which is absurd,” said M. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of AIFD. “With the ascent of Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Ennhada in Tunisia and elsewhere across the Middle East, we need to recognize what the long term conflict is. At one-year since UBL’s death our government still doesn’t get the big picture and denying the reality of Islamism does not help.”

The author of “Battle for the Soul of Islam,” due out this June from Simon & Schuster, Jasser cites the growth of terror groups such as al-Shabab, Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah, the Haqqani network and over 35 other violent radical Islamist groups as reason for the administration to hesitate in celebrating the death of Bin Laden as an end note to our war against Islamist militants. The threat of Iran’s growing influence in the region alone should be enough to give pause and redouble our efforts against this insidious ideology that is the antithesis of American values.

According to Jasser, “Al Qaeda may be a shell of what it was at 9-11, but Islamism is a hydra that is continually reshaping itself. The death of Bin Laden and even the defeat of Al Qaeda will just give rise to many other groups unless the root causes of Islamism are addressed.”

The United States desperately needs a guiding policy doctrine in the region. AIFD has long called for the promotion of a Liberty Doctrine that is focused on bringing more than just elections to the region. Elections will only serve the Islamists. For the Middle-East to embrace genuine democratic principles, the U.S. needs to quickly get back in the business of helping stimulate the infrastructure of freedom on the ground much like we did in post-Soviet Eastern Europe, but now in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and hopefully eventually Syria. The promise of the Arab Spring can only be delivered by an America willing to engage in the ideological war on the ground. Without this commitment the brave men of Seal Team Six will unfortunately continue to be called to action to remove yet another head of the Islamist beast.

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/.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Gregg Edgar, Gordon C. James Public Relations, gedgar@gcjpr.com, 602-690-7977

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