From all of us at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy,
L’Shana Tova to all of our Jewish friends and supporters – Happy New Year and a blessed Yom Kippur! We wish you “Good Yontif”.
We know that in this time of reflection and atonement for the Jewish community tomorrow we are all thankful for the strength of faith which unites us in our diversity and also for this great nation which provides us religious liberty.
May your New Year and Yom Kippur be fulfilling, and may it bring in joy and hope.
Yours forever in liberty,
Dear supporters and friends,
You are invited to a live, virtual Q&A session after the viewing of the film “The Syrian Patient” hosted here in the Valley by the East Valley Jewish Community Center and featuring M. Zuhdi Jasser.
To view the film and sign up for the Q&A, please click here.
The Syrian Patient
Sunday, September 6th
Film available from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Live, virtual Q&A session with M. Zuhdi Jasser starts at 3 p.m.
Reality surpasses the imagination in this documentary that allows a look at the Syrian wounded and the Israeli doctors at a hospital in Israel, where enemies become connected.
There is no charge to view the film but those who make a donation of $10 or more to the EVJCC are invited to attend a Q&A at 3 p.m. with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser.
Zuhdi Jasser says he represents the silent majority of American Muslims and is hopeful for the future of America, despite the success of extremist elements.
By Atara Beck, World Israel News
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), described on its website as a think tank dedicated to protecting American national security against the global threat of Islamism. He is also co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement
Jasser, a physician based in Arizona, is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander with 11 years of service, including a tour as the Staff Internist to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.
In an interview with World Israel News, Jasser discussed the state of Political Islam in the United States and his motivation for becoming an activist. Following are excerpts.
Q: You are a proud Muslim and an American patriot. Are there many like you? Do you feel you are representing the silent majority of Muslim Americans?
“I do, and I think ultimately the reason I know that is if you look at most statistics and most behaviors of the organized Islamic groups, at the most they have a plurality of movements and not a majority. So even in countries where Muslims are a majority, the Islamists have only one election – whether it’s Egypt, where the Muslim brotherhood won initially, or Tunisia, where [Islamist political party] Ennahda won initially but then lost – Islamists usually have been able to get, at the most, only 30-40 percent of the votes.
“And I do think that it’s very apropos to your question, because I think that, very much tied to loyalty and patriotism to secular countries, is the concept that we no longer, as Muslims, believe in an Islamic military. We no longer believe in an Islamic state. As long as a Muslim believes that a political party should have an Islamic flag or that the state should have an Islamic identity with an Islamic legal system, then it becomes impossible for them to also argue that when they’re a minority, they’re loyal to the state they live in.
“You can’t be both. You can’t say, ‘I believe in one set of principles because I’m not an anarchist, and I believe that if I’m a Muslim in Israel I’m going to follow the laws of the land but where I’m a majority, in Egypt or elsewhere, I would make it an Islamic state, then I would change it to Sharia.’ That’s either dishonesty or, at worst, you could label it as fifth column…
“I think the bottom line is: Many Muslims realize that there’s a set of laws that are still part of normative Islam that are those Sharia laws that run Pakistan, those blasphemy laws, Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi extreme laws that are misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and other laws – and yet, when they come and live in a Western free society, they realize that if they’re going to go through a divorce, they won’t go through the imam. They go through the civil system here because not only do they prefer Western law, they believe that their interpretation of Islam should be more in line with a Western system rather than with an Islamic Sharia system that is still in the 13th and 14th centuries.
“That’s their behavior. But the reality is our Muslim community is anaesthetized, they’re asleep at the wheel, and they shouldn’t be given a pass. On the one hand, they’re enjoying the freedoms of Western democracy; on the other hand, they’re doing virtually nothing to correct the pathologies that have led to the radicalization and theocracy that is the cornerstone of the Islamist movement…
“The anti-Islamists, the Muslims who believe in Western freedom and secular liberal democracy, are the majority of the Muslim population among the approximately 4 million Muslims in America. Then there are the Muslims who are active in mosques, active in Islamic organizations, the Muslims that are somehow bonded to the Islamic establishment…
“I do think that if you look at the American population and you go to mosques, for example, Muslims that go to mosques more than once a month, those folks are going to be 80%-90% Islamists.”
Q: From what I understand, the mosques themselves are radicalizing people.
“I am always careful when using that term ‘radicalization,’ but you’re exactly right. The sermons, the imams, the dogma that is taught with the textbooks that are on the shelves there are full of punishments for blasphemy, the condoning of the severing of hands from those who steal, the condoning of women getting a quarter of the inheritance – all these things are various interpretations of Sharia law and are endemic in the mosques.
“And the narratives that come from the pulpit are conspiratorial, us versus them, the collectivist mindset that America is against us, the conspiracy theories that denigrate Israel, that denigrate Jews and other minorities that live among us, and the community.
“Despite all of my confrontation with mosque leaders and exposing the hypocrisy and trying to debate imams across the country, I’ve never been kicked out of a mosque. My family has been targeted as far as social ostracization and defamation and vitriol in the local community, but I’ve never been kicked out. And I tell you that because Muslims don’t have an excuse for handing over the reins of our Islamic institutions to the most separatist, conspiratorial, often uneducated individuals in our community.
“Many of the Muslim leadership are part of the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and I put them all in a group that we call the Muslim Brotherhood legacy group in America.
“Originally, up until two years ago, they were also funded heavily by the Saudis. Now that has gone to the wayside because Saudi Arabia has recalibrated itself against the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a good thing.
“But the bottom line is the American Muslim community, other than our Muslim Reform movement, which has about 15 leaders, will come up to us behind the scenes and say, ‘Thank you for what you’re doing, but I stopped going to mosque other than our two main holidays because I just couldn’t take the sermons.’
“I tell them, ‘You should go there, they’re not going to kick you out, you should have a voice on the board, tape the sermons, expose what’s being taught, because it’s our community and by not doing so, it appears that we condone their radicalism. By not having a voice, you’re allowing the worst of our community to speak on behalf of our community.’”
Q: I’ve heard you speak about the need to reform the Muslim religion by reinterpreting sentences in the Koran in order to adjust to modern society. Is this approach similar to Judaism’s – not Reform Judaism, but traditional Judaism over thousands of years – with its mitigating interpretations of severe Torah commands, according to the Oral Law, such as “an eye for an eye”? Have you made any headway?
“That’s a very important question, because if you google textbooks on Islamic reform, some of the most sold ones are by radical imams. Wahhabism itself in Saudi Arabia was a reformist movement. And Imam Qaradawi, the spiritual guide for the Muslim Brotherhood based out of Qatar, has written two books in the last 15 years on Islamic reform…
“Reform Judaism has a very specific meaning, which is not what we’re trying to do, which is a more traditional method of looking at not the English translation, but the Arabic word itself that we believe to be the word of God. Look, for example, at the passage that says to cut the hands of those who steal – that’s the English translation. The Arabic word is actually ‘sever,’ it could mean sever them from society, not necessarily sever the hand from the body…
“If there are multiple interpretations, as there is for pretty much everything in the Koran, then there should be freedom of religion to interpret as you wish, and that’s why the government should have nothing to do with the establishment of religion in society. And that’s why I feel that the American form of government is the one that we’re trying to apply religious reform in our own tradition.”
Q: At the recent Democratic National Convention, the Biden campaign at first rejected Linda Sarsour and then almost immediately turned around and apologized to the Muslim community for doing so. What are we to make of that?
“I was offended that there was even a perception that her constituency somehow represents American Muslims. It represents a segment of American Muslims, but is [Presidential candidate Joe] Biden trying to say that the BDS movement, which is what Sarsour is all about – the BDS movement that basically calls for the economic annihilation of Israel – represents American Muslims?
“And I have to tell you, I believe what’s happening, the identity politics in America, is that they’re approaching the American Muslim community with a bigotry of low expectations.”
Q: Across the board?
“I’m talking about the Left in this instance. We have been critical of the Right in some areas, but right now, as far as Biden’s campaign responds to Sarsour – I think that… if a non-Muslim had said the same things that Louis Farrakhan or Ilhan Omar say about Israel, or about the Jewish community, they would be ostracized from the Democratic party. But there’s this bigotry of low expectations.”
Q: Are they afraid of being labeled Islamophobic?
“That’s a good question. Why has that cultural approach evolved? It’s the post-9/11 phenomenon in which the Islamists have instilled the fear of God into anyone who dares question the Islamist ideological movement.
“The bigger question is not just about the 4 million Muslims in America. Where does the term Islamophobia come from? The Organization of Islamic Cooperation back in the early ’90s came up with this term, which they used internally for a long time in their countries where they arrest people for any speech against their government. They say they won’t arrest them for criticizing the president, they’ll arrest them for criticizing Islam because the president is a representative of Islam… that’s why they flipped it upside down at the West and they said that when you criticize Muslims, you’re criticizing Islam.
“They’ve made it into a form of blasphemy law in the West… That’s one of the things, if you look at our website for the Muslim Reform movement, at the top it says, ‘Ideas don’t have rights. Human beings do.’”
“Again, we believe there is bigotry against Muslims that needs to be countered, just like there’s anti-Semitism that needs to be countered, but the Jewish community rarely talks about Judeophobia…
“I’m afraid of Islamism. The Islamists don’t even want you to use the term Islamism in the West. They claim it causes more discrimination when in fact they themselves, in Arabic, all over Al Jazeera and elsewhere, they talk about Islamism all the time; that’s the term they use to describe themselves. But on the other hand, they expect the ignorant folks in the West to be afraid of being called an Islamophobe – that fear, intentionally imposed in the West, in order to prevent criticism of theocratic ideas that are entrenched in Political Islam…
“I think it’s important that if you look at the Left and Sarsour, it should insult most Americans that a leader of the BDS movement that has hyper-politicized her own activism for Palestinians and apologized for terrorists and supported Hamas and other radical organizations now has become the standard bearer for American Muslims. The same with Ilhan Omar.”
Q: When Biden’s campaign did disavow Sarsour’s views, she said, “That means they condemn the views of 99.9 percent of the communities that I come from, who hold the exact views that I have.”
“OK, that’s probably true in her communities. But her communities are not mine. She doesn’t speak for all Muslims…
“When Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were trying to come to Israel, all of a sudden her [Tlaib’s] grandmother, her family, became so important. That’s her community. These are folks that have a certain ideology, a certain perspective… This is the hypocrisy of the Left, they’re all about diversity, but to them, diversity is an identity checkbox on either a racial or a religious identity form. That’s it. It doesn’t have anything to do with ideas.
“And if she really believed in ideological diversity, then there’s no way she would speak about 99.9 percent. That is a figment of her imagination that even 50% of American Muslims support the BDS movement.”
Q: How do you understand Muslim Americans like Linda Sarsour? She must realize that she enjoys much greater freedoms, especially as a woman, in the U.S. than she would in a Muslim-dominated country. What motivates her to defend Sharia Law?
“I think you are not understanding where the Ilan Omars and Rashida Tlaibs of the world are coming from. They are from the farm team, to use the sports analogy, of the Islamists. If you talk to the Somali community in Minnesota, many of them are livid that they have a woman now representing their community through her headscarf and her cultural reminders every day that she’s a Somali immigrant, that she takes on the president and other things in her vitriol on Twitter and elsewhere.
“And yet her own Somali community will say, ‘What have you done to change policies that are creating the oppression from the government in Somalia that exists to destroy the country that we came from? What about the imposition of Sharia in our community in Minneapolis, where you have some of the highest rates of jihadization in the country from mosques in the area?’
“She continues to act in the ideas that were the roof from where she came, which are Islamist, which are an anti-American, anti-Israel, an anti-Western perspective that sees that all the problems in the world as the West’s fault.
“I’m a former naval officer, and I have to tell you that one of the most offended I ever was by Ilhan Omar was in 2017– she was running for election, and Sen. Franken at the time from Minnesota tweeted out a memory, on the anniversary of the last significant major terrorist attack, in 1992, about all the people that lost their lives innocently in Somalia. I was there, I was on the Navy ship in Somalia… and she then makes a statement that, that act of terrorism was small compared to the terrorism committed by American troops against Somali citizens…
“Not only is this fabricated, but it also shows the scorn that she has for our country, for its soldiers.
“I see the American military as similar to the IDF, one of the most moral fighting forces in the world, and yet she sees it as terrorists. When she talks about al-Qaeda, she does it laughing, she’ll give a giggle as if it’s some conspiracy theory. So this is the narrative she comes from and you’re trying to apply rational approaches to somebody who should be so thankful to a society that gave her freedom to escape… but this is somebody whose worldview is about Political Islam, about the defeat of secular democracy. Her worldview is about the ascension of the socialists of Venezuela in the red-green axis with Iran, with the socialists and Islamists rising up against the West… She sees us as evil, not good.”
Q: And she got voted in again.
“Yes. I wrote a book on the battle for the soul of Islam [A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith] published in 2012, and I think what we’re seeing right now in America [is that] each party has to go through a battle for its soul. The amount of anti-Semitism that is being fomented in the Democratic party – they had two imams at their Democratic convention that were quite radical, and nobody seems to care.”
Q: How would you characterize the beliefs of Muslim Americans toward Israel and Jews?
“I truly believe that if you do polls, over 90% of Americans – not Muslims, but the whole population – support the State of Israel as being one of the closest allies of America on the planet… That might have gone down in the past few years, but I know last time I looked at it, five or 10 years ago, it was 85%-90%… In the Muslim-Arabic community, those numbers might be less significant, not up to the 80s but maybe over 50%. I think they just need education.
“There’s a significant problem in that a lot of immigrant families end up watching Arabic media, etc. If you look at the State Department’s report on anti-Semitism, the rate of anti-Semitism, even in Lebanon, which is right next door to Israel, is upwards of 85%-90%, and that’s not just Muslims, it includes Christians and others. It has to do with media…. That’s why the UN spends half of its time on Israel when in fact there are so many more significant human rights abuses on the planet. So, when you look at the percentages, people should not be surprised that a significant number of Arab Americans are watching foreign Arab TV. That shapes a lot of the misperception [of Jews]…
“But I still think there is a silent majority that supports the State of Israel, that is against the BDS movement for sure. Most Muslims I talk to say BDS is absurd. They ask, what about the cancer cures we use, the vaccines, the generic medications.”
Q: If a new edition of your book came out now, is there anything you would update?
“Yes, a lot. I think in some ways I overestimated the responsiveness of the Muslim population and their willingness to speak out against the Islamists, against the Erdogans, against the Irans of the world and the Muslim Brotherhood leaders here in America. I thought they would see this American struggle as theirs also, but they basically left it for others and had not woken up to it.”
Q: Black Lives Matter is leading the current anti-racism movement, but it seems to be racist itself against Jews. Why did BLM include anti-Israel ideas in its original platform?
“Because, I think, many of the agitators that provided the propaganda driving this far-left movement were very much historically wedded to the Nation of Islam, the Louis Farrakhan movement, the Black Panthers, and the historical militant arm of the civil rights movement… it was obviously important to educate the rest of America about the civil rights movement, like Martin Luther King, but yet there was an element about it that people don’t talk about, that synergy that existed between groups like the Black Panthers, the Nation of Islam, and Louis Farrakhan.
“The founder of the Women’s March ended up having to step away because the leaders of the African-American community would not criticize Louis Farrakhan, would not step away from the Nation of Islam… The same thing happened with the Million Man March in the 1990s, when they wouldn’t separate themselves from that [movement], and it really hurt their mission.”
Q: Are you optimistic, hopeful that America will survive as America?
“I am. I’m a primary care physician by profession, that’s how I spend most of my day, and I’m always hopeful. Whether I’m treating patients with cancer or whatever, they will often get a lot sicker before they get better.
“I think that at the end of the day, most Americans are good people who not only love their country, but love each other and love humanity, and we’re going to probably get sicker before we realize that we’ve been allowing the most extreme anti-American elements of their movement [for equality] to drive their positions because they have a moniker Black Lives Matter, which on the surface appears to be a genuine movement but internally has been hijacked by the most radical elements of society.
“I think eventually the patient will come out healthier once we get beyond the therapeutic process, and that often feels like chemotherapy.”
The DNC’s Deepening Embrace of Radical Islamists
With the real diversity that exists among American Muslims, there is surely no shortage of peaceful and freedom-loving American Muslims who are eligible to represent our community at national political events like the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Yet the DNC, time and again, has preferred to perennially prop up radical voices from the Islamist establishment and give them a platform to spread their theocratic, anti-Western, anti-Semitic rhetoric. This year’s convention proved to be no different. One must believe that most card-carrying members of the Democratic Party would be horrified to know about the actual values endorsed by the Islamic clerics who are platformed by their party leaders.
This year, New York City-based Imam Talib El-Hajj Abdur Rashid was selected by the convention’s organizers to deliver the final benediction last Thursday. One of eight chaplains belonging to different faiths who was selected to take part, Imam Talib has notoriously come to the defense of multiple convicted terrorists and criminals. These include the high-profile case of Sami Al-Arian, convicted of providing material support for the designated terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and later deported for refusing to testify against Hamas cells in the U.S., Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly H. Rap Brown, who was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List and is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a policeman, and Dr. Rafiq Sabir, who pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and agreed to serve as the group’s medic abroad. Talib has also smeared American Muslims, like myself, who have openly supported law enforcement and encouraged our communities to work with the NYPD. He has dubbed us Muslims “collaborators” and has denounced America for being “a land ruled by non-Muslims, according to public laws based on other than the Sharia.”
The DNC this year also hosted Wisconsin Imam Noman Hussain, who took part in the convention’s interfaith prayers on Sunday. Hussain is closely affiliated with the Qalam Institute, a Texas-based Salafist seminary whose officials advocate using women as sex slaves and supports a punishment of death for adulterers. One of its training manuals has a section on “cleanliness and presentation” that commands Muslims to be pure and hospitable so that they “do not resemble the Jews.”
This is not the first time fanatical imams have made an appearance at the DNC. In 2012, organizers of the convention brought notorious Islamist Siraj Wahhaj to speak. Wahhaj has ties to terrorist networks, a criminal past and a history of violent, misogynistic and homophobic rhetoric. Most recently, in a case of the apple not falling far from the proverbial ideological tree, three of Wahhaj’s offspring were arrested for operating a radical jihadist militant training compound for children off the grid in New Mexico that left a three-year-old dead. In fact, as I stated in September 2018, their arrest was a “defining moment” for the American Islamist establishment and our American Muslim communities.
With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recently donating $14,000 to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) re-election campaign, the red-green alliance between the far Left and the Islamists has never been stronger than it is now. That Democrats have once again invited Islamist religious dogmatism onto their political stage reveals that when it gets down to brass tacks, they just do not have a care in the world about the actual diversity of the American Muslim community. If they cared, they would recognize that Muslims such as myself are deserving of the same freedoms and protections from our extremist leaders as they claim to want from their fundamentalist Christian preachers. They would recognize that the Muslim community is diverse, and that those who scream the loudest about victimization and identity politics are not necessarily representative of the majority. Would that they hold us to higher standards—indeed, the standards they would expect from any leaders of faith communities—such as respect for the U.S. Constitution, the separation of church and state, and equal justice under the law?
Catering to such extremist radicalizing figures as Wahhaj, Hussain and Talib, to name a few, also reveals the Democratic Party’s abject hypocrisy, as they rally on the one hand against a right-wing bigot invited to speak at a church, or feverishly denounce a white supremacist who surreptitiously gains GOP representation. But when it comes to sharia supremacists, Democrats have become blind and spineless, beholden to identity politics and political correctness, allowing themselves to be exploited by those who embrace the same zealous bigotry they claim to abhor. Islam is the second largest, and the world’s fastest-growing, religion. If the Democratic Party truly believes these Muslims are the best choice to represent us in their party, Muslims who do share the purported values of the Democratic Party platform may prefer to seek like-minded alliances somewhere else—perhaps where the promises of America that brought my parents and millions of other immigrants here can be fulfilled.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2020
American Islamic Forum for Democracy
480 225 7473
“This deal is historic on many levels”.
M. Zuhdi Jasser, President, AIFD
Phoenix, AZ: Today M. Zuhdi Jasser and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy joins the American Mideast Coalition for Democracy in Praising Trump Administration’s Historic Peace Deal between Israel and the UAE.
Read the full story here.
The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy unequivocally supports President Trump’s bold and historic peace initiative to normalize relations between our two allies in the Middle East, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Though our advisor, Dr. Walid Phares, was not standing behind the President when the deal was announced, he played a critical role in the development of its concept with the major actors going back to December 2015, when he and then-candidate Trump discussed the possibility of creating an Arab coalition to counter Iran along with Israel. In September, 2016, Dr. Phares then met with UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and then in November of that year, he met with the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Later, he met with American Jewish leaders and Israeli scholars, as well as advisors to the Palestinian Authority visiting Washington. Always, Dr. Phares endeavored to advance the vision that he and President Trump developed back in 2015.
“This agreement is destined to change the history of the Middle East,” said AMCD co-chair Tom Harb. “After Obama signed that disastrous Iran deal, which betrayed all of our long-time allies in the region, it took some time to re-build the trust and confidence of the moderate Sunni states.”
“Now that the UAE has come to the table, others will follow,” continued AMCD co-chair John Hajjar. “A new strategic set of alliances in the Middle East will create the necessary peace and stability so that the people of the Middle East can begin to thrive and prosper. They have had enough of the death and destruction that radicalism brings. Young people are looking for a new direction. The people of the region are way ahead of their regimes and are ready for peace with Israel and a rejection of sectarianism. The UAE-Israel pact, although extremely important and historic, merely reflects this reality. Our communities will reflect this fact when we show our support at the signing ceremony in DC.”
“This deal is historic on many levels,” declared Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, President and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. “You know it’s real when the imams inside the UAE are now giving sermons about the need for Arab and Muslim friendship with the Jewish community and with the state of Israel. Without that deep ideological shift and reform, similar deals would be meaningless. Mark today in history as a time when a tectonic shift happened in Arab-Israeli relations. Many with political agendas will try to minimize the relationship, yet other Arab states including Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, and even Saudi Arabia may be next. Naysayers need to be asked one question: If this is not a big deal, why has it not happened in the past? The fact that the Arab world’s greatest radicalizing influence on Muslims, the Islamist political movements from the Muslim Brotherhood, to Erdogan’s AKP to the Jama’at in Pakistan are upset speaks volumes to the long lasting impact of this deal.”
“The death-dealing Iranian regime has been trying to export the revolution all over the Middle East by supporting radical Islamists of all stripes,” added AMCD vice-chair Hossein Khorram. “They want to dominate the Middle East and to do that, they sew chaos and destruction at every opportunity. A stable coalition of moderate Arab states will eventually force them to become another nation among nations.”
“The people of Iran are seeking peace and prosperity,” said Sheikh Mohammad Al Hajj Hassan, who leads the Free Shia Movement and is chairman of the American Muslim Coalition. “They are furious that the Mullahs support terrorism to the tune of some $16 billion a year. This is money taken directly from the people of Iran where it is needed most. The people don’t want their money going to Hezbollah and Hamas, especially when the country is hurting so much economically.”
“The deal with the UAE is a step in a broader process of Arab political recognition of Israel’s strategic, technological, and economic importance in the Persian Gulf zone, and across the Middle East,” added Dr. Mordechai Nisan of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “Israel is rising to new heights in the historic saga of the re-constituted Jewish state.”
AMCD is planning to hold a demonstration to support peace in the Middle East in Washington DC when the UAE’s Crown Prince comes to the White House to sign this historic agreement sometime in September.
WASHINGTON, DC, USA
August 24, 2020
The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy
M. Zuhdi Jasser , Founder and president, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Since 9/11, Muslim reformers have been at the forefront of the fight against global Islamist forces. We have watched in horror as modern Islamism, a theocratic political ideology aimed at replacing secular law with clerical interpretation of sharia law, has made common cause with progressivists under the guise of “social justice.” Deeply illiberal organizations such as the Council of American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim American Society have become the community sources for politicians, academics and left-leaning journalists to obtain the “Muslim perspective.” Meanwhile, the real secular and liberal Muslims have been propelled to the fringe, cast off as “Islamophobes” and “native informants” merely for trying to root out the closet-extremists and theocrats in our midst.
Now, a second pseudo-progressive, Orwellian movement has emerged that, in the same spirit of modern Islamism, is perceived to be about one cause while fiercely committed to another. Having achieved confounding levels of deception by generating a moniker that is undoubtedly true, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is now at the top of the cultural food chain, uninhibited by moral and political constraints. Its self-appointed defenders in the media, universities, corporations and entertainment industry genuinely believe that ending police brutality and building a racially just and equitable society is all it seeks. But take a deep dive into BLM’s website, and the organization’s true objectives are plain for all to see.
BLM, like its American Islamist brethren, is avowedly neo-Marxist, anti-capitalist, anti-individualist, anti-democratic and anti-American. It wishes to erase and rewrite America’s history, destroy and rebuild her institutions, and overthrow her political system. In short, it seeks to remake the entire country in its own image. Both movements’ unwavering allegiance to identity politics, ideological conformity and totalitarian tactics betray the carefully cultivated image portrayed by their allies. Those who dare criticize the movements are publicly shamed or canceled and fraudulently charged with racism or Islamophobia, regardless of whether they are black or Muslim themselves. Look at the many individuals fired from their employment for questioning BLM over this past month in order to gauge the high priests of censorship at work.
Whether at the United Nations, where oppressive, despotic nations such as China, Venezuela, Iran, Syria and Qatar work against American interests, or in Congress, where the “Squad” shills for both the domestic radicals of BLM and the Islamist movements, the world’s “Red-Green Axis” has landed in our streets.
Though the masses are largely oblivious to the strategic doublespeak, the goals of these groups are explicit. “We’re trained Marxists,” co-founder Patrisse Cullors proudly admitted. Co-founder Opal Tometi considers the brutal and corrupt Maduro regime in socialist Venezuela a “participatory democracy” with a “fair, transparent election system.” “I use Assata’s powerful demand in my organizing work,” wrote Alicia Garza in referring to Assata Shakur, a violent murderer on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list.
And BLM’s list of demands, which reads like socialist code, is even more revealing. In its own words, BLM wishes to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” a demand that many black leaders have publicly decried and repudiated, pointing to the fact that absent fathers is one of the most pressing issues currently plaguing the black community. BLM’s coalition website, The Movement for Black Lives, lists a “radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth” as demand number one.
In the same spirit of dismantling free enterprise, Islamist activists such as Linda Sarsour, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are not shy about their vision for restructuring America as a socialist state. Omar Suleiman, America’s leading Islamic cleric, who has been hailed as a progressive voice for political change, at one point admitted that Western notions of liberty, freedom, justice, mercy and fairness are “problematic,” as a Muslim.
Both BLM and modern Islamism are street-led movements whose members, whether clerics or activists, see themselves as grassroots revolutionaries—not modest reformers. They are akin to the Red Guards of Mao’s Chinese Revolution, or the citizens’ revolt of the French Revolution. Driven by nihilism, they tear down historical statues, ban book, and rename institutions. Global Islamist tyrants have been engaging in this behavior for decades, the most notable being the destruction of Palmyra and other ancient sites by ISIS and the Taliban’s bombing of the 1700-year-old, 8,200-feet Buddhas of Banyan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And while we were initially led to believe BLM only wished to topple Confederate statues, we have now seen abolitionists, Founding Fathers, Civil War Union heroes and former slaves themselves all come down at the hands of BLM activists. Similarly, TV shows are being canceled, movie scenes removed, names, logos and mascots of schools and consumer products changed. Ironically, as Islamists publicly cheer on these acts of vandalism, they ignore or rationalize our own history as slave owners, which includes the Prophet Muhammad. Jonathan Brown at Georgetown University trafficked in such apologetic polemics when he went so far as to defend the roots of Islamist slavery.
On a global scale, the most obvious link between BLM and modern Islamism is the embrace of anti-Semitism—from French anti-racist protestors shouting “dirty Jews,” to multiple anti-Semitism scandals plaguing BLM U.K., to the arbitrary and glaring anti-Israel clause inserted into BLM’s original charter. In the same way, anti-Semitism has been a defining feature of modern-day Islamists, from the Muslim Brotherhood to New York City’s notorious Imam Siraj Wahhaj. The overlap on this point is significant. Melina Abdullah, the head organizer of BLM Los Angeles, is also an Islamist supporter of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who famously compared Jews to “termites” and “bloodsuckers.” He referred to Hitler as “a very great man” and attributes gay marriage, abortion and anal sex to the “Satanic influence of the Talmudic Jews.” Speaking of Farrakhan, posting videos of this Jew-hating, misogynist homophobe on social media in support of Black Lives Matter has recently become a favorite hobby of Hollywood celebrities and major league athletes.
Anti-Israel organizations have been flooding their social media feeds with messages of BLM solidarity. American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a grassroots organization that the Anti-Defamation League has said provides a platform for anti-Semitism, promotes BLM protests and now hosts a monthly webinar series called, “Let’s Talk About BLM.” Ironically, AMP’s newest national development coordinator, Mohammed Habbeh, has repeatedly referred to blacks as abeed, the Arabic word for “slaves.” On social media, he has made racist jokes about Somalis and said that if he ever dated a black girl, his mother would think he had AIDS. Similarly, Islamist Samer Alhato was once invited to speak at a BLM protest in Chicago. Alhato’s social media is replete with racist content, including the vile claim that blacks are “monkeys” who lack “working brain cells.” So much for intersectional anti-racism.
Both BLM and modern Islamism are cut from the same cloth; they are victim-obsessed, ethnocentric struggles that frame every difference of outcome in terms of identity, whether race or religion. They are the commissars of the thought police, the connoisseurs of cultural demagoguery. Whether out of allegiance or fear, we have witnessed the entire Democratic Party and swaths of the Republican Party fall into lockstep with their narrative. The only way to fight them is to recognize their strategic similarities and recommit ourselves to authentic ideological diversity. No race should bend the knee to any other, for we are all equal in the eyes of God.
by John Rossomando
June 16, 2020
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wants to censor discussion of links between Islamic doctrine and terrorism at Arizona’s Scottsdale Community College (SCC).
A lawsuit filed June 2 in Arizona federal court seeks an injunction against the Maricopa Community College District, which SCC is part of, and Professor Nicholas Damask to block use of course materials deemed to “have the primary effect of disapproving of Islam.”
MCC and Damask, the lawsuit claims, violated student Mohamed Sabra’s civil rights when Damask – chairman of the school’s political science department – linked Islamic doctrine and terrorism. The class was about world politics, and included a section on Islamic terrorism.
Three questions on a quiz in Damask’s online class drew Sabra’s ire:
· Q. Who do terrorists strive to emulate? A. Mohammed
· Q. Where is terrorism encouraged in Islamic doctrine and law? A. The Medina verses [i.e., the portion of the Qur’an traditionally understood as having been revealed later in Muhammad’s prophetic career]
· Q. Terrorism is _______ in Islam. A. justified within the context of jihad.
“The only objectively reasonable construction of Damask’s actions is that his primary message is the disapproval of Islam,” the lawsuit reads. “Damask’s module quiz forced Sabra to agree to his radical interpretation of Islam. When Sabra did not, he was penalized by getting the questions wrong and impacted his grade.”
Sabra told Damask the quiz offended him and his religion. Damask responded in two emails, saying the quiz questions came from the course reading materials. Sabra then posted a screenshot of the quiz to social media, which resulted in death threats against Damask and the school.
To add insult to injury, school officials asked him to apologize, but the MCC district that oversees Scottsdale Community College – where Damask works, as well as nine other community colleges near Phoenix – defended his academic freedom and they backed down.
“This is America, not Pakistan,” Damask said. “There is academic freedom here.”
Kathleen Winn, a defender on the MCC board, argued that the suit is an assault on his academic freedom.
“The College has protocols if a student has a complaint,” said District Governing Board member Kathleen Winn, speaking for herself, told the Arizona Independent News Network. “This student didn’t file a formal complaint. Professor Damask’s academic freedom is protected. I hope CAIR is not using this student to forward their agenda without regard for the student’s interests, freedom of speech, and academic freedom.”
CAIR is intent on dictating the content of his course and keeping the good, the bad and the ugly about Islam from being discussed in class, Damask said.
CAIR’s Arizona chapter sent out a fundraising solicitation off the lawsuit last Friday. It claims that Damask’s class threatens Muslim lives.
The solicitation also links to a form letter to the MCC district for supporters to sign. “We cannot sit by and allow the forces of hate to permeate our education system,” it says. “As we highlighted earlier: Islamophobia kills. Anti-Semitism kills. Anti-Blackness kills. All forms of bigotry result in violence against marginalized communities.”
Ironically, CAIR invokes “academic freedom” when it suits its purposes, such as defending academics who participate in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS seeks to delegitimize Israel with a regime of boycotts, financial divestments and sanctions.
“They want to make it absolutely impossible for the West to connect forms of Islam to our strategy [against terrorism],” said Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). “First of all, it’s a bit rich for the Islamists to endorse and push the establishment of their religion when they’re a majority, [and here they] are wrapping themselves in the very thing that’s the treatment against political Islam, which is our Establishment Clause.
“It’s absurd to say that these questions apply to all Muslims.”
CAIR has long fought to sanitize educational texts of considers derogatory against Islam. It entered into a formal partnership in 2010 with the 57-nation global Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) to “redress the image of Islam and Muslims in textbooks.” Like CAIR, the OIC condemns connecting Islamic doctrine and terrorism in the minds of Westerners as “unfair,” saying it has “created an unfair misinterpretation of the Islamic message in the Western and Non Muslim worlds.”
“Education and engagement are key to challenging the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia,” CAIR co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad said at the 2010 OIC conference.
CAIR took issue with Damask’s use of Walid Phares’ book, Future Jihad, calling Phares an “Islamophobe” who supports anti-Islam ideologies, an accusation that Phares rejects.
“Within this mandatory reading assignment,” the lawsuit says, “Phares explains that jihad is not a ‘spiritual phenomenon that would be and was abused by extremist ideologies,’ but rather a call for physical action. Damask failed to articulate that other more acceptable, and in fact ‘mainstream’ views of jihad have nothing to do with violence, but instead he improperly urged students to accept his personal opinions.”
CAIR’s assault is hypocritical, Phares told the Investigative Project on Terrorism, considering that several groups and individuals that it endorses promote the very ideas that it’s seeking to censor at the community college.
“The Brotherhood scholars read terrorism differently than the U.S.,” Phares said. “Always limit the reading of Islam to the Brotherhood reading because there are multiple readings of Islam.
“The Brotherhood and CAIR [are] trying to impose a vision of their own on all Muslims in America.”
CAIR was created out of a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Hamas-support network in the United States, internal documents seized by the FBI show. Awad was a part of that network, known as the Palestine Committee.
The OIC, meanwhile, has justified Palestinian suicide attacks and other forms of terrorism saying they are acts of resistance. OIC representatives decided in 2002 that Hamas and similar groups weren’t terrorists.
Qaradawi, one of the most popular Islamist preachers in the world, rejects defining jihad as purely spiritual.
“As for the first unacceptable meaning, it is to diminish Jihad in the Way of Allah, and play down its status and virtues in Islam, and its necessity in defending the being of the Ummah (Muslim nation) and its holy sites, if attacked by aggressors and affected by arrogant tyrants,” Qaradawi wrote in 2016.
The lawsuit alleges that Damask “intentionally distort[ed]” the Quran and Hadiths (stories about Muhammad’s sayings and actions) to “support his gross misinterpretations of ‘the alleged theological mandate for jihad.'”
This alleged distortion includes Damask teaching that the Quran advocates the “establishment of Islam through violent struggle against non-Muslims.”
Damask points to Surah 4:95 as a justification for terror, the lawsuit says. Classical Quranic commentaries note that this verse implies that “the person who fails to fight can only be a hypocrite, and God holds out no good promise for such a person unless there is good reason, for example, genuine disability.”
“I’m informing my students that Islamic terrorist groups cite these and other similar Medina verses that permit or advocate violence to justify their actions and motivate others to join them,” Damask said.
“There’s a literal mountain of Islamic terror literature, manuscripts, newspaper articles, videos, social media postings, etc. that make these sorts of references,” he continued. “CAIR is insisting that I hide from my students these references to Islamic law and doctrine made by the terror groups.”
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