November 20, 2019: “Arizona Muslim Alliance” brings to the Valley radical Islamist, Siraj Wahhaj

Imam Siraj Wahhaj comes to the valley

This weekend the Arizona Muslim Alliance (AMA) is having its first annualCelebrate Unity Leadership Summit”. This summit is to be held at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday, November 23, 2019 for most of the day. The summit will feature the so-called “unifying” speaker and Islamic scholar–Imam Siraj Wahhaj. Wahhaj will also be touring other AMA affiliated mosques in the Phoenix Valley on Friday, November 22, 2019.

Wahhaj is a notorious, well known radical Islamist anti-American cleric whose dossier of Islamist and separatist ideologies is legendary in the United States, even for the dyed-in-the-wool Islamist Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups. The fact that this local upstart “coalition” of mosques –the AMA– is sponsoring Wahhaj and using his radical type as their first impression on the Valley and our Muslim communities is both very revealing and thus consequential in understanding the ideological underpinnings of various mosque leadership involved in this consortium of so called “unity” organization of many of  the mosques in the Valley– the Arizona Muslim Alliance.

We call on Arizonans and especially our Muslim communities to speak out against the fringe ideas of Siraj Wahhaj and guard against his likes and radicalization under the guise of unity.

In fact, apropos to the subject of unity Imam Siraj Wahhaj famously said:

A brother asked me yesterday. He said, ‘brother Imam Siraj, after you do all this traveling around the country, around the world, what would you like to focus on? What would you like to be your area of focus?’ I said working on the unity of the Muslims. Because you know what brothers and sisters, if we were united nobody could stop us. You wouldn’t have to vote for Bush or Clinton. No, you wouldn’t have to. If we were united and strong we’d elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. And the rest of the world, take my word, 6-8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us” – October 1992. (IPT)

Wahhaj has never repudiated those remarks nor any of the troves of decades of speeches, work, commentary, and radicalization we are about to share with you.

The Arizona Muslim Alliance and its leadership must be held accountable to this man’s ideas and leadership- the man they chose among so many others in America to launch their “celebrating unity leadership summit”

What is this new organization, the Arizona Muslim Alliance?

After you learn below who and what Wahhaj stands for, you may get a better understanding of what the leaders of our local Muslim communities actually agree to have influence their followers and youth. In fact looking at the Arizona Muslim Alliance mission proves this synergy with Imam Wahhaj.

  • Their motto is “AZ Muslims in Unison”. Are they intending to push the impression that Siraj Wahhaj speaks for all local Muslims “in unison”?
  • Arizona Corporation Commission lists Arizona Muslim Alliance, Inc. with an address of the same address as the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley (in Scottsdale) [Arizona Muslim Alliance] and filed by Arizona Muslim Alliance Director Sarfaraz Sheikh. The following members as their Board of Directors: Kristy Sabbah, Ahmed Ewasha, Ahmed Hashim, and Salaheddine Tomeh. The Corporation commission lists the “known place of business” as the same address as the address of Salaheddine Tomeh of the Arizona Cultural Academy, a private Islamic K-12 school.
  • Their posted Vision, Mission, Philosophy and policies:
    1. The AMA is a platform to “bring together the Muslim community in Arizona and act as a unified voice to address the religious, social, economic, and political needs of the Muslims in this land.
    2. Vision: “to be the unifying Federation of Muslim organizations in Arizona, the leading advocate of the diverse Muslim community, and a catalyst for enriching the society at large”
    3. Mission: “uniting the Muslim community in Arizona by establishing effective communication, enhancing cooperation, sharing resources, and correlating activities among Arizona’s Muslim organizations. Representing and defending the interest of Arizona Muslims. Enhancing Muslim participation in the public sphere; encouraging cooperation and partnership with other religious and civic groups for the common good; providing services not available nor provided by individual member organizations.”
    4. Philosophy and policies: they report complying by local state and federal government law. They “will not interfere with member organization procedures, operations, and finances.” They “will represent the interests of main stream [sic] Arizona Muslims who are integral part of the citizens of Arizona… a diverse community, not limited to certain race national origin or ethnicity”. Note that no mention is made of ideological diversity. This is a Islamist monolithic coalition of the Islamist establishment in Maricopa County.
    5. They define main stream [sic] Islam as:
      1. “a complete way of life guided by the authentic sources of Islam; the glorious quarter and in the authentic tradition of the Prophet Mohammed”
      2. “Other traditions, man-made rules, cultures and ethnic behaviors and traditions are not considered as sources of AMA however, reserves the right to follow a ruling agreed upon by the majority of Islamic scholars”– if this isn’t a central Islamist separatist doctrine we don’t know what is.
    6. Organizationally: it is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization apparently with an assembly of voting within a ‘House of Representatives’?
    7. The rest of their definitions and policies are noted at this link.

Local History/Background

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy has previously done in-depth exposes on many of the local imams. It most notably included an in depth expose on “Exposing the ‘Flying Imams’” from the Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2008 edition. Therein, Dr. Jasser exposed the backgrounds, ideologies and track records of some of the leading local imams here in Arizona that led to the case, Ahmed Shqeirat et al. vs. U.S. Airways.  Sure enough, the lead contact imam for Imam Wahhaj’s Celebrating Unity event here in Arizona is again, Ahmed Shqeirat of the Islamic Community Center of Tempe (ICCP).

Additionally, Dr. Jasser wrote this expose for the Arizona Republic on August 23, 2014: Muslim: I was bullied for criticizing Hamas”. Dr. Jasser laid out how he became the subject of the Eid (Holiday) sermon on so-called Islamophobia by Imam Yaser Ali at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley who in speaking against Dr. Jasser, said, “even Muslims can be against their own community”. Dr. Jasser further noted,

Even in America, leading Muslim organizations and clerics bully with threats of ostracism those Muslims who dare to dissent. Old-guard ideologues, too, used to monopoly control, make it crystal clear to their Muslim critics: Take us on and we will make an example of you as a traitor to the Muslim community (the ummah)… Intimidation and intolerance, from the bully pulpit by imams like Yaser Ali, are symptoms of a much deeper and broader conflict between political Islam (Islamism) and modernity — and more specifically, liberal democracy. Reform will not come easily. It must come from within, driven by both love for our faith and frank public critique of our leaders. But it cannot be done without the support of our non-Muslim allies, for universal human rights, freedom of conscience and, indeed, American security hang in the balance.

There has since been little to warrant exposure on our state or national platforms to goings on locally here in Arizona. However this weekend’s upcoming visit by the radical Islamist, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, brings home all of the areas, AIFD has been working to reform locally, nationally, and globally for years since our founding.

This new local coalition organization of the local Islamist establishment, the Arizona Muslim Alliance stands in stark contradiction to the principles of our reformist and anti-Islamist coalition- the Muslim Reform Movement. See our Declaration and compare and contrast what we stand for versus what the Islamists of the Arizona Muslim Alliance claim to stand for while living in this great land of freedom, the United States of America.

Who is Siraj Wahhaj? 

When Dr. Zuhdi Jasser’s Simon & Schuster book,  “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save his Faith” came out in 2012 he noted that Imam Wahhaj’s keynote speech at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America in 1995 was the entire reason he was moved to dedicating his life to defeating the Islamist ideology. Dressed in his Navy

uniform, having represented the National Naval Medical Center at the Islamic Medical Association that met in conjunction with the ISNA meeting, Dr. Jasser saw Imam Wahhaj hold up the Qur’an and declare his desire to replace the US Constitution with the Holy Qur’an and to make America into an Islamic state. Read the three page excerpt from his book about Siraj Wahhaj (Pages 85-87).

Eight years later, Dr. Jasser would found the American Islamic Forum for Democracy to fight that very insurgency of the Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the West.

Wahhaj is an Islamist imam with a long track record of separatism and anti-American anti-semitic vitriol. This imam has a long track record of vilifying America the society it citizens and its culture. The following is only a smattering of many of the radical comments he has made and while the Arizona Muslim Alliance (AMA) claims to be a “diverse” organization, they all seem to have agreed to bring one of the most notoriously radical imams in the United States. When all is said and done, the AMA leadership selected this leader to represent them and teach their population here locally while they claim to be a diverse organization. There are obvious reasons truly moderate, pro-American, reformist  Muslim organizations locally are not part of this Arizona Muslim Alliance and will likely not only never be a member, but will continue to confront their Islamist separatism which they peddle under the rubric of pan-Islamic “unity”. This AMA is simply another Muslim brotherhood legacy group with a penchant to amplify the voices of anti-American separatism and radicalization of leading Islamist icons like Siraj Wahhaj.

Siraj Wahhaj Jr and the recent New Mexico 2018 terror cell

Court records identified that children in a camp were being starved and trained in jihad to imminently shoot up a school and a hospital. After the state of New Mexico incredulously dropped the ball and charges were dismissed as time ran out on them, the FBI and DOJ then moved in with their own charges against the cell leaders. The federal government now controls the fate of the cell.  Following the initial raid, authorities confirmed that the body of the three-year old found in the compound was that of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj is the grandson of radical Islamist preacher Siraj Wahhaj, Sr coming this weekend to teach Arizona Muslims how to unite. Out of the five suspects arrested in this case, one is Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s son, and another two are his daughters.

This case and what happened with the younger generation of the Wahhaj family will likely demonstrate the pathways of how American Muslims are often radicalized.  Granted, there is no evidence that the senior Siraj Wahhaj, Sr. had anything to do with the New Mexico compound and his children’s jihadi terror training camp. In a Facebook video the day after the story broke, he stated that he “want[ed] to find out what happened, what made [his] children act in such a dramatic way.” We at AIFD believe that his non-violent Islamist preaching spawned the separatist, violent Islamism that we saw in the New Mexico compound.  The apples do not fall far from the insurgent, separatist tree of Islamism (whether or not imam Wahhaj taught violence or non-violent). But see his teachings below.

Since the New Mexico jihadi compound story broke, the mainstream media has gone to great lengths to avoid any in-depth coverage of this story. Clearly, the mainstream media is protecting the senior Wahhaj’s reputation as well as that of the major network of organizations to which he is tied. Had Siraj Wahhaj, Sr. not been related to this story, the coverage would have been very different. In cases of terrorism linked directly to the families of prominent Islamist activists and preachers, the American Muslim community finds itself at a defining moment.

How American Muslims learn and respond to the slippery slope of non-violent Islamism and its inherent separatism, as evidenced in the Wahhaj family, is critical. Will we remain in hopeless denial of the evils of Islamism? Will we as a diverse ideological community continue to allow the Islamist “establishment” to dominate and oppress our communities? Or will we finally garner the strength to stand up to Islamism and its separatism?  The Wahhaj family patriarch planted the seeds of Islamist separatism for decades. His hateful rhetoric spreads both within his family and in leadership positions throughout our communities. We can stay silent and enable this radicalization process, or we can fight with every fiber of our being against Islamist brainwashing.

While CAIR offered condolences and support for the Wahhaj family in September 2018 when it was exposed that Imam Wahhaj’s children were involved in a terror cell his grandchildren were found in atrocious Third World conditions and a three-year-old died in an exorcism. Rather than acknowledge the role that the imam might have played and radicalization of his own children and thus his grandchildren, CAIR instead thanked him for his contributions and wanted Americans to believe that we still owe him a great debt. They even had the temerity “to condemn as hate groups those who will use this as an opportunity to smear the man”.

Wahhaj is a leading fundraiser for major American Islamist organizations

He is a leading fundraiser and preacher for major American Islamist organizations like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America), MAS (Muslim American Society), and ISNA (Islamic Society of North America). , Abdulrahman Alamoudi, the head of the American Muslim Council (AMC) the organization that invited him to give the first Muslim invocation to the US Congress in 1991, is still serving time for trafficking over $300,000 cash from Libyan dictator Gaddafi in a plot to assassinate then Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah in addition to other terror finance charges.  This was likely an Al Qaeda operation. And Wahhaj still speaks highly of his time giving the first Muslim invocation to Congress, and conveniently ignores that the organization that made it happen has dissolved as its head joined the work of Al Qaeda.

 

 

Imam Siraj Wahhaj in his own words—a radical Islamist

  1. Supremacy of the Islamic state: Imam Wahhaj has a long history of endorsing the supremacy of his Islamic state over the United States or a Western country. He has told his followers according to Paul Barrett in the Wall Street Journal October 24, 2003, quote that: “a society governed by strict Islamic law in which adulterers would be stoned to death and thieves would have their hands cut off, would be superior to American democracy.
  2. 9-11 truther: Referring to unnamed forces in the government and media he preached “these people want the destruction of Islam” Paul Barrett, WSJ “One Imam Trades the Path of Islam in Black America” October 24, 2003. He further said, “Why is even a truth or who brushed off evidence that Osama bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11 was obvious.” He dismisses bin Laden’s own video pronouncements claiming responsibility for the terror attacks and prefers to remain neutral. He thought it may be a media ruse: “I’m just not so sure want to be the one of the ones who say yeah he did it. He’s a horrible man”
  3. Wants the defeat of America: “if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replaces constitutional government with a caliphate. If we were united and strong, we would elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. Take my word of 8 million Muslims united America the country will come to us.” Source
  4. Close to ’93 World Trade Center bombing master mind, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman: In the early 1990s he sponsored talks by Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman in mosques in New York City and New Jersey. Abdel-Rahman was later convicted for conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993 and Wahhaj was designated a potential unindicted co-conspirator. Source
  5. Close to Al Qaeda operative Alamoudi: As noted above, in that video clip, Wahhaj becoming the first Muslim to provide an opening prayer to the United States Congress. On that same day he was sponsored by the American Muslim Council and its executive director Abdulrahman Alamoudi, an Al Qaeda operative who was later convicted and is currently serving a 25 year sentence for conspiring with the Libyan government to assassinate the king of Saudi Arabia as well as on terrorism charges.
  6. Horrifically anti-Western. In an audio tape recording where Wahhaj was speaking on “the Afghanistan Jihad” on September 28, 1991 he said, “and he alone declared, ‘whoever is at war with my friends, I declare war on them’, ‘who is a friend of Allah your true friend is Allah, the messenger, and those who believe!’ Americans and Canadians? Hear it well hear what I’m telling you well. The Americans are not your friends, hear what I’m telling you hear it well. The Canadians are not your friends. Here what I’m telling you. Hear it well. The Europeans are not your friends. Your friend is Allah, the messenger and those who believe. Those people will never be satisfied with you until you follow their religion. They will never be satisfied with you.” Source
  7. America is the devil and these punishments are commanded: In this audio he says, “I swear by God, I swear by God, the American government is controlled by Shaitan (the devil)…no doubt about it… If you commit zina (fornication) the punishment is 100 lashes. If you commit adultery the punishment is death by stoning, capital punishment…When you steal, God is angry, cut off their hands”… Woww to the Muslims who take Kafirs as friends. Kafirs will take you away to the remembrance of Allah… surrounded by kafirs making the hearts of our children corrupt. Do not hang out with the non-Muslims. You talk just like them. They are corrupt.”  Listen below to video or see full transcript provided by Middle East Forum here.
  8. On homosexuality:“Brothers and sisters, I don’t believe any of you are homosexual. This is a disease of this society. According to the Kinsey report, some 10% of the American people are homosexual. Over 25 million Americans, one out of ten. Men who prefer men, sexually, and women who prefer women. Now, there may be some who have some little tendency, maybe, among the Muslims, among us, allahu alam, I don’t think so, but hopefully today’s khutbah can get rid of that if you have it in your heart.And number two, I want you to be able to defend against these homosexuals, so you have good argument, Inshallah, and also to remind you last week what I told you, the news that we got from Toronto, supposedly of some Muslims coming out of the closet. Homosexuals, Muslims in Toronto, who want to establish a mosque over the land, for the gays, Muslim gays. We are against that 100%. We don’t accept it. We will never accept it, no matter how much the American government and the Canadian government legislate it in the laws that it is acceptable, it will never be acceptable by the Muslims.”  See the full transcript of this video provided by the Middle East Forum here. Listen below:
  9. Why Muslims should get involved in politics: “I just want to say this. Brothers and sisters, in my opinion what the Muslims do in America will have a profound effect on Muslims everywhere on this earth. As long as you remember that if you get involved with politics, you have to be very careful that your leader is for Allah. You don’t get in politics because it’s the American thing to do. You get involved in politics because politics can be a weapon to use in the cause of Islam.” source

    END

     

     

    About AIFD

    The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a Muslim led think tank and activist non-profit organization based in Phoenix, AZ, addresses the root cause of the domestic and international threat of radical Islamist terrorism. AIFD’s mission is to advocate for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution – liberty and freedom – through the separation of mosque and state and is dedicated to providing an American Muslim voice calling for genuine reform against Islamism and the ideologies which fuel global Muslim radicalization.

    About M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D.

    Dr. Jasser, president and founder of AIFD, and co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement, is the author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith“, and is also founder of Take Back Islam. Dr. Jasser is an American Muslim and son of Syrian immigrants who fled Ba’athist oppression in 1966. Zuhdi is a physician in private practice and a former US Navy officer. He is a former commissioner and Vice-Chair of U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) appointed by the U.S. Senate serving from 2012-2016. An internationally recognized expert on Islamism, Dr. Jasser is widely published in the field and is featured in many top tier media. He regularly testifies to the U.S. Congress on the threat of global Islamism and domestic and foreign counter-ideology strategy. Zuhdi’s work is dedicated to championing universal human rights rooted in an American and Western identity from within the “House of Islam”. Twitter: @DrZuhdiJasser

    Contact US

    Email: info@aifdemocracy.org
    Phone: 480 225 7473

October 30, 2019 CAIR Silent on the Death of ISIS Founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

CAIR Silent on the Death of ISIS Founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

By Tyler O’Neil October 30, 2019

 

On Sunday, President Donald Trump announced the death of Islamic State (ISIS) founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. While Americans celebrated the demise of this Islamist terrorist – who had brutally murdered many Muslims, Christians, homosexuals, and more – the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which bills itself as America’s largest Muslim civil rights group, remained strangely silent.

A PJ Media review of CAIR’s Twitter account and press releases found many tweets and press statements drawing attention to CAIR’s upcoming gala but not a single mention of Baghdadi’s death. Nihad Awad, CAIR’s executive director, has not tweeted in about a week.

The organization has not responded to PJ Media’s request for comment.

This seems particularly strange, given that even Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) – an outspoken Muslim congresswoman who works closely with CAIR – publicly celebrated Baghdadi’s death. “Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was an evil man and a terrorist, who terrorized the world with violence and a message of hate. The world is a safer place without him,” Omar tweeted. “We have deep gratitude for the brave men and women who carried out this dangerous operation.”

M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim reformer who is founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), drew attention to two statements shared by local CAIR leaders. Jasser, who fights Islamism and Sharia supremacy, champions American-style freedoms and the separation of mosque and state. He noticed an anti-American trend in the local CAIR statements and a tendency to whitewash the Islamist roots of the Islamic State.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director at CAIR Greater Los Angeles, used Baghdadi’s death as an opportunity to … blame America and Israel for terrorism.

“The death of Al-Baghdadi will reduce terrorism, but not end it. Here’s how we end it,” Ayloush began. “Baghdadi’s terror career started in a U.S. torture prison after an illegal and immoral U.S. invasion of Iraq. Baghdadi’s terrorism, for the most part, harmed the people of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and others and their struggle for freedom. His ISIS terrorism served all the repressive governments that opposed freedom and democracy in that region.”

Ayloush warned that “unless the root cause of the problem is addressed, bloody symptoms such as Baghdadi, Bin Laden, and Joulani [a Syrian terrorist leader] will continue to surface and cause mayhem on innocent people. The root cause is the tyranny and abuses brought down by the autocratic regimes of people like Assad, Sisi, MBS, MBZ, Khamenei, and other dictators and by Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies against the people of that region.”

He warned that terrorism can only be eliminated when Western governments “stop supporting, funding, arming, and protecting such despotic regimes and their practices,” a status quo which involves “the brutal suppression of Muslims and Islam’s universal social justice order (driven by centuries of Western Islamophobia).”

That Islamic “universal social justice order” might be a reference to Sharia (Islamic law), and a desire to see governments in the region enshrine Islamic religious law as civil law. While Ayloush and CAIR interpret Sharia differently than the Islamic State, this Sharia supremacism actually inspired Baghdadi and ISIS to carry out their acts of terrorism. The Islamic State was an attempt to unite Islamic lands under Baghdadi as Caliph – who claimed to be the successor to Mohammed – and create a government run by Sharia.

Yet Ayloush was not the only local CAIR leader to address Baghdadi’s death. CAIR-Arizona Executive Director Imraan Siddiqi retweeted a long statement from Huthaifa Shqeirat (son of the Senior Imam of the Phoenix, Ariz.-area mosque), in which Shqeirat also blamed America for Baghdadi’s radicalism.

“Baghdadi was not a Caliph; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. A demon molded by the cruelty of US soldiers in Abu Ghraib and then set loose to terrorize the local population. As he was killing Muslims, those who created him kept pointing the finger of blame at his victims,” Shqeirat tweeted. He dismissed those who call Baghdadi a “product of Islam” as “fools,” saying the would-be Caliph was not a “Muslim scholar.”

“Bin Laden and Baghdadi are merely symptoms, and unless we seriously address the role of the US in cultivating environments that facilitate the growth and development of terrorism, we will relive this entire cycle again and again, with a worse villain each and every time,” Shqeirat concluded.

“Even when they speak up, they blame America,” Jasser told PJ Media. “I think it’s because their narrative is to blame America for Baghdadi, so their default is to say nothing.”

‘They don’t see ISIS for what it is – a natural manifestation of Islamism, Salafi-Jihadism, and Caliphism,” Jasser added. The messages from local CAIR leaders also confirm “their disgust for America and grotesque penchant to conspiratorially blame America for our own sharia supremacism.”

“They are so deeply anti-American that they can’t even celebrate a victory of the death of the greatest stain on Muslims in the world at the hands of American patriots,” the Muslim reformer told PJ Media. “Instead they again spew a narrative that further radicalized Muslims instead of proclaiming victory of good over evil. They basically claim that we are the source of the evil. That is Islamism.”

“That response is classic ‘Ikhwani,’ the Muslim Brotherhood ‘avoidance’ response to dealing with the salafi-jihadists like al-Qaeda and ISIS, from which they are ideologically upstream,” Jasser concluded.

CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror-funding case, and wiretap surveillance reportedly captured proof that CAIR’s original mission was to assist “Sister Samah,” which the government claimed was its founder’s code-name for Hamas. CAIR opened its first office with a $5,000 grant from the Holy Land Foundation.

CAIR claims that the unindicted co-conspirator label is misleading and that it does not maintain connections to Hamas or any other terror group. This Muslim organization’s advocacy is notably different from the extreme positions of Islamist groups like Hamas – CAIR champions LGBT people while under Hamas homosexuality is punishable by death, for instance.

However, CAIR’s silence on the death of Baghdadi is troubling, as is the trend of local CAIR leaders condemning America rather than addressing the Islamist roots of ISIS.

CAIR’s history of attempting to silence critics is also troubling. Joining with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), CAIR has pressured charities to blacklist conservative nonprofits falsely branded “anti-Muslim hate groups.” Early this month, CAIR and the SPLC pressured Mar-a-Lago into cancelling an event with ACT for America, an organization Jasser and other Muslim reformers gladly partner with in the fight against Islamism. After that success, CAIR launched a second campaign against the Center for Security Policy.

Muslims should follow the lead of Zuhdi Jasser in condemning Sharia supremacy, rather than blaming America for the terrorist leader who died in a raid carried out by U.S. troops. American foreign policy blunders did allow for the rise of ISIS, but Muslims cannot overlook the Islamist inspiration of this terrorist group.

October 13, 2019: God Forbid – Islam and the West — who controls the story?

Radio National

October 13, 2019
James Carleton

It’s been 18 years, but 9/11 is still affecting the lives of Muslims in the West. This week’s has a spirited discussion about sharia law, political Islam and Western colonialism in the Middle East.

In this episode:

On his trip to Australia earlier this year, American Muslim commentator Dr Zuhdi Jasser says Salafists and Wahhabis have too much influence over what is taught in mosques in the West, but Dr Yassir Morsi disagrees, saying Australian Muslims are much more diverse than they’re given credit for. They are joined by Dr Chloe Patton from RMIT University’s School of Global and Social Studies where she researches Islamophobia.

The idea of ‘creeping sharia’ persists in Australian political discourse — particularly around election time. But implementing religious law in civil statutes happens in Australia more often than you might think, to little concern at all. So what does that look like?

Islamism is a term so broad it covers everything from the theocrats of the Saudi Royal Family, to their sworn enemy Al Qaeda, to completely non-violent, democratic Islamist parties of South-East Asia. Religiously-inspired political parties are common across the world, but nobody can agree if they are a threat to democracy or the purest expression of it.

Guests:

Dr Zuhdi Jasser is founder and president of the American Islamic Forum of Democracy. He’s the author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save his Faith, and he was in Australia on a speaking tour earlier this year.

Dr Yassir Morsi is lecturer in politics at La Trobe University and author of Radical Skin, Moderate Masks: De-Radicalising the Muslim and Racism in Post-racial Societies.

Dr Chloe Patton is an academic at RMIT University’s School of Global and Social Studies. She researches Islamophobia and was formerly research fellow at London’s Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.

Presenter:

James Carleton

Producer:

Rohan Salmond

October 9, 2019: Las Vegas Review Journal – Turkey invades northern Syria, but Trump stands firm

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump stood by his decision to move U.S. troops out of harm’s way Wednesday as Turkish forces invaded northern Syria.


“The worst mistake the United States has ever made in my opinion was going into the Middle East,” Trump told reporters during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

Trump then heaped scorn on his critics, who he said have not had to meet face to face with U.S. troops who have been wounded on the field of battle. Trump recalled giving out Purple Heart medals at Walter Reed National Medical Center last week.

“I get that we want to remove troops and that it’s not our war,” responded Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a former Navy doctor and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. “However, even one soldier in that area was preventing Turkey” from trying to wipe out Syrian Kurds, allies who helped U.S. forces defeat ISIS.

Jasser, usually a Trump supporter, faulted Trump for giving Turkey a “green light” to invade Syria as “Islamist hegemony.”

During an interview with Judy Woodruff of “PBS News Hour,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied that Trump gave Turkey a “green light.”

“On the phone call on Sunday night, it became very clear that there were American soldiers that were going to be at risk and the president made a decision to put them in a place where they were out of harm’s way,” Pompeo countered.

Economic threat

For his part, Trump, who announced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the United States on Nov. 13, warned that if the Turkish leader allows his troops to commit atrocities against the Kurds, “I will wipe out his economy.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a usual Trump supporter and constant golf companion, has tried to change Trump’s mind on the matter. “Most members of Congress believe it would be wrong to abandon the Kurds who have been strong allies against ISIS,” Graham tweeted this week.

Graham and fellow Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., quickly released a plan to impose “severe” economic sanctions on Erdogan himself, as well as other Turkish political leaders and entities that support Turkish energy interests.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposed the decision in a statement, “The president’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Northern Syria is a deeply disturbing development that betrays our Kurdish allies who have been instrumental partners in our mission to eradicate ISIS.”

When a reporter asked Trump if the U.S. will appear to be an untrustworthy ally in the future and if that will hamper future foreign policy initiatives, Trump responded, “Alliances are very easy.”

A moral wrong

Bradley Bowman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Center on Military and Political Power called Trump’s acquiescence to Erdogan “morally wrong.”

The United States provided air cover for the Syrian Democratic Forces while Syrian militia did the bulk of the fighting and dying on the ground against ISIS, Bowman said. Trump’s announcement “undercuts America’s reputation as a trustworthy ally.”

“This is something that people in the Middle East will remember for years, or even decades, to come. This is something that Americans will hear told back to them, 10, 20, 30 years from now,” Bowman warned.

As Syrian militia move to fight Turkey, they will be less able to prevent the escape of some 11,000 ISIS jihadis held in Syrian Democratic Forces detention facilities. “The most likely outcome is massive numbers of ISIS militants escaping and regrouping,” according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Aykan Erdemir, a former Turkish lawmaker.

Kilic Burga Kanat, research director for the Turkish think tank SETA, defended Trump’s actions. “This is Trump’s position from the very beginning, to pull out troops from endless wars,” he told the Review-Journal.

“I’m not sure what they mean betrayal of the Kurds,” Kanat added, as the Turkish military will be focused on Kurdish militia that advocate for an autonomous Kurdish state.

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

09/05/2019: AIFD Commends Governor Doug Ducey for his selection of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to the Arizona Supreme Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2019
Media Contact:
Mischel Yosick
Phoenix, AZ: The American Islamic Forum for Democracy today applauded Governor Doug Ducey for his selection of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to the Arizona Supreme Court.
As an Arizona based American Muslim organization founded in 2003 and dedicated to the defense of the United States Constitution, freedom and liberty, Mr. Montgomery has been a long-time friend of our leadership and our counter radicalization and counter-ideology work at the forum.
AIFD President, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser said,
“The people of Arizona could not be better served by the selection of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to the bench of the Arizona Supreme Court. He is a great patriot and an unparalleled civil servant. We have had the honor of working with Mr. Montgomery on issues related to interfaith relations, counter-radicalization, counter-terrorism, national security and a host of other issues in Arizona and nationally. We have always been proud to know and work with now Supreme Court Justice-select Bill Montgomery. We can think of no one with a more impressive record of honorable service to the United States and the people of Arizona and who more embodies the trust and confidence Arizonan’s need to have in our highest court than Maricopa County Attorney, now Supreme Court Justice select Bill Montgomery”.
Mike Kassab, AIFD board member, business leader and entrepreneur, in Tempe AZ, stated,
“We applaud the Governor for having the courage to rise above the noise of some of the defamatory claims made by fringe groups against County Attorney Montgomery. We are thankful that he recognizes that the American Muslim community is in fact very ideologically diverse and that there are many of us dedicated to the US Constitution who have long time found a very good friend in now Supreme Court Justice select, Bill Montgomery. We pray for his success and know that the Arizona Supreme Court will continue to be in very good hands”.

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July 25, 2019: Muslim Reformers Warn of Islamists’ Political Designs

Muslim Reformers Warn of Islamists’ Political Designs
by Benjamin Baird
July 25, 2019

The Middle East Forum has launched its Islamism in Politics (IIP) project to monitor and challenge Islamist political activity, and to promote moderate Muslim interests in its stead. The significance of that mandate was made clear this week, when Muslim politicians, activists, Imams, and scholars gathered in Washington D.C. to convene the inaugural “Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy,” hosted by the 501(c)3 nonprofit Muslim Caucus Educational Collective.

Held on July 23-24, 2019, the conference made headlines after Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) denounced Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) President Ani Zonneveld for asking a question about efforts to combat the illegal practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Omar called the question “appalling” and said she was “disgusted” that she should have to repeatedly condemn the procedure, which reportedly affects 99 percent of Somali women at trauma centers in the congresswoman’s own district.

“Even though Muslims are questioned constantly about things by non-Muslims with ill-Intent, the same should not be assumed for Muslims who are genuinely trying to advocate for issues of deep concern to our community,” Zonneveld later wrote in a public statement. “We are not the enemy.”

Nevertheless, the Muslim Collective was promoted in the press as a unifying event that would bring together a broad spectrum of political and religious views. Event organizers promised “to bring to light the many political and ideological differences between various American Muslim constituencies.”

However, critics contend that the conference was merely a platform for existing Islamist groups to organize with a new generation of Muslim politicians and activists. Reformist Muslims complain that they have been politically excluded in favor of a hardline Islamist minority which falsely claims to represent all Muslims.

These moderates and reformers, who reject Islamism and hold diverse political opinions, have been politically marginalized by Islamist-controlled Muslim institutions. Following the conference, several of these Muslim reformers have issued public statements warning of the unrepresentative nature of the Muslim Collective and the underlying Islamist agenda it served to advance:

Rabia Kazan, President, Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition, award-winning women’s rights activist, and author of The Angels of Tehran

The first annual “Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy” conference promised to “highlight the broad spectrum of our community and the issues that impact us on a daily basis.” In reality, this event was designed to legitimize and empower a very specific political and religious worldview that is at odds with many Muslim Americans and Middle Eastern immigrants. These are the same Islamist actors and organizations that consistently claim to speak for Muslim and Middle Eastern communities in America, but in fact represent an extremist minority.

The issues that are central to the Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition — Sharia Law, child marriages, Christian persecution, genital mutilations, anti-Semitism, and honor killings — were intentionally disregarded by the conference participants. When asked to comment on just one of these issues, Rep. Ilhan Omar responded by calling the question “appalling” and scolded the attendee who dared to pose it.

A Muslim Caucus that fails to address some of the most salient needs of Muslim women cannot claim to be a “collective.” The Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition condemns this conference and its extremist participants.

M. Zuhdi Jasser, President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy and co-Founder of the Muslim Reform Movement and author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam”

I see political activism in Washington and on my local level here through the lens of my American identity, infused by my personal morals, ethics, and values. Certainly, faith plays a role in that but never as a “collective” identity. That faith-based collectivization of any lobbying effort only serves to fuel Islamist movements which I see as our primary cancer in radicalizing our co-religionists.

Now, when the our government, media, or other faith communities, for example, seek input from American Muslim activists, that should be ideologically diverse across the spectrum of American Muslim ideological diversity. Thus, that should include Islamist and non-Islamist activists with equal seats at the table. This collective conference seems to be led predominantly — if not exclusively — by Islamists.

I reject the Islamist collectivist lobbying premise whether it is on the Right or the Left. When I lobby my representatives, my faith identity is of no consequence. And when I go to pray at the mosque, the political identity of those with whom I pray side-by-side should also be of no consequence.

In essence, I reject the entire premise of this Collective conference, and I find their effort to proclaim “Muslim power” to be offensive and antithetical to both my faith values and my Americanism.

This conference and its verbiage could have been lifted from the founding documents of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, and the Khomeinists of Iran.

Shireen Qudosi, National Correspondent, Clarion Project, Muslim Reformer

It’s alarming to see organized American Islamists continue to push into political engagement through the filter of religious identity. We are Americans first and foremost, and faith should always remain a private matter. This holds especially true for Congressional leaders like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who as elected leaders have a duty to represent their districts. Neither they, nor the individuals or organizations participating in the theatre that is the Muslim Caucus, are an honest representation of American Muslim voices.

In fact, these speakers and the Islamist-supremacist interests they represent go out of their way to crush minority and dissenting voices within the American Muslim community. This is a known fact in our communities. Events like Muslim Caucus Day offer a two-pronged strategy for Islamists. First, it presses into the public mind the monolithic view — the Islamist propaganda — of what it means to be Muslim. Second, the politicization of our faith churns future protest opportunities for Islamists when policies inevitably address Islam and Muslims.

Islamism is a parasite that needs Western democracy as its host. In America, they’ve found a willing host that through its own desperate need to be tolerant and inclusive, is willing to be depleted by entertaining crafted, well camouflaged extremists.

Soraya M. Deen, Founder of The Muslim Women Speakers, international activist, community organizer, and interfaith advocate

It is sad to see that we are dividing and building walls around us. We must be an American National Caucus. Any party based on religion, ethnicity and identity spells gloom and doom. A peek into history will reveal that such dangerous trends emboldens Islamists.

What’s next — American Islamic Caucus? The founders of this organization must focus on reform in the Muslim world. That might ensure democracy and an end to violent extremism that is rocking our world.

Benjamin Baird is the Islamism in Politics project coordinator at the The Middle Forum.

July 26, 2019: AZ Mirror defames Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery

AZ Mirror defames Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery

By Mike Kassab

As a member of the Board of Directors for the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and an American Muslim activist of Syrian origin, after reading the July 23, 2019 defamatory editorial posted at AZ Mirror, I  felt compelled to pen a defense of our Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.  Contrary to the false insinuations of the post, Mr. Montgomery is quite respected and has meant a great deal to many Muslims like myself living in Arizona.

In that editorial, AZ Mirror states, “Montgomery has fostered anti-Muslim bias and shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court,”. The writer attempts to falsely and maliciously depict Mr. Montgomery as an anti-Muslim bigot.  The website couldn’t even get the biography of the author, Tabark Abdelhabib, truthfully. She represents herself simply as a student at Arizona State University but neglects to disclose her position as an intern for the Islamist organization and Muslim Brotherhood legacy group- Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)- an organization with very questionable history, foreign ties, and Hamas sympathies.

Over the past several years, AIFD’s president, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and our leadership have had the honor of working with Mr. Montgomery on issues related to interfaith relations, counter-radicalization, counter-terrorism, national security, and a host of other issues in Arizona and nationally. As Muslims dedicated to a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting radicalization within the Islamic community, we have come to personally know Mr. Montgomery as a meticulously honest, humble man of integrity.

As reformist Muslims who stand on the frontlines in the battle against Islamism, we honor Mr. Montgomery’s recognition of the need to provide training to prosecutors and local law enforcement on radical Islamist terror and its ideology. The implication that Mr. Montgomery has fostered bigotry against Muslims in advocating for training that would enable law enforcement to identify the existential threats our community faces is as absurd as it is dishonest.

The author also indicates she addressed the Judicial Selection Commission on behalf of the Muslim community where she allegedly stated, “instead of shielding us from hate, Bill Montgomery in 2014 brought the hate to our homes.”  As a Muslim led organization, Dr. Jasser and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy reject the author’s claim that she represents the Muslim community, and we thank Mr. Montgomery for his diligence in understanding the complex nature of the threat we face.

CAIR’s and by extension, the author’s baseless attacks on Mr. Montgomery’s character are founded in nothing more than their fear of being exposed as the Islamist insurgents they are, and Dr. Jasser vehemently opposes their ongoing, deceptive efforts to libel Mr. Montgomery and prohibit him from being recognized by his peers with positions of leadership in our community.

We at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy commend Mr. Montgomery for his impressive record of honorable service to the United States and the people of Arizona, and we can think of no one who more embodies the trust and confidence Arizonans need to have in our highest court than Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

 

Mike Kassab is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He is a business leader and entrepreneur in Tempe, Arizona and has lived in Maricopa County for over 20 years.

July 25, 2019: Daily Caller – JASSER: American Islamists Come Out To ‘Party’

ZUHDI JASSER
AMERICAN ISLAMIC FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY
July 25, 2019
2:30 PM ET

JASSER: American Islamists Come Out To ‘Party’

If Islamism (political Islam) was a sport, the convening members of the Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy Conference in Washington, D.C. this week would be in the American Islamist Olympics finals, the dream teams of Islamist all-stars from a host of American Islamist lobbying groups.

Gone are the days of hidden dissimulation, or “taqqiya,” operating under elusive conference titles like “reviving the Islamic spirit” or “social justice,” or “fighting Islamophobia.” Now this new “Muslim Caucus” openly seeks Muslim power and all of whatever that means to them.

How fitting that the “Muslim Caucus Education Collective’s” slogan reads “Muslim Americans Organizing to Win?” Their homepage description in fact states:

“This is our moment to come together and organize as one constituency, bridge traditional advocacy, and policy organizations and grassroots groups to work together in building Muslim American Electoral Power at the local, state, and national level to build our power beyond 2020.”

That verbiage is the “sine qua non” of political Islam and its attendant Islamist movements. Hassan al-Banna (Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood founder), Mawlana Maududi (Pakistani founder of Jamaat e-Islami), Recep Erdogan (Head of Turkey’s AKP) or Ayatollah Khomeinei (Head of Iran’s Islamic Supreme Council) would all be so proud.

These Americans may try to claim stark divisions with Islamism’s founding fathers, but essentially, their attempt to collectivize and empower Muslims as one political and national identity sprouts directly from the seeds of 20th century political Islam and is undergirded by most Islamic teachings and interpretations of sharia that are theocratic or Islamist. The classically liberal anti-Islamist reformists are a minority among Muslim leaders but we exist and are the only means to defeat Islamist movements.

Attendees at this conference came in buoyed by a sycophantic Leftist media anesthetized by identity politics, and also buoyed by the unrepentant unchecked Islamist radicalism of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Component organizations of their “collective” like the notorious Hamas sympathizing, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) are now marketing their fundraisers as rooted in building “Muslim power.”

This theocratic tyranny is only viable as an Orwellian collective when it brainwashes Muslims to believe that the Islamic faith is a single political, legal, cultural, and governmental ideology, state, and global caliphate — in other words — full throated Islamism. The indoctrination begins as a political collective.

For anyone just now paying attention to this “Muslim Collective,” we Arab or Muslim Americans have seen this show before. It is no exaggeration to say that this conference was essentially the founding of a new American political party. In Egypt, it is the Muslim Brotherhood. In Iran, it’s the Khomeinists, In Pakistan, it’s the Jamaat e-Islamiya. In the United States, it’s the Muslim Caucus Education Collective.

We at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) have been laser focused since 2003 on our mission to “protect the U.S. Constitution, freedom, and liberty through the separation of mosque and state.” To that end we convened in 2015 a coalition of anti-Islamist reformers we all dubbed, the Muslim Reform Movement. Most of us would have nothing to do with anything called a “Muslim collective.”

While catering to their favorite collectivist identity group bloc, 2020 Democratic Party hopefuls are tripping over themselves to attend this “Islamist Constitutional Convention.” What a great place for the Democratic Party to float lies about America while they further radicalize Muslims with contrived “Muslim bans” and “deportation of citizens.”

The “Red-Green Axis,” from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Omar in the U.S. to Nicolas Maduro and Erdogan abroad, contrives “Islamophobia” as bigotry with generations of cooperation at the United Nations. American Islamists are now in high gear to kindle that in the Halls of Congress and with presidential hopefuls.

Some naysayers may say that any “faith group” is by definition a “collective.” There are some legitimate functions of a faith collective that survive modernity and liberalism. After we Muslims abandon Islamism with deep reforms, I see that collective circumscribed to recognition of the authenticity of the Arabic script of the Quran (with vast division on interpretation), to our faith calendar and holidays, and to performance of the Hajj (pilgrimage) to name a few.

But even in our worship services, mosques are better served with more division, not less. Real diversity is not ethnic nor racial. It will be seen in new diverse schools of thought rooted in modernity rather than the few dominant ones now rooted in the 12th century.

We tell our Muslim youth in our Muslim Liberty Project at AIFD to see their political activism whether locally or nationally primarily through the lens of their American identity which is infused by their personal morals, ethics, and values. Certainly, faith plays a role in that, but never as a political “collective” identity. Islam is in a very different time in our faith’s historical arc at this time than that of other religions in the west. We still have not defeated the theocrats that dominate our faith leadership across the planet.

It is important to note that when our government, media, and interfaith communities do seek input from American Muslim activists and thought leaders, it should first and foremost be ideologically diverse and inclusive across the spectrum of American Muslim ideologies both Islamist and anti-Islamist.

This collective conference or Muslim Caucus this week seems to be led predominantly by Islamists with rare exception who matter little in a conference whose very existence defines Islamism. This is not just because they are all of the Left. Muslim Republican collectivism would also make no sense unless your mission is to empower Islamists. Islamist groups like the “Republic Muslim Coalition” are just as dangerous and separatist on the right as these are on the left. Infusing Islamist proclivities into politics whether right or left is disastrous for freedom and liberty regardless of what side of the aisle.

When we lobby our representatives, our specific faith identity or strain is of no consequence. Similarly, when we go to pray at the mosque, the political identity of those with whom we pray, side by side, should also be of no consequence.

In essence, I and many reformed, westernized, patriotic American Muslims reject the entire premise of this Muslim collective conference. This “collective’s” effort to proclaim and invoke “Muslim power” is offensive and antithetical to both our faith values and our Americanism.

This domestic and global battle within the House of Islam is not just about the political activism of a few million Muslims in America. The success or failure of American Islamists will impact the confidence of Islamist movements across the planet whether political or militant. Omar is already becoming an Islamist icon on Qatar’s al Jazeera and Iran’s PressTV.

This is all especially poignant given the context of where Islam and Muslims are in their legal, social, political, and cultural history at 1,440 years old. The radical, bigoted ideas of members of Congress like Omar and Tlaib are not created in a vacuum. They are byproducts of an Islamist farm team in America spanning the spectrum from non-violent to violent. Their “Muslim collective” is their defining flag. It is their party.

May 18, 2019: “Muslim Reform Movement founder opposes Omar, CAIR and Islamism abroad.” interview by Steve Postal, Christian Post

Omar is a byproduct of the Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups that coddled and developed her when she first came as a refugee from Somalia to live in Minnesota“.

CP CURRENT PAGE:VOICES

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Muslim Reform Movement founder opposes Omar, CAIR and Islamism abroad

By Steven Postal, Voices Contributor

 

I interviewed Dr. M Zuhdi Jasser in January 2017July 2017, and September 2018 on a range of topics including Islamism and what he believes is its antidote, the Muslim Reform Movement. This is a follow-up interview.

Jasser is president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement (MRM), and author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith.” He is a practicing Muslim.

He is also an active physician and former U.S. Navy officer whose parents fled Syria in the 1960s, and host of the Blaze Radio Podcast “Reform This!” and founder of TakeBackIslam.com. Jasser and I discussed Islamism in the context of Reps. Omar and Tlaib, the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Brotherhood and developments in Sri Lanka.

Domestic Developments

Postal: You recently called Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar “Islamists.”  Can you elaborate on why you think that is the case?

Jasser: Islamism is a political movement based on a common platform of ideas and worldview. Islamists are those who view domestic and foreign policy through the lens and world view of theocratic (Islamist) precepts. Reps. Tlaib’s and Omar’s positions on a host of issues are textbook Islamist. They are ideologues who see the world’s problems as caused by the West rather than by the tyrannies of Muslim countries and the theologies of the strains of Islam deeply needing reform and modernization.

Omar and Tlaib simply do not see Western interests as a force for good in the world. To that point, Omar and Tlaib have predictably defended Maduro’s Venezuela, Erdogan’s Turkey, and Qatar while reflexively demonizing Israel and the American military.

Postal: Rep. Ilhan Omar has recently been in the news for mocking how people refer to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah in a menacing tone, seemingly equating them with the U.S. military.  She also callously referring to the perpetrators of 9-11 as “some people did something” at a speech to the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) where she erroneously stated that CAIR was founded “after 9-11” when in fact it was founded in 1994.  Additionally, she has produced many anti-Semitic comments and has called Jewish White House Advisor Stephen Miller a “white nationalist.” An old tweet of hers recently resurfaced where she exaggerates the number of Somalis killed in a 1993 U.S. military operation, adding the hashtag “NotTodaySatan”. How should the public interpret her statements?

Jasser: These statements, in addition to Omar’s statements of trying to decrease the sentence of an Islamic State operative, rejecting the value of the U.S. government’s counter-terrorism programs, denying the significance of radicalization of Somali refugees from her own district, and fundraising for leading Islamist organizations like CAIR should leave no doubt that she is in fact an Islamist.  Omar is a byproduct of the Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups that coddled and developed her when she first came as a refugee from Somalia to live in Minnesota.

 

She, like all Islamists believes the propaganda of our enemies. In fact, she leads with it. The hashtag referring to America as Satan says it all.  Having joined the USS El Paso (LKA-117) as a general medical officer during its return from Operation Restore Hope in Somalia I was particularly offended by her tweets from 2017 that grossly exaggerated the numbers of and directly blamed Americans for the deaths of innocents, referring to us Americans as Satan. I highly doubt that she has any clue about what really happened to our serviceman that simply tried to bring food to help prevent massive famine in the year after she left Somalia and became a refugee. It is just unfathomable in its hypocrisy-the level of disdain she has for the country that she supposedly loves and gives her such opportunity.

Omar’ comments on Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and 9/11 minimize if not wholesale deny the global Islamist terror threat. Omar’s anti-Semitic canards, including her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which calls for the destruction of Israel, and her conspiracy theories about Jewish control and monies are classic Islamist supremacism.

Postal: Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes recently met with the American Muslims for Palestine, which an Illinois lawsuit alleges is a front for Hamas.  Any thoughts on this?

Jasser: The Investigative Project on Terrorism and the Daily Caller have detailed the sordid connections seen with Rep. Tlaib and American Muslims for Palestine, a Hamas front group whose leaders met at her office on April 8, 2019. Joe Catron a longtime anti-Semite and extreme anti-Israel activist has openly supported terror organizations. Tlaib proudly photographed herself with Catron who has voiced love for Hezbollah on February 8, 2019 and who urged the terrorist group to launch rockets at Israel.

Tlaib gives voice to an Islamist supremacist movement that is a synergy between the Arab-Palestinian identity movement and the Hamas Islamist identity movement, both of which seek the destruction of Israel. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that she proudly put out a social media photo of a sticky note pasted over Israel with the word “Palestine” written over it, and that she is a vocal supporter of the BDS movement.  She also has accused Jews of having dual allegiance to Israel while stating that she considers herself “more Palestinian in the halls of Congress than [she is] anywhere in the country, in the world.”

Postal: CAIR was recently in the news for the recently uncovered anti-Semitic statements of its leaders including National Executive Director Nihad Awad, CAIR Minnesota’s Government Affairs Coordinator Abubakar Osman, and CAIR Minnesota Board member Abdul Basit.  Meanwhile, CAIR openly opposes the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (S. 852) currently in the Senate.  What are your thoughts on these developments? 

Jasser: Not only is CAIR a byproduct of Hamas activists in the US from the 1990s, but it is also one of the most prominent Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in the United States. Inherent in the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as its Palestinian branch, Hamas is a deep-seeded, toxic mixture of Jew hatred from Salafi-jihadi interpretations of scripture. Examples include the Hamas Charter that calls for Muslims to fight Jews to the death to bring about the Day of Judgement, and that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” Arab racial fascism dehumanizes all non-Arabs, especially Jews. Those at the AIFD and the MRM seek to provide a Western, modern reform-minded alternative to this hatred.

Postal: CAIR also refers to an “Islamophobia Network” on its website that includes individuals and organizations.  Included on the list is you, a practicing Muslim, and your organization AIFD, as well as ex-Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Nonie Darwish.  This list seems like Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC’s) 2016 publication A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists, which included Majid Nawaz, a practicing Muslim, and his reform-minded organization the Quilliam Foundation. The The Atlantic stated that the inclusion of Nawaz and Quilliam resembled “more like an attempt to police the discourse on Islam than a true inventory of anti-Muslim extremists.” Majid Nawaz sued SPLC, and won a multi-million dollar settlement.  Do you see any similarities here?

Jasser: Very much so. John Rossomando with the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) connected the dots. IPT notes that the SPLC report was compiled with input from ReThink Media, the Center for New Community and MediaMatters. ReThink Media employed Corey Saylor, CAIR’s former national legislative affairs director and Director of their Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia. Saylor has literally spearheaded attempts to have me removed from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal commission. His Islamophobia Network could easily be considered by more radical, militant Islamists around the world to be a “hit list” of anti-Islam activists. Its grotesque libelous presentation is cut from the very same mold as the one his associates at ReThink Media would make for SPLC. Another common writer between SPLC and CAIR is Zainab Chaudary, a former civil rights coordinator for CAIR’s New Jersey chapter who was also part of ReThink Media’s Security and Rights Collaborative in 2016 when Nawaz was added to the SPLC’s list according to IPT. She openly acknowledges her work with SPLC.

It is very important here to note that this past few weeks, American Islamists like CAIR along with some in the American Left have been trying to suppress free speech criticism of Omar’s radical Islamist positions by claiming, hysterically, that such legitimate criticism is de facto incitement. Yet, they have through both SPLC and CAIR been leading purveyors of what militants often interpret as “hit” lists of individuals and groups they smear with the label “hate groups” and “bigots.” A few years after CAIR listed me as one of the American “Islamophobes,” the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) informed me that my name was listed in a detailed posting on an Syrian Arabic Jihadi Forum for Al Qaeda militants which was rife with material distributed by CAIR online. If a Muslim is found to have committed “Islamophobia,” this person is a “munafiq” (hypocrite) or “murtad” (apostate) committing the crime of “riddah” (apostasy, treason), which carries the death penalty under Sharia law as interpreted in Saudi Arabia and most Muslim majority countries.

There is no doubt the Atlantic was correct that this list by the SPLC or CAIR was an attempt to stifle criticism of Islam and control the discourse. There’s nothing more revealing than their inclusion of devout Muslims in this list. The world’s worst theocracies and Arab dictatorships will often imprison torture and kill citizens in the name of blasphemy and apostasy laws.

The SPLC deserved the settlement they had to provide Nawaz. It should be noted that their sister group in Britain, the so-called “Hope not Hate” had me and other Muslims also labeled in a list of “anti-Muslim extremists.” That list was also removed after rational activists began demanding answers.

Postal: How is the Muslim Reform Movement and its allies combatting Omar, Tlaib and CAIR on issues of anti-Semitism and Islamism more broadly?

Jasser: We at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and our greater coalition the Muslim Reform Movement consistently educate Americans about the threat of Islamism and the anti-Semitism of Islamists. We seek to confront the Islamist establishment on every issue and every battlefront possible. The rest of America cannot effectively confront the demagogic identity politics of these Islamists without us. We love our faith and what our chosen country America stands for at home and abroad. We also believe in the legitimacy and protection of the sovereignty of the democracy that is Israel and reject anti-Semitic canards and conspiracy theories.  Opposing the Islamist establishment, we are a counter movement that is pro-American, pro-liberty, pro-freedom, pro-Israel and pro-Western.

We educate Americans through media, government testimony, university engagements, social media and publications that there is real ideological diversity thriving among American Muslims. Our leaders include Asra Nomani, Raheel Raza, Soraya Deen, Courtney Lonergan, and Shireen Qudosi among many others.

We also refuse to use the term “Islamophobia” because it is a term created to impose an anti-blasphemy consciousness in the West. Bigotry against Muslims that exists is not Islamophobia but anti-Muslim bigotry. Islam is an idea and it has no rights. Only human beings do. The word Islamophobia is a mechanism for suppressing criticisms of Islamists and their theocracy. We ask all politicians left and right to hold Muslims accountable to the same principles that they do all citizens regarding hate speech such as anti-Semitism, rather to the lesser standard of bigotry of low expectations.

Postal: President Trump is mulling declaring the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization.  What are your thoughts on this?

Jasser: We at AIFD support the designation of the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). This is a group that has been responsible for the targeting of Christians, Jews, and dissidents, the persecution of minority Muslims, and the abuse, torture, and murder of women, gay people, and other marginalized groups. It has also made significant efforts to export its radical Islamist and Sharia supremacist ideology internationally. Its logo contains swords and the motto “Be ready…The Prophet is our leader, Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of God is our highest hope.” Those that believe that the Muslim Brotherhood is a non-violent and moderate organization are delusional.

With the recent calls by the Trump administration for making the MB an FTO, our AIFD renewed our call to make the Egyptian MB an FTO, as well as the MB in other nations such as Syria, Yemen, and Kuwait.

However, we need to be strategic with regards to the global “Ikhawni” or Brotherhood movement. I would compare it in the Cold War to fighting the militant version of communism as embodied in the Soviet threat, versus other versions of communism. Odds were that there were deep links between communist parties and global Soviet sympathies. But outlawing “communist parties” would have made counter-ideology and monitoring far more difficult and would have raised serious concerns regarding free speech protections of our Constitution. Turkey’s AKP, Tunisia’s Ennahda, and many other Islamist parties are part of the “Ikhwani” movement but are not as designatable as the branches in Egypt, Syria, Kuwait or Yemen. We will never defeat Islamism by declaring all these groups FTOs. Authoritarian regimes in the Middle East have proven that such designations often serve as arson to the Islamist fire.

People who equate my position with anti-Muslim bigotry are being dishonest. There is nothing more pro-Muslim than to begin making radical Islamist groups radioactive for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

The Global Fight Against Islamism

Postal: What lessons, if any, can Americans, Muslim Reformers and their allies learn from the attacks in Sri Lanka?

Jasser: The lessons are sadly many of the same ones AIFD has preached since our formation in 2003. All we have ever had since 9-11 is at best a robust defense against whatever radical jihadist cell, group, movement or state arises to threaten us and our allies. We need an offense addressing what AIFD calls the “3 i’s” of Identity, Ijtihad, andInspiration. Until we figure out a comprehensive approach against both violent and non-violent Islamism, we are doomed to defeat.

First, we need to begin fighting against the Islamist “Identity” and for each nation’s secular national identity. Jihadists get young Muslims to identify with armed jihad and theocracy early. We need to counter that with a muscular liberalism of secular nation states. Second, we need to begin empowering Muslims who are fighting againstbackward interpretations of Islam and for modern reform-minded “ijtihad” (modern critical interpretation of Islamic scripture). And last, we need to begin “inspiring” Muslims to be fearless dissidents for freedom, liberty, democracy and universal human rights. It is no accident that Al Qaeda has called its magazines and sermons often by the name “Inspire.”

The small Sri Lankan cell not only engaged the Islamic State, but got training from them. They also apparently had contact with leading clerics across the Middle East like Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi in Qatar. This should remind everyone of the direct connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamist groups.

The Islamic State has shifted focus to outside the Levant to Saudi Arabia (recent terror attempts), Afghanistan (recent Kabul terror attack), Congo, and now Sri Lanka. The fact that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released a video after five years of silence is another sign that he is trying to reestablish his presence, dominance, and his brand globally. The Islamic State may have been removed from Iraq and Syria, but it is still ideologically, financially, and operationally stronger than ever.

 

The author would like to thank Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser for participating in this interview.

9/13/2018: The Federalist: “Reformer: New Mexico terrorist camp puts American Muslim in defining moment”

[AIFD Editorial]

By 
 13, 2018

Reformer: New Mexico Terrorist Camp Puts American Muslims In A ‘Defining Moment’

‘How American Muslims learn and respond to the slippery slope of non-violent Islamism and its inherent separatism … is critical.’

I interviewed Dr. M Zuhdi Jasser in January and July of 2017 on Islamism and what he believes is its antidote, the Muslim reform movement. This is a follow-up interview.

Jasser is president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), co-founder of the Muslim reform movement (MRM), and author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith.” He is a practicing Muslim.

He is also an active physician and former U.S. Navy officer whose parents fled Syria in the 1960s, and host of the Blaze Radio Podcast “Reform This!” and founder of TakeBackIslam.com. Jasser and I discussed recent events in New Mexico, and developments in Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Islamism in New Mexico
Recently, five defendants in a New Mexico case, where authorities found 11 starving children and weapons in a remote compound, have appeared before a federal judge. Local authorities had raided the compound on August 3, and local prosecutors alleged that the accused, now facing federal charges, were training the 11 children to commit school shootings.

Postal: Should the public view the New Mexico compound incident as a case of Islamism, in addition to a child abuse (or neglect), or a gun violence case?

Jasser: Yes. Court records identified that children were being starved and trained in jihad to imminently shoot up a school and a hospital. After the state of New Mexico incredulously dropped the ball and charges were dismissed as time ran out on them, the FBI and DOJ have since moved in with their own charges against the cell leaders. Thankfully, the federal government now controls the fate of the cell.

Following the initial raid, authorities confirmed that the body of the three-year-old found in the compound was that of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. Abdul-Hani Wahhaj is the grandson of radical Islamist preacher Siraj Ibn Wahhaj Sr. Out of the five suspects arrested in this case, one is Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s son, and another two are his daughters.

Postal: But to date, it doesn’t appear that Wahhaj Sr. was involved with the compound. So why is the connection to Wahhaj Sr. important?

Jasser: This case and what happened with the younger generation of the Wahhaj family will likely demonstrate the pathways of how American Muslims are often radicalized.

Granted, there is no evidence that the senior Siraj Wahhaj had anything to do with the New Mexico compound and his children’s jihadi terror training camp. In a Facebook video the day after the story broke, he stated that he “want[ed] to find out what happened, what made [his] children act in such a dramatic way.” I believe that his non-violent Islamist preaching spawned the separatist, violent Islamism that we saw in the New Mexico compound.

Siraj Wahhaj Sr.’s sordid history of association with radical Islamism is well known. I have been calling for the ostracization of Siraj Wahhaj Sr. since I personally publicly called him out in the one and only meeting of the Islamic Society of North America I had the misfortune of attending in 1995. At that meeting, I stood up and protested after he seditiously called for Muslims to actively seek the replacement of the “godless” man-made Constitution with the Qur’an. I described this in depth in my 2012 book, “A Battle for the Soul of Islam.”

He is a leading fundraiser and preacher for major American Islamist organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim American Society, and the Islamic Society of North America. The head of the American Muslim Council, the organization that invited him to give the first Muslim invocation to the U.S. Congress in 1991, is still serving time for trafficking over $300,000 cash from Libyan dictator Gaddafi in a plot to assassinate then Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah in addition to other terror finance charges.

Since the New Mexico jihadi compound story broke, the mainstream media has gone to great lengths to avoid any in-depth coverage of this story. I believe the mainstream media is protecting the senior Wahhaj’s reputation as well as that of the major network of organizations to which he is tied. Had Siraj Wahhaj Sr. not been related to this story, the coverage would have been very different.

Postal: What should Americans learn from the New Mexico case?

Jasser: I believe the American Muslim community is at a defining moment. How American Muslims learn and respond to the slippery slope of non-violent Islamism and its inherent separatism, as evidenced in the Wahhaj family, is critical. Will we remain in hopeless denial of the evils of Islamism? Will we as a diverse ideological community continue to allow the Islamist “establishment” to dominate and oppress our communities? Or will we finally garner the strength to stand up to Islamism and its separatism?

The Wahhaj family patriarch planted the seeds of Islamist separatism for decades. His hateful rhetoric spreads both within his family and in leadership positions throughout our communities. We can stay silent and enable this radicalization process, or we can fight with every fiber of our being against Islamist brainwashing.

The Global Fight Against Islamism: Syria
Postal: In the midst of what many are predicting to be an imminent massacre against the last major rebel stronghold in Idlib, many believe that President Bashar al Assad has emerged victorious in Syria. He has consolidated his power on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, following the end of the Southern Syrian Offensive on July 31 and the re-capture of Daara and Quneitra Provinces. Possibly in recognition of a return to the status quo, Israel has frozen its multi-year, multi-million-dollar aid program to Syrian citizens, dubbed “Operation Good Neighbor,” and has begun to dismantle its field clinic used to treat those wounded in the Syrian conflict.

In one view, Assad’s victory is a victory against Islamism, as Assad’s gains come at the expense of Islamist groups like the Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front. However, Assad has committed mass atrocities against his own people. How should those in the West make sense of everything?

Jasser: There is no victory for anyone in Syria. ISIS may be nearly decimated, but the root causes that created ISIS are larger than ever inside and outside Syria. Syria has been a police state since 1963 and basically an open-air prison for anyone daring to be human.

I have previously laid out how the Syrian regime’s over 50-year Ba’athist and Assadist cauldron of evil played a primary role in the radicalization of large swaths of their population. As I stated in 2016, if Assad’s killing machines were serious about destroying ISIS and radical Islamists alone, these groups would never have grown from nothing in 2013 and Assad, Russia and Iran would have dispensed with them far more quickly. Instead, per the Arab tyrant playbook, the Islamist groups remained a foil that Assad slowly walled off as he exterminated over 600,000 Sunnis and displaced over 10 million, one half of the Syrian population.

Sadly, Islamism and its byproducts from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to the Jubhat al-Nusra and over 200 other radical Islamist offshoots are stronger than ever in the hearts and minds of many Syrians. This is because the Syrian police state, its tyranny, and the means by which Assad and his Iranian radical Islamist (Khomeinist) allies effectively imperialized Syria.

Assad’s secularism is a veneer, as his masters are the Shi’a militant Islamists out of Tehran and their Hezbollah allies. The West’s whack-a-mole process against jihadist groups in Syria, Iraq, and beyond will be unsuccessful long-term as long as the inspiration of non-violent and violent Islamism continues.

Postal: Where did the Syrian Revolution go wrong?

Jasser: After seven years of revolution, Syria has gone from seeing its diverse peaceful revolution with secular democratic yearnings deteriorate into one that is embracing the role of a radical Iranian satellite. Many opportunities were missed in Syria, one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse nations in the Middle East. Diversity could have been Syria’s democratic strength.

Instead, Assad weaponized its diversity to become his and Iran’s greatest asset. Syria has now become an even greater Khomeinist state fulfilling the Shi’a crescent dreams of Ayatollah Khamenei against the Sunnis and the West. Lost in the seven years were many opportunities for a more hopeful attempt at democracy in lieu of twin evils of Shi’a and Sunni extremism.

Postal: What do you think the future holds for Syria?

Jasser: First, in observing the carnage in Syria, many have missed the silver lining that is Tunisia, as essentially a democratic party dealt the Islamists a peaceful loss at the ballot box. In Tunisia, the strongman walked away from that society in 2011 without decimating the majority of the population like Assad has. The Syrian revolution and government tore apart its society, whereas this was not the case in Tunisia.

Despite all that I mentioned I still believe Syrians want to be free. I believe that the humanity of the motherland from which my parents escaped in 1966 will find a way to defeat both its Islamist and Assadist oppressors. In the end, freedom and liberty will win out.

Hopefully, this generation will not be lost. As another massacre now looms in Idlib, there is very little positive outlook for the Syrian people in the short term. In the long term, after the Iranian revolution topples the Khomeinists, Assad’s regime will be next. I pray that our families and friends stay safe and weather the storms to one day be free.

The Global Fight Against Islamism: Turkey and Iran
Postal: What ramifications, if any, do recent U.S. sanctions have for the liberal citizens and Islamist regimes in Turkey and Iran?

Jasser: The far left dogma that sanctions against these countries supposedly harm the people is beyond ignorant. Such rationale ignores the realities of the socialist economies of these Islamist tyrannies. The sanctions relief of President Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal was a lifeline for the ruling tyrants alone. The Iranian people were motivated to revolt en masse across the country beginning in December 2017 because they saw that their government was taking hundreds of billions of dollars from the West to spread terror in Syria, Yemen and across the region while doing nothing for the people.

They went to the streets and chanted for the government to stop sending their money abroad and to give them the freedom to work and be paid. The renewed U.S. sanctions stopped the lifeblood of the Khomeinist regime and in fact gave the people newfound respect and support from the West instead of coddling their oppressors.

Sanctions are the best way to put pressure on the Islamist regime, in addition to containing its hegemony in the region. The Iranian riyal has plummeted upwards of 60 percent in the past few months. The combination of a growing revolution, sanctions, and withdrawal of Western corporations from Iran has sent their currency into a death spiral. The clerics are of course blaming the West. But this brewing revolution is one calling for religious freedom against the Islamist religious establishment, rather than just for economic reforms. I think for this reason, the revolution we now see in Iran has staying power and the regime’s days are numbered.

As for Turkey, similarly, [President] Erdogan is tyrannically doing everything he can to consolidate power against the secular Turkish establishment in the government, military, academia, and media. The sanctions against him and his regime have been long overdue and are a perfect message to send to the people of Turkey that we are on their side and will no longer treat their increasingly oppressive government as an ally. In fact, we should begin the process of suspending them from NATO as they fall far from American interests and values at almost every level.

The Global Fight Against Islamism: Saudi Arabia
Postal: Since becoming the crown prince a year ago, Mohammed bin Salman has enacted many reforms in Saudi Arabia, including domestic reforms such as allowing women to drive cars and re-opening its first movie theater in over 30 years, and foreign policy reforms such as its breaking of ties with Islamist Qatar and its détente with Israel. Do you see these reforms as genuine steps in moving Saudi Arabia away from Islamist Wahhabism, or more of an insincere charm offensive?

Jasser: You cannot change a zebra’s stripes. The royal family’s approach to its people remains tyrannical and devoid of human rights. As I noted previously, their so-called reforms are not about genuine religious and political reforms but rather about modernization of the tribal state and diversification of their economy motivated only by survival of the ruling class.

The Royal Rumble in Riyadh was a great WWE metaphor of their reforms — bring in liberalized entertainment, which is actually fake wrestling — to give the people something new but fake. Yes, allowing women to drive was a concrete move. But, as expected, this has been followed by draconian limitations on the associated human needs for expression that come with that driving.

The House of Saud has been lying about reforms ever since they endeared themselves to the West in the early 20th century. If the reforms were real, bin Salman’s proclamations would have been followed with legitimate religious edicts declaring modern interpretations allowing liberalization and the empowerment of Saudi jurists to begin to develop a new 21st-century school of thought rather than their draconian 7th-century one to which they are putting on a few modern faces.

Saudi Arabia’s recent efforts against the Muslim Brotherhood and its funding is a real and welcomed shift, and long overdue. But Saudi Arabia’s continued cooperation with many global Islamist Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups is concerning. So it seems to me that Saudi efforts against the Muslim Brotherhood are based more on pragmatism than on ideology.

Publicly cutting off funding to all western Muslim Brotherhood legacy group entities would show a more sincere departure from Islamism, and would also benefit American interests. I see, however, no sign of any ideological epiphanies against the Islamism of the Brotherhood coming out of any genuine Saudi jurists. Without such legal “fatwas” and reformist explanations underpinning such shifts, Saudi efforts to date against the Muslim Brotherhood remain power plays rather than real long-lasting reforms.

Postal: In our first interview, we discussed how Saudi Arabia In the last 30 years has spent more than an estimated $100 billion to fund the spread of Wahhabism worldwide (in contrast to the $7 billion the USSR spent spreading communism from 1921 through 1991). What would it take to move Saudi Arabia away from Islamist Wahhabism? Do you think this is possible, or are the Kingdom and Wahhabism inextricably linked?

Jasser: Saudi Arabia might slowly move away from Wahhabism towards a more Arabist monarchical state fueled more by Saudi nationalism than Wahhabism. But the Wahhabis have immense power in Saudi Arabia, and have successfully indoctrinated the younger generations for decades.

For example, some reports indicate that 80-90 percent of Twitter activity in Saudi Arabia is from radical Wahhabi youth. There is no sign that the House of Saud is turning towards genuine secularism or liberty. Rather, the royal family is simply convincing the Wahhabis to liberalize a bit.

Again, without the underpinnings of reform-minded clerics making a new school of legal thought in Islam compatible with modernity, all these changes are just power shifts, and a fossilized interpretation of Islam will continue to dominate Saudi educational and judicial thought. Additionally, the royal family had really never shown any evidence that it is not a true believer of Wahhabi Islam. Sadly anything short of a revolution will do little to give hope to the Saudi people, who are over 90 percent employed by the regime.

Postal: What is your opinion of Saudi Arabia’s trade sanctions against Canada, following Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs protesting the arrest of human rights activist Samar Badawi, sister of imprisoned human rights activist Raif Badawi?

Jasser: The Saudis are now trying to make an example of a nation with a weak leader in Justin Trudeau. I sat with various members of the Saudi leadership multiple times when I was on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 2012 to 2016. Whenever we brought up the need to release Badawi and his attorney imprisoned falsely for thought crimes against the regime, the Saudi royals saw Badawi as a primary example of a much deeper human rights movement and threat within Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi government seemed unprepared to deal with this movement either humanely or transparently.

Trudeau, long an appeaser of Muslim tyrannies, got backed into speaking out for the Badawis as his foreign minister made a statement in support of Raif’s and Samar’s release. USCIRF has called annually for Country of Particular Concern status for Saudi Arabia, which would have imposed mandatory sanctions on the country until it changed its course on religious freedom, when I was on the commission and for every year since 2002. Yet the White House would perennially provide a national security waiver from the sanctions for the petro-Islamist tyranny.

Perhaps now, Saudi belligerence toward the Canadians and their simple defense of Saudi dissidents imprisoned for years will finally begin a cascade of events that will spur others in the West to finally treat Saudi Arabia as the two-bit tyranny it is. Sadly, and more likely, Canada and the West will continue to bow to the Saudis as we continue to turn away from our own Western values in our treatment of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Only time will tell.