Why we need the Muslim Reform Movement – March 2019

 

 

My visit to Australia from the US was planned over a year ago for this week. In the immediate wake of the horrific, unspeakable act of terror at two mosques in Christchurch, I must first say to my Muslim brothers and sisters that I stand with you in the unqualified defence of religious freedom for every citizen in our nations. An attack on one faith is an attack on all. Terrorists target the vulnerable free amongst us because our liberty and its cohesive strength is the greatest obstacle to their supremacism and bigotry. We can never let their barbarism drive us apart.

Yes, I fear the rise of anti-Muslim bigotry. That sentiment is rising from many accelerants, not least of which is the West’s inability to resolve the growing conflict between the underpinnings of our liberal democracies and the theocracy of global Islamist movements. The best way to erode bigotry against Muslims is for our own communities to openly lead the defence of our respective homelands against Islamist ideological and security threats. Not only will Australia and our nations benefit and repair in the process, but Muslims who create reformist platforms could help push almost a quarter of the world’s population towards liberty.

Then, as our fellow citizens and social media platform contacts begin to see us as indispensable leaders for freedom, for our Constitution, and for our nation state identity, anti-Muslim bigotry will melt away. However, if we are contrarily seen as bystanders, perennial victims, in a domestic and global fight against theocrats within our faith and against the West, I fear the divide amongst us and within our nations will continue to widen.

Respect for any immigrant communities will not come by demand or by identity virtue-signaling. We as Muslims are a diverse community with many ideologies and theological interpretations, and yet, we are still looked upon as a monolith either all good or all bad. Both generalisations are false with an inherent bigotry of low expectations. The denial of this ideological diversity on various platforms only fuels bigotry from every direction. There is little difference between white supremacists fearful of ‘foreign invaders’ and militant Islamists who want to create a global caliphate and consider non-Muslim lands the ‘Land of War’ to be conquered.

Living in the lap of freedom, enjoying liberties our families in places like Syria can only dream of, I believe we have a unique opportunity and responsibility here in the West to take advantage of these liberties we are blessed with. For hundreds of years, inside the proverbial ‘House of Islam’ reformists have had little voice against the theological interpretations which inspire Islamist theocrats. For too long, the bandwidth of Muslim thought has been obstructed by Islamists who de-platform our speech through tyranny in Muslim majority nations and through identity politics in the West. It is time for liberal modern Muslims to advocate for secular democracies and universal human rights with the same vigour that Islamists advocate for a caliphate.

It was because my parents loved their faith that in 1966 they escaped the oppressive Ba’athist regime that turned Syria into an open-air prison in 1963. They immediately embraced Americanism and its attendant freedoms. In the small midwestern town I was raised, I never had a conflict between my faith and what it meant to be an American. My family has helped start, build and grow more than four mosques in the US. I served eleven years in the US Navy.

After 9/11 we formed the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and co-founded the Muslim Reform Movement in the West in order to confront the root cause of Islamist terror—political Islam. We see liberty and freedom and universal human rights of every individual equally under God and protected by our nation’s Constitution as central to our personal and national identity. We see its advocacy domestically sprouting roots globally as the solution to the oppressive tyrannies of most Muslim majority nations.

We seek to defend this identity of liberty through the Jeffersonian separation of mosque and state. It is time for our own faith community to live by the verse in the Qur’an in which God says to us, ‘Believers! Conduct yourselves with justice and bear true witness before God; even if it be against yourselves, your parents, or your kin’. (Qur’an 4:135).

For too long, our nations and we Muslims who live in the West have been diverted from working on actual legacy solutions to Islamist radicalism and instead retreated to balkanised, hyper-partisan corners. Radical Islamism is a Muslim problem that needs a Muslim solution. Militarily, we can only defer its byproducts, but not defeat it.

Make no mistake: many reform-minded Australian Muslims are left out of the conversation which is hogged instead by Islamist apologists and identity politicians. Both extremes, left and right, of identity politics are ripping our nations apart and the best way to begin to bring us back to our united roots is for patriotic Muslims to reclaim our love for our homeland by leading centuries-overdue reform against jihadists, misogynists, bigots and other tyrannical Islamist theocrats.

We must publicly engage and empower counter-Islamist pro-freedom leaders and movements within and outside the House of Islam. Islamist jihadism inspires not only rogue terror organisations, but it also inspires many established Muslim majority governments and their political movements. Today’s neo-caliphate is the OIC from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Qatar all the way to Turkey. These regimes directly inspire Islamist terrorism in order to intimidate the West into passivity and isolationism while legitimising their dictatorships. This week, Turkey’s President Erdogan horrifically used clips of the Christchurch terror to whip up his campaign rallies into a fervour against the West. Islamists will exploit any terror whenever they can.

We must break this cycle. Find our Muslim Reform Movement Declaration online and discuss its precepts with Muslims, or their leaders, about why they would or would not sign on to its principles. We believe it to be a firewall that clearly delineates the difference in values between those who are Islamist identity apologists and those who are patriotic Australians who just happen to be Muslim. It is about time that we all have this essential national conversation. If we cannot have it in the West, then where?

Eid Mubarak! — AIFD wishes all of our friends a Blessed Holiday of the Feast ( Eid Mubarak) on Eid Al-Fitr, June 4, 2019


To our Muslim friends and supporters:

As the month of fasting, reflection and atonement of Ramadan ends tonight at sundown, we at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy would like to wish Muslims around the world “Eid Mubarak”(a blessed holiday) as tonight and tomorrow, we celebrate Eid al-Fitr, (the holiday of the feast) the celebration marking the close of Ramadan.

We hope that this month has allowed each of us to discover a renewed sense of spiritual solace. A time where we rededicated our ourselves to our families, our purpose, our humanity, our faith in our country, our duty to protect our nation, and our duty to protect our world from the radical savagery of militant Islamism.

AIFD has had many opportunities to share our mission during this time of sacrifice, reflection and spiritual growth and we thank those of you have offered your blessings and wishes for continued success and to those who continue to support our efforts through donations, with whom without, we could not exist.

Yours forever in liberty,

All of us at the,
American Islamic Forum for Democracy
aifdemocracy.org

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.

AIFD renews its call for the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization). – April 30, 2019.

AIFD PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Mischel Yosick
480 225 7473 mischel@zliberty.com
April 30, 2018

After meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi earlier this month, President Trump has begun taking steps towards officially designating the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a foreign terrorist organization.

As a Muslim led organization that remains devoted to the preservation of the United States Constitution, Dr. M Zuhdi Jasser and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy stand in full support of this designation, one that would finally allow our nation to begin to address the root cause of the theocratic strain of Islam (or Islamism) and ultimately make us safer as a nation.

On July 11, 2018, Dr. Jasser testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security where he discussed the global threat of the Muslim Brotherhood and advocated in favor of the MB being designated a terrorist organization.

“No group embodies the threat of radical Islamism more than the Muslim Brotherhood, and no group runs deeper into the consciousness of global Islamism, especially in our Arab Sunni communities than the Muslim Brotherhood and its global network of affiliates and progeny across the world,” stated Jasser.

Dr. Jasser goes on to assert “there is nothing more pro-Muslim than designating them a terror group.” While we call for their “mothership” in Egypt and offshoots in Yemen, Syria, Kuwait and a few other places to be designated, our testimony takes a very nuanced approach in the West where their legacy groups operate under different byproduct names.

We reaffirm our position on the MB and fully support these measures that will prevent groups like the MB from continuing to take advantage of our unprecedented freedoms and excessively thrive in a manner that is often not possible anywhere else in the world.

Please take a moment to view Dr. Jasser’s full testimony where he discusses the Brotherhood’s origins, history, networks, ideologies, and direct connections to terrorism.

https://aifdemocracy.org/15998-2/

Press Release: November 21, 2018 “Judge Friedman’s premature ruling is beyond egregious. It is inhuman and un-American.”

AMERICAN ISLAMIC FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY
Press Release

Contact: Mischel Yosick – AIFD
Phone: 480-225-7473
Email: mischel@zliberty.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 21, 2018

“Judge Friedman’s premature ruling is beyond egregious. It is inhuman and
un-American.”

PHOENIX, ARIZONA: In an unexpected disappointing turn, a federal judge has dismissed charges of female genital mutilation (FGM) against Michigan physicians over his belief that the federal law passed in 1996 was unconstitutional. The Detroit Free Press reported yesterday that, “In a major blow to the federal government, a judge in Detroit has declared America’s female genital mutilation law unconstitutional, thereby dismissing the key charges against two Michigan doctors and six others accused of subjecting at least nine minor girls to the cutting procedure in the nation’s first FGM case.”

The AIFD has been following this Detroit case closely since charges were first announced in April 2017 when we noted, “The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), a Muslim-led organization whose founding principles include gender equality, welcomes the news that Jumana Nagarwala, a Detroit-based physician, has been arrested for allegedly carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) against girls here in the United States.”(full release)

AIFD President, M. Zuhdi Jasser, has written extensively on this case including a comprehensive piece for the Gatestone Institute in June 2017: “Female Genital Mutilation: American Muslim Physician Says Stop Defending the Abuse of Girls and Women.

Today, in reaction to Judge Friedman’s dismissal of the FGM charges, Dr. Jasser, AIFD President, said:

“Judge Friedman’s premature ruling is beyond egregious. It is inhuman and un-American. The judge essentially just signaled to butchers like “Dr” Nagarwala that they can seek refuge in the U.S. federal system for their crimes against the humanity of young girls. I understand the mental gymnastics of his federalist ruling. But the case hasn’t even been tried yet. While Nagarwala may yet end up in jail for decades due to obstruction charges, there appeared to be many other ways justice could have been served for those poor tortured girls she slaughtered without dismissing the entire #FGM charge.”

Dr. Jasser further noted the profound implications of this premature ruling:

“This is a landmark case. The judge cannot just wrap himself conveniently in a few words of acknowledgment of the horrors of FGM. This case was breaking new ground and it’s not clear to anyone that the feds made their case at all yet let alone fully, as to why they had jurisdiction and why the federal law was in fact constitutional. Instead it appears that the judge simply took a sweeping premature puritanical approach to his federalist concerns. Seven to nine year old girls were being trafficked between states and then tortured by licensed physicians. Federal law enforcement devoted heavy national resources to the case after finding probable cause for the crimes on federal books. It requires a suspension of disbelief for anyone to even entertain an argument that FGM based in cross state trafficking could not fit into many aspects of federal jurisdiction especially given the ’96 law. Yet the judge predetermined the law to be unconstitutional. So if this case is about the hope of finding any justice for the young tortured mutilated girls, there must have been countless ways for the judge to hear the case and then send a clear and unmistakable message about FGM regarding many counts against the perpetrators while yet leaving some room in the decision for some teaching points on “federalism”.”

### end###

If you would like more information about this topic please email:
info@aifdemocracy.org.

About AIFD
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a Muslim led think tank 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. AIFD promotes reform-minded Muslim voices for liberty, and is shaking the hold which Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood have upon Muslim leadership.

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

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October 5, 2018: AIFD Welcomes a New Era of  Counterterrorism

AIFD PRESS RELEASE
American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Contact: Mischel Yosick
480-225-7473
mischel@zliberty.com

October 5, 2018
Phoenix, Arizona

 

The  American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) today commended the Trump administration on the release of its new potent counterterrorism strategy. This long-overdue renewal of a White House counterterrorism strategy, last visited in 2011, addresses many of the issues that our Muslim Reform Movement(MRM) called out as problematic in the Obama administration’s 2011 strategy which avoided any mention of specifics regarding ideology, most notably, Islamism.
We are pleased to see that the generic, ineffective term “Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)” will no longer be used and are encouraged that it has been replaced with clearer verbiage that includes phrases like “terrorism prevention” and most significantly, the precise identification of the issue of radical Islamist ideology, or what we refer to as “Countering Islamism (CI).”

While some have attempted to minimize the significance of the changes to the strategy and portray it as a continuation of the strategy by previous administrations, we assert that with this new strategy this administration has demonstrated an unprecedented appreciation of the networks that are stemming from the Islamist ideology. The Trump administration seems to recognize that the Islamist ideology continues to loom globally and pervasively, sprouting new networks in response to the imminent decimation of ISIS. The new strategy appears to address the reality that Al Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups are on the rise, in that the new strategy calls for heightening technological, financing, and social media counterterrorism arms, to name a few.

We note that this 2018 report specifically states, “departments and agencies will investigate ties between domestic terrorists not motivated by radical Islamist ideology’s and their overseas counterpart to more fully understand them”.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy noted,

“We remain hopeful that in identifying the connection between the global Islamist ideology and radical violent terror networks, this White House counterterrorism strategy will begin to engage Muslim reformers against Islamism, and work with them to implement both short and long-term strategic programs. Such programs are the only solution to the radical Islamist ideology, and will ultimately be far more effective than the past administration’s whack-a-mole CVE program. While we would prefer to see a White House counterterrorism strategy place more emphasis on offense (i.e. the advancement into Muslim communities of ideas related to liberty) rather than simply defense, we believe this is a very healthy start and a much more realistic approach to counterterrorism than the empty bromides of the Obama administration last presented in the 2011 strategy”.

It is our sincerest hope that the administration will quickly advance towards engaging groups like the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and our coalition in the Muslim Reform Movement to effectuate solutions against radical Islamism and the conveyor belt of global political Islam (Islamism) in advancing ideas of freedom, liberty and universal human rights as long-term solutions.

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.

8/31/2018: “An Impending Massacre in Idlib Syria: History is Watching!”

AIFD PRESS RELEASE
American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Contact: Mischel Yosick
480-225-7473
mischel@zliberty.com

August 31, 2018
Phoenix, Arizona

“History will judge us as to what we did before, during, and after the Idlib massacre.”

PHOENIX, ARIZONA// The American Islamic Forum for Democracy calls for people of conscience to pay attention to and shed every light possible on what experts across the region are predicting to be an impending massacre in the town of Idlib in Syria. The military killing machine of Bashar Assad and his regime is planning to obliterate the town and trap, torture, and starve its inhabitants under the pretense of finishing off the few remaining jihadi groups that remain holed up there after reportedly escaping other battle arenas in Syria into Idlib.

Many are reporting that the Syrian civil war is entering its last phase and that this battle between the regime and the jihadis in Idlib may be the last one of this over seven-year civil war. Lost in this battle will be the majority of the inhabitants of Idlib which are likely to be far beyond anything resembling collateral damage but actually the intended mass targets of humanity which the genocidal Assad regime seeks to punish. The over 600,000 dead and 10 million Syrian citizens displaced since 2011 are testimony to what happens to those who dared to question the fascist tyranny of Bashar Assad and ask for the end of Syrian Ba’athism.

The Russian, Syrian, and Iranian propaganda machine are in full hysterical tilt even already suggesting that if there is any evidence or mention of chemical weapons use, it must have been done by “the White Helmets” or done by jihadis in order to blame the Syrian regime for another crime against humanity. The amount of disinformation already coming out from Assad’s sympathizers about this impending attack should make the world pause and pay attention that the threat level is extraordinarily high for an actual massacre.

Syria has seen massacres in the past few years of the Revolution in towns across Syria from Hama to Aleppo. Many fear that this massacre will be even worse than Aleppo in order to send a final message as a “closing battle of the civil war”. We call upon people of conscience in the media, government, academia, and human rights activists to immediately bring attention to what is happening in Syria, report on the facts, and not allow Russian, Syrian, and Iranian propaganda to spread deception, disinformation and false cover for crimes against humanity.

History will judge us as to what we did before, during, and after the Idlib massacre.

And on a final note: while the kinetic aspect of the Syrian civil war may appear to be coming to a close, a Syrian revolution of humanity against evil (the Syrian population versus the Assad regime and its Khomeinist and Russian supporters) has been fought on the streets of small and large towns of Syria since the Ba’ath took over all the way back in 1963. The Revolution that began in 2011 was simply on a much larger scale across the country. That revolution will certainly continue as long as the Assad regime is present and in control. The battle for freedom for the Syrian people is not only against Assad but also ISIS and all the offshoots of radical jihadis— all of whom are forms of fascists seeking to tyrannically control Syrian people.
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Why would a person of integrity cheat at Twitter?

Tawhidi, or Not Tawhidi? That is the Question – An Analysis of the “BrotherTawhidi” Tweets

Imam Tawhidi operated under the username “@Tawhidicom” from July 10, 2013, the date his profile indicates he first joined Twitter, through February of 2016 when he became “@ImamofPeace,” which remains his current active username. In a recent response to Lalo Dagach’s May 28, 2017 tweet (who contacted Zuhdi Jasser on social media regarding Jasser’s Asia Times editorial referencing tweets from the account @BrotherTawhidi), Tawhidi tweeted “people were warned since 2013” that the @BrotherTawhidi account was “fake.”  Despite the fact that the “BrotherTawhidi” account is the second result shown by Google when doing a search for Imam Tawhidi, the tweet to Dagach was the only indication from Tawhidi that the alternate account is “fake,” and it has since been deleted by Tawhidi.  While an impostor account violates Twitter’s impersonation policy, which allows “parody” accounts but requires them to be clearly identified as such, the “BrotherTawhidi” account has not been removed by Twitter, despite its non-compliance with the policy… but the two “warnings” about the “fake” account have been removed by Tawhidi.  Continue reading to see that when Tawhidi denies ownership of the “BrotherTawhidi” tweets, he is given the benefit of the doubt based on the “honor system,” a system that he is incapable of abiding by.

Click here to read more.

AIFD Commentary: The New Mexico Militant Jihadi Training Compound and Child Abuse is the tip of the National Islamist Iceberg

August 9, 2018
By: M. Zuhdi Jasser, President & Founder
American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Make no mistake.

The militant Jihadi training camp and its horrific child abuse discovered in the small, quiet town of Amalia, New Mexico is not an isolated incident but rather is the tip of the proverbial iceberg of Islamist radicalization in America.

It is unconscionable that major media ignore the bigger story here on Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Sr. and his connections to so-called “mainstream” American Islamist organizations.

AIFD has been closely following the recent reporting regarding the five adults arrested for child abuse in New Mexico after they were found with 11 children held captive in third-world conditions. Every day more information is being released about the situation including the fact that this separatist compound was a terrorist training facility for Islamist radicalization that not only abused these children through starvation and torture, but apparently had plans for terror operations that included attacks on American schools by these radicalized children. This entire situation is straight from the ISIS playbook.

According to a number of sources, including the New York Post, five radical Islamists, three of which were female, were arrested including Siraj Wahhaj, 40; Lucas Morton, 40; Jany Leveille, 35; Hujrah Wahhaj, 38; and Subhanah Wahhaj, 35, including 11 children ages 1 to 15 that were found abused in the facility. The ringleader of the operation was Siraj Wahhaj, son of Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Sr. who was accompanied by four of his relatives.

We bring this story to your attention from our perspective as a reformist American Muslim Organization, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, not only because of the horrific treatment of these children but because of the deeper connections their captors have to the organizations that are thrust upon American Muslims as so-called “mainstream Muslim organizations” in the United States like ISNA, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), MAS (Muslim American Society), and ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) to name a few. One of America’s most prominent Imams, Siraj Wahhaj, Sr. is a leading fundraiser, speaker, and Ideological leader among a host of Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in the United States. Currently, there are no known, direct connections or implications that, Imam Siraj Wahhaj based in Brooklyn, New York, had anything to do with the training camp or the horrific conditions in Amalia, New Mexico, other than that the camp was run by his son. But most importantly here, is that this compound cannot be relegated to the status of “just another whacky cell” in order to continue to protect the reputation of leading American Islamist organizations and their Establishment heads from scrutiny. Honest Americans and Muslims cannot ignore the connection with Imam Wahhaj’s long-standing separationist Islamist ideology and his role in radicalizing Muslims in all of the organizations he has influenced across the country for decades.

Our founder, M. Zuhdi Jasser, had written about Siraj Wahhaj in his 2012 Simon and Schuster book “A Battle for the Soul of Islam“, and on pages 84-87 described his first interaction with America’s largest Muslim organization, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)[1]. In those pages, Dr. Jasser detailed an experience he had as a Naval officer on leave while attending ISNA’s annual convention in which Imam Siraj Wahhaj keynoted the opening of the conference. Wahhaj expressed his desire to replace the U.S. Constitution with the Qur’an and proceeded to direct that it is the duty of Muslims to bring the Qur’an and its teachings and legal system to the United States in lieu of its current constitution. He stated: “Can you imagine someone wondering if a document made by humans would be superior to a document made by God,” as he held up the Qur’an which he said should be the Constitution of this country. Dr. Jasser then went to the microphone and publicly voiced his horror with Siraj Wahhaj Sr.’s separationism and the acquiescence of the audience and the leadership of ISNA to his seditious point of view and commentary.

Siraj Wahhaj, Sr. has since remained, and in fact grown to be, a thought leader in position, ideologically, and for fundraising among various American Islamist organizations. Apparently, it has never bothered them that he was also named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, as he testified as a character witness for the convicted bomber, the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. Yet, as recently as in the past few months, Siraj Wahhaj, Sr. was openly described at an ISNA meeting proudly by Linda Sarsour, now a leading national advocate for the Women’s March in addition to a host of other Islamist causes, as her mentor she said “favorite person in this room. Imam Siraj Wahhaj who has been a mentor, motivator, and encourager of mine”. Siraj Wahhaj, Sr. has served in various capacities including being on the board of advisers and participating in the speaking circuit of the CAIR, ISNA, ICNA; and MAS to name a few.

It is the responsibility of every media organization and thought leader in America to expose Imam Siraj Wahhaj Sr.’s connection to what’s happening in New Mexico. While he may not have had anything to do directly with the violence or the compound, there should be little doubt that his longtime separationist Islamist ideology proven by concerned Muslims like us at AIFD at every step along the way (yet ignored by most media) very likely played a significant role in the radicalization of his son Siraj Wahhaj Jr.

NOW is the time for Americans to realize that separationist Islamism, like that of the Wahhaj family, is a gateway drug in all of its forms– violent and non-violent— to the radicalization of our youth. It is incumbent upon American media and thought leaders to cover this story and the connection of the abductor(s) and torturer(s) to his father. While Imam Siraj Wahhaj Sr. did voice his desire to have his abducted grandchildren returned safely, earlier this year on Facebook, that does not absolve him of the decades of radicalizing many, as was seen first hand by Dr. Jasser, witnessed in 1995, and that the United States has witnessed repeatedly over and over and over in his positions and ideas about America.
The discovery in New Mexico is just one. How many more camps are actively radicalizing individuals who will carry out terrorist attacks on our soil while we do nothing? Let us rally together to remove the blanket of political correctness that shields these radical leaders who continue to prosper in our denial and use our unprecedented freedoms against us.

1. M. Zuhdi Jasser, A Battle for the Soul of Islam” (Schuster: New York, 2012), 84-87