The following letter from Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), Virginia’s Tenth District was sent to Imam Mohamed Magid, of the ADAMS Center Mosque located in the Tenth District of Virginia. Imam Magid also happens to be the national President of the Islamic Society of North America. His ADAMS Center listserv was used to distribute this email communication.
PO Box 1085
April 5, 2012
Dear Imam Magid:
I was disappointed to learn that the ADAMS Center listserv had been used to encourage members of your congregation to sign on to an online petition that features slanderous information about Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a recent appointee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Dr. Jasser, a patriotic American Muslim who proudly served his country for 11 years as a medical officer in the U. S. Navy, is a first generation American Muslim whose parents fled the oppressive Baath regime of Syria in the 1960s. Dr. Jasser is a prolific writer and commentator. He has been a Muslim representative on Arizona’s largest interfaith board of directors. He is routinely called upon to brief Congress. He has lectured on Islam to deploying officers at the Joint Forces Staff College at Fort Benning and was chosen to be part of a select group of Muslim leaders that briefed Admiral Mike Mullen on the “Contest of Ideas with the Muslim World.”
Sadly, because Dr. Jasser has dared to engage in this ” contest of ideas,” he has endured repeated personal attacks. These libelous assaults have spiked since Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed him to serve on USCIRF-a group charged with advocating on behalf of persecuted people of faith globally. Rather than engaging in respectful political discourse about philosophical and policy differences, in recent weeks Dr. Jasser has been personally insulted and demeaned. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islam Relations (CAIR) went so far as to call Jasser a “mere sock puppet for Islam haters and an enabler of Islamophobia.”
In March 27, 2010 Dr. Jasser penned an op-ed for the Milwaukee Sentinel which addressed local controversy surrounding the proposed construction of a mosque. Dr. Jasser wrote, “I am a devout Muslim who has recently spent the past eight years dedicated to fighting the radicalization that has permeated my faith… About 1981, my parents and a few other Muslim families built the first mosque in northeastern Wisconsin. It was in that mosque and as a student at Neenah High School that I learned the values of Americanism and pluralism and their synergy
with my faith of Islam. It was there that I learned about the value of the separation of mosque
He continued, “When my family sought to build the small mosque in the Town of Menasha, many local residents in the Neenah-Menasha area presented a vocal opposition protesting the zoning request. That was a long time before Sept. 11, but it had a significant amount of media attention and controversy much like what is happening in Sheboygan now. Thankfully, reason prevailed, and our community moved into our new small mosque in the Town
of Menasha. The opposition missed the boat on the meaning of religious freedom in the United States. I was blessed with parents who taught me that religious freedom in the U.S. is unrivaled anywhere in the world. I was taught that I could be more Muslim in Neenah, with just our few families and a mosque, than anywhere else in the world.”
As these words clearly demonstrate, along with his distinguished career, Dr. Jasser understands and deeply values America’s “first freedom”-that is religious freedom. As such, I believe he will be a profoundly impactful addition to USCIRF. While some may disagree, that opposition ought not take the form of personal attacks.
I recognize that there is a disclaimer on ADAMS listserv indicating that ADAMS does not endorse any of the non-ADAMS announcements that appear. Nevertheless, I believe it would send a powerful message if ADAMS were to issue a public statement on your Web site disavowing these attacks and urging respectful discourse, especially as it relates to Dr. Jasser.
Member of Congress