Who We Are
M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D.
M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. is the Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) and is the author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith (Simon & Schuster, June 2012). On March 20, 2012, Dr. Jasser was appointed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) where he served as Commissioner and Vice-Chair until May 2016.
Jasser is a first-generation American Muslim, whose parents fled the oppressive Baath regime of Syria in the mid-1960’s for American freedom. He is a devout Muslim with strong ties to the American Muslim community having helped lead mosques in Wisconsin, Arkansas, Virginia, and Arizona.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Jasser and a group of American Muslims, founded AIFD as a Muslim led organization striving to addresses the root cause of the domestic and international threat of radical Islamist terrorism while promoting Muslim voices for liberty and freedom through the separation of mosque and state. In 2008, Dr. Jasser worked with Clarion to narrate a film called “The Third Jihad” a Clarion Project film, that explores the rise of Islamist extremism in America.
Jasser regularly briefs members of the House and Senate on the threat of Political Islam and testified before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security on March 10, 2011 on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response”, and again on June 20, 2012 on “The American Muslim Response to Hearings on Radicalization within their Community”. Jasser testified before the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on “Anti-Semitism: A Growing Threat to All Faiths” on February 27, 2013, on December 10, 2013 on “Human Rights Abuses in Egypt”, on June 16, 2016 on “The Global Religious Freedom Crisis and Its Challenge to U.S. Foreign Policy” and on June 28 2016 to the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action,Federal Rights and Federal Courts on “Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts To Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism” chaired by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). On September 22, 2016, he testified before The House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency “Identifying the Enemy: Radical Islamist Terror.” On July 11, 2018, Dr. Jasser testified before The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security on “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Global Threat” which can be viewed here.
An internationally recognized expert on Islamism, Jasser is widely published on domestic and foreign issues related to Islam, Islamism, and modernity. His work is featured in The National Review, The Washington Times, The New York Post, CNN, CBS, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, BB, and other national and international outlets. In addition, Jasser has spoken on nationally syndicated radio programs and hosts a podcast REFORM THIS! on the Blaze Radio Network. He has also spoken at hundreds of national and international events including universities, places of worship, and government venues.
Jasser was presented with the 2007 Director’s Community Leadership Award by the Phoenix office of the FBI and was recognized as a “Defender of the Home Front” at the annual Keeper of the Flame Dinner of the Center for Security Policy in 2008. He is also a contributing writer to a number of books and is featured in four documentaries: America at Risk; Islam v Islamists; A Question of Honor; and The Third Jihad.
Jasser earned his medical degree on a U.S. Navy scholarship at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1992 and served 11 years as a medical officer in the U. S. Navy. His tours of duty included Medical Department Head aboard the U.S.S. El Paso which deployed to Somalia during Operation Restore Hope; Chief Resident at Bethesda Naval Hospital; and Staff Internist for the Office of the Attending Physician to the U. S. Congress. He is a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal. Jasser is a respected physician currently in private practice in Phoenix, AZ specializing in internal medicine and nuclear cardiology. He is a past-President of the Arizona Medical Association.
Arif Humayun is an American citizen, practicing Muslim, and avid writer. A specialist in comparative religion, Arif is dedicated to understanding what causes radicalization and in advancing human rights.
Born in Pakistan, Arif came to the United States in 1980 to pursue post graduate studies in engineering at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He lived in Australia from 1989-1992, where he developed his interest in comparative religion.
Arif authored a detailed white paper on radicalism among Muslims after the 2009 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and has written extensively on topics like Shari’a, jihad, blasphemy, and apostasy.
Arif’s most recent work, Connivance by Silence, addresses the politically-inspired interpretations of Islam that have crept into the Muslim discourse and inspired radicalization. In Connivance by Silence, Arif explores this topic specifically in the context of Western democracies.
Professionally, Arif manages a global intellectual property licensing business as an employee of a large multinational corporation. His frequent and extensive global travel has brought him a crystal-clear perspective on the destructive phenomenon of political Islam. Arif is also the president and co-founder of Circle of Peace, an international initiative to strengthen the bonds of humanity and compassion across faith communities. He is also an active member of the American Islamic Leadership Coalition.
Courtney is an enthusiastic and compelling participatory facilitator who engages the diverse perspectives of her stakeholders in meaningful dialogue to elicit inspired action and thoughtful working groups. She has lead several non-profits and grassroots initiatives and is a skilled graphic artist. She is an experienced community organizer who works well with individuals and diverse teams alike, with measurable yet meaningful timelines and work plans.
Courtney has been a grassroots community organizer in Phoenix for over 15 years; with extensive experience working not only with stressed gang communities but highly-successful for profit corporations. Her diverse work ranges from conflict resolution, team building and community partnership formation, to exceptionally professional strategic planning sessions, board retreats and multifaceted sharing rally events and celebrations. Courtney is a lead associate with Partners in Participation, a facilitation, consultation and training initiative which promotes community development and partnership by coaching and modeling participatory methods and tools. Trained by some of the best mentors in the world as a facilitator of participatory methods, Courtney is passionate about bridging different cultural groups, facilitating honest dialogue, and working together in community with sustainable change strategies. Based on her profound skill & knowledge of change initiatives, Courtney is currently collaborating with her students compiling a hands-on user-friendly manual for launching grassroots movements by sharing tools, stories and methodologies for sustainable change efforts within stressed urban communities.
Originally from Alaska, Courtney earned her Bachelors from the University of Idaho in Anthropology and Spanish; and Masters from Oregon State University in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnic Studies; focusing on diversity and discrimination in the United States. She has launched several grassroots movements and studies urban development and change. After working for years with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, she is a master trainer and facilitator of participatory methods and also develops and designs her own processes and methodologies. In her spare time she teaches 300 level Anthropology classes at ASU and engages her students in local & global projects and initiatives.
Neighborhood Partners Inc. was a local grassroots non-profit started by Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), Valley of the Sun United Way(VSUW) and the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) as a response to the L.A. Riots in 1992. As the Lead Facilitator and then Director of this initiative Courtney facilitated grass root community partnerships in some of the most stressed multi-cultural communities in Phoenix. She brought together schools, government groups, neighborhood associations, faith groups, young people, parents, private businesses & corporations to work in asset/resource based partnerships. In order lead this journey, she engaged individuals on a personal basis to create and nurture an environment that celebrated diversity & inclusion by continuously working to create a healthy group structure and overarching guidelines so all could learn and work together respectfully on social justice issues.
As the professional facilitator of two of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy’s programs, the Muslim Liberty Project (MLP) and the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) Courtney strives to engage active participation in a necessary grass-roots movement using tools based in diversity and inclusion. Being a community organizer since her youth, Courtney is very aware of the difference between culture and beliefs and is passionate about bringing together liberty-minded Muslims to work together launching a movement of peace and acceptance in America. Her experience working with gang related conflicts and racial supremacists in inner-city & rural communities; gives her the tools, stories, and methodologies to address hate-based philosophies and mindsets. Her asset-based community development approaches engage Muslim youth and their supportive adults in creating positive, meaningful solutions.
Melanie joined AIFD after understanding the severity of the Islamist threat and the manner in which it will exponentially impact future generations. She is an avid researcher and currently operates AIFD’s social media sites. Melanie can be contacted at Melanie@AIFDemocracy.org
Mischel brings several year of marketing and communications skills to the team and is the main contact with our supporters, donors and public engagement members. To contact Mischel please email Mischel@Zliberty.com