Posts

Press Release: Sentencing is a stark reminder of the global Islamist threat.

PRESS RELEASE
American Islamic Forum for Democracy

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

May 10, 2017

Sentencing of Indonesian Christian Governor of Jakarta on blasphemy charge is a reminder of the rising global Islamist threat.

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) condemned the sentencing of an Indonesian Christian politician, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, for “blasphemy.” The sentencing of Mr. Basuki, the Jakarta governor, also known as “Ahok” was heavier than what prosecutors asked for – rather than the two years probation they requested, he was sentenced to two years in prison.

M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., founder and president of AIFD, released the following statement:

“The fact that Mr. Basuki was even brought up on charges of ‘blasphemy’ – a truly invented ‘crime’ – is horrifying. The reality of his sentencing should alarm all people, not just Christians, and not just Indonesians.

Indonesia has long enjoyed the reputation of being a model of Muslim moderation and pluralism, yet its problem of Islamism is real: from soaring rates of female genital mutilation (FGM) to violent protests against authors and artists for ‘blasphemy,’ the country is undergoing an ugly and dangerous radicalization that will hurt, kill, and traumatize its citizens and leak across its borders, threatening global security. Mr. Basuki was a governor whose election had only improved Indonesia’s global reputation. His sentencing proves that those who are loyal to Islamist forces no longer care about upholding this image for Indonesia, instead they seek a more sinister role in the world.

Ahok’s case again proves that the nation is on the front lines of this global existential battle against Islamism.

We urge Indonesian citizens to challenge their religious establishments – particularly the Nahdlatul Ulama – to take swift and bold action to condemn and dis-empower those who support and promote punishments for blasphemy, and to demand that their government do the same. I visited Indonesia during my time on the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom, and know that this evil does not represent them. Their government must do better to protect and represent the will of its people.”

– ### –

M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. is a guest on Arizona Originals with Jason Issak

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser – American Islamic Forum for Democracy and Physician

Today’s guest, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, has served as a US Navy physician, was hand selected to serve for two years as one of three attending physicians for the US Congress (including the US Supreme Court Justices), and has practiced medicine in Arizona.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

 

 

 

5/5/2017 : M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. joins Fox Business’ Making Money discussing refugees and how the influx into the U.S. has decreased under President Trump and the importance of ideological vetting.

5/4/2017: M Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. joins i24 News’ discussing the recent meeting of President Trump and Mahmoud Abbas and the anti-Semitic programs on Palestinian TV and other outlets.

5/4/2017 – M. Zuhdi Jasser sounds off on the female genital mutilation case.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser on FBI Director James Comey addressing the arrest of two doctors accused of female genital mutilation

 

4/7/2017: AIFD President’s, M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. Statement on US Airstrikes in Syria

Syrian-American Reformer Commends Syria Strikes, Urges Vigilance

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) welcomes the news of targeted strikes in Syria, meant to send a message to Bashar al-Assad and his allies that the use of chemical weapons will not stand. Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, the son of Syrians who fled the regime of Bashar al-Assad’s father, today said:

“When news broke that the United States had begun a narrow campaign of targeted strikes against regime targets in Syria, I felt immediate gratitude – on behalf of my family members there, and for our country, which has watched in horror for six long years as the Assad regime has carried out mass torture and murder of its civilians. While I am hopeful that these strikes are indicative of a bolder, firm Syria strategy – I am under no illusion that they will end Assad’s murderous rule, or that any transition in Syria will happen swiftly or easily. In many ways, we who have loved ones in Syria, and we who care about the human condition – are taking what we can get here – with hope that there will be more, even bolder action in Syria. What this action by President Trump does indicate is that the needle of American policy in Syria is moving closer to being on the right side of history. To secure our place there, however, we must remain vigilant, remembering that a conflict with Assad is necessarily a conflict with Russia, with Iran, and with Hizbollah. These limited, targeted strikes should continue, focused on reducing Assad’s access to resources, especially weapons. Every reduction in his assets is a a reduction in his capacity to murder and maim civilians. By reducing a dictator’s capacity to kill, we have a chance of re-establishing America’s position in the world as a moral authority, and we can begin again to re-commit ourselves to the sacred commitment of ‘never again,’ something Barack Obama failed to do.”

AIFD Fellow: Ahmed Vanya

Ahmed Vanya

Ahmed Vanya is a 30-year veteran engineer of the electronic industry, based in California’s world famous Silicon Valley. After coming to the US in the late seventies from the country of Burma (Myanmar) as a student, he obtained advanced degrees in the fields of physics and electronics before starting his career working for several leading chip manufacturing companies.

He is a lifelong student of history and the religion of Islam. He is very passionate about the issues of freedom, democracy, and universal human rights–especially as they relate to Islam and the American Muslim community. After leading a quiet but busy life as a high-tech professional and a devoted family man for several years, in recent years he is increasing his exposure to the outside world by engaging and giving feedback to Muslim community members and leaders throughout the US. He is not only periodically communicating with local Muslim community members and prayer leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area, but he is also contacting leaders of national Muslim organizations, prominent lawyers and journalists, and professors in the fields of Islamic Studies & US Constitutional Law in order to promote renewal and reform of Muslims and Islam.

 

 

 

ARTICLES AND PAPERS BY AHMED VANYA

(Coming soon!)

Click here to learn about AIFD’s Fellowship Program, meet more of our fellows and learn how to apply!

We need a “Zero Tolerance” Policy on Honor Violence

Abid Hussain is a 56 year old cleric who runs a mosque in Manchester, UK. When his sixteen-year old daughter, Rabiyah, refused to marry the boy he chose for her- a cousin living in Pakistan – he beat and attempted to strangle her in the family home just above the mosque. Hussain made it clear that should Rabiyah refuse the marriage, he would kill her. Rabiyah’s brothers, Nawab and Bahaud, assisted their father in brutalizing Rabiyah.

There is no question that Abid Hussain committed unthinkable brutality against his daughter, and there is no doubt that his actions were criminal. What we also know, however, is that what happened to Rabiyah is a clear case of honor-based violence. Honor-based violence punishes a member of the family, usually a female, for actions perceived to bring “shame” or “dishonor” to the family. These “offenses” can include wearing short sleeves,  talking to a member of the opposite sex, refusing an arranged marriage, becoming pregnant outside of marriage, or even being raped. While honor-based violence is not condoned by Islam, it is unfortunately prevalent in many Muslim communities.

Over 5,000 girls and women lose their lives in honor killings every year. Honor killings are the final step in a pattern of abuse that begins with threats and often beatings like the one Rabiyah experienced.

Despite the clear danger Rabiyah Hussain’s father still poses to her safety, Judge Michael Leeming spared him an immediate and serious jail sentence. In a ruling that troubles us deeply, Judge Leeming postponed sentences for Rabiyah’s father and two brothers, referring to her father as a man of “obvious standing,” (as a cleric in the local community), and referring to the brutalization of Rabiyah as an attempt to “coerce” her in to the father’s beliefs.

In taking such a lighthanded approach, Judge Leeming effectively let an attempted murderer, Abid Hussain, and his two accomplices (Rabiyah’s brothers Nawab and Bahaud) off with a warning, on what seem like cultural grounds. What will happen to Rabiyah in the coming days, weeks, and months? Would the judge have treated a case involving non-Muslims differently – and, if so, do the lives of Muslim women and girls matter less in the eyes of this British judge?

Honor-based violence is a problem we in the United States still have yet to address effectively. Earlier this year, the honor beating and near murder of Aiya Al-Tamimi did receive modest media coverage. However, Aiya’s mother, who tied Aiya down, beat her and cut her throat – was also spared a jail sentence. We wrote about Aiya’s case here, and the threat moral relativism poses to the lives of Muslim girls and women. (See television commentary by Dr. Jasser on Aiya’s case here, here, here and here.)

 

Noor Al-Maleki, murdered by her father in 2009 (Arizona, USA)

Noor Al-Maleki was murdered by her father in Phoenix, Arizona in 2009. Noor’s father, Faleh Al-Maleki, subjected his daughter to long-term torment, ultimately running her over with his Jeep Cherokee for her “western” behavior. Noor had lived in fear of her father for years, even running away from home. Her father, however, was charged with second degree murder rather than first degree (premeditated) murder. At the sentencing, judge Roland Steinle took the opportunity to claim, at great length, that Noor was not murdered for honor – despite Faleh Al-Maleki’s repeated admission that “honor” was absolutely his motivation. (See Dr. Jasser’s comments on this case here.)

The murder of Muslim girls and women is no more understandable or acceptable because of any tribal code of “honor.” Warnings, pleas to assimilate, and passive hope that at some point, Muslim girls and women will be freed from the misogyny of “honor” are not enough. We must work to effectively identify signs of honor-based violence and prevent their brutal and horrifying outcomes.

Resources:

International Honour Based Violence Resource Centre & Honour-Based Violence Awareness Network 

MEMINI: a memorial site to remember the victims of honor-based violence.

The International Campaign Against Honor Killings

AIFD sends its deepest condolences and prayers to our brothers and sisters in the Sikh Community

Since the horrific massacre against our Sikh brothers and sisters at their temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy have taken time to join with them across the nation in prayer. We send our deepest condolences to the people of Oak Creek and especially to the friends and family of those lost in the Sikh Community.

Our dear friend and long-time AIFD board member and adviser, Soul Singh Khalsa has taught us the beauty of your faith and the deep bonds that we in the Muslim community share with you. Not only as an author and a minister, Soul has been an inspiration to all that we do at AIFD from our beginnings long ago. These senseless and brutal attacks upon a people who live a transparent life lifting up the purity of their spiritual connection is simply incomprehensible.

We join with all our friends in the Sikh community in this time of sorrow and reflection. Especially during this time of reflection and atonement in our month of Ramadan, in our tradition we are all reminded that our time on earth is not ours to decide but to God we return:

Truly, to God we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. [Qur’an 2:156]

Verily, with God alone rests the knowledge of when the Last Hour will come: and He [it is who] sends down rain; and He [alone] knows what is in the wombs: whereas no one knows what he will reap tomorrow, and no one knows in what land he will die, Verily. God [alone] is all-knowing, all-aware. (Qur’an 31:34)