American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Contact: Mischel Yosick
480 225 7473 email@example.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.”
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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.
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.”
While the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is certainly not alone in its celebration of the Obama Administration’s deal with Tehran, their statement on the matter is of particular interest considering the organizations cozy relationship with Iranian propaganda machines like Press TV.
CAIR has for a long time enjoyed prime billing on Press TV, a network owned by the Iranian government. Since the start of the Syrian revolution, CAIR’s leadership has continued to appear on Press TV – not to demonstrate moral courage and hold the Iranian regime accountable – but to slam the United States as “anti-Muslim” and advance many of the regime’s talking points about America’s relationship to Muslims. The Assad regime could not have murdered over 120,000 Syrians, mostly Muslims, without the support of the Iranian regime and its propaganda machine with which CAIR is apparently pleased to affiliate. How can an organization claiming to care about the well-being and civil rights of Muslims stomach Iranian state TV, much less parrot its propaganda countless times?
CAIR’s choice to celebrate the deal with Iran with a mere footnote added about the Iranian regime’s ongoing massacre of civilians is revealing: why doesn’t CAIR take its obviously cozy relationship with Iranian state TV as an opportunity to regularly and vehemently advocate for the lives of those Muslims who die at the hands of the Iranian regime? While the plight of the Iranian people themselves is of great concern, many Muslims are concerned about the impact of sanctions relief on Syrians. Will some 8 billion dollars simply stock the Iranian regime’s shipments to the Assad regime and its supporters – including Hezbollah?
Perhaps this is just another example of CAIR’s hypocrisy – while claiming to advocate for the civil rights of Muslims and “make democracy work for everyone”, Nihad Awad still won’t explain why he is on record saying he would support Hamas, and the organization cozies up to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a body responsible for advocating extraordinary infringements on civil liberties and freedoms through blasphemy laws and other dangerous means.
We at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy are always seeking new ways to expand our reach and impact. We were honored to be approached by the Gatestone Institute to place a full-page ad in the New York Times featuring text inspired by the writing of one of our fellows, Ahmed Vanya. Ahmed’s piece, “Beautifying Islam,” served as the basis for the ad.
The ad was finalized before the horrific attacks in Paris, but was published today, January 11, 2015. It is exactly the right moment for the ad’s renewed call to action. Please see the ad here, and read the full text below. Please also stay tuned to learn where we will take this movement from here, and for an opportunity to sign onto this document.
What can Muslims do to reclaim their ‘Beautiful Religion’?
As people observe beheadings and savagery by ISIS, female genital mutilation and honor killings, the abduction of girls by Boko Haram, the execution of innocents in Iran, the slaughtering and enslaving of Christians in Egypt and Africa and Yazidis in Iraq, rampant anti-Semitism and other crimes against humanity committed by those who claim to represent Islam, many people are understandably asking:
- What is the true nature of Islam?
- Is it that although there are many peaceful Muslims, Islam itself is not peaceful?
If Islam is a religion that stands for justice and peaceful coexistence, then the quest for an Islamic state cannot be justified as sanctioned by a just and merciful Creator.
Neither jihadism nor Islamism permit the equality of all humans irrespective of their race or religion and should therefore be rejected. Our denial and our relative silence must stop!
It is the duty of us Muslims to actively and vigorously affirm and promote universal human rights, including gender equality and freedom of conscience.
As our Holy Qu’ran states (4:135):
“Believers! Conduct yourselves with justice, bearing true witness before God, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, or your kin.”
We must engage in and promote reforms where necessary, including an honest and critical reinterpretation of scripture and shariah law used by Islamists to justify violence and oppression.
We must also recognize and loudly proclaim that the quest for any and all “Islamic State(s)” has no place in modern times. Theocracy, particularly, Islamism, is a proven failure. The path to justice and reform is through liberty.
It is also our responsibility to reclaim the faith we love from these monsters, forcefully rejecting and combating all components of their ideology.
If we Muslims believe that “true” Islam, genuinely aligned with the will of the Creator, is fundamentally peaceful, comprehensively merciful and objectively just, then it is our duty to do what is necessary to live and promote an Islam that is based in liberty and worthy of being called a beautiful religion.
We must seek out necessary support from non-Muslim allies in order to be successful in our work.
We the undersigned are Muslims who embrace a pluralistic interpretation of Islam, rejecting all forms of oppression and abuses committed in the name of religion or culture and particularly Islamism.
We are joined by non-Muslim allies who sign here to affirm their commitment as Americans to support those Muslims and all people of conscience who courageously speak out against these abuses and who advance reforms within our community.
- Sherkoh Abbas, Chair Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, Washington, D.C.
- Tarek Fatah, Founder, Muslim Canadian Congress, Toronto, Canada
- Farid Ghadry, Reform Party of Syria, Washington, D.C.
- Iftikhar A. Hai, President, United Muslims of America, San Francisco, CA
- Dr. Tawfik Hamid, International Center for Countering Radicalism, Oakton, CA
- Husain Haqqani, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to U.S., Washington, D.C.
- Jamal Hassan, Council for Democracy and Tolerance, Baltimore, MD
- Sheikh (Dr.) Usama Hassan, Quilliam Foundation, London, UK
- Farzana Hassan, Director, Muslim Canadian Congress, Toronto, Canada
- Arif Humayun, President, Circle of Peace, Portland, OR
- Farahnaz Ispahani, Director, Americans for Pakistan, Washington, D.C.
- Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Phoenix, AZ
- Naser Khader, Former Member of Danish Parliament, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Zainab Zain Khan, United Nations Association, Chicago, IL
- Courtney Lonergan, Arizona Interfaith Movement, Phoenix, AZ
- Hasan Mahmud, General Secretary, Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada
- Salim Mansur, PhD., Professor, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
- Maajid Nawaz, Co-Founder and Chairman, Quilliam Foundation, London, UK
- Raheel Raza, President, Council of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada
- Munir Pervaiz, President, Muslim Canadian Congress, Mississauga, Canada
- Oubai Shahbandar, Principle, Dragoman Partners, Washington, D.C.
- Jalal Zuberi, MD, Associate Professor, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
- Ahmad Vanya, Fellow, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, San Jose, CA
Eid al-Adha, or “the festival of the sacrifice,” is an Islamic holiday which commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael as a sign of his devotion to God. It also marks the conclusion of the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.
Each Eid al-Adha, Muslims make a special effort to provide relief to those in need. In many parts of the world, this has included the distribution of meat (from a sacrificed animal, like a lamb) to the hungry.
We at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy want to take this opportunity to wish our Muslim members and supporters a blessed Eid al-Adha, and to reaffirm our commitment to serve our country and our fellow Americans in every aspect of our work.
Our Muslim Liberty Project works with youth ages 15-30 to develop the next generation of leaders focused on advocating individual liberty through the development of a healthy American Muslim identity. Having recognized that with freedom comes the responsibility to serve others, our youth have committed themselves specifically to community service and interfaith efforts. Recently, Arizona-area members of our Muslim Liberty Project joined a group of Christians to serve 200 healthy meals to those in need. Following their day of service, volunteers engaged in meaningful conversation about scripture, prayer and fellowship across faith traditions. To see photos of this event, please click here.
This Eid al-Adha weekend, our Muslim Liberty Project youth have decided to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, aiming to raise awareness about breast cancer and engage both Muslims and non-Muslims about the importance of women’s health and safety. MLP’s last planning meeting brought in fifteen new Muslim members excited about joining the cause!
We hope to share photos of this weekend’s events with you as soon as we have them. To see more of our Muslim Liberty Project’s activities, see these albums:
Thank you for your support and we look forward to sharing more of our youth’s accomplishments soon!
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We need your financial support to continue confronting the ideologies of political Islam
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