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Take Action: Protest Zuhdi Jasser’s Farcical Appointment to the USCIRF

Guest Editorial by J. Hausner (Islamophobia Today)

Please take the few minutes required to sign this petition!

Sen. Mitch McConnell‘s choice of Zuhdi Jasser for appointment to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) can only be described as a farce. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser has amassed a reputation as a prominent Islamophobia-enabler and ally of anti-Muslim organizations (well known for their attempts to diminish American Muslims’ civil and religious liberties).

The appointment of Jasser undermines the USCIRF’s purported goals of reviewing, “the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.” The appointment of Jasser is a “contradiction in terms” because Jasser has been a useful ally to some of the most virulent forces working against religious and civil liberties in the USA.

There are several key reasons why this is so:

1.) Most problematically, Jasser allies himself with and receives funding from anti-Muslim organizations and personalities who work tirelessly to curb the religious and civil liberties of Muslims in the USA.

Jasser’s organization has received funding, to the tune of $100,000 from a major backer of Rick Santorum, Foster Friess. Friess was featured as one of the major backers of Islamophobic organizations in the Center for American Progress’s groundbreaking report,Fear, Inc.: On the Roots of the Islamophobia Network:

According to the Washington Post, Jasser received a $100,000 donation from Christian conservative financier Foster Friess, who is now bankrolling the super-PAC supporting Rick Santorum’s presidential bid. Jasser declined to elaborate on exactly how much Friess had given AIFD, though he said the financier contributed $70,000 to his organization in 2010 for a Muslim youth retreat hosted by the group. (Friess told MSNBC that he was backing Santorum because he is “incredibly versed in one of the number one issues of our time—and that is violent Islamic extremism.”)

Jasser told Mother Jones that the AIFD had accepted $5,000 from the Center for Security Policy:

The center published a report in 2010 warning that American Muslims are seeking to replace the Constitution with a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The “expert” in Islamic religious law cited in the report, an attorney named David Yerushalmi, is responsible for authoring draft anti-Shariah legislation that has served as a blueprint for anti-Shariah laws across the US. Yerushalmi has suggested that “acting in furtherance of Islam” should be a felony.

Mother Jones also reports that,

Jasser said his group has also received a one-time, unsolicited donation of $10,000 from the Clarion Fund, which is associated with Aish HaTorah, a right-wing Israeli group described by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic as “just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today.”

The Clarion Fund has released several films that warn of Muslim conspiracies to reestablish a global caliphate. Jasser is a Clarion board member and in 2008 narrated a documentary bankrolled by the group called The Third Jihad, which darkly warns that Muslim extremists are attempting to “infiltrate and dominate America,” a conspiracy implicating most prominent American Muslim organizations. The New York Times reported that the film was shown to thousands of NYPD officers as part of their counterterrorism training, which the police department later apologized for.

How can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a ”commissioner” to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

2.) In another blow to the religious liberties and freedoms of American Muslims, Jasser’s organization the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) supports state wide legislative bans on Muslim personal religious practice relating to: marriage, prayer, wills, etc. Jasser’s organization has published press releases “applauding” such legislation, which many, including US Courts have considered unconstitutional infringements on the religious liberties of Muslims.

How can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a ”commissioner” to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

3.) Jasser was outspoken in his opposition to an interfaith and Islamic Center in Manhattan, supporting efforts to block it from being built, remarking that, “This center is trying to change the narrative of 9/11 — to diminish what happened at Ground Zero.”

How can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a ”commissioner” to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

4.) Jasser’s advocacy and support for the NYPD’s illegal profiling and secret surveillance program targeting Muslims for monitoring at their houses of worship, businesses and universities is not only unconscionable but contradicts the USCIRF’s purported goals of reviewing “the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.” 

Once again, how can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a ”commissioner” to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

The above points are only a snippet of why the choice of Zuhdi Jasser as a US Commissioner on  International Religious Freedom makes a mockery of the legitimacy of the USCIRF.

The US cannot legitimately or conscientiously criticize other nations when one of its own commissioner’s is a flagrant violator of religious liberty at home.

Please take the few minutes required to sign this petition calling on Sen. Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner and the US Congress to repeal Zuhdi Jasser’s appointment to the USCIRF as flagrant oversight that presents a moral contradiction and a likely source of  international embarrassment to the US.

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  • It seems that Jasser Zohdi had been so Americanized as to forget his Syrian roots and maybe his Islamic tradition. Now he sinks deeply and deeply in the mire of Zionist and Christian organizations which are financially supporting him in order to implement their political agendas against his Muslims brothers.

    Jasser is so blind as not to see the abyss he is falling into. His sponsors are financing his foundation and in return he is executing their plan which deprives Muslims from adhering to the principles of their Islamic law. The man is so patriotic as to care for the preservation of the principles of the American constitution, but to Hell with the principles of the Islamic Law which threatens the security and peace of the American society! Is Jasser’s attitude towards his Muslim brothers sincere patriotism or glaring hypocrisy?

    Muslims in the United States and Europe have the right to live in piety according to their own law. In the west Muslims are surrounded by all sorts of temptation and dissipation. To mention just a few: sex outside marriage, fornication, gambling, pornography, nakedness, severed family ties, narcotics, trafficking, wine, pork, using usury in transactions, crime…etc. If Muslim youth are subjected to such temptations and social ills they might be driven to a total loss that seems to have no end.
    So why all this senseless uproar we see from Jasser Zohdi and the hate mongers using him? Although he claims that he is a devout Muslim, evidences show that he doesn’t care a bit about his Islamic religion and the well-being of his Muslim brothers, but rather to satisfy his sponsors in order to get high positions, and enjoy social distinction on the expense of his religion.

    All Jews in the United States are allowed to abide by their Jewish beliefs and law. If you happen to drive by in New York City in Brooklyn in the Williamsburg, Boro Park or Crown Heights area, you can easily notice Jewish groups living together in neighborhoods where they could continue with their Orthodox Jewish Traditions, Customs and Culture. Most of them are wearing long black garbs, black hats and long beards. Men have curls by their side. The women will be dressed according to their Jewish Tradition. A custom called Tzniyus (modest). No part of their body will be exposed except from their palm and face. They will only wear skirts or dresses, for pants are forbidden. Married women will either wear a wig or Tichel (head-scarf) to cover their hair.

    On the other hand, we see veiled Muslim women being attacked in Europe and the United States, the Sharia law is attacked, Muslims are considered as terrorists… etc.

    The Jews enjoy eating their Kosher food, while a big fuss is made over Muslims’ Halal food!
    Why then this detestable double standard?

    The Islamic Law (Sharia) has been operating in UK in parallel to the British legal system, since 1982. Sheikhs issue religious rulings on matters of Muslim personal or civil law such as divorce, marriage, inheritance and settlement of dowry payments.

    By prohibiting Muslims from applying certain verdicts of their law is exactly as taking Allah as a rival. Are Jasser and all those standing behind him match to Allah? Allah defends his religion and fights with the believers.

    The Koran says:

    Lo! Allah defendeth those who are true. Lo! Allah loveth not each treacherous ingrate (Al-Hajj, 38).

    Those working hard to prohibit Muslims from applying their peaceful law have earned evil deeds, they have chosen a dangerous path, they are but bringing the wrath of Allah over their heads.

    As we read in the Koran:

    For them is chastisement in the present life; and the chastisement of the world to come is yet more grievous; they have none to defend them from Allah (al-Ra’d, 34).

    Jasser Zohdi and his sponsors claim that they are fighting the big threat “Political Islam”. They say that through political Islam Muslims are going to devour the world and impose their religious system on non-Muslims! Can we believe this pretence and most of the Muslim countries are already poor and weak or occupied by the west!

    What we should fear of is political Christianity and not political Islam. The religious political fabric of the United States is the reason behind all the mischief the Muslim world is suffering from.

    The neoconservatives since the time of Ronald Regan until Bush the son, were the architect of the Iraqi war. They were able at the time of Bush to convince him to invade Iraq and also Afghanistan. To mention few names: Paul Wolfowitz, Richard pearl, and Douglas Feith.

    After September 11, the conservative Protestant Christian leaders instead of showing their disapproval at the events of the World Trade center, they impudently attacked Islam as a religion, belied the Koran and slandered the Prophet. Their ugly words are registered and documented. To mention few names: Pat Robertson, the deceased Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart and Franklin Graham. Even two months before the events of September 11, Peter Ruckman attacked the Koran and the Prophet with obscene words.

    As for the false prophets who deceive their American audience by claiming that God talks to them, I mention Benny Him and Pat Robertson. They both insolently attacked the religion of Islam without reason.

    Then I move to the Christian Right. The religious Right has had a direct and damaging influence on U.S. foreign policy. The Christian Right and Zionists worked together to make a political and religious alliance called ‘Judeo-Christian coalition’ or sometimes called ‘Christian Zionists’. Because of the strength of their numbers, and their passionate commitment to Israel, the Christian Zionists have become an extraordinary powerful force on Israel’s behalf in many ways even more powerful than AIPAC.

    Many Christian Zionists feel that Palestinians should simply be brushed aside by destiny, and be transferred to Jordan or some other Arab country. Due to a distorted reading of the Bible, the Christian Right believes that in order for the second coming of Jesus to happen all the Palestinians must be kicked out of Palestine and leave it to the Jews. All the Palestinians must be expelled to the neighboring countries or adjacent Sahara. In order to hasten the second coming of Christ, they collect from their followers (80 million Americans) 200 million dollars every year. The money is sent to Israel for building settlements for the Jews on the Palestinian land. The Israelis demolish the houses of the Palestinians with bulldozers in order to build their settlements, and if the Palestinians object, they are killed or put in prison because they are terrorists! And of course the biased American media pictures the Palestinian corpses as the dead bodies of the terrorists who deserved to die.

    In 2002, George W. Bush initially urged Ariel Sharon to withdraw from key West Bank towns that Israeli troops had occupied when the second Palestinian uprising began. But within 48 hours, Bush suddenly reversed himself and gave a green light to the occupation. What had happened was that Evangelicals had flooded the White House with a hundred thousand e-mails and phone calls.

    A similar reversal happened when Bush’s press spokesman expressed concern over Israel’s assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, the spiritual leader of Hamas. His statement provoked another firestorm of Evangelical protest and another volte-face – this time an endorsement of Israel’s policy of selective assassination – a policy that violates the Geneva Conventions and which the U.S. was alone in supporting in the UN Security council.
    In Congress, more than a hundred members of the Religious Right are active Christian Zionists. They oppose final status peace negotiations with the Palestinians, and dismissed the Road Map process.

    Under the influence of the Israelis and the Christian Right Bush has acquiesced in the building of the Israel security wall that divides the West Bank, and he has given the green light for the steady expansion of Jewish settlements there that make a peace agreement less likely every day.
    Many in the Muslim world wondered about the extent to which the Bush administration was influenced by their hard-line Zionist Christian roots supporters. The tendency of some Christian fundamentalist missionaries to celebrate the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as an act of God, and rush to convert Muslims exacerbated the belief that American foreign policy was fulfilling a Christian fundamental agenda.

    Moving to the Tea Party we see Judson Philips its founder says: ‘A majority of Tea Party members are not fans of Islam.’ Philip sent out an e-mail asking voters of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District to vote for Republican candidate Lynn Torgesson against Republican Keith Ellison because he is a Muslim.

    There are also Republican Senators in the Congress attacking Muslims and Islam. The Republican Senator Allen West considers Islam not a religion but a “theocratic ideology’ that is a threat to America.

    Republican presidential and Tea Party candidate, Newt Gingrich, in order to beg for the Jewish votes announced that the Palestinians are an invented people. He also called them terrorists.

    In all these battles against Islam Jasser Zohdi hadn’t participated in any of them. He just sided with the groups and sects attacking the religion of Islam and its Prophet. He even made several appearances on Fox News where he frequently bashed the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and any other group or individual whom “the network” has identified as suspect.

    The Council on American Islamic Relations is the rock which defends Muslims and their rights in America. Since its establishment in 1994 has worked to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America. Through media relations, government relations, education and advocacy, CAIR puts forth an Islamic perspective to ensure the Muslim voice is represented.

    We have seen the battles of CAIR through its history with the above mentioned groups and factions in order to mediate and advocate on behalf of Muslims and others who have experienced religious discrimination, defamation or hate crimes. We have seen how CAIR worked in order to protect and defend the constitutional rights of American Muslims, thereby supporting the rights of all Americans.

    Where were you jasser Zohdi in all these battles? You were running after your own career, your own interest, your own glory. You don’t care about Muslims’ interest or well-being, your goal is to please the hate mongers and bigots who happened to be also your sponsors. You don’t mind if your sponsors be Christian Conservatives, Christian Zionists, Right Wing, or Senators and governors belonging to such groups and sects – groups known by their enmity to Islam.

    A devout Muslim is not the one who stabs Muslims in the back by claiming that he has inside knowledge of radical Islam which allows him to validate and authenticate manufactured myths about Muslims and Islam.

    A devout Muslim is not the one who falsely labels mainstream Muslim American organizations as “subversive, disloyal proponents of a radical-Islam takeover.”

    A devout Muslim is not the one who supports the Islamophobic/Fox News attacks on the Ground Zero Mosque. A devout Muslim is not the one who validates GOP Rep. King’s hearing on American Muslim “radicalization.” And now Jasser Zohdi is back to play the fear of radical Islam card in smearing the Muslim American Society on Fox’s morning show for “coffee, smiles, fear, and terror.”

    As it shows, Jasser is interested in the material life and not the Hereafter. He forgets that the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement, and far better is the house of the hereafter for those who are god-fearing. Jasser has been swayed by ignorance and Satan made his sinful acts seem alluring to him. By attacking Islam under any pretext he destroys not but himself, yet he perceives it not.

    Now Allah opens for Jasser the gates of all good things, until in the midst of his enjoyment, He takes him in punishment, and here in the present life he will be plunged into destruction with deep regrets and sorrows. And on the Day of Resurrection before the Seat of his Lord he will bear his burdens on his back. His sponsors and hate monger supporters will avail him nothing. They will be standing beside him in humility to receive their punishment as well.

    Allah says in the Koran:

    That they may bear their loads complete on the Day of Resurrection, and some of the loads of those that they lead astray without any knowledge. O evil the load they bear (Al-Nahl, 25).

    What are you trying to do Jasser, fighting your Creator? It is His will that His religion prevails, and why not, He is always the Victor. Haven’t you read the following verse?

    Allah has written, “I shall assuredly be the victor, I and My Messengers.” Surely Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty (Al-Mujadilah, 21).

    Is Jasser Zohdi, fighting radical Islam? What is wrong with commendable radicalism? Do you understand the meaning of the word? I doubt very much! The word radical means: the most basic and important parts of something. Consequently, Radicalism means: belief in radical ideas and principles. In other words, radical Islam means: Living according to the principles of the Koran and the authentic teachings of the Prophet. And this is what most Muslims do. By sincerely following the principles of their religion, they spread piety and decency in any society they live in. They cause no harm to their non-Muslim neighbors or the constitution of the host country.

    Is Jasser Zohdi fighting fundamental Islam? What is wrong with commendable fundamentalism? Does Jasser understands the meaning of the word in the first place? I again doubt very much. The word fundamentalism means: the practice of following very strictly the basic rules and teachings of any religion. What is wrong with that? Most of the pious Muslims strongly adhere to the principles of their religion without harming the society they live in. Does this offend Jasser in any way?

    If we are talking here about Islamic radicalism or fundamentalism, then how about radical and fundamental Christianity which had already penetrated the American society like cancer.

    Muslim Americans and Muslims in general disown Jasser Zohdi for such glaring hypocrisy. It is hypocritical of him to talk on behalf of Islam when he doesn’t understand what Islam truly is! By pretending to have moral standards or opinions that he doesn’t actually have, he destroys not but himself, yet he perceives it not.

    In this connection I remind him of the Koranic verse which states the abode of hypocrites in the Hereafter. Allah will place them in the lower rank of Hell:

    Surely the hypocrites will be in the lowest reach of the Fire; thou wilt not find for them any helper (Al-Nisa’, 145).

    However, there is still hope for him if he repents, corrects and amends:

    Save such as repent (from hypocrisy), and make amends, and hold fast to Allah, and make their religion sincerely Allah’s; those are with believers, and Allah will certainly give the believers a mighty wage (Al-Nisa’ 146).

    Whether Jasser and those using him like it or not, Islam is going to prevail because it is the only religion that Allah will accept from His servants on the Day of Resurrection. Islam will spread in pagan societies like fire in hey because it is the last warning to mankind and the last Testament to people entire.

    To give just an example, in England the Sharia is now applied in several aspects of Muslims’ life.

    Regarding financial matters based on Sharia, more than 265 Islamic banks and other financial institutions are now operating in some 40 countries, with total assets that top $262 billion. Recently, Islamic banking has broadened its appeal well beyond the confines of faithful Muslims. Indeed, nearly one-quarter of all Islamic banking business is being transacted by non-Muslims.

    Because Islam is a true religion, people from every walk of life embrace it. Islam is the fasted growing religion in Europe and America. Now we have in America 7 million Muslims, a number that surpassed that of the Jews. The total number of Muslims in the world is dramatically increasing to reach one billion and five hundred million Muslims.

    I wonder what the groups of hate mongers and bigots I mentioned above are going to do about this huge increase in Muslims numbers but to stand dumbfounded! The more Islam is attacked the more it flourishes and propagates. Was it not that Islam started strange and weak? One weak man with a divine Message confronted alone thousands of his enemies! They persecuted him and tortured him. But Allah was there always with him. He supported him, and made people gather around him. In the end Allah defended His religion and made His Prophet victorious over his enemies. So Allah makes clear the signs to His servants; haply they will reflect.

  • AJ

    signed it.

  • Pingback: Robert George Refuses to Explain Funding Anti-Muslim Extremists | Spencer Watch()

  • NurAlia

    Even if my signature made a difference…I wouldn’t sign it.

    If Mr Jasser wants to make himself a lap dog for the political rightists in America…let him…good luck and happyines to his endevor.

    To me, he would make the organization he belongs to illegitimate…which I think is the point of those who are offering him the posistion. These people are not interested in religious freedom, they are interested only in the undermining of alternative ideologies, in order to promote thier own.

    Remember that Mr Jasser…and alot of what these people promote outside of the US is pretty much rubbish. Let the bootlicker have his job.

  • Zakariya Ali Sher

    Heh. Funny that you should mention that, because Colombia in particular was originally settled by Andalucíans. In fact the entire region was once named Nueva Granada. Bolívar himself was of Andalucían, Canario and Basque stock, and I’ve known quite a few Colombians who could pass for Arab or Berber.

    Of course, by that same token, I should point out that Latin America has had considerable Arab immigration since the arrival of the Spanish centuries ago. Most of them are of Lebanese or Syrian descent, and Christian, having arrived in the 19th century. In recent years there have been increasing numbers of Muslims arriving, especially from Palestine. Shakira is of Arab descent, as are Carlos Slim, Carlos Menem and Salma Hayek. In Colombia there are probably close to a million people of Arab descent. Argentina has some 3 or 4 million. And Brazil actually exceeds all of those countries (and many Arab states) with an estimated population of 15 million.

    That said, “Arab” identity is pretty fluid in Latin America. Many of the immigrants in the 19th century arrived before al-Nahda and the pan-Arab movement, so many still think of their ancestors as “Syrian,” “Lebanese,” “Palestinian,” “Egyptian,” “Iraqi,” or such. Most of them are Christian, specifically Catholic, like the majority of the population. Arabs were universally considered “white” in Latin America, and their names and skin color blended in with the earlier Spanish and Portuguese arrivals. And they arrived generations ago.

    The result is that there has been very little sense of “Arab” identity in Latin America. Most “Arabs” in Latin America come from mixed families, and many of them do not speak Arabic even at home. There aren’t even really “Arab” neighborhoods in many areas, even with a large Lebanese population. About the only trace of “Arab” identity for many people are certain ethnic foods, music and holidays. Just an interesting observation I’ve noticed.

  • corey

    I think I saw that movie I remember it was about bob being a big “miles gloriosus” in the same vein as captain qwark from ratchet and clank and just brags about fighting for all who are oppressed when in reality he works for oppressors and is paid alot of money by them to demonise those who actually do, and he has a band of other people who share his apathy for anything remotely close to being a decent person. lets see there is his wife who was kicked out of a tribe of sirens because her voice made people kill themselves instead of tempting them to come closer, a human who would make up stories about being an elf and would claim that they would do things like have displays of organs of the people they killed, another of his merry band that would finance them was an evil queen who would demolish homes of malnurished families and hold feasts right in front of them after doing so as if to say “karma for being poor” I forgot the other merry band but they had armies of idiots who would spew the most inhumane things at those that didnt support crusader bob and put in laws that 5 + 5= 0 and that books had to be read upside down, I only remember the ending of the movie in which otacon and snake helped yuna summon eddie riggs and his army of headbangers,shizuo heiwajima said to be the strongest man in ikebukuro, rukia kuchiki from soul society,urdnot wrex, master chief, and erza from the fairy tail magic guild all went in and fought crusader bobs merry band and his army of idiots and won quite easily, and from there bill and ted with there queens ruled the kingdom in what was called the age of awesomness where fairness and justice reigned and a cardinal rule would be followed from time to come “be excellent to eachother”. now you might ask “what happened to bob and his merry band” well seeing an age where being a decent person and not treating people like crap because of either there race, religion or social standing they opened a portal to another world as well and came to another world and its implied in the film its our world so this is the possible origin of the so called “freedom fighters” and the merry band of misfits that haunt our internet today.

  • Solid Snake


    Heh! Dont you get it? These surnames and even the looks are remnants of our once vast International Muzlamic Empire! We took over your lands and did as we pleased! Why isnt this in the history books? Naturally, the liberals and dhimmis are trying to cover it up. Its only a matter of time before the MUZLIMZ establish another empire! Robert Spencer stars as Crusader Bob in this summers action blockbuster ‘MUZLIM Or DIE’ Rated R, coming to theaters near you …:/

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