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May 15, 2016 7:42 pm

American Islamic Reformer: Crucial to Provide Third Path for Palestinians Faced With ‘Fascist’ Fatah and Hamas

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. Photo: Raymond Hamlin.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. Photo: Raymond Hamlin.

“We have to tap into Muslims’ consciences and to tell them that they have an Islamic responsibility to protect the land that they live in, by countering the ideas that radicalize and hate the West. Among the Palestinians in Israel, It’s that much more important to empower reformists, because they have two extremes – Fatah and Hamas – each fascist in many ways, and there is no third pathway for rejecting both,” a prominent American Muslim said on Thursday.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith, made these comments while addressing a gathering of the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based think tank specializing in strategy and defense issues.

To hit his point home, Jasser said, “Contrast the Palestinians with the Kurds,” he said. “Why have the Kurds not been radicalized? Because the Kurdish identity has provided a secular fuel for comfort, which has never given space to the Islamist identity. The Palestinian identity has been hijacked by the Islamist radicals, which is why Palestinians living in Israel I’ve spoken to say they much prefer to live in Israel than in Hamas-controlled Gaza and the areas of the West Bank controlled by the Palestinian Authority. And why is that? Because there has been no effective Muslim counter-information offensive in those areas to tell Palestinians: ‘It is your fault, not the Israelis’, that you are in your current situation.’”

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In his talk — titled “Who Are the Real Blasphemers?” — Jasser said, “We have to find Muslims willing to fight to the death for ideas they don’t agree with,” referring to the famous quote by Voltaire’s biographer.

Jasser – a first-generation American whose parents fled the Baathist regime in Syria – has been working to “counter the narrative that theocrats have been dominating, and to acknowledge that Islam has a problem and that there is a problem within the house of Islam.”

A key element to this “problem,” according to Jasser – a frequent Fox News commentator, who is about to launch a podcast called “Reform This” on the Glenn Beck network — is the accusation of blasphemy against anyone who does not toe the line and ideology of radical imams. “But it is people who have rights, not ideas,” he said. “And sharia law is man-made, not a decree from God.”

Asked how his reform efforts in the United States, a democratic society with a legal system that safeguards free speech, can influence Muslims in the Middle East – in areas within and surrounding Israel — who are killed for holding “blasphemous” positions, Jasser acknowledged that it is an uphill battle.

“This is indeed a problem, because such people not only receive death threats, but actual attacks, and the police, because of impunity issues, don’t protect them.”

Jasser recounted participating in a panel with a Muslim professor at the University of Colorado who was tagged as a moderate: “He pounded his fist on the table and said, ‘I’m sick and tired of having to answer the question of whether terrorism is [inherent] in Islam! These are criminals; we have nothing to do with them.’ I responded, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself,’ I told him. ‘You’re living in the lap of freedom, and you think you have no responsibility to the legacy of your country here’ — because that threat is coming to America, just as it is surrounding Israel.”

As for the fear of death on the part of Palestinians and other Mideast Muslims who might otherwise be inclined to engage in such an offensive, Jasser concluded, “But they’re being killed anyway.”

Jasser, a specialist in internal medicine and nuclear cardiology from Phoenix, Arizona, is a former officer in the US Navy.

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  • Vicki

    Terrific discussion thank you everyone
    We all have our work to do for evil is on the rise and they are psychopaths

  • It is so encouraging to hear that there are brave people out there, like Dr Judhi Jasser, who understand fully that unless Muslims accept that the problem of radicalisation and widespread terrorism starts and ends with them, there will not be an end to the cycle of death and violence witnessed across the Middle East and other parts of the world.

    Proponents of multiculturalism and islamophobia are slowly waking up to the fact that these have been the vehicles of separation of communities, radicalisation and suppression of genuine critical enquiry of Islam. Let us hope that the moderate voices sing loud and clear over that of those who wish to turn the rest of the world back to the Dark Ages.

    • Abdul

      The “moderate” voices are of no help to us because they have no rapport within the Islamic religious community. In fact, the “moderates” are moderate only to the extent that they do NOT follow the sacred doctrines of Islam. Forget the moderates, and concentrate on the Islamic religious community whose sacred texts command them to kill us.

  • Michael Elofson

    Dr. Zuhdi Jasser seems like is a very nice person.

    However:
    “Why have the Kurds not been radicalized? Because the Kurdish identity has provided a secular fuel for comfort, which has never given space to the Islamist identity.”

    It’s easy: He misses the most important fact. The Kurds belong to a real ethnic group with a clear identity and old history.
    The “Palestinians” is an invented ethnic group.

    • HELENE MARKS

      At last someone who tells the truth, The concept of a Palestinian was created by Arafat in the 60’s prior to that there were only Arabs.

  • Michael Elofson

    Dr. Zuhdi Jasser seems like is a very nice person.

    However:
    “Why have the Kurds not been radicalized? Because the Kurdish identity has provided a secular fuel for comfort, which has never given space to the Islamist identity.”

    It’s easy: He misses the most important fact. The Kurds are a real ethnic group with a clear identity and old history.
    The “Palestinians” is an invented ethnic group.

  • nat cheiman

    I don’t believe this at all. Islam needs to change tack.

    • Abdul

      Islam cannot and will not change tack. The fundamental premise of Islam is that the Koran is Allah’s literal word. Even Jasser says that! This means that the Koran cannot change, and those commands to kill non-Moslems will always remain in the Koran as Allah’s literal words.

  • OBAMA, Kerry, Biden, EU, Ban Ki-moon, UN, UNHRC, France, Justin Trudeau read what Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy warns.

    It refreshing to hear a prominent Muslim speaking openly what the real problem in the Middle East and especially Israel and the PA is.

    • Abdul

      Unfortunately, Jasser does NOT speak openly about what the real problem is. The real problem is that the sacred texts of the Koran and Muhammad command Moslems to make war on the Jews and either subjugate them to Islamic rule or to kill them. Jasser will not tell you that because he wants you to think that Islam is basically good.

  • Theodore Crawford

    “Because there has been no effective Muslim counter-information offensive in those areas to tell Palestinians: ‘It is your fault, not the Israelis’, that you are in your current situation.’” The above statement in double quotes seems to be completely unacceptable to most Muslims, partly because radical leftists have propagandized the assertion that it IS Israel’s fault, and too many Muslims are listening and accepting.
    And how can anyone determine whether or not you’re spouting taqiyyah, Mr. Jasser?

    • al Sisi also and he knows better than most. He has already started (but gets hatred for it). Saudi should get in the game and someday Iran.

  • Robert Davis

    As to France enemy nr.1 of Israel it’s out of question to accept it as an honest broker which it is NOT evidently since it’s siding with “palestinians” for over 50 years since general dégueule(meaning vomit) was so mad against Israel after the latter defeated his arab friends in 1967 and started an embargo on arms against Israel and ever since France stood fircely against Israel. On top of that an broker must be accepted and invited by BOTH parties which is naturally NOT the case and the only reason why wants to start négociations and conférences is TO PUT INTERNATIONAL PRESSURES on Israel. This is of course not the part of an honest broker. Israel should therefore rject any proposition coming from an enemy such as France and its conséquences. All Israel wants from France is to get the hell out of its way.

  • Yale Rodman

    Doctor Jasser, who defies fear, threats and hatred from so many fellow Muslims, is a true American hero and a Great patriot!

    • Abdul

      He is not a hero by any stretch of the imagination. He is against the Muslim Brotherhood, which is great, but he tells people that Islam is basically good — which is very harmful because it prevents us non-Muslims from uniting against the Islamic enemy. After all, the Muslim Brotherhood is just following the Koran which is taught and preached in every mosque. Jasser never looks critically at the Koran or Muhammad. By telling people that Islam is basically good and can be reformed, he is deluding people. That is bad.

  • Yoshi

    Don’t fall for Dr. Jasser’s phony reformism. He is not a reformer because he spends all of his time speaking to non-Moslems and not to the people he is supposedly trying to reform. Worse, he awakens false hopes in ignorant non-Moslems that Islam can be reformed, and false hopes are dangerous. The sacred doctrines of Islam prohibit any reform, and religious Moslems know it. Even to advocate reform is to incur the charge of apostasy. In fact, the Islamic religious community considers Dr. Jasser to be just about an apostate precisely for that reason. One of the reforms that Dr. Jasser advocates, as the article mentions, is to consider Sharia law to be man-made law, but religious Moslems consider Sharia law to be Allah’s sacred law because it is based on the Koran which all religious Moslems consider to be Allah’s literal word. Dr. Jasser also passes himself off as a devout Muslim in order to get support from non-Moslems, but his religious community does not not consider him a devout Muslim by any stretch of the imagination. Dr. Jasser has no support in the Islamic religious community, no following. He has zero influence in that community, and therefore he is of no use to us in defending against the threat from Islam. Why should we waste our energy (and money) supporting him when can be of no use to us? His advocacy of Islamic reform is only empty words. He has no plan for reform. Worse, the false hopes he creates in ignorant non-Moslems that Islam can be reformed only prevent non-Moslems from concentrating on our Islamic enemies. The problem with Islam IS Islam as set forth in the Koran and the sayings of Muhammad — neither of which Dr. Jasser ever dares to criticize. He can do nothing for us.

    • There is a plan. I have heard from many supporters, And then there is al Sisi. Its the INTERPRETATION that has to change! IT IS BEING INTERPRETED WRONG by many human beings or ‘scholars’ throughout the ages (just look at how far MB Wahhabi or Irans interps, have strayed) Mohammad did not even want any of this made into book, for this reason. And Mohammad was not Jibral. Too much old dessert CULTURE got added. Its so easy to see.

  • Political Islam, not ordinary Muslim people, appears frustrated everywhere they are in a minority: by the Jews in Israel, the Christians in Europe, Buddhists in Myanmar, Yazidis in Iraq, Hindus in India & atheists in Bangladesh! They tend to be the “indigestible minority” in every country in which they are not in majority.
    As a political ideology, which Islam certainly is, with own social, political, economic and juridical systems, it should be liable to criticism and scrutiny as any other political creed it coexists with. But that is considered a crime, inviting death penalty! An if Muslims get offended as easily as they do when their world view is criticized, they must take a civilized recourse. If Islam gets offended and push the faithful to go trigger-happy, with Kalashnikovs, grenades and long knives that Faith is a menace, a massive problem, and it must reform. When India was parititioned on the basis of a two-nation theory(Hindus and Muslims) and Pakistan was created for Muslims for granting Muslim Indians a Faith-based nation to live in, many Muslims didn’t go and the so-called Hindu India established as a secular democratic republic which allows every non-Hindu not only to practice his faith, but also to propagate it! Now India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, with a Muslim identity issue, and Islamic terror too! The Indian experience has been that general Muslim populace almost all over the country was at least quietly supportive, if not openly happy, of terrorist acts against Hindu targets. In spite of a large majority of Muslims ignoring, condoning and even justifying terrorism, Indian in general would all like to believe that Islam is a Religion of Peace and that Islamic jihad terrorists are a tiny minority of extremists who are twisting and hijacking Islam’s peaceful teachings… a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. We wonder how long we can carry on with this pleasant fiction becaue IS flags are being waved in parts of the country!

  • The third path for Arabs is to revolt against the PLO and Hamas terrorist entities. No sane Arab desires to live in Hamas-occupied Gaza because its an Islamic dictatorship. The blame for the miserable living conditions in the PLO/Hamas-occupied territories lies solely with their incompetent and evil leadership.

  • Tony Trenton

    What ever Jasser has to say.Is only a coverup for the reality that Islam is a demonstrable ‘Cult of Death’.
    engendering psychopathic Suicide Murderers the world over.

  • Ephraim

    Jasser had better be careful or our president will issue a fatwa against him. If only there were more people like him, and they could actually start such a movement.

    • Abdul

      But there is no such thing as a reform movement in Islam because the sacred texts of Islam explicitly prohibit reform. Any would-be reformer has to disavow many commands of his god and his prophet. Even Jasser refuses to do that. He has no plan for reform.

  • Jay Lavine

    He’s telling the group he’s speaking to what they want to hear, but where is the real solution to the problem?

    He’s correct, of course, in stating that many Israeli Arabs do not want to be part of a state governed by the likes of Fatah or Hamas. But many do have grievances, some of which are legitimate. Does anyone doubt for one minute that Jerusalem would be off the negotiating table if the large majority of Arabs in the eastern part of the city demanded that they remain part of Israel? Had the infrastructure, such as schools, and the level of services been maintained at a sufficiently high level, I think that is indeed what would have happened.

    Israel needs to effect a unilateral peace agreement — with itself! It needs to make Fatah and Hamas irrelevant by making peace with its own Arab citizens. It needs to listen to the other instead of only blaming the other. It needs to be a Jewish state not in some ethnic sense but in the manner in which ancient Jewish communities ran their affairs — according to Torah values and inclusive with respect to non-Jews.

    Right-wing and left-wing ideologues who have largely abandoned the Jewish way of life and substituted their ideology, which has become an ideolotrous religion to them, are the problem. Judaism is the answer.

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