Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser denied State Department post.
Fifteen months ago, an anti-Islamist Muslim named Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser was nominated to join the State Department’s Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. As a devout Muslim who has courageously confronted the Muslim Brotherhood networks in America, there could be no better choice. However, Jasser went through an arduous screening process only to be unexpectedly denied by the Obama administration.
Dr. Jasser is the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, an anti-Islamist activist group that promotes a version of Islam compatible with American values. He served in the U.S. Navy for 11 years and rejects any justifications for terrorism. He was the narrator for “Third Jihad,” the hit documentary that has educated countless Americans about the Islamist threat. For this, he has been criticized by the Muslim Brotherhood fronts like the Council on American-Islamic Relations that he fearlessly confronts. Congressman Keith Ellison accuses him of playing into the hands of anti-Muslim haters just to make money.
“[We] advocate for the ideas of gender equality, genuine religious pluralism, and an unwavering preference of the secular state and a secular law over the Islamic state among other central ideas in modernity,” his organization’s website says.
He testified during Rep. Peter King’s hearings on the lack of cooperation from the Muslim community in rooting out extremism. He also sits on the board of the American Islamic Congress, an organization with over 2,000 supporters in the U.S. and a $780,000 annual budget. The moderate Muslim group rejects Sharia-based governance and advocates separation of mosque and state. It has started four university chapters to compete with the Muslim Students Association, a Muslim Brotherhood front, and has even opened up an office in Egypt. One program is called “No Buts” and it encourages Muslims to reject any rationalization for acts of terrorism.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recognized Jasser’s importance in the ideological struggle and nominated him for the State Department’s U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. He went through a seemingly endless series of interviews and paperwork submissions, successfully passing each stage and receiving a top-secret security clearance. This 15-month process has finally come to an end with Jasser simply being told that he has been “removed from consideration.” Senator Jon Kyl says that “the Obama administration has chosen to sideline Dr. Jasser.”
It is puzzling that the Obama administration would deny Dr. Jasser the spotlight. His family came to America from Syria, drawn to our country’s freedom and opportunity. He joined the U.S. military and is a successful doctor. The only plausible explanations are that this is payback for his criticism of the administration and that his Muslim Brotherhood foes used their ties to the administration to block his nomination.
It makes sense that the Islamist networks in America would want to marginalize Jasser. He threatens their hold on the Muslim-American community and for the first time, they face competition. Gallup conducted a poll recently that found that only 24% of Muslim-American men and 19% of Muslim-American women feel represented by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Islamic Circle of North America. Nearly half of Muslim-American adults oppose mosque involvement in politics. This means there is a wide opening for someone like Jasser to threaten the Muslim Brotherhood network’s support.
It is not easy for anti-Islamist Muslims like Dr. Jasser to put themselves out front. As Jamie Glazov recently wrote, an Iraqi-American in St. Louis who wrote an Arabic poem about the horrors of the Holocaust and his affection for the Jewish people was assaulted on August 14. His was called an infidel, stabbed and had a Star of David carved into his back. The FBI informant whose information foiled the planned attack on Fort Dix has been rejected by his Muslim community because he “betrayed a brother.”
A poll from 2007 shows that 28 percent of Muslim-Americans do not believe Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks and 32 percent refused to answer or were unsure. More than half do not believe the War on Terror is a “sincere effort to reduce terrorism.” Journalist Ronald Kessler has reported on the difficulties FBI agents have had in winning cooperation from parts of the American-Muslim community because “it’s part of their culture that they want to settle the problem within their own communities.” One FBI agent told him how a Muslim group would not take a photo with the FBI director because of the backlash its leader feared.
It is more important than ever that the State Department calibrate its role in countering the Islamist ideology. The Arab Spring is allowing the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists to rear their ugly heads and make their cases to the masses. The West needs friends like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser to stand up to them. By inexplicably denying Jasser, the Obama administration has done the Islamists a favor.