Did the New York City Police Department use "terrible judgment," as Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, when it showed a documentary about Islamist extremists -- The Third Jihad -- to more than 1,400 officers undergoing counterterrorism training?
You might think so if you took your cues from a New York Times editorial calling the documentary a "hate-filled film about Muslims," or from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which declared that it "defiled our faith and misrepresented everything we stood for."
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser fervently disagrees.
Jasser is a former US Navy officer and a past president of the Arizona Medical Association. He is also an observant Muslim, a Wisconsin-reared son of Syrian immigrants deeply grateful for the freedom and tolerance his parents found in America. Ever since 9/11, he has been fighting the Islamist extremists whose goal is to destroy that freedom and tolerance.
"As a devout Muslim I saw it as my responsibility to expose the radicals," Jasser says in The Third Jihad, which he narrated. "I resented that they were exploiting the religion I love."
After al-Qaeda's murder of 3,000 Americans, Jasser recalls in the film, "I had expected to see Muslims in America taking to the streets and protesting against [Osama] bin Laden. Instead, in the years that followed, we saw many Muslim leaders standing up to defend or support the radicals." So he launched the American Islamic Forum for Democracy to defend American values, promote the separation of mosque and state, and expose the Islamist agenda behind certain influential Muslim organizations.
The best-known of those organizations, CAIR, describes itself as a civil-rights group. In reality it is anything but. Its founders were linked to the terror group Hamas and several of its officials have been convicted or deported on terrorism-related charges. In the Holy Land Foundation terror-funding trial, as former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former CIA Director Jim Woolsey recounted recently, CAIR was designated by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator. The Third Jihad shows news footage of CAIR's national legislative director refusing a reporter's request to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah. That is par for the course -- CAIR wouldn't even condemn bin Laden until more than two months after 9/11 -- and helps explain why the FBI severed its ties to CAIR.
Jeff Jacoby is an Op-Ed writer for the Boston Globe, a radio political commentator, and a contributing columnist for Townhall.com. href="http://www.townhall.com/Secure/Signup.aspx">Sign up today
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