In contrast to CAIR and some of the more frequently quoted American Muslim groups, Jasser and AIFD do see a problem with radicalization within the Muslim world. They reject the reflexive cry of discrimination in response to fears of Islamist penetration of mosques, prisons, schools, and other institutions. "Our civil rights should be protected and defended," Jasser testified to the House Homeland Security Committee, "but the predominant message to our communities should be attachment, defense and identification with America, not alienation and separation."
Jasser insists upon the centrality of ideas. Most American Muslims are not radical, but the lures are plentiful. He compares himself with Major Nidal Hasan, the military psychiatrist who committed mass murder at Fort Hood. In so many ways, their lives were parallel, but Jasser became a profound American patriot and Hasan became a murderous traitor. The key, Jasser insists, is the poison of Islamism (political Islam) that has infiltrated the American Muslim world just as it has spread throughout the globe in the past 50 years. Supported by petro dollars and disseminated through the North American Islamic Trust and the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, among other organs, Islamism alienates young American Muslims from their country by teaching that their first loyalty is as citizens of the "umma" (the Islamic community).
"(Hasan) did not go to sleep one night a normal, compassionate, patriotic Constitutional American Muslim military psychiatrist and wake up the next day a barbaric radical wanting to viciously murder his fellow soldiers," Jasser testified. His mind and character were distorted by Islamism.
Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes has said, "The problem is radical Islam. The solution is moderate Islam." Most nonMuslim Americans are not in a position to affect the ideological struggle that is going in within Islam. The battle must be waged by groups like the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
But there are things we can do. We can stop enabling the most destructive voices within the American Muslim world by pretending that they speak for American Muslims. We can stop indulging the fiction that concern about Islamic radicalism amounts to anti-Muslim discrimination. And we can do everything possible to support and honor those, such as Zuhdi Jasser, who are manfully battling the forces of darkness.
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