Archive for petition

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

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by loonwatch

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.

Sign This Petition: Say No to Bigotry and Lowes and Support ‘All-American Muslim’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on December 11, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from Patheos)

The following is a guest post for Sami H. Elmansoury.

As one proud American, I have frankly reached my pinnacle in the near-tacit acceptance of the rising tide of fear-mongering by un-American groups that are once again washing in the most heinous types of bigotry across our great nation. My now aging American grandfather proudly came to the United States in the late 1960s at the heels of war to seek liberty and freedom — things that he deeply cherishes until today. But his occupational purpose in being brought here was to help ensure that the United States beat the Soviet Union in the Space Race, by rocketing Neil Armstrong to the moon, as a brilliant engineer with NASA’s Apollo 11 mission. He was a patriot then, and he is a patriot now. And his love for country throughout the years has consistently fueled my own.

So as I learned of the success this past week of these fear-mongering groups in coercing our American companies [like Lowes] into taking bigoted stands [by withdrawing advertising from TLC’s “All-American Muslim], I helped to create this petition in order to say “enough is enough” and to bring back some sanity to our national conversation.  And what a remarkable day yesterday became. In just hours, we collected nearly 3,000 signatures — which will continue into next week — from Americans of ALL walks of life.

We have gained the stellar support of Congresspersons and Air Force personnel; we have had unsolicited outreach from conscientious leaders and citizens across our country, we have further isolated the bigots, and we have seen media presence from well-known activists such as Russell Simmons, who has pledged that his support and that of other influential figures will only increase in the coming days. We have even seen an apology – albeit one that lacked any reversal of the bigotry – from the Lowe’s corporate office.

As the petition states, “It is these same critics who have often touted the question: ‘Where are the mainstream Muslims?’” So when a television station seeks to portrays just that, one would think that these critics would have celebrated the effort, rather than have condemned it. Yet their reactions left no more proof necessary of their actual, bigoted, money-driven, and self-interested intentions as the most dangerous thing for many who oppose this show out of personal bigotry or out of egregious self-interest is to see a far-reaching portrayal of the reality and truth of average American Muslims: That they are human, are prone to normalcy, cherish liberty, and are working for the best interests of their respective communities. And that “danger” is the reasonable human being’s victory.

So if there was ever a moment to say “enough” to those who continuously question how “American” you, I, or your neighbor are – I believe that this can be it. Now is the time to throw un-American, hate-mongering bigotry back into the hole from which it disturbingly emerges every few decades. We are all in this together as Americans — whether we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist – whomever we are, and whatever belief system we espouse. And, while we must strive to protect the homeland, together, we are one country. Personally, I will continue to work throughout my life  to see that we remain that way.

This petition and the surrounding activism are only the beginning of an end, God willing, to this continuing absurdity. The next step will be upon our leaders, upon our politicians, upon our media, and upon all of us who continue to seek peaceful coexistence and American unity, to take back the microphone — and to put the bigots on notice.

For the outpouring of support seen yesterday, and for every day that I have lived on this Earth, I say God bless the only homeland that I have known — and God protect its freedoms and its values, for both our children, and for theirs.

To learn more about the petition protesting the advertising boycott against “All-American Muslim,” click here. To sign the petition, click here. [link fixed]

Sami H. Elmansoury serves Immigrant Rights Task Force for the Office of the Borough President of Manhattan and as an invited member of the Generation Change initiative for the United States Department of State.