Archive for Zuhdi Jasser

Report On “Rescuing Human Rights” Conference at UC San Diego

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by loonwatch

tritons-4-israel

Tikkun Olam has an update to the Stand With Us “rescuing human rights” event, where bigots such as Zuhdi Jasser were invited and human rights was discussed by casting Islam as the opposite of ‘human rights’:

My impression is that SWU has launched a crafty but potentially risky plan to engage on human rights issues and they have selected Islamophobia as the main avenue of approach, telling graphic stories of Islamic-based abuses of human rights.

REPORT ON “RESCUING HUMAN RIGHTS” CONFERENCE AT UC SAN DIEGO

Davey, a long time member of the Tikun Olam reader community, lives in San Diego and attended theRescuing Human Rights program hosted by StandWithUs at UC San Diego this week.  I wrote about the eventbefore it occurred.  His report is below:

Stand With Us and Tritons for Israel presented “Rescuing Human Rights” on Wednesday evening May 15th at the University of California San Diego.  Moderated by Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, the panelists included Brooke Goldstein, a human rights attorney, Zuhdi Jasser, described as a “devout Muslim” and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and last and least, Avi Bell, Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law and at Bar-Ilan University, an expert on the laws of war.

There was no organized counter demonstration, but three armed police were visibly at the ready.  On entering the auditorium, signs reminded attendees that placards and uncivil behavior would not be tolerated.  The early attendees were an older crowd, about one-half over 60 I would guess.  These attendees arrived largely as couples or families and form perhaps the loyal backbone of the local “Stand With Us” organization.

The evening began with a harangue by the moderator about the many instances of human rights violations worldwide that are not reported or investigated by certain human rights agencies, including the UN.  The list of horrors was long and graphic.  Stephens stated several times that these agencies were derelict except in the case of “one state.”  He went on to distinguish between “real” human rights abuses and the human rights issues in Israel, though the distinction was lost on me.

Jasser’s theme was that religion is an individual thing and that governments should get out of the way.  He claimed that he was freer to practice Islam in the US than in many Islamic states and that such states are dominated by Sharia law, law dispensed by clerics.

Bell emphasized that the self-appointed guardians of Human Rights are simply not doing their jobs.  He explained that private land transactions–an Arab selling his land to a Jew–is a capital crime in the West Bank and that such a law is plainly anti-Semitic.  Yet such legal restrictions on the buying and selling of land are very much on the books in Israel! Are these laws anti-Semitic, as well?  Amnesty International was faulted for finding “facts tailored to their agenda.”  One might object to such a claim by responding that, even so, they nonetheless have facts.

Finally, Ms. Goldstein offered a vivid description of the abuse of children by Islamists, teaching children the glory of martyrdom and stuffing them into suicide belts.  We should be aghast that the rights of these children are not protected and advanced.  She asked why the human rights agencies aren’t focused on these abuses.

The arguments made, the ideas broached, seem almost inconceivable to me given the sponsorship of the meeting by the State of Israel (Stand With Us.)  And that is the point:  Israel would love to change the nature of the human rights discourse, and the evening was indeed devoted to that purpose.  Yet, how can a State so utterly deficient on the subject, suddenly come to sponsor human rights events?  It is a brazen concept, even insulting.

The risk of opening debate on human rights is so severe for Israel, that one might think they would not want to take it.  Apparently, they are so bedeviled on these matters, they must feel they have nothing to lose!  But, every argument offered by the panel was specious and easily-deflated.  For example, a listing of unreported, unrecognized human rights abuses worldwide does not relieve Israel of its own culpability.  Any parent surely comes to know that the child caught doing wrong will attempt to divert blame by pointing to a sibling or a neighbor and their yet more horrendous deeds.  All parents learn to discount these transparent efforts. Yet, here it is again.  Israel’s accountability is not diminished one bit by the sins of other states.  And Jasser’s call for separation of Church and State would not play well in the Jewish State where rabbinical organizations and religion in general is State-sponsored.

Ms. Goldstein, however, was particularly smug and self-righteous in her condemnations of the Islamist abuse of children as suicide bombers, human shields, and warriors.  Here, too, the bubble is easily popped:  During Q & A, I asked, via notecard, that inasmuch as her specialty is the violations of children’s human rights, would she comment on the abuse of the 300 children killed in operation Cast Lead?  She backed away from the question, reiterating that we can agree that it is not right for Islamic children to be abused, which I took as a plea of nolo contendre. Bell, however, offered a heated response rooted in the fiction of human shields and the rules of “war” etc.  (Of course, Cast Lead was only war from the Israeli point of view as there was no actual other side, just a civilian population subjected to F-16’s and tanks!  War?  More like murder.)  Bell’s remarks were greeted with some perfunctory applause, all of it from the front section of older people, the neatly attired old guard who arrive early and fill up the first rows.

The mention of the 300 children, a fact that I cannot escape and I do not let others escape, did cast a pall, if only for the moment, over the proceedings and crashed whatever silly hope the organizers might have had that perhaps nobody would rub their collective noses in Israel’s abundantly terrible record.  Given this moment, I stalked dramatically out of the auditorium unnoticed by anyone.

My impression is that SWU has launched a crafty but potentially risky plan to engage on human rights issues and they have selected Islamophobia as the main avenue of approach, telling graphic stories of Islamic-based abuses of human rights.  The program should crash in any open forum precisely because the record in Israel is so well-known and documented by the very agencies they assault.  So, the preacher only preaches to the converted, the old-guard.

The attempt to hide the sins of Israel behind other outrages worldwide servesonly to open the door to discussion of Israel’s crimes. If SWU cannot animate new, sophisticated individuals, it is just spinning its wheels.  Let them spin:  If this is the best they can muster, I am that much more assured that I am on the right side of things here and that they will not win many young hearts and minds by this approach.  The discussion offered no insight or perspective, and is in this sense just as vapid and hypocritical as anything from Dershowitz, Oren, and the rest of the Israel gang out there.  Human rights will not be advanced or “rescued” by a paid charade such as this.

UC San Diego Students Need to Protest the “Stand With Us” Destroying Human Rights Conference

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by loonwatch

tritons-4-israel

An update to this story. It is confirmed that certain anti-Muslim hate-mongers will be involved. Muslims and their partners on campus need to protest this, as Richard mentions a good part of the $20K or so being spent to secure these speakers,

…comes from student fees, meaning that all students, including those who are Muslim, are supporting this hate fest.

STANDWITHUS: DESTROYING HUMAN RIGHTS AT UC SAN DIEGO

by Richard Silverstein (Tikkun Olam)

Thanks to Audrey Jacobs of StandWithUs, I’ve managed to confirm that the far-right Israel advocacy group is indeed sponsoring Rescuing Human Rights, and that the program will feature four controversial figures in the national anti-jihadi movement. This event is part of Israel Awareness Week on campus. This in turn is directly connected to Israel Apartheid Week held at the same time. One of SWU’s key missions is to take the pro-Israel message directly to those it considers enemies on campus. Getting in the face of campus Muslim or Palestinian groups is SWU’s stock-in-trade.

SWU has done us the favor of uploading three of the speaker agreements between Tritons for Israel and SWU indicating they’re paying Zuhdi Jasser $4,250 plus hotel and travel, and Brooke Goldstein $3,500 plus expenses. The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens is being paid $8,500 plus expenses.  Avi Bell, who teaches law at the Catholic institution, the University of San Diego may be speaking gratis.  That’s well north of  $20,000 if you include speaker expenses and rental of Price Theater, where the event will be held.  A good part of this comes from student fees, meaning that all students, including those who are Muslim, are supporting this hate fest.

The SWU promotional material notes the “inspiration” for the title and substance of the event supposedly comes from a Wall Street Journal column Stephens wrote, The Decline of Human Rights.  One of the key “bright ideas” in the piece is that there are “too many” human rights.  By allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry to claim their rights have been abused, we’ve cheapened the principle.  It’s something akin to the argument that there are too many sex discrimination or rape claims made in courts because every woman has come to see them as her meal ticket.  Yup, pretty damn offensive.

After reviewing the piece, it seems to me that Stephens filched some of his ideas from, and that the title for the UCSD event comes from the Henry Jackson Society essay, Rescuing Human Rights, which I referred to inyesterday night’s post.

In order to bolster Zuhdi Jasser’s Muslim bona-fides, SWU calls him a “devout” Muslim.  In fact, Jasser’s own promotional material make this claim.  I wouldn’t trust his claims as far as I could throw ‘em unless they were independently verified.

SWU and like-minded anti-jihadi pro-Israel groups are quick to point out the supposed international Muslim conspiracy to topple western civilization and replace it with a caliphate or Sharia law (depending on which anti-Muslim extremist you talk to). What few people are noticing is that there is a similar coordinated international pro-Israel campaign financed and directed in large part by the Israeli government. Though the pro-Israel cabal at times maintains its own initiative, funding and agenda.

This is far more than lobbying. It’s much more akin to the surreptitious surveillance and flacking for war against Iran which I described in my posting about the work on which Shamai Leibowitz and I collaborated. In the current case, we can call this an all-out campaign to legitimize Israel and in the process delegitimize anything or one that stands in the way.

The May 15th conference is a perfect example. Human rights are a terrific thorn in the side of Israel. If SWU and HJS can redefine and defang the contemporary concept of human rights then Israel will once more be able to stand tall in the international community. In fact, this program doesn’t “rescue human rights.” It destroys human rights as a robust principle for reining in the worst excesses of authoritarian regimes. If conferences like this “rescue” anything it’s state-sponsored torture (see last night’s post) and murder (seemy critique of John Brennan’s apologia for targeted killing and dronicide).

The premise of the pro-Israel anti-jihadis is that western civilization is at war with Islam (they claim only “radical Islam,” but make little or no distinction between the two). In such a war, there must be a no-holds barred approach to terror, since the Islamists know the weaknesses in our system and exploit it to their advantage. That’s why we need to emulate Israel and kill and torture more bad guys. There’s only one way to stop them. By being tougher and meaner than they are. That’s why human rights as currently defined are not only expendable, but inimical to the SWU anti-jihadi world view.  So bring on torture, bring on targeted killings as long as they get the bad guys–except when they miss and get a few of the innocents.  But can any Muslim truly be innocent?

Returning to pro-Israel flackery, some of my pro-Israel readers are fond of pointing out that lobbying is as American as apple pie. Indeed it is. But Israel’s activities and that of its “Amen choir” is more than lobbying. It’s no holds barred pull out all the stops advocacy. It skirts the bounds of propriety and even legality at times. It’s opaque, often mendacious, always slick and slimy.

StandWithUs, UC San Diego Pro-Israel Group, Host Anti-Muslim Conference

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by loonwatch

Zuhdi Jasser to speak on 'Muslim terror' at UC San Diego, May 15th (Seth Wenig/AP)

Zuhdi Jasser to speak on ‘Muslim terror’ at UC San Diego, May 15th (Seth Wenig/AP)

Zuhdi Jasser, who in a great feat of Orwellian irony was ridiculously appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), is now speaking on behalf of StandWithUs. It should come as no surprise that StandWithUs:

…manages an impressive stable of Zionist speakers, including several who are Arabs, Muslims, or ex-Muslims: Brigitte Gabriel, Ishmael Khaldi, Walid Shoebat, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Nonie Darwish.

These speakers are not only “Zionist” as described above, but also extremely “anti-Muslim” and “Islamophobic.” Add to that list, Zuhdi Jasser who will be joining “Stand with Us” for a conference titled, “Rescuing Human Rights.” It’s likely as concerned about human rights as Pamela Geller’s Jessica Mokdad ‘Human Rights’ Conference was:

STANDWITHUS, UC SAN DIEGO PRO-ISRAEL GROUP, HOST ANTI-MUSLIM CONFERENCE

by Richard Silverstein (Tikkun Olam)

Next week, StandWithUs and the UC San Diego pro-Israel student advocacy group, Tritons for Israel, will host a rather mysterious campus event.  According to a speaker contract SWU uploaded to the web in March, it is a conference called, Rescuing Human Rights, featuring the Wall Street Journal’s leading anti-jihadi columnist, Brett Stephens, necon legal scholar Avi Bell who was one of the Goldstone Report’s harshest critics, anti-jihadi “human rights” lawyer Brooke Goldstein, and the anti-jihadi Muslim activist Zuhdi Jasser.  He was the founder of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, and featured star of several Clarion Fund Islamophobic films including Obsession and Third Jihad.

Mid-May is Apartheid Week across many American campuses and the suitable pro-Israel response seems to be to host events accusing Muslims of being the dark forces of the universe.  That appears to be the origin of this pro-Israel campus event on May 15th.

Why is this so mysterious?  Because I can’t find any online record of this event.  I do know thanks to a tweet in his Twitter timeline that Zuhdi Jasser, at least, will be speaking on campus next week.  Jasser is the go-to figure for the pro-Israel neocon right whenever it needs a Muslim who excoriates other Muslims who aren’t sufficiently right-wing or patriotic.  He is a devout supporter of Israel and also supported the NYPD’s illegal surveillance of local Muslim community members.  Jasser also makes common cause with the Tea Party types and has publicly attacked Muslim Americans running for office as Democrats and engaged in Muslim baiting.  In short, Zuhdi Jasser is “our” sort of Muslim, a “moderate” one who can be counted on as a bulwark against the swarms of jihadist Muslims seeking to overrun western civilization.

StandWithUs’ speaker contract guarantees Jasser $4,250 for his May 15th campus appearance plus hotel and travel expenses. These fees will be jointly paid by SWU and Tritons for Israel. However, I found a UC San Diego student fund allocation for $4,280 for this event that went to Tritons for Israel. This may be funding Jasser or the other three speakers listed  Students at UDSD will be interested to know that their student fees are paying for an Islamophobic campus hate fest.

Interestingly, I’ve found no online reference to the event itself notifying anyone where or when it will be held.  I’m not even sure the conference for which funding was requested in April is still happening (though Jasser is certainly speaking).  My guess is the sponsors are trying to keep it under the radar so it won’t generate the off-campus visibility I’m trying to offer to it here. They’re probably trying to isolate the promotion to campus. But I hope the local Arab/Muslim community will find out about this shandeh and turn out en masse to let the community know that it won’t stand still and allow Islamophobes define them.

In researching this post, I discovered that another ersatz pro-Israel human rights group, the UK’s Henry Jackson Society has held confabs featuring the same name for the past few years. They’ve also produced an essay by that name, written by a pro-Israel Tory solicitor arguing that international human rights law as practiced in Europe is fahrkochteh and should be scrapped. Of course, what especially irks him is that Israeli generals and politicians with blood on their hands may be arrested and indicted for war crimes if they step foot on British soil.  This is yet another example of the international nexus of pro-Israel advocacy groups who take cover under the guise of human rights, but whose agenda is serving as a promoter of Israel’s nationalist agenda and an apologist for its faltering human rights record.

For more on Brigitte Gabriel, see: Brigitte Gabriel: A Case Study in Sincere Hypocrisy

For more on Walid Shoebat, see: Walid Shoebat

For more on Khaled Abu Toameh, see: Khaled Abu Toameh: Obsession for Hate

For more on Nonie Darwish, see: Nonie Darwish: Caught in a Pool of Lies

Zuhdi Jasser: Shill For Islamophobes Resorts to Projection and Deflection

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Zuhdi Jasser, the useful tool of Islamophobes everywhere has faced increasing and sustained opposition to his appointment to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The USCIRF was, as the ACLU reported, created and guided by ‘special interests’ and has a history of deep anti-Muslim bias,

[S]ince its inception, the commission’s been beset by controversy. People who watch the commission closely say it was created to satisfy special interests, which has led to bias in the commission’s work. Past commissioners and staff have reported that the commission is “rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism.” They’ve said that commissioners focus “on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background.” In particular, past commissioners and staff reported ”an anti-Muslim bias runs through the Commission’s work.”

In this context it is not surprising that a Zuhdi Jasser should be appointed. However, the biased nature of the USCIRF does not take away from the very troubling aspects of Jasser’s appointment, no US governmental organization should be used and abused in this manner.

What is interesting this time around is that all pretense to objectivity has fallen and the ‘work’ of the USCIRF will forever be tainted.

A petition calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment has received nearly 3000 signatures, (I urge everyone to sign it and pass it along. We need to be more active than the hate-mongers!)

In response to the large push back against the biased nature of the USCIRF and Jasser’s appointment, Jasser is trying to hit back, smearing everyone who sheds light on his alliance with hate-mongers and anti-Freedom positions as evil, fifth-column “Islamists.”

Classic case of projecting while deflecting

On the only medium that will let Jasser spew his fact-less innuendo unopposed, i.e Right-Wing media such as “The Daily Caller,” Jasser  says,

“You could actually use the list of people protesting us, it’s a pretty good list of some of the leaders of the Islamist movement in America.”

No surprise here, what else do you expect from the main protagonist of what has been lampooned as a bigoted, fear-mongering anti-Muslim film: The Third Jihad.

The article, written by one Caroline May goes on to claim that,

Last week 64 Muslim organizations — including Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) — expressed “deep concern” with Jasser’s appointment in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

The only problem for May and Jasser is that it wasn’t only Muslim organizations (or ‘Islamists’ as they would have it) but also non-Muslim organizations calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment. It was a veritable coalition of Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious organizations:

More than 50 Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious groups asked leading senators on Thursday (April 12) to rescind the appointment of an outspoken Muslim activist, Zuhdi Jasser, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

But facts, those pesky things, why let them get in the way right? So, Jasser goes on to say,

Jasser contends, however, that the real enemy of religious freedom is the coalition of groups opposing him.

Classic projection and deflection. Instead of answering the very real concerns leveled against him, Jasser clams up, hoping the “Islamist” label will stick on his opponents and that the attention will subside.

To this day Jasser has not answered the following very specific concerns expressed by those dismayed that he would even been considered for the USCIRF:

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.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.” 

Jasser deflects from the above points and questions about his sordid relationship with those who undermine religious freedom here in the US because his real purpose is to be a shill for the Right-Wing propaganda machine.

Articles like the one in the Daily Caller are not meant to inform or provide analysis, but are geared specifically to justifying Right-Wing and Conservative causes. The Conservative audience is expected to swallow them whole and regurgitate it to the rest of the sheep, preserving and securing the echo chamber.

ACLU: A Look at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on April 17, 2012 by loonwatch

 

The ACLU goes into even more detail about the problematic history of the USCIRF and the recent appointments of Zuhdi Jasser and Robert George.

A Look at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

In 1998, Congress created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to draw attention to violations of religious freedom in other countries. The commissioners vote annually to list countries that are of particular concern or place others on a watch list of countries that should be monitored closely for religious freedom violations.

But, since its inception, the commission’s been beset by controversy. People who watch the commission closely say it was created to satisfy special interests, which has led to bias in the commission’s work. Past commissioners and staff have reported that the commission is “rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism.” They’ve said that commissioners focus “on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background.” In particular, past commissioners and staff reported ”an anti-Muslim bias runs through the Commission’s work.”

The commissioners’ personal biases have led to sharp divides both within the commission and with the State Department, which it is supposed to advise. One expert calls the commission’s relationship with the State Department “adversarial,” and “not conducive to effective dialogue, let alone cooperation.” And the divisiveness within the commission itself is obvious, ranging from how it dealt with when a policy analyst claimed her contract with the commission was cancelled because she was Muslim to its most recent report in which five commissioners voted to include Turkey on the list of countries of particular concern (alongside a few others like China and North Korea) over the strong objections of the four other commissioners.

Given the commission’s history of letting the commissioners’ personal biases drive its agenda, in light of recent appointments, it seems especially relevant to look at what two new commissioners have done.

First, Zuhdi Jasser. He is highlighted in a recent report that describes a network of Islamophobia “misinformation experts,” as someone who “validate[s] and authenticate[s] manufactured myths about Muslims and Islam.” His organizationlauded a statewide ban on Sharia law, which was later overturned by federal courtsbecause it was blatantly discriminatory and singled out one faith for official condemnation. He has tried to justify the so-called “radicalization” theory, which conflates First Amendment-protected practices with involvement in terrorism. He narrated the film shown on a continuous loop at an NYPD training facility that says American Muslim leaders cannot be trusted and “Muslim extremists are attempting to ‘infiltrate and dominate America.’” And when it came to light that the NYPD had conducted constitutionally suspect surveillance of the Muslim community in New York and other states, he commended the department’s actions.

Second, Robert George. George also has ties to the Islamophobia industry. He sits on the board of the Bradley Foundation, which the Center for American Progress reportedprovides funding to organizations that advocate for anti-Islam or anti-Muslim agendas.

But he is better known for his advocacy against the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. He helped author the failed federal marriage amendment that would have amended the U.S. Constitution to enshrine discrimination against gay and lesbian couples by limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. He helped start the National Organization for Marriage, which advocates for discriminatory state constitutional amendments on marriage and keeping the so-called Defense of Marriage Act on the books. Throughout his career, George has written about religious liberty; but when he works to enshrine one religious view of marriage over another while some religious faiths and denominations have decided, based on their own religious teachings, to sanction marriage of same-sex couples, he harms this very principle.

Religious freedom means that people of all faiths are able to live and worship without suspicion that they are being targeted by their government and that the law should not be used to promote one set of religious beliefs over others. We hope the commission will be able to condemn these sorts of actions and not be sidetracked by commissioners’ personal agendas.

Learn more about religious freedom: Sign up for breaking news alertsfollow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Opposition Grows to Religious Freedom Nominee, Zuhdi Jasser

Posted in Loon People, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Zuhd Jasser does not belong on the USCIRF, sign the petition:

Muslim opposition grows to religious freedom nominee

By Lauren Markoe| Religion News Service, Published: April 12 (The Washington Post)

More than 50 Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious groups asked leading senators on Thursday (April 12) to rescind the appointment of an outspoken Muslim activist, Zuhdi Jasser, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Jasser, a Navy-trained physician, is decrying the effort – and others to oust him from the independent watchdog panel – as a “smear tactic.”

A separate online petition that began circulating last week, also asking for his ouster, has garnered more than 2,000 signatures.

“Their letter is patently dishonest, deceptive, and continues their unprofessional unbridled smear campaign against anyone who chooses to take on Islamic reform against Islamist ideologies and groups regardless of whether we are observant traditional Muslims,” Jasser wrote in an email to Religion News Service.

The signatories to the letter, sent to three key senators, argue that Jasser’s rhetoric and activism contribute to a culture that treats Muslims as suspects, and that he would subvert the work of the bipartisan commission, which advises federal officials on the status of religious freedom abroad.

“His consistent support for measures that threaten and diminish religious freedoms within the United States demonstrates his deplorable lack of understanding of and commitment to religious freedom and undermines the USCIRF’s express purpose,” they wrote.

They cite Jasser’s effort to prevent the construction of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, his support for the New York Police Department’s spying on Muslim institutions, and his defense of anti-Shariah laws, which most Muslim civil rights groups say unfairly paint Muslims as anti-American.

Adam Serwer: Muslim Group Leader to NYPD: Thanks For Spying On Us

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by loonwatch

Excellent piece by Adam Serwer exposing Zuhdi Jasser.

Also see our articles: Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah and Zuhdi Jasser: ‘Please! Pretty Please Spy on Me!’

and: Zuhdi Jasser’s Astroturf Muslim Groups Behind Rally to Support NYPD Spying

Muslim Group Leader to NYPD: Thanks For Spying On Us

by Adam Serwer (MotherJones)

In early March, members of a Muslim group gathered for a press conference at Manhattan’s One Police Plaza to send a clear message to the New York City Police Department about its controversial surveillance program targeting Muslim Americans.

That message was: Thanks for spying on us.

“We are not here to criticize the NYPD,” declared Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), who was joined by House Homeland Security chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.), “but rather to thank them for doing the work that we as Muslims should be doing, which is monitoring extremism, following extremism, and helping counter the ideologies that create radicalization in our communities.”

Jasser later said in an interview that he wanted to provide an alternative voice to the criticism of the NYPD coming from Muslim and civil liberties groups. “We just wanted the media reports to finally show balance, that there’s diversity, that some Muslims don’t have a problem with this.” Several news reports described attendance at the event as light.

An Arizona physician and Navy veteran, Jasser has lately become the right’s go-to guy when it comes to providing cover for policies or positions that many Muslim Americans contend are discriminatory. When controversy over the so-called Ground Zero mosque erupted, Jasser, a frequent guest on Fox News, accused the builders of trying to “diminish what happened” on September 11, 2001. He has supported statewide bans on Shariah law in American courts and has helped bolster conservative warnings that American Muslims seek to replace the Constitution with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law. “America is at war with theocratic Muslim despots who seek the imposition of Shariah and don’t believe in the equality of all before the law, blind to faith,” Jasser testified during hearings held by King’s committee last year on homegrown terrorism. There he also supported conservative allegations that many American Muslim organizations—and particularly the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)—are Islamists seeking to “advance political Islam in the West.” Jasser sometimes refers to other Muslim organizations as “Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups.”