I’ve been less enthusiastic about Zuhdi Jasser than other foes of jihad terror, chiefly because his version of Islam is based neither on the Qur’an nor on Islamic tradition or history; there is no sect of Islam that teaches what he stands for, and so while I wish him success, it is unlikely in the extreme that he will gain a large following among Muslims. And when conservatives anxious to show that they are not “anti-Muslim” (which only shows that they are far more susceptible to the smear propaganda of Hamas-linked CAIR and its allies than they should be) give him a lavish platform, they only mislead Americans into thinking that he is representative of the perspective of most Muslims, which he certainly is not. This can foster complacency about the jihad threat.
Here is another example of how unrepresentative Jasser is among Muslims: his own account of how he was berated in public by an Arizona imam for the crime of denouncing Hamas. If the sentiments of Muslims in the U.S. were anything like what government and law enforcement officials and the media elites assume them to be, this imam would have been run out of town by his congregation, and a Zuhdiite imam put in his place. That didn’t happen.
Above is video of my debate with Jasser from a couple of years ago.
What happens in Syria, Egypt, Iraq or Gaza has an impact every day right here in the Valley.
Even in America, leading Muslim organizations and clerics bully with threats of ostracism those Muslims who dare to dissent. Old-guard ideologues, too, used to monopoly control, make it crystal clear to their Muslim critics: Take us on and we will make an example of you as a traitor to the Muslim community (the ummah).
On July 28, Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Fitr (Holiday of the Feast) marking the end of our holy month of Ramadan, a spiritual month of daily fasting from all food and drink. In Ramadan, we focus on scripture, self-reflection and atonement. My family and I attended the holiday Eid prayer service at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley of which we are longtime members.
Little did we know Imam Yaser Ali, a Valley attorney, would use this otherwise joyous family holiday occasion to target me in the presence of my wife and children.
With more than 500 local Muslims in attendance, he riled up the crowd, demanding a community “effort” against those Muslims “who go on Fox News and speak ill against our Muslim brothers and sisters … who make the mosques look bad.” These individuals, he said, “hate Islam” and “vilify Muslims.”
While Mr. Ali never had the courage to say my name, no doubt remained in the mosque, or later on social media, that he was referring to me. He finished his tirade with “they are not from amongst us … they don’t represent us; we, the Muslim community represent one another, and we care for our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”
Apparently, the Scottsdale mosque’s leadership decided, or at the minimum voiced no disagreement, that for Muslims this Ramadan it is not Hamas, al-Qaida, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood, or the evil regimes from Assad’s Syria to Iran or Saudi Arabia or even radicalized American jihadists in Syria that deserve targeting from the pulpit, but only a local, reform-minded activist — Zuhdi Jasser.
This imam meticulously described what he knows too well would garner me a death sentence as a munafiq (hypocrite), or murtad (apostate), for the crime of riddah (apostasy, treason) according to the interpretation of Shariah law accepted by Saudi Arabia and most Muslim-majority countries.
What was the crime prompting my metaphorical flogging in the presence of my wife, children and friends’ families on this holiday?
A few days earlier I had criticized the radicals of Hamas on national television for their supremacist Islamist doctrine hatched from the Muslim Brotherhood that daily and viciously oppresses the people of Gaza. I urged Hamas to stop the war mongering, refusal of cease fires, and launching of thousands of rockets that victimize Palestinian women, children and families, and I criticized CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations).
To Imam Yaser Ali that was worthy of takfir, a declaration of public apostasy. The mosque board and audience responded to his call to action against me, a Muslim he described as of “those who hate Islam,” with a resounding “inshallah” (God willing).
In the days to follow, local social media filled with subtle and not-so-subtle threats against me and my family from some rather prominent Valley Muslims.
While the venue was new, the mantra was a cheap rehash of the old, scorched-earth smear tactics peddled by the CAIR. Right after declaring me the enemy of all Muslims, Mr. Ali spoke of the so-called religious obligation to donate generously to CAIR. This was all reminiscent of the May 9, 2014, sermon, visiting CAIR-LA director Hussam Ayloush, who regularly takes to Twitter with other CAIR directors to call me an “Uncle Tom” and a “monkey,” gave across town at the Islamic Community Center of Tempe to slam me as an “Islamophobe.”…