Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We Need More Zuhdi Jassers

By Rob Foxdale, Jan 05, 2011
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is President of the
American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Recently, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser has been criticized for suggesting that Islam may one day be reformed into a religion which can peacefully coexist with other religions. He has explained that a Muslim religion can exist apart from the political ideology of Islamism. (Muslim vs. Islamist) Similar to America’s separation of church and state, this reformed version of Islam would adhere to a separation of mosque and state.  
Critics of this idea have insisted that Dr. Jasser is actually undermining the fight against radical Islam. They accuse him of slowing America’s response to radical Islam by giving false hope to Americans that a peaceful solution may be attainable with Islamists.
The question these critics fail to address is this: How will Americans ever achieve public support for the use of force against Islam without an ongoing discussion of possible peaceful alternatives?
These critics insist that America merely needs to ‘wake up’ to the threat of Islam. They claim that once enough Americans are made aware of the intentions of Islamic jihadists, they will simply urge politicians to use force as necessary.
But most Americans don’t lack knowledge of the threat of Islamism, they lack the will to stand up to it.
If the solution to combating the threat of Islamic jihad was merely to make Americans aware that it is happening right here in America, then we would have had overwhelming public outcry against Islam on 9/11. Instead, nearly ten years later, despite more frequent Islamic threats and a more educated public, the majority of Americans still believe it is wrong to even criticize Islam. They lack the will to fight because the enemy is not clearly defined in their minds. When any action against Islamism is suggested, the usual reply is: “Oh, you are over-reacting. After all, it’s only a few small radical groups, right? Most Muslims are ‘moderate’ so don’t let a few bad ones make you over-react against all Muslims.”
Thus, any harsh criticism of Islam is met with accusations of ‘islamophobia’ or ‘bigot’. The politically correct American mind slams shut when they believe all Muslims are being lumped together. Imagining an America where each and every Muslim is a threat is not realistic to Americans. To most, the facts just don’t support such claims. Americans will not support forcible actions against Islamists until they feel all options have been weighed and all peaceful means exhausted.
Surely, there must be some good Muslims, right?
Is there an actual difference between moderate and radical Muslims? Great question. Can a ‘peaceful Islam’ ever exist or is it too much of a contradiction to the very foundations of Islam? Can the Qur’an be ‘carved up’ to eliminate passages which encourage violence? These are great questions too... And all of these great questions would have remained deep in obscure blogs, Facebook pages and Tweets if Dr. Jasser had not brought the debate of a reformed Islam to the mainstream media.
As a Muslim, a respected physician and a former U.S. Navy officer, Dr. Jasser’s comments on shows such as Fox News, CNN, Hannity, and The O’Reilly Factor have caused many Americans who were once closed-minded to any criticism of Islam to instead keep an open and active mind regarding the possibility of a reformed, non-political Muslim religion. Thus, advancing the discussion instead of shutting down ‘politically correct’ minds. Many Americans feel it is improper and disrespectful to challenge the beliefs of Islam, so even if such a clear separation of Muslim vs. Islamists is unrealistic and unattainable, Dr. Jasser is causing the subject to be advanced and explored by those who would not otherwise consider such arguments. Can it happen one day? Can Islam be reformed? Maybe. Maybe not. But at least this discussion is now taking place in the mainstream media and the enemy is becoming more clearly and accurately defined in the minds of Americans.
History has shown us that Americans will stand up against collectivism when it presents itself openly.  Dr. Jasser has helped lift the veil of Islamism and has openly identified its collectivist ideology by a more precise and more easily understood term – political Islam. In the past, this important distinction has been almost non-existent in the mainstream media and thanks to Dr. Jasser’s efforts, - whether spot-on or flawed, the discussion is now up and running.

Copyright © 2011 Robert Foxdale