images1.jpgZuhdi Jasser, a favorite ‘expert’ on Fox News, is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant who cloaks himself in the mantle of faithfulness to Islam while at the same time virulently attacking mainstream Islamic principles, Muslim scholars and rights groups. 

He is part of a burgeoning industry that sees some truly amazing and quite frankly twilight zone-ish alignments and affiliations.  In this alignment one can view Ultra-Zionists, Neo-Conservative war mongers, racists, Christian Dominionist’s of the Jesus Camp variety, so called ‘ex-Muslims’ and ‘ex-terrorists’ all working for the cause of delegitimizing Muslims and pushing a right wing agenda. 

Zuhdi Jasser has chosen to align himself with these radicals and demagogues.  He admits that he “is not an expert in Koranic Arabic, or Sharia”[1]  but he has no problem in casting aside the legacy of fourteen hundred years of Muslim scholarly work and striving that brought about principles in interpretation of primary texts and in effect makes the claim that any Muslim can interpret the Koran as they wish.  While Islam permits and promotes personal reflection, it warns against the kind of anarchy Zuhdi is favoring.  Unscholarly whimsical interpretation is exactly what Bin Laden and his ilk have done with the Koran.

This is not the most insidious aspect to Zuhdi’s project.  Take a closer look at who he works for and you will see the reality of what he is propagating.  In the winter 2008 volume of Middle East Quarterly, he contributes an article entitled “Exposing the Flying Imam’s” about the case of 6 Imams who were taken off a plane and detained for hours because of the discomfort felt by some passengers who saw them praying.

What is the Middle East Quarterly? Well suffice it to say that it is founded by “Daniel Pipes and edited by Michael Rubin.“[2]  Daniel Pipes, probably the most famous Islamophobe has been quoted saying such gems as, “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene….All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.,”[3] and “In its long history of immigration, the United States has never encountered so violence-prone and radicalized a community as the Muslims who have arrived since 1965.”[4]

The list of racist and anti-Muslim quotes can run into the hundreds and it is no hidden secret that Daniel Pipes agenda is strictly communitarian and partisan, as he says, “I worry very much from the Jewish point of view that the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims…will present true dangers to American Jews.”(emphasis mine)[5]  This is the sort of paranoia and suspicion that drives every waking moment for Daniel Pipes, yet this is the ‘democrat’ that Zuhdi the ‘defender of Islam’ and Muslims works with and supports.

Zuhdi, as you cash in those checks for speaking engagements, TV appearances and donations to your “American Islamic Forum for Democracy” (which should be renamed “American Islamic Forum for Israel”) remember that American Muslims do not need or want leadership such as yours.  

A leadership that aligns itself with Islamophobes such as Pipes, that supports the ill-advised occupation of Iraq, allegiance to the Republican party, unquestioned support for the State of Israel at our national expense, and a less then serious effort to engage the corpus of Islamic scholarship is one that we can do without.

Zuhdi, thanks but no thanks.


[1]. (“Which Islam? Whose Islam? All Muslims own interpretation of the Quran, Part II,” 7/12/07)


[3]. (“The Muslims are coming! The Muslims cre coming! – growth of Muslimphobia”, 11/19/90)

[4]. (“No Muslim American Terrorists?,” FrontPageMag,12/12/05)

[5]. (Speaking before the American Jewish Congress, 9/21/01)