I have had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Jasser speak twice, a few days ago right in my own neighborhood. He is an outstanding American and a Muslim, one who demonstrates that it is possible to be a moderate Muslim who accepts American values including the separation of church/mosque and state. I have reproduced, below the fold, a recent statement of his so that you may read it without the distraction of advertisements and 'eye candy.'
Jasser tells us that monitoring Muslims is not "Islamophobic." I agree heartily with what he is saying but not with how he says it. It is absolutely essential not to acquiesce in the Left's linguistic obfuscation. 'Islamophobic' and cognates are coinages designed by liberals and leftists to discredit conservatives and their views. By definition, a phobia is an irrational fear. But fear of radical Muslims and the carnage they spread is not irrational: it it is entirely reasonable and prudent. To label a person an 'Islamophobe' is therefore to imply that the person is mentally deranged or otherwise beneath consideration. It is to display a profound disrespect for one's interlocutor and his right to be addressed as a rational being. Here you have the explanation of why radical Muslims and their liberal-left enablers engage in this linguistic distortion. They aim to win at all costs and by all means, including the fabrication of question-begging and self-serving epithets.
A conservative must never talk like a liberal. To do so is thoughtless and foolish. For he who controls the terms of the debate controls the debate. When a conservative uses words like 'Islamophobic' and 'homophobic' he willy-nilly legitimizes verbal constructions meant to denigrate conservatives. Now how stupid is that?
What should Jasser have said? He could have said something like, "The monitoring of Muslims is reasonable and prudent in current circumstances and in no way wrongly discriminatory." Why is this preferrable? Because such monitoring obviously does not express a phobia, an irrational fear of Muslims.
To understand liberals you must understand that theirs is a mind-set according to which a conservative is a bigot, one who reflexively and irrationally hates anyone different than he is. This is why conservatives who insist on securing the borders are routinely labelled 'xenophobes' by liberals and by some stupid 'conservatives' as well, an example being that foolish RINO Lindsey Graham who applied the epithet to Donald Trump when the latter quite reasonably proposed a moratorium on Muslim immigration into the U.S. Whatever you think of the proposal, and there are some reasonable arguments against it, it is not xenophobic.
There is also nothing xenophobic about border control since there are excellent reasons for it having to do with drug trafficking, public health, to mention just two. This is not to say that there aren't some xenophobes. It is true: there are a lot of bigots in the world and some of the worst call themselves 'liberals.'
Dr. Jasser is a man of great civil courage and an inspiration to me and plenty of others. If everyone were like him there would be no Muslim problem at all. One hopes and prays that no harm comes to him. Unfortunately, he is a member of a tiny minority, the minority of peaceful Muslims who respect Western values and denounce sharia, but also have the civil courage to stand up against the radicals.
To inform yourself further, see Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, A Battle for the Soul of Islam, Simon & Shuster, 2012.
As A Muslim, I Don’t Believe Monitoring Muslims To Prevent Terrorism Is Islamophobic.
In the wake of every terrorist attack, a national discussion always ensues on what can and should be done to prevent further attacks. While this knee-jerk reaction is understandable, it is a symptom of the problem, not a step in the right direction. These conversations may make public commentators, policymakers and media personalities feel like they are creating solutions – but the reality is that cure for the cancer of radical Islam must be identified and targeted at its source: the ideology of Islamism, or political Islam; and that can only be done from within Muslim communities.
As I have argued for decades, the problem of Islamism is deep-rooted, widely spread across the earth, and backed by some of the most money-rich and ruthless governments on Earth. While far from all Muslims are Islamists, and even fewer Muslims are violent Islamists, the fact is that these bad actors exist and are a force to be reckoned with in our communities – and many Muslims to be sure have been intimidated, brainwashed or otherwise pressured against exposing them.
Recently, presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz came under intense scrutiny for suggesting that Muslim communities be secured and monitored in order to identify and address radicalization. The backlash he faced is not unfamiliar to me – but as a Muslim, I’ve come under a particularly vicious type of attack for making similar comments.
As I always do, I must assert that Muslims won’t and should not have to relinquish any of our government protected and God given civil rights, our basic privacy, or right to practice our faith freely. I have been – as I believe Cruz may have been – unfairly maligned by a particularly malignant and dishonest crew of Islamist bullies who insist that I have advocated for Muslims to be stripped of our Constitutional rights. That is simply false and does nothing more than distract the American public from the very real reality of the cancer of Islamism within my community.
Our current method of dealing with extremism – the “CVE” or Countering Violent Extremism framework – is at best only a “whack-a-mole” program, averting some major crises but not actually addressing the ideology behind the plots. Rather than being preventative, this framework is often set spinning after a bloodbath at worst, and, at best, after we’ve barely averted one.
While some attacks are thwarted, the ideology behind them is growing ever stronger with each plot, some of which we may miss as attackers are becoming more sophisticated. In the worst cases, we only begin to look at a terrorist’s mindset and community after an attack has been carried out, as was the case in San Bernardino. In cases like these, one has to look at how reasonable monitoring could have tipped off police to the attacker’s intentions. Yet, we find not only politicians but often even police chiefs piling on the partisan-rich identity politic bandwagon rather than addressing smart police work.
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton opined this weekend in the NY Daily News that “There seems to be a widespread belief among certain members of the political class that protecting the country against terrorism is a matter of ideology.” He then embarked on a patronizing diatribe explaining the effectiveness of NYC counterterrorism operations, which he asserts are free of “racial” profiling. He conveniently ignored the glaring reality that prior to his tenure, the NYPD produced a seminal report on “Homegrown Radicalization in the West” which laid out the central ideological process of radicalization from “Pre-radicalization to Self-identification to Indoctrination to Jihadization”—a process he apparently believes now should be wholly ignored.
The NYPD’s report stated that “Individuals who do pass through this entire process are quite likely to be involved in the planning or implementation of a terrorist act”. There is little doubt that Salafi-Jihadism (a strain of Islamism) is a precursor to almost every act of radical Islamist militancy. And yet, Commissioner Bratton has the temerity to imply that we would be just fine simply ignoring all this ideology. The most frightening element of a recent settlement (surrender) by the NYPD in court was their unbelievable agreement to purge from their arsenal this highly acclaimed report and critical tool in terrorism investigations. This was, ultimately, a surrender to Islamists and the “Regressive Left”. The media, counterterrorism, and government communities were horrifically silent on the matter just a few months ago. Muslim reformists who have long supported attention to these connections were again left abandoned.
Cops on the beat know their neighborhoods. They know who’s at risk, for example, for drug use and thus drug-related violence. It is unconscionable that we tie their hands from similarly knowing through the monitoring of publicly available expressions who’s at risk for radical Islamism and thus Islamist related violence.
It is time for Americans to demand that our Homeland Security apparatus change its framework from CVE to CVI (Countering Violent Islamism).
A key question to address in order to distinguish spying – which I do not support – from reasonable and legal community assessment is: what does “monitoring” mean? It means becoming intimately familiar with the communities and organizations where there may be problems; evaluating fully comments and ideas (ideologies) in the public sphere – including on social media. It means responding quickly and seriously to women who come forward with complaints related to potential honor-based abuses and looking more closely at the ideology of the segment of the community from whence these complaints are being made. It means taking seriously comments about mosques and their leadership that restrict women’s access and who ostracize racial, religious and sexual minorities; and who host speakers and imams who are anti-American and anti-Western. And yes, it would mean looking at their public materials like posters, books, films, and more available in markets, stores and kiosks to get a sense of their customer base and demand for certain materials.
For example, a friend of mine spotted “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” – a viciously anti-Semitic text – being sold by a Muslim bookseller in a major American city. Worse yet? We learned that there is demand for it. Does any Muslim I know support the ideas within that book? Absolutely not. Are there Muslims in this country who do? Yes. It is not Islamophobia to say that – it is simply honest.
The United States is not where Britain or Belgium is in terms of physical, literal Islamist enclaves. However, there are absolutely tyrants within our American Muslim community who intimidate and bully Muslims into silence and submission – creating psychological ghettos, stigmatizing and frightening reformists, and empowering radicals. Responsible, sane, and truly cooperative engagement between liberty-loving Muslims and law enforcement – with that respect and cooperation going both ways – is the only way to ensure that police get the information they need and that the many Muslims who love this country remain safe and know that they are valued in the fight against the radicals who target us as well.