“The primary developer of the project expected us to believe in a recent interview with CNN that he had been looking for affordable property in Manhattan for 5 years and the mosque has ‘nothing to do with the World Trade Center,’” Jasser muses. “That runs contrary to the initial public announcements, for example, with the Washington Post from the Cordoba Initiative and Daisy Khan, that, ‘the building came to us. It goes to show there is a symbolism there, a divine hand in it.’”
In addition to the shadowy aspects of the mosque’s planning, the issue of the neutrality of the mosque’s foreign funders also presents a significant problem. Several of the nations that the mosque’s organizers have accepted funds from — Qatar, for instance — serve as cesspools of Muslim Brotherhood activity and development.
“Radical Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, spreads his guidance from Qatar and via Al Jazeera, a strongly sympathetic Muslim Brotherhood media outlet.” Jasser says. He adds: “Many of the Muslim Brotherhood’s web outlets operate out of Qatar. Qaradawi’s Arabic site regularly admonishes Muslims on how to establish Islamic states and install sharia law.”
In short, Dr. Jasser finds it difficult to believe that any money donated from any of the 57 Muslim majority nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference would be neutral to American interests or security. A group that has received substantial funds from a Qatari foundation will not simply abandon Qatar’s deep-seated Muslim Brotherhood sympathies, he argues, and to think so is ridiculous.
Asked about his stance on the Ground Zero mosque as an American, Dr. Jasser recalled his emotions on September 12, 2001.
“It did not matter to me that I was a Muslim or believed in the faith of Islam,” he says. “On that day and in every memory of 9/11 I cannot help but think of myself as an American, a patriot, a citizen, a former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander. My officer’s oath came immediately to mind like a sonic boom as it did again after the Fort Hood massacre by Nidal Hasan.”
Islamists naturally target America because its innate principles allow them to fabricate an external enemy to unify all Muslims, Dr. Jasser goes on. At the Oslo Freedom Forum, Jasser laid out why Americanism and the ideas of liberty are the only weapons against political Islam. He discussed how the Muslim world has become trapped in a war of ideas between secular nationalist fascism (i.e., Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, and Qaddafi) and militant Islamism (Iran, the Taliban, and the Muslim Brotherhood and its army of offshoots).
“America is really the only laboratory in the world that gives us the freedom to create a third alternative,” Dr. Jasser states with certainty. “That is, an Islam based in modernity that separates mosque and state and celebrates universal religious freedom and liberty.”
In that vein, Jasser puts forward the explanation that Americans’ perceptions of Muslims will never change until they feel Muslim Americans are spending our own resources on issues more pressing than gargantuan and ostentatious religious structures that overshadow the ruins of a still-raw wound for Americans. Focusing on counterterrorism and reform centers built with the goal of countering the hostile ideologies of political Islam within the United States are two paths Jasser offers that will improve Islam’s PR with America. Most importantly of all, Muslim Americans should show America that many of them have a completely different idea of what it means to give back to the country that has given them so many freedoms, and take a personal responsibility in combating the ideas of radical Islam and its root causes.
For now, the possibility of the Ground Zero mosque coalescing from idea into structure presents not only the insult to the millions of Americans who experienced true horror on September 11, 2001, nor the threat of a new mammoth gateway for radical Islamic ideas to slip into the U.S., but the threat of sending a message of weakness to Islamists the world over.
“It will be used by Islamist leadership around the world to say, ‘despite the violence that al-Qaeda perpetrated on the American population, political Islam will always be victorious and from its ashes has risen the largest religious Muslim structure in the United States,’” Jasser warns. “As the administration continues to move backwards, [outlawing] the use of any specific religious Islamic terms like jihad, Islamsim, and salafism, the Islamists continue to make unopposed headway in the contest of ideas. We are losing the war of ideas.”
Recent polls have revealed that an increasing number of Americans are developing negative views of Islam. Immediately after 9/11, the numbers sat at 39 percent negative. A 2006 study provided by Dr. Jasser discovered the numbers had risen to 46 percent negative, nearly half the country’s population. The same study also found out that the number of Americans who associate Islam with acts of violence had nearly tripled from 13 percent to 33 percent in the same five years. Dr. Jasser blames these numbers in great part on the majority of Muslim organizations in D.C. who are “victim-mongering front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“Until we treat the affliction of Islamism and separate mosque and state and begin a palpable movement against political Islam, those opinion polls will only worsen,” Jasser points out. “If the organizers [of the Ground Zero mosque] were truly moderate, they would not be building mammoth structures like this but rather investing in spreading the ideas of liberty into the Muslim community against the ideas of political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood. They would be teaching American Muslim youth to reach out by joining our military and homeland security efforts en masse rather than allowing Islamist organizations in D.C. like CAIR to brainwash young Muslims that our military and FBI are anti-Muslim and the U.S. is anti-Islam.”
Jasser iterates that he believes the most effective method possible for Muslims to reach out to Americans would be to organize a movement to hold the 57 Organization of the Islamic Conference nations accountable for all their violations of human rights as well as demand they shift from Islamism and state sponsored sharia towards more liberty-minded governments that allow more freedoms to their citizens.
“Don’t let the Islamists set the agenda,” Dr. Jasser says. “Yes, we will not let up against their agenda. But that’s defense. We need to generate an offense to preempt the Islamists within Muslim communities domestically and abroad.
“At AIFD our offense in countering the Muslim Brotherhood Project is our Muslim Liberty Project,” Jasser goes on. “We will be rolling that out over the next year and it is patterned after Jeffersonian principles of universal religious freedom and principles of liberty targeted to devout Muslims. We target Muslim youth and young adults in giving them an alternative framework for government and society that is based on our U.S. constitutional principles and the Establishment Clause. … [Our goal is to] inoculate them against the potent ideas of political Islam.”
Readers interested in more information on Dr. Jasser and the American Islamic Forum of Democracy can find it at AIFD’s website, located here.