The AILC encourages New York’s leaders and citizenry to support NYPD’s counter-terrorism tactics, saying that “our national counterterrorism strategy has yet to prescribe any comprehensive treatment directed at the root cause of Islamic terrorism, the theocratic, statist ideology of political Islam.”
On June 28, 2011, the White House released its National Strategy for Counterterrorism (NSCT.) The AILC commends the document for correctly identifying the root of terrorism as originating in Islamic extremism. However, the AILC is concerned that the NSCT does not outline any “substantive approach to countering extremist ideology and the radicalization of Muslims in the U.S. and abroad … and excludes any strategy for monitoring terrorist activities within America as a result of the left-leaning opinions of the government and media.”
AILC believes that it is “vitally important that law enforcement agencies be allowed to track the activities of Muslim groups and communities, which have been supporting terrorism and Islamist extremism in America for fifty years. Such communities have been carrying out terrorist activities under a guise of moderation. ”
The AILC also decries the “inordinate degree of influence that Islamists have obtained in Western societies.” It vehemently opposes the creation of an “Islamic” state or “caliphate,” and defends “equality before the law, freedom of speech, the separation of state and religion, moderate Islamic scholarship, and true religious toleration.”
The organization also denounces the persecution of Muslim minority sects (Shi’ites, Ismailis, Druze, etc…), apostates, Christians, and Jews. Specifically, it rejects imposing the death sentence on apostates.
Unsurprisingly, apostates supported this rally/press conference. I received messages from Nonie Darwish and Ibn Warraq. Jewish and pro-Israel groups attended and supported the rally as well.
In 2007, I participated in the first Islamic Dissidents conference. Some of the same people who were in St. Petersburg, Florida, are supporting or were physically present at 1 Police Plaza today. I would say that our labor of the last five years might finally bear fruit.
I want the founders of AILC to have the last words. Here they are.
“We acknowledge that extremism is a major problem within the Muslim community, which brings shame and discredit upon all of us, while empowering those who seek to denigrate Islam as a religion of hatred, supremacism and violence. Rather than adopt a ‘victimization’ mentality or be offended by such claims, we view them as a challenge to bring forth a profoundly spiritual, practical and beneficial manifestation of Islamic life and teachings.”
For the record: The AILC consists of nearly 25 groups and individuals who are based in the United States and Canada: Zainab al-Suwaij’s American Islamic Congress, Tarek Fatah’s Muslim Canadian Congress, Manda Zand Ervin’s Alliance for Iranian Women, Samir Abdelkhalek’s Muslim Liberty Project, Jamal Hasan’s Council for Democracy and Tolerance, Golam Akhter ‘s Bangladesh-USA Human Rights Coalition, Sherkoh Abbas’s Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, Bahman Batmanghelidj’s Alliance for Democracy in Iran.
Individual Coalition members include Canadians Farzana Hassan, Raheel Raza, and Arif Humayun and American-based Abdirizak Bihi, Khurshed Chowdhury, Tawfik Hamid, Hasan Mahmud, etc. Ten non-Muslim groups supported the AILC press conference including Debra Burlingame and Tim Sumner’s 9/11 Families, Beth Gilinsky’s National Council on Jewish Affairs. LibertyRocks.com, The Middle East Forum’s Legal Project, Jack Coughlin, Officers Association Retired, Fred Grandy, Center for Security Policy.
The media was there in droves: CNN, FOX, the New York Times, ABC, AP, Newsday, and, of course, PJMedia. They quoted the speeches and interviewed the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) speakers. They also interviewed anyone who was standing at 1 Police Plaza. A reporter from The American Thinker even interviewed and photographed me (!) without my knowing it.
Thus, one of the Muslim citizens present, who is not a member of AILC, and who was not speaking for them, was nevertheless photographed and interviewed by some media. ABC News interviewed Queens Imam Qazi Qayyoom. He said that “he believes that the NYPD is keeping his community safe, and if that means some Muslims are monitored, so be it.”
As a private citizen, Qayyoom has the right to hold any view he wishes. According to the Times Ledger of Queens, in 2012, he called for a national holiday to celebrate Muhammad’s birthday. It is his right to do so. But he is certainly not speaking for AILC and anyone who wishes to tarnish their bright and rising reputation by linking them to Qayoom’s view is on foolish, if not dangerous ground.
In addition, the text of the Queens newspaper about Muhammad’s birthday has also been freely copied and also misquoted by those who seek to discredit the strategic importance of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and the AILC in terms of counter-terrorism.