Zuhdi Jasser Calls on Trump to Fulfill His Promise to Form a Commission on Radical Islamic Terror

Zuhdi Jasser Calls on Trump to Fulfill His Promise to Form a Commission on Radical Islamic Terror
President Donald Trump speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at National Harbor, Md., Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

OXON HILL, M.D. — Muslim reformer M. Zuhdi Jasser called on President Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign pledge to form a commission on radical Islamic terrorism. This commission would enable the president to show his support for peaceful Muslims and prepare the U.S. to fight an ideological foe on the level of Soviet Communism.

“Thank God we have a president now in the White House who has understood what we need to do to finish the job with ISIS, but now people can’t get complacent,” Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), told PJ Media at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday. Jasser lamented the Obama administration’s reticence to call a spade a spade and refer to “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“We’re done with the naming battle. Now that we know what the diagnosis is, what is the treatment?” the Muslim reformer said. “The treatment is to work with Muslims on the ground in every country to defeat the Islamic state identity. Not just ISIS, any Islamic state identity, and help secular Islamic movements like we see in the Iranian revolution, it’s hard to see in Syria, in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, et cetera.”

In this light, Jasser called on Trump to form a commission on radical Islam, but he emphasized that this wasn’t originally his idea. “I didn’t come up with that. We got that off the Trump campaign website,” he said. “When he was getting a lot of pushback in the campaign about what we should call it, he said, ‘Let’s form a commission on radical Islam,’ and I think today it’s really important that we follow through with that.”

Creating such a commission would actually solve many political problems for the president, Jasser insisted.

“What better way to insulate the White House from criticism about being anti-Muslim or insulate them from an activist judiciary that doesn’t let them implement their immigration ideas, than to have an independent commission?” the AIFD president asked.

Jasser suggested Trump elevate anti-Islamist Muslims on the commission. “Not only do we have Muslim reformers as representatives on the commission, it could be chaired by a Muslim,” he told PJ Media. The group could also include “anti-Jihadist think tanks, national security folks, former homeland security experts, and interfaith representatives.”

The U.S. government has many commissions, including the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), on which Jasser was a member. The proposed commission would work like the Civil Rights Commission and like the commission on Communism during the Cold War.

The Muslim reformer suggested Trump “have not only a whole-of-government approach, but a whole-of-society approach to saying, ‘Islamism is the problem, and moderate liberal Islam, liberal Muslims, are the solution.'”

Jasser suggested the president could take leaders from the existing Muslim reform movement — advocates like Georgetown professor Asra Nomani, Pakistani-Canadian journalist Raheel Raza, Afghan-American strategist Shireen Qudosi, British politician Maajid Nawaz, and Imam Usama Hasan, head of Islamic Studies at the anti-Islamist Quilliam Foundation.

“We’ve got 15 to 20 leading activists in their own small organizations,” Jasser explained. “We are outgunned and outnumbered by the Islamists who have been organized for centuries, but we are no different from the Jeffersonian transition that led to a revolution.”

While small, the movement is motivated by a love for freedom and a desire to show America and the world that Islam is compatible with modern democratic norms. “We believe in an American society as being the only thing we’d ever want to die for,” the AIFD president said.

“We call it a movement because it’s very diverse — we’ve got liberals, feminists, conservatives like myself,” Jasser told PJ Media. “Each of our organizations has its own identity along the political spectrum, but when it comes to reform, we agree on the principles of the two-page Declaration.”

That declaration explicitly rejects “violent jihad,” targeting “the ideology of violent Islamist extremism, in order to liberate individuals from the scourge of oppression and terrorism both in the Muslim majority societies and the West.” The preamble begins:

We are Muslims who live in the 21st century. We stand for a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam. We are in a battle for the soul of Islam, and an Islamic renewal must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate. We seek to reclaim the progressive spirit with which Islam was born in the 7th century to fast forward it into the 21st century.

This kind of broad-based Muslim reform and ideological diversity flies in the face of identity politics, and Jasser condemned the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a Leftist attack dog, for attacking Nawaz as an “anti-Muslim extremist.”

Setting up a commission on radical Islam involving these Muslim reformers would be a great way for Trump to defeat political correctness and investigate the true roots of Jihadist terrorism.

Why hasn’t the president formed such a commission? Jasser suggested that the White House lacks the necessary “bandwidth.”

“There’s been so much distraction in Washington that they haven’t been able to address it,” the Muslim reformer told PJ Media. “I think part of it is the inner circle — from Chief of Staff John Kelly to National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster — there are a lot of military folks who have been focused on the military threat. I’m not sure how many folks have been focused on the ideological threat.”

Jasser recalled his final words from the stage at CPAC, when he asked the audience whether they expected that the threat of radical Islam would go away after the defeat of the Islamic State in the Middle East. “No one in the thousands in the audience raised their hand.”

“I think Americans understand that the threat is not gone, that the Jihadist threat is stronger than it’s ever been, and it’s actually as these groups are on the edge of extinction they reform, they’re like the hydra, the ideology continues to spread, and the reason the ideology continues to spread,” the AIFD president said.

“I hope, eventually, they get a message that we will never solve this militarily. The long-term threat needs to be solved ideologically,” Jasser explained.

Watch Jasser’s video interview with PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil below.

Live at CPAC: Tyler O'Neil with M. Zuhdi Jasser

Posted by PJ Media on Saturday, February 24, 2018