WASHINGTON — One of two new members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has Muslim civil rights groups crying foul.
Zuhdi Jasser, who lauded a controversial New York City police surveillance program that targeted Muslims and helped lead the opposition to an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, has been appointed to the commission, which advises the president, Congress and State Department on religious rights abuses internationally.
“It would have been better to appoint someone who has some measure of credibility with Muslim Americans,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“He has long been viewed by American Muslims and the colleagues in the civil liberties community as a mere sock puppet for Islam haters and an enabler of Islamophobia.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appointed Jasser and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, appointed Robert P. George, a philosophy professor at Princeton University and top adviser to the U.S. Catholic bishops.