‘You’re a Stooge and a Frontman!’:Hannity Guest Explodes at Million Muslim March Organizer

If you thought things got heated during last week’s Hannity discussion on the Million Muslim March, tonight took things to an entirely new level. Chris Phillips, one of the organizers of the march faced off in a contentious back and forth with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which advocated for the “separation of mosque and state.”

Phillips said the march is not only about supporting “victimized” Muslims in the United States, but also the innocent Muslims who have died all over the world since 9/11. Asked for an example of how America “villain-izes” Muslims, Phillips asked Hannity, “aren’t you villain-izing them with this broadcast? These people are not radical Islamists. these are innocent Americans practicing their constitutional liberties, brother.”

“I haven’t met a Muslim that isn’t offended by the exploitation of 9/11,” Jasser said when it was his turn to speak. He suggested renaming the upcoming event, “How to radicalize Muslims in one march.” Calling the march a 9/11 “truther movement,” he accused Phillips of promoting the same ideology that produced the Boston Marathon bombing and the Fort Hood attack.

Hannity proceeded to bring up a picture of him dressed as a clown that Phillips posted online. “How would you feel if someone did that to the Prophet Mohammad?”

“I don’t worship Islam and I would be offended if friends of mine were offended,” Phillips said, shocking the other two men. “I’m not a Muslim.”

“So you’re a stooge,” Jasser responded. “You’re a stooge and front man for an organization that is destroying the mission to fight radical Islam around the globe.”

64-Member Coalition Opposes New Religious Freedom Appointee

Zuhdi Jasser lacks commitment to religious rights, claims ‘operationally, Islam is not peaceful’

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A broad national coalition of 64 organizations and individuals today sent a letter to Senators Inouye, McConnell and Durbin expressing “deep concern” at the recent appointment of Zuhdi Jasser to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

In a joint letter, the coalition asked that Jasser’s appointment by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) be rescinded.

To read the full text of the letter and list of signatories, go to:
http://www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/JasserLetter.pdf

The letter states in part:

“The USCIRF promotes the freedom of religion and belief, and it seeks to combat religious extremism, intolerance, and repression throughout the world. In contrast with these laudable goals, Dr. Jasser believes, ‘. . .operationally, Islam is not peaceful.’ His consistent support for measures that threaten and diminish religious freedoms within the United States demonstrates his deplorable lack of understanding of and commitment to religious freedom and undermines the USCIRF’s express purpose.”

The coalition noted that Jasser’s organization, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, “applauded” an amendment to Oklahoma’s constitution that both a federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit have held is in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by clearly favoring all other religions over Islam. That amendment specifically targeted Islam for official censure.

The letter also cited Jasser’s opposition to the constitutionally-protected construction of a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan, his support for the New York Police Department’s blanket surveillance of Muslims based on religion rather than evidence or suspicion of wrongdoing and his ties to virulently anti-Muslim groups and individual Islamophobes.

“Zuhdi Jasser has been a vocal opponent of religious freedom for American Muslims and is therefore an inappropriate choice to represent our nation as it seeks to promote such freedoms in the international arena,” said Corey Saylor, national legislative director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “Jasser’s appointment sends a negative message to all those who seek to protect religious freedom in this nation and worldwide.”

Opposition grows to religious freedom nominee

More than 1,800 people have signed a petition asking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to “reconsider” his appointment of Zuhdi Jasser, a prominent critic of U.S. Muslims, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

“How can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a ‘commissioner’ to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?” the petition writers ask in their appeal.

Jasser, a physician in Phoenix, Ariz., and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, has angered many Muslim Americans for his work with groups they say demonize Muslims, and for supporting policies that they say infringe on their civil liberties.

Jasser narrated “The Third Jihad,” a documentary widely considered to be Islamophobic, and sits on the board of The Clarion Fund, which funded the film, and has received funding from organizations with anti-Islamic sentiments. He has also defended the New York City Police Department against attacks that it spied on Muslims, and testified on Capitol Hill on the problem of Muslim “extremism” in the U.S.

The petition is sponsored by www.Islamophobiatoday.com.

Muslims call new religious freedom appointee a ‘puppet’ for Islam foes

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.

Muslims battle to be official voice of U.S. Islam

As president of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy, an eight-year-old group that twins conservative and Islamic values, Zuhdi Jasser is no fan of the more visible Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Washington-based CAIR and too many other U.S. Muslim groups, Jasser says, are soft on extremism and advocate a form of “political Islam.” The leadership of most U.S. groups is, as he puts it, “malignant.”
Islam is a decentralized religion with little to no hierarchy; in the United States, surveys indicate that about half or fewer of the estimated 3 million to 6 million Muslims attend mosques regularly.

Before 9/11, the best known Muslim-American groups were CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. In the years since, leading Muslim groups have been deemed by some as too orthodox, not orthodox enough, too sympathetic to terrorists or too closely linked to Washington.

For many Muslims, including Jasser, the answer was to form their own organizations. And now they are competing to be seen and heard as authentic voices for American Islam alongside CAIR and other established groups.

Many new groups say visibility is key, especially in the media, which is attracted to sensational stories or personalities while often overlooking or not hearing mainstream views.