Counter-Islamophobia Project

U.S. Islamophobia Network

Islamophobic Organizations

American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Overview

Zuhdi Jasser’s American Islamic Forum for Democracy is known for advancing Islamophobic themes and allying itself with anti-Islam hate groups.

Founder Zuhdi Jasser and AIFD have repeatedly supported unequal treatment for Muslims in the U.S. AIFD applauded an un-Constitutional Oklahoma law that singled Islam out for disparate treatment in that state. When the Pentagon broadened religious rights for minority faiths, Jasser supported the initiative for Sikhs and Jews, and decried the expanded rights as they applied to American Muslims. Jasser participated in supporting a loyalty-pledge like survey designed to intimidate and limit Muslim civic participation ahead of a Texas Muslim Capitol Day. Jasser thanked the New York Police Department for warrantless surveillance of Muslims.

Jasser believes most U.S. Muslims hate America and that “operationally, Islam is not peaceful.”

AIFD is embedded with groups whose primary purpose is to spread false information, fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims. Zuhdi Jasser accepted an award from the Islamophobic Center for Security Policy, the anti-Muslim organization President Trump cited to justify his un-Constitutional plan to ban Muslims from the United States. When Daniel Pipes, who has asserted that “brown-skinned” immigrants have unpleasant “standards of hygiene,” praised Jasser in a tweet Jasser forwarded the praise to his own twitter followers. Jasser said he was “honored” to participate in a book signing with a former U.S. general who has said there should be no mosques in America and would deny Islam the protection of the First Amendment. Jasser was supportive of anti-Islam demonstrations that featured white supremacists and allegations that Muslims engage in bestiality. 

Full Profile

Zuhdi Jasser’s American Islamic Forum for Democracy is known for advancing Islamophobic themes and allying itself with anti-Islam hate groups.

AFDI Supports Unequal Treatment for Muslims in the U.S. and Supported an Effort to Intimidate and Limit Muslim Civic Participation in Texas

In 2010, AIFD applauded an amendment to Oklahoma’s state Constitution which would have implemented state-sponsored discrimination against Islam. A federal district court ultimately struck the law as un-Constitutional.

When the Pentagon broadened religious rights for minority faiths, Jasser supported the initiative for Sikhs and Jews, and decried the expanded rights as they applied to American Muslims. He said the Obama administration is “bending over backwards for political correctness,” which will lead to what he called “litigation jihad.” He also thinks that “Armed services should declare a moratorium on all Muslim requests for conscientious objector status claimed based on their Islamic faith.”

Jasser participated in supporting a survey designed to intimidate and limit Muslim civic participation ahead of a Texas Muslim Capitol Day. In 2017, freshman state legislator Kyle Biedermann sent a poll to Muslim leaders and mosques in that state. News coverage indicated that many recipients saw it as a form of loyalty pledge. The letter accompanying the survey was signed by Biedermann, Jasser, and Nonie Darwish. In a 2011 speech, Darwish asserted that "Islam should be fought and should be conquered and defeated and annihilated." The document indicated that responses would be shared with other Texas elected officials. Biedermann's effort appeared to be a modern day take on Jim Crow-era literacy tests that were designed to exclude African Americans from participation in America’s democracy.

Jasser thanked the New York Police Department for warrantless surveillance of Muslims, saying “thank [you] for doing the work that we as Muslims should be doing, which is monitoring extremism, following extremism, and helping counter the ideologies that create radicalization in our communities." The NYPD’s widespread warrantless surveillance of law-abiding Muslims was part of a comprehensive human mapping program that described and monitored Islamic institutions, including houses of worship, student groups and businesses that cater to the Muslim community. The NYPD also recruited informants it referred to as "mosque crawlers" to monitor religious sermons without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Police officials acknowledge that the program never generated a criminal lead.

Jasser believes most U.S. Muslims hate America and that “operationally, Islam is not peaceful.”

Jasser asserts that "quiet majority" of U.S. Muslims "hates America." By contrast, Pew Research Center found 9-in-10 of America Muslims are “proud to be American.” Jasser believes, “The reality is that operationally, Islam is not peaceful.”

AIFD’s Alliances with Islamophobic Groups

AIFD is embedded within groups whose primary purpose is to spread false information, fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims.

Jasser was honored as a “defender of the home front” by the Center for Security Policy, the anti-Muslim organization President-elect Donald Trump cited in December 2015 to justify his un-Constitutional plan to ban Muslims from the United States. In 2016, Jasser was interviewed by Center for Security Policy Founder Frank Gaffney for his Secure Freedom radio show.

When Daniel Pipes, who thinks Islam “has nothing functional to offer” and that “brown-skinned” immigrants have unpleasant “standards of hygiene,” tweeted his praise of Jasser in early 2016, the AIFD head forwarded the tweet to his own followers.

On December 29, 2016, the Clarion Project, part of a network of U.S. organizations committed to poisoning America’s understanding of Islam and excluding Muslims from public life, issued a petition asking its supporters to urge President-elect Trump to meet with Jasser’s Muslim Reform Movement. Just a few days later, the Center for Security Policy’s threat information office co-authored a piece lamenting Jasser's treatment by Muslim organizations who are not aligned with the anti-Islam hate movement.

In 2016, Jasser said he was “honored” to sign books along with former Lieutenant General William G. Boykin and Sebastian Gorka. Boykin asserts that "[Islam] should not be protected under the First Amendment," that there should be "no mosques in America," that Islam is a “totalitarian way of life,” and that there can be no interfaith dialogue or cooperation between Muslims and Christians. Gorka supports religious and racial profiling of Muslims as “a synonym for common sense.”

When ACT for America, whose founder Brigitte Gabriel believes America is at “stage two Islamic Cancer,” held a series of anti-Islam hate rallies in June 2017 that featured white supremacist groups, Jasser was supportive saying that ACT’s “protestors” were “Americans who are trying to educate the rest of America.” This education featured speakers saying Muslims engage in bestiality, an official flyer that alleged that Muslim have been banned from America since 1952, and a call for ending Islamic immigration to America.

Jasser narrated a film that depicted Muslims as inherently violent and desirous of world domination.

In 2008, Jasser narrated The Third Jihad, a bigoted film produced by the Clarion Project. It depicted Muslims as inherently violent and desirous of world domination. As narrator, Jasser said, “A strategy to infiltrate and dominate America…this is the true agenda of much of Islam in America.” Following the revelation that the film was shown as part of training at the New York Police Department, then Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called the film “wacky” and “objectionable.” Former NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown said, “[The Third Jihad] was reviewed and found to be inappropriate.”

Jasser serves on Clarion Project’s advisory board. In that role, he narrated Clarion Project’s Third Jihad, an anti-Islam propaganda film characterized in 2008 by then New York Police Department Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as “wacky” and “objectionable." A more recent Clarion Project film was executive produced by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has suggested that the U.S. Constitution be amended to allow for discrimination against Muslims saying, “There were no Muslim schools when the constitution was written. There were no jihadists.”

Zuhdi Jasser has founded two separate leadership organizations to give AIFD a veneer of credibility, but his support base is shrinking.

Jasser’s vision seems only to have caught fire in Islam-hating circles. The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC), his first attempt at a leadership coalition, had 25 organizations in 2011. A year later it featured only 11.  The Muslim Reform Movement(MRM), his second attempt, launched with only 5.

Only three individuals who were AILC members in 2012 signed the 2015 MRM manifesto. The only organization that was a member of AILC and signed the 2015 manifesto was Zuhdi Jasser’s American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

Circling back to AIFD’s tax submissions, in 2014 it claimed the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) as one of its three biggest programs. 

Formed in 2010, AILC appears to have existed solely as a credibility vehicle for Zuhdi Jasser. The AILC had no appreciable social media presence, with the most recent Twitter mentions (other than one 2015 re-tweet of a 2012 event) being in October of 2012. The group’s website went from October 23, 2012-July 15, 2014 without an update.

According to a paper issued by the AILC in July 2011, the coalition was “a group of more than 25 organizations and leaders that are representative of the overwhelming ‘silent majority of Muslims in America.’

By 2012, the coalition’s website listed as “AILC Members” only 11 organizations and 7 individuals.  A 2014 survey of the member groups found that coalition groups appeared to be inactive. For instance, at the time the Alliance of Iranian Women’s web site’s key feature was an event that occurred in 2009. Similarly, the Bangladesh-USA Human Rights Coalition’s website's most recent posting centered on events that happened in 2008-2009, and the Council on Democracy and Tolerance’s website was defunct.

Despite this apparent anemia, AIFD’s 2014 tax return reported that it spent $30,691 on the coalition and that AILC “is planning a large (200+ member) conference.” 

CAIR researchers found no evidence the conference occurred.

Instead, the 2015 AIFD tax return reports a convening to launch the Muslim Reform Movement with “over 20 leaders and organizations” a “growing network of diverse leaders” and that “MRM is planning another larger conference.”

The Muslim Reform Movement’s manifesto featured 14 founding signatories, representing 5 organizations and 4 unaffiliated individuals. These fourteen signatories, included AIFD’s president, community outreach director and a senior fellow.

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