Groups Oppose Religious Freedom Commission Appointment
New commissioner believes ‘operationally, Islam is not peaceful.’
Washington, DC | www.adc.org | April 12, 2012 -- Today the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), along with over 60 partner organizations and individuals sent a letter to U.S. Senators Inouye, McConnell and Durbin expressing deep concern over the appointment of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The groups asked that Jasser’s nomination be rescinded. Jasser’s appointment was made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
See the full text of the letter and list of signatories
In the letter the groups said the following:
“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 groups noted that Jasser’s organization, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, “applauded” an amendment to Oklahoma’s constitution that the Federal District Court and the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals have held violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by clearly favoring all other religions over Islam. The amendment singled out Islam for official censure. The groups also noted that Jasser has opposed the constitutionally protected construction of a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan, has supported the New York Police Department’s blanket surveillance of Muslims based on religion rather than evidence or suspicion of wrongdoing and associates with recognized anti-Muslim groups.
ADC Legal Director Abed Ayoub, stated, “It is of the utmost importance to rescind Jasser’s appointment. Failure to do so will further delegitimize the USCIRF and render it void of any credibility. On many occasions Jasser has proven himself to be an agent of hate, bigotry and intolerance. We call on our elected leaders to make the right decision and immediately rescind this appointment.”