In a book that he said would have found him “dead in several months if [he] had published it in Iran or Syria,” American Islamic Forum for Democracy president Zuhdi Jasser grapples with the internal problems plaguing Islam.
“I have been fighting political Islam my whole life,” Jasser, a devout Muslim and the son of Syrian immigrants, told The Daily Caller. His new book, “Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save his Faith,” deals with the ongoing conflict between freedom-loving moderate Muslims and political Islam.
Jasser, a medical doctor and former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, explains in the book how he avoided becoming ensnared in political Islam and its victim mentality, how political correctness has hampered the fight against radicals and, with anecdotes and lessons from his own personal history as a Muslim and staunch patriot, how the danger of political Islam should be confronted.
“There is no greater threat to the world right now than political Islam,” Jasser told TheDC. He writes that Americans shouldn’t worry about understanding what America did to make Islamists hate them, but rather understand that the radicals hate America for its embrace of freedom.
According to Jasser, while America has been doing a good job combating terrorism militarily, there is a national blind spot on the ideology of political Islam.
“We really have done very little to counter the ideology,” he explained.
The key, he suggests, is to teach young Muslims to love America and its democratic values — and to do it early.
“I undertook the project of writing this book because I thought that my story and my family’s story and the way I approach my faith — in a book you are able to lay out a narrative — and this is really where the battle is,” Jasser said, explaining there are few places and little literature for young Muslims to learn how to be both a good American and a good Muslim.
“We can squabble over what one passage [in the Koran] means is but at the end of the day most of us Muslims have our moral compass set pretty firmly on whether we are Americans first and Muslims second, where God is in our life, where the Constitution is long before we become experts in scripture,” he said.
Any effort to take on political Islam, Jasser noted, will need bipartisan support and widespread understanding that there are problems within Islam itself. While some on the left see members of his faith as a victim group, he says the problems within Islam must be confronted and dealt with.
“At the end of the day the country is so driven and obsessed with left versus right and what side of the aisle your on, we sometimes lose the substance of what the bigger enemy is and what the values we share that our founding fathers established and if we lose sight of that we are going to be defeated by political Islam,” Jasser said.