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The appointment of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom is a contradiction to the goals of the USCIRF for the following reasons:

1.) Most problematically, Jasser allies himself with and receives funding from anti-Muslim organizations and personalities who work tirelessly to curb the religious and civil liberties of Muslims in the USA.

Jasser's organization has received funding, to the tune of $100,000 from a major backer of Rick Santorum, Foster Friess. Friess was featured as one of the major backers of Islamophobic organizations in the Center for American Progress's groundbreaking report, Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.

According to the Washington Post,

"Jasser received a $100,000 donation from Christian conservative financier Foster Friess, who is now bankrolling the super-PAC supporting Rick Santorum's presidential bid. Jasser declined to elaborate on exactly how much Friess had given AIFD, though he said the financier contributed $70,000 to his organization in 2010 for a Muslim youth retreat hosted by the group. (Friess told MSNBC that he was backing Santorum because he is 'incredibly versed in one of the number one issues of our time—and that is violent Islamic extremism.')"

Jasser told Mother Jones that the AIFD had accepted $5,000 from the Center for Security Policy:

"The center published a report in 2010 warning that American Muslims are seeking to replace the Constitution with a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The "expert" in Islamic religious law cited in the report, an attorney named David Yerushalmi, is responsible for authoring draft anti-Shariah legislation that has served as a blueprint for anti-Shariah laws across the US. Yerushalmi has suggested that "acting in furtherance of Islam" should be a felony."

Mother Jones also reports that,

"Jasser said his group has also received a one-time, unsolicited donation of $10,000 from the Clarion Fund, which is associated with Aish HaTorah, a right-wing Israeli group described by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic as 'just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today.'

The Clarion Fund has released several films that warn of Muslim conspiracies to reestablish a global caliphate. Jasser is a Clarion board member and in 2008 narrated a documentary bankrolled by the group called The Third Jihad, which darkly warns that Muslim extremists are attempting to "infiltrate and dominate America," a conspiracy implicating most prominent American Muslim organizations. The New York Times reported that the film was shown to thousands of NYPD officers as part of their counterterrorism training, which the police department later apologized for."

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?

2.) In another blow to the religious liberties and freedoms of American Muslims, Jasser's organization the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) supports state wide legislative bans on Muslim personal religious practice relating to: marriage, prayer, wills, etc. Jasser's organization has published press releases "applauding" such legislation, which many, including US Courts have considered unconstitutional infringements on the religious liberties of Muslims.

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?

3.) Jasser was outspoken in his opposition to an interfaith and Islamic Center in Manhattan, supporting efforts to block it from being built, remarking that, "This center is trying to change the narrative of 9/11 -- to diminish what happened at Ground Zero."

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?

4.) Jasser's advocacy and support for the NYPD's illegal profiling and secret surveillance program targeting Muslims for monitoring at their houses of worship, businesses and universities is not only unconscionable but contradicts the USCIRF's purported goals of reviewing "the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress." 



Zuhdi Jasser was not the only problematic new appointee. Rep. Boehner also appointed McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Robert George, who sits on the board of the Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation is well known for supporting anti-Muslim organizations.

Here’s a reminder of who the people the Bradley Foundation funds, via the Fear, Inc. report: 

David Horowitz

 Described Muslims in the Middle East as “Islamic Nazis” who “want to kill Jews, that’s their agenda.”

Alleges that Muslim Student Associations at American schools “are Wahhabi Islamicists, and they basically support our enemies.”

Promulgates the debunked smear that 80% of U.S. mosques are controlled by radicals

Daniel Pipes

Describes his Legal Project website as “a source of information on ‘Islamist lawfare’–that is, attempts by supporters of radical Islam to suppress free discourse on Islam and terrorism by (1) exploiting Western legal systems and traditions and (2) recruiting state actors and international organizations such as the United Nations.”

Claims President Obama is a former Muslim who “practiced Islam.”

Frank Gaffney

Said “It is now public knowledge that nearly every major Muslim organization in the United States is actually controlled by the MB [Muslim Brotherhood] or a derivative organization. Consequently, most of the Muslim American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution.”

Alleged that there is “mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.”

Believes that conservative paragon Grover Norquist is running a “Muslim Brotherhood influence operation” to infiltrate the conservative movement.

George refused to answer questions about the foundation's funding of the anti-Muslim extremistss above, see:  Robert George Refuses to Explain Funding anti-Muslim Extremists.

Also see an excellent article from ThinkProgress on the appointments of George and Jasser. Specifically see some more important facts relating to why George is not qualified for appointment either:

"Boehner’s pick was Robert P. George, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, a group making headlines this week for its confidential memosrevealing an intent to divide racial groups and scare parents as tactics to oppose marriage equality. George has explicitly participated in the effort to paint gays and lesbians as a threat to children through the Preserve Innocence project, for which he made a video warning about President Obama’s appointment of Kevin Jennings as Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. He also helped draft theManhattan Declaration, which encourages Christians to defy the law to uphold their anti-gay, anti-choice beliefs. By working to ban same-sex marriage, George eagerly imposes upon the religious freedom of all faiths who support the freedom to marry.

George shares a connection to his fellow new appointee through their promotion of Islamophobia. McConnell appointed Zuhdi Jasser for his pick, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Most see Jasser as a “mere sock puppet” for those who spread animosity about the Muslim community, and Jasser’s group in turn has called the leadership of many U.S. Muslim groups “malignant.” He has testified before Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) “radicalization” of Islam hearings and supports spying on innocent Muslims. Both Jasser’s group and the Bradley Foundation (of which George is a board member) featured heavily in last year’s Fear, Inc. reportby the Center for American Progress, documenting the roots of the U.S. Islamophobia network. The Washington Post mistakenly described George as having a “less controversial profile” than Jasser."

Once again, how can individuals who support the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a "commissioner" to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

Letter to
Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, USCIRF, US Congress
Senator Mitch McConnell
Representative John Boehner
and 2 others
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, USCIRF and the US Congress protesting their decision to appoint Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and Robert P. George as commissioners on the USCIRF.

Your decision to appoint Zuhdi Jasser as a Commissioner on the USCIRF is a grave mistake that will lend itself to delegitimizing the work of the USCIRF.

The USCIRF, an organization funded by our tax dollars, was created after the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act for the purpose of "reviewing the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress."

To say the least, the appointment of Zuhdi Jasser makes a mockery of such a stated goal.

Zuhdi Jasser's organization, American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) has received support and funding from organizations and individuals who seek to diminish the religious liberties of Muslims and or make the practice of Islam a punishable offense.

Zuhdi Jasser has carved out many positions contrary to the principle of religious freedom enshrined within the US Constitution: a.) he has been outspoken in blocking the construction of the Park51 Islamic and cultural center in Manhattan, b.) he has supported state wide legislative efforts to ban the personal practice of Islam, c.) he supports the profiling of Muslims based solely on their religion, d.) he supports and calls for increasing the illegal surveillance of Muslims in their places of worship, businesses and universities.

Likewise, Robert P. George is also unqualified for appointment. George is a board member of the Bradley Foundation, which funds some of the premiere anti-Muslim and Islamophobic organizations in the USA, including David Horowitz and his Freedom Center, Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy and others.

USCIRF can be a great asset to our government but when individuals such as Zuhdi Jasser and Robert George are appointed as leaders in the organization it is relegated to a farce.

I strongly urge you to reconsider your appointment of Zuhdi Jasser and Robert George to the USCIRF, for the good of both the USCIRF and the USA.