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So I'm just this mike today up, you know. We're speeding. All right, so going to a soft opening introduction, we're going to talk to. OK, ladies and gentlemen, we are rolling into another episode of the Kandace Owens Show, it's become more and more apparent to me that people in the West know very little about anything that goes on in the east, particularly. Americans seem to know very little about what goes on in the world outside of the United States.
We saw this best demonstrated when General Sulaimani of Iran was slaughtered in a military operation and many people in the West felt a lot of sympathy for the state of Iran, the same people that stand on the platform of women's rights. It was an interesting thing and it made me want to have an episode to further discuss a lot of the dynamics that are going on, particularly in the Middle East. Here today, I have president of the American Islamic Forum of Democracy and the co-founder of Muslim Reform Movement, Zuhdi Jasser.
Welcome to the Kandace Ellen Show.
It's great to be with the candidates. All right. Beginning here.
OK, so Zuhdi and I met Chris set of circumstances, but he and I met on a fishing trip in British Columbia, and it was a select group of people. We were out there fishing and we got to talk about a lot of the work that he was doing, particularly on the Muslim reform movement. And I thought that you are doing incredible work and I want to make sure that we give a platform to all the stuff that you're doing, really your life's work.
And it starts with I'll tell you up here, your parents, your parents were Syrian refugees in the 60s, is that correct?
Yeah, my family escaped Syria in the mid 60s. The Baathists, which is sort of the Nazi party of Syria, the Arabists, if you will, took over in nineteen sixty three. My grandfather, Zuhdi Jasser, was a businessman and an editor owner of a major newspaper in Syria. And after the French pulled out in 1948, Syria had 20 different coups.
Initially, they tried to have democracy, parliamentary government, and it just didn't work because they had really no institutions, no civil society. And it fell apart because the people didn't have a Second Amendment, didn't have a First Amendment. And ultimately the Assads, Assad's party, the Baathists, took over in 63. Assad took over in 70, the father did. And Syria's been basically the North Korea of the Middle East since then. Oh, that's interesting.
I'm going to stop you there because, you know, if I was a leftist today, I would say it was right for four friends to leave. It was right for French to pull out because those are the evil white man colonizers. But you're saying that your parents were able to live better when the evil white man colonizers were in Syria? Is that what you're telling me? Well, it's all relative.
I mean, if you look at the educational system in Syria is French, and my father was an Anglophile, did his undergrad work in London. And ultimately, when they decided that they could not democratize Syria, he ultimately wanted to come to America. He didn't choose a European country, by the way, because the concept of America being an idea, embracing immigrants, giving individuals the right to freedom and liberty, and everybody having an American dream was something he realized even in Europe they didn't have.
But having said that, the colonial era did bring some ideas of freedom and liberty, but also stagnated. Some things they weren't able to grab hold of their own societies, if you will. And it's sort of entrenched some of the inability to reform, which the Ottomans, I think, destroyed for 400 years before that.
So we're seeing right now play out in the Middle East a lot of the pathologies of hundreds of years of historical stagnation, colonial era, maybe helped some of that modernize. But to this day, the 2011 and the revolutions that happened with the Arab awakening were the first sign. I wish my grandfather and father were alive to see what happened in the last eight years. Yes, Syria has been savaged by a revolution and half the population is displaced. But I have to tell you that there's two things I've learned.
One is that they can live to be free. They can fight against the governments that take away their rights to individuality and freedom.
But two is the only country that can do the work that we need done for reform and against tyranny is in America.
So, yes, there might only be four million Muslims in America and the left tries to use us for whatever purpose they have.
But the work that we have to do here, you just can't do in the Middle East because they can't build institutions and they can't reform and fight the theocrats and the dictators and all these things that we have to modernize just can't be done in the Middle East because the half life is so short. The radicals, be it the Shia or the Sunni radicals, the Muslim Brotherhood or the communists of Iran, are going to savage everything and prevent real reform from happening.
So going back to your parents, where they married in Syria.
Yes, they were married in Syria, escaped into Beirut for a year until they waited for the ability to come to America. How did they escape? How do they escape? They escaped. My father was a graduate from medical school, so he was waiting to get accepted into a medical program internship here in America. And I got to accept. To one in Ohio, but even when he got here, he had to talk to his congressman about getting him political asylum in Ohio and we waited three months.
I was born a few months after they got here. So I was registered in Syria because they didn't know if they're going to have to go back. And ultimately, they got political asylum from their congressman and the Canton, Ohio, area where I was born. OK, now, why do they seek political asylum?
Because my father, my grandfather was in and out of house arrest. He was because of his newspaper and work with free press for democracy was persona non grata in and out of prison. My father also, after he graduated, refused to serve in the military. While I see America as an our military, as the most moral fighting force in the world, I will tell you the Middle Eastern militaries, especially the Syrian military, is one of the most evil fighting forces in the world.
So he refused to fight for a corrupt fascist military. That's one of the reasons I decided I had to join the U.S. Navy, because I can tell you there are a lot of countries that might have constitutions that look like ours, but without our sons and daughters fighting to protect our freedoms, it's a meaningless piece of paper. Wow. And and that's one of the reason I grew up in Wisconsin and I wanted to go to medical school, but I also wanted to serve my country.
So the Health Profession Scholarship Program gave me the freedom to do both, which is the taxpayers paid for my education and then I served for 11 years.
That's incredible. So your father declined to fight for his country because he realizes that this is not an environment that he wants to support. He doesn't want to support a fascist regime. And then just one generation, generation later, he has a son who signs up to to fight for America, which is incredible.
So what does it mean when you said persona non grata? What is the implication? There is I can just mean, like, hey, you know, we don't really like you, right? Because you didn't you didn't fight for this country or you're writing a newspaper that's against what we believe to be true. But it's much more severe to be a persona non grata in a Middle Eastern country. So I just want you to talk about that a little bit.
It's an open air prison and it is a regime that one out of nine people in society are part of the Mukhabarat, which is the intelligence services, whether it's Saddam Hussein's Baath or Assad's Baath Party.
It is a party that takes control of every business. So socialism is not even a question. All companies are owned by the government. Anyone with any means in Syria is working for the government. If you have any significant income, the police, the military, the intelligence services are all basically you either hand them your income like the like the Mafia asked for or you will not exist within a week. Brothers report on brothers, siblings report on others. People are tortured if they don't report what's happening.
And in 2011, for the first time in 60 years, the people started to reject that and have mass demonstrations down the streets. Children in schools.
Just to tell you the horror, little elementary schools, Assad's military people would go into a grade school of fourth graders and ask, do your parents joke about me? Do your parents criticize me?
And if this if the fourth grader would say, yes, the police would show up at the parents house and torture his parents because kids don't lie. So this is the type of society that Syrians wanted to change.
And my father embraced Americanism and loyalty to America immediately on stepping off the airplane when he got here because he realized Syrian nationalism was a failure, that it became a fascist, no different than German nationalism, became a failure under Hitler and became an evil ideology. Syrian nationalism under Assad and his son has been an evil ideology.
You told me your mother is still alive, is that correct? Yes, she lives near us in Scottsdale.
What is it like for your mother and just you?
Because you're obviously tethered to the reality of what your parents lived through to come to a society that you recognize has offered you all of these freedoms that you fought to stay here and obviously your father applying for political asylum, you serving this country to hear the rhetoric that's become mainstream today of people that live within this country are afforded to all of these privileges to to describe this country as an evil fascist state that's living under an evil regime. I'm always I'm always floored by the ability of people who have lived through nothing to so easily use that rhetoric.
I can't tell you how how painful it is. I mean, I see people like Ellen Omar, who supposedly represents Muslims in America, describe American soldiers in Somalia, where I served my my colleagues, my military colleagues.
I was off the shore of Mogadishu in 93 in Operation Restore Hope as a doctor on a ship.
And we were there taking food, trying to help resolve the famine there. And yet, she tweets in response to Al Franken two years ago saying that American military were the biggest terrorists in Somalia and. Early 90s, when she was only nine or 10 years old, Zahera Balou from care and a lot of the leftists will say that, oh, American military similar to ISIS. I mean, that is just craziness. And it is it is a disrespect for our military.
It is a hate for the country that they live in. And I have to tell you, I believe it's intentional. They're so ethnocentric, focused on American political divides, they will do and say anything to advance their leftist causes. So you see them take the side of Maduro against freedom. You see them take the side of the communists against those in the streets, the women in the streets that should share their ideas. They take the side of the government because it has political expediency here on the left.
And and yet, on the one hand, they say sanctions kill in Iran when in fact, every Iranian will tell you that what's making the Iranians free today is the strangulation on the power, the maximum pressure policy against the regime there.
While those same leftists, those same Islamists of Iran, Omar and Rashida Tlaib, will take the side of beads to strangle it, the only free democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and see that they want sanctions against a democratic government with a moral military like the Israeli Defense Force. They'll call them evil. And yet Iran, they don't want to do sanctions. So it's just everything's upside down and no one hold them accountable.
And you say political expediency. And I struggle with this because I wonder, do they do it for political expediency or do they actually believe what they say? I don't know. Right. I'm just asking the question. Do they actually believe it? Right.
Or do they just say it because it gets them it gets them votes and it gets them tweets and it gets them. I can't I can't decide here. It's both.
And the reason I tell you it's both. I hear a lot of my colleagues in the anti jihadist movement talking about the Red Green Alliance. My grandfather in the 60s talked about the Red Green Alliance. One of the reason my family is so pro-American is because they started being very, very anti-communist. The Soviets of the 60s and 70s destroyed Syria. Still today. Assad would be long gone had it not been for Russia and Putin and his KGB friends and others.
So at the end of the day, the Red Green Alliance has existed for a long time. What is that? It's the alliance between the socialist globally socialist communists, the far left and the green, the Islamists, the theocrats of Communists and the Brotherhood and Islamic regimes of the OIC all over the planet.
That alliance works together with common enemies.
So their collectivists, the socialists, are economic collectivists who want to confiscate every dollar you make. And the Islamists are religious identity collectivists who want to confiscate your personal relationship with God.
So you're saying it's a natural alliance, it's a natural alliance. Until they get ready to take power, then it's not.
And then they get and then they go to war, which is what you saw in Syria between the Islamists and the and the Arabs of Assad, which is what you saw in Iraq between Saddam Hussein and the Islamists of the humaneness of of the Shia extremists, etc.. So until they're almost ready to take power, they work together.
Right. Let me ask something. So you are you're a proud Muslim. You're very, very proud of your faith. Absolutely. And you are also unapologetically pro-Israel. And some people go, whoa, how does that happen? Because we see usually the narrative, especially when you're talking about the Middle East, it seems that all of the blame, they always want to blame Israel no matter what the strangest things I think could happen. It could it could not rain for three days.
And it's you know, it's curse Israel, the Israel state, the IDF that they've brought about all of this.
Where does that stem from? And how have you been able to separate yourself from that that narrative? And I say narrative because you've been clear that this is not the way actually the majority of Muslims in the West feel, but because we have people that are in power that are using their their voice to put this narrative out there, it's become worse and it's become uglier.
So the core of what I'm doing at the American Islamic Forum since we formed in 2003 is to speak truth to power. And the power in our community are the Islamists establishment. Those who believe that we should somehow believe in their interpretation of Islam and the their their attempt to attack free speech, to attack women's rights, individual rights, ability to criticize them. So top on the list of their power structure is their anti-Semitism, their demonization of the other. And they're, as always, with the the Jewish community, end up being scapegoats.
And if you look globally, the Islamists will use the Jewish community to create and roll up and well up, if you will, anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic fervor in our community. And Israel is a constant target of that. Now, there's a term I refuse to use, which is Islamophobia, which is a term that the Islamists concocted to prevent criticism of Islam and when, in fact, yes, there might be some bigotry that exists against Muslims. And we can talk about that if you want.
But the bottom line is they concocted the term Islamophobia to try to prevent criticism of Islam, and yet they suffer from what I think the Islamists do have.
Is Israel a phobia, which is. Never hear that term. Absolutely, and that's a term really that they should talk about, which is they say, oh, we love Jews, but yet we we don't like Israel. And yet BDS is not just a movement of an opinion. BDS is actually a movement to economically destroy the entire state of Israel.
So I will tell you, I've testified to Congress a couple of times on anti-Semitism.
I think anti-Semitism globally is driven by most of the Muslim majority governments and their ideas and ultimately speaking truth to power. There's no doubt that I visited Israel twice and both times, and especially in visiting Yad Vashem.
I see that they have exhibits of Muslims who were the righteous Muslims that defended and protected Jews during the Holocaust. I wish that was the primary narrative of Muslims during World War Two. But the bottom line is the mufti out of Jerusalem was a Nazi collaborator. There were a lot of issues of Islamic global supremacism that worked with the enemies of Jews globally. But yet there were Muslim patriots that were pro-Western, pro-Israel, pro Jewish that were on the side of righteousness.
And I think this is the narrative that I don't think you can defeat political Islam without first defeating its anti-Semitism, because it is a as we talk about disease, it is a pathic mnemonic in medicine.
We talk about pathic mnemonic signs, which is a clinically clinical sign. anti-Semitism is a key clinical sign of Islamists and its intolerance. You see it in the women's movements, leaders of Linda Sarsour and Zahra Billoo and others that were kicked out because, oh, they're so anti-Semitic. How did they not note that?
But isn't it is it not? And correct me if I'm wrong, I could be wrong. I vaguely remember reading months ago that it's actually in Islamic text, like in the Koran, that it's is vaguely anti-Semitic. Is there anything about Jewish people in the Koran? Absolutely.
In my book, A Battle for the Soul of Islam has a whole chapter about the reinterpretation of passages that if you look at the Saudi primary, the dominant interpretation, the most common passage, I say as a Muslim 17 times a day is the opening fatiha, the opening prayer of the Koran. We say it's 17 times a day in our five prayers. The Saudi interpretation that's to the hundreds of millions of books around the world takes that and says where we say follow the path of God, not those who have gone astray, et cetera, et cetera.
The Saudis put in parentheses, not those have gone astray. Then they put in parentheses. They add like the Jews, OK?
And then in chapter five, there's there's in chapter five a number of passages. I talk about battles against beneficiary's on other Jewish tribes. So what do we do with that?
We have to embrace a modern interpretation that says, you know what that might have applied to the seventh century or a battle happening at that time in six twenty three s. But it doesn't apply anymore that if if Muhammad was alive today, not what he would do in the sixth century or seventh, but what would he do if he were alive today, I believe and our reform movement, we talk about the fact of Muhammad was alive today.
He would embrace the democratic Israel. He would embrace American ideals and reject the Islamic State as a concept, reject jihad as a military concept. So I'm sure people, their heads are exploding, saying, oh, my God, how can you do that? Granted, this is a minority opinion in our faith community.
You're saying we write the book, right? So it's like going if you came to Christians and said, well, you got to just do away and rewrite it, they would say that's not reform. What you're actually introducing is almost a new religion. It's so. Yeah.
So let me disagree with one thing is that, yes, we're we're rewriting the interpretations, but the Arabic script, we believe I believe, as in many ways, Orthodox as an Orthodox Sunni Muslim, that I would not alter even a comma to it.
But if it says, for example, cut the hands of those who steal, I wouldn't change that passage. Yes, the Saudis severed the hands and are draconian in their laws. But I would say sever can mean take them out of society, put them in prison so you can do things that are metaphorical adherence to the script, but yet not change the script and just modernize its interpretation.
It says, for example, you may marry more than one wife. I've never I've never known a Muslim personally married to more than one wife.
So what do they do with that passage? You just say, hey, you know what? I ignore it. I'm not going to rip it out, but I'm going to say it just doesn't apply today and we don't apply it because he can't it shouldn't be applied.
But that's interesting to me because, I mean, if you're going to modernize it, if you're going to say we're not going to apply, that we don't believe in this or we're taking apart this or that, wouldn't you think that that would then result into just a conversion away from Muslim altogether because you don't agree with the core tenets of what, you know, the original script said and you did note that it's a minority. What you're doing is a minority movement.
Right? And so it is it is reformed like a reformed is the right word. Right. So it's a total, total reformation. Right.
But I just don't see I don't know that. You would, if it's realistic to expect that the hundreds of millions of people that are holding a text that says, you know, anti Jewish rhetoric or is taking it literal and says take a bunch of lives, are they going to get behind this? Is that a realistic approach to to trying to combat this problem? What do you think?
Well, I think if you had in 2010 said that there were going to be 20 million people in the streets of Cairo fighting their government, you would have said, no way, that's impossible. They're not going to fight against the military regime. Same in Syria or Iran or elsewhere. But they're doing they're waking up. So if you look at there's some recent studies that showed that it takes 10 percent of the population to have a significant movement to begin to change the other 90 percent.
So I think if you look in Tunisia, for example, it really took 10 percent of the population to begin to finally put the government on its heels and make the economy come to a standstill. The Tea Party movement, the conservative movement back in 2010, it really was 10 percent of the conservatives that went to the streets and then later became more that said we're going to take back. And now with the Trump movement against the establishment, how many activists did it take?
Most studies have shown it takes five to 10 percent is sort of the tipping point.
And I think with reform, if we start if you look at, yes, the cares of the World Council on American Islamic Relations, the Islamic State or North America, the Muslim Brotherhood, legacy groups on the Sunni side and the Khomeini's legacy groups on the Shia side. Still to this day, they might be able to fill a hall with 50, 60000 people, but they still basically have 50 to 100 leaders that you might be able to see on TV from day to day if we get that same platforming as the opportunity you're giving me here today with many of the people in our Muslim reform movement, which is part of what we're trying to do in this assembly, a future Muslim leaders of America.
Once we start getting this, I think you'll see that the silent majority will eventually wake up. If you look at me, look at you can look at human history and determine that.
I mean, the entire battle between the Catholics and Protestants was, you know, started by one man in Germany, Martin Luther, who stapled his thesis and said all of these things about what was wrong with what the Catholic Church. Right. And then it launched it spread like wildfire was the most printed text at that time. And suddenly you had an actual Protestant Reformation, but it didn't happen without bloodshed. And when it comes to when it comes to religion in particular, it always gets bloody.
And that has been true in terms in terms of world history. Didn't come without bloodshed. You know, people were we're not OK to just say dismiss the church. We had kings and queens in England that were just burning them live at the stake. Right.
And I'm so glad you brought that up, because my what we're trying to do is disruption.
If you look at whether it's Trump's campaign or what's happening in the Middle East, we look at the Middle East and we say, oh, my gosh, we have to have it quiet down and have peace. Now, I mean, if you look at the Syrian people, yes, they've been suffering through a genocide from two severe extremes of the Assad regime and ISIS.
But that the bottom line, they feel alive for the first time in over 60 years of tyranny because they're beginning to stand for what they believe in. Yes, they've lost the civil war. The Iranians are losing, but yet now they're on the verge of defeating the Khomeini's for the first time, thanks to Trump's policies and the Trump administration and propose policies for the first time in decades, there's been large changes happening. So, you know, I will tell you what you're saying.
If we're going to have change, I think it has to start in America and we need to hold Muslims accountable with a tough love to not just sort of use them as potted plants of the identity group that, oh, what is the Muslim thing? So let's get them up and sort of say, oh, well, we protect you.
We don't hurt you here in America, do we?
And ignore the fact that they have opportunities to re interpret texts that they just can't do in the Middle East and that they should be able to platform here in America and begin to spread those ideas and challenge it thinking.
Let me tell you one anecdote. In my mosque in Scottsdale in 2014, we were at the holiday prayer for Ramadan and the imam stood up and started to talk about how we have enemies in our own community, Islamophobic and bigots that call themselves Muslims that speak against us on Fox News. And, you know, there's a doctor that does so.
And my family's with me at the sermon with a thousand people from our community in this. And he's sort of going off, didn't say my name, but took me on at the mosque. And, you know, afterwards I was recording the sermon.
We posted it and we said this is what happens. And he was upset because it was in July 2014 when Hamas was sending in rockets.
And I was doing a lot of media saying that Hamas are the war mongers, Hamas or the terrorists, and Israel has to defend itself. So he was very upset as a defender of Palestinian rights.
So, you know, I think it shows when you push back and you expose what they do inside our mosques. Yes. Many people think the imam for speaking. Out against this enemy within us, Zuhdi Jasser, but also many, many others came up to me and said, thank you for doing the work you're doing. I'm glad we have a voice. I'm just glad it's not me.
I'm just glad it's not me. Let me ask you a question about jihad. How serious of a problem is that? What is the natural course for somebody who just turned into a jihadist over their lifetime? Like, what is the what is the upbringing? How how is this become such a threat?
So, you know, I'll tell you, when I grew up in Wisconsin, there were three other Muslim families and I went my family built a small mosque, the first one in northeastern Wisconsin. And I learned my scripture. But I didn't really understand what political Islam was until I went to the University of Wisconsin and met some of the Muslim Student Association kids and realized, oh, my God, this is a political movement. And I was talking to my mom and then like, well, I thought Islam was a personal faith with God.
What are they talking about? All this anti-Israel anti Semitic stuff and Muslim Brotherhood ideas. And slowly, I quickly began to avidly read about Hasan had been in the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. and then I realized that intertwined to our entire faith identity is the concept of an Islamic state.
And with an Islamic state comes an Islamic military. So I realized that in undergrad I said, oh, my God, I would never want to serve in an Islamic military.
I want to serve in the American military.
The only thing I would die for is our Constitution is our government is the U.S. government. I would never want to die for Islam. That's God's faith. And I believe in it. But he does want me to give my life for my faith.
Yes, I want government under God, but not under Islam or under Christianity. I want it under a constitution under God. So jihad is you will never defeat jihad. Yes, we've defeated ISIS.
We've defeated al-Qaida. But it'll keep coming back up until Muslims defeat the Islamic State because the Islamic State is the oxygen for jihad.
Let's look at Erdogan, Erdogan in Turkey, Turkey supposedly a democracy. It's part of NATO. I think that should end.
I think they have no business being in NATO with Erdogan and his Islamist running that government.
But to tell me that when when the when the Turkish military just a few months ago went into Syria, they were posting video of how they went on jihad into Syria, the Turkish military. This wasn't happening twenty, thirty years ago under the previous president of Turkey. But now with the Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood of Turkey, they fight wars based on not their state nationalism, but based on global ascendancy of Islamic dominance of Islamic supremacism.
So, yes, there's a lot of ideas and discussions of jihad on the Koran, a lot of discussion of jihad and the history of the prophet and what we have to do.
But I also have friends, close friends, whose first name is Jihad. That doesn't mean that their mom wanted to name them holy war.
It is a it is a word that's used in very many different areas in Islam and in the Arabic community. So what we have to do is say, you know what, once the Islamic State is dead, just as Jefferson ended the Christian state, right.
If the West can go from singing Onward Christian soldiers during the Crusades and now have the only era area of the world with democracies, which is an area that created governments that have an establishment clause, we as Muslims, I think are in that same era.
We still have not defeated that. We are fourteen hundred and forty years old. We still are the sort of in the fifteenth, 16th century of our faith and we have to defeat this concept of onward Muslim soldiers. So we might have defeated ISIS, but you're not going to defeat jihad militarily. It has to be done from within.
And the idea of wanting to fight for an Islamic state has to end. This is the Fort Hood, for example, with Nidal Hasan. He didn't he wore an Army uniform. His bio looked frighteningly like mine. And yet he didn't want to die for America.
He wanted to die for Islam and for jihad. And that's how we defeat jihad, is by fighting Muslims that can be leaders that want to die for America and want to defeat the concept of the Islamic State and its military.
Right. And he brought up Turkey. And that's interesting because I sometimes question, do you think that America has some questionable allegiances that are maybe making the problem worse and a lot of people will question that.
What do you think about America's relationship with Saudi Arabia? What I think America's relationship with Turkey and I'm a bit I remain a bit agnostic on it, because sometimes you do have to understand the position of a leader where you do have to have allies. We have to work together. Obviously, even if people have different perspectives and us, you can't force it upon the entire world.
Do you think that there's that there? It's difficult to reconcile that. Very hard, it's a hard question. Very the the way to do it is to first of all, President Trump's administration was handed an utter, unmitigated disaster of Iran, Ofelia, in which everything we were doing was at the altar of the nuclear deal. And we just sort of we we approached everything at that compromise. So we abandoned the Saudis. We abandon Israel, we abandon all the 20th century relationships, and then we put a billion dollars on a plane and sent it to Iran.
And ultimately handed them one hundred and fifty billion. But you're right, Cash Palate's was a billion. So President Trump had to recalibrate us back to the stability.
And I use that word stability because Condoleezza Rice said it best in 2005, five in Cairo. She said for too long in the Middle East on our alliances, we have compromised our principles of democracy for security and gotten neither. We've gotten neither security nor democracy because we're playing with the devil. But yet in the short term. So so, yes, as a diplomat, this policy wouldn't work. As a diplomat, you have to have short term alliances.
But should we be sitting at the table with terrorists like the Taliban and signing agreements? Absolutely not. The United States does not negotiate with terrorists. We should not give them platforms. Should we pull our troops out of Afghanistan? Absolutely. 18 years I've shifted my position in the last four or five years on this. But I think failures, failure, and we have to admit it, we can't shine, you know what, in Afghanistan. And the bottom line is, is we have to leave there.
It's too tribal. It's too chaotic. It is not the role of our sons and daughters to to build nations. They have to build their own.
They have to want to be built up. Exactly. So expression of a first world, solutions to third world problems never really works. Exactly.
And so what do we do with the allies like Saudi Arabia that live in a society that doesn't share any of our values, but yet we have to pretend to love?
I think we have to approach our foreign policy not as a binary equation, which is either we love them and hug them and take pictures holding the world with them and then let them form. I mean, to form a counterterrorism center in Riyadh is like forming a anti cocaine center in Colombia. It just doesn't make any sense. But I get it. I understand I understand why we're doing it. But to say that the Saudis are making a lot of progress, they have.
But NB's is as sort of a Mafia leader, and he's doing it in a corrupt, immoral, militant kind of way. But the bottom line is, is he's put the Muslim Brotherhood with their same language on their heels. So I get it in the short term.
But we have our own values, which is why families like mine came to America.
And I served in the military with many people that came from tyranny's Vietnam, China, Russia, that are serving in our military that say, you know what, they understand the diplomatic alliances. But at the end of the day, right, the Saudi the Saudis had two soldiers that committed an act of terror just a few months ago. They didn't get the memo from the Saudis that jihad is against this country, but not against the United States. So that's what happens when you don't reform.
Yeah, MB's might be reforming some things, but he's not really reforming the core ideas until the imams at the mosques in Mecca and Jeddah are starting to talk about the equality of women changing rules by letting them drive, changing rules by letting them sit on a council. A little puny town in southeastern Saudi Arabia doesn't change anything other than form window dressing to let the establishment in America feel better. So I think ultimately we have to have a long term plan, which is to work with reformers, to work on the ground.
Because I can tell you, if you look at what's happened in 2011, the government's days are numbered. But the Iranian regime, Saudi Arabia or whatever, I understand President Trump's recalibration to sort of the Game of Thrones that we had in the 20th century.
But the Game of Thrones concept has to end.
We have to either be with the people or with their oppressors. And I don't think we're with their oppressors.
I just think we sort of have a very short term approach to sort of a Game of Thrones, the enemy of our enemies, our friend, and sort of the you know, we don't want al-Qaida or ISIS to take over Saudi Arabia.
So we help the royal family. That sort of I will tell you most times we learn that chaos, disruption actually helps clean out systems, helps bring up ultimate treatment of a chronic disease, which is political Islam.
And talking about just the imams overall and even that experience that you had where you're at your at mosque and they're talking about you and saying that you're against them is the general perspective.
Some of these leaders is their allegiance, the ones that are in America is their allegiance to our country, or would you say their allegiance is to something to the Islamic State overall?
I mean, you know, I know this is not there's always going to be exceptions to every rule.
Well, and my book, I talk about how what turned me on to this battle against political Islam was when I was in my Navy uniform in 1995.
And Siraj Wahab, who is an imam out of Brooklyn and still on the board of advisory board of many of the Islamist organizations, still pals around with Linda Sarsour. Al Hunt, Omar raises money for major Muslim organizations. In 1995, we held up the Koran and said, are you against abortion?
If you're against abortion, you should be against the baby killer in the White House. And the way we fix the evil in this country is by changing the Constitution and putting in the Koran as the Constitution because we as good Muslims.
And then he goes on to say, I got lightheaded and I talk in my book about how what I did. I went to the podium where they gave us opportunities to talk about what we had at this bizarre with 40000 Muslims there.
And in my uniform, I said, listen, I'm on leave.
What you guys just did was sedition. And you're free to disagree with policy. But your position of being against the Constitution in general is not only abhorrent. And I will fight with every breath in my body, but you should be ashamed of yourself. And this is sedition. So that was in ninety five. This guy is still going around talking about how America is evil and and all of these ideas which are un-American and anti-American.
So at their core, the Islamic leadership, not all of them, but the vast majority of them do not believe in American systems and Western systems. They don't believe in our Constitution. They don't tell their kids to want to serve, or if they do, it's more of an insurgency.
And and when they do believe in the system, Candace, what they do is tell them, OK, we accept the laws as a minority and then they go to Egypt and tell the majority there you should set up an Islamic system, which is major autocracy. So in essence, they're saying, well, as a minority, we're not anarchists, we'll accept the laws of the land, but when we're a majority will flip it and take over.
That's right. And I think that's kind of what has me a bit fearful because, you know, I pay attention to that. And it does seem to be that they their ultimate ultimate goal is insurgency, to inspire people to say that there needs to be this sort of uprising. And, you know, Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote an incredible piece in the Washington, not The Washington Post. It was a Wall Street Journal. Yeah. Years ago when she talked about an issue that hit home for me because I saw very strange things happening and not calling an epidemic.
But they were just a lot of people that were converting to Islam. And that's very, very atypical.
Why people are naturally Christian and black Americans are Christian. So I started looking at this issue and I was speaking to my Uber driver at the time when I was living in Philadelphia. I was going, why are there so many black Muslims here? This is totally bizarre. And he looked at me. So, yeah, I was Muslim, too. And I was like, What do you mean you were Muslims were converted back to Christianity? And I said, what made you convert to Islam?
And he said, I served time in prison.
And the imams go there and and they basically, because you're in this horribly vulnerable place, you know, you're a young kid, you did something stupid. You're going to be in prison. You're scared. There's a Muslim Brotherhood that's being institutionalized in the prison system. And a majority of the black people that are signing up and saying, OK, I'm going to convert, I'm going to convert to Islam, we're not converting on the basis of their principles.
They're they're converting situationally of like I have these people around me that are going to protect me. So I'm going to be, you know, a Muslim right now and majority them actually don't convert back. So they get out of prison and now they are converted to the Muslim Brotherhood. They know very little. He said he hadn't even read the Koran or anything. Right. So that sort of institutionalization of, I would say, bad faith, I guess you would say, I want to say bad faith Muslims, but you know what I mean.
What is a better way for me to say that?
Like, I'm sort of just the they're just sort of it's almost like they feel like they're joining a gang rather than a religious gang right now when they come out.
And I'll tell you, Talenti, the anti-Semitism that you're seeing pop up in like New York or Philadelphia, they're always in inner cities, are located very close to prisons. I've noticed that. And no one's been talking about that. And I said people need to go back and look as I piece was entitled, like, you know, the jihadism in in prison. She literally and she spelled it out about how it was. And this was years ago, so no one paid attention to it.
And now we're sort of seeing this the seeds harvest now, I think a bit and I've written about this seven, eight years ago and Counterterrorists magazine about what is the prison problem for the Muslim population. Why do cells actually form in prison? And then we saw in New York a couple of cases and others, they leave prison and then become a cell. Why are they being radicalized there?
Well, you have this clinic of radicalization and how it happens, which is related to the imams. Yeah, the imams in the prisons.
And people say, well, Zuhdi, who would you. As imams, I'm like our reform movement is not ready to have imams populate the prisons. You need to just stop having all of these imams. They need to be vetted, because if you listen to some of the sermons undercover that have been taped and released, you will hear them calling for jihad. You'll hear them calling for collectivist militancy. And this is not a peaceful sort of spiritual journey the prisoners are making to God.
Many of them are the guys that it's what we're going to give them faith and we're going to restore them.
We're going to be better people. In reality, they're converting people exactly to radical forms of radical Islam.
And the outreach, the folks at the prison, the Bureau of Prisons, reaches out to reach out to in many of these states is just the wrong communities. And that should sort of tell Americans why. You know, the most common question I get is, Will, you know this is a Muslim problem? Yes, it needs a Muslim solution. But why should I care? There's only four million Muslims in America.
I'll say, listen, you've got people that are going hook, line and sinker into jihadi syndrom, jihadi cool in prison and online and elsewhere. And right now, look at the hysteria happening with a virus. Right. Which is the left's hysteria on the virus. And yet what happens with terror? They don't want they want to ignore it.
And the bottom line is people have died from a and yet that's a viral that's viral viral pathogenic type thing that spreads into minds. And yet they ignore it when it incubates in prisons. They ignore it when it incubates in mosques. They ignore it when it incubates in universities. So at what point are they going to wake up to the fact that, A, we're missing an opportunity in the laboratory of freedom to operationalize some mechanisms of figuring out how to counter radicalization?
The prisons will be a great place to put into operation reform movement ideas to see can you have Muslims in a prison become more moderate, more spiritual and actually become ambassadors for change, almost like you would rehab drug addicts and others. And yet we're seeing look in London, the last act committed on London Bridge was a prisoner wearing a tag who was going to teach counter radicalism. Right. And as he's going to teach, he killed two of his colleagues with a knife because he wasn't Derat, because he was radicalized, pretending to be people and people afraid to talk about it.
And I mean, when 83 percent of all converts in prison are converting to Islam and I'm telling you, it really woke me up to it was the black community and deeply faithful Christian community to be converting at those rates. And it made me just interested to take a look at that. And then that's when I discovered Ayaan Hirsi Ali article and I just said, wow, no one's talking about this.
And people don't want to talk about it because it's operating under the guise of giving people of religious freedom. Right, of giving people structure, are giving people something to look forward to. And it's something that's much uglier, much more intense. And things the things that we are now seeing in society and going, whoa, how do we get here? How is this happening? And I won't because you let it happen.
And I will tell you, one of the other obstacles in the African-American community is Louis Farrakhan, is that his Nation of Islam, this guy is a rabid bigot, a rabid fascist anti-Semite who spews some of the most hateful vitriol and yet Twitter, Facebook platform, his hate will not remove him from those platforms.
And yet his ideas are separatist. By definition, Nation of Islam is a separatist movement. And yet you see the relationships he has with the liberation theology folks and others of, you know, in the non-Muslim community.
And you find that that synergy creates an obstacle. It's almost impossible to break through for those of us who want to reform.
Now, there are some reformers that we're working with that in the African-American community and Quilliam Foundation in Washington. Muhammad Rahim is working with us closely. So there are folks beginning to work and reform in our own reform movement against that, right?
Yeah, it's something that I'm definitely interested in, you know, because obviously I'm always talking about black America and all of the ways that we need to reform because we tend to get used by various different groups to promote their causes. And because it's easier if they can if they can transform horrible ideology and give it to the black community. Because black community is always considered the number one victim in American society, people pay less attention to it. Right. And that's a danger.
And it's not just with like radical Islam in the prisons. It's any bad idea if we can get the black community to accept it first. Right. Then it'll it'll be able to operate under the radar for a long time before people realize how bad and how dangerous it's getting. I'll wrap up by saying I think you do amazing work. You're obviously brilliant. I think you have an uphill climb ahead of you. And it starts with you're trying to get people to say their op ed textbook is is going to be harder, not throw out a textbook, but ignore things in the textbook versus if you were just like this is a whole new you know, we're doing this from scratch and this is called, you know, the Muslim reform movement.
And this is we're going to have a whole new textbook. I almost think that that would almost be easier. Go back and start over.
Well, at the end of the day, you know, I'm a physician by my practice. I love. My my patients, I love my family, I love my country, and I do really feel, Kandis, that those values come from God, come from my creator, come from my faith. So I would not be taking on this battle if I didn't have a deep, deep love and a personal relationship with God. Now, do I believe that Muslims have the only pathway to God?
Absolutely not. That's part of our reform is is doing away with this exclusivity. But for me and for millions of Muslims that are anti jihad, that are pro Universal Declaration of Human Rights per equality, we love our faith.
We believe that Islam yes, it means submission, but it can also mean personal submission to God and belief in serving our country, belief in defending everyone's right to agree to hate our faith, to speak out against it.
So we have to do those things.
But I will tell you that the greatest assets for America in this battle are going to be God fearing Muslims because, yes, I think people from outside the faith or maybe on the periphery of the faith can can point out the problems and the illnesses.
But if you're really going to treat the disease, you have to deal with tough love from inside the nucleus, which is what we're trying to do.
And I totally agree with you as someone that's trying to do the same thing for black America. It does have to come from within and it can't really come from the outside. All right. Well, America, I have failed to convert him to Christianity, but we are going to do the end of this episode, as we always do.
Two minutes, we're going to have you look into this camera and leave a face message for the world. If your message could fall on the ears of every single person. What would it be on your mark? Get set, world.
I give you Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. So my name is Zuhdi Jasser, and I think for all of you that want a peaceful world, that want to defeat terrorism, that want to live among the one in four people in the world that are Muslim peacefully and not be afraid for your children or your children's children of the threat of radical Islam, help me defeat theocratic Islamism, political Islam, just as the West went through the defeat of theocracy. So, too, can Islam go through the defeat of theocracy.
If you're going to wait for Muslims to wake up on our own, it's not going to happen. If you want. If you believe that there's only a military solution, there isn't. It has to happen from within. Helped join me build our American Islamic Forum for Democracy, build institutions, build civil society groups that can begin to take back the the platforms against the Illinois bombers, the Washita Playboys and the radical Islamists that are platforming with the left against America and our way of life.
We have a program that we're building called the Assembly of Future Muslim Leaders of America.
Find and talk to Muslims in your community, demand more of them and begin to work with us on Facebook, on Twitter, find me on Twitter at Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and on our website at AAF Democracy Dog, because together we can make America more secure so our sons and daughters don't have to fight another war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and to help keep us safe from hereon.
God bless. Wow, that was good. That's a wrap. Thank you guys for watching the latest episode of the Kandace own show. I hope you guys enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. As many of you guys already know. Prager U. Is a 501. C3 nonprofit organization, which means we need your help to keep all of our content free to the public. Please consider making a tax deductible donation today. I would really appreciate your support.