A U.S.-based Muslim activist says he is hoping President Barack Obama will address the "unholy alliance" of secular Arab governments encouraging Islamist extremists when he meets with Egyptian officials Thursday in Cairo.
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim American medical doctor, is the narrator of a documentary film expose on the dangers of radical Islam in America entitled The Third Jihad.
A former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander and former official physician to the U.S. Congress, Jasser is an outspoken opponent of what he calls "political Islam." Described as "one of the few American Muslims willing and able to speak to the problem of religious terrorism from an informed historical perspective," Jasser called on the president to stand up for the universal ideals of human rights in a land where such ideals are oppressed.
In an interview with Israel National News, Jasser said that Egyptian officials have facilitated the Muslim Brotherhood for a century with a public love-hate relationship. The Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, he charged, "has served as a platform for 'Islamism' around the world, hatching the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 20th century."
Al-Azhar University, associated with the mosque of the same name in Cairo, functions as a world center for Muslim religion and culture, where Islamic scholars render fatwas (edicts) on disputes submitted from all over the Sunni Islamic world. Al-Azhar also trains the clerics appointed by the Egyptian government.
"In essence, one will find an unholy alliance in many of the Arab nations between the secular fascists and the Islamists," Jasser noted. "I hope President Obama addresses this unholy alliance – which I've termed two heads of a snake – in Egypt when he visits."
Obama's First Middle East Tour
Obama arrived in Riyadh Wednesday for his first Middle East visit since entering the White House. The president met with Saudi King Abdullah before traveling to Egypt for his much-publicized scheduled speech to the Muslim world, which he is scheduled to deliver Thursday from the podium at Cairo University.
American security officials met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman last Tuesday in Washington DC to lay the groundwork for Obama's landmark speech, two days before the president himself met with Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Jasser slammed Obama's decision to speak from Egypt, which he said suffered from a repressive leadership. "President Obama should address the two-fold cancer which plagues reform and modernization in the so-called “Muslim world,” he said. "That cancer is Arab secular fascism (i.e. the Mubarak regime) and radical Islamism (i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Azhar University)." If Obama avoids these two issues, he said, he would be avoiding one of his responsibilities as leader of the free world.
To speak in Egypt and avoid the topics of political Islam, radical Islamism, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Jasser added, "will be like visiting Moscow in the height of the Cold War and avoiding any mention of the inhumanities of communism and its incompatibility with liberty.”
The American president is expected to travel to France and Germany following his speech in Egypt, arriving in Normandy in time to join the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings by Allied forces during World War II. He will also visit the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, which his great-uncle, Chris Payne, helped liberate.
Threat to Israel
The looming threat of an "axis of evil" between Syria, Iran and Hizbullah in Lebanon, linked together with Hamas in Gaza, is also "a real scenario," Jasser said. Such alliances, he explained, are often made for convenience in geopolitical short-term battles in the Middle East just as they are elsewhere in the world.
"With the growth of political Islam, Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas will easily work together, especially to share armamentariums [equipment for carrying out a task] against their 'common enemy' as their own propaganda spreads," explained Jasser.
"Syria and other secular Arabist-facist regimes are coming along for this 'ride' because they are also threatened by the West and our allies as embodied in Israel. So they will allow Hamas to HQ in Damascus all the while they claim to be against the Muslim Brotherhood," he said.
'Political Islam' and 'The Third Jihad'
Jasser defined "political Islam," or Islamism, as a movement of theocrats trying to enact their version of Shariah [Islamic law] into government and create a theocracy.
"Islam as I practice it in prayer, five times a day, fasting in Ramadan, worship in mosque and reading of scripture in my personal relationship with G-d as a foundation of my morality and character and so on, is my faith," Jasser said.
The founder and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), Jasser added that his group is "ready and willing to take on the clerics in the world in the battle of ideas over their interpretation of Koran and their hijacking of our faith for their own political agenda…"
"The Third Jihad" centers around the FBI discovery of a Grand Jihad Manifesto calling for the destruction of the U.S. and the establishment of a radical Islamist theocracy in its place. It features interviews with experts on radical Islam and American security specialists, including leading expert Professor Bernard Lewis, as well as a first-hand account from a former terrorist.
Does Obama Understand the Issues?
"The jury is still out whether President Obama acknowledges the threat of political Islam as a root cause of terror and a frontline in this global conflict of ideas," he said. "I think his speech in Egypt, the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood, will tell us a lot.
"I hope he chooses strength and clarity over appeasement with regards to political Islam and also with regard to the secular autocrats of the Mubarak regime. I hope and pray he acknowledges that lost in the battle between Islamists (MB) in Egypt and the secular autocrats are moderate Muslims who want neither and just want to build liberal institutions based in freedom."
Jasser said it was also not clear whether the president fully understands the conflict "which the film depicts and Israelis have been dealing with for decades." He expressed "concern" that Obama has not yet taken any stand against political Islam and its network.
"The real enemies of radical Islam are the liberty-minded citizens of the world," Jasser said. "The most potent enemies of radical Islam are pious Muslims who cannot be dismissed as 'Islamophobes' and know our faith well enough to tell Islamists that their interpretations are wrong and theocratic."