Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of Phoenix was deeply troubled after 9-11. A Muslim, he saw his faith threatened by extremists seeking to hijack it for political ends. "Islam is a spiritual path," he says. "The mixture of politics and religion is toxic to our faith."
In 2003, Jasser founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy with several like-minded Arizona Muslims. "We are pro-Islam and anti-Islamist," he says. In Jasser's view, Islamists believe that governments should incorporate Islamic law, and that spiritual leaders should also be political leaders.
Though he is well-known in Arizona, he has not been visible outside the state. But that changed a few weeks ago, when he publicly challenged the six imams who filed suit after being detained at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Five of them are from Arizona, and Jasser knows several of them, he says. He has volunteered to raise money to help any passengers they sue for reporting their behavior, as they have threatened to do.
Suddenly Jasser is a sought-after radio and TV commentator. His new role is taking lots of time, a scarce commodity for Jasser, who practices internal medicine and is president of the Arizona Medical Association.
Katie quotes Jasser with apparent approval when he says:
"I believe I represent the views of the large majority of Muslims in this country," says Jasser. "They are repulsed by political sermons, by apologetics for terrorism. The vast majority do want to separate their spiritual identity from their political identity."
Yes, Katie, separation of church and state is so important when the church, er, mosque, is Muslim. But your writing clearly shows you don't think the same is true when the religion is Christian. Your views of gay marriage, religious involvement in schools, and the list goes on, make that clear.
Let Spot ask you this Katie: if the imams had been Christian evangelicals, flush with religious fervor after a revival, and were singing Onward Christian Soldiers at the airport gate, would you have a different opinion? Would the Mr. and Mrs. Bigot?
Tags: Katherine Kersten, flying imams