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I interviewed Dr. M Zuhdi Jasser in January 2017, July 2017, September 2018, and May 2019 on a range of topics including Islamism and what he believes is its antidote, the Muslim Reform Movement. This is a follow-up interview.
Jasser is president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement (MRM), and author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith.” He is a practicing Muslim.
He is also an active physician and former U.S. Navy officer whose parents fled Syria in the 1960s, and host of the Blaze Radio Podcast “Reform This!” and founder of TakeBackIslam.com. Jasser and I discussed the developments in Iran and Iranian links to American Islamism.
Postal: Was the US right to assassinate General Qasem Soleimani?
Jasser: This was not an assassination, but a targeted killing of the leader of the world’s most dangerous terror network. The killing of Soleimani was at least as justified as the targeted killings of terrorists Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki. Soleimani had been responsible for over 600 dead American soldiers, and countless other attacks on U.S. citizens. Soleimani’s terrorism was more significant than others, as he was able to freely use Iran’s treasury, intelligence, and the military network of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah.
Soleimani’s IRGC had been officially designated a Foreign Terror Organization (FTO) in 2019 by the U.S. government. With that designation, the United States did not need an authorization of Congress to kill him. The IRGC is a major instigator of the ongoing massacres in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. It aided Bashar Assad in killing over 600,000 Syrians and displacing over 10 million Syrians. Killing Soleimani deters Iran from projecting its power and terrorism abroad.
Postal: Recent reports show thousands of protesters in Tehran calling on Ayatollah Khamenei to resign. Former Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi stated that the world is now seeing “the beginning of the end” of the Islamist regime in Iran. But he called the regime a “sinking Titanic” back in 2009. Why should the U.S. view the current protests in Iran as anything more than the failed protests in the late 1990s and 2009 in Iran?
Jasser: The recent protests are very different than anything before. First, as the post 2011 revolutions in the Middle East have shown, regimes ultimately cannot contain social media and its viral movements once they get to a critical mass. The Iranian regime is very scared of these trends, and in fear has shut down the internet for an extended period of time. Most importantly, this revolution is far more than simply against the government in Tehran. It has encompassed many major cities, including the academic centers of Islamist theocratic control like Qom. The demonstrators have protested increased fuel prices, Iran’s funding of genocide in Syria and Yemen, theocracy, and oppression. The protesters have also supported economic, justice, and feminist reforms.
Postal: News reports highlight instances of civil disobedience in Iran, with people openly protesting the regime, student protests, women refusing to wear headscarves, a taekwondo champion defecting in protest, and people refusing to walk on American and Israeli flags. How should the U.S. interpret and respond to these developments?
Jasser: The sheer diversity of the various groups rising up in civil disobedience against the regime is breathtaking. Frequent and open public displays of affection for America and Israel reveal deep and broad-based dissatisfaction with the theocrats. For a long time, the silent majority of Iranians have ignored and dismissed the demonization of America and Israel pushed upon them by state media and their rent-a-mobs. Now, the protesters are telling their oppressors that they love and emulate the West. When you have women in burqas on state media telling their people “if you do not enjoy the rule of Islam in society then you should collect your belongings and leave,” there is no better sign that the regime is on headed towards collapse. It could take months or years, but collapse is the trajectory. And global isolation and sanctions augment the will of the people.
Postal: Several members of Congress have called on the Trump Administration to investigate the National American Iranian Council (NAIC) for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Among other things, the complaint condemns “NAIC’s relationship with the Iranian regime and its role amplifying regime propaganda.” Additionally, M. Hanif Jazayeri, news editor at Free Iran, alleges that a legislative assistant to Barbara Lee is NAIC’s “mole” in Congress, and that Ilhan Omar’s senior legislative assistant, one of Rashida Tlaib’s staffers, and a member of the Democratic National Committee have NAIC connections. What are your thoughts on these developments? What is the connection between the Iranian regime and the Islamist movement in the U.S.?
Jasser: I have said for a long time that Islamist organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) frequently take the side of foreign Islamist regimes over our own government. Now with Iran in the spotlight, folks are finally paying closer attention to NAIC. NAIC’s protégés, like CAIR’s protégés, graduate into pro-Islamist information operatives for congressional offices. As PJ Media reported, yes, NAIC protégés now include Mahya Sorour in Omar’s office and Samira Damavandi in Lee’s office.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Steve Postal