M. Zuhdi Jasser is a physician, a U.S. Navy veteran, an American patriot, and a Muslim who does not hold with those who preach that Islam commands its followers to take part in a war against unbelievers.
The Third Jihad, a documentary film that Jasser narrated, takes a hard look at those Muslims who are waging this war — both with bombs and by stealthier means. The film had been among the educational materials used to train New York City police officers dealing with terrorism. Then, last month, the New York Timeswent on what one might call a crusade against the movie, publishing a series of articles branding it a “hate-filled film about Muslims” and calling on Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to “apologize for the film . . . and make clear that his department does not tolerate such noxious and dangerous stereotyping.”
In the first of its stories, the Times charges that the film “casts a broad shadow over American Muslims.” That ignores the unambiguous statement with which the documentary opens: “This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are radical.”
The story quotes Jasser as saying in the film: “This is the true agenda of Islam in America.” But what Jasser actually said in the film is that jihad is “the true agenda of much of the Muslim leadership here in America.”
Jasser has long argued — and he’s hardly alone in this — that the leaders of some of the wealthiest and most powerful organizations that claim to represent American Muslims are not as moderate as they’d have you believe. Prominent among such organizations is CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which appears to have been the driving force behind the coverage in the Times and in the Village Voice before that. The Times quotes CAIR spokesmen saying how outraged and offended they are by the film.
The Times chooses not to inform readers that CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism-financing trial in the U.S. to date, the 2007 U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation et al. The Times neglects to report that the FBIhas broken all ties with CAIR. The Times also does not mention that last year CAIR’s national organization lost its status as a tax-deductible charity after it failed to file required annual reports detailing revenues for three consecutive years as required by law. (The Times has raised pointed questions about funding for The Third Jihad. Why no interest in where CAIR’s money comes from?)
The paper never bothered to interview Jasser. Nor did the Times quote Robert Jackson, the only Muslim on the New York City Council, who told other reporters that while he “initially thought from reading about [the film] that it cast a negative image on all Muslims . . . it does not. It focuses on the extreme Muslims that are trying to hurt other people.” The Times turned down an op-ed by former secretary of homeland security Tom Ridge and former CIA director (and current chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies) Jim Woolsey defending the film.