Pushing Back

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I have posted about Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of Phoenix, Arizona once before. He is the physician who denounced the six flying imams after their stunt in the Minneapolis airport. Now he's going even further: he is volunteering to raise money to pay for the defense of any person the six imams try to sue for daring to report their antics. The imams may have finally had their little rock turned over, exposing them for what they are. Dr. Jasser is a Muslim who detests islamists and he's not afraid to speak out against it.

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.

But he believes that a Muslim voice is critical in response to the imams' charges, which include one that they were discriminated against for praying in the airport gate area. "Americans are so worried about offending religious sensibilities," he says. "We as Muslims must step forward and say, 'This is not about prayer, it's about airline security.' "

The context in which faith is displayed is important, according to Jasser. "I pray five times a day; for example, I pray publicly in the park with my family when we are on a picnic," he says. "But the issue is one of prudence. After 9/11, the airport gate is the most anxiety-laden area for Americans. It is supreme naivete for these individuals to feel the way to exercise their religious freedom is embodied by their ability to pray as a group at an airport gate."

He is stepping up against the attempt by the six to use legal blackmail to silence people. He's the imam's worst nightmare, a Muslim who is exposing them for what they really are.

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One Response to Pushing Back

  1. Chris says:

    Hey, look! A moderate Muslim!

    Now where are the rest of them?

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