A New York-based Muslim extremist group known for its unabashed support for violence against Jews and others posted a link on its website Tuesday branding American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) Executive Director, M. Zuhdi Jasser, a "murtad," or apostate. Being labeled an apostate – a Muslim who renounces Islam – is a very serious accusation, often resulting in a death sentence in many places throughout the Muslim world. And while this is not a certainty in all cases and contexts, it is troubling that Revolution Muslim (RM) thought it acceptable to bestow upon themselves the license to label a pious Muslim as such.
And it's not the first time the group has slurred Jasser this way.
RM's latest attack against Jasser came in reaction to a video, originally posted by AIFD, showing him and U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) engaged in a Capitol Hill forum about Islam's internal struggle against radicalism. Rather than assessing the complete debate, RM elected to post just one segment (of nine) where, it says Ellison "gives the Murtad Zubi [sic.] Jasser a schooling." We at IPT News must have heard something completely different when we attended and reported on the forum last month.
Jasser, a Navy veteran, is a devout Muslim who challenges radical Islamists and advocates a separation between religion and political ideas such as the spread of Shariah law.
RM's radical reaction is hardly surprising considering the group's record. As noted in an October 2009 Anti-Defamation League (ADL) "backgrounder" on RM, the group has, on numerous occasions, promoted attacks against Jews, Hindus, Americans, and other non-Muslims. In one recent case, "RM posted to its Web site a poem asking God to 'kill the Jews' and listing ways Jews could be hurt, including by burning 'their flammable sukkos while they sleep' and throwing 'liquid drain cleaner in their faces.'" Fox News reports that the post was removed and replaced with a more innocuous article soon after it caught the eye of the NYPD.
Similarly, just last week, RM posted a video on YouTube in which group member Abdullah As-Sayf Jones rants on the streets of New York City to passersby about the justification for Major Nidal Hasan's wanton act of violence at Fort Hood. In an effort to show Hasan's act had the moral upper-hand as compared to U.S. military actions overseas, Jones says:
"This did not take place at a hospital. This was not a civilian target. Not a school, not a hotel, nothing else. This took place at a military base….compared to American military tactics, in which they drive drones over the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, indiscriminately killing Pakistanis. A U.S. drone does not tell the difference [between legitimate targets and civilians]…but yet, here it is, the so-called terrorist making sure specifically to target military targets."
In the aftermath of the Fort Hood shooting, RM also posted a link to another controversial video – this one put out by a group called AIM Films – in which a man identified as Bilal Abdul-Kareem defends Hasan's killing spree as an act against an enemy in a state of war, rather than a criminal or terrorist act.
RM's mission, as stated on its website, includes uniting the "Muslim world…under the banner of Islam." In pursuing this mission, RM regularly pushes the limits of 1st Amendment freedom of speech protections in showing support for violence. This strategy is very similar to yet another New York-based group, with whom RM shares membership and often cooperates: the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS). ITS, "an offshoot of a British group by the name Al Muhajiroun…that supports violence in order to create a global Islamic state," according to the ADL report, has openly shown support for Al Qaeda and has spewed hate against the FBI, CIA, and others.