He wages a sometimes lonely battle against voices on extremism and intolerance within the American Muslim community. But M. Zuhdi Jasser has again demonstrated why his voice so important with comments about - of all things - a video game.
On Monday, Sony announced a delay in the much-hyped release of the Playstation 3 game Littlebigplanet after realizing some background songs contained Quranic expressions. The game's release was delayed out of a concern the music might offend and anger some Muslim players.
Littlebigplanet is a game involving a fantasy world of limitless imagination and a character known as Sackboy.
Jasser gave a statement to Edge magazine, which focuses on the burgeoning gaming industry, to say the company over-reacted:
"Muslims cannot benefit from freedom of expression and religion and then turn around and ask that anytime their sensibilities are offended that the freedom of others be restricted. The free market allows for expression of disfavor by simply not purchasing a game that may be offensive. But to demand that it be withdrawn is predicated on a society which gives theocrats who wish to control speech far more value than the central principle of freedom of expression upon which the very practice and freedom of religion is based." (Emphasis added)
He's not necessarily happy that the "the words of God" are being used in such a manner, but Jasser made a point of saying he couldn't judge the song until he heard it and saw its context.
At once, Jasser, a devout Muslim and physician who founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, is able to defend free speech without compromising his religious convictions. It's an example to emulate.