April 30, 2004


Moderate Muslims March in Phoenix: A patriotic Islamic group organizes a rally against terrorism -- and an anti-war demonstration breaks out. (Daniel Pipes, 4/30/04, FrontPage)

When the American Islamic Forum for Democracy organized "A Rally against Terror" on April 25 in Phoenix, its head, an Arizona physician named Zuhdi Jasser, said his goal was to give Muslim moderates "an opportunity to speak out publicly." And Jasser presented the rally as a robust response to the many criticisms that American Muslims had not produced a "groundswell of condemnation" against terrorism. In fact, he asserted,

The killing of innocent people out of revenge, out of hate or out of retribution is against the absolute laws of Islam. Suicide is against the absolute laws of Islam. People can justify their actions all day long, but we as Muslims are here to say clearly their actions are against everything we believe.

Jasser wrote an oped in the Arizona Republic where, as a Muslim, he took responsibility for the mistrust directed toward American Muslims, rather than merely blow this off as prejudice:

It is impossible as an American not to feel the growing palpable distrust toward the Muslim community. With attacks targeting innocent civilians across the globe, it has sadly at this time gone far beyond the initial prideful question of "Why are Muslims being singled out?" It is time now only to rally and provide an unmistakable resounding reply. 

With this in mind, he set out two goals for the rally:

We want to reassure the American public that the great majority of Muslims condemn the targeting of innocents by virtue of the tenets of our faith. We also want to give hope and inspiration to faithful Muslims all over the country that this type of rally is possible.

Jasser found support for his efforts as close as the Arizona Republic, which correctly judged this event to be "the nationís first Muslim rally against terrorism," and as far away as the country's capital, where a Washington Times editorial ended with, "We salute Dr. Jasser, American patriot."
The Muslim community of Phoenix is estimated at 50,000 persons; Jasser worked strenuously to reach out to the Valley Council of Imams, Valley mosques and major Valley Islamic organizations; and the Arizona Republic, the leading newspaper of Phoenix, gave the rally its full-fledged support. A head of steam behind him, Jasser optimistically predicted that 500 to 1,000 people would attend the event.

But then the event was held and reality set in.

You ever been to an anti-terror march?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2004 8:23 AM

Muslims demonstrating against Muslims expect to be killed and react in a sensible fashion, they stay away.

Posted by: at April 30, 2004 4:22 PM


Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 30, 2004 7:46 PM


So, you'd acknowledge that the absence of voices speaking out reflects nothing about what they feel--that's real progress for you.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2004 7:52 PM

I said, yes, I'd marched in an anti-terror march.

Not recently.

And no, I'd say the absence of the people who did not march reflected exactly their concern. Zero.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 30, 2004 10:13 PM

Anyone who didn't march with you--not recently, mind you--doesn't care as much as you? Do you ever listen to yourself?

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2004 11:36 PM

I've never been to an anti-terror demonstration. I guess that means I don't care, right?

Posted by: Joe at May 1, 2004 7:28 PM

Joe, it sort of depends whether the group you're identified with by others is highly suspected for terrorist sympathies.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 2, 2004 6:36 PM