Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, whose mission is "to provide an authentic Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the U.S. constitution: liberty and freedom through the separation of mosque and state." His parents emigrated from Syria to the United States, where majority rules but minorities are protected like no other place in the world. America presents opportunities for learning an unfiltered history, expressing all opinions, questioning authority, and creating ideas without censorship—an environment Dr. Jasser believes is consistent with the Islamic faith. The democratic idea that every citizen, blind to race, faith, and creed, has equal access to government is a cure for the pathology of extremist Islam. The freedoms offered by a democratic society can be a laboratory for Muslim reform, allowing for open interpretation and debate, and thus the evolution of philosophies. Dr. Jasser considers the Muslim world currently trapped in a binary choice between Arab secular dictatorship and militant political Islam. However, he argues that there is a third option: universal liberty. Islam must be reinterpreted in modernity, which is only possible in an environment where people are free to debate and discuss it without fear of dangerous consequences. The intolerance of radical Islam is a threat to everyone, East and West, and Dr. Jasser argues, "it is incumbent on us to defeat it for our children."
Zuhdi Jasser - Oslo Freedom Forum 2010, posted with vodpod