On January 25, the World Affairs Council of Orange County hosted a panel discussion on the topic of the Muslim Reform Movement The panelists were Zuhdi Jasser of the Muslim Reform Movement and Salam al Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and persistent critic of law enforcement efforts to monitor radical Islam in the US. An individual with whom I am personally acquainted attended the event and made some notes. Thew writer wishes to remain anonymous.
I did attend it. It was entitled Muslim Reform Movement: Is This Necessary and Why? It was hosted by the World Affairs Council of OC. Panel with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and Salam Al Marayati. Here were my thoughts:
I attended it for two reasons. First to hear how Islamists are now deflecting and attempting to avoid this discussion and secondly to gauge the audience's level of knowledge.
Here are my take aways. CAIR was there in large number. They are not nearly as self confident as in the past.
The non Muslim audience is not as easily deterred from receiving answers.
Salam Al Marayati said many of the predictable things that an Islamist does. "Jihad means inner struggle." He said the Quran does not claim expressly a need to establish a state (which I believe is correct), and claims that " it is the American understanding of Islam which needs a reform". He also claimed that since 9-11 Right wing extremists have killed 4 times more people than Islamic extremists.
Al Marayati states that the 5 Goals of Sharia are to:
protect freedom of speech
protect freedom of religion
protect property rights
know your lineage
Also note worthy is that while Al Marayati did not say that Islam needs any reformation he did say that Muslim reform means that Muslims should not live in ghettos and that Jews and Christians are people of the book not infidels.
Al Marayati stated that "political Islam is a failure....my kids don't know what political Islam is because they only have Islam in their hearts."
(And lucky for them that they live in the USA instead of an Islamic republic!!!)
Zuhdi Jasser was as always composed, articulate and forthright in presenting an alternative narrative. He said that we need to address this domestically to effect change globally.
Cards were passed out for the Q and A session at the end but the moderator said that the questions written on the cards were too passionate and directing so he chose not to use them. The Q and A's were skipped and he let Jasser and Al Marayati both have a final thought at the end instead.
Fousesquawk Comment: I have heard Marayati speak several times, and I consider him a dissembler. In December 2012 I spoke with him at the MPAC annual conference in Pasadena and asked him about Nonie Darwish's Freedom Pledge, a letter sent to him and hundreds of other Muslim leaders in the US asking them to sign a simple statement that US apostates from Islam should not be harmed. (Islamic law mandates death to apostates and is still often carried out in many parts of the world sometimes with government law (Saudi Arabia, Iran) Marayati and all the others excepting 2 never signed the letter or acknowledged. Marayati told me the letter was unnecessary since there is no law in Islam mandating death to apostates . I then gave him a copy of the letter that had been addressed to him. It was never signed.