By M. Zuhdi Jasser
December 6, 2016
On December 4, 2015, Muslim leaders from the United States, Canada and Europe convened in Washington, DC to embark on an urgently needed mission: to demand, as a collective, bold and deep reforms within the Muslim community.
We stood before the press and the global community declaring that we stand for universal human rights; including gender equality, freedom of conscience, LGBTQ rights and more; that we stand for secular governance and the rejection of governance by “Sharia” or any other set of religious rules, and more. We stood together as Muslims who reject any form of an ‘Islamic state’ or ‘caliphate’. We happened to have convened during the very week two Islamist terrorists, a couple, Syed Farouk and his wife Tashfeen Malik shot and killed our fellow Americans in San Bernardino, California, in a passion for “martyrdom” fuelling their murderous rampage.
That day’s convening garnered significant media attention. Our members include men and women, Muslims at varying levels of practice, liberals and conservatives. Some have been activists for decades; others were just starting out, compelled to make a difference after yet another year of violent attacks by Islamists the world over made it clear that change simply will not happen without more Muslims putting ourselves on the front lines for reform.
Our December 4, 2015 press conference releasing the Declaration of the Muslim Reform Movement to the world can be seen here:
Since that day, the enemy – Islamism both violent and non-violent – has continued to advance across the globe. Islamist terror in Florida and Ohio, attacks in France, Iraq, Pakistan, India and beyond continue to take innocent lives and create an understandable culture of fear. Meanwhile, many Muslims still find themselves marginalized within their own community spaces: women, Black Muslims, sexual minorities and scores of other vulnerable communities continue to feel ostracized and even persecuted for who they are and what they believe.
Over the past year, our declaration – which lays out both what we stand for and oppose, in clear language – has been posted on mosque doors, and sent to thousands of Muslim leaders across the United States, to mixed reception. Our team has been busy following up with recipients, asking them to sign onto our declaration and be a part of the solution. While some have supported us, others have cursed us – and even threatened to “come after us.” In the coming months, we will publish a full review of this project for the world to see who stands for universal human rights, and who doesn’t.
On this one year anniversary we again ask those Muslims who choose not to be a part of our Muslim Reform Movement and its Declaration to come clean and explain to the world why not. Muslim leaders and public figures need to be held fully accountable locally, nationally, and internationally about what it is exactly regarding our Declaration for Muslim Reform that they find objectionable. That debate about universal human rights is the only path towards, modernity, counter-radicalization, and global security.
Our Declaration is at our landing page and embodied in our hashtag #MyMuslimReform. Now, at our one year anniversary, December 4, 2016, we are asking everyone to support our movement online with the #MyMuslimReform hashtag and in sharing all over social media with Muslims who would join us and our neighbours who would support us.
Ask every Muslim you know what #MyMuslimReform means to them.
We have remained at the forefront on some of the most important issues of our time, those issues which most urgently require reform “within the house of Islam” – female genital mutilation, forced marriage, the targeting of apostates and minority Muslims like the Ahmadiyya, and the continued exportation of radical jihadist ideology from Saudi Arabia into mosques and communities worldwide to name a few.
We at the Muslim Reform Movement are aware that we are fighting an uphill if not generational battle, and we are not unfamiliar with tension and even controversy. We will continue our daily fight for universal human rights and against Islamism – and we ask you to join us. If you care about world peace, human rights, and the protection of pluralism and freedom, we ask you to share our declaration with your friends, family, colleagues and community members, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and to refer people to our presence online (check us out on Facebook and Twitter). We are a grassroots movement of committed, passionate volunteers fighting a massive movement fuelled by petrodollars and a cult-like ideology. We need your support, and we welcome your fellowship. Join us across social media and tell us why you stand with Muslims who advocate hashtag #MyMuslimReform.
M. Zuhdi Jasser is the President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix, Arizona and the co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. He is a former US Navy Lieutenant Commander and is also host of the podcast, 'Reform This!' on the Blaze Radio Network.