Musa al-Gharbi “interviews” Dr. Zuhdi Jasser

jasser

(Try to spot the fundamentalist)

 

Apparently Dr. Jasser is a fan of my work…or in any case, he likes to skim it. Over the course of the following exchange, my interlocutor and I go through a good deal of my catalog–the dialectic is basically him systematically misrepresenting what I was arguing, and myself correcting those misconceptions and highlighting that he is either not reading my work, not understanding it, or else engaging in bad-faith.

For the sake of simplicity, I have put primarily the direct tweets between myself and Dr. Jasser–as we went on, there grew to be a number of side participants, generally offering vacuous trolling (primarily on Jasser’s side, although a bit on mine as well) which would distract from the primary conversation. But of course, the entire conversation is public record, just follow me on Twitter!

For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Jasser, his American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is notorious for receiving funding from overtly Islamophobic action committees and patrons of the neoconservative wings of both parties—and the good doctor is known for espousing views that said funders would like to hear coming out of the mouth of someone who is ostensibly Middle Eastern and Muslim.

It’s not every day one gets to expose these charlatans for the empty intellects that they are in such a direct manner. Would love to do this face to face and very publically with exchanges longer than 140 characters…someday soon, God Willing. In the meantime, enjoy!

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
Wait for it: #ISIS not religious, it’s political! Fatuous Islamist apologia from @Musa_AlGharbi @ajam propagandist http://mepc.org/articles-commentary/commentary/dont-think-islamic-state-religious-terms …

 

Ceredwyn F. Holt ‏(@terraluxe) 
@DrZuhdiJasser @Musa_alGharbi @ajam That is probably news to them.

 

Musa al-Gharbi (‏@Musa_alGharbi)
(1/3) @terraluxe @DrZuhdiJasser @ajam  It’s news to me too, as it’s not what I argued anywhere in the piece.  (2/3) Did you not read or fail to understand? Intro clearly says its silly to make claim you are putting into my mouth (3/3) Question is whether or not it is helpful in directing policy to dwell on ISIS’ supposed (and tenuous) theology

 

Zuhdi Jasser (‏@DrZuhdiJasser)
(1/2) @Musa_alGharbi You claim everything 2appease critics. Bottom line: your obvious failure to speak to #Islamism (Political Islam) foundations (2/2) #ISIS is a natural endpoint of #Islamism @ajam #qatar and @OIC_OCI operatives will do everything to avoid that central point!

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
(1/4) @DrZuhdiJasser @ajam I am not affiliated with OIC & regarding my “propagandist” status, I’ve been a staunch critic of Qatari Syria policy (2/4) I have rejected idea of arming and funding these people from the start. (3/4) I don’t try to appease anyone, if you’ve read my work, this is obvious. (4/4) I reject that only options are secularism or extremism. These reductionist dichotomies typical of fundamentalists.

 

I should add that Al-Jazeera America gives me a great deal of latitude–their edits have been entirely focused on making sure my articles are as clear and concise as possible, and I have never felt any pressure to censor my criticism of Qatar, or to advocate Qatar’s view on anything. Again, my work on Syria is basically a refutation of Qatari policy in the region–published and distributed widely by Al-Jazeera America.

Of course, elsewhere Dr. Jasser accuses me of being a tool of Assad, Iran and even a mouthpiece of ISIS. So he’s clearly just throwing out charges and hoping someone accepts them uncritically–a tactic that shows a deep-seated disrespect for his audience, believing they are reactionary and easily-manipulated and therefore susceptible to these sorts of maneuvers.

 

Ceredwyn F. Holt (‏@terraluxe)
@Musa_alGharbi While intellectuals are trying to hash out what ISIS really are, they are busy trashing the region.

 

Musa al-Gharbi ‏(@Musa_alGharbi)
@terraluxe @DrZuhdiJasser Ironic: precisely the point of the article is that these sorts of arguments are dangerous distractions!

 

Ceredwyn F. Holt ‏(@terraluxe)
@Musa_alGharbi @DrZuhdiJasser So if we would have listened to Dr. Jasser and #McCain would we be discussing #ISIS today?

 

Musa al-Gharbi ‏(@Musa_alGharbi)
@terraluxe @DrZuhdiJasser Probably more so: http://fiatsophia.org/2014/09/04/fantasyland-syria-and-its-horrific-real-world-consequences/ …

 

Zuhdi Jasser (‏@DrZuhdiJasser)
(1/2) @Musa_alGharbi my conclusions are based on ur obvious negligence #apologia re source of #ISIS and @OIC_OCI ideology ==> #islamism @ajam (2/2)this piece is sheer nonsense just more of you @OIC_OCI anti-Western apologia deceptively legitimizing autocracy. @terraluxe

 

Musa al-Gharbi (‏@Musa_alGharbi)
(1/3) @DrZuhdiJasser @terraluxe Re: legitimizing autocracy, your “extremist” v. “secular” dichotomy, ludicrously ill-formed: http://fiatsophia.org/2013/05/18/irreligious-fundamentalism/ (2/3)  Also, I’ve never written Islamic apologia. I see no need to justify my faith nor that of my brothers/sisters (3/3) if you are reading my work that way, not paying attention. I am quite consistently and overtly anti-apologia

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
@Musa_alGharbi here: http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/opinion/musa-algharbi-is-authoritarianism-antidemocratic_13232 … you disgracefully claim that Arab human beings want autocracy #shameonyou @OIC_OCI @ajam

 

Musa al-Gharbi ‏(@Musa_alGharbi)
@DrZuhdiJasser @OIC_OCI @ajam Idea later repeated in Wilson Quarterly http://wilsonquarterly.com/stories/voting-against-freedom/ … But Kucera prob. not shameful right? Not Muslim

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
@Musa_alGharbi Elections does not a democracy make! Ask #Iranians #Syrians #Pakistanis @OIC_OCI #emptyProfessor #Liberty @OIC_OCI @ajam

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
(1/3) @DrZuhdiJasser @OIC_OCI @ajam It’s not democracy if it doesn’t match your ideals! Quite the notion! (2/3) No surprise most overtly irreligious governments spearheaded by dictators and sustained through repression! (3/3) Difference between us is that I study cognitive science, which informs my views on how people think. You?

 

Zuhdi Jasser (‏@DrZuhdiJasser)
(1/2) @Musa_alGharbi I study #Liberty and #UniversalDeclarationofHumanRights rejecting all @OIC_OCI + rejecting #Islamism a topic u ignore! @ajam (2/2) looks like you never read #Paine #Jefferson #Madison— get an education on #Liberty then come back @OIC_OCI @ajam

 

The irony, of course, is that I graduated from the #1-ranked program in the world for political philosophy, spearheaded by faculty from the Koch Brothers and IHS-funded “Center for the Philosophy of Freedom.” I would wager that I actually have a far better background on these foundational thinkers than Dr. Jasser.

But perhaps more important is the implication in this tweet that one need not defer to empirical investigation: if you’ve read the Federalist Papers, you know exactly what all people want, and what works best for everyone in any context for all time. Again, replace “federalist papers” with “Qur’an” and the nature of Jasser’s thinking gets pretty stark.

Another irony is that Dr. Jasser supports the mass surveillance programs (and worse), including (perhaps especially) those which target the Muslim community. Incidentally, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is supposedly his field of study, protects correspondences from arbitrary surveillance and declares that all people should be free from arbitrary supervision, detention, etc. It also prohibits targeting sub-populations based on factors like ethnicity and religion. In short, the policies Dr. Jasser has consistently advocated are considered to be crimes against humanity according to the Declaration–as underscored repeatedly in the UN. But hey, he’s the “expert” right?

For interested readers, the empirical investigations I refer to are sprinkled throughout most of my work, but perhaps the highest concentration of the relevant research is in my “Building on Nietzsche’s Prelude: Reforming Epistemology for the Philosophy of the Future.”

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
(1/2) @DrZuhdiJasser @OIC_OCI @ajam I’ve read all of them–they don’t overrule decades of sociological, psychological and other empirical research (2/2) I reject notion of universality of norms…because I study empirical sciences rather than spouting nonsense

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
(1/2) @Musa_alGharbi U sure do! Here’s ur full throated defense of #islamism and condemnation of universal rights #inhuman http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/opinion/musa-a (2/2) say it, it won’t hurt #Islamism is the threat #Liberty is the solution @OIC_OCI @ajam (2/2)

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
@DrZuhdiJasser @OIC_OCI @ajam Again, as I’m not a fundamentalist, I don’t think like a simpleton. I reject the dichotomy.

 

Zuhdi Jasser (‏@DrZuhdiJasser)
(1/2) @Musa_alGharbi u mean u only like your own supremacist dichotomies like “Islamism is the solution” #psychobabble #dodge @OIC_OCI @ajam (2/2)You sit in Arizona and condemn our American Ideals in exchange for your #islamist supremacism? #TryQatar

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
(1/3) @DrZuhdiJasser @OIC_OCI @ajam A) I didn’t condemn American ideals, said they are not universal. HUGE difference. B) you are in AZ too (2/3) C) Also never said Islamism is solution in any or every context. Said people have right to self-determination (3/3) This entails allowing them to form religious govt. if they so choose. Again, it’s like you can’t read

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
@Musa_alGharbi #islamism is not self determination! At best it is theocratic majoritocracy. You have no knowledge of liberty @OIC_OCI @ajam

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
@DrZuhdiJasser @OIC_OCI @ajam Not self-determination unless they choose what you prefer. That’s liberty! Classic.

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
@Musa_alGharbi U published this twisted defense http://www.presstv.com/detail/2014/02/16/350958/rethinking-russia-iran-support-for-assad/ … of #Assad #Iran @PressTV fascist media and u want 2b taken seriously?

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
@DrZuhdiJasser I don’t want anything from you but a genuine argument. Refute facts, don’t spit rhetoric. Ad hominem = you got nothing.

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
@Musa_alGharbi here http://www.stopwar.org.uk/news/the-us-war-on-sexual-violence-mass-murder-and-religious-persecution-should-begin-at-home … you sit in the US and compare our soldiers to ISIS? #ShameonYou #AssadLobbyist @OIC_OCI @ajam

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
(1/2) @DrZuhdiJasser Again, as if you can’t read. Said if people concerned about these things, should start here, more tractable and productive (2/2) I give people benefit of doubt…now wondering if my interlocutor intellectually unsophisticated or just cynical.

 

Speaking of liberty–without a doubt, the likes of Dr. Jasser would have considered Martin Luther King Jr. to be un-American (as many did). Both of us have emphasized non-violence in the struggle for our social change–but both while being unflinchingly critical of American policy in order to spur that change. In fact, I would challenge readers to find a single criticism of America or its foreign policy offered by myself which lacks an analog from Dr. King’s work.

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
Introducing @UofA own #AssadLobbyist @Musa_alGharbi In doubt? Read his propaganda: “Syria Contextualized:Numbers Game” http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/syria-contextualized-numbers-game …

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
(1/2) @DrZuhdiJasser @UofA Please do read it. Cited by @StateDept dossiers: http://www.uspolicy.be/dossier/middle-east-united-states-policy-toward-middle-east-dossier … In textbooks etc. Also, highly predictive. (2/2) Again, ad hominem underscores the emptiness of your position. Why don’t you refute any of my claims with facts, perhaps?

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
(1/3) @Musa_alGharbi u really take Americans for fools. U think the fact that u r a shill for Assad/Iran is disproven by where u pub? #LOL (2/3) US long has apologists like Sen Kerry (08) or @Dennis_Kucinich who were long time “friends” w evil of Bashar/Asma (3/3) even fascist operatives have free speech. Now ur writings @presstv @ajam speak volumes to who u work for @UofA @StateDept

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
(1/2) @DrZuhdiJasser @UofA FYI: never received any money from Iran for writings or anything else, not anyone’s mouthpiece. And not pro-Assad, pro Syria: http://fiatsophia.org/2013/06/11/rejoinder-to-order-freedom-and-chaos-sovereignties-in-syria/  (2/2) You on the other hand have accepted money from lots of disreputable people: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/muslim-group-leader-nypd-thanks-spying-us-zuhdi-jasser

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
(1/3) @Musa_alGharbi good try. You work for the enemies of America no matter which way you try to shrug it off (2/3) I can’t find one ProAmerican thing you’ve written. Instead you radicalize (3/3) his material is textbook material for radicalization of Muslims and future #ISIS fighters

 

Musa al-Gharbi (@Musa_alGharbi)
@DrZuhdiJasser Everything I write is pro-America; patriotic to try to improve policy. But for more explicit, how’s this: http://fiatsophia.org/2013/11/01/implications-of-americas-evitable-decline/

 

Zuhdi Jasser ‏(@DrZuhdiJasser)
Fellow Arizonans: Radical Prof @Musa_alGharbi at our AZ tax funded @UofA compares US soldiers to #ISIS contact @UofA http://www.stopwar.org.uk/news/the-us-war-on-sexual-violence-mass-murder-and-religious-persecution-should-begin-at-home …

 

At this point, we had arrived in a circle. As it became clear that Dr. Jasser was not interested in having a good-faith discussion, or even willing to be dragged into one, I chose to disengage. As Imam Ali’s warned, “The moment you start arguing with an ignorant fool, you have already lost.” Or from Mark Twain, “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

One thought on “Musa al-Gharbi “interviews” Dr. Zuhdi Jasser

  1. Haha…well illuminated for us Twitter morons.

    This guy is a shill for FOX, no more and no less. When you put a paper bag on their head they all moan the same damn way.

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