In the excitement over the "Arab Awakening" in the Middle East, is it possible that the West"s optimism might not take into account the required elements for an enduring and healthy democracy in which the rights of all members are ensured and protected? A true representative government that affirms unalienable human rights and that endures in the long term -- rather than one simply riding the momentum of a "popular uprising" as a means of change and then reverts to some form of monarchy or dictatorship ￢ﾀﾘ-- is an uncommon sight in Islamic countries for a variety of reasons. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), will discuss these reasons and make a case for why he feels democracy is both desirable and possible in such a context. Jasser will also speak on what it will take to achieve democracy in the Middle East, as well as what pitfalls must be avoided if the peoples of Islamic countries are to realize this goal in a meaningful and enduring way.
A devout Muslim, Jasser founded AIFD in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the U.S. Constitution, liberty and freedom, and the separation of mosque and state. AIFD seeks to counter political Islam, the ideology that fuels radical Islamists. Jasser regularly briefs members of congressional anti-terror caucuses on the threat of political Islam. He is a nationally recognized expert on countering political Islam and American Islamist organizations.
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