Dr. Zuhdi Jasser at Duke University, “The American-Muslim Identity: Patriot or Insurgent?”

Event Description:

Dr. Zudhi Jasser, an expert on Islamism and a former Naval officer, spoke at Duke University after weeks of heat and protest surrounding the event.

He began by saying that we often try to label ourselves as what we’re against, rather than what we’re for, but that American-Muslims should consider something different. It’s been controversial at times, he stated, to be an American-Muslim. And the root cause of terrorism, he believes, is the identity conflict that we have. So American-Muslims needs to decide if they will allow their identities to be a reflection of that conflict or if they will look at the American dream and the opportunities here, and form their identities around that. Dr. Jasser believes that Muslims are more free to practice their faith in American than in any “so-called Muslim country”.

Dr. Jasser argued that what Islam needs today, before we tackle Islamic jurisprudence, is those who will fight for Enlightenment values (the separation of mosque and state, freedom of belief, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly). We need to contain the clerics in the mosques and the universities first, because if they are running the governments, things can’t change. The ideas that fuel radicalization of the Islamist mentality are coming from these Islamic regimes and educational centers, and to say that they are disconnected is absurd.


Watch Facebook livestream: Livestream of Event


Duke Chronicle (student paper)

“Fear and Loathing in the City of the Bull”

“DPU, YAL, College Republicans co-sponsored Event ‘The American Muslim Identity’ sparks protest”

“The Republican Identity: Patriot or Insurgent?”

“They don’t want you to criticize Islam: Controversial speaker Zuhdi Jasser talks about combatting Islamism”

“Pro-liberty Muslim’s ‘ills of Islamism’ talk protested by Muslim Student Association: ‘makes students unsafe’”

Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch

“Zuhdi Jasser talks ‘triggered Islamists,’ backlash over his Duke University speech”

“Only Free Speech Can Stop Radical Islam”

“Muslim Attacked by other Muslims Protesting His ‘Ills of Islam’ Talk at Duke University”

“MSA holds teach-in at Chapel to protest Islamophobia, DCR event ‘The American Muslim Identity’”



Statement from the Duke Muslim Students Association

Facebook post by the Georgetown Bridge Initiative

Tweet by the Georgetown Bridge Initiative

Statement from Dr. Jasser – aifdemocracy.org

A timeline of the controversy from the American Islamic Forum for Democracy



Dr. Jasser’s podcast, “Reform This!”