December 5, 2007, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C. Headquarters
DEFENSE'S CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF DISCUSSES CONTEST OF IDEAS AT HUDSON INSTITUTE
A discussion between Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and some American
Nina Shea, Admiral Mike Mullen, and Zainab Al-Suwaij
Muslim leaders was held by the Center of Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute at Hudson's Washington offices on Wednesday, December 5.
Admiral Mullen is leading an effort to develop a military strategy to defend our national interests in the Middle East.
The meeting was chaired by Jim Woolsey, chairman of the Center's advisory board, Director of Central Intelligence from 1993 to 1995 and Under Secretary of the Navy from 1977 to 1979, who is now a consultant.
Other participants included:
Fouad Ajami is the Majid Khadduri Professor of Middle East Studies at the School for Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University. He has been since 1989 a contributing editor of U.S. News & World Report for which he has written on American foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics and contemporary history. Mr. Ajami is the author of numerous books including: The Arab Predicament, The Vanished Imam, Beirut : The City of Regrets, The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation's Odyssey, and The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs and the Iraqis in Iraq. In 1982, he was granted the five-year MacArthur Prize Fellowship. In 2006 he received the Bradley Prize for Outstanding Achievement. In November 2006 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. He is a member of the board of advisers of Foreign Affairs.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander and served in the U.S. Navy as a medical officer from 1988-1999. He is a native of Wisconsin and graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1992 with Honors in Research, and completed his internship in internal medicine at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda Maryland in 1993. After serving as Head, Medical Department aboard the U.S.S. El Paso from 1993-1994, Dr. Jasser completed his residency training in internal medicine at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He was selected to serve as Chief Resident in Internal Medicine from 1996-1997 and then served his final tour in the Navy as a staff internist in the Office of the Attending Physician for the U.S. Congress from 1997-1999. He finished his military service as a Lieutenant Commander with an Honorable Discharge in 1999. He is now in the private practice of internal medicine and nuclear cardiology in Phoenix Arizona. In 2002, to address a dearth of Muslim scholarship demonstrating the synergy of American democracy and its founding principles with the religion of Islam, he set out to form the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).
Shaykh Kabbani is linked to a long line of illustrious religious figures of Lebanon, including the current Mufti who is his cousin. He is invited by government leaders around the world including the President of Indonesia and the Prime Minister of Malaysia to discuss the state of Muslim affairs in the West and to implement innovative ways of curbing religious extremism. Shaykh Kabbani's success as leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of America has inspired Muslims around the world to seek his help in their struggle against radical influences. Since his stay in the US from 1991 until today, Shaykh Kabbani made Muslims aware of Wahhabism, a militant movement that uses the guise of religion to hide its political aspirations. The Wall Street Journal wrote about him in an editorial entitled An American Hero weeks after 9-11: "In the aftermath of the worst attack on our home soil in American history, we might do well to heed a leader who did his best to warn us before." He has authored numerous titles including an entire encyclopedia of Islamic doctrine that refutes Salafi interpretations of Islam.
Paul Marshall is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and its Center for Religious Freedom. He is the author and editor of over twenty books on religion and politics, especially religious freedom, including more recently, Radical Islam's Rules: the Worldwide Spread of Extreme Sharia Law (2005), Islam at the Crossroads (2002), The Talibanization of Nigeria (2002), Massacre at the Millennium (2001), and the best-selling, award-winning survey of religious persecution worldwide Their Blood Cries Out (1997). Currently he is editing a book on religion and the media, producing a new world survey of religious freedom, and writing a book on blasphemy and apostasy.
Hedieh Mirahmadi is President of Hedieh Mirahmadi, Professional Law Corporation. Her clients include several multinational non-governmental organizations, for which she serves as legal counsel, director, and/or administrator and for whom she travels extensively in order to learn the methodology, ideology, infrastructure of Islamic extremist movements. Ms. Mirahmadi briefs government on how the legal system can be used or amended to ultimately succeed in the battle against terror. She was given a political appointment to the post of senior advisor at US Embassy to Afghanistan.
Robert Satloff is executive director of The Washington Institute, a post he assumed in January 1993. An expert on Arab and Islamic politics as well as U.S. Middle East policy, Dr. Satloff has written and spoken widely on the Arab-Israeli peace process, the Islamist challenge to the growth of democracy in the region, and the need for bold and innovative public diplomacy to Arabs and Muslims. Soon after September 11, Dr. Satloff and his family moved to Rabat, capital of Morocco, where he telecommuted to Washington as the Institute's director for policy and strategic planning, overseeing the organization's major programs and research projects. In addition, he traveled throughout the Middle East and Europe and wrote extensively on ways to inject urgency and ideas into the ideological campaign against radical Islamism, the topic of his collection of essays, The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror: Essays on U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Middle East (The Washington Institute, 2004).
Nina Shea, an international human-rights lawyer for twenty-five years, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, where she directs the Center for Religious Freedom. Since 1999, she has served as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. She has worked extensively for the advancement of individual religious freedom and other human rights in U.S. foreign policy as it confronts a resurgent Islamist extremist ideology, as well as repression in nationalist and remnant communist regimes. For seven years ending in 2005, she helped lead a coalition of religious groups that worked to end a religious war against non-Muslims and dissident Muslims in southern and central Sudan; since 2004, she has advised US government officials and advocated on behalf of religious freedom in Iraq ; and, she produced two reports analyzing Wahhabi education, Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance (2006), and Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques (2005).
Zainab Al-Suwaij is the co-founder and executive director of the American Islamic Congress (AIC). She works with the Anti-Defamation League and Facing History and Ourselves; and serves on Connecticut's Hate Crimes Advisory Board. Al-Suwaij has testified to the Senate; briefed the President and Secretary of State; and works with Congressional leaders. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Since 2003, Al-Suwaij has worked in Iraq to strengthen women's rights and help rebuild the Iraqi education system. She currently leads the State Department-funded Iraqi Women's Educational Institute, which trains female civil society activists in principles of democracy and civic leadership. Al-Suwaij co-founded the Iraqi Women Higher Counsel – which successfully lobbied the Iraqi Interim Governing Council to mandate 25% of parliamentary seats for women – and works with Women Waging Peace.
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