Muhammad al-Asi is an Islamic radical and a frequent guest speaker on university campuses in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He is commonly invited to speak at anti-Israel rallies hosted by organizations like the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Student Union.
Al-Asi was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1951. At the age of 11 he moved to Lebanon, where he went on to study the Arabic language at the Arab University of Beirut. In 1973 he returned to the U.S. and enrolled at the University of Maryland, where he graduated with a degree in Government and Politics six years later.
Al-Asi became radicalized by the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and to this day he remains an avid admirer of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. He secured a position as imam of the Islamic Center in Washington, DC in 1981. But because of pressure from the Saudi Arabian embassy, which objected his extreme pro-Khomeini rhetoric, al-Asi was removed from this post in 1983.
Since then, al-Asi has become a “street preacher” of sorts, thundering his familiar radical message to passers-by in front of the same Islamic Center where he was formerly employed. He also makes regular trips to Iran to meet with hard-line government officials. According to a Washington Post report, he is under constant surveillance by the U.S. government.
Al-Asi detests the State of Israel and opposes U.S. aid to that nation. An article in the Arab American News quotes him saying:
“Very rarely we have American officials who can say ‘no’ to the 700-pound gorilla on Capitol Hill that is the Israeli lobby. Many of us are wrong when we think that the U.S. government has the flexibility to adjust to the new reality. It doesn’t have the flexibility when it has the toxins of the Israeli lobby in its bone marrow.”
In an undated article titled “The Qur’an Says: Zionist Israel Will Be Shattered” — posted on the website Muslimedia.com, a production of the anti-Israel, pro-Hamas Crescent International — al-Asi wrote:
“The Israeli Zionists have convinced themselves that their presence in Palestine is permanent. They have even managed to deceive world public opinion into believing this myth. The brainwashing that has gone into this effort is phenomenal…. To bolster their argument, they tell us indefatigably that the Jews are politically as strong as ever because they are in virtual command and control of the American and Russian administrations; not to mention their political and foreign policy clout in the European continent.”
In the same piece, al-Asi predicted that Muslims ultimately would conquer the Jewish people:
“The prophet of Allah … summed it up when he said: ‘The final hour shall not commence until the Muslims engage Yahud [Jew] in warfare. And the Muslims will deal the deathblow to Yahud. These Yahud will hide behind timber and boulder that will call out on Muslims: O Muslim there is a Yahudi in disguise, come and annihilate him.’”
“We have a psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly [sic] with other human beings. You can take a Jew out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the Jew, and this has been demonstrated time and time again in Occupied Palestine. And now they have American diplomats and politicians and decision makers and strategists in their pocket.”
“If the only thing the Israelis and their mentors, and their sponsors, and their superiors in Washington DC, are going to understand is the use of force, then that’s the language we’re going to communicate with, we’re going to use force, and whatever was taken by force can only be retrieved by force.”
In May 2008 al-Asi again spoke at UC Irvine, where he warned that the pent-up rage that Middle Eastern Arabs felt toward the region’s Jewish population would one day achieve critical mass: “As the years go by you [Israelis] are going to feel more cornered in the nation state ghetto you constructed.”
The invocation of “ghetto” is a common theme in al-Asi’s speeches. In al-Asi’s view, the State of Israel is an illegal entity that was created by hordes of Jewish savages who ran roughshod over an otherwise harmonious and pristine Middle East. Says al-Asi:
Al-Asi advocates an “Islamic World Order” and claims that the 9/11 attacks were actually carried out by Israeli Mossad agents seeking to “criminalize Muslims.” He is also closely associated with the neo-Nazi Swiss convert to Islam, Ahmed Huber, who lauded Ayatollah Khomeini as the “living continuation of Adolf Hitler.”
Portions of this profile have been adapted from the article “The Most Muslim University in America,” written by Reut R. Cohen and Jonathan C. Movroydis, and published by FrontPageMagazine.com on June 17, 2008.