American Islamic Forum for Democracy

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Client: American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Phoenix, AZ
Category: Liberty-oriented think tank
Summary: Redesign all key media for this young group of Muslim counter-terrorism activists

0The AIFD is America’s fastest-growing pro-freedom, anti-terrorism, anti-Islamist Muslim think tank.  From 2007-2012, I acted as a creative consultant to the AIFD, and specifically its founder and president, Zuhdi Jasser, MD.  Due to my confidentiality agreement, I am not at liberty to publicly describe some of the specifics of the work I performed for the AIFD.   As documented below, however, Dr. Jasser indicates some of the many values that I’ve brought to the AIFD:

  • Graphic design
  • Strategic consulting
  • Copy writing & editing
  • Research

June 2012 Update: Dr. Jasser paid tribute to me in the Acknowledgements of his first book, “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith.”  From p. 293 (search “Sutz” here):

May 2011 Update: Click here to learn about another logo that I developed for a new organization created by Dr. Jasser, to raise awareness of the unspeakable brutality that Syria’s dictator is employing against dissenters: Save Syria Now!


Overview

The American-Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a Phoenix, AZ-based think tank and activist group that formally:

  • Articulates the voice of freedom-loving American Muslims
  • Opposes Islamism (Muslim supremacism) in all its forms, on a philosophical, theological and ideological basis

Below is the logo that the AIFD was using, in the context of its website header:


The AIFD retained me, at first, to redesign its logo.  Based on its satisfaction with my work in this regard, it enlisted my abilities in other areas of its outreach and internal operations – as described in its founder’s letter of recommendation for me:

“Jon has provided a vast array of services and input which have been essential to the success of the AIFD, and our efforts to take it to ‘the next level.’  What was profoundly unique about Jon’s contributions to the AIFD is that they were not just limited to the task we initially contracted him for, logo production and a graphics makeover.

“(H)e also has an uncanny grasp of the challenges facing those wishing to advocate liberty in the public square, which are even more significant and complex, given the AIFD’s mission to do so in an environment that encompasses religion, law, philosophy and national security. We found his input on our (existing) website, logo, and the body of other visual and written media we have developed and employ, to be uniquely on-point, and well thought-out.

“His expert contributions to the AIFD grew not only from just our media, but into his development of a powerful assessment of our organization’s intellectual positioning in the ‘marketplace of ideas,’ and an invaluable, graphical ‘force-field analysis,’ which Jon recommended, and created for us. These materials were all indispensable during our recent board of directors’ retreat, and are now part of our foundational growth plan, towards our mission of being a significant organization on the American intellectual landscape. This would not have been possible without Jon’s contributions and expertise.

“Jon’s combination of marketing, graphic design, writing, editing and research abilities and knowledge, along with his deep understanding of the ideas of liberty and security, upon which the AIFD is focused, made his contributions not only superb, but unique.  He was clearly not only working on our project as a job, but as an individual who loves what he does, and loves the ideas of liberty.”

M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., Founder & President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy


Background: Islamic supremacism, and the two forms of “jihad” facing America

For several decades, a number of Islamist (Muslim surpremacist) organizations have been operating on American soil, which disguise themselves as “civil rights” groups.  These groups have been very successful at projecting this benevolent image of themselves to America’s mainstream media (MSM), government (at all levels), and our culture in general.

The reality is that many of these groups are documented to have been spawned from, have financial ties to, and share a common theology and ideology with notorious Islamist terror groups – including Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda and others.  Collectively, these groups share one, ultimate goal: to make their repressive interpretation of Islamic law (sharia) dominate every aspect of all people’s lives.

Towards this end, Islamists have pursued a two-pronged strategy:

  • A “soft” jihad (political Islamism), in which they use the freedoms of Western cultures to obtain special rights and privileges for Muslims, and infiltrate and weaken these cultures’ educational, governmental and journalistic institutions
  • A “hard” jihad (physical terrorism)

Only a small number of America-based Islamist groups have been convicted of directly participating in/supporting terrorist acts.  By their own expressions and actions, however, they all share, reinforce and justify Islamist terrorist groups’ theological, political and ideological justification for the ultimate goal of a sharia-dominated Earth.

According to the co-founder of the most prominent Islamist front group, the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – which was recently named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorist-funding case (more here) – yet which our MSM consistently refers to as a “civil rights” organization:

“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran… should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.”
(source; more here)


About the AIFD and Dr. Jasser

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., a Phoenix-based, liberty-oriented Muslim physician, sought to organize a Muslims Against Terror” rally, and invited the imams (leaders) of all the mosques in Arizona to join him.  Because he did not share their view that America had, at least in large part, brought these barbaric attacks upon itself, via U.S. foreign policies, the imams refused to participate in Dr. Jasser’s rally.  Some imams later viciously denounced him.

Undeterred, Dr. Jasser proceeded with his rally, and transformed into an interfaith event, for which he received acclaim from freedom-loving people in the metro Phoenix area and beyond.

In 2003, Dr. Jasser and several other Phoenix-area Muslim professionals formed the American Islamic Forum for Democracy in order to:

  • Reclaim the Islamic faith from those who have used it to justify both their “soft” and “hard” jihad
  • Oppose the Islamists’ view that faith and politics should be inextricably linked
  • Advance the view that freedom is the moral right and highest aspiration for individuals and cultures

Read about the AIFD and its mission here.

You can see some of Dr. Jasser’s many TV appearances here.

“The Third Jihad”

Below is a pivotal documentary focusing on Dr. Jasser, and the nature of the ideological battle in which he and the AIFD are engaged – “The Third Jihad”:


About the AIFD’s logo – and my challenge in redesigning it

In 2007, after becoming aware of the actual nature of Islamist terrorism, the pernicious advance of Islamism via “soft jihad” in America and the West, and the AIFD, I contacted Dr. Jasser to express my interest in redesigning the group’s existing logo (below), and providing other design and creative consulting services.

The AIFD listened to the reasons why I felt its logo needed to be redesigned, and retained me for a trial period, primarily for this purpose.

The AIFD explained that there are four target audiences it is trying to reach:

  • American Muslims
  • Everyday Americans
  • Muslims around the world
  • U.S. and international news media, governmental agencies and think tanks

Given the vastly different prisms through which these disparate groups will view the new logo, extensive thought was devoted to conceiving of a design that would be a physical expression of the AIFD’s core principles, while remaining sensitive to all audiences.  I later commented in an interview:

“Based on my 20 years of experience in designing and redesigning logos, I knew from the onset that this was going to be the single most challenging logo project I’d ever approached.”

I recommended that the redesign approach should seamlessly fuse three elements:

  • A strong graphic identity of the AIFD letters
  • Freedom-oriented imagery
  • Muslim imagery integrated into the overall graphic, but not overpowering it

The AIFD concurred with these principles.


The evolution of the new design

The AIFD and I explored many design possibilities, over a period of approximately eight weeks.  Ultimately, they arrived at the idea of developing a stylized adaptation of the letters that comprise its name, into which (a) an American flag, and (b) the Islamic crescent moon would be inserted.

The following chronicles my step-by-step development of the new AIFD logo.

(1) After exploring many design approaches with the AIFD, the following submission by me was judged to be best, as a base standard from which to develop the full graphic identity:


(2) I was unable to locate high-quality vector art of the American flag that would “work” for insertion into the above master art outline, in my and the AIFD’s opinion.  Most source graphics I obtained had a variety of “imperfections,” including (a) stars and stripes that were not “waving” properly, and (b) stripes that, when positioned, would leave only “slivers” in the letters, or were not pointing in a consistently upward position (I wanted all critical lines to be pointing upward, indicating ascent).

Given these challenges, I opted to produce hand-sculpted, original art, that would meet my criteria for “perfection.”


(3) I created a custom blue field with stars, and then molded it to exactly follow the “wave” of the flag.  Note that the lower-right star is inserted in the interior of the crescent, as it is in the Islamic “logo” — a subtle yet important integrating design criteria:


(4) The following is the final graphic for the graphic element of the AIFD’s new logo:


(5) The AIFD and I then spent considerable effort to select a positive, immediately-distinguishable, accenting combination of typefaces for the name, and new, abbreviated tag line.  The following is the result:


(6) For cases in which the logo should appear atop a dark background, I adapted the logo standard to the following:


Conceptual redesign of the AIFD website

Based on the AIFD’s satisfaction with my work on its logo redesign, the AIFD engaged me to generate ideas for redesigning its website, to make it more contemporary, organized and user-friendly.

Below is what the AIFD website interface looks like (click to enlarge):

I began by identifying, analyzing and documenting the websites of all of the AIFD’s major “competitors,” defined as think tanks and activist groups that deal with Muslim and counter-terrorism issues in North America.  On this basis, I was able to make a number of key recommendations to the AIFD, which culminated in this conceptual design for the front page of its new site:


Other work I’ve performed for the AIFD

As noted in Dr. Jasser’s testimonial at the top of this page, I’ve performed a variety of other creative and business consulting services for the AIFD, to aid its key media strategies, organizational development and fundraising efforts.

Those work products not covered by I confidentiality agreement with the AIFD will be featured on this site, once they become part of the public domain.

Gatesone-AIFD ad (11Jan15)

NYT AD_150111 GATESTONE AIFD zj.pdf

 

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