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Disorder in The Court

Shimmy Blum

It is a very rare occurrence in America — where the separation of church and state is enshrined in the Constitution — that religious theology should become a hotly debated political issue. However, many tenets of Islam’s sharia law system clash with US and Western law, and the intent of some Islamists to insinuate sharia into the American justice system has set off amber warning lights among intelligence and legal experts, who sense a new, insidious threat to the American way.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On the heels of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy that attracted national and even international attention, voters in the state of Oklahoma passed a controversial referendum on Election Day. The “Save our State” initiative, approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters, amends the state constitution to prohibits state courts from recognizing sharia — Islamic law — as legitimate and factoring it into laws or court decisions. Less than a week later, a judge issued an injunction against implementing the ballot results in response to a lawsuit brought by Muneer Awad, head of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). A national debate on sharia’s place in American society was thus opened even wider, with no sign of it subsiding anytime soon.

Most of America’s mainstream political, academic, and media establishment have been dismissive of the notion that American Muslims, who comprise only approximately 2 percent of the population, will in any way threaten other Americans with their adherence to their religion’s sacred law. Prominent Jewish journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic wrote, “A Martian takeover of New Jersey is more likely than the imposition of a caliphate, or of Muslim law, on America.”

Countering the prevalent passive attitude in the face of the spread of sharia — as the Muslim population and political clout grow in the US — is a growing chorus of sharia critics. Among the most influential sections of that chorus are the authors of the recently released book, Shariah: The Threat to America. The book was published by a team of respected national security and intelligence experts, including former military and government officials, as well as a host of other analysts.

The authors refer to themselves as “Team B,” a moniker that hearkens back to a group of experts who reported to the CIA in the 1970s that the Soviet threat was far greater than was generally believed.

Last week, Mishpacha attended a Manhattan conference hosted by Hamilton Strategies, where some of the book’s key authors laid out their view of the impending popularization of sharia law. The lecturers included: Frank Gaffney, former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy and current president of the Center for Security Policy (CSP); Andrew McCarthy, former assistant US attorney for New York; Patrick Poole, consultant to military and law enforcement authorities on antiterrorism issues; and prominent attorney David Yerushalmi, who serves as the general counsel to the CSP and senior legal advisor for policy affairs to the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS).

At first glance, it appears that sharia’s tenets are aimed solely at running the lives of Muslims. However, some team members warned that it is the tenet of imposing Islamic will upon non-Muslims that represents sharia’s greatest threat to the fundamental Western principle of the people’s right to self-governance.

“An internal 1991 memo from the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood organization that has been discovered spoke of a ‘grand jihad’ aimed at the destruction of Western civilized society by internal sabotage,” said Andrew McCarthy, who successfully prosecuted Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center attempted bombing. “The values of those whose goal is a sharia state, even the moderates, are contradictory to our values of freedom. They reject equality between men and women and Muslims and non-Muslim, and the principle that all political disputes must be solved nonviolently.”

McCarthy relates that during his prosecution of Sheikh Rahman for the first World Trade Center bombing, several moderate American Muslims offered to help translate his incendiary speeches into English in order to assist the prosecution. However, when he wasn’t able to guarantee that their identities would never be publicized, they declined the work, out of fear of being ostracized by their communities and their conservative clergy as apostates to sharia. At his trial, Rahman himself tried (unsuccessfully) to justify his approval of his followers’ terrorist activities by declaring that he was simply following the tenets of sharia.

 

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