Recently the North Carolina legislature passed American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) legislation with broad bipartisan support.
The purpose of ALAC is to protect individual, fundamental constitutional rights in cases involving foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines. Among those fundamental constitutional rights are freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, due process and equal protection under the law.
One of the primary opponents of ALAC legislation is the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which seeks to supplant US constitutional rights and norms by accommodating foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, such as Shariah.
CAIR has targeted North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory with a nationwide e-mail and telephone blitz in an attempt to intimidate him into vetoing the ALAC legislation that both the North Carolina House and Senate approved with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities:
As the article linked above explains, promoting Shariah in the US is one of CAIR’s top agenda items. In March 2012, the organization published a tool-kit for promoting Shariah for community organizers across America.
CAIR has attempted to create many misconceptions about ALAC legislation which require correction and clarification.
For instance, CAIR suggests that the purpose of ALAC legislation is to target religious practices. This accusation is baseless.
Anyone who actually takes the time to read the legislation can readily see this. The purpose of ALAC is explicitly spelled out: American Laws for American Courts is designed to protect individual, fundamental constitutional rights against the application of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, when the application of a foreign law or foreign legal doctrine would violate any of the parties’ fundamental constitutional rights—including freedom of religion.
In fact, the model ALAC language clearly states that it shall not interfere with ecclesiastical matters or be construed to violate anyone’s religious practice.
Moreover, CAIR’s supposition that ALAC is “unconstitutional” is laughable at best. ALAC has been in force in Tennessee and Louisiana since 2010, Arizona since 2011 and Kansas since May of 2012 and it has never been challenged. That’s because there is simply no legal basis for the embarrassingly contradictory theory that protecting individual fundamental constitutional rights is somehow unconstitutional.
America has an established tradition of allowing people of faith to make agreements and resolve disputes within the parameters of their religion, as long as any resulting contract complies with the US constitution. That is exactly what ALAC is designed to do—as is explicitly stated in the legislation.
CAIR documents have dishonestly portrayed ALAC. For instance, a letter sent by CAIR to the Oklahoma legislature in the spring of 2013 referred to the American Bar Association as being opposed to “such legislation.” This is an important point because it is not true. If you actually examine the American Bar Association literature on this, they were not referring to American Laws for American Courts legislation. In fact, the resolution they passed did not oppose American Laws for American Courts legislation.
CAIR has also created a phantom argument to scare state elected officials into thinking that standing up for individual, fundamental constitutional rights will somehow negatively impact the business community of a state or inhibit commerce in some way. There is absolutely no evidence to support this claim. Not only does ALAC expressly apply to individuals, not businesses, but there has been no negative impact on business or commerce in any of the several states that have passed ALAC since 2010.
The reality of ALAC legislation can be summed up in three points:
1. American Laws for American Courts does not target a religion or religious community.
2. American Laws for American Courts is not explicitly aimed at Shariah.
3. American Laws for American Courts is targeted at safeguarding individual, fundamental constitutional rights and does not impact business or commerce in any way, shape or form. It has had no impact whatsoever on the business or commerce of the several states in which it has already passed.
Since we have taken the time to address the issues CAIR has raised with regard to ALAC, now we will take the time to address the myriad concerns thousands of freedom-loving Americans have about CAIR itself. These concerns are especially relevant given CAIR’s opposition to protecting the individual, fundamental constitutional rights of Americans:
• CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the US v. Holy Land Foundation, the largest terrorism financing prosecution in US history.
• The Holy Land Foundation was a Texas-based charity whose officers were sentenced in May 2009 to between 15 and 65 years in prison for funneling over $12 million to Hamas. One of the sentenced officers, Ghassan Elashi, is the founder of CAIR’s Dallas chapter. Elashi’s illegal activities took place while he was affiliated with CAIR.
• CAIR opened its first office in Washington, D.C. with the help of a $5,000 grant from the Holy Land Foundation.
• In a formal letter to Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona dated 28 April 2009, the FBI stated that during the Holy Land Foundation trial, “evidence was introduced that demonstrated a relationship among CAIR, individual CAIR founders (including its current President Emeritus and its Executive Director) and the Palestine Committee. Evidence was also introduced that demonstrated a relationship between the Palestine Committee and HAMAS, which was designated as a terrorist organization in 1995. In light of that evidence, the FBI suspended all formal contacts between CAIR and the FBI.”
• In March 2011, Muthanna al-Hanooti, one of CAIR’s directors, was sentenced to a year in federal prison for violating U.S. sanctions against Saddam’s Iraq.
• In January of 2011, the CAIR California chapter published a poster promoting a conference called “Know Your Rights and Defend Our Communities.” That poster prominently featured the following slogan: “BUILD A WALL OF RESISTANCE DON’T TALK TO THE FBI.”
• On March 22, 1994, During a panel discussion at Barry University in Florida, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said: “I used to support the PLO, and I used to be the President of the General Union of Palestine Students which is part of the PLO here in the United States, but after I researched the situation inside Palestine and outside, I am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO.”
• On February 2, 1995, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named CAIR Advisory Board member and New York imam Siraj Wahhaj as one of the “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in Egyptian Islamic Group leader “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman’s foiled plot to blow up numerous New York City monuments.
• On April 19, 1996, in its first published report on alleged anti-Muslim discrimination, titled “The Price of Ignorance,” CAIR cited the arrest of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the Blind Sheikh), the Egyptian cleric serving a life sentence for conspiracy to blow up New York landmarks in 1993, and the detention of senior Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzuq, as “incidents of bias and violence” against Muslims in the U.S.
• On July 4, 1998, former CAIR chairman Omar M. Ahmad, told Fremont, California’s daily newspaper, The Argus, that “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant, he said. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
• In October 1998, CAIR demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as “the sworn enemy.” According to CAIR, this depiction was “offensive to Muslims.”
• In 1993, CAIR spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future. … But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
• In September 2003, CAIR’s former Community Affairs Director, Bassem Khafagi, pled guilty to three federal counts of bank and visa fraud and agreed to be deported to Egypt. Federal investigators said that a group Khafagi founded, the Islamic Assembly of North America, had funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and had published material advocating suicide attacks against the United States. Khafagi’s illegal activities took place while he was employed by CAIR.
• In 2004, CAIR-Northern Virginia director Abdurahman Alamoudi pled guilty to terrorism-related financial and conspiracy charges in 2004, which resulted in a 23-year prison sentence.
• In 2006, the co-founder of CAIR’s parent organization, IAP (Islamic Association for Palestine), Sami Al-Arian, was sentenced to 57 months in prison on terrorism charges for financing Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a designated terrorist organization according to the US State Department.
• On August 12, 2006 CAIR helped to coordinate a number of demonstrations in support of Hezbollah and “resistance” groups fighting American forces in Iraq.
• Randall Todd Royer, who served as a communications specialist and civil rights coordinator for CAIR, trained with Lashkar-I-Taiba, an al Qaeda-tied Kashmir organization that is listed on the State Department’s international terror list. He was also indicted on charges of conspiring to help al Qaeda and the Taliban battle American troops in Afghanistan. He later pled guilty to lesser firearm-related charges and was sentenced to twenty years in prison on April 9, 2004. Royer’s illegal activities took place while he was employed by CAIR.
• Onetime CAIR fundraiser Rabih Haddad was arrested on terrorism-related charges and was deported from the United States due to his subsequent work as Executive Director of the Global Relief Foundation, which in October 2002 was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for financing al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Haddad raised money for the Ann Arbor, Michigan chapter of CAIR.
• On April 20, 2002: Nihad Awad addressed an anti-Israel rally in Washington D.C. while standing next to Hezbollah flag.
• On October 12, 2001: Ghazi Kankan, executive director of CAIR’s New York office at the time, defended Hamas’s targeting of Israeli civilians. He told the Jewish Week that, like Hamas, he considered all Israelis over the age of 18 to be “military” because “they are all reserves.”
Given the number of individuals associated with CAIR who have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, as well as the disturbing associations and statements from CAIR and its officials, it is very difficult to take their views on American Laws for American Courts legislation seriously.