Shariah Threats to American Law

Since 2007 the Center has been a leader in researching the anti-constitutional and national security threats posed by those who would bring a parallel system of shariah laws to American courts, policymakers media and civil society. The Center is leading two projects to stop efforts to censor free speech about Islamist extremism. The first project1 launched with the November 2011 publication of the book Lawfare: the War Against Free Speech: A First Amendment Guide for Reporting in an Age of Islamist Lawfare, is aimed at preparing journalists and journalism students to write accurately about shariah and Islamism.

In 2010 the Center researched state appellate cases finding 50 representative cases in 23 states where shariah law was introduced; in 27 of those 50 cases either the trial or appellate judge ruled in favor of shariah over constitutional principles or state public policy. These shariah-compliant judgments–typically enforcing “comity” with foreign shariah laws– have often resulted in a denial of equal protection to American Muslim women or children seeking justice in American courts. The Center’s website shariahinamericancourts.com provides extensive and detailed information on the issue.

American Laws for American Courts: The Center supported legal and statutory research for model state-level legislation to prevent enforcement of foreign legal decisions in American state courts when that enforcement would violate the Constitution or state public policy. Supported by a wide range of organizations nationwide, that legislation has been enacted in three states and is being considered by over 15 other state legislatures.

Protecting Free Speech from Shariah Censorship: The Center supports and helps coordinate efforts worldwide to protect free speech from censorship by Shariah blasphemy laws. Shariah authorities continue to attempt stifling free discussion of Muhammad, the Koran, Islam, and Muslims. Eruptions against The Satanic Verses, the Danish cartoons, and Pope Benedict, which caused hundreds of deaths, effectively complement lawsuits against individual writers and artists. Muslim Brotherhood front organizations such as CAIR, MPAC or MAS seek to intimidate and silence their critics through lawsuits. The Center supports efforts to defend against those lawsuits and to take the initiative in legal action to preserve civil liberties.

Our work has included: