Tag Archives: American Laws for American Courts

The Radical Left and Muslim Brotherhood Continue Their Assault on Protecting Our Constitutional Rights

by Christopher W. Holton

State Representative Eric Redman of Idaho, a Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Air Force, is the latest elected leader in the USA to author American Laws for American Courts legislation.

Sadly–and predictably–Representative Redman has now had to endure vicious attacks and an organized disinformation campaign engineered by radical Leftist organizations, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Muslim Brotherhood, in the form of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

While patriotic, educated Americans should view opposition from the SPLC and CAIR as a sign that American Laws for American Courts is well worth supporting, the recalcitrant and corrupt news media has aided and abetted their disinformation campaign.

Before we address the opposition’s underhanded tactics, it’s worth reviewing just what American Laws for American Courts legislation does.

American Laws for American Courts is expressly written to protect individual, fundamental constitutional rights against foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines that are increasingly surfacing in U.S. court cases, especially on the state level. From the model language itself:

AN ACT to protect rights and privileges granted under the United States or [State] Constitution.

//

The [general assembly/legislature] finds that it shall be the public policy of this state to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of one of the following fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States: due process, equal protection, freedom of religion, speech, or press, the right to keep and bear arms and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

//

Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision one or more of the following fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions: due process, equal protection, freedom of religion, speech, or press, the right to keep and bear arms and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

In the USA’s constitutional republic and representative form of government, elected representatives of the people vote for words on paper. Any HONEST, patriotic American when reading the words above can recognize that the purpose of the legislation is to defend the individual fundamental constitutional rights that we hold so dear.

Despite this clarity, groups have attacked American Laws for American Courts as “bigoted.” In particular, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has dubbed the legislation as “anti-Muslim.”

The only conclusion that we can draw from this is that CAIR and its allies in the SPLC hate the U.S. constitution and are fighting efforts to protect fundamental constitutional rights.

The reason for CAIR’s opposition stems from the fact that when foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines that arise in U.S. court cases appear to violate our fundamental constitutional rights, they often originate from countries that predominantly use the theo-political-legal-military doctrine known as shariah as a foundation of their native legal systems. This was detailed in the Center for Security Policy’s report published in 2014 entitled: Shariah in American Courts: The Expanding Incursion of Islamic Law in the U.S. Legal System

For instance, in one such case, a Maryland appellate court in Hosain v. Malik enforced a Pakistani custody order, issued under a sharia rule granting sole custody to the father when the child reaches age seven, handing a little girl brought to America by her mother over to the father.  The Maryland court acceded to the Pakistani court order even though the mother did not appear for the Pakistani proceedings, because, although she may have been arrested for adultery if she returned to Pakistan for the hearing, and been subject to “public whipping or death by stoning,” the court found such punishments were “extremely unlikely.”  The judges explicitly proclaimed that the best interest of the child should not be “determined based on Maryland law, i.e., American cultures and mores,” but rather “by applying relevant Pakistani customs, culture and mores.”  The court, explaining that “in the Pakistani culture, the well being of the child … is thought to be facilitated by adherence to Islamic teachings,” intentionally applied Islamic, rather than American, cultural and legal precepts.

This case, as well as dozens of others cited in the Center’s study, including similar cases involving child custody and misogyny, demonstrate that American courts have followed divergent paths on addressing foreign law, such as sharia.  Legislatures, as representatives of the people, should appropriately direct the courts to avoid the enforcement of foreign law when such enforcement violates American constitutional and public policy norms.  Clearly, the child custody case in Maryland involved issues of gender discrimination, denial of freedom of travel, disregard for the best interests of a child, lack of procedural due process, and cruel and unusual punishment.  Organizations like the SPLC, claiming to be the defender of American civil rights, should be sensitive to the obvious breach of those rights implicated in applying many aspects of foreign legal doctrines, and not ignorantly stereotype all efforts to address such breaches as religious intolerance.

It should be noted that, American Laws for American Courts protects fundamental constitutional rights against ANY foreign law, which seems to be increasingly important as free speech, for example, is becoming an endangered species even in places like Canada, the UK and Western Europe.

The opposition from CAIR to American Laws for American Courts legislation should raise a red flag, simply because of what CAIR is.

CAIR is a nefarious, subversive organization with a disturbing past and even more disturbing ties to Jihadist terrorism. The evidence indicating that CAIR is actually an anti-American, sharia-supremecist organization is overwhelming:

• The Federal Bureau of Investigation has suspended all formal contacts with CAIR due to evidence demonstrating a relationship between CAIR and HAMAS, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

• In the U.S. v the Holy Land Foundation, the largest successful terrorism financing prosecution in U.S. history, CAIR was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front group and was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial…CAIR opened its first office in Washington, D.C. with the help of a grant from the Holy Land Foundation, a charitable organization that was shut down by the US Treasury Department for funding Jihadist terrorist organizations.

• In 2014, U.S. ally the United Arab Emirates officially designated CAIR as a terrorist organization.

• 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 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.

• In 2004, CAIR-Northern Virginia director Abdurahman Alamoudi pled guilty to terrorism-related financial and conspiracy charges, which resulted in a 23- year federal prison sentence.

• In 2009, Ghassan Elashi, who served as a founding board member for CAIR’s regional chapter in Texas, was sentenced to a total of 65 years in prison after being convicted of 10 counts of conspiracy to provide, and the provision of, material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization; 11 counts of conspiracy to provide, and the provision of, funds, goods and services to a Specially Designated Terrorist; 10 counts of conspiracy to commit, and the commission of, money laundering; one count of conspiracy to impede and impair the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and two counts of filing a false tax return.

• Randall Todd (Ismail) Royer, who served as a communications specialist and civil rights coordinator for CAIR, trained with and set up an internet-based newsletter for Lashkar-I-Taiba, an al Qaeda-tied Kashmir organization that is listed on the State Department’s international terror list and was also indicted on charges of conspiring to help al Qaeda and the Taliban battle American troops in Afghanistan and was sentenced to twenty years in prison on April 9, 2004.

• 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 after he had funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and had published material advocating suicide attacks against the United States, illegal activities which took place while he was employed by CAIR.

• Ann Arbor, Michigan CAIR fundraiser Rabih Haddad was arrested on terrorism-related charges and was deported from the United States due to his 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.

Opposition from CAIR to legislation designed to protect Americans’ fundamental constitutional rights is a reason to SUPPORT American Laws for American Courts legislation. Their opposition to our constitution today is not unlike that of subversive activity from the German-American Bund in the 1930s.

We are delighted to report that Idaho’s American Laws for American Courts bill has passed their House of Representatives by a 2 to 1 margin and now awaits disposition in the Idaho state senate.

ARKANSAS JOINS RANKS OF STATES STANDING UP TO PROTECT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AGAINST FOREIGN LAW

By Christopher W. Holton

Vice President for Outreach

Center for Security Policy

Thanks to the tenacity and persistence of two key legislators in the Arkansas state capitol, Arkansas has joined the growing ranks of states that have moved to protect their citizens and residents from foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, including Shariah, in state courts with the passage of a new law.

Representative Brandt Smith and Senator John Cooper combined to author American Laws for American Courts legislation, similar to legislation that has passed previously in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Washington.

The U.S. Constitution especially under the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution, has a unique set of rights that are truly unique around the world. Rights like Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Expression covered under the First Amendment, the Right to Bear Arms in the Second Amendment, Due Process, Equal Protection—all of these rights are uniquely American and are specified in our Constitution. Many foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, including Sharia as just one example, as practiced around the world are in direct contravention of these rights. In fact, such rights do not exist in many foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines. When court cases arise in the United States involving foreign laws, there are inevitable conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.

The objectives and principals of American Laws for American Courts legislation are basically to ensure that a state court will not apply a foreign law or foreign legal doctrine if the application of that foreign law or foreign legal doctrine in the case at hand would result in the violation of any of the parties’ fundamental Constitutional Rights. American Laws for American Courts is not a blanket ban on foreign law. It is not even a ban on Sharia. It is a protection of individual fundamental Constitutional Rights. That is what American Laws for American Courts is all about.

American Laws for American Courts is necessary because we have seen over and over again cases involving foreign law and foreign legal doctrines appearing in U.S. Courts. Those who say that because we have Article VI of the U.S. Constitution we don’t need American Laws for American Courts are just ignorant about what is actually happening in our court systems. Article VI clearly is not protecting the fundamental Constitutional Rights of our citizens and residents in the United States against foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines. If it was, these cases wouldn’t be coming up and they are, by the dozens.

The need for an effective law preserving constitutional rights against the enforcement of unconstitutional foreign law is both real and urgent. The Center for Security Policy’s 2015 study, Shariah in American Courts: The Expanding Incursion of Islamic Law in the U.S. Legal System. The Center found 146 cases in 32 states in which a party to litigation attempted to have the matter resolved by applying shariah, rather than the statutes of the state in question. Included in this number were some appellate and several trial court cases in which the judges actually ruled for sharia over U.S. law.

American Laws for American Courts legislation also contains key provisions that have made it particularly effective in safeguarding fundamental Constitutional Rights:

  • American Laws for American Courts is facially neutral.  In an honest debate, it cannot be accused of discriminating against any religion or protected class.
  • The model American Laws for American Courts act also contains a specific provision for corporations and businesses so as not to interfere with commerce; it exempts Native American laws; it specifically says that the law cannot detract from the right to free exercise of religion, which would include religious courts like Jewish Bet Din or Catholic ecclesiastical courts; and it states that the law would not interfere with compliance with international treaties the U.S. has signed.
  • American Laws for American Courts is not vague.  It provides specific instructions for judges on complex legal issues involving comity and choice of forum, thus closing potential loopholes for activist judges.

More states are expected to take up American Laws for American Courts legislation, as well as related legislation, such as the Free Speech Defense Act, in the 2018 legislative sessions.

‘Civilization Jihad’ Comes to Court

Want to know what our Islamist enemies have in mind for America?  Look at Europe.

Virtually every country there has found itself under siege from Muslims seeking to impose the supremacist Islamic doctrine they call shariah on everyone else.  The preeminent organization promoting this agenda is the Muslim Brotherhood, now banned as a terrorist group in its home country of Egypt, but prospering in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in what has been known as the Free World.  In fact, as Egyptian courts hand down death sentences to those engaged with the Brotherhood’s violent efforts to overthrow the government there, ours is opening the door to asylum for those who have only engaged in “limited” material support for terrorism.

More insidious than the Muslim Brotherhood’s violence, however, is its stealthy subversion.  In a 1991 strategic plan introduced into evidence in the Holy Land Foundation trial, a senior Brother named Mohammed Akram described this form of warfare as “civilization jihad.”

In Akram’s words, the goal of the Brotherhood’s civilization jihadists is “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within…so that God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”  His “Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” lays out how this ambitious goal is to be achieved under our noses by penetrating and subverting “from within” the West’s civil society and governing institutions.

The London Telegraph reports that this campaign has just scored a major success in Great Britain. That country’s trade association for lawyers, the Law Society, has declared its members can begin drawing up shariah-compliant wills that will be enforceable in British common law courts.

As the Telegraph put it on March 22nd:

“Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.

“The documents, which would be recognized by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs.

“Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Shariah principles, which recognize only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.”

Such inroads are coming on top of the presence of something on the order of 87 shariah courts that operate side-by-side with Britain’s own judiciary. As one of the U.K.’s most courageous opponents of such practices, Baroness Caroline Cox, told the Telegraph: “No longer do we have a single legal code in our society. Instead, alongside our own law, there is now effectively a parallel quasi-legal system operating within some Muslim communities.”

Think that cannot happen here?  Think again.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s largest front group in this country, the Islamic Society of North America, requires each of its chapters to maintain arbitration panels that serve as proto-shariah courts.  It is a matter of time before Islamists and their apologists begin demanding that such courts be allowed to adjudicate disputes not just between willing parties, but in cases where one party – most likely women and/or children – would prefer to have the protections of our Constitution.

Worse yet, as a study published by the Center for Security Policy in 2011 has documented, there have been at least 27 different instances in which U.S. courts have allowed the use of shariah law to govern – even where doing so has violated constitutional rights of the plaintiffs or defendants.  (An updated version of this study now nearing completion indicates that, as of today, there are many more such cases.)

As a corrective to this civilization jihadist incursion into American jurisprudence, seven states have adopted legislation known as American Laws for American Courts (ALAC).  If they wish to avoid the fate now facing British citizens who are likely to be denied their rightful inheritances and, in due course, other privations at the hands of shariah, every state in the country should adopt ALAC.

Of course, our Constitution’s Article VI declares that it is the supreme law of the land.  But that will no long be the case if the civilization jihadists have their way. We must ensure that shariah is not allowed to undermine that constitutional precept – to the detriment of women, children and the rest of us.

CAIR Targets Constitutional Rights in North Carolina

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:

http://www.bizpacreview.com/2013/07/28/cair-hits-nc-governor-with-email-blitz-to-veto-anti-sharia-bill-80548

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.

The Center for American Progress’ Willful Blindness

The Center for American Progress (CAP) unveiled its report Foreign Law Bans: Legal Uncertainties and Practical Problems at a May 16, 2013, event at CAP’s Washington, DC, headquarters.  CAP’s analysts are unconcerned by the influence of sharia and other foreign laws in America.

CAP’s event and report opposed state-level legislative efforts across the United States to implement versions of the American Law for American Courts (ALAC) model law of the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA).  The text of this law voids any foreign legal decision not respecting the “same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions.”  Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee have adopted such laws.

Stephen M. Gelé, a Louisiana lawyer active in his state’s adoption of ALAC, explored its rationale at Breitbart.  Gelé analyzed six appellate cases reviewing trial court decisions with varying results based upon troubling elements of sharia.  Gelé drew upon 50 state court appellate cases involving sharia law documented in a Center for Security Policy (CSP) study.

Contradicting CAP arguments that existing law negated sharia’s influence on the American judiciary, Gelé cautioned that “some appellate opinions, and almost all trial court judgments, are not widely published.” “Many, if not most, trial court decisions applying sharia” underwent no appeal, a process costing $10,000-50,000 in divorce and child custody cases.  Regardless, “women and children should not be forced to play legal Russian roulette” with courts “applying legal doctrines, including sharia, inconsistent with American constitutional rights and public policy.”

Similar concerns prompted me at the end of the CAP panel (mark 1:13 on the online video) to ask about any “seepage” of sharia norms into American free speech jurisprudence.  As referenced by me, in recent years several American incidents involving Islam and free speech have been deeply disturbing.  An October 2011 assault by a Muslim immigrant upon an atheist mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in a Pennsylvania parade, for example, led to a district court judge dismissing clearly documented criminal charges amidst his discussion of Islamic prohibitions on blasphemy.

Another concern is so-called “libel tourism” in which various Muslim individuals have sought libel judgments against American authors in foreign jurisdictions not possessing America’s strict free speech safeguards.  In response, the APPA, the Middle East Forum’s (MEF) Legal Project (LP), and others have promoted “Rachel’s Law,” named for Rachel Ehrenfeld after being found guilty in a British court for libelously accusing a Saudi prince of funding terrorism.  Now in effect at the federal level and in several states, such laws prevent the enforcement of foreign libel judgments not respecting American free speech standards.  As indicated by me in my question, Rachel’s Law parallels the analysis of ALAC with respect to the single issue of libel, and ALAC would make any specific Rachel’s Law unnecessary.

David Yerushalmi, derided in the CAP report as the key “anti-Islam” activist behind the foreign law bans, meanwhile, has taken on along with his colleague Robert Muise at the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) several cases defending free speech involving Islam.  AFLC, for example, defeated breaching the peace charges brought against four Christians who distributed religious literature to Muslims at a 2010 Dearborn, Michigan, Arab festival.  In a civil rights suit against Dearborn city officials, AFLC later obtained a settlement including a city apology for the arrest and prosecution.  AFLC is similarly currently litigating another case involving the very same Dearborn Arab festival in 2012 and proselytizing Christians.

Intricate legal concerns involving posited unintended consequences from foreign law bans dominated the CAP panel and report.  As a matter of principle, however, CAP and its allied panelists seemed to recognize no threat in sharia, as the recorded response to my question shows.  Report coauthor Faiza Patel from the Brennan Center for Justice, for example, discussed the judicial “Void as against Public Policy Rule” previously cited by the panel and the CAP report such that any free speech infringement “would be kicked out.”  Yet as this article indicates,this rule, in the words of the APPA, is often unavailing “because state legislatures have generally not been explicit about what their public policy is relative to foreign laws.”

The panel’s comments were in accord with the report’s assertion that the “basic tenets of Sharia would be familiar to any Christian or Jew:  faith in a single god, prayer, charitable giving, and fasting.”  Many might disagree with this assessment such as Christians around the world suffering from sharia-based religious repression in Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, as documented by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

On the other hand, a previous CAP report, Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America, lists Yerushalmi and his Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) among the “five key think tanks led by scholars who are primarily responsible for orchestrating the majority of anti-Islam messages polluting our national discourse today.”  The Middle East Forum and its president Daniel Pipes also make the list.

The Middle East Forum’s Legal Project receives a brief description in this report as an entity seeking “to limit defamation lawsuits brought by…aggrieved Muslim organizations” that assert “their constitutionally protected right of using the legal system for redress.”  In particular, the Iranian-American Seid Hassan Daioleslam might differ with this assessment after the Legal Project helped him defeat a defamation suit brought by Iran’s American lobby, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).  NIAC’s meritless suit ended with dismal and $184,000 in sanctions for NIAC’s malfeasance in altering and hiding documents during discovery.

CAP’s willful blindness to the continued encroachment of sharia in the American court system continues to permeate its repeated faulty analysis.

Bad Moon Rising: The Sharia Law Bans

Against the backdrop of the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a heightened interest in the role of Islam in American society and the subsequent clash of civilizations
remains.  Specifically, public concern continues to grow across the country about the use of Sharia Law, or Islamic Law, within American courts.  As a result, well over a dozen state legislatures have introduced or passed legislation that prohibits or limits the use of Sharia Law or foreign law in state courts.  These bills have taken two distinct forms: Sharia-specific and facially-neutral bills.  Regardless of classification, these legislative efforts have triggered a number of constitutional concerns, with critics arguing that the bills violate the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.  Critics argue that the laws have a sectarian purpose and an effect of advancing one religion at the expense of another and thus fail the Supreme Court’s jurisprudential test.  Moreover, these critics argue that the laws burden the practice of religious faith. Indeed, this debate has undeniably opened a Pandora’s Box of constitutional concerns. Meanwhile, the bills’ proponents vigorously reject the accusation that the bills are hostile to Muslims or religiousfreedoms.  They argue that the bills are designed to proactively safeguard the secular constitutional role of government by prohibiting religious influence, specifically that of Sharia Law.

Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases

Introduction

Purview

This study evaluates published appellate legal cases that involved “conflict of law” issues between Shariah (Islamic law) and American state law. For every case in this sample drawn from published appellate legal cases, there are innumerable cases at the trial level that remain unnoticed except by the participants. Thus, this report is a only a sample of possible cases—a “tip of the iceberg”—of legal cases involving Shariah in local, state and federal courts.

Our findings suggest that Shariah law has entered into state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy. Some commentators have said there are no more than one or two cases of Shariah law in U.S. state court cases; yet we found 50 significant cases just from the small sample of appellate published cases. Others state with certainty that state court judges will always reject any foreign law, including Shariah law, when it conflicts with the Constitution or state public policy; yet we found 15 Trial Court cases, and 12 Appellate Court cases, where Shariah was found to be applicable in the case at bar. The facts are the facts: some judges are making decisions deferring to Shariah law even when those decisions conflict with Constitutional protections. This is a serious issue and should be a subject of public debate and engagement by policymakers.

Purpose

With the publication of this study and subsequent studies now in preparation, our objective is to encourage an informed, serious and civil public debate and policymakers’ engagement with the issue of Shariah law in the United States of America. This public debate is more urgent than ever before, as organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and their
salafist coalition partners state openly their intent to impose the Shariah State and Shariah law as dominant across all Muslim majority countries. Institutionalized, authoritative Shariah doctrine is comprehensive and by definition without limit in its ambitions and scope. It includes legally mandated, recommended, permitted, discouraged and prohibited practices that are explicitly biased against women, homosexuals, non-Muslims, former Muslims and those designated as blasphemers.

United States universities and colleges are increasingly offering courses and specializations In Shariah law, including business schools, law schools and general courses. The academic study of all kinds of comparative law including Shariah is worthwhile; but in many cases, these courses may not provide full information on the conflicts between Shariah and Western legal traditions and values.

In addition, there are organizations and individuals within the United States actively and openly advocating for the establishment of Shariah law in America, especially for personal status and family law. A prominent one is the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America1 with more than 100 members including local Imams and Shariah authorities across America, as well as Shariah authorities from other countries. AMJA promotes the adherence to Shariah law when possible in all legal and civic activities by Muslim Americans, and in some cases, by non-Muslims.

Given these stated goals of AMJA and similar organizations, this study was conducted to discover the extent to which Shariah law had in fact entered U.S. state courts. News reports have identified individual cases of plaintiffs, defendants or judges citing Shariah or Islamic law. Many groups and individuals have raised concerns about state courts citing foreign and transnationalist laws and precedents, including Shariah law. The American Public Policy Alliance, a non-partisan organization that advocates for the Constitutionality of U.S. and state laws and public policies, has drafted the American Laws for American Courts Act (ALAC) to prevent enforcement of foreign legal decisions that violate Constitutional protections and liberties. That ALAC Act, which has passed in Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona and to date has not been legally challenged on any grounds, was used as a methodological tool to define which Shariah-related cases in state courts were in conflict with the Constitution or state public policies.

1 Andrew Bostom and Al-Mutarjim, “Chairman King: Subpoena the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America,” Pajamas Media, March 1, 2011. http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/congressman-king-subpoena-the-assembly-of-muslim-jurists-of-america-amja/

American Laws for American Courts Wins Major Bipartisan Victory in Kansas Legislature

Kansas bill protecting fundamental constitutional rights from foreign laws goes to governor’s desk following bi-partisan legislative victory

 
Topeka, KS, May 16 2012 – On Friday May 11, the American Laws for American Courts legislation (SB79) to protect the fundamental constitutional rights of Kansas residents was approved by a bi-partisan 33-3 Senate vote following the unanimous 120-0 passage in the House earlier in the week.
 
The Kansas bill, sponsored by Rep. Peggy Mast, is based closely on the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation put forth by the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA).  Thousands of Kansans came out in bi-partisan support of ALAC. Legislators reported receiving over 30,000 emails, phone calls and letters in support of the legislation. 
 
This unequivocal victory for the Kansas law in the House and Senate is the latest vindication of a long-term national trend supporting constitutional protections for ALL Americans  against foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines that have found their way into our court systems.
 
  • ALAC passed with broad bipartisan support in Kansas, just as it did previously in Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona.  The APPA has previously stated that their goal is to extend ALAC’s constitutional protections to all 50 states by 2020.
  • ALAC was also passed by overwhelming margins in state Houses in Florida, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and Missouri, the Indiana Senate, and the Judiciary Committees of Florida, Georgia and Alabama, only to be scuttled in last-minute interventions by special interests acting against the wishes of the vast majority of voters and legislators.
  • The following statistics demonstrate the strong and growing support by majorities of legislators for ALAC across the United States:
    • Louisiana Senate Vote: 33-3
    • Louisiana House Vote: 94-0
    • Tennessee House Vote: 96-0
    • Tennessee Senate Vote: 32-0
    • Oklahoma House Vote: 76-3
    • Indiana Senate Vote: 50-0
    • Missouri House of Representatives Vote: 110-46
    • Florida House Vote: 92-24
    • Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee: 13-0
    • Florida House Judiciary Committee: 14-1
    • Florida Senate Judiciary Committee: 6-0
    • Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee: 9-0
    • Georgia House Judiciary Committee: 7-2
This comes despite well-funded efforts opposing the bill by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American Islamic Relations, as well as a $3 million national PR campaign to bring Shariah law to America, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood-tied Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).
 
American Laws for American Courts is the primary 21st Century civil rights initiative to ensure constitutional liberties for all Americans,” said Center for Security Policy President Frank J. Gaffney Jr. It is needed especially to protect women and children, who have been identified by international human rights organizations as the primary victims of discriminatory foreign laws.
 
At the website Shariah Law and American State Courts, the Center for Security Policy has compiled fifty cases in 23 states  showing examples of a representative foreign legal system – Islamic Shariah Law – introduced into American courts, in conflict with the Constitution or state public policy in the particular cases.

Ten questions for the Council on American Islamic Relations

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has launched a propaganda campaign attacking a state legislative initiative that is designed to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans, including Muslims.

That initiative is known as American Laws for American Courts (ALAC).

CAIR claims this bill would have the opposite effect – infringing upon Muslims’ and others’ right to freedom of religion. CAIR’s real motivation, however, is not to safeguard the U.S. Constitution, but rather to promote the insinuation here of Shariah, a totalitarian Islamic political-military-legal doctrine. Shariah requires and enforces discrimination against women, children, homosexuals, atheists, members of other religions such as Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, as well as Muslims who repudiate the dictates of that doctrine.

A review of the actual language of the American Laws for American Courts legislation shows that CAIR is deliberately and falsely characterizing it as anti-Shariah. As we shall see, ALAC is not targeted at either Shariah or Islam. Unlike a constitutional amendment to the State of Oklahoma’s constitution that was approved in 2010 by seventy percent of the voters, neither term is mentioned anywhere in ALAC’s bill language. (A complete comparison can be found here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/american_laws_for_american_courts.html_ .)

ALAC’s very different approach was vindicated when the Council on American Islamic Relations succeeded in challenging the Oklahoma amendment on the grounds that it singled out Shariah law and therefore was ruled unconstitutional. Instead, ALAC is crafted to prevent the infringement in our court system on individual liberties by any foreign laws or legal doctrines, a phenomenon known as "transnationalism."

This is made necessary since America has unique values of liberty that do not exist in many foreign legal systems. Among those guaranteed rights and privileges are: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, due process and equal protection under the law, the right to privacy and the right to keep and bear arms.

Unfortunately, increasingly, foreign laws and legal doctrines that would restrict or deny these liberties are finding their way into U.S. court cases, thanks largely to the rulings of transnationalist judges. In some instances, these judges are permitting the use of Shariah to adjudicate disputes on their dockets.

The appeal of the American Laws for American Courts model for preventing such intrusions of unconstitutional foreign laws is evident from the fact that it has been enacted to date in three states: Tennessee in April 2010, in Louisiana in June 2010 and in Arizona in May 2011. And ALAC’s fundamental constitutionality is evident in the fact that neither CAIR nor anyone else has filed a legal challenge to any of these three laws, let alone succeeded in getting ALAC struck down.

Knowing that a legal challenge to American Laws for American Courts is hopeless, CAIR has stooped to launching dishonest and misleading attacks against an initiative designed to preserve our freedoms.

How, one might ask, can an American organization oppose legislation that is crafted to form a reinforcing bulwark to protect our most fundamental freedoms against foreign laws that do not respect them? The answer lies, in part, with the nature of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

The Department of Justice has named CAIR as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood (and its Palestinian franchise: the officially designated terrorist group, Hamas). Evidence introduced in the Holy Land Foundation trial established that the Brotherhood’s mission in America is "a kind of civilization jihad…in destroying Western civilization from within" by our hands. Using our courts to undermine our liberties and Constitution "from within" is one of the most important and effective techniques for advancing this subversive civilization jihad. Two federal courts have refused to strike CAIR’s designation as a Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas co-conspirator and/or joint venturer.

Specifically:

  • CAIR has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism finance trial in U.S. history, the 2008 United States vs. Holy Land Foundation case in Dallas, Texas.
    No fewer than four CAIR leaders have been convicted of felonies, including terrorism.
    CAIR has a memorandum of understanding with the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, the world’s most powerful multinational organization and, with 57 members, its largest – second only to the United Nations. The OIC is, like CAIR, dedicated to the imposition of Shariah doctrine and the criminalization of any "blasphemy" against Shariah law.
  • The FBI has terminated relations with CAIR as a matter of policy.
  • The IRS has reportedly revoked the non-profit status of CAIR’s national organization.
  • CAIR is being sued for engaging in fraud against several of its members.

With this important background on the nature of the Council on American Islamic Relations, let’s analyze its critique of American Laws for American Courts by reviewing in the boxes below key passages from the legislation. (The entire model act can be found here: http://publicpolicyalliance.org/?page_id=38.)

Such a review prompts ten questions concerning CAIR’s opposition to this bill and we will address each, in turn.

ALAC: Purpose

"AN ACT to protect rights and privileges granted under the United
States or [State] Constitution."

Questions for the Council on American Islamic Relations:

1. Why is CAIR opposing legislation designed to protect the rights and privileges granted under our U.S. and state constitutions? What is CAIR’s motivation? Do they think Muslims either don’t deserve or do not want to enjoy the same constitutional rights to which all citizens of this country are entitled? Or is CAIR trying to establish that Muslims are entitled to such rights (notably, freedom of religion and freedom of speech) but other people deemed inferior, for whatever reason (for example, for being "infidels") may not be allowed the same rights as Muslims?

2. Exactly which constitutional rights protected by ALAC does CAIR find offensive or "Islamophobic"? (This made-up term is used by Shariah’s adherents to brand anything or anyone who "gives offense" to their doctrine or its enforcers.) The most important non-Brotherhood Muslim organization in this country, the American Islamic Leadership Coalition, has already endorsed American Laws for American Courts when it was introduced in Michigan. (http://publicpolicyalliance.org/?p=632) Does CAIR consider them "Islamophobic," as well?

ALAC: Finding

"The [general assembly/legislature] finds that it shall be the public policy of this state to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state."

Questions for the Council on American Islamic Relations:

3. Does CAIR dispute that Article VI of the U.S. Constitution makes it "the supreme law of the land" and, therefore, that all other laws, including Shariah, must be subordinated to it where there is a conflict? There are, of course, myriad areas in which Shariah is at odds with constitutional rights (e.g., women’s ability to divorce, inherit property, enjoy custody of their children and engage or refuse to engage in sexual relations, homosexuality, freedom of expression, etc.) In such instances, would CAIR have the Constitution defer to Shariah?

4. Which rights does CAIR wish to have violated by or subordinated to foreign law? Does it favor unequal treatment for and/or brutalizing of women, homosexuals, apostates, Jews and others in accordance with Shariah?

ALAC: Definitions

"As used in this act, "foreign law, legal code, or system" means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals."

Questions for the Council on American Islamic Relations:

5. How can this definition be construed as applying uniquely to Shariah? In fact, it applies equally to all foreign laws. Period. What is more, it does not preclude the application of any foreign law, including Shariah – except insofar as it violates constitutional rights or state public policy.

6. In view of ALAC’s key definition, isn’t it disingenuous and misleading to depict American Laws for American Courts as an "anti-Shariah" bill? CAIR is certainly mischaracterizing ALAC in the campaign that it and other Muslim Brotherhood fronts have been mounting against such legislation. Given the clarity of the language in question, one can only conclude that these Brotherhood groups are doing so knowingly for the purpose of deceiving the American people.

7. Which "foreign law, legal code, or system" does CAIR wish to see incorporated into American constitutional law? Is CAIR seeking the imposition of all foreign laws, even where they violate the U.S. Constitution, or just Shariah?

ALAC: Operative Provision

"Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state."

Questions for the Council on American Islamic Relations:

8. What legal authority is the Council on American Islamic Relations defending by its attack on American Laws for American Courts? Specifically, we need to know: What does CAIR prefer by way of a court, arbitration panel, tribunal or administrative agency that bases its decisions on a code that would not grant our fundamental liberties, rights and privileges?

Clearly, as we have seen, ALAC has been drafted in order to provide guidance so that legal disputes in our courts do not result in the violation of the fundamental liberties, rights and privileges enshrined in the U.S. and our state Constitutions.

Thanks to the guarantees incorporated into the Constitution, no U.S. citizen or legal resident should be denied such liberties. Ensuring that is the case, however, is why ALAC is needed, particularly with respect to women and children. These communities have been identified by international human rights organizations as the principal victims of discriminatory foreign laws.

9. Why does CAIR oppose an inclusive bill extending civil liberties and due process to all citizens and legal residents, given the proven cases of discrimination, especially against Muslim women resulting from too much deference to foreign laws?

There is a certain irony at work here, as shown in an analysis of a sample of legal cases in the United States where Shariah has been successfully introduced to resolve the matter (www.shariahinamericancourts.com): The most frequent victims of the trampling of constitutional rights by foreign legal codes in actual cases in the United States, are Muslim women and their families.

That’s bad enough. But CAIR’s stance suggests that it seeks to relegate all women – not just Muslim ones – to an inferior status incompatible with the equal rights they are entitled to enjoy under the U.S. Constitution.

ALAC: Explicit Exclusions

"This subsection shall not apply to a church, religious corporation, association, or society, with respect to the individuals of a particular religion regarding matters that are purely ecclesiastical, to include, but not be limited to, matters of calling a pastor, excluding members from a church, electing church officers, matters concerning church bylaws, constitution, and doctrinal regulations and the conduct of other routine church business, where 1) the jurisdiction of the church would be final; and 2) the jurisdiction of the courts of this State would be contrary to the First Amendment of the United States and the Constitution of this State."

Question for the Council on American Islamic Relations:

10. Why is CAIR opposed to preserving and protecting religious freedom for all Americans, as spelled out explicitly in the American Laws for American Courts act?

CAIR falsely maintains that American Laws for American Courts trespasses against religious freedom. That assertion is laid bare as patently dishonest by reading this important passage from the model American Laws for American Courts legislation: Far from denying religious freedom, American Laws for American Courts expressly champions and protects that liberty guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and by state constitutions adopted pursuant to it.

CAIR and its allies have been known to claim that American Laws for American Courts would interfere with canon law or Jewish law. As the plain language of the bill makes clear, this is patently untrue. Indeed, prominent interfaith leaders – including experts in the legal codes of their respective faiths – have endorsed American Laws for American Courts, including Rabbi Aryeh Spero, Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, J.D. and the Reverend Canon J. Philip Ashey, Esq. (See the Interfaith letter of support for American Laws for American Courts at http://publicpolicyalliance.org/?p=653).

In short, American Laws for American Courts is a necessary and constitutional initiative that protects our fundamental freedoms against all foreign legal regimes that would threaten them. Representations to the contrary, particularly from groups like CAIR that are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization seeking our destruction, should be seen for what they are – fraudulent deceptions – and rejected in the most effective possible way: by ensuring that every state in the union joins Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona in enacting American Laws for American Courts.

Brigitte Gabriel is an international terrorism analyst and the Founder and President of ACT! for America, the nation’s largest grassroots citizen action network dedicated to preserving national security and combating the threat of radical Islam. She is the author of two New York Times Best Sellers, Because they Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America; and They Must Be Stopped: Why we must defeat radical Islam and how we can do it.

Frank Gaffney is the Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. The Center is a not-for-profit, non-partisan educational corporation established in 1988. Under Mr. Gaffney’s leadership, the Center has been nationally and internationally recognized as a resource for timely, informed and penetrating analyses of foreign and defense policy matters.

Originally published at:

http://www.worldnewstribune.com/2012/03/22/ten-questions-for-the-council-on-american-islamic-relations/

http://www.freepressers.com/2012/03/ten-questions-for-the-council-on-american-islamic-relations/