In a must see video, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise responds to critics of AFLC’s public policy initiative, American Laws for American Courts (ALAC), which is model legislation that was drafted by AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi.
Family Security Matters, By Christopher Holton:
On Thursday, 15 August, US District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange struck down an Oklahoma state constitutional amendment (known as SQ755) that forbade Oklahoma’s courts from considering Islamic law (Shariah) in judicial decisions.
SQ755 had overwhelmingly passed a vote of the people in Oklahoma in November 2010.
This decision was not a surprise and echoed an earlier ruling by the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals back in 2010. As detailed in this article, SQ755 contained several flaws which rendered it counterproductive:
Fortunately, there is an effective and constitutional alternative to measures such as SQ755 and Oklahoma joined a host of other states this spring in passing it into law. That law is called American Laws for American Courts (ALAC).
Authored by Representative Sally Kern and Senator Gary Stanislawski of Oklahoma, ALAC passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives 85-7 and the Oklahoma Senate 40-3. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on 22 April.
Versions of ALAC have now been signed into law in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, and Oklahoma. A version of ALAC passed the Alabama legislature overwhelmingly as a constitutional amendment and goes to a vote of the people on the ballot in the next statewide election. A version of ALAC also passed both houses of the Missouri legislature but was vetoed by the governor; an override session is scheduled for September. Most recently, a version of ALAC passed the North Carolina Senate and House by a wide, bi-partisan margin and is awaiting the governor’s signature there.
ALAC remedies the flaws in Oklahoma’s SQ 755, and in many ways takes a diametrically opposite approach to SQ 755:
- ALAC is facially neutral. In an honest debate, it cannot be accused of discriminating against any religion or protected class.
- ALAC is based on a completely different legal premise from SQ 755′s.
Rather than seeking a ban on foreign or international law, ALAC seeks to preserve the constitutional rights and state public policy protections of American citizens and legal residents, in cases involving foreign laws in the particular dispute being adjudicated. If a case arises in which a foreign law or foreign legal doctrine is involved in a dispute in a state court, ALAC prevents the use of that foreign law or foreign legal doctrine if any of the parties’ fundamental constitutional rights or state public policy would be violated in the process. This is very different from a blanket ban on foreign laws.
- ALAC is not vague. It provides specific guidance for judges on complex legal issues involving comity, choice of law, choice of forum, conflict of laws and forum non conveniens, protecting fundamental constitutional rights.
Because of the careful planning and thought behind ALAC’s wording, in contrast to SQ 755, from a practical standpoint, it is effective in preventing the enforcement of any foreign law – including in many cases, shariah law – that would violate U.S. and state constitutional liberties or state public policy.
And the need for an effective law preserving constitutional rights against the enforcement of unconstitutional foreign law is both real and urgent: an independent study conducted by the Center for Security Policy found fifty cases in 23 states where shariah law had been introduced into state court cases, including many appellate and trial court cases where the judges ruled for shariah law over U.S. law. Most victims of foreign laws in these cases had come to America for freedom and individual liberty – including American Muslims seeking to escape shariah laws.
Christopher Holton is a Vice President with the Center for Security Policy and the Director of its Divest Terror Initiative. Chris Holton is a past president and marketing director of Blanchard & Co. and editor-in-chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit from 1990 to 2003. As chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit in 2000, he conceived and commissioned the Center for Security Policy special report Clinton’s Legacy: The Dangerous Decade. Holton is a member of the Board of Advisers of WorldTribune.com.
As momentum builds across the U.S. to reinforce safeguards for the primacy of American laws in the U.S. legal system through legislation at the state level, the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters are beginning to panic.
To date, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have all enacted legislation that would ensure primacy for U.S. Constitutional law in cases where enforcing foreign laws or judgments, including Islamic law (sharia), “would deprive a party of a constitutional right or liberty,” as explained by David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC).
In mid-summer 2013, the North Carolina legislature, both House and Senate, passed HB 522, the Foreign Laws/Protect Constitutional Rights Bill, with broad bipartisan support. Not surprisingly, the HAMAS and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was named by the Justice Department an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial, has mounted an email blitz campaign, urging North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to veto the bill instead of signing it.
Written in neutral language, this bill is modeled after American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) language offered by the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA). The North Carolina bill, now before Governor McCrory for signature into law, specifies that the intent of the measure is to “protect its citizens from the application of foreign law that would result in the violation of a fundamental constitutional right of a natural person.”
Thus, contrary to some of the criticism aimed at this bill, there is nothing in its language that would prohibit consideration of foreign law in North Carolina courts: it is only if and when application of such foreign law (sharia or any other) would deprive persons before a North Carolina court the rights to which they are entitled under the U.S. Constitution (and its derivative laws).
In such a case, American law would take precedence over foreign law. In cases that involve no conflict between U.S. law and foreign law, comity (mutual recognition of a respective country’s legislation) may be applied.
With the June 2011 publication by the Center for Security Policy (CSP) of a report entitled “Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of American Appellate Court Cases,” the American Public Policy Alliance took notice that Islamic law increasingly has entered into state court decisions in ways that conflict with the U.S. Constitution and state public policy.
Alarmingly, not only do some judges not understand what sharia is, but make decisions that defer to it even when those decisions conflict with U.S. Constitutional protections. Islamic law is antithetical to American laws, principles and traditions in many ways, but most specifically in its rejection — and even criminalization — of basic freedoms, including freedom of belief, press, speech, due process, equal protection under the law, privacy and the right to bear arms
Read more at The Clarion Project
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:
Read the rest at Center for Security Policy
- CAIR asks national membership to bombard North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory with emails urging him to veto ALAC legislation (counterjihadreport.com)
- “American Laws for American Courts” Public Policy Initiative Advances in State Legislatures as AFLC Leads Citizens Awareness Drive (counterjihadreport.com)
- North Carolina Senate passes ALAC inspired bill (counterjihadreport.com)
- FAQ for State Legislators On American Laws for American Courts (counterjihadreport.com)
By Kimberly Railey, USA TODAY:
Some say that preventing judges from recognizing foreign law when issuing decisions could affect religious arbitration used to handle family and personal disputes.
A growing number of states are targeting what they see as a threat to their court systems: the influence of international laws.
North Carolina last month became the seventh state to pass legislation barring judges from considering foreign law in their decisions, including sharia. The bill awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
CAIR asks national membership to bombard North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory with emails urging him to veto ALAC legislation
Please click here to send your email urging North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to sign HB 522 Application of Foreign Law into state law.
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Phone: (919) 814-2000
Fax: (919) 733-2120
Six other states — Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee — have already enacted similar legislation since 2010, and at least 25 have introduced such measures, according to the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project.
One exception to this trend is Missouri. In June, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed a foreign law bill, saying it would make international adoptions more difficult.
Sharia, or Islamic law, is both a moral code and religious law that governs all aspects of Muslim life, ranging from religious obligations to family relationships. It is derived from the Quran, the main religious text of Islam, and the teachings of Mohammed, the Muslim prophet.
Many of the bills, including North Carolina’s, would apply only in situations in which invoking foreign law would violate a person’s constitutional rights.
“They exist purely to create a conversation around what sharia is,” said Corey Saylor, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Advocates of the foreign law bans say they safeguard American constitutional liberties, but critics argue they are unnecessary and could complicate international business and contract law.
The bans could also make it difficult to enforce foreign money judgments and matters of family law, like divorce decrees, that are based on a foreign law or religion, said Matthew Duss, a policy analyst at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
“We’ll have to wait for the test cases to come, but there are a range of issues in which these bans could create real legal uncertainty,” Duss said.
Supporters of the legislation, including Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, say that Islamic law is slipping into U.S. courts.
“It’s an affront to the Constitution of the United States,” he said, “and detrimental to those whose rights are infringed.”
In the U.S., sharia, like other religious law, can enter court through divorce and custody cases or in commercial litigation, mainly when contracts cannot be settled in a religious setting. But the exact frequency of such instances is hard to measure.
A 2011 report by the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C., think tank, cited 50 examples. However, in many of them, constitutional rights trumped foreign or religious laws in judges’ decisions.
One outlier is a 2010 New Jersey case, where a state court found that a man did not intend to rape his wife because he thought his religion allowed him to have sexual intercourse with her at any time. An appeals court eventually overturned that ruling.
The wave of state action began in Oklahoma in 2010, when a voter initiative to prohibit sharia in state courts passed with 70% of the popular vote. In 2012, a federal circuit court struck down the measure.
In its wake, the laws have been retooled to ban all foreign law in state courts to avoid targeting one religion.
But some still say the legislation can harm faith groups. Debra Linick, a director at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said foreign law bans could affect religious arbitration used to handle family and personal disputes.
Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law expert at the University of North Carolina School of Law, said the legislation, particularly North Carolina’s ban, is a solution to a non-existent problem.
“I simply cannot imagine any state court would recognize sharia to defeat a federal constitutional right,” Gerhardt said.
Here are the facts: FAQ for State Legislators On American Laws for American Courts
Click here to send your email urging Governor Pat McCrory to sign the bill into law. If you choose to modify the email content or subject line please maintain a positive tone and respect for Governor Pat McCrory.
The national office of the Council on American Islamic Relations sent out an email call to action asking their national membership to urge North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to veto HB 522 entitled Application of Foreign Law. HB 522 prohibits North Carolina state courts from considering certain provisions of foreign law including Islamic Sharia law.
The following states have already enacted similar legislation modeled after American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) language offered by the American Public Policy Alliance: Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Alabama legislators placed a similar measure on the 2014 ballot for voters to consider adding the restriction to the Alabama Constitution.
TheState.com reports: NC Muslims hope Gov. Pat McCrory vetoes anti-Sharia bill.
One of CAIR’s top agenda items is to defend Sharia law from being restricted in the United States. Thus far, CAIR’s rhetoric has resonated with some overly politically correct legislators resulting in numerous states rejecting legislation proposed by ALAC.
The hardcoded portion of the email prepared by CAIR for their national membership to send to Governor Pat McCrory states in part: The bigoted nature and origin of this bill is the predominant reason why it was overwhelmingly rejected in Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Texas, New Jersey, and Minnesota, and was let expire in eleven other states.
Florida Family Association has prepared an email for you to send urging North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to sign HB 522 Application of Foreign Law into state law.
To send your email, please click the following link, enter your name and email address then click the “Send Your Message” button. You may also modify the subject or message text if you wish. If you choose to modify the email content or subject line please maintain a positive tone and respect for Governor Pat McCrory.
Please click here to send your email urging North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to sign HB 522 Application of Foreign Law into state law.
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Phone: (919) 814-2000
Fax: (919) 733-2120
- CAIR hits NC governor with email blitz to veto anti-Sharia bill (bizpacreview.com)
- NC Muslims hope Gov. Pat McCrory vetoes anti-Shariah bill (religionnews.com)
By Annalise Frank at the News Observer:
RALEIGH – The state Senate on Friday passed a bill that would keep courts from recognizing Sharia law.
While proponents of the legislation said it would keep people safe from foreign laws, critics derided the bill as sending a message of intolerance and bigotry to followers of Islam.
The Senate had already approved the measure when it was attached to a controversial measure that would impose stricter regulations on abortion providers in the state. But the foreign law provision wasn’t sufficiently critiqued because abortion overwhelmed the floor debate, said Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Democrat from Durham.
Now called House Bill 522, the provision’s contents haven’t changed. It reminds judges that the U.S. and N.C. constitutions are the law of the land and no foreign law can supersede them. Sometimes international laws are used in court as evidence before a judge, or in written opinions. But this bill would stop judges from considering foreign law when it violates a citizen’s constitutional rights.
“Unfortunately we have judges from time to time … that sometimes seem to forget what the supreme law of the land is, and sometimes make improper rulings,” said Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton, a Wilson Republican and the legislation’s Senate sponsor.
Though the bill doesn’t specifically mention it, Newton was clear during Friday’s session that the legislation targets Sharia law, a legal system based on the religious and moral tenants of Islam. Few Muslim countries apply the entire body of rules, instead choosing measures relevant to them. More than 60 countries use at least part of Sharia law in their governance.
Its improper use has “worked to deprive” U.S. citizens and immigrants of their constitutional rights, Newton said. There have been 27 reported cases around the country in which Sharia law has been used, he added.
More than 20 states have introduced legislation banning Sharia law or foreign law in state courts. Many bills – including North Carolina’s – would apply only to cases in which the application of foreign law would violate a person’s constitutional rights.
Sen. Ellie Kinnaird of Chapel Hill, a Democrat, said she thinks the bill’s sponsors don’t truly mean to inform judges that foreign law is unacceptable, but rather the people of North Carolina.
“I think the audience is really wider,” Kinnaird said.
The N.C. Bar Association opposed the bill in its former incarnation, House Bill 695. The American Bar Association said in a resolution that the passage of such bills will have a “widespread negative impact on business, adversely affecting … economic development in the states in which such a law is passed and in U.S. foreign commerce generally.”
The danger doesn’t come from the legislation’s exact wording, said Omid Safi, a professor of religious studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. He contends this wave of anti-foreign-law legislation comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of Sharia law and a “bigoted” perception of Muslims.
“We would be delighted to have a conversation about what Sharia law actually is and what it is not,” he said. “It would be important, if we’re passing legislation on the topic, for (lawmakers who support the bill) to actually benefit from the expertise of people who might actually know something about the subject.”
The bill wouldn’t affect only Sharia law. Jewish organizations have spoken out against anti-foreign-law legislation across the United States because the measures could negate the common Jewish practice of resolving disputes according to their religious laws, Halacha.
- “American Laws for American Courts” Public Policy Initiative Advances in State Legislatures as AFLC Leads Citizens Awareness Drive (counterjihadreport.com)
FAQ for State Legislators On American Laws for American Courts (counterjihadreport.com)
Watchdog Wire, by Guy Rogers:
A BBC Panorama Documentary goes undercover in one of the eighty-five sharia courts operating as a parallel legal system in the UK, uncovering the extensive abuse of women, refusal to grant divorces, charging of the woman but not the man for divorce proceedings, and even the taking away of the woman’s children, and rulings contrary to British law.
The International Policy Council (IPC) from the Gatestone Institute states, “The undercover investigation proves what has long been suspected: namely, that Sharia courts, which operate in mosques and houses across Britain, routinely issue rulings on domestic and marital issues according to Islamic Sharia law that are at odds with British law. Although Sharia rulings are not legally binding, those subject to the rulings often feel obliged to obey them as a matter of religious belief, or because of pressure from family and community members to do so.”
The IPC notes:
The documentary contends that the Sharia courts, run by Muslim judges known as qadi, are putting women at risk of violence from abusive husbands by pressuring them to stay in abusive marriages.
In one case, the BBC secretly filmed proceedings at the Islamic Sharia Council in Leyton, a heavily Islamized area in east London. While there, a BBC reporter met Sonia, a Muslim woman from Leeds who has suffered extreme physical abuse from her husband. When Sonia obtained a civil divorce, the courts allowed her husband only indirect access to the children.
Go inside a sharia court in Britain and ask yourself: Do we want this in the United States?
Hamas-connected CAIR claims that American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) legislation is “anti-Muslim.” The attempt to pass ALAC in 2013 stalled in the Florida legislature when Democrats used a procedural maneuver to kill the bill.
When you watch this must see video below, you’ll see how dishonest that CAIR claim is. That’s because the Muslim women abused by the sharia court system in Britain would be protected under American Laws for American Courts.
“There are some who are putting women at risk. And doing so for ridiculous reasons, namely that they are somehow responsible for the abuse they are suffering.” — Nazir Afzal, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, northwest England.
- Britain’s Sharia Courts: “You Cannot Go Against What Islam Says” (counterjihadreport.com)
- BBC Documentary: Sharia Courts Putting Women at Risk (counterjihadreport.com)
- Bill limiting sharia law is motivated by ‘concern for Muslim women’ (guardian.co.uk)
- The Problem of Sharia Law in Britain (counterjihadreport.com)
- Rapid Rise in UK Sharia Law Cases (counterjihadreport.com)
Shariah War on Women (counterjihadreport.com)
- Sharia’s Sticks and Stones (sultanknishblogspot.com)
The failure to recognize, let alone confront, the Islamist ideology on the federal level does not mean that nothing can be done. An increasing number of states are passing or considering legislation designed to take on this task.
Below are five initiatives you can promote in your state:
American Laws for American Courts
In 2011, the Center for Security Policy released a studied titled Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases. The study found 50 appellate court cases in 23 states where Shariah-based legislation from 16 foreign countries contradicted American law.
The primary victims of this “conflict of law” are Muslim-Americans. Areview of 10 cases where Shariah-based law and American law clashed in court found:
“In cases 1-3, the Appellate Courts upheld Shariah law; in cases 4-7, the Trial Courts upheld Shariah, but the Appellate Courts reversed (protecting the litigant’s constitutional rights); in cases 8-10, both Trial and Appellate Courts rejected the attempts to enforce Shariah law.”
The American Public Policy Alliance explains that unclear state law has resulted in “the courts and the litigants hav[ing] repeatedly failed to recognize that comity to a foreign judgment may be at odds with our state and federal constitutional principles…”
American Laws for American Courts is model legislation that prohibits courts from putting foreign law before American law. This has often been described as “Anti-Shariah” legislation, but it doesn’t even mention Shariah or Islam. Its purpose is to protect Americans from being abused by any kind of foreign law.
American Laws for American Courts has been passed in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas and Oklahoma. It was recently passed by the Alabama legislature as a constitutional amendment and will soon be put to a vote by the people. In Missouri, the legislature will meet in September to try to override the Governor’s veto of the bill.
Free Speech Defense Act
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld was sued by a Saudi billionaire named Khalid bin Mahfouz because her book linked him to terrorism-financing. Because 23 copies of the book were bought online in the United Kingdom, Mahfouz was able to exploit the U.K.’s libel laws and sue Ehrenfeld even though she lives in America. Altogether, he targeted 45 publishers and journalists and only she refused to settle.
In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Committee warned that loose libel laws “discourage critical media reporting on matters of serious public interest, adversely affecting the ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work, including through the phenomenon known as ‘libel tourism.’”
Federal legislation called the SPEECH Act, also known as “Rachel’s Law,” has been passed but there is a glaring loophole that could result in Americans being denied a trial in U.S. courts.
The Free Speech Defense Act protects the First Amendment rights of Americans from foreign libel tourism. A modified version of this legislation has been passed in South Dakota, New York, California, Illinois, Florida, Utah, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland and Oklahoma. It is pending in the South Carolina legislature.
Read more at The Clarion Project
In the past year, over 10,000 American citizens have petitioned elected representatives from their respective state governments to enact the “American Laws for American Courts” (ALAC) legislation, which is designed to prohibit the application of foreign law when it would violate fundamental constitutional rights such as due process and equal protection. David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), was the principal drafter of the model legislation, which has passed in states such as Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, and Tennessee.
AFLC sponsored a citizens awareness drive to alert Americans about this public policy initiative to protect their rights from constitutionally offensive foreign laws, including – but not limited to – sharia law. Indeed, extensive research conducted by the Center for Security Policy, a national security thank tank, has found over 50 significant cases from a small sample of published cases indicating that sharia law has permeated state court decisions nationwide.
Yerushalmi commented: “The fact that 10,000 individual Americans responded to our citizens awareness drive demonstrates the growing concern about the imposition of sharia law and its pernicious effect in American courts. Even more important, it shows that Americans are listening to AFLC’s arguments, which have exposed the fact that numerous judges nationwide have applied sharia over United States law. People get it: American Laws for American Courts is not a slogan, it is actual legislation available to every state that enacts it, and it will ensure that no state court applies foreign laws or judgments that deprive a party of their constitutional rights.”
In Hosain v. Malik, a classic example of a state court enforcing sharia law, a Maryland appellate court agreed with a lower court’s decision to defer to a Pakistani Sharia Court that granted sole, unrestricted custody of a child to her father even though the mother was not provided due process in the proceedings. The mother had argued that if she had gone to Pakistan to contest the case, she would have been subject to capital punishment for having a new relationship with a man not sanctioned by sharia. Nonetheless, the Maryland appellate court ruled that her failure to go to Pakistan and take the risk of execution precluded her from making a public policy argument against the enforcement of sharia law. In this case, ALAC would have provided the Maryland appellate court the legislative clarity to reverse the lower court’s decision.
In spite of its constitutional defenses, ALAC has faced fierce opposition from Muslim Brotherhood groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which claim that passing ALAC legislation discriminates against Muslims.
Yerushalmi commented: “Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR have joined the ‘blame-America’ Left to challenge these laws, but the fact is ALAC has not been overturned in any of the states that have passed it because it is not just a constitutional law, it is the best way to protect the constitutional liberties of all American citizens.”
Robert Muise, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, added: “The American Freedom Law Center commends those loyal and courageous American citizens who have sounded the alarm to their elected officials about the threat posed by sharia and other foreign laws to the American legal system. And we hope these officials heed their citizens’ concerns by sponsoring this important legislation.”
By Andrew E. Harrod:
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.”
Read more at American Thinker
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 religious freedoms. 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.
Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of 15,000 evangelical Christians at Northland Church, partners with Atif Fareed, Former CAIR Florida Chair to oppose anti-Sharia bill in Florida Legislature.
Perhaps you can educate Dr. Hunter with facts regarding Islam, Jihad, Islamists, CAIR, Sharia and Taqiyya.
Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of the Northland Church in Longwood, Florida, asked Atif Fareed, former Chairman of CAIR Florida, to read Hunter’s statement opposing SB 58 Application of Foreign Laws in Certain Cases to the Florida Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability on March 21, 2013.
Atif Fareed told the committee:
But I want to read something very important to you today. I am a Muslim, but a senior pastor of an evangelical church, the Northland Church, Dr. Joel C. Hunter, he sent me an email yesterday afternoon and he wanted me to read this to you. And this is how his letter goes exactly word by word:
“To my state senators: As a pastor of one of the largest churches in Florida I believe Senate Bill 58 will do more harm than good if enacted. Its effect will be to increase bias rather than protection. It seems to me to be a cure without a disease. Existing law and judicial precedent have proved sufficient to deal with any concerns addressed by this proposed law. Having confidence in both our constitution and the character of our judicial process I agree with the America Bar Association, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union that this law and House Bill 351 will be detrimental rather than the good intended. As a conservative evangelical Christian it is unusual for me to side with the ACLU but I think objecting to unnecessary law is a conservative principle as well as a libertarian one. In deed not making laws unless they are absolutely necessary is at the core of our character as a country. Thank you for considering my views. Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor Northland Church distributed.
To see the video recording of Atif Fareed’s presentation to the Senate Committee click here and advance the video to the 68 minute mark.
“I could not wait until the committee meeting was over to inquire if Joel Hunter actually authorized or requested Atif Fareed to present this statement to Florida Senators.” Notes David Caton, Florida Family Association President. “I sent the below email to Joel Hunter to which he affirmed Yes in less than five minutes. He must be really proud to align with the Council on American Islamic Relations.”
From: “david caton”
To: “joel hunter” <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2013 11:26:05 AM
Subject: Statement presented to Florida Senate
A gentleman just presented a statement allegedly authored by Dr. Joel Hunter condemning SB 58 Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases. Did Dr. Joel Hunter write and authorize this statement?
From: “Joel Hunter” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: “david caton”
Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2013 11:30:10 AM
Subject: Re: Statement presented to Florida Senate
Sent from my iPhone
Hunter claims he is a “conservative evangelical Christian…” yet:
- The Northland Church web site gives this bio of Hunter: “Dr. Hunter served in the inaugural year on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which advised President Barack Obama on substantive policy issues, …. He continues as a spiritual advisor to the President.”
- Dr. Joel Hunter prayed during the 2008 Democratic National Convention where Barack Hussein Obama was nominated to run for president. Click here to see his prayer on Youtube.com
Here is some background on Atif Fareed, the spokesman who Dr. Hunter selected to give a speech in support of the Council on American Islamic Relations political agenda:
- Chairman of the American Muslim Community Centers, Inc.
- Former Chairman of CAIR Florida, Inc.
- Fareed participated in a rally to defend the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian, on the opening day of Al-Arian’s trial in Tampa. (Islam Online, ‘Arian Trial Case of Freedom of Speech: Lawyer,’ June 7, 2005)
- Prior to getting involved with CAIR, Fareed was a representative for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), an Islamist political lobby group that has, in the past, defended Hezbollah and has called for Israel’s destruction. (Zionist Organization of America, ‘ZOA: White House Was Wrong To Send Representative To Convention Of ProTerrorist, Anti-American Group,’ December 23, 2003)
- “Ariel Sharon is a warmonger and only the United States can stop him.” (statement by Atif Fareed, International Herald Tribune, ‘U.S. support for Israel,’ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, April 24, 2002)
- Fareed, a pilot for Southwest Airlines, has admitted to being questioned by the FBI for nearly three hours, asked if any Arabs approached him for flying lessons and if he would submit to a lie detector test. (Los Angeles Times, Muslims: Private Moments in the Public Eye,’ August 12, 2004
- “On September 10, I was a good guy. I became a bad guy on September 11.” (Los Angeles Times, ‘Vegas Muslims: Faith and Vice Under a Neon Sky,’ August 12, 2004)
- “It took skill to fly sophisticated planes nearly 500 mph into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.” (stated by Atif Fareed, Las Vegas Weekly, ‘The reality-propaganda gap: Mainstream media slammed for whitewashed news,’ November 1, 2001)
The scriptures proclaim “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob…” Exodus 3:15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob–has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation. Matthew 22:31-32 have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. The scriptures do not proclaim “the God of Abraham, the God of Ishmael, the God of Muhammad.” God help Americans to learn the truth.
Sadly, Dr. Joel C. Hunter is helping the Hamas linked, Jihadi apologist, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) to stop laws from being enacted that would prohibit courts from accepting Sharia law.
If you have educational information that you would like to share with Dr. Joel C. Hunter regarding Islam, Jihad, Islamists, CAIR, Sharia and Taqiyya; Dr. Hunter’s email address is email@example.com
At issue is the Michigan state legislature’s House Bill No. 4769, which looks likely to pass in coming days. Quite simply, that bill states that no foreign law may take precedence over American law or Michigan state law in a Michigan court room.
The key provision of the bill is Section 2, which says:
“A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, mediation, or enforcement authority shall not enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States.”
That’s it. Seems pretty straightforward and entirely in keeping with Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which states:
“This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby…”
So why would CAIR call on its members to oppose legislation that protects all American citizens, upholds the U.S. Constitution and in no way interferes with the right of any individual to freely exercise his or her religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment?
CAIR (a Muslim Brotherhood front group) points to the answer in its own words. Its Action Alert decries “discrimination on followers of a minority faith” and terms the legislation “anti-Islam,” even though there is no mention of Islam or any other faith in the bill.
There’s also no mention of any specific foreign law, just the general proviso that if ever there is a conflict between any foreign law – be it French law, Islamic law, Japanese law, Zambian law or any other – and U.S. and/or Michigan state law, it is the American law and the Michigan law that will prevail.
So, then, in what way is such legislation “anti-Islam”?
It would seem that CAIR is saying that Islam is not just a religion, but actually a legal system (hint: it’s called “sharia.”) This is quite forthcoming of them, because in fact, of course, Islam is not merely about diet/fasting, devotion, prayer, worship, pilgrimage, and proselytizing (Da’wa), which are completely 100% protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. No, as CAIR is rightly pointing out, Islam is also a “complete way of life,” encompassing a legal, military, political, and social system. The name of that “complete way of life” is sharia (Islamic law), which governs every aspect of a Muslim’s life and actually forbids a separation between faith and governance. It is unlawful under sharia for a devout, practicing Muslim to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.”
The CAIR Action Alert against Michigan’s pending legislation perhaps unintentionally illustrates this in a most instructive way. The reason the Muslim Brotherhood and all other sharia-adherent Muslims cannot accept that sharia provisions that conflict with U.S. law be superseded by Constitutional law in American courts is precisely the notion that Islamic law must dominate all other laws on earth in every respect.
Of course, this sort of legal supremacism is not only in direct contravention of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution; if acted upon, it arguably also could be grounds for a charge of sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, or misprision of sedition.
Read more at Radical Islam
Republican convention delegates voted last week to adopt a platform plank, cautioning against the use of foreign law in U.S. courts. While jurists such as Supreme Court Justice Scalia have said that “foreign legal materials can never be relevant to an interpretation of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution,” and Justice Thomas has written that the Court should not “impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans,” other jurists have searched foreign legal sources to locate “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”
This GOP platform provision, however, represents something beyond concern over the practice of buttressing sketchy legal reasoning with extra-American sources; the GOP statement also objects to Sharia law or any other foreign legal code that threatens to creep into judicial decisions disguised as validated ethnic customs. As suggested, this admonition would apply when claims in a legal dispute are based upon cultural codes with deficient individual and civil right protections compared to American constitutional standards.
The publicized New Jersey spousal abuse case first raised widespread alarm when a trial court judge refused to issue a restraining order against a husband despite the established record of domestic violence and assault (reversed on appeal). The judge ruled that the husband did not demonstrate sufficient legal criminal intent in light of an imam’s testimony that wives are required to comply with husbands’ sexual demands. The man’s wife, known in the opinion as S.D., was 17 on the day of her wedding and did not know the bridegroom before the marriage ceremony in Morocco.
Another case that presented the Sharia terms of a foreign marriage in an American court is that of Joohi Hosain. When Joohi left her marriage (under strict Sharia rules, wives are not generally allowed to sue for divorce), her husband in Pakistan sued for custody of their daughter, Joohi fled to America on a student visa with her daughter, and eventually presented her custody case in U.S. courts after her by-then-ex-husband pursued her to Maryland. Although Joohi explained that making an appearance in a Pakistani court would likely result in accusations of adultery and the possible punishment of whipping or stoning, the Maryland appellate court determined that even so, the mother had the notice and opportunity to be heard and was thus afforded proper due process. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals then deferred to the Pakistani ruling that it was in the best interest of the child for the father to have primary custody.
About half of the cases involving Sharia family customs which have been presented for adjudication by American judges involve marriages solemnized in other countries, but many Islamic domestic marriages are also based on Sharia norms. These domestic unions present unique challenges: they often begin with disregard for the state law regarding the registration of officiants and the licensing of marriages. Even worse is the disregard for due process and informed contract formation when marriages and property distributions are arranged without the bride’s participation.
After a review of both foreign and domestic Islamic marriages, I recently presented a survey to the Federalist Society that considered both published and unpublished family court cases that adjudicated Sharia terms. To date, about 25 U.S. family law cases reflect the U.S. approval of the Sharia-based marital terms in the family court or the court of appeal.
Read more at Radical Islam
Karen Lugo is the Founder of the Libertas-West Project and a co-director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.