More Dangerous than bin Laden? Protestors to Descend on Gulen’s Mountain Fortress in Pennsylvania

20100406_PaulWilliamsGulenCompoundby PAUL L. WILLIAMS, PHD:

A protest against Fethullah Gulen and his movement will take place on Saturday, August 31, at Logging Road in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. The rally is set to start at 2 p.m. and hundreds of Turkish Americans are expected to be in attendance.

The purpose of the event, according to organizer Armagan Yilmaz, is “to warn the American people” about Gulen, “a man even more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden.”

This description, Mr. Yilmaz insists, is not hyperbole. Gulen has been responsible for the transformation of secular Turkey into an Islamic state with 85,000 active mosques – – one for every 350- citizens – – the highest number per capita in the world, 90,000 imams, more imams than teachers and physicians – – and thousands of state-run Islamic schools.

Gulen accomplished this through the creation of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma, AKP) which now controls the Turkish government.

Within the past ten years, Mr. Yilmaz says, everyone who has opposed the militant Islamization of Turkey has been murdered or tossed into prison. Several Turks who escaped from the oppression are scheduled to speak at the gathering, including former Tirkish Admiral Turker Erturk and noted journalists and authors Baris Terkoglu and Baris Pehlivan.

20130828_FethullahGulenKuranYetimFethullah Gulen came to the United States in 1998 and settled in Saylorsburg after an arrest warrant on the charge of sedition was issued in his native Turkey.

Court records from his hearing for permanent U.S. residency show that his financial holdings are enormous, exceeding $25 billion. With these funds, he has established schools throughout Turkey and Central Asia to bring about his dream of “a New Islamic World Order.”

Several countries have outlawed the establishment of Gulen schools within their borders – – including Russia and Uzbekistan. Even the Netherlands, a nation that embraces pluralism and tolerance, has opted to cut funding to the Gulen schools because of their threat to the social order.

In recent years, Gulen has established over 140 charter schools – – all fully funded by U.S. taxpayers allegedly as a means of indoctrinating American students in his militant ideology.

“Under the pretext of being qualified teachers hundreds of unqualified disciples are brought from Turkey to the United States with an H1B visa to work at these schools,” Mr. Yilmaz says. “These teachers are to return 40% of their salaries to the movement in cash which then funds the movement. This way not only is the funding of the movement illegal but also tax fraud is committed.”

The thirty-four “Gulen-inspired” Harmony Schools throughout the Lone Star State have been established at an annual expense to Texas taxpayers of $68 million. The schools are operated by the Cosmos Foundation, a mysterious non-profit corporation with headquarters in Houston. In an interview with this reporter, Sonar Tarim, the superintendent of the schools and a member of the Cosmos Foundation, said: “We have no ties to Fethullah Gulen or his movement.” While Mr. Tarim admitted that the schools participate in the Turkish Olympiad, an event organized by Gulen, he expressed surprise that all of his schools were constructed by Turkish construction companies that reportedly are affiliated with Gulen and his movement.

*****

Osman Nori, the retired head of Turkish intelligence, recently alleged that the Gulen movement has served as a front for US intelligence by sheltering 130 CIA agents in its schools throughout Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

This claim collaborates the testimony of Sybil Edmonds, a former FBI translator and celebrated whistleblower. Ms. Edmonds says that Gulen and his movement began to receive vast sums of money from the CIA in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when US officials realized that they could not obtain control of the massive energy resources of the newly created Russian republics because of a deep-seated suspicion of American motives.

The CIA, Ms. Edmonds maintains, came to view Turkey as a perfect “proxy” for US interests since it was a NATO ally that shared the same language, culture, and religion as the other Central Asian countries. But centralized control of these republics, she points out, could only be actualized by the creation of the Pan-Turkish nationalism and religion, envisioned by Gulen and his followers. And so, according to Ms. Edmonds, the CIA became Gulen’s partner in the creation of the New Islamic World Order. The money for the pasha’s schools and settlements, she says, came not from congressionally-approved funding but rather from covert CIA operations, including narcotics trafficking, nuclear black market, weapons smuggling, and terrorist activities.

Although Gulen and his defenders have refuted this testimony, a Department of Justice inspector general’s report called Ms. Edmond’s allegations “credible,” “serious,” and warranting a full and complete review. Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee members Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have offered her public backing. “60 Minutes,” the CBS news program, launched an investigation of her statements only to find them truthful and substantial. No one has ever disputed any of Ms. Edmonds’ revelations which she says can be verified by FBI investigative files.

Despite Gulen’s global ambitions, he continues to be presented as a moderate Muslim, who champions the causes of tolerance, peace, and good-will. Dalia Mogahed, the first Muslim woman to serve as a member of the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, says that the Gulen movement “offers people a model of what is possible if a dedicated group of people work together for the good of society.”

Read more: Family Security Matters

Paul L. Williams is the author of Crescent Moon Rising: The Islamic Transformation of AmericaThe Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World, The Al Qaeda Connection, and other best-selling books. He is a frequent guest on such national news networks as ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR.

Also see:

IPT Exclusive: State Department Barred Inspection of Muslim Brotherhood Delegation

by Steven Emerson
IPT News
April 9, 2012

The State Department broke with normal procedures last week when it ordered the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) not to conduct a secondary inspection on members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) on their way to visit government officials and think tanks in the United States.

This happened despite the fact that one member of the delegation had been implicated – though not charged – in a U.S. child pornography investigation, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery

According to senior enforcement sources and documents reviewed by the IPT, investigators had information tying Abdul Mawgoud Dardery to the pornography investigation that was based in Pennsylvania. He was the senior member in the four-person FJP delegation which held court with academic groups and met with senior officials at the White House and State Department last week. (For more on what they said, click here.)

The FJP recently won a plurality of seats in recent elections to determine makeup of the next Egyptian Parliament.

Before returning to Egypt, Dardery lived in the United States long enough to attain legal permanent residency, known as a green card. That status lapsed after he left the country for more than six months. The child pornography investigation took place during Dardery’s time here and was noted in his immigration file. It surfaced when CBP officials learned of his pending visit.

A U.S. official familiar with immigration procedures told the IPT that extra inspection is standard operating procedure when a foreign visitor has been tied to criminal or terrorist activities. “Secondary inspections” involve going through the visitor’s baggage and viewing the contents of computers and other electronic devices to search for evidence of illicit activity. Agents would typically search other members of the party to ensure Dardery did not hand off his computer equipment to an associate to avoid detection.

Read more…

Keystone Cronies: State Agency Colludes with CAIR-PA

By Hillel Zaremba

Tasked with administering and enforcing the state’s anti-discrimination laws, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC [1]) has become entangled in aiding an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood [2] in its goal of stigmatizing and silencing any criticism of Islam or Muslims, including those engaged in terrorism.

The law that created the PHRC empowers it [3] to:

Track incidents of bias that may cause community tension and to educate the general public, law enforcement, educators, and government officials in order to prevent discrimination and foster equal opportunity.

Occurrences labeled “bias incidents [4]” are logged into a monthly “bias report” that is forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Police, who decide whether to investigate items appearing there. Thus, the PHRC generates a government-sanctioned report card on the level and types of intergroup tensions and possible hate crimes within the commonwealth. In the words of one PHRC official [5]:

We use the bias report to inform the Legislature about trends and for our community education purposes.

In a better world, this course of action might be considered admirable. But in Harrisburg a system has evolved by which CAIR-PA [6],[1] [7] the local affiliate of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — an organization [8] declared an unindicted co-conspirator [9] in America’s most significant terror financing trial [10] — can manipulate data and push the pernicious myth that the U.S. is filled with hateful, anti-Muslim citizens.

How does it accomplish this? The PHRC convenes a working group, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Civil Tension [11], whose purpose is “to prevent and/or respond to bias-related incidents and the escalation of intergroup tensions” in Pennsylvania. It includes representatives from the FBI, state police, the state attorney general’s office, and numerous public and private advocacy organizations throughout Pennsylvania. One of these is CAIR-PA.

Beginning in 2004 — and increasing in tempo from 2006 to the present — CAIR-PA has fed the PHRC items that it claims demonstrate bias against Muslims. These items then end up in the PHRC’s bias reports with no apparent reflection on whether they truly constitute bias incidents, actually took place, or ought to appear in a report intended to focus on Pennsylvania.

CAIR-PA registered as a non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania in 2005 and was recognized as a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) entity in 2006. Annual reports from the PHRC record an uptick in bias incidents against Muslims coinciding with those dates and with CAIR-PA’s growing relationship with the state agency. After a post-9/11 high in 2001-2002, such alleged incidents declined to an average of eight per year through 2005-2006, then increased again to the present, more than doubling to an average of 19 per year.

The problematic relationship between the two groups has come to light thanks to the efforts of State Representative Curt Schroder [12], who submitted a right-to-know request to the PHRC for correspondence between it and CAIR-PA at the behest of Islamist Watch [13] (IW), a project of the Middle East Forum [14]. The emails reveal a corrupting, overly friendly relationship between CAIR-PA and the PHRC, resulting in the government agency manipulating data on behalf of the Islamist group.

Examples of the unbecoming nature of this association abound:

  • In the fall of 2008, a DVD documentary about violent Islamism, Obsession [15], was distributed in newspapers across the country. CAIR’s national office referred to it in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission as “a blatant piece of anti-Muslim propaganda [16].” CAIR-PA’s Harrisburg representative Samia Malik alerted the PHRC’s Ann Van Dyke about the film; Van Dyke referred to it as bias incident (BI) #24115 on September 15. Shortly thereafter, a PHRC investigator assigned to evaluate the film wrote [17]: “The information … in the DVD does not disparage Muslims as a group, and no racially or religiously offensive or derogatory language was used in the video.” Despite its own findings, the incident remained logged in the PHRC’s September 2008 bias report as a bias incident.
  • In August 2010, Tom Trento [18], a Florida-based activist, spoke at the Philadelphia Free Library [19] about Islamism. CAIR-PA lodged a complaint with the PHRC about the lecture, alleging [20] that “Trento … spoke in a biased manner against the broader Muslim community in Philadelphia.” The speech was then tagged as BI #34340. When Van Dyke notified PHRC staff, she attached an article about the presentation from the Philadelphia Bulletin, which quoted [21] Trento as saying: “The issue isn’t Muslims, it’s where you stand on Sharia law.” The Bulletin article continued: “While quick to remind the audience his desire was not to bash Muslims … it was his intent to confront the ideology of Islam.” As no one from the PHRC had attended the speech, the agency apparently chose to label it a bias incident based solely on CAIR-PA’s version of what was said.
  • In March 2011, CAIR-PA held its annual fundraising dinner [22] at a country club owned by Springfield Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The story was picked up by a reporter for Examiner.com who sharply criticized the township’s hosting the group. CAIR-PA in turn threatened Examiner.com with a lawsuit [23]. When the PHRC’s Van Dyke wrote CAIR-PA’s Executive Director Moein Khawaja urging him to file a report about the incident, Khawaja balked [24] because he did not “want a lot of bias incidents against Muslims to be against CAIR.” Van Dyke persisted and suggested masking CAIR-PA’s involvement. Khawaja agreed with the solution, and BI #34387 against an unnamed “Muslim group” was logged for March 2011. By removing CAIR-PA’s identity from the equation, the PHRC transformed a warning about a municipality’s relationship with a suspect organization into a generic incident of anti-Muslim bias. (In a similar example from later that month, CAIR-PA claimed it had received a solicitation from an unnamed group to participate in acts of terrorism; the letter was inexplicably given a bias incident number, 34395, but again the bias report only mentioned an unnamed “Muslim group.”)

CAIR continually claims [25] it is a civil liberties organization watching out for Muslim Americans, which helps explain its presence on the Inter-Agency Task Force. The PHRC is aware of CAIR’s troubling background but chooses to look the other way.

In June 2011, Islamist Watch supplied the agency with two sourced documents: one demonstrating governmental shunning of CAIR; the other illustrating CAIR’s past questionable behavior in word and deed. IW pressed the agency to reassess the relationship. Its reaction [26]? “[T]he PHRC does not anticipate any further response to you at this time.” There is also clear evidence [5] that the PHRC was aware of questions about CAIR before being contacted by IW.

It bears repeating that the PHRC has been charged with keeping accurate records of incidents with the potential to cause harm to the larger community. When such an agency becomes so closely involved with an advocacy group that it fudges or obfuscates data, real-world repercussions can ensue.

The most significant fallout from this dereliction of duty is the perpetuation of the notion that there is widespread “Islamophobia [27],” which must then be combated through educational and legislative remedies as well as through changes in law enforcement behaviors. The problem extends beyond Pennsylvania, as a group with an agenda like CAIR and its allies can use this faulty data to declare that FBI and other statistics only reveal the tip of the anti-Muslim iceberg.

For example, in March 2011 testimony [28][2] [29] was offered before the U.S. Senate by Richard Cohen [30], president of the Southern Poverty Law Center [31], who claimed that FBI “numbers vastly understate the problem [28]” of hate crimes against Muslims. Cohen blamed “limitations in the collection of data” and went on to testify that his group “compiled news reports” of anti-Muslim bias that prove an increase in this phenomenon (as if newspaper reports are unassailable truth). According to the PHRC’s Doreen Winey[3] [32] (director of education and community services and chairperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force), the agency also relies on news reports for collecting its data, which can result in travesties like the following.

An apparent mugging in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, was initially reported in an area newspaper [33] as a possible hate crime because the victim was thought to be of “Middle Eastern descent.” But in a subsequent communication to the PHRC from local police [34], the event was revealed to have been a drug deal gone sour. Notwithstanding this important correction, BI #24596 remains on the books as an example of “Islamophobia” for March 2010.

There are undoubtedly occurrences of real prejudice within the state, but most of the incidents provided by CAIR-PA do not pass any rational smell test. For example:

  • In April 2006, CAIR-PA alerted the PHRC to an online cartoon [35] published by an evangelical group in California which, in essence, claims that Muslims follow a false prophet. There was no noticeable Pennsylvania connection for BI #23290, but apparently in the PHRC’s eyes Christian evangelizing causes community tension. Muslim proselytizing does not, if its absence in PHRC’s records is any evidence.
  • For organizing “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week [36]” events on college campuses in October 2007, the David Horowitz Freedom Center [37] was assigned BI #23738. Its “Stop the Jihad on Campus [38]” educational events in 2008 earned it BI #2191, #24129, and #34122 (for three different campuses). While multiple anti-Israel demonstrations which might have discomfited Jewish students took place on many Pennsylvania campuses in those years, none were ever assigned a bias incident number.
  • In late 2009, CAIR-PA filed a complaint with the PHRC against Mason Crest Publishers [39] and the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute [40] for their World of Islam [41] book series. CAIR-PA claimed [42] the series is “rife with false, anti-Muslim allegations, making this clear propaganda masquerading as a textbook” and the PHRC tagged it as BI #34258. There is no indication in the emails that PHRC staff examined the books themselves, a series praised by the School Library Journal [43] as “illustrat[ing] the diversity of Islamic faith in a clear and unbiased manner.”
  • BI #24901 was assigned to the 2011 congressional hearings [44] in Washington, D.C. about domestic terrorism, chaired by Congressman Peter King [45]. Although the hearings had no Pennsylvania focus, the PHRC, relying on media reports that smeared the testimony as McCarthyism redux, obliged its Islamist partner — which had come under scrutiny during the examination — by identifying the hearings as a source of “intergroup tension [46].”
  • In 2011, the town council of Carnegie Borough discussed whether an empty church could be used as a mosque [47]. The council voted 5-1 in favor of local Muslims’ request, but that was apparently not good enough for the PHRC. Van Dyke wrote [48]: “I’m including this as a bias report [#2468] since it appears there were no concerns from the community when the building was used by Presbyterians but concerns/questions arose now that the building will be used by Muslims.”
  • Also in 2011, Islamist Watch itself was awarded BI #34427. Its crime? It had written to a Pittsburgh-area high school embroiled in an alleged anti-Muslim incident in an attempt to ascertain what had occurred. A section from IW’s mission statement [13] was quoted in the bias report, but the wording explaining that IW is engaged in “identifying and promoting the work of moderate Muslims” was suspiciously omitted.

The picture that emerges from this survey of “bias incidents” is disturbing in the extreme. Not only do none of these items amount to expressions of bias per se, but it would seem that anybody who even raises a question about Islamists, let alone Islam, is smeared as a bigot. Ann Van Dyke, her colleagues at the PHRC, and their cronies within CAIR-PA have become the arbiters of free speech, the living embodiment of Orwell’s “thought police.”

No one is spared the PHRC’s righteous indignation. A Jewish temple disinvited a CAIR representative [49] once it had learned more about the group’s background: BI #34383. Commentator Dennis Prager opined [50] on the suitability of Congressman Keith Ellison swearing his oath of office on a Qur’an: BI #23466. An online article [51] questioned the motives of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish expatriate with a history of Islamist statements, who runs a network of schools [52] across the U.S.: BI #24906.

In a September 2011 phone conversation with the PHRC, IW asked whether steps were taken to determine whether a reported incident actually occurred, before it is logged with a bias number; the answer was “no.” When asked what forensic credentials PHRC investigators possess, the answer was “none.” In addition, those accused of having engaged in a bias incident are not afforded any due process to refute the charge, nor is a bias incident, once entered, ever expunged from the record, even if it is determined to have no merit.

Thus BI #34357 remains on the books, despite being essentially debunked. The entire sordid story can be read here [53], but briefly, individuals associated with Philadelphia’s Masjid Al-Jamia [54] (including CAIR-PA’s outreach director, Rugiatu Conteh) alleged that Islamophobes had repeatedly tried to block worshippers from entering the mosque in the summer of 2010. No police record of such behavior ever came to light, though two evangelists were arrested [55] for preaching outside the building in July. They were eventually acquitted of all charges; Conteh, who claimed to have been at the mosque during one of the alleged protests, never showed up to tell her tale in court. Nonetheless, CAIR’s national office and the University of California-Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender relied upon the unverified story [56] in a 2011 report [57] documenting “Islamophobia.”

Read the rest…

 

Impeach Pennsylvania’s Sharia Judge

At Front Page today Robert Spencer gives the background of the Pennsylvania Sharia ruling by Judge Martin.

Spencer concludes:

With the OIC engaged in a years-long struggle to compel Western states to criminalize truthful speech about jihad and criticism of Islam under the guise of criminalizing “religious hatred,” Martin’s skewed and biased ruling is particularly ominous, especially insofar as it coincides with Sharia prohibitions on speaking ill of Muhammad, the Qur’an, and Islam.

This is why it is urgent that Judge Martin be impeached and removed from his post. Islamic law has now been involved in court cases in twenty-three states, while the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) has embarked on a three-million-dollar nationwide campaign to whitewash Sharia and convince Americans that it is entirely benign, nothing to be concerned about at all. Yet there is no form of Sharia that Islamic jurists have ever elaborated or that has ever been implemented anywhere in the Islamic world that does not restrict the freedom of speech and require infidels to adopt a posture of chastened silence toward Islamic supremacism and Qur’an-inspired violence. And now an American judge in an American courtroom has validated the proposition that non-Muslims must not criticize or mock Muhammad or Islam in any way by ignoring evidence and letting go unpunished an attack upon an American who was exercising his right to free expression in a way that offended Muslim sensibilities.

Islamic supremacist groups in the U.S. such as ICNA and the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are fiercely resisting the anti-Sharia measures now being considered in twenty states, and it is easy to see why: they would effectively stop or at least put a strong brake upon efforts to bring elements of Sharia to this country. They would put an end to the demand that American businesses and educational institutions must change the way they operate in order to accommodate Islamic law and custom. But with judges like Mark Martin on the bench, ICNA, CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood entities in the U.S. don’t need to worry: Martin is already Sharia-compliant, already eager to set aside American law in order to do their bidding.

That’s why Mark Martin needs to be impeached, and soon. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are our most fundamental bulwarks against tyranny. Americans who think that these freedoms cannot be encroached upon or eroded because we have the First Amendment are naïve. They’re already being encroached upon: Hillary Clinton recently held meetings with the OIC, the particulars of which have never been disclosed, to discuss strategies to implement the OIC’s campaign to restrict free speech in America. And it is only going to get worse, unless lovers of freedom take a stand now. Ernest Perce’s case is the case of every believer in freedom, whether or not one approves of his particular form of mockery.

Impeach Pennsylvania’s Sharia judge!

 

CNN’s Soledad O’Brian interviews Judge Martin:

The Sharia Court of Pennsylvania — the Transcript

 

By Andrew McCarthy at NRO:

I have made a transcript of the Pennsylvania case in which state judge Mark Martin, a Muslim convert and U.S. Army reservist who served in Iraq, relied on a sharia law defense (as well as some evidentiary contortions) to dismiss an open-and-shut harassment case against a Muslim man who assaulted an atheist activist at a Halloween parade. (See my earlier post.)

The victim, Ernest Perce, wore a “Zombie Mohammed” costume and pretended to walk among the dead (in the company of an associate who was the “Zombie Pope” — and who, you’ll be shocked to learn, was not assaulted). The assailant, Talag Elbayomy, a Muslim immigrant, physically attacked Perce, attempted to pull his sign off, and, according to police, admitted what he had done right after the incident. The defense argued that Elbayomy believed it was a crime to insult the prophet Mohammed (it is, under sharia law), and that because he was in the company of his children, he had to act to end this provocation and set an example about defending Islam.

As you will see, Judge Martin did not lecture the defendant about free speech or how disputes are resolved in a civilized country. He instead dressed the victim down for failing to appreciate how sensitive Muslims — including the judge himself — are about Islam. The audio of Judge Martin’s remarks can be heard on YouTube (The audio, beginning at around the 2-minute mark on the YouTube clip, lasts about 7 minutes. Martin has reportedly threatened to hold Perce in contempt for recording and publishing the judge’s statements, which were made in open court. Perce says he had permission to make a recording as long as it was only audio, not video.) Here is the transcript:

Well, having had the benefit of having spent over two-and-a-half years in a predominantly Muslim country, I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact, I have a copy of the Koran here, and I would challenge you, sir, to show me where it says in the Koran that Mohammed arose and walked among the dead.

[Unintelligible.] You misinterpreted things. Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it. That makes you look like a doofus.

And Mr. Thomas [Elbayomi’s defense lawyer] is correct. In many other Muslim speaking countries – excuse me, in many Arabic speaking countries – call it “Muslim” – something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society, in fact, it could be punishable by death, and it frequently is, in their society.

Here in our society, we have a constitution that gives us many rights, specifically, First Amendment rights. It’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others. I don’t think that’s what our forefathers really intended. I think our forefathers intended that we use the First Amendment so that we can speak our mind, not to piss off other people and other cultures, which is what you did.

I don’t think you’re aware, sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – uh, I understand you’re an atheist. But, see, Islam is not just a religion, it’s their culture, their culture. It’s their very essence, their very being. They pray five times a day towards Mecca. To be a good Muslim, before you die, you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca unless you are otherwise told you cannot because you are too ill, too elderly, whatever. But you must make the attempt.

Their greetings, “Salaam alaikum,” “Alaikum wa-salaam,” “May God be with you.” Whenever — it is very common — their language, when they’re speaking to each other, it’s very common for them to say, uh, “Allah willing, this will happen.” It is — they are so immersed in it.

Then what you have done is you’ve completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very, very, very offensive. I’m a Muslim, I find it offensive. F’Im a Muslim, I’d find it offensive. [Unintelligble] aside was very offensive.

But you have that right, but you’re way outside your bounds on First Amendment rights.

This is what — as I said, I spent half my years altogether living in other countries. When we go to other countries, it’s not uncommon for people to refer to us as “ugly Americans.” This is why we are referred to as “ugly Americans,” because we’re so concerned about our own rights we don’t care about other people’s rights. As long as we get our say, but we don’t care about the other people’s say.

All that aside I’ve got here basically — I don’t want to say, “He said, she said.” But I’ve got two sides of the story that are in conflict with each other. I understand — I’ve been at a Halloween parade, I understand how noisy it can be, how difficult it can be to get a [unintelligible]. I can’t believe that, if there was this kind of conflict going on in the middle of the street, that somebody didn’t step forward sooner to try and intervene — that the police officer on a bicycle didn’t stop and say, “Hey, let’s break this up.”

[Unintelligible]. You got a witness.

[Unintelligible response. Judge Martin then continues:]

The preponderance of, excuse me, the burden of proof is that the defendant — it must be proven that the defendant did with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person — The Commonwealth, whether there was conflict or not — and, yes, he should be took [sic] putting his hands on you. I don’t know — I have your story he did and his story that he did not.

But another part of the element [of the offense charged] is, as Mr. Thomas [the defense lawyer] said, was — “Was the defendant’s intent to harass, annoy or alarm — or was it his intent to try to have the offensive situation negated?”

If his intent was to harass, annoy or alarm, I think there would have been a little bit more of an altercation. Something more substantial as far as testimony going on that there was a conflict. Because there is not, it is not proven to me beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant is guilty of harassment. Therefore I am going to dismiss the charge. 

Me again: I could get into an evidence and criminal law analysis here — Judge Martin is being disingenuous about the “He said, she said” business: There was a videotape that corroborates the assault (it does not depict the assault but it shows there was a sudden disturbance), and a police officer would have testified that Elbayomy admitted attacking Perce — beside the fact that if there had been no assault, there would have been no need to defend it on sharia grounds. Moreover, Martin obviously missed class the day they taught the difference between intent and motive.

But all that is beside the point. This judge had no business entertaining a sharia defense to a violation of Pennsylvania law. The judge had no business ridiculing an American citizen as a “doofus” and hectoring him with Martin’s views about Islam, its requirements, its purportedly extraordinary significance to Muslims (compared to other believers who, according to Martin, are less devoted to their faiths), or about the Muslim perception of “ugly Americans.” The judge, furthermore, had no business sitting on a case in which he was biased against the complainant — so patently biased that the defense lawyer, R. Mark Thomas, saw that a sharia defense would fly and played it to the hilt. Here’s what Mr. Thomas told the local ABC affiliate: “I think this was a good dressing down by the judge. The so-called victim was the antagonist. We introduced evidence that clearly showed his attitude toward Muslims. . . . The judge didn’t do anything that I wouldn’t have done if I had been in the same position.”

Yeah, I’m sure. But one’s “attitude toward Muslims” is irrelevant to one’s right in America to walk the streets and express opinions people may find offensive without being physically attacked and intimidated. And the fact that sharia governments kill people over such expressions of opinion means that they are barbaric, not that we should tolerate additional constraints on our (diminishing) liberties. Contrary to Judge Martin’s view — a view that is becoming increasingly and disturbingly common among top administration officials, some members of Congress, and the military brass — sharia does not set the “bounds on First Amendment rights.” 

Read the rest for an important update.

 

CAIR’s Fight Against Pennsylvania Foreign Law Bill

by David J. Rusin
FrontPage Magazine


Resistance to a new bill aimed at limiting foreign law in Pennsylvania courts serves as a case study of how Islamists and their allies operate: peddling falsehoods about Shari’a, painting Muslims as victims, and denying that anyone seeks to institutionalize aspects of Islamic law — even as they vigorously promote that very agenda. With similar legislation being debated across the U.S., understanding their tactics is critical.

At issue in Pennsylvania is House Bill (HB) 2029, which stipulates that “a tribunal shall not consider a foreign legal code or system which does not grant … the same fundamental liberties, rights and privileges” as guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions. Introduced in November, it follows the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model and makes no mention of Shari’a. A preliminary memo sent to legislators last June in the name of Rep. RoseMarie Swanger, HB 2029’s chief sponsor, does highlight Islamic law, but she later said that it had been circulated accidentally. Regardless, concerns about Shari’a are warranted due to its many provisions that conflict with the standards of American jurisprudence. For example, it disadvantages women in terms of inheritance, divorce, child custody, and other areas of family law. Shari’a already has shaped numerous cases nationwide, including in Pennsylvania, where one state court decided how assets should be distributed according to Islam.

Pushback against HB 2029 has been led by the Philadelphia office of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-PA) and was punctuated by an interfaith press conference (video here) at CAIR-PA headquarters on December 14. The overall campaign reflects CAIR’s usual recipe of distortion, victimology, and contradiction between words and deeds.

Attacks on bills like HB 2029 begin by sowing confusion about Shari’a. Because Islamic law encompasses virtually every facet of life — governing personal activities such as eating and worship, but also forming an oppressive social and legal structure — suit-and-tie Islamists work to emphasize its unthreatening pieces whenever possible. CAIR-PA executive director Moein Khawaja’s suggestion that Shari’a should worry Pennsylvanians no more than halal gyros is a fine example of this technique.

Others brazenly misrepresent the unsavory components, as Haider Ala Hamoudi, a University of Pittsburgh law professor, did when he was interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hamoudi insisted that women and children would suffer if judges could not consider Shari’a — a stretch, given how it discriminates against women, including in disputes over children. Moving beyond the types of cases that are adjudicated in U.S. courts, he depicted the requirement of testimony by four male witnesses to convict someone of adultery as an exemplar of Islamic enlightenment that protects against false accusations. In practice, however, it can be a nightmare for women in those Muslim countries where the same scriptural passages are interpreted as mandating four witnesses even to prove rape. Robert Spencer further explains, “If the required male witnesses can’t be found, the victim’s charge of rape becomes an admission of adultery,” too often leading to her imprisonment.

Hamoudi also contended that harsh punishments used in Iran and elsewhere, like cutting off hands for stealing, have little to do with Shari’a and are “more a matter of identity politics” in response to Western influence. The man deserves credit for artful misdirection, as it is not every day that brutal penalties prescribed by the Koran itself are chalked up to blowback from cultural imperialism.

When distortion of Shari’a is insufficient, Islamists and their collaborators characterize Muslims as the targets of a shadowy cabal of “Islamophobes.” Hence, Pennsylvanians were treated to Marwan Kreidie, a major figure in the Philadelphia Islamist scene, describing Swanger’s faith-neutral bill as “an exercise in discrimination” and claiming that “there’s a conspiracy afoot here.” CAIR-PA’s Khawaja followed up by taking the ad hominem route, trashing HB 2029 as the brainchild of “anti-Muslim, white supremacist David Yerushalmi.” See Yerushalmi’s recent article for a reply to the typical assaults on his character.

Yet no hyperbole topped that of Rabbi Linda Holtzman, who played the Nazi card at CAIR-PA’s press conference. “The echoes for me are strong of Germany in the 1930s,” she said, “when repeatedly Jewish law was brought forward and defamed in the courts as a means of defaming all of Jewish tradition.” Aside from the sheer ugliness of the analogy, Shari’a could be “defamed” only by spreading inaccuracies about it. HB 2029 does not reference Islam or Islamic law, while the memocorrectly labels Shari’a as “inherently hostile to our constitutional liberties.” Sometimes the truth hurts.

Islamists also maintain that bills such as HB 2029 are unnecessary because, they say, there is no attempt by adherents of Islam to undermine the American legal system, but their actions away from the cameras inevitably belie their soothing words. Indeed, not long after it issued a press release dismissing concerns about the advance of Shari’a as “conspiracy theories” to be “mocked,” CAIR-PA announced that its 2012 banquet will be headlined by two men who have expressed support for transforming the U.S. into a Shari’a-run state: Siraj Wahhaj and Sherman Jackson.

Wahhaj, a radical imam who appeared on a federal prosecutor’s “list of unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has warned that “unless America … accepts the Islamic agenda,” it will fall. He has talked positively of Islamic law supplanting the U.S. Constitution and opined that “if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”

Jackson, now a professor at USC, has been equally explicit. Calling him “an outspoken proponent of the Islamist subversion of Western civilization,” Cinnamon Stillwell explains that in a book Jackson coauthored, he “proposes that American Muslims approach the ‘difficult task of penetrating, appropriating and redirecting American culture’ … to ‘influence the legal order in America.’” He writes that “once this is done, there are no Constitutional impediments to having these [Islamic] laws applied in the public domain.” Jackson even muses about how gradual “changes in American culture” could result in the normalization of barbaric punishments such as stoning and flogging.

In short, Islamists do not merely insult the character of those who back bills like HB 2029; they insult the intelligence of all through claims that turn reality on its head and are contradicted by their own actions. Nothing less should be expected. They obfuscate Islamic law and portray Muslims as victims because the facts about Shari’a simply are not palatable to most Americans. Moreover, stealth jihadists shamelessly say one thing and do another because they have faith that the mainstream media will not hold them accountable.

How to proceed? Education neutralizes falsehoods, so Americans need to continue the long-term project of informing themselves about Shari’a and the challenge it presents; useful resources may be found at this website. Likewise, all politicians must learn to speak more precisely about Islamic law, carefully distinguishing between practices that are protected by the U.S. Constitution and those that are not, thus minimizing the confusion that Islamists exploit. As for individuals who equate Nazism with defending Americans from foreign laws that infringe on fundamental rights, they should be called out for affronting both history and decency. Citizens also must encourage legislators to press on with these bills despite Islamist propaganda, biased media, and the occasional scolding from their multiculturalism-obsessed counterparts; readers wishing to contact the primary sponsor of HB 2029 may do so here.

Finally, as Islamist groups often argue against restrictions on foreign law by denying the existence of any campaign to insinuate Shari’a into American society, their own records of participating in this very movement should be hung around their necks for all to see. Given that much of the opposition to ALAC-inspired efforts throughout the U.S. has been helmed by branches of CAIR — an offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood, which dreams of implementing Islamic law worldwide and describes its mission in North America as “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within” — the letters, op-eds, and blog posts can practically write themselves.

While it is important to wade into the details and answer specific criticisms of bills to curb foreign law, the best defense may be a good offense. Just as Islamists make the supporters of such legislation an issue by smearing them as bigots, those supporters must make the opponents an issue by exposing their rank dishonesty and jihadist objectives, which comprise exactly the kind of subversion that these bills are designed to thwart.

David J. Rusin is a research fellow at Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.