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CAIR’s Fight Against Pennsylvania Foreign Law Bill
Posted By David J. Rusin On February 13, 2012 @ 12:13 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 20 Comments
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 memo  correctly 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.
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URLs in this post:
 Image: http://frontpagemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/sharia-stealth.gif
 new bill: http://articles.philly.com/2011-12-15/news/30520720_1_sharia-law-swanger-muslims
 legislation: http://ztruth.typepad.com/ztruth/2011/02/13-more-states-move-to-ban-sharia-law.html
 being: http://www.michiganvotes.org/2011-HB-4769
 debated: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+sum+HB825
 House Bill (HB) 2029: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2011&sind=0&body=H&type=B&BN=2029
 ALAC: http://publicpolicyalliance.org/?page_id=38
 preliminary memo: http://www.islamist-watch.org/documents/9147.pdf
 RoseMarie Swanger: http://www.repswanger.com/
 said: http://blogs.philadelphiaweekly.com/phillynow/2011/12/22/qa-rep-rosemarie-swanger-who-introduced-the-%E2%80%98anti-sharia-law%E2%80%99-bill/
 disadvantages women: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2010/jul/05/sharia-law-religious-courts
 inheritance: http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/w_islam/inhrt.htm
 divorce: http://www.expertlaw.com/library/family_law/islamic_custody-2.html#60
 child custody: http://www.expertlaw.com/library/family_law/islamic_custody-3.html#80
 numerous cases: http://shariahinamericancourts.com/
 decided: http://volokh.com/2011/04/29/will-calls-for-distribution-according-to-islamic-laws-and-sharia-pennsylvania-court-gives-twice-as-much-to-each-son-as-to-each-daughter/
 Hamas-linked: http://discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6176
 CAIR-PA: http://pa.cair.com/
 press conference: http://pa.cair.com/pressrelease/interfaith-leaders-to-challenge-bill/
 video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjkTHWUYNf4
 every facet of life: http://shariahthethreat.org/a-short-course-1-what-is-shariah/
 suggestion: http://pa.cair.com/blog/calling-the-bluff-moein-khawaja/
 Haider Ala Hamoudi: http://www.law.pitt.edu/people/full-time-faculty/haider-ala-hamoudi
 interviewed: http://post-gazette.com/pg/11346/1196328-454-0.stm
 four male: http://www.cmje.org/religious-texts/quran/verses/024-qmt.php#024.004
 witnesses: http://www.cmje.org/religious-texts/quran/verses/024-qmt.php#024.013
 prove rape: http://oldsite.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1835/context/archive
 explains: http://books.google.com/books?id=3bhWsAKYDscC&pg=PA68&lpg=PA68
 imprisonment: http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/apro/aproweb.nsf/pages/svaw_hudoo
 prescribed by the Koran: http://www.universalunity.net/Punishment_For_Theft.htm
 Marwan Kreidie: http://www.danielpipes.org/1937/the-fbi-loses-its-way-with-marwan-kreidie
 describing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjkTHWUYNf4#t=25m21s
 David Yerushalmi: http://www.davidyerushalmilaw.com/aboutus.php
 recent article: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/nyt_searches_for_the_leader_of_the_anti-shariah_movement_finds_me_instead.html
 said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjkTHWUYNf4#t=10m45s
 2012 banquet: http://pa.cair.com/images/banquet/2012-poster-web.png
 Siraj Wahhaj: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=716
 Sherman Jackson: http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/9339
 appeared: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1369
 warned: http://www.salon.com/2001/09/26/muslims_2/singleton/
 talked: http://www.fpri.org/enotes/200801.jasser.americanismislamism.html
 opined: http://books.google.com/books?id=_7RD2jwMU2wC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45#v=onepage&q&f=false
 professor at USC: http://dornsife.usc.edu/cf/faculty-and-staff/faculty.cfm?pid=1038031&CFID=1169585&CFTOKEN=92422687
 book: http://www.ispi-usa.org/policy/policy4.html
 long-term project: http://www.danielpipes.org/4910/americas-crash-course-on-islam
 this website: http://shariahthethreat.org/
 biased: http://articles.philly.com/2011-12-21/news/30542354_1_sharia-law-legal-code-muslim
 media: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/135952863.html
 scolding: http://blogs.philadelphiaweekly.com/phillynow/2012/02/01/philadelphia-city-council-introduces-resolution-denouncing-anti-foreign-sharia-law-bill/
 here: http://www.repswanger.com/Contact.aspx
 has been: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2011/05/10/advocacy-groups-renew-challenge-to-oklahomas-anti-shariah-law/
 helmed: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cair-mi-legislators-civil-rights-groups-to-challenge-anti-sharia-bill-127767748.html
 offspring: http://www.investigativeproject.org/1111/government-reminds-court-of-cairmas-ties-to
 Muslim Brotherhood: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6386
 dreams: http://www.meforum.org/3151/muslim-brotherhood-world-mastership
 mission: http://www.investigativeproject.org/document/id/20
 specific criticisms: http://publicpolicyalliance.org/?page_id=586
 David J. Rusin: http://davidjrusin.blogspot.com/
 Islamist Watch: http://www.islamist-watch.org/
 Middle East Forum.: http://www.meforum.org/
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