For the past month-and-a-half, the Islamic Society of Milwaukee (ISM) has been sponsoring a program attempting to whitewash the effect that Sharia law, if implemented, would have on American society. Teaching the courses was Zulfiqar Ali Shah, an individual tied to various radical Muslim groups, including a Hamas charity. Does the ISM really believe that a known extremist can put a good face on Sharia, and what does this say about those who advocate for Sharia?
Sharia or Islamic law is the legal code which determines how Muslims lead their lives – for many, every aspect of their lives. Like any judicial code, it is subject to interpretation. It could deal with simple matters, such as how one makes monetary investments, or it could be used towards the most horrific practices of barbarity, as seen in numerous areas throughout the Muslim world.
Zulfiqar Ali Shah is the Religious Director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee (ISM), located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in Pakistan, he obtained his Masters degree in Sharia law from Islamic University in Islamabad. He is what is known as a “Sharia scholar.” In fact, he is the former President of the now-defunct Sharia Scholars Association of North America (SSANA).
As such, one would think that Shah would be the perfect person to discuss the benefits – if there are any – that Sharia law can bring to Americans.
From October through November, 2010, that was Shah’s goal, in a six-week course that he led held at the Men’s Masjid of ISM, entitled ‘Is Islamic Shari’ah a Threat to America?’ However, when one looks at Shah’s background, one might not only view Sharia law as a threat, but they may view Shah as a threat, as well.
Prior to his employment at ISM, Shah was involved with a variety of Muslim extremist groups. One of them was the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan.
Shortly before till shortly after the September 11th attacks, ICNA was using the web to urge its followers to give “material support” to groups connected to al-Qaeda. Attached to this call for material support was a link to the main website that was raising funds and recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Qoqaz.net, a.k.a. Jihad in Chechnya. Also, on this same web page were links to the official websites of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban.
Shah was the National President (Ameer) of ICNA, while this was going on.
In August 2006, ICNA was the top donor to JI’s main charity, the al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF), while AKF took a delegation to the home of the global head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, to hand deliver him six million rupees ($99,000). The purpose of the money was to provide assistance to Hamas for the perpetration of future terrorist attacks against Israelis, or in Mashaal’s words, to “wage jihad.”
Shah was the National President of ICNA, while this was going on, as well.
Between his terms as ICNA President, Shah became Chairman and CEO of the now non-existent (in part due to the efforts of this author) Universal Heritage Foundation (UHF), a 31-acre Islamic propagation center, located in Kissimmee, Florida, just minutes from Walt Disney World. Muzammil Siddiqi, the former National President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), another extremist Muslim organization, co-founded UHF with Shah.
One of the keynote speakers for the group’s December 2003 inaugural event (‘Islam for Humanity’) was supposed to be Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais, the chief cleric of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Past statements al-Sudais made, including his call for the murder of Jews, Christians and Americans, led to his appearance being cancelled and the venue being changed.
Shah, himself, has also been known to make offensive statements towards others. In June 2001, he stated about Jews, “If we are unable to stop the Jews now, their next stop is Yathrib (The Prophet’s city of Medina), where the Jews used to live until their expulsion by Prophet Muhammad. That’s the pinnacle of their motives.”
Shah is, as well, seen in video footage obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) praising terror fighters (mujahideen) in Kashmir and calling for violent jihad, at a Cleveland, Ohio rally held in July 2001.
Another radical Muslim organization Shah was involved in was KindHearts, an Islamic “charity” that was established in January 2002 and was shut down by the FBI in February 2006. KindHearts was found to have provided more than $16 million to Hamas.
At the time that the doors of KindHearts’ offices were being padlocked and KindHearts’ funds were being frozen, Shah was acting President of the group’s South Asia Division.
While Shah’s credentials as a “Sharia scholar” may be exceptional, all of the above has shown that he is the last person to be lecturing Americans on what is good or not good for their country. Indeed, with his involvement in KindHearts alone, he probably shouldn’t be giving lectures anywhere, except behind prison bars.
Is Islamic Sharia a threat to America?
Maybe the answer lies with those who are teaching it.
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch. He has been responsible for the closure of at least one terror-related charity and has convinced a number of government officials to shun the Hamas front group, CAIR. In June 2009, he won a lawsuit brought against him by seven Dallas-area radical Muslim organizations.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor assisted with this report.