ANTI-ISLAM ACTIVIST MEASURES U.S. IMAMS' BEARDS - TOP Paul Berger, The Forward, 7/12/11
[Wearing what they said were "Sharia adherent" disguises, the researchers independently visited 100 mosques and Islamic centers, where they collected various data, such as the length of the imam's beard and whether he wore a watch on his right wrist, the percentage of worshippers wearing hats and the reading materials available to visitors. Gaubatz described these as markers for gauging whether and to what extent a mosque should be seen as extremist. Each of these attributes "comes from Sharia," he said.]
A legislative wave is surging through the nation's heartland: In Tennessee, Louisiana andArizona, lawmakers have passed statutes prohibiting courts from relying on any foreign law, legal code or system that is contrary to state or federal public policy in reaching their decisions. Similar statutes are being considered in 20 other states.
In some of these statutes and bills, Sharia, or traditional Islamic religious law, is explicitly cited; in others it is not. In either case, civil libertarians and Muslim groups denounce them as efforts to target Islam. And those pushing for these laws don't deny this.
Republican State Rep. Sally Kern, who sponsored such a bill in Oklahoma, stressed the political potency of the movement, saying, "It's always helpful when you can say to your colleagues, 'This piece of legislation is practically identical to about 20 other states.'"
One reason those statutes and bills may be similar is the model set out for such legislation two years ago by a little-known Lubavitch-affiliated attorney living quietly in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Through his "American Laws for American Courts" project, David Yerushalmi, a specialist in securities, business and international law, has offered legislators a template that claims to sidestep constitutional objections to singling out Islam by avoiding explicit mention of it (though not all state legislatures have taken this advice). ...
In a telephone interview with the Forward, Yerushalmi, 55, said that the motivation behind Islamic extremism could not be explained by socioeconomic, political or cultural factors. "The one common denominator," he said, "was Sharia." It is too soon to judge the impact of this latest study, but one of the most striking aspects of Yerushalmi's activism against Sharia law has been his ability to edge his ideas into the mainstream.
The Southern Poverty Law Center included him in a recent list of the country's leading Islamophobes, and the Anti-Defamation League has cited his "anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black bigotry." In his telephone interview, Yerushalmi denied these charges. He said that he had defended black and Muslim clients pro bono and that the real target of his advocacy is liberalism. Among other things, his critics point to the website of his organization, the not-for-profit Society of Americans for National Existence, which he founded in 2007. ...
Gaubatz was paid $350,000 for a two-year stint as director of the Mapping Shari'a study. Yerushalmi said those funds included hiring researchers and paying for surveyors, but he would not provide a breakdown of the costs.
In a telephone interview, Gaubatz described how he and one full-time and one part-time researcher spent 18 months crisscrossing the country. (More)
LIMBAUGH: OBAMA WANTS DEAL IN TIME FOR RAMADAN - TOP Kevin Spak, Newser, 7/11/11
Rush Limbaugh couldn't resist pushing the envelope a bit today with a crack implying that Barack Obama is Muslim. In a segment on the debt ceiling spotted by Mediaite, Rush said, "So Obama's out there pushing this magic Aug. 2 deadline to get this thing done. That's because Ramadan starts Aug. 1." Then, as if he could already hear the angry calls pouring in he cried, "Well it does! Looked it up."
ANTI-ISLAM GROUP FINDS FERTILE GROUND IN NASHVILLE - TOP Bob Smietana, The Tennessean, 7/10/2011
ACT! for America sums up its mission in four words: "They must be stopped."
The "they" in question are Muslims, who ACT! for America's leaders insist are involved in a stealthy jihad to destroy the United States from the inside out, replacing the Constitution with the Islamic legal code known as Shariah.
The Virginia Beach, Va.-based national nonprofit claims 150,000 members and spreads its message through books, websites, radio ads, cable television and the work of local chapters.
It has become a potent political force in Nashville, home to the largest ACT chapter in the nation. Local members have opposed new mosques and lobbied for laws limiting Islamic influence -- including a new state anti-terrorism law that originally referenced Shariah law. (More)
BACHMANN FRIEND DEFENDS ELLISON OPPONENT'S ANTI-ISLAM STATEMENTS - TOP Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent, 7/12/11
Jan Markell, an end-times preacher and longtime friend of Michele Bachmann, defended anti-Islam statements by Lynne Torgerson, Rep. Keith Ellison's first announced challenger for the 2012 election. In late-June, Torgerson launched her campaign at Tea Party Nation by calling Ellison a "radical Islamist" who "fails to oppose banning Islamic Sharia law in the United States." Ellison responded by accusing her of running a campaign "based on hate, division, and fear." In an interview on Friday, Markell defended Torgerson. (More)
KILMEADE TO ELLISON: GET 'BURQA OFF' MUSLIM WOMEN - TOP Media Matters, 7/12/2011
CAIR INTERNS TO SERVE THE HOMELESS FOR 'MUSLIMS CARE' - TOP
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/12/2011) -- Student interns at a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group will serve the homeless this week and encourage Muslims around the country to do the same.
As a part of its annual summer "Muslims Care" campaign, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is asking Muslims nationwide to donate money or volunteer their time at local agencies that aid the disadvantaged.
This week, CAIR interns will serve lunch at Christ House, an organization dedicated to "providing comprehensive health care to sick, homeless men and women from the District of Columbia, and to assist them in addressing critical issues to help break the cycle of homelessness."
CAIR's interns will not only prepare and distribute food, but also spend time engaging with homeless individuals in the Columbia Heights neighborhood.
"Americans of all faiths understand the importance of helping one's neighbor," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. (More)
NY: MUSLIM SUES DUANE READE OVER HIJAB FIRING - TOP
A former Duane Reade employee on Long Island says she was fired when she started wearing a hijab, a traditional Muslim head covering, a lawsuit charges.
Hira Iqbal, 21, claims that boss Errol Smith told her store policy "does not allow people like that" to wear such clothes at work, claims the federal First Amendment lawsuit, filed inCentral Islip.
A spokesperson for Duane Reade said Iqbal quit and was not fired. (More)