According to new poll commissioned by Secure America Now, majorities in the key battleground states of Ohio and Florida have indicated “support for a strong foreign policy in the Middle East and a robust national defense.” In addition, a majority of those polled “remain uneasy about the current state of national security and the direction of the country’s foreign policy strategy.”
According to Secure America Now, the poll was conducted by Caddell Associates and McLaughlin, and it Associates and surveyed 600 voters on several issues including national defense, attitudes about the current situation in the Middle East, and satisfaction with the Obama administration’s handling of foreign policy.
Some of the results are quite telling. For example, one of the questions was “How concerned are you about Islamic terrorism by American born Muslims?” In Florida, a whopping 84.5% responded that they were concerned, including 53% responding that they were “very concerned; in Ohio, 75.7% responded that they were concerned, while over 1/3 responded that they were “very concerned.”
Human rights activist, bestselling author, and AFLC client Pamela Geller appeared on CNN last to discuss the pro-Israel/anti-jihad bus ads that are set to appear on buses in New York City as a result of AFLC’s latest legal victory. In a surprising twist, CNN abruptly cut off coverage of the interview just as Geller was about to explain CAIR’s link to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Nonetheless, a Geller supporter managed to secretly record the audio of the rest of the interview, and the entire interview can be viewed below.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which is considered to be the most prestigious group of Sunni Islamic scholars and jurists in the world, issued a statement this past weekend imploring Muslims in America to “immediately start legal action to prosecute those who offend Islam.” The group also called upon the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) “to wage lawfare against those who insult Islam and its prophet.”
According to the statement:
The Union calls on Muslims in America and throughout the world to take action and make claims against all those responsible and who contributed in the production of this work, and to immediately start legal action to prosecute all those who offend Islam, because such an ugly deed should never be allowed under the banner of freedom of expression, but should be considered a violation of the rights of Muslims and an attack on Islamic symbols and holy sites.
It must also be noted that the statement was signed by Islam’s leading shariah authority, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Dave Reaboi, reporting at Breitbart, commented, “the IUMS’s statement, as well as Qaradawi’s influential imprimatur, is a significant escalation in the Islamic world’s offensive to institute shariah globally and criminalize criticism of Islam.”
AFLC’s recent legal victory involving the display of a pro-Israel/anti-Jihad advertisement on city buses in New York has received significant media attention from outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, Reuters, and NBC News. According to media reports, the Metropolitan Authority of New York (MTA) is planning to run the ads on its buses beginning on Monday, September 24, 2012.
The timing of running the ads has stirred some controversy in light of the ongoing Muslim rioting in the Middle-East. However, the MTA had until September 12, 2012 to seek a stay of the district judge’s order with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The MTA failed to obtain the stay, which means that they are now required to run the advertisement. And it must do so promptly, or it will risk being held in contempt of the court’s order.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) gave a searing speech yesterday at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., where she criticized the Obama administration for communicating “both weakness and lack of resolve to the world” in light of the ongoing Muslim violence that is spreading across the globe. You can watch here or below:
Retired Army colonel and current Congressman Allen West (R-FL) slammed the Obama administration on FoxNews yesterday for its foreign policy of “appeasement and apologizing” in light of the recent violence and murder against Americans that has swept throughout the Middle-East. Watch the video here:
Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, appearing on Hannity last night to analyze the ongoing attacks on U.S. Embassies by violent jihadists, slammed the Obama administration for the “willful and deliberate whitewashing of the civilizational threats that face us.” Malkin pointed out that the Obama-backed political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Party, is instigating the violent attacks, which began on September 11 and has already cost the lives of the American ambassador to Libya and three members of his staff. Watch video of Malkin’s appearance on Hannity below:
A Kansas district court is the first to recognize the possible application of the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) law in a case where a party sought to enforce a sharia-law based contract. ALAC was adopted in Kansas earlier this year and it is based upon the model legislation drafted by AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi. The case at hand, Soleimani v. Soleimani, involves an Iranian-American couple who had been married according to both sharia and later by state law. At some point the woman divorced her husband (for cruelty and abuse) and sought to enforce a sharia-based prenuptial agreement called a mahr. The mahr required the man upon a divorce that was no fault of the woman’s to pay 1,354 gold quare, which are coins valued at $500 apiece or the equivalent of $677,000.
In this case, the court held that the mahr was unenforceable for many reasons so the woman was not able to extract $677,000 from her otherwise bankrupt husband (obviously even if the woman had won, it would have been a victory on paper only).
Now, in most cases, sharia is used to abuse the woman. Thus, as the court pointed out in Soleimani, sharia allows the husband to unilaterally divorce his wife with but an utterance of “I divorce you” three times–a fiat divorce not granted to the wife. Also, the woman loses custody of her children automatically under sharia when the children are still quite young irrespective of the best interests of the children (the latter “best interests” being the U.S. and international standard). Finally, even the mahr is often used against the woman because the negotiated amount is typically a pittance and far less than she might receive under state law marital dissolution distributions, especially if the couple had amassed even modest means.
In Soleimani, it just so happens that this case was about the woman trying to enforce a sharia agreement against the man. The court in Soleimani produced a well-considered and solid analysis of the problems associated with applying foreign contracts based upon foreign religious laws like sharia. First, the court noted that the woman’s lawyer had failed to provide a properly authenticated translation of the Farsi-language document so there was no way he could actually ascertain the meaning or the legality of the document.
Second, the court noted that even if he accepts the basic points of the mahr as agreed to between the parties, the court as an institution of government, could not possibly allow its enforcement. The court explained that one possible reason for this agreement’s invalidity, and this is key for our purposes, is that Kansas lawmakers passed a law–the Kansas version of ALAC–which would “preclude the courts from applying foreign law, legal codes or systems that violate the public policy of our state or federal constitutions.” Kan. Sess. Laws, Chap. 136, p. 1089-90 (2012). And, as the court noted, the law of the land under which the mahr was created–sharia–is so inimical to our basic constitutional principles (bedrock principles of liberty such as Due Process and Equal Protection) that to attempt to apply those laws to rule on the mahr’s validity might very likely violate Kansas’ ALAC.
Third, and this was really the constitutional underpinning to the court’s ruling, no state court judge could even begin to ascertain the meaning of the mahr without first penetrating the Iranian law under which the mahr was created and by which the mahr must be interpreted to make any sense–since it was the sharia legal system in Iran which created the context for the “meeting of the minds” of the formerly married couple. But, to even begin to apply sharia–whether it is the law of the land of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Gaza, Pakistan (regarding family matters), or any other sharia jurisdiction, a judge must apply sharia jurisprudence, or what is called usul al fiqh.
Fiqh is the term of art for the underlying legal analysis used by Islamic jurists in reaching decisions about the principles used to apply Islamic law. But, the process of fiqh, or even the more particularized legal rulings about an individual case by an Islamic judge (called a qadi), requires the jurist to look at the Quran, the Hadith (canonized narratives about the life of Mohammed and how he applied Islamic law in his day), and the earlier fiqh in order to understand what Allah would desire in a given situation. In other words, for a secular state court judge to utilize sharia in any decision he might make, he must play like Allah or at least play like a disciple of Allah. This means he is deciding upon “divine” or theological matters. And this is especially the case because Islamic jurisprudence does not allow for precedent. Each qadi must examine the relevant law (Quran, Hadith, fiqh) and then decide the law anew. There is never the case where a party can come to the judge and say, “The high sharia court yesterday held that in cases like this I win.” Thus, a secular U.S. judge who acts like a qadi, is in effect attempting to discern Islamic law by penetrating the will of Allah. And, if the U.S. judge is not trying to ascertain the will of Allah, his decision has no standing in sharia and he has failed what he thought his task was in the first place.
This, our Supreme Court has properly said, is an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause. A U.S. judge cannot be in the business of deciding theological disputes and any dispute based upon sharia–i.e., the state law in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia–is entering into theological disputations about what Allah wants.
As we noted, the court in Soleimani refused to enforce the mahr–and properly so. The court’s decision was a great victory for ALAC, which was applied in this case just as it should.
And, to those who might argue that in this case the application of ALAC and the Establishment Clause worked to “hurt” the women, what these people miss entirely is that the woman was not “hurt.” Rather, she was told by the court to play on the even and quite civil and secular playing field governed by the laws of the state of Kansas. And, the reason that is the right result for the right reason, one need only consider the typical case where the man is seeking to use sharia to divorce his wife unilaterally, take the property and the children, and even to accuse her of blasphemy or adultery and subject her to the death penalty. As the Kansas court pointed out:
In disregarding the mahr agreement in the case at bar, the parties are not denied justice or a remedy. Rather, the protection of Kansas law, applicable to the parties here, requires an equitable division of property in a secular system that is not controlled by the dictates of religious authorities or even a society dominated by men who place values on women in medieval terms.
That is to say, when sharia doctrines/contracts are voided under ALAC or ignored via the abstention doctrine per the Establishment Clause, the parties are provided justice under existing state law. On the other hand, as in the case of Hosain v. Malik improperly and cruelly decided by a Maryland appellate court, when sharia is upheld, the losing party, typically the woman, has no recourse but to travel to the sharia jurisdiction (in Hosain it was Pakistan) to contest the matter.
The problem in Hosain was that the woman was left with a choice that either removed her child from the U.S. and from under her custody or created the default that her husband would gain custody because she might very well be put to death in Pakistan under the sharia. That is, she could stay in Maryland and allow the Maryland courts to take her child away from her based upon sharia’s “the Muslim man knows best” rule, or contest the custody ruling in a sharia court in Pakistan where she would put her life in jeopardy for having remarried outside of the laws of sharia. In Hosain, the Maryland appellate court used the authority of state law to impose sharia on this woman and deprive her of her most basic constitutional liberty embodied in the right to Due Process and Equal Protection of the Laws.
In its 2012 platform, the Democrat Party removed any reference of God while refusing to affirm Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. After facing outrage at the removal, the Democratic National Committee suspended convention rules and re-inserted language regarding God and the State of Israel into its platform. Surprisingly, the convention delegates had to voice vote three times to re-insert the language; and even then, the voice votes were inconclusive as a loud crowd booed and roared its opposition to putting God and Jerusalem back into the platform. As a result, Antonio Villaraigosa, the Mayor of Los Angeles and head of the Democratic National Convention, who was clearly embarrassed about the situation, subsequently — and falsely — declared the measure passed. You can watch the embarrassing incident here:
It is surprising that the Democrat Party chose to reinsert language affirming God and Jerusalem; after all, President Obama’s foreign policy has consistently delegitimized the State of Israel.
Furthermore, as AFLC Advisory Board Member Andrew C. McCarthy points out in a blistering article, “The omission of God and Jerusalem from the Democratic party’s 2012 platform was quite intentionally meant as a demotion, very much in keeping with Obama administration policy. The jihadists, by contrast, are moving up in the world.”
As for God, there’s not room in this universe for two The Ones. In cases of conflict, the president has made it abundantly clear that his pieties control, and the pious better get with the program: Domestically, abortion-on-demand and wealth-redistribution to assure free contraceptives for thirty-something co-eds; internationally, close cooperation and billions in U.S. aid for regimes that abet the persecution of Christians, Jews and other religious minorities.
But, as McCarthy explains, God and Jerusalem were not the only names dropped from the 2012 Democrat Party platform. Indeed, the 2008 party platform contained this language:
Our … commitment [to Israel], which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense, is all the more important as we contend with growing threats in the region – a strengthened Iran, a chaotic Iraq, the resurgence of Al Qaeda, the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah…. [W]e must help Israel identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability, and stand with Israel against those who seek its destruction. The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.
According to McCarthy, the Democrat Party’s removal of Hamas and Hezbollah in the 2012 platform confirms the Obama administration’s ongoing relationship with Islamists to the detriment of Israel. McCarthy explains:
Regardless of U.S. law, which designates Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorists whom it is a crime to support, administration has sided with the Islamists: When Secretary of State Clinton launched Obama’s “Global Counterterrorism Forum” — in conjunction with Turkey, and in partnership with Egypt and Saudi Arabia — Israel, the world’s leading terror target, was excluded. The administration’s preferred allies regard terrorist attacks against Israel as legitimate “resistance” against an illegitimate “occupier.” The Democrats are going along for the ride.
On behalf of the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), we are proud to report to you AFLC’s significant accomplishments each month, which, of course, are made possible by your prayers and generous support.
For August, AFLC achieved two major, precedent-setting victories for religious liberty and freedom of speech. Additionally, AFLC’s attorneys were engaged in heavy-lifting, “trench litigation” – that is, drafting and filing motions (and responses to motions), court hearings, and discovery, including depositions – all of which are time consuming and costly, but yet necessary to achieve victory for our clients and for America’s future. As you review this past month’s accomplishments, we hope you can see that AFLC’s attorneys not only work tirelessly, but we strive for excellence in all that we do.
Here are the highlights for the month of August:
On August 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an important ruling in favor of AFLC, holding that government officials in Michigan violated our client’s right to freedom of speech and deprived him of the equal protection of the law by prohibiting him from displaying a nativity scene on a public median during Christmas. Our client, Mr. John Satawa, had been displaying his nativity scene on this median for over 60 years when government officials ordered him to take it down in 2008 after receiving a complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, an atheist organization. You can read more about this victory here.
On August 29, in a total victory for AFLC, a federal judge issued a final ruling striking down the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) “no-demeaning speech” restriction and ordering the MTA to display a pro-Israel/anti-jihad bus advertisement submitted by the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI). The federal judge’s order converted an earlier preliminary injunction into a permanent injunction, and it declared that the MTA speech regulation violated the First Amendment right to free speech. The judge also awarded FDI nominal damages. You can read more about AFLC’s victory here.
On August 14, after months of intensive discovery, AFLC filed a motion for summary judgment in federal court in Oklahoma on behalf of Captain Paul Fields, the Tulsa Police Department veteran who was punished for refusing to attend an Islamic proselytizing event held at a local mosque because it violated his Christian beliefs. The motion argues that the undisputed facts demonstrate that the City of Tulsa and its senior police officials retaliated against Captain Fields in violation of his right to the free exercise of religion. You can read more about the case here. This case also attracted national media attention. FoxNews.com released an exclusive report on the case, which you can read here. AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise appeared on the Laura Ingraham Show. And the case was covered by the Fox News cable network.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) launched a targeted smear campaign against AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi. David is a target of CAIR’s vitriol because he is a leader in exposing CAIR as a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR’s most recent attack was based on the fact that the Republican Party adopted a plank in its platform that supports the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation, which David authored. You can read more about CAIR’s smear campaign here.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a ruling that our clients, several Michigan-based Christians, lacked “standing” to challenge Obama’s federal Hate Crimes Act. While the ruling dismissed the lawsuit, it did so by holding as a matter of law that the Act does not prohibit public denunciations of homosexuality, including speech directly quoting Leviticus 20:13, which imposes the death penalty for sodomy. You can read more about this case here.
On August 29, we responded to the motion filed by Obama’s Department of Justice, which is asking the court to dismiss our legal challenge to the HHS mandate filed on behalf of Priests for Life. We argued in our brief that Priests for Life has standing to sue because it is subject to the unlawful mandate and will therefore suffer an injury as a result. The government mandate requires Priests for Life to cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients in its healthcare plan in violation of its sincerely held religious beliefs. You can read more about this case here.
Finally, throughout August, we have been preparing and taking the depositions of several officials implicated in the case involving the unlawful arrests of four Christian missionaries at the 2010 Arab Festival in Dearborn, Michigan. The Christians were arrested for preaching to Muslims. You can read more about the case here.
Thank you for your prayers and support. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.