The New York Times has a lengthy piece on a man I consider a national treasure, and I am not just saying that becuase he is my lawyer, representing me in numerous cases (i.e., the $10,000,000 lawsuit brought by Rifqa Bary's parents; the violation of free speech in the banning of my freedom buses; the NYC transit ban on my Ground Zero mosque buses, etc.).
The Times gets it wrong, of course. It woud be kind of wonderful for the likes of Andrea Elliot to practice her craft in a sharia-compliant country and spare us her smears and deceptive whitewash of the most brutal ideology on the face of the earth.
It's a smear piece, and a heads up to Ms. Elliot, America is behind the anti-shariah movement.
The Man Behind the Anti-Shariah Movement Andrea Elliot, NY Times
A confluence of factors has fueled the anti-Shariah movement, most notably the controversy over the proposed Islamic center near ground zero in New York, concerns about homegrown terrorism and the rise of the Tea Party. But the campaign’s air of grass-roots spontaneity, which has been carefully promoted by advocates, shrouds its more deliberate origins.
In fact, it is the product of an orchestrated drive that began five years ago in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in the office of a little-known lawyer, David Yerushalmi, a 56-year-old Hasidic Jew with a history of controversial statements about race, immigration and Islam. Despite his lack of formal training in Islamic law, Mr. Yerushalmi has come to exercise a striking influence over American public discourse about Shariah.
Working with a cadre of conservative public-policy institutes and former military and intelligence officials, Mr. Yerushalmi has written privately financed reports, filed lawsuits against the government and drafted the model legislation that recently swept through the country — all with the effect of casting Shariah as one of the greatest threats to American freedom since the cold war.
The message has caught on. Among those now echoing Mr. Yerushalmi’s views are prominent Washington figures like R. James Woolsey, a former director of the C.I.A., and the Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, who this month signed a pledge to reject Islamic law, likening it to “totalitarian control.”
“It’s wrong to just accept that the courts generally get it right, but sometimes get it wrong,” said Stephen M. Gelé, a Louisiana lawyer who represents a nonprofit organization that has promoted Mr. Yerushalmi’s legislation. “There is no reason to make a woman play a legal game of Russian roulette.”
While proponents of the legislation have seized on aspects of Shariah that are unfavorable to women, Mr. Yerushalmi’s focus is broader. His interest in Islamic law began with the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, when he was living in Ma’ale Adumim, a large Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
At the time, Mr. Yerushalmi, a native of South Florida, divided his energies between a commercial litigation practice in the United States and a conservative research institute based in Jerusalem, where he worked to promote free-market reform in Israel.
After moving to Brooklyn the following year, Mr. Yerushalmi said he began studying Arabic and Shariah under two Islamic scholars, whom he declined to name. He said his research made clear that militants had not “perverted” Islamic law, but were following an authoritative doctrine that sought global hegemony — a mission, he says, that is shared by Muslims around the world. To illustrate that point, Mr. Yerushalmi cites studies in which large percentages of Muslims overseas say they support Islamic rule.
In interviews, Islamic scholars disputed Mr. Yerushalmi’s claims. Although Islam, like some other faiths, aspires to be the world’s reigning religion, they said, the method for carrying out that goal, or even its relevance in everyday life, remains a far more complex subject than Mr. Yerushalmi suggests.
“Even in Muslim-majority countries, there is a huge debate about what it means to apply Islamic law in the modern world,” said Andrew F. March, an associate professor specializing in Islamic law at Yale University. The deeper flaw in Mr. Yerushalmi’s argument, Mr. March said, is that he characterizes the majority of Muslims who practice some version of Shariah — whether through prayer, charitable giving or other common rituals — as automatic adherents to Islam’s medieval rules of war and political domination.It is not the first time Mr. Yerushalmi has engaged in polemics. In a 2006 essay, he wrote that “most of the fundamental differences between the races are genetic,” and asked why “people find it so difficult to confront the facts that some races perform better in sports, some better in mathematical problem-solving, some better in language, some better in Western societies and some better in tribal ones?” He has also railed against what he sees as a politically correct culture that avoids open discussion of why “the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.”
On its Web site, the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil rights organization, describes Mr. Yerushalmi as having a record of “anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black bigotry.” His legal clients have also drawn notoriety, among them Pamela Geller, an incendiary blogger who helped drive the fight against the Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero.
A stout man who wears antique wire-rimmed glasses and a thick, white-streaked beard, Mr. Yerushalmi has a seemingly inexhaustible appetite for the arguments his work provokes. “It’s an absurdity to claim that I have ever uttered or taken a position on the side of racism or bigotry or misogyny,” he said.
When pressed for evidence that American Muslims endorse the fundamentalist view of Shariah he warns against, Mr. Yerushalmi argues that the problem lies with America’s Muslim institutions and their link to Islamist groups overseas. As a primary example, he and others cite a memorandum that surfaced in the federal prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Muslim charity based in Texas whose leaders were convicted in 2008 of sending funds to Hamas.
The 1991 document outlined a strategy for the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States that involved “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” Critics emphasize a page listing 29 Muslim American groups as “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” Skeptics point out that on the same page, the author wrote, imagine if “they all march according to one plan,” which suggests they were not working in tandem.
The rest is here.