Over a dozen states now moving to ban Islamic Sharia law

The great lawyer David Yerushalmi explains why anti-Sharia laws are needed, and what they will accomplish. “States Move To Ban Islamic Sharia Law,” from NPR, March 11:

More than a dozen states are now considering measures to ban Sharia, or Islamic law. One proposed bill in Tennessee has drawn criticism, with opponents saying it would infringe on religious freedoms for Muslims. Proponents of the bill say it’s necessary to prevent “homegrown terror.” Host Michel Martin speaks with David Yerushalmi, who wrote the policy paper that sparked the legislation in Tennessee and other states. They are joined by associate professor of Islamic and American Law at Boston College, Intisar Rabb. […]

During last year’s elections, you may remember that Oklahoma passed a referendum banning state courts from considering international or Islamic law. But it was later blocked by a federal judge who said that the law was unconstitutional.

Now more than a dozen states are considering similar measures, including Arizona, Indiana and Texas. One version that has sparked particular interest is the law being debated in Tennessee, which critics call the most far-reaching because it would make certain acts under the law a felony. Supporters of the measure say it is necessary to stop homegrown terror.

Well, opponents say the law is unconstitutional and would infringe on the religious rights of Muslims. We wanted to talk more about this, so we’ve called on David Yerushalmi. He wrote the policy paper that was the catalyst for the Tennessee bill, as well as bills in a number of other states. He is a lawyer who specializes in national security and he is the founder and president of a group called SANE, the Society of Americans for National Existence. He describes it as a nonprofit public policy think tank and he’s with us from our NPR studios in New York.

Also joining us Intisar Rabb. She is an associate professor of Islamic law and American law at Boston College. She’s also a faculty researcher with Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program. And she joins us from the studios at Harvard University. I welcome you both and thank you both so much for joining us.

Mr. DAVID YERUSHALMI (Attorney): Thank you for having me.

Professor INTISAR RABB (Islamic Law and American Law, Boston College): So, Mr. Yerushalmi, I’ll start with you because as we mentioned, your policy paper has been the intellectual basis for a number of the measures being considered around the country. Why is a bill like this necessary, first? And, secondly, what specifically do you feel that the Tennessee bill would accomplish?

Mr. YERUSHALMI: Well, let’s first talk about what the bill is and then why we think it’s necessary. The bill had been misrepresented by claiming that it outlaws, it criminalizes Islamic worship or even more specifically, that it outlaws or criminalizes the practice of Sharia or Islamic law. Both of those are simply spatially false.

The law goes through a litany of legislative findings, which are based upon the knowable and objective statements by jihadist around the globe, that they base their jihad on Sharia or Islamic law.

Now, from there, the statute says that if the attorney general identifies an organization that adheres to that Sharia jihad doctrine and it’s either engaging in terrorism or has the intent and the capability to engage in terrorism, that organization can be designated as a Sharia organization.

Now, that part of the statute mirrors the federal statute that allows the secretary of state to designate foreign terrorist organizations.

MARTIN: Well, that was my question, Mr. Yerushalmi – and Professor Rabb, I haven’t forgotten about you. But, Mr. Yerushalmi, that is my second question to you, which is, why is this necessary? Why is it necessary to single out a particular ideology when legal tools, presumably, already exist to target organizations with violent intent?

Mr. YERUSHALMI: First of all, states, as opposed to the federal government, have a compelling state interest to protect the safety of its citizens. Tennessee has had a problem of homegrown jihadists. Bledsoe, who went out to the recruiting office in Arkansas, was from Tennessee and as it were radicalized there. So that’s number one.

Number two, the statute identifies a specific threat doctrine in policy and in law. The more specific you can be, as to the harm you’re trying to address, the better the law is. And because we have a very specific threat of global jihad domesticized in this country, the statute is refined to just that aspect of the terrorist profile and threat that deals with this particular jihad doctrine….

There is much more — including Yerushalmi’s clarification on why such bills do not criminalize Islam or Muslim religious practice, as Hamas-linked CAIR and others have falsely claimed, and his response to defamatory charges made against him. Be sure to read it all.

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  1. says

    Over a dozen states now moving to ban Islamic Sharia law

    One of the most heartening moves I’ve seen since we’ve really begun the fight against Jihad. It is all the more heartening since it shows a real understanding of Islam and its vicious aims”this is far more substantive than just a ban on “terror recruiting” or the like.

  2. says

    Good! …and is it too optimistic to state that it looks like the train has left the station? Well, I hope not; and I hope that this move continues from state to state until EVERY state bans islamic sharia law.

  3. says

    One of the best realizations that came out this week is that Islam, or at least parts of it , specifically Sharia, can be considered as a variant of organized criminal activity in that “those who leave their religion” can and are threatened with severe punishment, i.e death . That’s a form of racketeering .

    BINGO !

    I credit the caller to the Washington Journal call-in show on C-Span 1 Thursday morning immediately preceeding Peter King’s Homeland Security Congressional hearings with “revealing” this.

    May he and all of us carry on in the anti- Jihad !

  4. says

    Some aspects of sharia law are already illegal in the US…
    Can something illegal be Constitutional?
    Is stoning a woman protected by the Constitution in the US?
    Here is the problem…Sharia law is Allah’s law, derived from Allah’s holy books, Quran and hadith…There is no way that Mahoundians are going to settle for diluted Allah’s laws on a permanent basis…Islam and sharia are inseparable…Without sharia Islam is lawless…If Sharia is banned it does prevent them from fully practicing their religion…The solution for them is to move back to Yemen or Somalia, or abandon sharia…But if they did that, Islam would no longer be Islam, and Allah would really be pzzed off…So, it’s better to just go ahead and make sharia illegal and give Mahoundians a choice of going back to Pakistan and be sharia compliant, or staying in the US, give up sharia, and ruin their chances for paradise…
    The ball should be in their court…The ships are waiting…

  5. says

    Nobody is denying Muslims for practising Shariah law, there are many islamic hell-hole nations that will welcome them and even condone the public executions of gays and females that offend Allah. There will be many savings as the lawyers and Court system will not be needed to protect Human Rights,girls can go through life without the fear of working or having to go to school.

    The Saudi Airlines have 747’s flying to Saudi Arabia on a regular basis, so those at CAIR would make better use of their time to stop Muslims at the US Airports and tell them to “Go Back” to the islamic Nations.
    The Feminists and Rainbow coalition have given the impression that Honour-Killings of female children or the killing of all Homosexuals in Gaza and ME Muslim nations is not a problem for them in the USA.
    As long a Muslims are killing Muslims or “Those-gay/female people” in Islmic nations…then it’s OK in the USA if Shariah law get Muslim girls killed on their soil or that gay-Muslims must go into hiding.
    The Leftists and Democrates seems to look at Muslims as lesser poeple or not quite Human enough to be included in their crusades for justice, no wonder the PRIDE parades don’t ban the child-abuse by the overt Nudity in front of children…they don’t want to offend Muhammad or Muslims by condemning the quasi-pedophilia acts which was worse when Aisha was actually raped at 9 years old by a man in his 50’s that heard vioces in his head.

    The tragedy in Canada is that there are too many votes or Terrorism threats if Shariah was banned, so for now the gutless Liberals allow the Honour Killings because CAIR-canada calls it Domestic-Violence that crosses all faiths and Cultures.
    It’s not a Human-Right to rape little girls or Murder gays in Public.

    Know Islam – No peace
    No Islam – Know Peace

  6. says

    Awesome! More people are waking up & learning what Islam is really all about. Hopefully this trend will continue gaining momentum. I’m sure the hearings on Thursday introduced a lot of people to the idea of political Islam and the shadiness of CAIR — things that might pique their curiosity, causing them to investigate further.

  7. says

    A great debate has been started in the U.S. and I hope that we in old Europe can benefit from that discussion. It would be great, if in all European countries lawyers ventured to make sharia illegal. Unfortunately there are already sharia courts in the U.K., we have to work together all over Europe and show the mahoundians that we deem their sharia barbaric and incompatible with our legislation however different the laws may be in the different European countries. Thank you America for triggering the debate, we needed the impetus.

  8. says

    Thanks JW. I was under the misapprehension that the Tennessee bill was similar to the federally blocked Oklahoma legislation whereas now I realise that it addresses an entirely different issue.

    The Oklahoma legislation banned state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deliberating a case.

    The Tennessee bill, using Yerushalmi’s policy paper as a basis, is squarely aimed at organizations. The crucial exposition by Yerushalmi is this:

    The law goes through a litany of legislative findings, which are based upon the knowable and objective statements by jihadist around the globe, that they base their jihad on Sharia or Islamic law.

    Now, from there, the statute says that if the attorney general identifies an organization that adheres to that Sharia jihad doctrine and it’s either engaging in terrorism or has the intent and the capability to engage in terrorism, that organization can be designated as a Sharia organization.

    Now, that part of the statute mirrors the federal statute that allows the secretary of state to designate foreign terrorist organizations.

    Now we see why Hamas front CAIR is so exercised by this bill. Organizations could be designated as adhering to Sharia jihad doctrine, based upon the “Muslim Brotherhood Papers” in the evidence released in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. Which organizations? First in line are The Muslim Brotherhood tied and designated “unindicted co-conspirators” CAIR, ISNA, and NAIT.

  9. says

    Hamza Yusuf lies his ass off: “more people died from dog bites than from Islamic terrorism….”

    “These bills may make it a crime for Muslims to fast, pray, or even donate to charity. (Absolutely not. That’s just the absurd hyperbole that comes with the Mohammedan mental baggage) And on Thursday, in a move that many critics deem unconstitutional, congressional hearings chaired by Peter King, the Republican representative, will begin examining the so-called radicalisation within the American Muslim community…”


  10. says

    This is great progress. They may have shot down Oklahoma’s anti-sharia attempt, but they are going to have to do a lot of work to stop every state from pursuing this.

    This is a great example of why moderate Muslims are not really moderate, at all. If they are really in this country to become Americans, why in the hell would they mind sharia being banned? According to dhimmi leftists, moderate Muslims are here to escape that kind of thing.

  11. says

    It’s important to know that this Tennessee legislation being initiated by David Yerushalmi (a private attorney) is totally different from the Oklahoma anti-shariah law. The proposed Tennessee law would legally define two kinds of shariah: jihad- shariah and nonjihad-shariah. Then it defines an organization which adheres to jihad-shariah and enables the State of Tennessee to freeze the bank accounts of that organization, and also to bring criminal charges against anyone who has given money to it.

    The Oklahoma legislation, totally different, declared that Oklahoma would be prohibited from basing its laws on shariah.

  12. says

    The Tennessee legislation (SENATE BILL 1028) makes factual findings that are starkly true but which we would like to pretend are not true, which define Sharia organizations as meeting the definitions as set out below:

    18 USC 2383. Rebellion or insurrection
    18 USC 2384. Seditious conspiracy
    18 USC 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government

    Selected parts of the legislation:

    SENATE BILL 1028

    SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39, Chapter 13, is amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated part:


    The general assembly finds as follows:

    (13) The knowing adherence to sharia and to foreign sharia authorities is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the United States government and the government of this state through the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions by the likely use of imminent criminal violence and terrorism with the aim of imposing sharia on the people of this state.


    (1) “Sharia” means the set of rules, precepts, instructions, or edicts which are said to emanate directly or indirectly from the god of Allah or the prophet Mohammed and which include directly or indirectly the encouragement of any person to support the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States or Tennessee Constitutions, or the destruction of the national existence of the United States or the sovereignty of this state, and which includes among other methods to achieve these ends, the likely use of imminent violence. Any rule, precept, instruction, or edict arising directly from the extant rulings of any of the authoritative schools of Islamic jurisprudence of Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali, Ja’afariya, or Salafi, as those terms are used by sharia adherents, is prima facie sharia without any further evidentiary showing;

    (2) “Sharia organization” means any two (2) or more persons conspiring to support, or acting in concert in support of, sharia or in furtherance of the imposition of sharia within any state or territory of the United States; and

    Then there is this unique private right of action against an organization for conduct of an individual if that individual was supported by the subject organization. If someone is prosecuted criminally, for example in federal court on federal charges, the victims could thereafter seek a financial remedy in Tennessee, if the organization is present in Tennessee.


    (a) Any individual injured in the individual’s person, property, or business by reason of an act in violation of § 39-13-906, or the individual’s estate, survivors, or heirs, may sue in any appropriate circuit court of this state and shall recover three (3) times the damages sustained and the cost of the suit, including but not limited to attorney’s fees.

    The federal law does not make an exception for conduct that is motivated by “religious” belief. The utterances of “sharia” do not strip the legislation of sufficient generic standards about conduct that could be applied. The absence of references to non-sharia-organizations can be explained by the lack of anything comparable, and international in scope, for which a template phrase like “and the like” could even plausibly apply (today), except perhaps foreign controlled drug/alien-invasion gangs.

    While the legislation does not specifically reference interactions between other organizations and one’s designated sharia-organizations I can envision subsequent action to, for example, prohibit the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) from investing anything in American International Group, Inc. (AIG) or any other entity that becomes sharia-compliant, in whole or in part.

    The legislation would also, indirectly, disqualify designated sharia-organizations from being incorporated, and would be ineligible to receive tax deductible donations.

  13. says

    @Mr. YERUSHALMI: … the statute says that if the attorney general identifies an organization that adheres to that Sharia jihad doctrine and it’s either engaging in terrorism or has the intent and the capability to engage in terrorism, that organization can be designated as a Sharia organization.

    “Private” faith vs. “public” faith is what makes Islamic Sharia a theo-political ideology, unlike any other world religion, where Islam demands a visible public execution of belief. “Engaging in terrorism” is merely a sideshow, an odious brutality spawned by their 7th century Arab mythology worship of their moon-god Allah. The crux of the matter is “total control” in submission of Allah’s subjects/slaves and its Jihad doctrine, as opposed to our natural human rights and freedoms, as protected by our democratic constitutional laws. Sharia is on the wrong side of these two opposed ways of life, and its coercive “public” theo-political doctrines must be identified as “inimical” to our constitutional freedoms of “private worship” and beliefs. ALL states should have this written into their constitutions, and vigorously enforced, outlawing Islamic Sharia.

  14. says

    This interview barely got to the issues before it ended.

    I wish people would stop saying that Islam is not the problem. I wish they would stop allowing for some mythical non-existent form of Islam. This is the first time I have seen a hypothetical peaceful Sharia.

    All schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree on 75% of Sharia, which includes the duty for violent jihad, cruel and unusual punishments, and inequality of rights.

    This should be no surprise, as the Quran endorses the same. So please, let’s name the elephant in the room and stop allowing for peaceful strains of Islam and Sharia. If there are peaceful strains, they are in the minds of the adherents, not in the Quran, Hadith, and Sira.

  15. says

    Muslims hear me clearly! I will never be subjected to Sharia Law! I will never pay the jizya! I will never be your dhimmi! Muslims OUT OF AMERICA! Muslims TO THE DESERT!

  16. says

    The University of Minnesota Human Rights Center will launch its Islamic Law and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Center on Friday, Feb. 4.

    The new program will focus on current issues and debates surrounding human rights and Islamic law and will encourage and facilitate new approaches to research and real-world application. It will engage students through teaching, publications, fellowships, internships, applied research, field work, conferences and other special events on current human rights and Islamic law issues. Read more >>: http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/keith-ellisons-alma-mater-uminn-to-launch-islamic-sharia-law-program/

    Are you Shi’Iting me???!!

  17. says


    Sahih Bukhari, Book 62:

    Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64:
    Narrated ‘Aisha:

    that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

  18. says

    Thank you, they always tell us nothing as change in their religion. The world be warned.44 wars in the world all between muslims and non muslims.Jews, Atheists, Christains, Sikhs, Hindus have all had problems with muslims.

  19. says

    I am now reading Sam Harris’ “The End of Faith” and, at one point, went through his list of conflicts in which religion has played or is playing an important role. One fact that stuck out was that Islam is the dominant player in the overwhelming majority of these blood-lettings.

    The above reminds me of the slogan “The only common thread running through all your dysfunctional relationships is YOU!”

    Very true. Islam seems to have rather blood-stained borders no matter with whom the Ummah shares a common boundary.

  20. says

    Shariah law is NOT a part of Canadian jurisprudence, despite the best efforts of some Liberals to allow it. The idea was scrapped in 2008 after much protest, primarily by muslim women.

    And so-called “honour killings” are prosecuted in Canada as the MURDERS they are.

    Please, there are already enough posters on here who think Canada consists only of left-leaning, muslim-sympathizing idiots, without you providing more misinformation. Canadians, like others in the West, are awakening to the threat of islam.