Imagine a bill criminalizing only those individuals who knowingly engage in what has already been defined federally as material support for terrorist activity. Indeed, what if the bill were even more refined and targeted only the material support of jihad terrorist activity. Meanwhile, the bill in no way regulates or affects the peaceful practice of any religion. Who would oppose such a common-sense measure? Recently, in Tennessee, we’ve seen a ‘Red-Green alliance’ between the radical left and Islamists wound into hysteria over this very suggestion–that has, very plainly, revealed them as defenders of the jihad provisions in Shariah.
This crucial piece of legislation to prevent jihadist acts of terror is being considered now in Tennessee. The “Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011,” also known as House Bill 1353 and Senate Bill 1028, is on the cutting-edge of anti-terrorism legislation, because it would be the first of its kind to empower local and state law enforcement to deal with the enemy’s stated threat doctrine–the law of jihad, as enunciated in Islamic jurisprudence, or Shariah.
The bill’s sponsor, Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), said “this bill does not interfere with the constitutionally protected rights of those who practice Shariah religious law.” Ketron added: “This is not about religious rights or about those who practice Islamic beliefs. It’s about protecting our citizens from acts of terrorism that come from Shariah jihad which is a growing threat in all our states.”
Pressure by a Red-Green alliance (a coalition of ideology and convenience of far-left groups like the ACLU, Soros-funded extremist blogs like Mother Jones and ThinkProgress, and Islamist Muslim Brotherhood-linked pressure groups like the Muslim Public Affairs Council and CAIR) to defeat the bill has been fierce and growing. Willingly influenced by misleading propaganda, the Associated Press ran a headline on the bill, incorrectly reporting it “would make following Shariah a felony.” In the article, AP reporter Lucas L. Johnson II claims the bill’s focus on the Shariah law of jihad “represents the boldest legislative attempt yet to limit how Muslims worship.”
Amplified by the far-left, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)–unindicted co-conspirators in the largest terrorist funding trial in US history–have launched a media campaign to distort the law and defame its author, Center for Security Policy General Counsel David Yerushalmi.
These groups have lied, squealing that the Tennessee bill “would jail Shariah followers” and make it a crime to practice Islam peacefully in the state. For example, from the AP report: “Muslim groups fear the measure would outlaw central tenets of Islam, such as praying five times a day toward Mecca, abstaining from alcohol or fasting for Ramadan.” The piece continued, quoting Remziya Suleyman, policy coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition: “This is an anti-Muslim bill that makes it illegal to be a Muslim in the state of Tennessee.”
In an interview with Mother Jones, CAIR staff attorney Gadeir Abbas said, “essentially the bill is trying to separate the ‘good Muslims’ from the ‘bad Muslims.'” In a sense, Abbas is correct: The Tennessee bill is an attempt to cleave Shariah’s law of jihad (‘bad’) from peaceful practice (‘good’)–and it’s being fought relentlessly, and with much flailing.
That Muslim pressure groups like CAIR and MPAC are mischaracterizing this bill so aggressively tells us something profound about their intentions. Despite the bill’s very clear wording on protecting citizens’ First Amendment rights to peacefully practice their religion–including, of course, Islam–these Muslim groups are making two very clear statements: (1) they are drawing a line in support of the law of jihad in Shariah, and (2) are affirming that, as books like Shariah: The Threat to America have argued, Shariah is a unified theological, political, military and legal code.
The proposed law is pretty straightforward, and is based almost precisely on the federal material support of terrorism statute upheld recently by the US Supreme Court. The Court found that Americans found to be providing “training,” “expert advice or assistance,” “service,” and “personnel” to designated terrorist organizations constitute material support and, thus, would be in violation of the law.
If this seems a no-brainer–consider the effect of this ruling (and, by extension, the proposed Tennessee law) on some of the favorite causes of both the radical left and the Islamists in Muslim Brotherhood front groups, like CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. The federal law stands in the way of providing material support to the genocidal Hamas or Hezb’allah, leftist enviro-terrorists or FARC–all pet causes of the Red-Green alliance.
In its biased coverage of the Tennessee bill, and its commonsense and non-intrusive national security provisions, the media has completely ignored the bill itself. It’s useful to better understand the bill, and what has its critics so upset. From this standpoint, we can see the truly profound statement groups like CAIR are making by opposing it.
The bill’s first section includes legislative findings that conclude that authoritative Shariah is the basis for jihad both around the globe and domestically. The legislative findings make clear that the law refers to the objectively knowable Shariah that that calls for violent jihad against the West and is the law of the land in many foreign countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Gaza, Sudan, Somalia, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and Pakistan, and parts of Muslim-controlled Nigeria, Indonesia and even the Philippines. In other words, the bill identifies Shariah’s brutal practices and dictates as they occur in the real world (rather than in an imaginary Shariah of one’s own interpretation).
The second section of the bill, the legislative intent, states clearly that the target is a violent jihad-driven Shariah, not any peaceful Islamic religious practice. This peaceful religious practice even includes the so-called non-violent definition of jihad–the personal struggle or striving to better ones’ self (which, as many know, is based on a ‘weak’ or unreliable hadith). So what’s the problem?
Since September 11, 2001, we have heard CAIR, MPAC, ISNA, and the other Muslim Brotherhood pressure groups condemn what they describe as “terrorism in the name of Islam”; why can’t they support criminalizing organizations that clearly promote what they’ve called, “perversions of Islam”? The media should ask them.
In the third section of the law, the Attorney General would have the authority to designate a Shariah organization but ONLY if that organization is advancing the violent Shariah AND either actually engaging in terrorism OR retains the capability to engage in terrorism AND intends to engage in terrorism. Once designated, the Shariah organization can have its financial assets frozen. These provisions track almost precisely the federal material support of terrorism statute upheld recently by the US Supreme Court. The final section is the criminal section, which makes it a crime to provide such a terrorist organization with material support, again tracking the federal material support statute.
Despite all the hyperventilating by the Red-Green alliance, the Tennessee bill does not impact the peaceful worship by law-abiding Muslims. If you are not advocating violent Shariah and if you are not engaged or planning to engage in terrorism, the law simply does not apply.
Is it fair to say that the law discriminates against Shariah advocates and devotees of terrorism by criminalizing any material support of their terrorist organizations? Yes, as well it should. The same way the federal discriminates against any foreign terrorist organization.
The howls of Islamophobia and bigotry from the now-familiar quarters of the far-left and Islamist pressure groups–the ‘Red-Green alliance–tell us more about their respective agendas than we’ve seen previously. For the far left, they oppose even any reasonable counter-terrorism measure that would make America more secure by addressing actual threats. Groups like CAIR, ISNA, and MPAC have shown their intention of protecting the principles of jihad and Shariah. It shouldn’t shock that, for both, these agendas come at the expense of the truth.