by Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (ret.)

Steve Irwin

The late Australian television personality and wildlife expert, Steve Irwin, made famous an expression he used in confronting beasts on land and sea possessing the potential to kill. Seeking to convey to viewers a very simple message of caution in such situations, Irwin would exclaim, "Danger, danger, danger!" A situation is evolving in America today to which Irwin's warning is most applicable; yet groups with ulterior motives seek to downplay it, undermining the danger by suggesting those who heed it are racially biased.

In May, the Center for Security Policy released its study "Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases." This study is significant because it documents, for the first time, a trend by which individual state laws and US Constitutional rights are eroding as courts apply Islamic law in some cases. This report is a call to debate America's tolerance at home of a foreign legal system contrary to our basic beliefs. Yet those attempting to lead such a debate are criticized by a group of US-based Muslim organizations, assisted by the ACLU, for being "Islamophobes."

By playing the Islamophobia card, this group — appropriately dubbed by critics as the "Shariah Defense Lobby" — seeks to shift the focus away from where it should be, on dangers to our freedoms, instead putting it where it should not be, on fake claims of bias simply for raising concerns about such dangers. The Lobby seeks to take the spotlight off a substantive debate of the issue in favor of personal attacks against those raising it. Of import in evaluating the Lobby's claims is that one of its member nonprofit organizations that took advantage of US tax laws as a charitable entity has refused to disclose its funding sources, thus forfeiting that status. That same member was an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror financing trial in US history.

In football, a "play action fake" is designed to fool the opposing side by making it think the quarterback is handing the ball off to a running back, when he actually fades back to throw a pass to a wide open receiver who has successfully slipped past the defense. The US Shariah Defense Lobby is using such a play action fake with its Islamophobia claim — just like a similar lobby at the United Nations, formed by Muslim states, has successfully run a similar fake play. In doing so, this UN Shariah Defense Lobby is close to scoring its ultimate goal.

We will see this action play out fully at the UN on September 21 in New York City as a human rights conference — Durban III — is held. The UN Shariah Defense Lobby faked using the Durban conferences to address global racism; however, it only targeted one state for being racist. Durban I, held in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, singled out Israel alone. The Lobby then used Durban II, held in 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, to propose a declaration to impose Islamic censorship on the West by prohibiting the defamation of Islam. In Durban III, to be held at the UN on the 10th anniversary of Durban I, the Muslim cabal now seeks to achieve its real goal — a UN General Assembly (UNGA) vote to approve the two earlier declarations.

If the UNGA approves these declarations, the Lobby will have effectively limited free speech and attached a racist label, ironically, to the one state in the Middle East region where Muslims enjoy the greatest freedoms. This is quite an accomplishment for an effort spearheaded by stalwart human rights observer states like Iran, Pakistan, Libya and Cuba.

But the fact UN Shariah Defense Lobby-generated declarations such as those to be tabled at Durbin III even are being considered and may be imposed upon an overly tolerant West is reason to set aside any claims, raised by a similarly-motivated US Shariah Defense Lobby, of Islamophobia as to our concerns about US courts recognizing Shariah law. The group fails to address why we should not fear the spread of Shariah undermining US laws when that is exactly the war plan, known as "civilization jihad," that has been mapped out against us by Islamic extremist groups.

The focus of the study was to evaluate individual state appellate court cases where Shariah law came into conflict with the US Constitution, state law or state public policy. The records of fifty appellate court cases, including the underlying trial court case, were examined in 23 states. One would hope a party seeking protection under the Constitution, state law or state public policy could count on these being applied over foreign laws lacking equal protections for all in matters of family and contract law. Such is not the case. At the trial court level, where Shariah law was raised in the proceedings, of 50 cases examined, 15 courts applied it in rendering their decisions while at the appellate court level, twelve did. These are frightening statistics and are by no means all inclusive, representing just a small sampling of all cases involving Shariah issues. Furthermore, they did not involve criminal law matters where application of Islamic law has generated some outrageous results. It also puts the lie to US Shariah Defense Lobby claims that Shariah's impact here is minimal.

In child custody disputes where the standard applied in US state courts is "the best interests of the child," full faith and credit has been given to Islamic court decisions where a prejudicial standard exists in favor of Muslim fathers. Thus, even when an allegation of abuse by a father may be applicable, US courts would uphold an Islamic court's judgment. And, should an allegation include sexual abuse, demonstrative forensic evidence would not even be allowed by Islamic courts — nor would be admissible any written evidence such as a diary acknowledging the act.

Interestingly, had Texas polygamist Warren Jeffs converted to Islam and been tried under Shariah law, he would undoubtedly be a free man today. In fact, he probably would not have even been charged as Islam allows adult males to have sexual relations with minors. The only prohibition is the child not be the same sex as the adult.

Shariah courts have judges but no juries, no pre-trial discovery, no cross-examination of witnesses while giving twice the weight to a man's testimony as given to a woman's. (A woman bringing a charge of rape must have four witnesses to the act.) With no focus on due process (for example, a Muslim husband can divorce his wife simply by repeating three times he does so in the presence of an imam without notifying his wife), it is easy to understand how Islamic court proceedings are quickly adjudicated, even when a defendant's life may hang in the balance.

It is interesting to note as well other religions in Muslim-majority countries where Shariah has been institutionalized have been minimized or outlawed. Converting from Islam to another religion is punishable by death. While tolerance has enabled Islam to thrive in Western host countries, non-tolerance has significantly diminished the reach of non-Islamic religions in countries where Shariah rules.

Consider what has happened in Turkey — one of the more "moderate" Islamic nations. Of more than 2000 churches in existence there before 1915, only ten percent exist today — systematically destroyed or confiscated by its government. Even today, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes clear Islam's aggressive role in subordinating other worldly religions to it claiming, "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the believers our army." Such a bellicose spin on Islam's mission should give us pause for reflection and action — as well as for dismissing as a play action fake the US Shariah Defense Lobby's claim of Islamophobia.

Of concern too is that one of the first mob targets after Hosni Mubarak's fall in Egypt was a Coptic church and its clerics. It burned to the ground while Egyptian soldiers stood by doing nothing to stop it.

Were Shariah ever to become a legal system of the majority in America (not an impossibility as Muslims will, in this century, outnumber native populations in some Western countries based on much higher birth rates), it is clear religion would be just one of many freedoms sacrificed.

As Western countries open their doors to Shariah in the name of tolerance, they fail to grasp a basic tenet of this law that puts it on a level equal to Hitler's claim of a super Arian German race — Shariah only recognizes human rights for Muslims, with Muslim men being more equal than women. Non-Muslims are left with two options: either convert to Islam or be put to death. How such a male, single religion-dominant legal system can be permitted to creep into any Western society on a basic tenet belief so contrary to our beliefs and freedoms is most disconcerting.

Legislation to ban foreign laws from being cited in US courts ("American Laws for American Courts") has now been introduced in more than 20 states. Members of the Shariah Defense Lobby have criticized it, raising the usual Islamophobia claim. One such critic suggested, while Hispanics, blacks and gays have gained a certain amount of political and social capital over the years, the relatively small Muslim community in the US is an easy "target" to cull out of the minority herd. He fails to acknowledge that such other minority groups have sought — not to impose laws of unequal application such as Shariah — but rather to impose equal application of existing laws. Interesting too is the fact, while conveniently citing recent progress made by the gay community, he fails to point out application of Shariah law to that same community would sound its death knell.

The President of the Center for Security Policy, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., wrote about the findings of his organization's study:

"These cases are the stories of Muslim American families, mostly Muslim women and children, who were asking American courts to preserve their rights to equal protection and due process. These families came to America for freedom from the discriminatory and cruel laws of Shariah. When our courts then apply Shariah law in the lives of these families, and deny them equal protection, they are betraying the principles on which America was founded."

As Americans confront the issue of Shariah law creeping into our society, they are certain to hear the clarion call of Steve Irwin: "Danger, danger, danger!"



Some of the comments that added useful information.

Why don't we "Islamophobes" condemn with as much urgency as they condemn us, the useless-idiot Islamophiles among us? They are so starry-eyed about Islam, they can't even see, and thus they are blind to the true dangers of Islam.

posted by: DanTheMan Monday, August 29, 2011 at 12:56 AM

I've read a lot about Shariah law (I work in the financial community) and I can say this: it is HEAVILY anti-female. Period. It has NO PLACE in a country like America, and it is a DISGRACE that my utterly clueless colleagues have allowed it in. A national disgrace, too, that Congress isn't moving quickly to eradicate it throughout the nation. Another reason to lower their approval ratings even more than the miserable 10-13% they have now. What a ship of fools.

posted by: Jane A. Monday, August 29, 2011 at 01:09 PM

Speaking of Muslims outnumbering Europeans, I do believe that Sweden will become the first European Islamic state. Too bad. The Swedes wanted to be so multi- cultural, they lost their country outright to a foreign (and hostile) entity, with out that entity ever having to fire a shot.

posted by: Sherrie Boonton Monday, August 29, 2011 at 03:36 PM

I've often believed that "civilization jihad", which Mr.Zumwalt refers to, and also known as "stealth jihad" is the most dangerous of them all. It fools unsuspecting people (and that is who Americans are) into thinking that there is no danger to them when, in fact,there is mortal danger.

posted by: Jan Raulson Monday, August 29, 2011 at 04:20 PM


Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (ret) is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam War, the US invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields" and frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

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