State Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla (Pic by Meredith Geddings)
State Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla (Pic by Meredith Geddings)

Florida and the man behind the anti-Sharia movement

By | 08.01.11 | 6:04 pm

The New York Times recently profiled David Yerushalmi, “The Man Behind the Anti-Shariah Movement,” whose efforts have several Florida ties. For one thing, he’s a South Florida native, according to the article. For another, he was the driving force behind an anti-Sharia law that surfaced in Florida and other states (but ultimately did not pass here):

With the advent of the Tea Party, Mr. Yerushalmi saw an opening. In 2009, he and [Frank] Gaffney laid the groundwork for a project aimed at state legislatures — the same year that Mr. Yerushalmi received more than $153,000 in consulting fees from Mr. Gaffney’s center, according to a tax form filed by the group.

That summer, Mr. Yerushalmi began writing “American Laws for American Courts,” a model statute that would prevent state judges from considering foreign laws or rulings that violate constitutional rights in the United States. The law was intended to appeal not just to the growing anti-Shariah movement, but also to a broader constituency that had long opposed the influence of foreign laws in the United States.

Mr. Gaffney swiftly drummed up interest in the law, holding conference calls with activists and tapping a network of Tea Party and Christian groups as well as ACT for America, which has 170,000 members and describes itself as “opposed to the authoritarian values of radical Islam.” The group emerged as a “force multiplier,” Mr. Gaffney said, fanning out across the country to promote the law. The American Public Policy Alliance, a nonprofit organization formed that year by a political consultant based in Michigan, began recruiting dozens of lawyers to act as legislative sponsors.

The Miami Herald reported this March that the model legislation closely resembled Florida’s bill, which was filed by state Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla.

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