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Meet the Man Turning Anti-Muslim Hate Into Law

By DEAN OBEIDALLAH, For Daily Beast , On 14 September 2017, Read Original
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Sixteen years after the 9/11 attacks and anti-Muslim bigotry is not only alive, it’s thriving. In fact, Donald Trump would likely not be president without it because his demonization of Muslims during the GOP primaries played a big role in securing the nomination. Remember, it was after he proposed his total Muslim ban in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings that he rose to the top of the GOP pack and stayed there.

Trump even candidly acknowledged that ginning up fears of Muslims played well with GOP voters after Ben Carson declared during the primary campaign that a Muslim American shouldn’t be president of the United States. Trump remarked days after Carson’s comment: “He’s been getting a lot of ink on the Muslims… I guess people look at that and they probably like it. Some people thought they wouldn’t like it, but they probably do.”

But the groundwork for Trump and others on the right being able to cash in politically on Muslim bashing was laid years earlier thanks to the work of a group of anti-Muslim activists that is all well-documented in a striking new report released Friday, “Legalizing Othering: The United States of Islamophobia.” This in-depth report authored by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley was like a trip down bigotry lane for me, detailing the concerted campaign by some to demonize, marginalize, and silence American Muslims.

The report details the work of a wide array of the leading anti-Muslim activists, but it does focus on one person in particular for turning anti-Muslim hate into law: David Yerushalmi.

So who is Yerushalmi? The “Legalizing Othering” report explains that he’s “the leading figure behind the anti-Sharia law movement.” Yerushalmi, a lawyer and a “veteran of the right-wing Israeli settlers movement,” has claimed for years that American Muslims want to impose Islamic law.

Of course, in reality the U.S. Constitution protects us against the imposition of any such laws by way of the Supremacy Clause, which expressly states, “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof… shall be the supreme law of the land.” And there are zero instances of Muslim-American leaders or politicians advocating the replacement of American law with a system of laws based on the Quran. (Although right-wing Christian politicians have openly championed imposing “Christian Sharia law.”)


But hey, as we all know facts don’t matter when politicians are ginning up fears for political gain. We saw that again this week as Jeff Sessions literally lied four times defending Trump’s rescinding of DACA.

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