Head of Racist Group to Bash Islam at Congressional Briefing
CAIR asks Georgia representative to add balancing perspective to biased panel
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/16/08) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-GA) to add a balancing perspective to an upcoming congressional briefing on Islamic finance that features a presentation by the head of a racist anti-Muslim group.
Broun recently circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter inviting fellow representatives and their staff to attend the briefing, titled “The Truth Behind Sharia/Islamic Finance,” on Thursday in the Rayburn House Office Building.
Rep. Broun’s invitation letter claims Islamic finance “violates U.S. laws” and “has supported Islamist extremists and sponsors of terrorism.” The afternoon briefing features two individuals known for their hostility to Islam and Muslims.
One of the presenters, David Yerushalmi, is the president and founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), a group that has advocated imposing prison terms for “adherence to Islam” and questions whether women and African-Americans should be allowed to vote.
In February of last year, Yerushalmi’s group offered a policy proposal that stated in part:
“Whereas, adherence to Islam as a Muslim is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the U.S. Government through the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the U.S. Constitution and the imposition of Shari’a on the American People…It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Islam.” (The final reference to “adherence to Islam” has since been changed to “adherence to Shari’a” in the text.)
Other articles on the SANE website make racist statements such as: “There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.”
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Another SANE article states: “Race matters and affects your intelligence. Jews are the smartest white people around. Orientals smarter than Whites. Latinos next. Then Blacks.”
The New York Jewish Week newspaper reported last year that Yerushalmi “condemns democracy in the United States and, in comments that evoke classical anti-Semitic stereotypes, says he finds truth in the view that Jews ‘destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite.’” (8/24/07)
In a March 2, 2006, article for The American Spectator, Yerushalmi wrote: “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.”
Yerushalmi also claimed to be the attorney for Alex Alexiev, the other speaker on Thursday’s congressional panel and one of the producers of the controversial PBS documentary “Islam vs. Islamists.”
The taxpayer-supported documentary linked to the founder of SANE has been criticized as agenda-driven and biased. An article in the Arizona Republic newspaper quoted the executive producer for the PBS series that funded the documentary as saying the film had “serious structural problems (and)...was irresponsible because the writing was alarmist.” (4/10/07)
“Any fair presentation of Islamic finance should exclude those who hold racist or anti-Muslim views and include actual experts on Islam,” said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. “Elected officials deserve accurate and unbiased information, not thinly-veiled bigotry.”
On January 23, Saylor will host an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on the exploitation of Islamophobia by some candidates in the 2008 elections.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.