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August 3, 2016 3

Anti-Muslim Extremists’ Disgraceful Attack On The Family Of An American Hero

Khizr Khan has been in the pub­lic eye since he spoke at the 2016 Demo­c­ra­tic National Con­ven­tion.  In react­ing to Khan’s promi­nence, some long-time anti-Muslim activists are seek­ing to dis­credit him.

Walid Shoebat

Walid Shoe­bat

Anti-Muslim extrem­ist, Walid Shoe­bat, who is known for pro­mot­ing Chris­t­ian mil­i­tancy, pub­lished an arti­cle on his web­site claim­ing that Khizr Khan, the father of Cpt. Humayan Khan is “a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Agent Who Wants To Advance Sharia Law And Bring Mus­lims Into The United States.” Cpt. Khan was killed in com­bat in Iraq in 2004 and posthu­mously was awarded the Bronze Star and Pur­ple Heart for his service.

The arti­cle bases this claim on a schol­arly paper pub­lished in the Hous­ton Jour­nal of Inter­na­tional Law in 1983 titled Juris­tic Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Islamic Law, which Shoe­bat claims was writ­ten by Khizr Khan. How­ever, it is not clear that this is the same Khizr Khan who is the father of the slain Cpt. Khan.

Based on this schol­arly paper, Shoe­bat claims that Khan’s fas­ci­na­tion with Islamic Sharia stems from his life in Saudi Ara­bia, and that the paper cites Islamic Law, a book writ­ten by a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood ide­o­logue, Said Ramadan.  For Shoe­bat and oth­ers like him, fab­ri­cat­ing absurd claims to attack oppo­nents is noth­ing new. How­ever, what is unusual here is that anti-Muslim extrem­ists are using this vile tac­tic to defame griev­ing fam­i­lies of fallen Amer­i­can soldiers.

Pub­licly exposed after a 2011 inves­tiga­tive CNN report revealed his fab­ri­ca­tion of sev­eral sto­ries about his back­ground, Shoe­bat pro­motes a form of anti-LGBT/anti-Muslim Chris­t­ian mil­i­tancy. He also posts arti­cles on his web­site that express hos­til­ity towards Jews. One arti­cle writ­ten by his son Theodore pub­lished on Shoebat’s web­site on June 18, 2015 claims, “There are many Jews (the major­ity in Amer­ica are far-left) who har­bor anti-Christian sen­ti­ments, and express vit­riol when you try to talk about Christ with them.”

In Feb­ru­ary 2016, Shoe­bat, who claims to have con­verted to Chris­tian­ity, attacked evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers who con­demned his son’s remarks that in “a bib­li­cal society…every f-g would be rounded up and killed.” Shoe­bat responded to their crit­i­cism of this com­ment by ask­ing, “So how far will the Evan­gel­i­cal move­ment in the United States go to please the LGBT agenda?”

Other anti-Muslim extrem­ists echoed Shoebat’s attack on the Khan fam­ily. Some of them are plan­ning to attend an upcom­ing anti-Muslim event in Los Ange­les about Islam and West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion on August 21st.

The event will fea­ture speak­ers known for their anti-Islamic big­otry includ­ing Elis­a­beth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Frank Gaffney, and Pamela Geller. The event will also fea­ture Mor­ton Klein, Pres­i­dent of the Zion­ist Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­ica (ZOA) as a speaker.

By attack­ing the Khan fam­ily, who made the biggest sac­ri­fice a human can endure, the hate­ful agenda of anti-Muslim extrem­ists has reached a new low.

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July 15, 2016 Off

ADL’s Issues for the Platform Committees

FB-DNC-RNC-Platforms

Over the next two weeks, Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats con­vene their con­ven­tions – the equiv­a­lent of the MLB All-Star Game for polit­i­cal junkies. While the con­ven­tions are often a spec­ta­cle of polit­i­cal the­ater, this year it feels like the drama that has taken cen­ter stage is over­shad­ow­ing impor­tant pol­icy issues.

This hasn’t hap­pened in a vac­uum.  For years, America’s polit­i­cal debate has been slid­ing toward greater polar­iza­tion and acri­mony, leav­ing lit­tle space for the give-and-take that is vital to the pub­lic pol­icy con­ver­sa­tion and a healthy demo­c­ra­tic process. Even where Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans can find com­mon ground, as they do on issues like crim­i­nal jus­tice reform, there seems to be lit­tle incen­tive for either party to compromise.

These diver­sions would be unhelp­ful in any elec­tion year.  But there are seri­ous issues fac­ing Amer­i­cans today, issues that require seri­ous debate. Amer­i­cans across the polit­i­cal spec­trum are reel­ing from the shoot­ing death of African-Americans Alton Ster­ling and Phi­lando Castile and the mass mur­der of police offi­cers in Dal­las. And ter­ror­ist mas­sacres tar­get­ing a gay night club in Orlando and gov­ern­ment work­ers in San Bernardino, CA have brought home the impact of hatred and the threat posed by vio­lent Islamist groups like ISIS. What­ever one’s views about how to address this vio­lence and the range of inter­twined issues it raises, Amer­i­cans deserve a prob­ing and con­struc­tive national debate rather than a con­test to see who can score the most polit­i­cal points.

In for­mal sub­mis­sions to the Plat­form Com­mit­tees of both par­ties, ADL has urged that Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats address a range of impor­tant issues in an urgent way. Inter­na­tion­ally, the U.S. must con­tinue to play a lead­er­ship role in the fight against ter­ror­ism; in ensur­ing that Israel remains strong and secure; in pro­mot­ing peace and respect for human rights across the Mid­dle East and else­where around the globe; and in speak­ing out against a dis­turb­ing rise in anti-Semitism.  Domes­ti­cally, our sub­mis­sion also addresses a vari­ety of issues, for exam­ple assert­ing the urgent need for progress on vot­ing rights, crim­i­nal jus­tice reform, expanded legal pro­tec­tion for the LGBT com­mu­nity, refugee rights, and gun vio­lence prevention.

ADL has had a long­stand­ing prac­tice of sub­mit­ting its pol­icy agenda to both par­ties, and has called on cam­paigns to reject char­ac­ter attacks and the use of big­otry in numer­ous cam­paign sea­sons.  This year, ADL is host­ing events at both con­ven­tions that focus on find­ing space for sub­stan­tive debate and col­lab­o­ra­tion toward progress in order to get down to the seri­ous busi­ness of address­ing the nation’s problems.

Politi­cians and can­di­dates will win or lose, come and go—but the fall­out will linger unless we can ele­vate the qual­ity of the debate mov­ing for­ward.  It is incum­bent upon all of us to raise our voices, to reject the use of big­otry or char­ac­ter attacks by any can­di­date, and to pro­mote a pub­lic debate based on facts, evi­dence and civil discourse.

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June 28, 2016 Off

Court Warns Mississippi Legislature on Efforts to Circumvent Marriage Equality

Yes­ter­day, a fed­eral court gave Mississippi’s leg­is­la­ture a stern warn­ing about its efforts to cir­cum­vent the U.S. Supreme Court’s mar­riage equal­ity rul­ing.  The warn­ing was made in the con­text of plain­tiffs to a marriage-equality law­suit ask­ing the U.S. Dis­trict Court for North­ern Mis­sis­sippi to reopen their case in a chal­lenge to HB 1523, the State’s so-called “Pro­tect­ing Free­dom of Con­science from Gov­ern­ment Dis­crim­i­na­tion Act,” which goes into effect on July 1st.

Seal_of_Mississippi_2014.svg

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s Oberge­fell deci­sion, the Dis­trict Court issued a per­ma­nent order mak­ing the marriage-equality rul­ing bind­ing on the “… State of Mis­sis­sippi and all of its agents, offi­cers, employ­ees, and subsidiaries….”

Ear­lier this year, how­ever, the State enacted HB 1523, which broadly allows Mis­sis­sip­pi­ans to deny goods or ser­vices to their fel­low cit­i­zens based on their own “reli­gious beliefs or moral con­vic­tions” that mar­riage is lim­ited to oppo­site sex cou­ples.  One HB 1523 pro­vi­sion empow­ers clerks and their sub­or­di­nates to refuse issuance of mar­riage licenses based on this reli­gious or moral view­point pro­vided that “… mar­riage is not impeded or delayed as a result of any recusal.”  But the statute con­tains no pro­tec­tions to safe­guard against imped­i­ments or delays.

The plain­tiffs rightly argue that HB 1523 con­flicts with the Dis­trict Court’s per­ma­nent order, and are insist­ing that it be revised to fully pro­tect their 14th Amend­ment marriage-equality rights.

In grant­ing the plain­tiffs’ request to reopen the case, the Court found that HB 1523 “… may in fact amend Mississippi’s mar­riage licens­ing regime in such a way as to con­flict with Oberge­fell.”  Fur­ther­more, it warned that State leg­is­la­ture that:

[T]he mar­riage license issue will not be adju­di­cated anew every leg­isla­tive ses­sion.  And the judi­ciary will remain vig­i­lant when­ever a named party to an injunc­tion is accused of cir­cum­vent­ing that injunc­tion, directly or indirectly.

The plain­tiffs’ request to the Court is part of a broader chal­lenge to the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of HB 1523, which con­tains other pro­vi­sions favor­ing par­tic­u­lar reli­gious or moral view­points, includ­ing lim­it­ing sex­ual rela­tions to opposite-sex mar­riage and bas­ing gen­der iden­tity strictly on bio­log­i­cal sex.   The law’s pref­er­ences are clearly incon­sis­tent with the First Amendment’s free speech and estab­lish­ment clauses.  Based on this court rul­ing, with its warn­ing empha­siz­ing judi­cial vig­i­lance, there is rea­son to believe that the dis­crim­i­na­tory HB 1523 will even­tu­ally be struck in its entirety.

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