Islamophobia Monitor

Inner Core

Introduction

Date Founded: 2009

The American Public Policy Alliance is an advocacy organization whose work has focused primarily on pushing for legislation which demonizes Islam. Specifically, APPA is responsible for David Yerushalmi’s “American Laws for American Courts” template of anti-Islam legislation which has been considered by legislators across the nation.

Background

On its website, APPA identifies “foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines” as one of the “greatest threats to American values and liberties.” According to its 2013 tax filings, APPA’s primary purpose is to “educate the public on the importance of protecting the American legal system from the intrusion of and influence of transnational legal systems. It engages in both education and advocacy with the aim of “protecting U.S. constitutional rights, safeguarding U.S. sovereignty and promoting government transparency and accountability.”

In its advocacy work, APPA primarily targets what it terms “the infiltration of…Islamic Shariah Law.” Its ALAC model legislation is rooted in the false idea that Muslims want to impose Sharia on American courts. The implications of ALAC are that anything Islamic is inherently un-American. Such measures violate the religious freedom guaranteed by the  Constitution which APPA purportedly seeks to protect. The overwhelming majority of anti-Islam laws introduced in the United States have used language from ALAC.

On its website, APPA goes so far as to say that the UN prohibition of the defamation of religion is “a direct outgrowth of the foreign Shariah legal doctrine.” It further claims that “Sharia mandates violent Jihad as a religious obligation” and that the purpose of violent Jihad is “to establish Islam’s rule worldwide.”

Key Individuals

Stephen Gele

Position: President

Gele is a Louisiana-based attorney who serves as the APPA’s national spokesperson. Gele was responsible for writing a memo supporting North Carolina’s anti-Islam bill.

His words:

  • In regards to an anti-Islam bill introduced in the Michigan legislature, Gele said, “People should encourage the passage of the [bill] because it protects all Americans from foreign laws or foreign judgments.” He added, “I do not believe people should be concerned about the act in the sense that it is discriminatory against any particular religion or that it will lessen anyone’s constitutional rights.”

Michelle Ghetti

Position: Secretary

Ghetti is a law professor at Southern University Law School. She also serves as a Supreme Court Fellow assigned to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

Randy Simmons

Position: Treasurer

Simmons is a former Senior Pastor of Church of the Hills in Ingram, Texas and was the Oak Initiative’s Texas Director from 2010 to 2015.

His words:

  • In 2010, when a Christian camp in Texas hosted 100 Muslim teenagers for a winter retreat, Simmons wrote a letter of protest. He said, “They want Shariah! They want to turn America into an Islamic republic! We must resist them! It is imperative that they see the people of our community are awake and know what is happening. If unchallenged they will be tempted to buy land, build a mosque and start a settlement.”

PhyllisSchlaflyThe Eagle Forum is a conservative political advocacy group.  The group’s website says it “supports American identity”, but many of their positions insinuate that Muslims are not a part of that identity.

The Eagle Forum is part of the outer core of the U.S. Islamophobia network.

In a 2012 newsletter the Forum told its supporters, “Sharia law is becoming part of the American landscape as Christianity is being systematically removed. Christian students are being told they cannot pray at school activities or even pray in front of American institutions, while public school students adopt Muslim names, pray on prayer rugs and celebrate Ramadan under a state-mandated curriculum."

The Tennessee chapter of the Eagle Forum drafted a bill to limit the number of legal immigrants a charter school can hire. The Putting Tennessee First Act “comes amid worries from some groups about the involvement of Islamic organizations in running charter schools elsewhere in the country, although there are no such schools in Tennessee.”

In the April 2012 edition of their monthly newspaper, Education Reporter, the Eagle Forum reprinted inner core group ACT! For America’s list of reasons that “textbooks promote Islamist agenda[s]”. The list included fearmongered claims about Islam’s reference in school textbooks, such as:

  • “The doctrine of jihad is omitted, incorrectly defined, inaccurately described, or understated.”
  • “Faulty description of women’s rights under Islam: The oppressive and discriminatory nature of Sharia law with respect to women is omitted, mischaracterized, or understated.”
  • “Treatment of Islamism as though it has no origins within classical Islam and Islam’s Holy Books.”
  • “Omission of the fact that Islamic Jihadists target Americans not only for their support of Israel but also for what they consider the ‘decadent nature’ of Western way of life that threatens the spread of Islam throughout the world.”

The Eagle Forum and their allies at ACT! For America demand that school textbooks be revised for accuracy, insisting on less accurate and more Islamophobic classroom materials.

Key Individuals

Phyllis Schlafly (President)

Schlafly has a history of making bigoted comments.

On Schlafly’s October 15th, 2014 Eagle Forum Live radio program, Islamophobe David Horowitz said of Ferguson, Mo. protesters that “if you’re white, you’re guilty; that’s the attitude”. Horowitz and Schlafly concluded by determining “There’s no community that’s more racist in America than the black community. And everybody knows it, but nobody will say it.”

In a 2013 radio interview, Schlafly stated “Polygamy is against our law. We’ve brought in thousands of Muslims - I want to know if they made them sign a pledge to assure they’re not bringing in a bunch of wives who will now go on our welfare.”

An April 2012 article titled “Islamic Indoctrination in Textbooks” included Schafly’s assertion that “The books often falsely claim that Islam is tolerant of Jews and Christians” The piece relies heavily on data provided by ACT! For America.

Cathie Adams (President of the Texas Eagle Forum and International Issue Chairman for Eagle Forum)

While speaking at a Texas Patriots Tea Party meeting in April 2014, Adams said “If a Muslim is telling you something, you really don’t know if it’s the truth or a lie.” During the speech, Adams also indicated Muslims were required by their religion to be hospitable, but “walk out of their home and you can be shot in the back.”

In 2013, Adams gave a speech alleging that anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is a stealth Muslim. “As you see,” Adams told the audience, “he has a beard and he is showing signs of converting to Islam, himself. He has married a Muslim woman.”

Pat Carlson (Eagle Forum Environmental Chairman)

Carlson testified in support of and endorsed Texas’s anti-Islam bill. Carlson calls Sharia and Islam “a threat to America”.

Bobbie Patray (President, Tennessee Eagle Forum)

Patray is president of the Tennessee Eagle Forum. Patray gave Tennessee’s anti-sharia bill to legislators, which would make adherence to sharia punishable by fifteen years, and handed that bill off to legislators who then introduced it.

Websites by INTELLIPLANS.