Type of Organization: Politics, Media
The American Freedom Law Center, Inc. is recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit organization, exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. The organization was founded by attorneys David Yerushalmi and Robert J. Muise in 2012 as a “nonprofit Judeo-Christian law firm that fights for faith and freedom through litigation, education, and public policy initiatives.” The center is a law firm that engages in self-described “lawfare” against Muslim advocacy and civil rights organizations. The AFLC represents clients such as the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop the Islamisation of America. The organization asserts that “the battle for America’s soul is being waged in the courtrooms across America, pressed forward by secular progressives and Sharia-advocating Muslim Brotherhood interests.”
According to a 2017 report released by the Haas Institute at UC Berkeley, Yerushalmi’s 2010 draft of “American Laws for American Courts (ALAC)” has served as the model for the enactment of 18 anti-Muslim laws in states in the U.S. between 2010 and 2016. Bills inspired by Yerushalmi’s anti-Sharia template have been passed in Idaho, South Dakota, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
In their work together at the AFLC, Muise and Yerushalmi have defended numerous anti-Muslim clients in cases involving transportation advertisements (in which the AFLC advocated for ads that read “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”), two “Muslim-free” gun ranges, an anti-mosque case, and a Sharia compliant insurance case.
In August 2017, the AFLC filed an amicus curiae brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of President Trump’s Muslim Ban. As stated on the AFLC’s website, “the brief lays out the policy and legal basis for an extreme vetting of Islamists who advocate or adhere to a political ideology predicated upon Sharia supremacism. The brief argues that it is classic and extant Islamic law that is the threat doctrine underpinning jihad by the various Islamic groups.”
Yerushalmi has worked with “a cadre of conservative public-policy institutes and former military and intelligence officials” in performing these anti-Muslim activities. His ALAC draft created a frenzy around anti-Sharia law that was eventually even taken up by then-Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann. Frank Gaffney, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy, helped Yerushalmi to create a network of “government officials, security analysts and grass-roots political organizations.” Gaffney helped Yerushalmi disseminate his ALAC to a wide network of Tea Party and Christian organizations.