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.
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.”
President Stephen 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. 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.”
Treasurer Randy 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. 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.”