Where once was Hamm’s

The April 20 issue of National Review carries Andrew McCarthy’s important article “Beyond terrorism” (subscribers only). McCarthy documents the theory and practice of “creeping sharia.” Minnesota presents an important case study in McCarthy’s thesis. McCarthy writes:

Minnesota, with its huge influx of Somali immigrants sowing Muslim enclaves, is a harbinger of things to come. The state was the site of the infamous 2006 “flying imams” incident, in which six Muslim clerics were thrown off a flight after allegedly intimidating passengers and crew by aping the behavior of the 9/11 hijackers. They complained and filed a lawsuit with the assistance of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — a Brotherhood-rooted organization whose communications director has advocated the conversion of the U.S. into a sharia state (and some of whose members have been implicated in terrorism investigations). Our craven federal government reacted by subjecting 45,000 airport-security officers to Islamic sensitivity training. On its website, the Department of Homeland Security published a CAIR press release, which brayed about the fact that CAIR was regularly asked to advise DHS agencies on matters of Islamic culture. Remarkably, even as DHS and the FBI were “partnering” with CAIR, the Justice Department was citing the “civil rights” organization as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case.

In Minneapolis, cab drivers began refusing to ferry airport passengers believed to be carrying alcohol. Rather than revoking licenses, state authorities opted to consult the Muslim American Society, perhaps the Brotherhood’s principal American arm. Afterwards, the cabbies were cajoled into providing service — not because their discriminatory practice was wrong but on the (dubious) theory that sharia was not actually violated if alcohol was only transported, not consumed.

Minnesota schools are also in the jihad’s sights. A graduate education student was ousted from a high school last year while doing course-required field work. Prone to seizures, the student required the assistance of a specially trained dog. Sharia, however, pronounces canines unclean and prohibits touching them. The Muslim teens threatened to kill the dog. When the student complained, his university shamefully capitulated, awarding him credit without the requisite course-work. An official rationalized that it was “important to respect different cultures” and that the accommodation was simply “part of the growth process when we become more diverse.”

“Accommodation,” meanwhile, may have reached a new level regarding Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) in Inner Grove Heights, Minn.: taxpayer funding for what appears to be a madrassa camouflaged as a charter school. TIZA is sponsored by an entity called “Islamic Relief,” and its executive director is a Muslim imam. It is housed in the headquarters of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota (the declared mission of which is “establishing Islam in Minnesota”), in a building that also contains a mosque. Students pray daily, eat halal meals, and attend “Islamic studies” courses — officially, after the close of the regular school day, but witness accounts suggest it is more like a staple of the regular workload.

And that’s not all Minnesotans are funding. The state has recently taken to facilitating “Muslim mortgages.” Sharia does not permit interest to be assessed in financial transactions. One might think that’s not a government’s problem — but Minnesota now buys homes from willing sellers and then resells them to Muslim buyers in transactions that disguise interest by higher costs and fees. That is, American taxpayer dollars are employed to promote conformance with Islamic law.

McCarthy doesn’t even mention that Minneapolis is represented in Congress by Keith Ellison, the left-wing Democrat who is famous as Congress’s first Muslim. Ellison embodies the American left’s weird alliance with radical Islam. How Ellison reconciles his Islamic faith with the Democratic Party’s devout belief in homosexual rights, leftist feminism, abortion rights and every other element of the party’s most radical agenda is a subject that the media have somehow left unexplored. We have yet to learn of the branch of Islam that comports with the dogmas of the left.

In “Louis Farrakhan’s first congressman,” I briefly explored Ellison’s relationship with the Hamas front group and unindicted Holy Land Foundation co-conspirator CAIR. It is a relationship that has persisted and deepened since his election in 2006. Where once was Hamm’s is now Hamas.

Most recently Ellison traveled to Mecca for the traditional Muslim hajj. The expenses for Ellison’s trip were paid by the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose parent organization — the Muslim American Society — was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood. McCarthy begins his article with the Muslim Brotherhood, aptly describing it as “the intellectual font of Sunni Islamic radicalism for nearly a century.”

Not surprisingly, the MAS Minnesota has been a protagonist in the most important of the the religiously inspired controversies roiling the Twin Cities that figure in McCarthy’s article. It was the MAS Minnesota’s own fatwa, for example, that prompted Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to refuse to transport passengers carrying liquor or accompanied by guide dogs. And, as McCarthy notes, It is the MAS Minnesota that houses Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, the Muslim charter school operating in violation of the First Amendment. Both of these stories, incidentally, were broken by my friend Katherine Kersten in her discontinued Star Tribune metro column.

In Minnesota, sharia isn’t creeping; it’s walking. McCarthy nevertheless ends his article on a hopeful note. “All this can be reversed,” he writes. “American law need not embrace sharia.” Unlikely as it may seem, Minnesota provides an example illustrating McCarthy’s thesis.

Katherine Kersten’s Star Tribune columns on TIZA inspired an investigation of TIZA by the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union commencing this past spring. In January the MCLU filed a lawsuit against TIZA, its board, and state authorities in federal court seeking to have TIZA’s operation as an Islamic school declared unconstitutional and enjoined under the First Amendment. The MCLU’s 20-page complaint does an especially good job of setting forth the interlocking relationships among TIZA, MAS Minnesota and affililated entities set up to facilitate the mutual support running between TIZA and the MAS Minnesota.

The battle is joined.

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