By Associated Press
Saturday, November 12, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Speakers at a conference of conservative activists that focused on the threat of Islamic extremism in America on Friday praised Tennessee for being at the forefront of legislative efforts to fight it.
Christopher Holton of the Center for Security Policy said Tennessee was the first state in the nation to pass “American laws for American courts” legislation. This bars states from enforcing foreign laws, in settings such as family court, if their imposition would violate a person’s constitutional rights.
Holton also spoke of legislative efforts in the pipeline. They include a ban on female genital mutilation.
“Some people ask why we need a law on this and say it should be covered under child abuse, but we think this is one place where we need to put a fine point on it,” he said.
And he spoke in support of a law that would make it illegal for state pension funds to invest in any foreign company that does business in Iran, saying that 21 other states already have done so. It already is illegal for U.S. companies to do business in Iran.
About 500 people attended the “Constitution or Sharia?” conference at Cornerstone Church in Nashville. The one-day conference had been planned for the Hutton Hotel until that business cancelled the contract out of concerns about the program content.
Event sponsors include the center, the Liberty University School of Law, the Religious Freedom Coalition, the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, the U.S. Justice Foundation and World Net Daily.
The gathering was billed as a “working conference” that would give participants ideas on how to fight Islamic extremism locally. It is premised on the idea that some Muslims want to turn America into an Islamic theocracy by imposing Sharia law either by stealth or force.
David Yerushalmi, an attorney who spoke to the group in a pre-recorded video, suggested that the lawyers in the group should follow the example of the American Civil Liberties Union in using the courts to change the law, policies and behaviors and to grab the public’s attention.
Yerushalmi, who is general counsel for the Washington-based nonprofit Center for Security Policy, spoke of suing the Council on American-Islamic Relations in order to make the group consider whether any action it takes will result in a time-consuming and costly lawsuit.
“We want to make them modify their behavior, the same way that we, the good guys, have to do,” he said.
“Lawfare is one of the most effective tools we have.”
Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America, which seeks to mobilize pastors in the service of promoting Judeo-Christian values, had another suggestion for the group.
“The greatest grassroots opportunity of all is to get your pastor involved,” he said.
While several of the speakers differentiated between Islamic extremists and other Muslims, not all did. State Rep. Rick Womick, R-Murfreesboro, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, drew a standing ovation when he said, “We cannot have Muslims in our military because we cannot trust them.”