Middle East studies in the News
Where Once Was Hamm's [incl. Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy]
by Scott Johnson
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:
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.
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