Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rep. Kyle Biedermann's Homeland Security Forum in Texas

On January 26, Texas State Representative Kyle Biedermann held a homeland security forum on the problem of radical Islam. Not surprisingly, it aroused the ire of CAIR in Texas. Below is a report on the forum from Biederman's web site. Among those who testified were Muslim reformer Zuhdi Jasser and Nonie Darwish and Karen Lugo. The latter two I happen to know personally. The event corresponded with the upcoming Muslim Day at the Texas state capital , in which Muslims go to lobby legislatures.

Below is what Karen Lugo wrote of the forum:

Report on Texas Homeland Security forum sponsored by Rep. Kyle Biedermann, Muslims for Reform, and Former Muslims United.

1. "There were between 8 and 10 Texas state representatives who attended either for the entire 2-hr. forum or stayed for at least an hour. There were other staffers in the audience. There was media from all major Texas outlets and some national new sources. Some reporters just showed up at the end. In my opinion, they all should have been honest and just appear for salacious interviews at the end. The coverage was as dishonest as I have ever seen. While great care was taken to bring in current and former Muslims who could speak as authorities to the sharia supremacist problems in America their insight was completely ignored. The news coverage centered on a former representative's outburst during a side interview. Some mentioned the testimony of Mayor Beth Van Duyne but cast it skeptically as if she has it in for the Islamic tribunal that is in her jurisdiction. They went back to old and biased news stories and, again, refused to look at compelling evidence that the tribunal is obfuscating and potentially hiding questionable sharia activities. There are reasonable legal and political questions that may be asked of the tribunal but reporters only see that they have a responsibility to smear a public official that recognizes her duty to uphold equal rights and state law. 

Here is a thumbnail summary of the salient presentations during the forum:

Nonie Darwish, Former Muslims United: Nonie described the wrenching long-term anguish suffered by Muslim women who are in sharia communities but decide to assimilate to the point of embracing American culture. She spoke of her own experience and the alienation and ostracization that she endured as she expressed her intent to "Westernize." She described the very harsh terms of sharia and the punishments that Muslims endure -- yes, even in America -- when they choose to cease being Muslims or when they challenge sharia foundations. 

Beth Van Duyne, Mayor of Irving, Texas: The mayor presented an articulate plea for help with investigation of the Islamic tribunal from the state legislature. She described the duplicity of the tribunal's website and recounted the website revisions that have been documented as inconsistencies with American or Texas law were noted. She quoted from an interview of the chief imam (called "judge") where he apparently contradicted himself on the issue of whether fiqh jurisprudence or American law should prevail in tribunal "arbitration" proceedings. The "constitution" that appears on the website confirms this confusion as the arbitrators (called "lawyers") are trained in fiqh jurisprudence and it is considered authoritative. The mayor only requests a basic inquiry as to whether there are violations of Texas law that do not allow for "unlicensed" practice of law. 

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of American Islamic Forum for Democracy: Dr. Jasser spoke of the need to identify Islamist supremacists as distinct from Muslims and the importance of vigilant security monitoring of radical Islamist activity. He emphasized the foundational importance of protecting lawful rights to privacy but also said that many proper law enforcement opportunities to monitor radicalization leading to dangerous mindsets and violence have been missed. 

Chris Gaubatz, infiltrated CAIR and worked as an intern: Mr. Gaubatz presented documentation showing that CAIR's origins were as a front group for Hamas and that this is still -- and always has been -- CAIR's animating mission. 

Karen Lugo, attorney and author of "Mosques in America": I spoke of the need for state action in calling for a report on the investigation of the Islamic tribunal in Texas. The legislature has the authority to ask the committee established for the purpose of inquiring into the unlicensed practice of law in Texas for an investigation and a report. I also spoke of improper educational activities that emphasized Islamic beliefs and history, in some cases while also denigrating Christianity and Judaism, and the need for a task force to determine how these curricula supports have been allowed. I mentioned the need for multi-state coalitions that will look at standards for declaring Muslim Brotherhood organizations not eligible for state consultation (both Louisiana and Oklahoma have considered legislation on point). 

This was largely an informative and credible session. Rep. Biedermann presented experts and members of the Muslim community. Yet, reporters relied on each other to be equally dishonest and sensational. The coverage was generally as if they had filed their stories before they arrived at the hearing. But then, they were more than happy to add off-topic colorful comments arising from a post-session interview. To them, this was the real news. And, most were more than happy to quote CAIR's complaints, as if no reason had been provided to question the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group's authenticity."

Prior to the forum, questionnaires were sent to several prominent Muslim leaders and clerics asking them about their views on various Islam-related issues of concern. Several recipients went public with their objections.

What is important to note is that Rep. Biedermann signed off on the letters along with the Muslim Reform Movement (Zuhdi Jasser) and Former Muslims United (Nonie Darwish). Darwish had previously sent out letters in 2009 and 2012 to hundreds of Islamic leaders across the US asking them to sign a simple statement that apostates in the US (like Darwish) should not be harmed. She received only two signatures, one of which was Jasser. It is hardly surprising that a Texas CAIR official would tell the latest recipients in Texas not to answer the letters.

In addition, we should remember that no less than the then-director of CAIR in Dallas, Mustafa Carroll, made a very alarming statement on the occasion of Muslim Day in 2013 when he declared that Muslims were above the law of the land.

In light of all of the above, it strikes me that Rep. Biedermann's forum was well-founded.

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