The New York Times recently ran a hit piece on lawyer David Yerushalmi, who has led the charge to stop the rise of shariah law in the United States. With typical anti-religious flair, the newspaper pointed out that Yerushalmi is "a little-known lawyer … a 56-year-old Hasidic Jew with a history of controversial statements about race, immigration, and Islam."
The Times focuses in on Yerushalmi, as though his Judaic background and love for Israel delegitimize his opposition to shariah. The paper then brings in Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, whom they criticize for taking "polarizing positions" and being "well connected in neoconservative [read: conservative Jewish] circles." Finally, they wield their club against the Tea Party, which they somehow link to this whole effort: "With the advent of the Tea Party, Mr. Yerushalmi saw an opening." They never make clear what the Tea Party has to do with anything; this is just another New York Times attempt to use a putative Tea Party connection as a club on people it disapproves of.
But leave aside the ad hominem attacks on Yerushalmi and conservatives and focus instead on the Times' odd contention that shariah law is not a threat. They say that shariah law is just like Jewish law; it's applied in domestic and civil disputes, and then courts simply enforce it. Of course, this is nonsense. Take, for example, the famed New Jersey case last year in which a Muslim woman tried to get a restraining order against her husband in the aftermath of an assault and rape; the court ruled against her, applying shariah law principles and stating that the husband thought that his wife had to comply with his sexual appetites. There's nothing remotely like that in Jewish law. Jewish law has its flaws, but Jews routinely repair to the secular courts when such flaws create problems (see for example the complex and troublesome divorce issue in Judaism). And the problems with Jewish civil law don't begin to approach those of the Islamic community.