2011 Legislative Session - Anti-terrorism bill introduced based on the Carlos Bledsoe case (Memphis man recruited to Islam via Tennessee State student Islamist contacts and Nashville mosque who later shot and killed Pvt. Andrew Long at the Little Rock Army recruiting center).
June 2011 - Photograph (see Flash presentation) emerges confirming that the Muslim Rapid Response Team (MMRT, which morphed into the TN American Muslim Advisory Council) had been working behind the scenes during the legislative session with TN Department of Homeland Security (TN DHS) Regional Advisor, James Cotter. The MMRT was the group that formed to lobby against the anti-terrorism bill.
November 2011 - Commissioner Bill Gibbons (TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security) sends congratulatory letter (attached) to the TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) members1 for organizing, along with establishing a partnership with TN DHS, both of which had been approved by the Governor.
December 2011 - When asked whether Governor Haslam had appointed a Muslim advisory board, Tennessee GOP Chairman Chris DeVaney responds that he had "checked into this and apparently there is no truth to it. It must be some kind of rumor."
December 2011 - AMAC partners with the TN DHS to do first law enforcement training at Paris Landing conference. (www.amactn.com - see section on testimonials)
2012 Legislative Session - Commissioner Gibbons testifies in support of an administration bill permitting the TN DHS to enter into partnership agreements with private non-profit organizations like the AMAC.
February 2012 - AMAC partners again with TN DHS for law enforcement training; TN DHS refuses to disclose any information about the AMAC. (Secrecy Surrounds Conference to Train Cops on 'Political Violence')
March 2012 - In reference to SB 2237/HB 2375 which would exclude Tennessee state government from partnering/entering into contracts with organizations like AMAC, Attorney General Cooper issues an opinion stating "...it is the opinion of this Office that the proposed amendment which would add an exclusion providing that no partnership or contractual agreement shall be entered into with any religious or political organizations, or any affiliate organizations, is constitutionally defensible." (Exclusion of Religious or Political Nonprofit Organizations from Certain State Contracts)
May 2012 - Governor vetoes bill that would have protected Christian student organizations at Vanderbilt and other universities that accept public funds.
May 2012 - Governor approves appointment of Sharia Compliant Finance specialist Samar Ali2 as ECD International Director.
May 2012 - AMAC trains TN Dept. of Children's Services. (see Flash presentation)
July 20, 2012 - Full-page ad in The Tennessean of the Resolution opposing Governor Haslam’s administration partnership with the AMAC and the hiring of Shariah Compliant Finance Specialist, Samar Ali
August 15, 2012 - Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey issues a letter defending Commissioner Gibbons’ partnership with the AMAC and the Haslam administration’s appointment of Shariah Compliant Finance specialist, Samar Ali
August 24, 2012 - After listening to Islamic Networks Group (ING) founder speak on the subject of “Women and Shariah”, ACO intern Jihan Abdulla tells The Tennessean that as Muslim woman she feels like she has more rights than American women
August 2012 - Islamic Networks Group (ING) provides AMAC-sponsored training for their Islamic Speakers Bureau
September 2012 - James Cotter, the TNDHS Regional Advisor who met with the MRRT in June 2011 and who claims that approval for the AMAC went to the Governor, is promoted to the position of State Training Advisor
September 2012 - AMAC co-chairs Daoud Abudiab and Zulfat Suara join the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) Board of Directors
To date, we are not aware that Governor Haslam’s office has in any way addressed the issues related to the AMAC and its partnership with the TNDHS, but has elected, instead, to focus on Ms. Ali’s appointment - presumably because her accomplished resume is easier to defend. Ironically, though, her professional expertise in Sharia Compliant Finance was never mentioned in any statement, written or verbal, from the Governor’s office. This despite the fact that every other high profile source where Ms. Ali is mentioned - including her White House bio, the Global Islamic Finance Magazine, the press release from the Hogan Lovells law firm and the conference booklets from the 5th and 6th World Islamic Economic Forums - highlight her expertise in this field.2
With respect to the Shariah resolution addressing the above concerns, it is benficial to understand the following points:
- It is important to recognize that Sharia is both religious and political.3 As to religious Sharia, we offer no comment. It is political Sharia’s implications for and demands upon non-Muslims which generate the concerns expressed herein. For example, consider the demand to stop work in the factory so that Muslims can pray. The prayer is religious; the demand to shut down the factory is political.
- The resolution is NOT about Muslims or religion; it is about political Sharia. The implementation of Islamist laws are what concern us. This is not about religion, but about the promotion of political Sharia.
- The resolution is NOT about any individual or about Samar Ali in particular. The response would have been the same if the new ECD appointee were named Bob Smith. It is about the ideology their work promotes.
- The resolution IS about Governor Haslam elevating the status of political Sharia by institutionalizing the TN American Muslim Advisory Council as a non-governmental partner with the various Departments within the Tennessee government, including the TN Department of Homeland Security and the TN Department of Children’s Services.
- The resolution IS about Governor Haslam’s choice to further advance a toehold for Sharia in Tennessee by appointing an internationally recognized expert in Sharia Compliant Finance to be the International Director for ECD.
- The resolution IS based on and cites objective, original source documentation written by authoritative Islamic Sharia scholars; all information and citations can be verified.
In an interview broadcast on Nashville's Channel 5 News, Governor Haslam de facto introduced political Sharia into Tennessee by adopting the religious freedom narrative. Unfortunately, this is not the same freedom of religion that he vetoed for the Christian organizations on the Vanderbilt campus. Rather, it is the Governor’s institutionalization of the AMAC and its partnership with the TN DHS, along with approving a Sharia finance specialist, that have laid the groundwork for political Sharia in our state.
The following examples of political Sharia in the West are indicative of what a society can expect as Political Islam gains influence:
7. Only Muslims are allowed to speak on Islam. This is the Haslam approach of only allowing AMAC to officially speak about Islam.
8. Those who leave Islam may be killed. Leaving Islam, Ibn Warraq, Prometheus Books, 2003, pgs. 25, 33.
By virtue of his approval of the AMAC, Governor Haslam has taken the position that non-Muslims cannot be heard on the issue of political Sharia. When coupled with the ECD appointment, Governor Haslam has essentially instituted #6 and #7 from the above list.
Regardless of Governor Haslam’s intentions in elevating the status of Political Sharia in Tennessee, he has failed to recognize the implications of having opened this barn door. Whether due to political correctness, failure to conduct due diligence, or even sheer naiveté, Governor Haslam must be held accountable for his decisions and the direction in which he is leading this state.
The Sharia resolution is premised on the very Constitutional principles that Governor Haslam has sworn to uphold. If at this point in time he does not understand that his actions (as described in both the resolution and explained more fully herein) ultimately put our liberties in jeopardy, then the resolution will serve as a starting point for his education.
Our hope is that Governor Haslam will receive the message from Sharia resolution - which is offered in the spirit of helping the Governor to avoid even more serious missteps - and take the appropriate measures in line with his constitutional oath to protect the citizens of Tennessee from the encroachment of Political Islam/Sharia.
Footnotes and References:
1 Four of the AMAC members also make up the governing board of the American Center for Outreach (ACO), whose Director lobbies the TN General Assembly and one AMAC member serves as a Fellow of the ACO. The same Director was the individual that organized the MRRT.
3 The AMAC is a perfect example of this duality. For example, their website lists all mosques in Tennessee and they issue press releases demanding the right to vet all information provided in any training for law enforcement (even if provided by private groups at no cost), and members representing AMAC speak to the media to comment on legislation.