Head of racist group to bash Islam at congressional briefing

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-GA) to add a balancing perspective to an upcoming congressional briefing on Islamic finance that features a presentation by the head of a racist anti-Muslim group.

Broun recently circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter inviting fellow representatives and their staff to attend the briefing, titled “The Truth Behind Sharia/Islamic Finance,” on Thursday in the Rayburn House Office Building.

Rep. Broun’s invitation letter claims Islamic finance “violates U.S. laws” and “has supported Islamist extremists and sponsors of terrorism.” The afternoon briefing features two individuals known for their hostility to Islam and Muslims.

One of the presenters, David Yerushalmi, is the president and founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), a group that has advocated imposing prison terms for “adherence to Islam” and questions whether women and African-Americans should be allowed to vote.

In February of last year, Yerushalmi’s group offered a policy proposal that stated in part:

“Whereas, adherence to Islam as a Muslim is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the U.S. Government through the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the U.S. Constitution and the imposition of Shari’a on the American People…It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Islam.” (The final reference to “adherence to Islam” has since been changed to “adherence to Shari’a” in the text.)

CAIR press release, 16 January 2008