Origin Of The ‘Sharia In America’ Myth
The rhetoric started seeping into the mainstream from the fringes in 2008, as people began accusing then-Sen. Obama of being a secret Muslim and the Clarion Fund, which focuses on the “growing threat of Radical Islam,” sent 28 million copies of its DVD, “Obsession,” to swing state voters.
Gingrich has, likewise, seized on these Sharia fears (as have less famous politicians in Oklahoma). At the Values Voter Summit last weekend, he called for the U.S. government to ban Sharia law.
“We should have a federal law that says sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States,” Gingrich said to a standing ovation. “No judge will remain in office that tried to use sharia law.”
Robert Spencer, the author of jihadwatch.org, says he first became aware of the threat of Sharia “after seeing repeated attempts to assert the primacy of Islamic law over American law.” One of those early attempts, he told TPMmuckraker, came in late 2006, when Muslim cab drivers in Minnesota made news by refusing to take passengers carrying alcohol. The incidents resulted in the cabbies going to the back of the queue, letting passengers with booze get into another cab.
Spencer has been one of a handful of neocons — along with Frank Gaffney and Daniel Pipes, among others — who have been sounding the alarm about Sharia law for years. They warn that Sharia, a system of laws defined by the Koran, is taking hold in the United States, and that it will eventually threaten the very Constitution.
Their warnings, so long spoken from the fringe, are now at the heart of today’s anti-mosque rhetoric.
We started digging in the archives to find the origin of this fear. What we found may not be conclusive, but it shows a path that has lead to increasingly mainstream figures, like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, calling for a federal ban on Sharia law.