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The Odd Couple in Florida: Ahmed Bedier of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ADL

               

Ahmed Bedier of United Voices for America           Abe Foxman of  Anti-Defamation

Defender of convicted terrorist supporter              League founder of Interfaith Coaliton

Prof. Sami Al Arian of Palestinian Islamic Jihad                                on Mosques

The Florida Legislature ends its 2012 session with an important bill, SB 1360 "Application of Foreign Laws in Certain Cases ”hanging in the balance. The neutral Florida law should be supported by all Floridians and Americans.  It will  preserve basic constitutional rights guaranteed all citizens and thwart adoption of foreign laws depriving women, gays, Jews, Christians and the Muslim citizens of their civil rights.  What prompted the Florida  legislation was a controversial decision by a Florida Circuit Court of Appeal in Tampa wherein a Judge ordered Muslim complainants to follow  foreign law in a community dispute-see my report on the decision, here.

The Florida version of the American Law for American Courts (ALAC) is based in part on the model law developed for the American Public Policy Alliance  (APPA) by David Yerushalmi, Esq. The ALAC model has been enacted  in several states.

At virtually the last minute, Miami area Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portillo submitted an amendment that could stop the measure in its tracks, unless Senate President Mike Haridopolos requests that it be withdrawn. The Tampa-based Florida Family Association, which supports the legislation, has  initiated a campaign requesting Floridians to send Sen. de la Portillo a message to drop the amendment.  The House version (HB 1209) passed the full Florida House of Representatives on March 1, 2012 by a vote of 92 -24.

Below is the stated objective of Florida SB 1360:

"Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases; Clarifying that the public policies expressed in the act apply to violations of a natural person’s fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United States Constitution; declaring that certain decisions rendered under such laws, codes, or systems are void; providing that the act may not be construed to require or authorize any court to adjudicate, or prohibit any religious organization from adjudicating, ecclesiastical matters in violation of specified constitutional provisions or to conflict with any federal treaty or other laws.

SB 1360 is in jeopardy of not passing on this last day of the legislative session in Tallahassee  due to an odd couple.  An alliance composed of  United Voices for America, founded by ex-Tampa CAIR chapter leader, Egyptian born Ahmed Bedier, and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  Bedier was the spokesperson for convicted felon and former University of South Florida computer science professor Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian was convicted of raising funds for the terrorist group, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  In February 2011 Bedier flew back to his native Egypt to  broadcast  from Tahrir Square in Cairo.  He broadcast  Sheik Yusuf al Qaradawi, the 85 year old Muslim Brotherhood chaplain and televangelist , espousing the re-conquest of Jerusalem and tearing up of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.  

We find it odd that Bedier and the ADL have joined together to deprive  Floridians  of  any defenses against untoward foreign laws,  for example, those laws in Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  The ADL opposes SB 1360 on the grounds that it is hateful and deprives observant Jews of settling community disputes via Bet Din religious courts.

The regional ADL stated its reasons for supporting Bedier and the interreligious group that visited Tallahassee in a news release, “ADL Opposes Anti-Shariah Bill, Calls it a Non-existent Threat”:

 Andrew Rosenkranz, ADL Florida Regional Director, issued the following statement:

“The alleged threat of Islamic, other religious or foreign law to Florida’s court system is completely illusory, and the Senate’s consideration of this measure is an unwise use of resources.  At best, this bill is wholly redundant as the Florida and U.S. constitutions already prohibit the unconstitutional application of foreign law in the courts. But if it becomes law, this legislation would actually jeopardize the religious freedom of Floridians.  

For instance, Jewish tribunals called Bet Dins follow secular arbitration rules, and their marital dissolution rulings are often converted into civil divorce decrees by courts.  But, under SB 1360 an observant Jewish couple would effectively be barred from following their faith and using a Jewish tribunal to dissolve their marriage.”

The  ADL touts itself as “the 911 of the Jewish community,” claiming to protect the interests of Jewish-Americans. As can be gathered from its frequent fund raising solicitations, the ADL relies on the support of Jewish-Americans who wish to help fight against anti-Semitism and support the U.S.-Israel relationship. Yet there is a dark side to this organization that its leadership is careful to cover up. The truth is that the Anti-Defamation League quietly carries out a political agenda that assists the efforts of Islamic radicals and works against the safety of Jews, Israel and America itself.

 The long term national executive director of the ADL, Abe Foxman, has  accused the author of ALAC, David Yerushalmi, Esq. of being  an “extremist” and “racist bigot”.   

Under Foxman’s direction the ADL created the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques in 2010 in the wake of the Ground Zero Mosque protests in Manhattan. The ICOM  filed an amicus brief in the controversial hearings  held by  the Rutherford County Chancery Court into  the expansion of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM), Tennessee trumpeting  of such Mega-Mosque projects under the  Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act of 2000. Note the bizarre comment of the ADL Civil Rights representative as regards the revelations by Steven Emerson of The Investigative Project on Terrorism and others. They found on a member of the ICM board’s MySpace Page support for Hamas, a foreign terrorist group designated by the State Department.

Deborah Lauter, director of civil rights for the ADL, which sponsors a newly-formed Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, is one of those who maintain that political preference of an ICM board member Mosaad Rawash who supported Palestinian terrorist group Hamas  was  irrelevant.

Lauter allegedly told the Los Angeles Times that if all the members of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro were public cheerleaders for Hamas, it would still be illegal to discriminate against them because the First Amendment protects freedom of worship.

Note Bedier’s comments and the reactions of the Chief of Staff for Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who supports the Senate Bill in this Miami Herald report, “Religious Leaders condemn anti-Shariah bill”:

[Sen. Alan] Hays insists the proposal doesn’t target a particular group, but protesters say the intent is obvious.

“This proves this bill is exactly what we’ve been saying it is. It’s intended to target the Muslim community in Florida, and it’s intended to target and limit religious freedoms for Muslims,” said event organizer Ahmed Bedier, president of United Voices of America.

In Haridopolos’ absence, Senate chief of staff Craig Meyer met privately with the clergy and with Bedier.

“The chief of staff did assure us that they will not tolerate hatred, but they also respect freedom of speech,” Bedier said in a press conference after the meeting.

Haridopolos told the Times/Herald last week he supports the bill because he believes it will help protect the U.S. Constitution. But Bedier asked that the Senate not take the measure up this session because it’s not a pressing issue and the booklets and flyers may influence votes.

“If senators want to debate the bill on its merits, that’s fine. However, they should never resort to hatred or hate speech in order to push legislation forward,” he said.

Bedier has in effect accused the sponsors of SB1360 of singling out Islam, when that was not the intent.  The intent is to protect all citizens and thwart adoption of foreign laws.

The clock is ticking and the fate of this important legislation  is in the hands of Senator de la Portillo and Senate President Haridopolos. If the odd couple of Ahmed Bedier and the ADL have their way the legislation will be buried, if the de la Portillo amendment isn’t withdrawn and an immediate Senate  vote proceeds.  We understand from Sen. Hays that AP and internet reports of the bill’s demise are, in the words of Mark Twain,  premature.  Concerned Floridians should contact Senate President Haridopolos’ office to urge him to  proceed with the vote scheduled for today.  His Tallahassee office number is: 850-487-5056 and email: [email protected].  

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