A federal judge has warned the Obama administration that even during a crisis, the U.S. Constitution still counts, as part of his rejection of government demands to dismiss a lawsuit over bailout money given to the Shariah-supporting AIG company.
“The circumstances of this case are historic, and the pressure upon the government to navigate this financial crisis is unfathomable,” said U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff in the decision published yesterday. “Times of crisis, however, do not justify departure from the Constitution.”
The lawsuit was filed last winter by a non-profit legal group, the Thomas More Law Center, against the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Treasury because of the billions of tax dollars given to American International Group while the company uses its money to support a form of Islamic religious finance.
Thomas More President Richard Thompson said the case accuses the government of being “unwittingly complicit” in the “cultural jihad” against the United States.
Zatkoff’s ruling rejected demands by the government that the case and attorney David Yerushalmi, a expert in security transactions and Shariah-compliant financing, be dismissed, allowing the allegations brought on behalf of U.S. taxpayer Kevin J.Murray against Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the Fed to be continued.
The judge found that the lawsuit sufficiently alleged a federal constitutional challenge to using taxpaper money for AIG’s Islamic religious activities, the Thomas More Law Center said.
“It is outrageous that AIG has been using taxpayer money to promote Islam and Shariah law, which potentially provides support for terrorist activities aimed at killing Americans,” said Thompson.
“Shariah law is the same law championed by Osama bin Laden and the Taliban,” he continued. “It is the same law that prompted the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our soil that killed thousands of innocent Americans.”
The Department of Justice, arguing for use of taxpayer money for Shariah activities, claimed the plaintiff didn’t “have standing.” And if he did, the Justice Department now run by Attorney General Eric Holder said the use of tax money for Shariah projects didn’t violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The judge, however, cited the Constitution and disagreed.
“In this case, the fact that AIG is largely a secular entity is not dispositive: The question in an as-applied challenge is not whether the entity is of a religious character but how it spends its grant,” he wrote.
“In this case, the United States government has a majority interest in AIG. AIG utilizes consolidated financing whereby all funds flow through a single port to support all of its activities, including Shariah-compliant financing. Pursuant to the [economic stimulus package], the government has injected AIG with tens of billions of dollars, without restricting or tracking how this considerable sum of money is spent. At least two of AIG’s subsidiary companies practice Shariah-compliant financing, one of which was unveiled after the influx of government cash,” the judge said.
“After using the $40 billion from the government to pay down the $85 billion credit facility, the credit facility retained $60 billion in available credit, suggesting that AIG did not use all $40 billion consistent with its press release. Finally, after the government acquired a majority interest in AIG and contributed substantial funds to AIG for operational purposes, the government co-sponsored a forum entitled ‘Islamic Finance 101,'” the judge said.
“These facts, taken together, raise a question of whether the government’s involvement with AIG has created the effect of promoting religion and sufficiently raise Plaintiff’s claim beyond the speculative level, warranting dismissal inappropriate at this stage in the proceedings.”
The lawsuit, filed in December, challenges the part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 that allowed $40 billion for the federal government’s interest in AIG, “which engages in “Shariah-based religious activities that are anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish.”
The lawsuit alleges the use of tax money to “approve, promote, endorse, support and fund these Shariah-based Islamic religious activities violates [the Constitution].”
The case was brought on behalf of Murray, a former Marine who served honorably in Iraq to defend the U.S. from Islamic terrorists. Murray objects to being forced as a taxpayer to contribute to the propagation of Islamic beliefs and practices predicated upon Shariah law, which is hostile to his Christian religion.
He is being represented by Thomas More attorney Robert Muise and by David Yerushalmi, general counsel to the Center for Security Policy.
According to the complaint, AIG itself describes “Shariah” as “Islamic law based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet [Mohammed].”
The case accuses the company of employing a “Shariah Supervisory Committee” that includes Sheikh Nizam Yaquby from Bahrain, Mohammed Ali Elgari from Saudi Arabia and Muhammed Imran Ashraf Usmani from Pakistan.
The law center described Usmani as the “son, student, and dedicated disciple of Mufti Taqi Usmani, who is the leading Shariah authority for Shariah-compliant finance in the world and the author of a book translated into English in 1999 that includes an entire chapter dedicated to explaining why a Western Muslim must engage in violent jihad against his own country or government.”
The complaint further cites the obligatory “zakat,” which under Shariah is a religious tax that must be directed to Muslims in jihad.
“The ‘zakat’ religious tax is used to financially support Islamic ‘charities,’ some of which have ties to terrorist organizations hostile to the U.S. and other ‘infidels,’ which includes Christians and Jews,” the center said.
Thomas More cited the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development as an example. That organization was convicted of providing millions of dollars to Islamic terrorists, the center said.
“As a direct consequence of the taxpayer funds appropriated and expended to purchase and financially support AIG, the federal government is now the owner of a corporation engaged in the business of collecting religious taxes to fund interests adverse to the United States, Christians, Jews, and all other ‘infidels’ under Islamic law,” the center said.
“This lawsuit is as much about protecting constitutional principles as it is about protecting our national security and preventing another 9/11, whether overtly through direct attacks or covertly through a taxpayer funded stealth jihad,” Thompson said.