Anti-Sharia laws and a Phoenix lawyer

by David Safier

Ever hear of David Yerushalmi, a lawyer based in Phoenix with offices in D.C.? I hadn't. But he's the guy who wrote the template for the anti-Sharia laws popping up in state legislatures all over the country. He works with Frank Gaffney, an Islamophobe who founded the Center for Security Policy. When asked, the legislators sponsoring the bill don't even know what Shariah law is.

One of the dirty little secrets — actually a dirty big secret — of conservative state legislators is that they have many of their bills handed to them by national organizations. The orgs write template bills with blanks which the legislators fill in to make them state specific. A bill will be tried out in one state — Arizona or Florida or Ohio — and if it flies, it will soon be proposed in other states.

Yes, boys and girls, there is a vast right wing conspiracy, well funded and well organized. Think Koch Brothers. Think ALEC. Think tens of millions of dollars a year plowed into various think tanks and student organizations and lawyers' organizations and astroturf groups to create places to germinate ideas and spread them across the country. George Soros, much demonized by the Right for funding progressive groups? He's running a lemonade stand on a dirt lot next to Walmart.

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