In the past year, more than two dozen states have considered legislation that would prevent the use of Shariah, the Islamic code that guides Muslim beliefs and actions, in courtrooms. Several prominent Republicans, including Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann have all recently warned about the threat of Shariah law. In Tennessee, lawmakers recently debated whether to classify suspected Islamic terrorist groups as "Shariah organizations."
On today's Fresh Air, New York Timesinvestigative reporter Andrea Elliott joins Terry Gross for a conversation about the state-level movement to ban Shariah law. Elliott recentlyprofiled David Yerushalmi, the Brooklyn lawyer who started the anti-Shariah movement and who she says, "has come to exercise a striking influence over American public discourse about Shariah."
"What was intriguing to me was how this man, who was really a fringe figure, came to cultivate allies and influence people at such high levels — former military and intelligence officials, leaders of national organizations, presidential candidates — how did he make that leap?" says Elliott. "And I think part of the answer is, in person he comes across not as the erratic character as some might suspect but as a sophisticated man who is convinced by his idea and has an endless appetite for defending those ideas."(Listen to full interview here)