The second morning of speeches at the Values Voter Summit here in DC was dominated by a man who is swiftly becoming the nation’s spokesperson for Islamophobia — former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Fresh off the release of his Islam-focused film “America At Risk,” Gingrich told the crowd at VVS that it’s time to take federal action to prevent Shariah Law from infiltrating courtrooms in the US.
“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 from the audience. The law will let judges know, Gingrich said, that “no judge will remain in office that tried to use sharia law.”
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Gingrich made a not-so-subtle reference to the right wing meme about freshly-minted Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan which claims that Kagan is “sympathetic” to Shariah and — as some suggested during her confirmation hearings — might allow it to be recognized as law in the United States.
But beyond the Kagan hit, Gingrich’s anti-Shariah talk inserted him directly into the most extreme end of the Islamophobic push-back against mosque projects all over the country.Opponents of Islamic building projects in New York City, Tennessee and Temecula, California and Florence, Kentucky have often raised fears that the goal of Muslims seeking to build new houses of worship is to slowly make America comfortable with Shariah before using political power to allow it to become the law of the land.
Fear of sharia law’s encroachment was at the center of the whole “Burn The Koran Day” brouhaha, too. And that — according to David Petraeus, among others — put U.S. troops at risk in the Middle East. Pastor Terry Jones, the would-be book burner in Gainesville, Florida, said torching Korans was supposed to send a message about American distaste for Shariah.
Gingrich, who’s been looking more and more extremist lately, now has made himself into the latest voice of paranoia crying that the Muslims are coming to take over us all.