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Shari'a and Violence in American Mosques
by David Yerushalmi
Frontpage Interview's guest today is David Yerushalmi, General Counsel to the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based national security think tank founded and headed by former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney. He is considered an expert on Islamic law and its intersection with Islamic terrorism and national security. In this capacity, he has published widely on the subject, including the principle critical scholarship on sharia-compliant finance published in the Utah Law Review (2008, Issue 3). He has also designed and co-authored (with Mordechai Kedar) a ground-breaking peer reviewed empirical investigation on sharia-adherence and the promotion of violent, jihadist literature in U.S. mosques published in the Middle East Quarterly (Summer 2011).
FP: David Yerushalmi, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
I would like to talk to you today about your Mapping Sharia project. Now that it is published as a fully peer-reviewed study in the Middle East Quarterly, what can you tell us about the findings?
Yerushalmi: Thank you, Jamie.
We began this study in 2007, with a careful and rigorous methodological design. The purpose was to measure sharia-adherence (or Islamic legal orthodoxy) among worshippers and their imams at U.S. mosques (i.e., the independent variable) and to measure that against both the presence of violent and jihadist literature and, more, the actual promotion of that literature by the imam (i.e., the dependent variables). We took four years to conduct the study because we need a large enough random sampling of mosques across the U.S. to be able to say with some certainty that we can speak about U.S. mosques generally and because we understood that we would need to confirm our data during a subsequent survey so that we could be certain of the integrity of our results and so we were not merely taking a one-time "snap shot" of these mosques.
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