Shortly before Newt Gingrich's decisive victory in South Carolina last week, he was asked a critical question by a Palmetto State voter: Would he support a Muslim candidate for president? The former Speaker of the House answered in a way that was both characteristically insightful and profoundly helpful with respect to one of the most serious challenges our country faces at the moment.
Mr. Gingrich responded by saying it depends on a critical factor: Is the candidate "a modern person who happens to worship Allah"? Or "a person who belonged to any kind of belief in shariah, any kind of effort to impose that on the rest of us"? Speaker Gingrich observed that the former would not be a problem, while the latter would be a "mortal threat." The Georgia Republican went on to assert the need for federal legislation that would prevent shariah from being applied in U.S. courts.
Muslim Brotherhood front groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) are squealing like, well, stuck haram (or impure) pigs. After all, they have been working overtime to try to obscure the true nature of shariah and to prevent the enactment of legislation that would interfere with the considerable progress being made below the radar in states across the country: the insinuation of shariah into the American judiciary.
Resorting to their standard technique of ad hominem attacks, CAIR and its friends have derided Mr. Gingrich's stance as "racist," "bigoted" and "Islamophobic." Such comments evidently were not persuasive to South Carolina voters - and they should be equally dismissed by everybody else.
The simple fact of the matter is that shariah defines the fault line between people who are Muslims but can love our country, respect and enjoy its freedoms and support our form of government and Constitution on the one hand, and those who are obliged by doctrine to oppose all those things. Worse, adherents to shariah must - in accordance with that doctrine - seek, as Speaker Gingrich says, "to impose it on the rest of us."
For the latter Muslims, the preferred way of achieving such submission is, as Mohammed taught, through violence. Where that would be impractical and/or counterproductive for the moment, however, their doctrine encourages the use of stealthy techniques to advance the same, supremacist goal.
The Muslim Brotherhood in America calls this "civilization jihad." It seeks through, for example, the use of shariah in U.S. courts to insinuate their program here at the expense of our constitutional rights and state public policy.
A sense of how far along we are in this process was provided by a study conducted last year by the Center for Security Policy. Entitled Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases, the report is a microcosm of U.S. jurisprudence. Its findings were alarming: Out of a sample of 50 cases, in 27 instances in 23 states, the courts involved allowed the use of shariah to adjudicate the dispute.
In almost all of the cases, that outcome was at the expense of the constitutional rights of American women or children. Under shariah, they simply do not enjoy the same stature and are not entitled to the same freedoms as they are under U.S. law.
In November 2010, seventy percent of the voters of Oklahoma approved an amendment to the state constitution that would have barred shariah from being used in Oklahoma's courts. No sooner had the balloting ended than the local franchise of CAIR - an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial - asked for an injunction on the grounds that such a prohibition would violate Muslims' constitutional rights. A federal judge agreed, and was recently upheld by an appellate court.
Fortunately, those who concur with Newt Gingrich on the nature of the threat posed by shariah and who want to prevent its further penetration into this country have another option. Three states - Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona - have already enacted a statute known as American Laws for American Courts (ALAC). It prohibits the use of any foreign law in the state's courts that would interfere with U.S. constitutional rights or state public policy.
While shariah would certainly be covered by ALAC, it is not singled out for special treatment. No challenge has been mounted thus far in any of the states where it is the law today. And some 20 other states are actively considering ALAC's adoption in the current legislative session.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its friends desperately hope to stave off the further enactment of American Laws for American Courts. They recognize that it can effectively thwart a key part of their civilization jihad in this country. They also have seen that, wherever ALAC is considered, more and more of our countrymen are becoming aware of the problem Newt Gingrich has helped define: the threat from shariah and the need to keep its adherents from imposing that toxic, anti-constitutional doctrine on the rest of us, whether by stealth in our courts (among other places) or through terrifying violence.
For all these reasons, we should ensure that neither shariah nor any other form of foreign or transnational law is allowed to trump our constitutional rights. To the Muslim Brotherhood's fury, ALAC is a way of doing it in a constitutionally sound and highly teachable way.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Frank Gaffney's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.
White House on New Clinton Donor Revelations: President Obama is Proud of Hillary's Work at State | Katie Pavlich