Murray v. United States Department of Treasury

The lawsuit, captioned in the district court as Murray v. Geithner, et al., was brought by AFLC Co-Founders and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise, representing the plaintiff, Kevin Murray, a taxpayer and former combat Marine who served in Iraq. The federal lawsuit alleges that the U.S. government’s takeover and financial bailout of AIG was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Specifically, at the time of the government bailout (beginning in September 2008 and continuing to the present), AIG was (and still is) the world leader in promoting Sharia-compliant insurance products. Sharia is Islamic law, and it is the identical legal doctrine that demands capital punishment for apostasy and blasphemy and provides the legal and political mandates for global jihad followed religiously by the world’s Muslim terrorists. By propping up AIG with tax payer funds, the U.S. government is directly and indirectly promoting Islam and, more troubling, Sharia.

In May 2009, Judge Lawrence Zatkoff rejected the government’s motion to dismiss the complaint and later rebuffed the defendants’ efforts to stay the proceeding so the government lawyers could take an extraordinary appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  The court then set the ground rules for discovery and granted the parties until May 2010 to conduct discovery.

After a year of document requests, depositions of current and former government witnesses, and three separate subpoenas issued to AIG and the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Yerushalmi and Muise filed Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, arguing that the undisputed facts demonstrate that the government, through its absolute control and ownership of AIG, and with tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, have directly and indirectly promoted and supported sharia as a religious legal doctrine.

What makes this case all the more egregious is that this doctrine—sharia—also happens to be the underlying legal and military doctrine animating jihad against the West by Muslims from the Middle East, Asia, Russia, Africa, and even right here at home.  Each and every one of the domestic and foreign jihad terrorists has proclaimed allegiance to sharia and its call for “jihad against apostates and infidels.”

Two experts on sharia, sharia-compliant finance, and jihad testified at length through affidavits in support of plaintiff’s case. The government could not—and did not—oppose this expert testimony with any contrary evidence.

A year’s worth of discovery uncovered the following facts in addition to what was known from the public record:

  • AIG has five wholly-owned subsidiaries which promote and practice sharia in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Bahrain, and the U.S.
  • These sharia-compliant companies employ or otherwise retain the services of sharia authorities to tell them how to conduct their business according to sharia, including the sharia-compliant charities to which these AIG subsidiaries must contribute.
  • The government places absolutely no controls on how its billions are used by the sharia-compliant companies or to whom they support with their “zakat” (‘charitable’) dollars.  Moreover, these companies all accept sharia’s mandate to support jihad with zakat insofar as they abide by the authoritative rulings of the world’s leading sharia authorities.
  • Over one billion taxpayer dollars have flowed through AIG’s headquarters into supporting AIG’s sharia businesses worldwide.
  • The government has actively promoted sharia and sharia-compliant finance in many ways and venues:
  • The Treasury Department has published, edited, and updated articles about sharia-compliant finance, which essentially promote Islamic law uncritically.
  • The Treasury Department has created and staffed a position called the Islamic Finance Scholar-in Residence.  No other religious law is so honored.
  • Published presentations by senior Treasury Department officials laude sharia-compliant finance and state explicitly that the U.S. government “places significant importance on promoting . . . Islamic finance” and has “recently deepened our engagement in Islamic finance in a number of ways,” including a “call[] for harmonization of Shari’a standards at the national and international levels.”
  • After the AIG bailout, the Treasury Department co-sponsored a half-day conference called “Islamic Finance 101” for government policy makers which was in effect a cheerleading program to promote sharia and sharia-compliant finance.

It is one thing that our government felt compelled to bail out AIG after its fortunes were destroyed due to the company’s own recklessness and bad acts. It is quite another thing to use U.S. taxpayer dollars to promote and support AIG’s sharia businesses—all of which don’t just sell sharia products to the Muslim world, but actively promote sharia as the best, most ethical way of life. Indeed, the sharia authorities relied upon by AIG’s sharia Supervisory Committees actively promote jihad—and by jihad we mean kinetic war against the infidel West.

We have not only traced taxpayer money to support sharia, we have found explicit public statements by senior Treasury officials actually telling the world that it is U.S. government policy to support sharia in the form of Islamic finance and even ‘call[ing] for harmonization of Shari’ah’s standards.’ Since when is it our government’s position to involve itself in the internal theological debates surrounding religious laws?

The government defendants also filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the aid provided to AIG’s sharia businesses was both unintended and de minimus.

In a complete turnaround from his prior ruling, the district court sided with the government.  The case is now on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and is captioned Murray v. United States Department of Treasury, et al.

CASE UPDATE: The Sixth Circuit scheduled oral argument for April 20, 2012.

CASE UPDATE (June 1, 2012): The Sixth Circuit rules that Murray lacks standing to challenge the federal government’s use of taxpayer funds to support sharia.  Read the opinion here.

CASE UPDATE (June 15, 2012): AFLC files petition for review asking the full court of the Sixth Circuit to review the decision rendered by a three-judge panel. Read petition here.

CASE UPDATE (July 12, 2012): The Sixth Circuit denied our petition for full court review of the decision rendered by a three-judge panel which held that a federal taxpayer lacked “standing” to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government’s use of taxpayer funds to support sharia.  We are now working to take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

CASE UPDATE: (October 10, 2012): AFLC filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, asking the Court to review the appellate court decision which held that a federal taxpayer lacked “standing” to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government’s use of taxpayer funds to support sharia. You can read the petitition here.

CASE UPDATE: The Court denied review.  Case closed.