U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Upholds Government’s Use of Taxpayer Funds to Support Sharia: AFLC to Seek Further Review

Cincinnati, Ohio (June 1, 2012) — Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that a federal taxpayer lacks “standing” to challenge the government’s use of taxpayer funds to support sharia-based activities.  The case, which is captioned on appeal as Murray v. United States Department of Treasury, et al., was brought by American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) attorneys David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise, representing the plaintiff, Kevin Murray, a taxpayer and former combat Marine who served in Iraq.  The federal lawsuit alleged 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.  As the Sixth Circuit acknowledged in its opinion today, “‘Sharia’ refers to Islamic law based on the teachings of the Quran.  It is the Islamic code embodying the way of life for Muslims and is intended to serve as the civic law in Muslim countries.”  Indeed, sharia is the 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.  As argued by AFLC, by propping up AIG with taxpayer funds, the U.S. government is directly and indirectly promoting Islam and, more troubling, sharia.  And as the Sixth Circuit noted in its opinion, Murray objects to his tax money being used to support sharia because it “forms the basis for the global jihadist war against the West and the United States.”

AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise argued the case before the Sixth Circuit.  Muise commented, “This decision by the Sixth Circuit is troubling on many levels.  First, it is contrary to controlling U.S. Supreme Court precedent, which allows a taxpayer to challenge a congressional spending program that violates the Establishment Clause.  And second, this decision permits the federal government to continue its practice of promoting and supporting sharia through the use of taxpayer funds.  We intend to request a rehearing by the full court, and if that does not succeed, we will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.”

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 a 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, has directly and indirectly promoted and supported sharia as a religious legal doctrine in violation of the U.S. Constitution. 

Indeed, in its opinion, the Sixth Circuit acknowledged that “AIG subsidiaries ensure the Sharia-compliance of its SCF products by obtaining consultation from ‘Sharia Supervisory Committees.’  The members of these committees are authorities in Sharia law and oversee the implementation of SCF products by reviewing AIG’s operations, supervising the development of SCF products, and evaluating the compliance of these products with Sharia law.”  The court acknowledged that “AIG’s subsidiaries received a significant portion of the funds AIG received from the federal government” and that “[s]ix AIG subsidiaries have marketed and sold SCF products since AIG began receiving capital injections from the federal government.”  And most important, the court acknowledged that “[n]either party disputes that Treasury Department financing supported all of AIG’s businesses, including the subsidiaries that marketed SCF products.”

AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi remarked, “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 violent jihad.  The fact that the Sixth Circuit acknowledged these facts, but yet found no standing to challenge this impermissible use of taxpayer money under the Constitution is troubling, but this fight is not yet over.”