David Yerushalmi

David Yerushalmi is a New York lawyer and anti-Muslim activist who is a leading proponent of the idea that the United States is threatened by the imposition of Muslim religious law, known as Shariah.

About David Yerushalmi

His anti-Shariah model legislation has been adopted by several state legislatures, despite the lack of evidence of any threat to U.S. jurisprudence.

In his own words

“The Mythical ‘moderate’ Muslim … the Muslim who embraces traditional Islam but wants a peaceful coexistence with the West, is effectively non-existent.”
– “Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques,” Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2011

“But if standardized testing suggests a racial component to IQ, if the New York City and national murder statistics suggest there is a racial component to murder, why is that necessarily a bad racism? With all of the liberal talk of evolution and biology, why do people find it so difficult to confront the facts that some races perform better in sports, some better in mathematical problem solving, some better in language, some better in Western societies and some better in tribal ones?”
– “On Race: A Tentative Discussion,” The McAdam Report, May 12, 2006

“There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote. You might not agree or like the idea but this country’s founders, otherwise held in the highest esteem for their understanding of human nature and its affect [sic] on political society, certainly took it seriously. Why is that? Were they so flawed in their political reckonings that they manhandled the most important aspect of a free society – the vote? If the vote counts for so much in a free and liberal democracy as we ‘know’ it today, why did they limit the vote so dramatically?”
– “On Race: A Tentative Discussion,” The McAdam Report, May 12, 2006


In 2007, David Yerushalmi, who serves as general counsel to Frank Gaffney’s anti-Muslim Center for Security Policy and regularly represents extremists such as Pam Geller of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and the Koran-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones, urged the United States to declare “WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful.” When that didn’t happen, he did his best to start one himself. 

Yerushalmi practices what he calls “lawfare” – a multi-platform attack on Muslims’ freedom, staged by pushing his model anti-Shariah bill in state legislatures and filing aggressive lawsuits against supposed enemies of free expression and America’s “Judeo-Christian” heritage.

Yerushalmi began his campaign in 2006 by founding the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), an anti-Muslim organization devoted to promoting his theory that Islam is inherently seditious and Shariah, or Islamic religious law, is a “criminal conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government.” He equates Shariah with Islamic extremism so totally that he advocates criminalizing virtually any personal practice compliant with Shariah. In his view, only a Muslim who fully breaks with the customs of Shariah can be considered socially tolerable. Ideally, he would outlaw Islam and deport its adherents altogether. 

Muslims aren’t the only group with whom he has a bone to pick. Yerushalmi, an Orthodox Jew, also rails against liberal Jews and the “progressive elites” he says they influence. He has described black people as “the most murderous of peoples” and reportedly once called for undocumented immigrants to be placed in “special criminal camps,” detained for three years, and then deported.

In 2011, Yerushalmi co-authored a report with radically pro-Israel Mordechai Kedar entitled “Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques” that promotes the belief that Shariah is “inextricably linked” with global jihadist conspiracy to subjugate the West. The report concludes that the more strictly a mosque observes traditional Islamic practices, the more likely its imam advocates violent jihad and is working to radicalize his worshipers.

In 2008, SANE introduced a project called “Mapping Shari’a in America: Knowing the Enemy” to gauge the degree to which American mosques were promoting violent jihad. Later that year, on November 11, Yerushalmi appeared by video at the Shariah Awareness Action Network’s event, “The Constitution or Shariah: Preserving National Freedom.” During his presentation, he outlined how to use “lawfare” to combat Islam and urged lawyers in the audience to go on the “offensive” and take a “hard-nosed” approach in their efforts against the imposition of Islamic law – and to prepare for vicious attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Muslim-Brotherhood-progressive syndicate that has formed around the issue of Islamophobia.”

In early 2012, together with Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center, a Christian Right law firm with which he has repeatedly collaborated, Yerushalmi formed the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC). Touted on its website as “the first truly authentic Judeo-Christian public interest law firm,” AFLC’s declared mission is “to fight for faith and freedom by advancing and defending America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral foundation through litigation, education, and public policy program.” Within weeks of its creation, AFLC had filed a challenge to a federal health care mandate that would have required most employers to cover birth control and a “friend of the court” brief in defense of S.B. 1070, Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law.

The AFLC has launched an “American Laws for American Courts” initiative to push a model anti-Shariah law, drafted primarily by Yerushalmi, in legislatures across the country, arguing that America has “unique values of liberty and freedom” that do not exist in foreign legal systems like Shariah law. Legal experts call such anti-Shariah measures superfluous because there is no mechanism by which any foreign criminal or civil code can trump U.S. laws. By the summer of 2013, however, anti-foreign law measures had passed in Arizona, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee and North Carolina. An anti-Shariah bill was defeated in Florida on May 6, 2013, and Missouri’s governor vetoed another on June 3, 2013, that would ban judges from considering Shariah law their decisions. Yerushalmi, the mastermind behind the initiative, has stated that the “War on Terror” should be a war on Islam “and all Muslim faithful.” He has also proposed outlawing Islam and deporting Muslims and other “non-Western, non-Christian” people to protect the United States’ “national character.”