Newsletter #38 – Deputy Ramsey’s letter

In a letter dated August 15, 2012, Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey defended Commissioner Bill Gibbons’ relationship with the TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) and the administration’s decision to hire Samar Ali. (see attached at http://wpln.org/?p=40556)

This letter was addressed to Chris Devaney, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party who in turn forwarded it to State Executive Committee members.

As stated in Deputy Ramsey’s letter with regard to the TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC):

“The promotion or advancement of religious ideology is an inappropriate role of state government that is unacceptable and will not happen during this administration.”

“…we’ve heard specific concerns about the creation of an American Muslim Advisory Council.”

“It [the Council] has no official status with the State.”

“The Department of Safety and Homeland Security was invited by the Council to participate in discussions of community issues and Commissioner Bill Gibbons found that to be a useful dialogue for law enforcement officials.”

“…the Department [of Children’s Services] asked AMAC to offer a specific training related to these cultural, not legal differences.”

Deputy Ramsey’s letter omits the following relevant information:

-the June 2011 picture caption of the Muslim Rapid Response Team (from which the AMAC was created), indicated they were envisioning the same type of continuous and permanent working relationship with TN DHS similar to the arrangement endorsed by Sheriff Baca in Los Angeles (note here that Sheriff Baca, an open advocate of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), has implemented the MPAC plan of creating partnerships between Muslim Americans and law enforcement);

-Commissioner Gibbons wrote a letter dated November 7, 2011, thanking the AMAC for their partnership with the state and the DHS and his support for “long-term trusted relationships”;

-as late as December 2011, the DHS and Mr. Devaney denied a relationship or even knowledge about the AMAC even though DHS Regional Advisor James Cotter had been helping the Council form since June 2011, details of which Mr. Cotter shared widely and the fact that the DHS included the AMAC in a December 2011 law enforcement training in Paris Landing;

-the DHS again included the AMAC in a February 2012 law enforcement training in Nashville;

-immediately following the February training, the AMAC sent a letter dated February 28, 2012 to the Islamic Center of Nashville Shura Board stating AMAC’s understanding that they “began as a collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and Muslim leaders across the state”

-with regard to the May 2012 DCS training, AMAC’s presentation is deliberately mischaracterized as “cultural” despite the AMAC’s own admission that they speak about their faith as a means to promote “religious literacy” since they are the “Muslim American Advisory Council” and only followers of the religion of Islam are called Muslims;

With regard to the letter’s discussion and review of Samar Ali’s credentials, Deputy Ramsey never explains why the administration (unlike all other sources of published information about Ms. Ali), has consistently, from the very beginning, redacted all references to her work in the field of Shariah Compliant Finance from any and all communications issued by the administration.  This seems to contradict the ECD’s Redefining Government “Transparency 2012” campaign.

The credentialing of Ms. Ali’s father is irrelevant (as well as incomplete as to his more “interesting” political activity and connections), if as the administration says Ms. Ali was hired on her own merit; otherwise it sounds like cronyism.  Recall that Commissioner Hagerty told the June First Tuesday audience that Ms. Ali’s father called him to ask him to look at his daughter’s resume.

Presumably, the growing number of County GOP resolutions calling these issues into question prompted the letter written by Deputy Ramsey.  Legitimate questions have been raised which deserve truthful answers, not more political obfuscation.


Newsletter #36 – The AMAC spreads its influence

First the TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) entered into a Governor-approved partnership with the TN Department of Homeland Security.

Shortly thereafter, four AMAC members formed a second organization to lobby the General Assembly– the American Center for Outreach (ACO).  Current AMAC members serve as the governing board: Danish Siddiqui,  ACO Chairman, Kasar Abdulla, ACO Director, Soyab Malani, ACO Treasurer, and Sehrish Siddiqui, ACO Secretary.

But remember, the AMAC claims that the only thing they do is provide “cultural training”. Do they disclose that AMAC members also comment on pending legislation or that AMAC members promote political activities around the state?

AMAC’s training at the TN Dept. of Children’s Services (DCS)

Why would the TN DCS need Middle Eastern Culture training?

Dana Clegg, Regional Training Coordinator and Absconder Program Representative, contacted the AMAC to request this training. (The Absconder Program deals mostly with runaway minors).  Documents from an open records request state that, “The Davidson region’s Child Protective Service teams had requested this training due to the population that they work with in investigating allegations of abuse and neglect.”

How did the training coordinator find out about the AMAC?

The Training Coordinator, Dana Clegg, contacted the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department which then recommended the AMAC to provide the training.

Recall, that the AMAC’s February 28th letter (see Newsletter #34) stated that they had started as a  “collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and Muslim leaders across the state” and the “AMAC has now broadened its reach to other government agencies…”

May 22, 2012 DCS sponsored the AMAC training

Thirty-three (33) DCS staff and three (3) staff from the Davidson County Juvenile Court attended a two – hour panel discussion presented by the AMAC chair Ms. Zulfat Suara and AMAC members Ms. Drost Kokoye and Mohamed Shukri Hassan.  As also stated in the open records response, because cultural training is required for the DCS staff biennially, the training coordinator requested that the panel only provide information about “… types of foods, religious holidays, practices, customs, and special ages for boys and girls.”

But then the AMAC provided a list of the Islamic Centers in the Nashville area “to be used by DCS workers as a resource.”

Self-described  “cultural” training by the AMAC raises several relevant questions:

1)    Muslim authorities say over and over again that Islam is a complete way of life. (see attached document from the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro).  Given that instructions for living a Shariah-adherent life cover everything from cradle to grave and everything in-between, can the religion of Islam be practiced as a “complete way of life” if the culture within which it is practiced doesn’t also conform to the religious doctrine?

In other words, if Islam is a complete way of life, is it also the blueprint for the “culture” presented by the Muslim representatives of the AMAC?

2)    For purposes of their training, does the AMAC explain where their “culture” stops and their religion begins?  Stated another way, do they disclose the source from which the cultural practices derive?

3)    Should accommodations in public life be required for subjectively determined “cultural practices” that have neither a doctrinal nor religious basis?

Culture?  Religion?  Ideology?  Mixed message?

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Newsletter #32 – What Even One Person Can Do

“…the power of one – one idea, one heart, one mind, one plan, one determination.” (The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay)

One person can join with another and another, to speak up even in the face of being called a bigot, a racist, a xenophobe or a neo-McCarthyite and present the documented FACTS.  One person can pass on reliable, documentable FACTS.

Facts are the key and facts have context.  For example, when looked at in the context of the following timeline, it is logical that individuals and groups in Tennessee would question the Governor’s actions and intentions.  (Note also that all responses from the Governor’s office have only addressed the Ali appointment avoiding any reference or answers about the TN Department of Homeland Security’s (TN DHS) partnership with the TN American Muslim Advisory Council.)

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2011 Legislative session – anti-terrorism bill introduced based on the Carlos Bledsoe case (Memphis man who shot and killed Pvt. Andrew Long at the Little Rock Army recruiting center.)

June, 2011 – picture emerges confirming that the Muslim Rapid Response Team (which morphed into the TN American Muslim Advisory Council) had been working behind the scenes during the legislative session with TN DHS James Cotter.  This was the group that had formed to lobby against the anti-terrorism bill.

November 2011 – Commissioner Bill Gibbons (TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security), sends congratulatory letter to the AMAC members for organizing along with the Governor- approved partnership with TN DHS.

December 2011 – AMAC partners with the TN DHS to do first law enforcement training.

2012 legislative session – Commissioner Gibbons, testifies in support of an administration bill permitting the TN DHS to enter into partnership agreements with private non-profit organizations like the AMAC.

February 2012 – AMAC partners again with TN DHS for law enforcement training; TN DHS refuses to disclose any information about the AMAC.

May 2012  Governor vetoes bill that would have protected Christian student organizations at Vanderbilt and state universities.

May 2012 – Governor approves appointment of Shariah Compliant Finance specialist Samar Ali as ECD International Director.

May 2012 – AMAC trains TN Dept of Children’s Services.

These are facts, nothing but facts.


Newsletter #30 – Dear Party Leaders…

How much do we give away when we “go along to get along”?

Is it about awards and titles or principles?

Is it about qualifications or connections?

“When it was known we were looking to fill a position in our office, I got a call from her father asking me if I would look at her resume. Like any father, he would like for his daughter to move closer to home. I interviewed her for the job, and she was the best qualified.”  Bill Hagerty at First Tuesday, June 2012

Dear Party Leaders,

As you may have heard, there are two resolutions being reviewed by some county GOPs.  One deals solely with the issue of Sharia in Tennessee.  This resolution is based on the Governor approving a partnership between the TN American Muslim Advisory Council and the TN Department of Homeland Security, and the Governor’s appointment of a Shariah Compliant Finance specialist as the International Director for the TN ECD.   You have received this resolution earlier but another copy is attached. RESOLUTION

The county GOPs are the backbone of the party, are closest to the voters, and do most of the “leg work” for the party.  Consequently, the county GOPs can often be heard the most clearly by the Governor.  

The following counties have already passed this resolution:

Carroll, Stewart, Gibson, Putnam, Williamson, Humphreys, White, Obion, Grundy, Warren, Maury  with at least 15 other counties having committed to considering the resolution.

-The resolution is NOT about Muslims or religion; it is about political Shariah.  It does not matter whether or not you are a Muslim, only whether you are promoting political Shariah

-The resolution is NOT about any individual nor about Samar AliThe resolution IS about the ideology that individuals like Samar Ali have chosen to promote through her expertise in Shariah Compliant Finance

-The resolution IS about Governor Haslam’s elevating the status of political Shariah by institutionalizing the TN American Muslim Advisory Council as a non-governmental partner with the various Departments within the Tennessee government including the TN Department of Homeland Security and the TN Department of Children’s Services

-The resolution IS about Governor Haslam’s choice to further advance a toehold for Shariah in Tennessee by appointing an internationally recognized expert in Shariah Compliant Finance to be the International Director for ECD

-The resolution IS based on and cites to original source documentation written by authoritative Islamic Shariah scholars; all information and citations can be verified by you

-The resolution’s declarations ARE all supported by original source documents and facts

     Examples of Western government submission to Political Sharia rules include but are not limited to (in no particular order):

1.      Wife beating is legal

2.      All food served in government cafeterias and prisons must be halal

3.      Sharia finance

4.      A non-Muslim is not allowed to say or write anything that offends Muslims

5.      Child marriage is allowed

6.      Polygamy is allowed

7.      Those who leave Islam may be killed

8.      Honor killing is simply labeled murder

9.      A women’s testimony is half that of a man in court

10.   Those who criticize Islam may be murdered

Governor Haslam has chosen to begin the institutionalization of Shariah in Tennessee with #3 on the list.  


Newsletter #28 – TN American Muslim Advisory Council trains at TN Department of Children’s Services

Governor Haslam brings Shariah to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services

That makes 3 so far….

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security 

in partnership with the TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) to help train law enforcement and safety personnel

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

appointment of Shariah Compliant Finance Specialist, Samar Ali, as International Director

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services

AMAC invited by the Department to provide training

If you still have any doubt about the direction Governor Haslam is taking Tennessee, consider the attachment.  AMAC spoke to the TN Dept of Children’s services in May

Newsletter #15 presented parts of the presentation that the AMAC made during a training for law enforcement and safety personnel sponsored in part by the TN Department of Homeland Security.  The AMAC’s message had an interesting duality; on the one hand, they asserted cultural and religious differences which demand special and separate treatment from public and private entities, and on the other hand, they asserted that they are no different than any other American in terms of their values and the ideals to which they ascribe.

Assertions of this nature reflect precisely the platform of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the leading global proponent of Shariah law.  Insisting that Muslims would be violating Islamic law, they could not sign onto the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because it was fashioned on Western values (ie, Judeo-Christian)?  This necessitated adopting (in 1990), the separate Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which is based on Shariah.  Does that mean that “universal” means “separate but equal”?

As Governor Haslam continues to raise the profile and elevate the political status of Islamists in Tennessee, consider what this will mean when he pushes for school vouchers (aka “Equal Opportunity Scholarships”) when the Tennessee General Assembly reconvenes in 2013.

The AMAC says that among other things, it promotes religious freedom which is why they recently spoke out in support of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.  The Governor has already added a representative from the Catholic Dioceses to the school voucher task force; expect that the AMAC will also want Tennessee’s Islamic schools to get their share of public money.

And so far, Governor Haslam has met all of their demands.