David Yerushalmi’s “Mapping Shariah” howlers

According to The Jewish Daily Forward, David Yershalmi and David Gaubatz spent hundreds of thousands of dollars researching America’s mosques and Muslim schools. They apparently donned “Sharia adherent” disguises and went in undercover. I read their “report.” It does not rise to the level of farce. To call it a “study” is to confound. It is a total and naked fraud whose purpose is to scare people about Muslims.

For any Muslim or anyone else with even the most rudimentary knowledge of Islam, this will cause you to blink in disbelief:

Among the behaviors observed at the mosques and scored as Shari’a-adherent were: (a) women wearing the hijab (head covering) or niqab (full-length shift covering the entire female form except for the eyes); (b) gender segregation during mosque prayers; and (c) enforcement of straight prayer lines. Behaviors that were not scored as Shari’a-adherent included: (a) women wearing just a modern hijab, a scarf-like covering that does not cover all of the hair, or no covering; (b) men and women praying together in the same room; and (c) no enforcement by the imam, lay leader, or worshipers of straight prayer lines.

For those who do not know, in fact all Muslims pray in straight lines, and all women in mosques cover their hair while praying. There is always some kind of gender separation during the prayers, regardless of mosque. Men often wear some kind of head covering. I grew up in a fairly standard traditional Turkish mosque in Paterson where women prayed in a separate room, the imam always wore a cap, and the lines were always straight. How did I make it out alive?

The “report” also discusses “violence-positive” materials that are found in mosques. Among these are Ibn Kathir’s commentary on the Quran, as well as the famous collection of the sayings of the Prophet entitled Riyad al-Salihin. By these standards, the Bhagavad Gita would also be “violence-positive”, as would the Talmud, the writings of Aquinas, and the Analects of Confucius.

Moreover, are these books sitting on the shelf? Are they in the imam’s office? In the bookstore attached to the mosque? What other books are sold?

I swear this reads like a skit from the Daily Show:

But while the presence of certain Shari’a-adherent behaviors correlated almost one-to-one with the promotion of the violence-positive texts, the absence of these attributes should not be construed as a sign of true moderation. In mosques that did not practice strict prayer line alignment, a striking 72 percent of imams nonetheless recommended violence-positive materials. Similarly, 78 percent of imams who did not wear a traditional beard were proponents of these texts.

Yershalmi and Gaubatz should have no credibility. The Forward article lays out why. But they continue to receive salaries and funds that are the envy of most people who actually know about the subjects these twits claim to expose. Who writes the checks? They make a pretty good living.

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