Frank Gaffney (left), a former Secretary of Defense now with the Center for Security Policy, flanked by Tom Trento of the Florida Security Council and state Sen. Dan Lederman, talks Tuesday about the documentary "Iranium" at the Holiday Inn City Centre in Sioux Falls. Gaffney also talked about the book "Shariah: The Treat to America." It's a compilation of research about Shariah and the perceived threat to America. 

Frank Gaffney (left), a former Secretary of Defense now with the Center for Security Policy, flanked by Tom Trento of the Florida Security Council and state Sen. Dan Lederman, talks Tuesday about the documentary “Iranium” at the Holiday Inn City Centre in Sioux Falls. Gaffney also talked about the book “Shariah: The Treat to America.” It’s a compilation of research about Shariah and the perceived threat to America. / devin wagner / argus leader

 

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney said Tuesday he thinks there is an ongoing war for the free world – and he sees Shariah, the Islamic religious law, as a cause for concern.

Gaffney was in Sioux Falls promoting a documentary called “Iranium,” which looks at Iran’s nuclear threat to the West.

He held a news conference outlining the practice of Shariah, which he calls “brutally repressive” and hostile to religion and women, among others.

Gaffney described Shariah as being the rules of lifestyle ordained by Allah in Islamic law and held by mainstream Islamic authorities. He and other panel members at the event said the goal held by those who believe in Shariah is to spread this doctrine throughout the world.

Tom Trento of the Florida Security Council, a member of the panel, said the Iranian regime is one of the biggest threats to the free world, and the Shariah doctrine is the “animating element” of that regime.

Gaffney stressed that not all Muslims in this country or elsewhere adhere to Shariah. He said some even have fled to the U.S. to get away from Shariah.

“They don’t conform to it themselves; in many cases, they don’t know what it is,” Gaffney said. “They certainly don’t seek to impose it on others.”

Sioux Falls resident Qadir Aware, a Muslim, said Shariah can be seen as similar to other religions, such as Christianity, which lays out rules or guidelines on how to be a good Christian.

“Sadly, some people translate Shariah law in a different way, and some radical Muslim people use Shariah law as a tool for their political gain,” Aware said.

“In every faith we have today, we have people that translate the rules of the faith in a different way – some of them for political gain, some of them for financial help, some of them for hatred,” he said

Aware said his faith never taught him to be hostile to anyone.

Gaffney said he hopes to forge common ground with Muslims who are against Shariah, to ensure that the U.S. remains a country where all people can practice their faith, not “seditious political programs.”

Another member of the panel, state Sen. Dan Lederman, R-Dakota Dunes, said a Shariah government does not afford the same rights as the Constitution.

Lederman, founder of the Iran Divestment Policy Coalition, hopes the movie, which was shown Tuesday night in Sioux Falls, will shed some light on the movement and how it has taken a foothold in the United States.

Panel members said they were unsure how many Muslims in South Dakota practice Shariah.

Reach Beth Wischmeyer at 977-3936.

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