Posted by: Cortillaen | 06/28/2010

Islam Vs Our Laws

In reading a post about the wonderful thing known as Sharia law, something started noodling around upstairs.  Eventually, it worked into a full-fledged line of reasoning on the incompatibility of Sharia law with the United States.  Then it kicked over into another issue entirely:  The First Amendment protection of Islam in the United States.  If you care, follow along.  Comments on the issue, especially angles and considerations I might have missed, are appreciated, as always.  If you’d prefer to contact me privately for any reason, you can always email me (just make sure you correct the anti-spammer details).

If you’ve wandered around the net for very long, especially on sites discussing the threat posed by Islam (yes, the religion; not just a few nutters), you’ve probably come across somebody suggesting federal action against Islam.  What follows is inevitable:  People, both left and right, decry any such suggestion, blaring “First Amendment protection!” (in the case of the leftists, one of the rare times they get the direction of that shield correct).  Folks on the left are typically just following their “tolerant”, dhimmi impulse to protect Islam, but people on the right do the same out of a genuine concern for the First Amendment.  After all, once the government goes after one religion, we’re all in line à la Pastor Martin Niemöller and the Nazis, right?  The over-zealously religious jump in contending that it’s the start of the destruction of all religion and the slide into immoral/amoral hyper-secularism that destroys everything good in our society, things just turn into a madhouse, and the suggestion is written off as foolish.  I follow the basic argument that the 1A protects even a murderous, psycho cult like Islam’s right to exist, but it’s never sat well with me.  Something just never seemed right about, like a piece was missing, or something had been overlooked.  I never could get a handle on that uneasy feeling with the argument until I approached it from a completely different angle:  Sharia Law.

The First Amendment’s protection of religion has long been held to have limits in practice:  You can’t hide a rebellion behind the cross, polygamy is illegal regardless of what your holy book(s) says, and throwing stones (careful not to get any large enough to cause immediate death, mind you) at a half-buried woman is not a legal response to the woman having been raped.  This last one is of particular interest to me, not because of it’s exceptional barbarity or irrational cruelty, but because it is part of a legal system that believers claim was instituted by their god directly through his greatest prophet.  If you don’t know what religion I’m talking about, you might want to peruse this a wee bit before continuing.  If you browsed that link and still don’t know what I’m talking about, kindly terminate your voter registration at the earliest possible date and get yourself sterilized; really, it’s the least you can do for the world.

To understand my line of reasoning to come, it is important you understand exactly what Sharia law is.  Plenty of people grasp the general idea but don’t know some of the essential components.  The link above is wonderful for a detailed breakdown of the topic, but I’ll give the short version relevant here.  Westerners tend to think of religious laws in Christian terms, such as the Ten Commandments, but the comparison is vastly incorrect.  Christian commandments, even those literally set in stone, are personal laws, a moral code set in place by God.  Breaking a commandment is a sin, but that is between the sinner and God.  Your pastor isn’t going to come to your house and flog you because you looked at the pretty lady in ways that should be reserved for your wife.  This concept of religious “law” is utterly incomprehensible to Muslims.  In Islam, Sharia law is a full-fledged legal system with specified charges, judges, rules of testimony, and punishments, the last often quite detailed in execution (my apologies).  They even have their own form of precedent, known as Fiqh.  Further, these laws and procedures are handed down by Allah through the Koran and Hadith.  They aren’t just law, they are the law as ordained by god, which means that legal reform is a concept so utterly alien that you likely couldn’t explain it to a lifelong Muslim who had never visited or studied western cultures.  The laws do not change; ever.  To suggest that any component of Sharia law is in need of reform is tantamount to apostasy, and the punishment for that, by Sharia law, is death.

Now, how does one integrate Sharia law with a country like the United states?  Short answer, you don’t.  To Muslims, there can be no compromise on the issue of Sharia.  Being a Muslim and upholding Sharia law are inseparable on a fundamental level.  After all, this is the law of god.  There are only two options for a faithful Muslim:  Overthrow the law of the land and replace it with Sharia (the preferred option), or create shadow courts to uphold Sharia law outside of the nation’s legal system.  If the former cannot be implemented immediately, the latter must be carried out in the meantime.  The latter also happens to be in violation of our laws.  The UK’s current situation is an excellent example of this process in action.  Cowing opponents via violence and the threat of… well, more violence is also a favored tactic.  But that could never happen here in the US, right?  Don’t kid yourself.  Go read up on some of the ever-mounting number of examples of Muslims “taking the law into their own hands”.  Men beheading their wives for adultery, children shipped overseas to Islamic boarding schools indoctrination camps or killed outright, imams (roughly analogous to a minister or priest) handling divorces and inheritances in the shadows, you name it.  It’s already started.  Muslims, in order to hold true to their faith, must implement Sharia law here, and so they are intent on doing.

Maybe you’re wondering what any of this has to do with the First Amendment protecting Islam from government action.  It’s a simple collision of two facts.  First, the 1A does not render people immune to the nation’s laws.  Second, Islam demands our laws be supplanted by Sharia.  If it was simply a matter of lobbying for changes to slowly remake our laws in Sharia’s image, this would be protected under the 1A as a legal process of change.  However, Islam demands Sharia be followed now, not in an indeterminate future.  Hence, Muslims are required to create a shadow legal system to implement Sharia law, even though most of its processes and punishments are in direct violation of US law.  For a Muslim citizen, this constitutes treason (“the unlawful violation of allegiance to one’s state”), and, for a Muslim alien, it makes of them an enemy operative attacking US sovereignty.  Those who advocate or proselytize for Islam are committing sedition (“incitement to commit treason”) by encouraging others to disregard our laws.  This is not hatred or anger speaking.  This is simply how it is.  Adhering to Sharia, including the creation of Sharia courts and administration of its punishments, is a mandate for all Muslims.  As such, in order to be a faithful Muslim, one must actively work to subvert our laws.  The 1A does not provide shelter for people engaged in that action, no matter what their faith may be.

In conclusion, what we have is a group of people that, by definition, is required to actively subvert US law.  Refusing to be part of the subversion renders one outside of the group by its own rules.  Further, that group’s faith is no defense against governmental action in defense of our laws.  They waive their First Amendment protections by engaging in subversive action against our nation’s laws just as a criminal waives his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by confessing.  What is left is simply a group posing a concerted, determined threat against the rule of law and sovereignty in the United States, and I see no reason why the government cannot or should not fulfill one of its true, constitutional mandates, the defense of our nation against enemies foreign or domestic.

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Responses

  1. I will agree that a conservative view of Sharia Law is not compatible with the Constitution of the United States and should be strongly resisted.

    However having said this I think you have overlooked a couple of relevant and important points in your conclusion that the United States should treat Muslim citizens as domestic enemies.

    1) Usually one of the dividing lines between what is protected by the Establishment Clause and what is not is the actions, not words, of the individual or group of believers.

    A Mormon fundementalist is free to espouse polygamy all he wants. However acting on that belief would be against the law and not protected by the First Amendment.

    To act against Muslims on the basis of their beliefs instead of their actions would violate this standard.

    2) A more fundamental objection is your assumption that all Muslims believe the same. That is wrong.

    From Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia

    “Sharia (شريعة Šarīʿa; [ʃaˈriːʕa], “way” or “path”) refers to the sacred law of Islam. All Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law, but they have differences between themselves as to exactly what it entails.[1] Modernists, traditionalists and fundamentalists all hold different views of Sharia, as do adherents to different schools of Islamic thought and scholarship. Different countries and cultures have varying interpretations of Sharia, as well.”

    I would also point out that there are such things as secular Islamic states, Turkey being a prime example.

    There are also Muslim scholars who are against Sharia law having the force of governement behind it.

    An example of this is Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, a professor of law at Emory Univeristy and author of a book on the future of sharia entitled Toward An Islamic Reformation

    “Enforcing a [sharia] through coercive power of the state negates its religious nature, because Muslims would be observing the law of the state and not freely performing their religious obligation as Muslims.”

    A couple of sites you might like to look at that provide further evidence that Islam is not a monolithic entity in which every Muslim believes the same.

    http://www.mfsd.org/msddeclaration.htm

    http://www.bmsd.org.uk/articles.asp?id=36

    http://www.imadahmed.com/696165764/british-muslims-for-secular-democracy/

    Finally let me point out that law, government and Christianity were one entertwined. The separation of church and state is a relatively new development. One that much of Islam still has to catch up to, but there are many Muslims who are taking steps towards modifying their understanding of Islam to accomodate this view.

    It would be shame to declare a religious war with it’s attendant hatreds, fears, violence, and destruction on the basis of a false belief about Muslims.

  2. […] article titled ‘Islam Vs Our Laws’ says […]


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