Sharia Law In America

I recently was engaged in an online debate with an individual who challenged me to “prove” that “Sharia law was being implemented in the U.S.” When I couldn’t do that within 10 seconds, he accused me of “baseless and infantile accusations” and walked away doing the happy dance.

What had happened was this: In defending our American way of life against those who would radically alter it, I posted a link to a website article by the Family Research Council titled Islam, Shariah Law, and the American Constitution”. This article, in part, says the following:

“While our litigation and policy battles with the secular world keep our left flank occupied, the issue of Islamic theocracy amasses ominously on our rear flank. Immigrants from Muslim countries are moving in increasingly greater numbers to Europe and the Americas, many with the specific purpose of extending the “Abode of Islam”. For example, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a Sunni Muslim cleric and the head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, is quoted as saying:

“”Islam entered Europe twice and left it…Perhaps the next conquest, Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology. The conquest need not necessarily be by the sword…Perhaps we will conquer these lands without armies. We want an army of preachers and teachers who will present Islam in all languages and in all dialects.”” [Emphasis mine]

“Likewise, Omar M. Ahmad, Chairman of the Council for American Islamic Relations has said, “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.” The Koran…should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth. Similarly, Anjem Choudary, Head of Islam4UK, states: “Our objectives are to invite the societies in which we live to think about Islam as an alternative way of life…and ultimately, as well, to establish the Shariah on state level.” [Emphasis mine]

In posting this, I was accused of “fear-mongering”, and informed that my opponent’s little circle of Muslim friends (if they even exist) does NOT seek to implement Sharia law in the US as “I suggested”, (we’ll look at taqiyya later); and my motivation by posting the article excerpt was to “drum up fear about American Muslims”. After a bit more back and forth, he challenged me to “show us where US Muslim politicians, or any politician, are implementing Sharia here. It’s a non-issue.”

The answer to this challenge is a bit more subtle, but first let’s take a quick look at what “Sharia Law” is and examine a couple tenets of the Islamic belief system.

What is Sharia?

Sharia, or “the proper way” is believed by Muslims to be the divine will of Allah and derives from two authoritative sources: the Qur’an and the Sunna. The Qur’an is believed by Muslims to be the perfect and final expression of Allah’s will for mankind. Some verses are considered as authoritative sources for normative law. The second source is the Hadith – stories of Mohammed’s life and behavior which are also considered to be a legal and binding authority for how a Muslim must live. The legal and instructional parts of the Hadith make up the Sunna.

Over time, a system of legal jurisprudence based on the Qur’an and the Sunna has arisen and Sharia now encompasses all of Islamic doctrine and legal jurisprudence.

So, to be clear, Sharia is a legal system based entirely on the belief system of a religion. Sharia “…includes legally mandated, recommended, permitted, discouraged and prohibitive practices that are strongly biased against women, homosexuals and non-Muslims. Shariah provides a legal framework for violence up to and including legalized murder against apostates (people who have left Islam), homosexuals, blasphemers and especially women accused of various crimes…Shariah criminal punishments are extreme, including amputations and lashings for numerous crimes.” [1]

Because of the bias against certain persons including homosexuals, women and children, Sharia law is often at odds with the United States Constitution because it denies equal protection under the law and calls for cruel and unusual punishments. This is a growing problem, because of increasing numbers of Muslim immigrants from other countries, especially Muslim countries in turmoil.

Living Under Sharia

Islam requires complete submission to the will of Allah and that includes living one’s life in accordance with Sharia. Most Muslims in Muslim-majority countries believe that Sharia should be the law of the land, and Muslims in non-Muslim countries including European countries and the United States are increasingly demanding that Sharia be incorporated into the host country’s legal system and to have their cases adjudicated using Sharia legal jurisprudence. Many Muslims also believe that Sharia should apply to non-Muslims as well.

Because being Muslim means living under Sharia, it’s no surprise that when the numbers of Muslims in a community, city or region increase, so too do the calls to have Sharia apply in legal jurisprudence, hence the call to “implement” Sharia law. In fact, Muslims are prohibited by Sharia from accepting secular or local laws as being superior. For this reason, according to one source, “Muslim immigrants prefer their own judges and do not trust secular Western legal systems.”

In Europe, aspects of Sharia law relating to family court matters and finance have already been integrated into some nations’ legal systems. Sharia compliant banking systems are in existence, and Sharia courts have been introduced in some countries. Increasingly in some European countries, Sharia “shadow” courts are trying matters in an extralegal fashion, preempting the legally instituted courts of the country. This may not be a problem unless Muslim women and children do not have the option to opt out of this jurisprudence. Verdicts rendered in these courts may violate the legal foundations of the country and constitute human rights violations.

Sharia in America

To return to my opponent’s challenge, my research has not revealed any “US Muslim politicians, or any politician” who is “implementing Sharia here”. In fact, what I have found is that many courts are already applying Sharia law in the U.S., that there is a group of Muslim jurists who promote Sharia in the U.S., and that the Center for Security Policy has documented over 100 cases (of possibly thousands) where Sharia legal precepts have been applied and then overturned by higher courts because they violated the U.S. Constitution. Further, what I have found is that some American politicians are introducing legislation to exclude Sharia law from American jurisprudence.

The Center for Security Policy in their book “Sharia in American Courts: The Expanding Incursion of Islamic Law in the U.S. Legal System” has identified 146 published appellate legal cases involving conflicts between Sharia and American law. These cases were a sample drawn from a population of thousands of unpublished cases. The disturbing finding of this study is that some judges are rendering judgments based on Sharia law even when those judgments are in clear conflict with Constitutional protections.

The significant findings from this study are:

“At the trial court level: 22 decisions found that the application of Shariah was at odds with the state’s public policy; 15 found Shariah to be applicable to the case at bar; 9 were indeterminate; and in 4 cases Shariah was not applicable to the decision at this level, but was applicable at the appellate level.

“At the appellate court level: 23 decisions found that the application of Shariah was at odds with the state’s public policy; 12 found Shariah to be applicable to the case at bar; 8 were indeterminate; and in 7 cases Shariah was not applicable to the decision, but had been applicable at the trial court level.

“Across the 146 cases there were 21 foreign countries from which Shariah-based legal conventions or decisions were brought to bear upon the case. Some case made reference to more than one country while others involved Shariah without reference to a specific foreign country.

“One Arizona case…was unique in having multiple conflicts of law. At the trial court level, the judge arbitrarily applied the foreign Islamic law of Morocco, even though the parties were neither Moroccan nor Muslims…”[2]

One of the cases presented in the book describes a Moroccan couple living in New Jersey. M.J.R., the husband, began physically abusing his wife, S.D. after three months of marriage. He also forced himself on his wife, engaging in non-consensual sex on multiple occasions. He told S.D. that “Islam allowed him to have sex with her any time he wished.”

The court in question refused to grant the woman a restraining order against her husband because the husband believed it was his religious right to rape his wife. The New Jersey appellate court reversed the trial court and ordered it to enter a final restraining order against the husband, finding the trial court in error for applying a religious (Shariah) concept in violation of New Jersey’s criminal code. (S.D. v. M.J.R., 2 A.3d 412 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2010).

The remaining cases in the book cover instances of family law, commercial law and divorce proceedings where Sharia law was in conflict with American jurisprudence.

Given that the United States was founded upon the principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence, it is disturbing that there are American universities and colleges offering courses and specialization in Sharia including law and business schools in addition to general courses.

There are several groups listed in one of the appendices to the book that support the study and promotion of Sharia in the United States, including:

Finally, there is the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, a “…U.S.-based organization committed to the establishment of Shariah, especially for personal status and family law. Its…boards…include local Imams and Shariah authorities across America, as well as Shariah authorities from other countries.” [3] [Emphasis mine]

“AMJA is deeply rooted in local American communities, but also associated with international and U.S. Shariah authorities and Shariah institutions, and serves as a prolific website center for fatwas on many topics. AMJA also holds conferences and publishes proceedings. It is an active organization with significant reach both inside of the United States and internationally.”[3]

One reason many American politicians are bringing forward legislation to exclude Sharia law from American jurisprudence is because of AMJA’s position that in matters involving Muslims, Sharia law should take precedence over secular law.

This legislation is called “American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation”. It was crafted to protect American citizens’ constitutional rights and prohibit the incursion of foreign laws and legal doctrines. Versions of legislation have been passed in Tennessee, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama and Arizona. I would encourage Colorado to join this list.

Taqiyya and “Fear-Mongering”

In Islam, there is a concept known as “taqiyya” that provides a legal dispensation for a Muslim to lie about their faith. The concept is supposed to apply only when the person is under duress or threat, but other verses from the Qur’an and the Hadith support the view that Muslims are allowed to lie to unbelievers in order to defeat them. If my opponent’s friends truly exist, then it is quite possible that they are practicing taqiyya or may simply just not be very devout Muslims and are ignorant of what I have thoroughly documented above.

My opponent accused me of “fear-mongering”. If pointing out factual information about a well-known religion that is causing barbaric violence and terror around the globe is fear-mongering, then I am guilty as charged. What is amazing is that I am pointing out what the Muslims themselves believe and openly declare: they are intent on expanding the global reach of Islam, they are bound by their religion to do so by any means possible, once they reach sufficient numbers they grow more powerful politically, and the incursion of Sharia law into European and American jurisprudence is already well underway.

Are any American politicians trying to “implement” Sharia law? Not that I know of. Are there legal scholars, students, practicing Muslims and others trying to implement Sharia law in the U.S.? Yes, absolutely.

 

My Challenge to Progressives Who Defend Islam

Now that I have fully answered my opponent, I pose a question to him and to other like-minded Leftists in Colorado politics and elsewhere:

Why do you so passionately defend a legal system and the religion it is based upon that provides for:

  • No separation of church and state;
  • Criminalizes personal matters such as adultery, intoxicants and recreational games, apostasy, free speech, blasphemy, consensual sex between two adults, homosexuality, improper dress, music and art, and prohibits abortion after four months of pregnancy;
  • Legalizes what we would consider crimes such as domestic violence against women, disallows gender equality and oppresses women as second class citizens, allows for lying, polygamy and pedophilia, rape, religious discrimination (no cakes for you, gay couple!), slavery, terrorism, assassination and murder;
  • Imposes dangerous rituals such as mandatory fasting;
  • Allows for punishments including amputation, stoning, crucifixion, immolation, crushing heads with concrete blocks, drowning, and others;
  • Throws gays off of roofs then stones them to death;
  • Absolute obedience to the very Sharia law you defend

 

I Proudly Defend American Jurisprudence

While progressives may wish to embrace, defend, excuse, rationalize and otherwise dismiss as “fear-mongering” the threat to our way of life that Islam – in its openly self-proclaimed form – presents, I stand by these words:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

I also stand by the words of the United States Constitution, including the First Amendment which prohibits the establishment of a state religion; the Eighth, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishments; and the Fourteenth, which reinforces the concept of equal protection under the law.

By Richard D. Turnquist

November 23, 2015

[1] Shariah in American Courts: The Expanding Incursion of Islamic Law in the U.S. Legal System, Kindle location 352

[2] Ibid, Kindle location 300

[2] Ibid, Kindle location 1310

Sources:

http://www.amazon.com/Shariah-American-Courts-Expanding-Civilization/dp/0692345558/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448297455&sr=8-1&keywords=shariah+in+american+courts

http://www.frc.org/issueanalysis/islam-shariah-law-and-the-american-constitution

http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Islamic_Law

http://www.euro-islam.info/key-issues/islamic-law/

http://www.pipelinenews.org/2011/oct/10/islamic-sharia-law-in-germany-holland-britain.html

http://www.amjaonline.org/en/

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/quran/011-taqiyya.htm

 

 

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