Every week on Monday morning, the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question: The Kansas State Legislature recently passed an anti-foreign law bill that many feel was aimed squarely at sharia. Do you feel that anti-sharia laws are constitutional? Why or why not?
The Noisy Room: Sharia is the political arm of Islam. It cannot be separated from Islam. It is religious law. It is therefore directly antithetical to the First Amendment in that it seeks not to make law concerning the establishment of religion, but to achieve that end by making religion established law.
I do believe anti-sharia laws are Constitutional if worded and applied correctly. These are, in my opinion, not anti-religious laws, but laws to prevent Islam from infringing on the First Amendment rights of Americans. Notice that the bill did not mention ‘sharia’ directly, so it would not be declared discriminatory. These laws are necessary to prevent the spread of sharia law. Freedom of religion and the way we live in America should be free, not dictated by one aggressive religion that seeks to dominate all others.
This law is modeled after the American Laws for American Courts Act, which is designed to protect American citizens’ constitutional rights against the infiltration and incursion of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, especially, sharia.
Sharia law is directly at odds with our Constitutional principles of equal protection and due process, as well as freedom of religion, speech and assembly. These foreign laws typically enter our court system through the principle of comity (mutual respect of each country’s legal system). Most courts at the state and federal levels grant comity unless the American Laws for American Courts Act has been passed into law in the state. The followers of Islam are using our own court system against Americans to subjugate and dominate us. If you will, a soft coup meant to overthrow from within.
As my associate Robert Spencer has pointed out, “Sharia is also political and supremacist, mandating a society in which non-Muslims do not enjoy equality of rights with Muslims.” This is why anti-sharia laws are so important. They are meant to prevent this authoritarian, unconstitutional and oppressive political and social system from destroying the freedoms that Americans enjoy.
Thomas Jefferson was right… it doesn’t matter whether my neighbor believes in one god or seventeen; it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. But when a neighbor or associate believes that his God commands him to pick my pocket or break my leg, his beliefs become a matter of grave concern for me and any who do not share those beliefs. To support sharia law is to support subjugation.
The Independent Sentinel: Anti-Sharia’h laws are Constitutional because Shariah is a separate system of justice which cannot work within our Constitution and justice system. They are seditious.
JoshuaPundit: I think Kansas is very much on the right track. You can’t simply single out sharia, much as it deserves it because of its inhuman, discriminatory and anti-Bill of Rights diktats. You need to broadly legislate against all foreign law being taken into consideration when ruling from the bench, which is what the Kansas statute did. Do that, and the laws are indeed constitutional.
Otherwise we are headed for the situation that exists in Britain, where sharia law is the equal of English common law, with numerous sharia courts set up at taxpayer’s expense and mandatory for Muslims in civil matters. The result has been a major loss of legal rights as a free society would determine them for Muslim women.
In U.S. jurisprudence, the Supreme Court has generally ruled in favor of religious freedom except when its practices directly contradict established U.S. law. Thus, some rites practiced in Voodoo and Santeria that amount to felony animal torture here in America are outlawed, even though they are inherently a part of those religions. Likewise, the common sharia mandated Muslim practices of stoning or whipping adulteresses, killing Muslim apostates and homosexuals, the murders of women known as honor killings (which are occurring with increasing regularity here in America), wife beating and other practices mandated by sharia, directly contradict established U.S law. The same is true of polygamy… at least thus far!
Sharia and other foreign law has no place in American courts. And while sharia especially has no place in any civilized free society, it must be lumped in with other foreign codes to be eliminated. Hopefully Kansas has shown the way.
Bookworm Room: This is a very interesting question because it can go either way when it comes to constitutionality. That’s not because our Constitution is so flexible. It’s because Sharia is both a civil and a religious institution. To the extent it’s a civil system, with rules that extend far beyond core religious doctrine, American states ought to be able to legislate with impunity. However, because Sharia law is inextricably intertwined with the religion — since everything emanated directly from the Prophet who, in turn, spoke with God — that poisonous mixture of civil and religious law constrains legislatures.
I suspect that the best way to deal with Sharia law is to attack it one rule at a time. I would go after burqas first. Mohamed made his wives wear burqas so that his enemies couldn’t accuse them of wrongdoing that would then shame the prophet. Sharia law therefore imposes the burqa, not because Mohamed mandated it as a core religious doctrine but, instead, to emulate his conduct. Because the burqa serves a social, not a religious purpose, the full-face covering burqa can be banned. There’ll be an uproar, of course, but that doesn’t mean that the Constitution can be used as a bludgeon against those states that hold that, for public safety reasons, no one can be on the streets wearing any garment that obscures their face from hairline to hairline and chin to chin. Incidentally, robbers, hoodie wearers and costume party attendees will also protest such a law.
For the most part, though, provided that Sharia law does not violate state or federal laws and provided that women are not being coerced into living under Sharia law, there isn’t much we can do legislatively. What we really should do is abandon the morally stifling cultural relativism that hides behind politically correct multiculturalism. These Marxist proscriptions on free speech prevent us from speaking out freely against Sharia’s more vile practices. This is America and we should be able to use our public squares (and public schools) to speak out against behaviors that are antithetical to American culture and values.
Well, there you have it.
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