Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sharia Law and the US Constitution

A clever look at the US Constitution verses Sharia law.  The differences are as night and day.


Sharia Law and the US Constitution
By Louis Palme
Oct 14, 2009

Americans are among the most tolerant and patriotic people in the world.  As a nation of immigrants, there is a certain appeal to the idea of multiculturalism where people of different backgrounds are accepted in our communities.  Our nation was founded on the principles of equality and freedom, and we have invested our resources and blood over and over again to defend those principles. Our constitution guarantees not only the freedom of speech, but also the freedom to practice our religion of choice.  So it is not surprising that many Americans see Sharia Law as a Muslim religious prerogative which we should support or at least tolerate.  Banks have rushed to provide Sharia-compliant banking, and public institutions like universities and airports have spent taxpayer dollars to help Muslims comply with their religious requirements, providing special foot-baths and prayer rooms for them. 

If anyone speaks out against Sharia Law, there is often a strong reaction within the Muslim community. This month, Dalia Mogahed, President Obama’s advisor on Muslim affairs, complained on British television that the Western view of Sharia was “oversimplified” and misunderstood.  While acknowledging that even Muslims associate Sharia with draconian criminal punishments and laws that seem unequal for women, she stated, “Part of the reason there is this perception of Sharia is because Sharia is not well understood and Islam as a faith is not well understood.”  The London-based Islam Channel panel she was on made repeated attacks against secular “man-made Law” and the West’s “lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism.”  Ms. Mogahed described  her government role as “to convey . . to the President and other public officials what it is Muslims want.”  (Source:)

A similar reaction took place in a recent US Congressional hearing on the dangers posed by political Islam.  Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, one of the most prominent Muslim reformers in the United States, testified, “I think if Muslims want credibility and we want to be respected equally, we need to stand for reform within our faith of [Sharia] laws that are still in the 15th and 16th  Century.” He explained that the jihadists will not be defeated until Muslims start to recognize that their ideology is on a slippery slope toward radicalism.  In response to this testimony, Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D, Mn) delivered a verbal tirade that accused Dr. Jasser of encouraging anti-Muslim bigotry and attempting to censor Islamists.  Ellison said to Dr. Jasser, “I think you give people license for bigotry. I think people who engage in nothing less than Muslim-hating really love you a lot because you give them freedom to do that. You say, ‘yeah, go get after them.’ . .  Now is somebody going to snatch my 13-year-old daughter’s hijab off, call her a horrible name, and spit on her because of something you said,  Dr. Jasser? I worry  about that.”  (Source:)

So, to better understand whether Sharia Law is desirable (or even legal) in the United States, it might be instructive to compare it with the US Constitution. This isn’t too difficult for the layman because the US Constitution is only 17 pages long, including its 27 amendments.  Sharia Law is well-documented in the 1,200 page Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, “The Reliance of the Traveler” by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, and published in the United States by Amana Publications. While the original document dates to the late 14th Century, it has been updated in the 1990’s and bears the  approval of the Fiqh Council of North America as well as the authoritative Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy in Egypt.  The introduction to this manual states, “The four Sunni schools of Islamic Law . . are identical in approximately 75 percent of the legal conclusions. . . [T]he authors of the present volume and their positions do represent the orthodox Muslim intellectual and spiritual heritage that has been the strength of the Community for over a thousand years . .  to the present day.”

While this volume of Sharia Law is primarily about the religious practice of Islam, the 800 pages of the manual devoted to rules and regulations also include sections on Trade, Inheritance, Marriage (suitable partners, legal rights, custody), Divorce, and Justice which would fall under civil law in the United States.  Those sections comprise 35% of the manual, and are among the most controversial because they impose draconian punishments, authorize jihad, and sanction discrimination on the basis of religion and gender. 

The summary below highlights the serious disconnects between the provisions of the US Constitution and those of Sharia Law.