November 30, 2010
Sharia Law Is Already Here
Sophisticated liberals have found humor in Oklahoma's recent ban on Sharia law. Along with humor, some have found offense in the bill. U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange granted a temporary restraining order blocking the bill. Critics, such as the culturally aware Clarence Page, say that the OK measure is "a solution in search of a problem." Sharia law is not a threat. Page's evidence: There are only 15,000 Muslims in Oklahoma. It doesn't get much more convincing than that.
The deep thinkers at OpenLeft.com are equally informed: As Paul Rosenberg emphatically says, "there is zero evidence of sharia law having any influence on American law." Rosenberg is factually wrong. On the crucial factual matter of whether Sharia has been applied in our courts, he is unaware of what has occurred.
Sharia law has been applied in U.S. courts. There are at least seventeen instances of Sharia law being applied in eleven states, as Daniel Pipes has noted. Most notably, a NJ court held that a man did not commit rape because according to his belief in Sharia law, a man cannot rape his wife, since the wife serves him. So Sharia law was applied to the mental state element of the crime of rape. An American court actually adopted this barbaric reasoning:
[The defendant] was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited.
The resulting ruling was that a man was held not responsible for rape, where he would have been convicted without Sharia.
It's no comfort to say that a court of appeals overturned the NJ ruling. Judges are open to these arguments, and that is the beginning of Sharia victory if it is not stopped. Liberal judges will become, in their social circles, standard-bearers of enlightenment and cultural sensitivity for embracing the diversity of Sharia law. That is all the incentive they need to continue to use foreign standards to decide what our rights will be. Look no farther than Justice Ginsburg's incredible willingness to latch on to foreign precedents that confirm her preconceived policy preferences. If there is one multicultural lemming in a robe willing to betray our freedoms, that's one too many -- and we can be sure that there are many more who want to.
Every day, the news is full of examples of just how far radical Muslims will push. Take the infamous hijab at the Connecticut roller rink. A Muslim woman named Marisol Rodriguez-Colon was asked to remove her medieval hood at a skating rink. The rink had a policy of no headgear because hats and scarves could cause injury on the floor. She claims that she needed to wear her hijab for "religious reasons." The "religious reasons" argument is the tip of the iceberg. If Muslims get to impose their practices and norms for "religious reasons," then they will reshape Western societies in their own medieval image.
Consider what else Muslims could demand at a roller rink for "religious reasons": For "religious reasons," males and females are to be separated from each other in public much of the time. For religious reasons, there must be no modern music to offend traditional ears. For religious reasons, there should be no pork products at snack bars. For religious reasons, homosexual skaters should be killed in one of many colorful ways -- a belief being taught to British Muslims.
If Marisol Rodriguez-Colon can force the roller rink to change its policy on headgear based on religious reasons, then why can't she change every other policy inconsistent with her creed? There is no way to say that all they want to do is change policy on headgear. There is no limit to what radical Muslims would force non-Muslims to do for "religious reasons." They want more; the radical leaders will demand the most, and they will take as much as they can get. Those two propositions are obvious. Don't be fooled by cringing sensitivity mantras about how moderates don't want to impose their views. Moderates can't stop multicultural appeasement judges from ruling in favor of radicals.
If radicals take as much as they can get, then headgear is one step on the path towards Sharia. There is nothing far-fetched about that prediction. It is the logical consequence of Muslim supremacy combined with Western cowardice.
Of course, this does not mean that each person who wants to wear their medieval headgear in public supports Sharia. What it means is that the headgear is the first step towards institutional acceptance and legal imposition of Sharia law. The same aggressive refusal to assimilate will carry out in other spheres of life. It will not be satisfied by wearing headgear. In fact, if the Muslim supremacists get their way with headgear, that will be a green light to them to make more demands -- demands that are more invasive, requiring even more fundamental changes to our society. That which gets rewarded gets repeated.
Most of us thought that we left the dark ages behind us, but a retrograde impulse is growing. We are far from the imposition of Sharia law, but not far enough. The habit of a liberty-loving people is to guard against any step, no matter how small, towards injustice. The first step toward injustice will guarantee a second step, and the zealots will take that step if they aren't stopped. The first step is never an accident or an exception; it's part of an established plan played out many times around the world. England is learning this tragic lesson as Sharia law makes women second-class citizens in divorce and child custody matters, according to a Guardian newspaper column. The only thing stopping Sharia will be the people willing to guard our liberty and culture. Things are best protected when they are jealously guarded. That is something that our founders knew very well.
Proactive defense of liberty and prevention of injustice are the reasons why Tennessee and Louisiana have already passed similar measures to Oklahoma's. At least twelve other states are considering such measures. Such policy is rank xenophobia, according to some, who contend that Islam is being unfairly singled out.
Sharia defenders should know that Islam is named specifically because Muslims single themselves out. Their leadership is uniquely comfortable forcing their religious practices and views onto other people. After a fitful two hundred years of protecting religious liberty in America, we have a sect seeking to impose its views in a way we haven't seen in a very long time. We should commend those who resist that imposition in advance.
John Bennett is a JD candidate, Emory University School of Law '11.