House of Representatives Votes to Eradicate Blasphemy Against Islam
The House of Representatives has passed a bill that seeks to eradicate blasphemy against Islam. The bill, H.R. 5665, is truly remarkable as it amounts to Congress making a law respecting the establishment of Islam and reducing the United States government into a tool of the world’s ayatollahs.
The actual text of the bill not only seeks to eradicate blasphemy against Islam around the world – and solely against Islam at that – but even requires the federal government to reorganize some portions of the State Department along the lines of an Islamic religious institution which will be responsible for interpreting the Quran. For example, the text of the bill mandates that “[t]he Secretary of State shall establish within the Department of State an Office” and the “purpose” of the office is described as “[m]onitoring and combating acts of Islamophobia and Islamophobic incitement that occur in foreign countries.” That is, the State Department is required to create an office that is a cross between George Orwell’s Big Brother and the Taliban.
The word ‘combat’ in the text of the law is problematic but fits in perfectly with the concept of waging violent jihad against the countries deemed to have committed blasphemy against Islam. Almost every dictionary defines the word primarily as an action pertaining to war. While the internet firm Google’s dictionary defines 'combat’ as “fighting between armed forces,” Cambridge Dictionary defines the word as “a fight, especially during a war.” According to Collins Dictionary, “combat is fighting that takes place in a war.” This is no hyperbole as the State Department has a long history of supporting Islamic terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS. Former Assistant Secretary of State, Robin Raphel, ran her office as though it were an outpost of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and she lost her security clearance when she was investigated for counterintelligence activities. Little wonder then that Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, used the term “Rogue State Department” and President Donald Trump described the State Department as the “Deep State Department.”
The blasphemy law further requires the newly created office to be headed by a person appointed by the “President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate” and the person to be responsible for the “assessment and description of the nature and extent of acts of Islamophobia and Islamophobic incitement” and for determining if any utterances constitute “instances of propaganda” or “promote racial hatred or incite acts of violence against Muslim people.” Since the word ‘Islamophobia’ is not defined in the text of the legislation and words such as ‘hatred’ and ‘propaganda’ are subjective, the head of the newly created office will be ultimately responsible for interpreting the Quran and issuing legal opinions on whether statements made around the world amount to hatred or anti-Islamic propaganda under such interpretation.
In Islam, the person who interprets the Quran and issues legal opinions or edicts in the manner described by the new law is the Grand Mufti, and the opinions and edicts themselves are known as fatwas. Many of us are old enough to recall one of the most spine-chilling and famous fatwas issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against the author Salman Rushdie for committing blasphemy against Islam by writing his book, The Satanic Verses. Just as in the case of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Grand Mufti of the State Department too will have unlimited powers without any checks and balances, and neither the authority of the Mufti nor any fatwa issued by him can ever be challenged in a court of law. This is because the State Department’s opinions will be part of an annual report that is mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 which “prohibits judicial review” of “agency actions taken under this Act.”
That kind of unlimited power might appear unconstitutional just as the blasphemy law along with its requirement that the State Department police the world and provide Halal certificates for free speech may appear unconstitutional, but those objections would not matter to dishonest judges. The courts most likely would rule that anyone who has filed a lawsuit challenging this law lacks standing as the law applies only to those outside the country and the person filing the lawsuit has not faced any injury. Therefore, even if the entire federal government were transformed into one big Islamic outfit with the sole purpose of using American resources to propagate Islam, American citizens can do nothing about it.
The entire purpose of the law, then, is to use the resources of the US government to arm-twist every other country into becoming a Sharia-compliant state. Ironically, the State Department would be responsible for squelching the freedom of expression in other countries and then publishing reports that complain about the lack of freedom of expression in those same countries!
The blasphemy bill came into existence when it was sponsored by the Somalia-born Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (to be fair to her, she is most likely nothing more than a pawn of the State Department who did what she was told) after the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (who sparked off the deadly Islamic riots in multiple countries in 2005 by accusing the US of flushing the Quran down the toilet in Guantanamo Bay) demanded that the US and other western nations pass such a law to protect the medieval-era barbarism perpetrated by Islamic countries from scrutiny and criticism. This of course makes perfect sense because both Somalia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan are shining examples of countries that can teach the world about liberty, democracy, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression. After all, according to the Pakistani Constitution, “In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful… the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed.”
The Pakistani Constitution goes on to inform us that “Islam shall be the State religion of Pakistan” (Article 2), that “there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam” (Article 19), that “the State shall endeavour, as respects the Muslims of Pakistan to make the teaching of the Holy Quran and Islamiat compulsory” (Article 31-2), and that the qualifications to be a member of the Parliament require a person to be someone who follows the “Islamic injunction” and who “has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sins” (Article 62). There is also a section on the “Federal Shariat Court.” And so it goes. On and on about Islam, the Quran, Sunnah, the Prophet, Allah, Mullah, Ulema, mosques, Arabic language, and many such topics that would be of great interest to the Taliban-type people.
For its part, the Somali Constitution states that “Islam is the religion of the State” (Article 2-1), “no religion other than Islam can be propagated in the country” (Article 2-2), “no law which is not compliant with the general principles of Shari'ah can be enacted” (Article 2-3), and “the teaching of Islam shall be compulsory for pupils in both public and private schools (Article 30-8). Strangely, Ilhan Omar herself would have been punished in Somalia for her adultery by being stoned to death as the country follows the Islamic law on this matter, but she now pushes for the advancement of Islam in America.
A simple way to enhance the reputation of Islam would be to stop beheading people, murdering women by throwing rocks at them, sending out throat-cutters and homicide bombers to kill the infidels, converting children into improvised explosive devices, and indulging in ridiculous actions such as getting beard-inspectors to run around measuring the lengths of beards of men in order to terrorize them into conforming with the Quran. Instead of taking steps to reform the Islamic world, Ilhan Omar and the supporters of this new law want the world to endorse and embrace all the cruel actions of the Islamic countries. However, by pushing for this law and appealing to America to save the reputation of Islam, they have inadvertently ended up implying another message – that Allah is unable to save the reputation of Islam and America is a greater power than Allah.
Photo credit: Amy M. Lovgren US National Archives
[The author can be reached at arvindk at uchicago dot edu.]
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