At noon today, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is planning to hold a forum on the anti-Sharia bills currently being considered by 20 states. I wonder if Edina Lekovic will be there. Lekovic is the MPAC flack whom Steve Emerson caught lying on national television, denying she was editor of a Muslim student publication that praised Osama bin Laden as a great mujahid. Emerson produced copies of the rag showing Lekovic’s name on the masthead as editor on the very same page on which the praise for Osama appeared.
In any case, Islamic supremacists and their useful idiots in the mainstream media are mounting a full-court press against anti-Sharia legislation. Yesterday the New York Times had this: “Defend Muslims, Defend America,” by Aziz Huq, an assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago.
When will the Times give equal time to someone who will make the case for the anti-Sharia legislation? Around the time hell freezes over, of course. That case is not fit to print.
WITH an eye toward the 2012 elections, legislators in six states have been debating laws explicitly prohibiting courts from considering or using Sharia law, with 14 more looking at wider bans on “foreign law.” They”re taking a clear cue from Oklahoma’s wildly popular Sharia ban, which voters approved as a state constitutional amendment last year by more than 70 percent.
Such laws are discriminatory and pointless. Civil liberties groups are fighting them in court and calling on state legislators to abandon such bills. But there is an additional reason everyone, including would-be proponents of the laws and the federal government, should oppose them: they pose a significant threat to national security.
Note the threat. The bills “pose a significant threat to national security.” What on earth could that mean, except that Muslims will mount jihad attacks if they are passed?
To begin with, the bans” justifications are thin. Despite the worries voiced by candidates in the recent Republican candidates” debate in New Hampshire, no state, county or municipality is about to realign its laws with religious doctrine, Islamic or otherwise.
In reality, Sharia has been involved in court cases in 23 states.
Nor does any state or federal court today in Oklahoma, or anywhere else, need to enforce a foreign rule repugnant to public policy.
Sure. No one needs to enforce foreign law. The question is not whether or not courts need to, but whether or not they will.
Under the legal system’s well-established “choice of law” doctrines, the courts are already unlikely to help out someone who claims their religion allows, say, the subordination or mistreatment of women.
And yet they already have. In a case in New Jersey, a Muslim husband raped his wife, and the non-Muslim judge in an American courtroom did not charge him with sexual assault because Islam forbids wives to refuse sex to their husbands under any circumstances.
Instead, the bans would deprive Muslims of equal access to the law. A butcher would no longer be able to enforce his contract for halal meat “” contracts that, like deals for kosher or other faith-sanctioned foods, are regularly enforced around the country. Nor could a Muslim banker seek damages for violations of a financial instrument certified as “Sharia compliant” since it pays no interest.
This is all ridiculous. The anti-Sharia laws are designed to prohibit the political and supremacist aspects of Islam — the ones that contradict American Constitutional principles. That is all. If Islam did not contain those elements, no one would bother with anti-Sharia laws at all. They are not designed to prohibit individual Islamic religious practice, and would not do so.
The practices that anti-Sharia laws would prohibit include such aspects of Sharia as female genital mutilation; the restriction of non-Muslim religious practice; the devaluing of a non-Muslim’s life as compared to that of a Muslim; the brutalizing of women; the forbidding of music; and, of course, jihad and Islamic supremacism.
Moreover, these bans increase bias among the public by endorsing the idea that Muslims are second-class citizens. They encourage and accelerate both the acceptability of negative views of Muslims and the expression of those negative views by the public and government agencies like the police.
Note the projection: it is Islamic law that mandates second-class status for non-Muslims. The prohibition of aspects of Sharia that contradict U.S. law would no more render Muslims second-class citizens than the prohibition of polygamy in the late nineteenth century made Mormons second-class citizens.
Such indignities arise amid a pattern of growing animus toward American Muslims. Reports of employment discrimination against Muslims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which declined after a post-9/11 peak, have recently surged. Gallup, Pew and ABC polls confirm a new spike in anti-Muslim views. Most troubling, tallies of hate crimes collected by nongovernmental organizations show the same trend.
Meanwhile, hate crimes against Muslims are not spiking. They are, in fact, so rare (see here, here and here) that Hamas-linked CAIR has to trump them up to maintain the media myth of Muslims as victims.
In this context, bans like the one in Oklahoma will serve to chill cooperation by the Muslim-American community with counterterrorism efforts. This makes sense: in such an environment, it would be fair for Muslims to pause before, say, passing on a lead to the police, worrying about whether the police would then look at them with suspicion as well.
But the likelihood of such a chill is also supported by four large, random-sample surveys that I conducted with two colleagues, Tom Tyler and Stephen Schulhofer. Our data, collected from Muslims and non-Muslims in New York and London, suggest that the experience and perception of private discrimination have a significant negative effect on cooperation.
This not only affects everyday public safety, but also the interaction necessary to gather information about self-radicalization and domestic efforts to recruit terrorists. After all, it’s simply impossible for the government to gather all that information. For that it must rely on the public, both as a filter and as an aid in interpreting it. If the government lacks strong ties to the Muslim-American community, that kind of filter falls apart.
It doesn’t exist now. The “Muslim-American community” is famously not helping with counterterror efforts.
To prevent the erosion of such support, the Justice Department should better publicize its support for a pending challenge to the Oklahoma amendment. It should also announce that it will challenge similar measures as violations of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion. Doing so would not only protect the rights of Muslim-Americans, but also send a signal that they can rely on the federal government’s support.
Hop to it, dhimmis!
To be sure, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has taken steps against anti-Muslim bias, for example by supporting a California schoolteacher’s suit challenging her dismissal for taking time off to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. But these steps are inadequate compared to the scope of public and private discrimination facing Muslim-Americans.
That suit is ridiculous, and it is scandalous that Holder is supporting it.
America has been here before. In 1952, Attorney General James P. McGranery filed a legal brief for the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education, in part, he said, out of national security concerns. “Racial discrimination furnishes grist for Communist propaganda mills,” he said, and “raises doubts even among friendly nations as to the intensity of our devotion to the democratic faith.”
McGranery”s insight remains true today. The federal government needs to do more to defend equal access to the law regardless of faith. To do so is not simply to uphold our core values “” it is also to work to improve our nation’s security.