At Atlas Shrugs Monday I took National Review to task for an article downplaying the Sharia threat:
Last week National Review published an article by Matthew Schmitz, deputy editor of First Things, claiming that “the anti-sharia movement in this country”¦endangers our national security by alienating loyal Muslim citizens and assaults religious liberty.” It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, that a publication whose editors Ann Coulter long ago famously labeled “girly men” would take such an ill-informed and wrongheaded stance — a stance that ultimately threatens the freedom of all Americans.
Schmitz takes issue with Kansas for passing a new law that “forbids courts and agencies to respect contracts drawn up under “˜any law, legal code or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals” if the legal system does not grant the same “˜fundamental liberties, rights and privileges granted under the United States and Kansas constitutions.–
Sharia obviously does not grant those liberties, so what could possibly be wrong with that? Schmitz concedes that Islamic law “does not grant all the rights that the U.S. Constitution does,” but he goes on to claim that “neither does Christian canon law or Jewish Halakhic law (or English or French law, for that matter).” Islamic law mandates denial of basic rights to women and non-Muslims, severe restrictions on the freedom of speech, death for apostates, warfare against unbelievers, stonings for adultery, amputations for theft, female genital mutilation, and polygamy, while Catholic canon law, Jewish Halakhic law, and English and French law do not, but this does not seem to trouble Schmitz. His main point is not that other legal systems are just as restrictive and unjust as Sharia, but that Sharia should be allowed to figure in American legal decisions when to consider it would not contradict American law: why, he asks, should a court be prevented “from honoring a contract made under the provisions of one of these “˜foreign” legal systems if the contract does not itself violate any U.S. or state regulations, laws, or constitutional provisions?”
Good question, but only if one accepts the talking points of Islamic supremacist groups in the U.S., such as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). They claim that anti-Sharia laws would infringe upon Muslims” First Amendment rights to practice their religion. As Schmitz puts it: “Under one reading of the Kansas law, a contract that makes reference to canon law or sharia “” but is otherwise perfectly legal “” would be thrown out, while an identical one that makes no such reference would be upheld.” The purpose of anti-Sharia laws, however, is not to stop Muslims from entering into voluntary contracts based on Sharia provisions that do not violate American law, but to stop the political and supremacist aspects of Islam that infringe upon the rights and freedoms of non-Muslims.
Schmitz does acknowledge that the Kansas law may be understood in a way that does not restrict Muslim religious practice that doesn’t conflict with American law: “The other possible reading of the law is that it only bars rulings based on foreign legal systems when the rulings themselves would violate constitutional rights. But in that case, as Professor Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia Law School has argued, the law is meaningless, for courts will not tolerate or enforce violations of constitutional rights in any case.”
If that were true, there would be no problem. But it isn’t. Several years ago a New Jersey judge declined to charge a Muslim with sexual assault on his wife because under Sharia, a woman may not deny sex to her husband at any time under any circumstances. This remarkable introduction of Islamic law into American jurisprudence was overturned, but the initial decision showed that at least one American judge was all too willing to tolerate and enforce violations of constitutional rights. Schmitz dismisses this case as a “judicial error,” and ignores its larger implications….