Juan Cole’s Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism


Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism

Posted on 04/17/2013 by Juan Cole

Erik Rush and others who hastened to scapegoat Muslims for the Boston Marathon bombing are ignorant of the religion. I can’t understand why people who have never so much as read a book about a subject appoint themselves experts on it. (Try this book, e.g.). We don’t yet know who carried out the attack, but we know they either aren’t Muslims at all or they aren’t real Muslims, in the nature of the case.

For the TLDR crowd, here are the top ten ways that Islamic law and tradition forbid terrorism (some of these points are reworked from previous postings):

1. Terrorism is above all murder. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an. Qur’an 6:151 says, “and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.” (i.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted). 5:53 says, “… whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.”

2. If the motive for terrorism is religious, it is impermissible in Islamic law. It is forbidden to attempt to impose Islam on other people. The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right way has become distinct from error.” (-The Cow, 2:256). Note that this verse was revealed in Medina in 622 AD or after and was never abrogated by any other verse of the Quran. Islam’s holy book forbids coercing people into adopting any religion. They have to willingly choose it.

3. Islamic law forbids aggressive warfare. The Quran says, “But if the enemies incline towards peace, do you also incline towards peace. And trust in God! For He is the one who hears and knows all things.” (8:61) The Quran chapter “The Cow,” 2:190, says, “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.”

4. In the Islamic law of war, not just any civil engineer can declare or launch a war. It is the prerogative of the duly constituted leader of the Muslim community that engages in the war. Nowadays that would be the president or prime minister of the state, as advised by the mufti or national jurisconsult.

5. The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden. According to Sunni tradition, ‘Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first Caliph, gave these instructions to his armies: “I instruct you in ten matters: Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm; do not cut down fruit-bearing trees; do not destroy any town . . . ” (Malik’s Muwatta’, “Kitab al-Jihad.”)

6. Terrorism or hirabah is forbidden in Islamic law, which groups it with brigandage, highway robbery and extortion rackets– any illicit use of fear and coercion in public spaces for money or power. The principle of forbidding the spreading of terror in the land is based on the Qur’an (Surah al-Ma’ida 5:33–34). Prominent [pdf] Muslim legal scholar Sherman Jackson writes, “The Spanish Maliki jurist Ibn `Abd al-Barr (d. 464/ 1070)) defines the agent of hiraba as ‘Anyone who disturbs free passage in the streets and renders them unsafe to travel, striving to spread corruption in the land by taking money, killing people or violating what God has made it unlawful to violate is guilty of hirabah . . .”

7. Sneak attacks are forbidden. Muslim commanders must give the enemy fair warning that war is imminent. The Prophet Muhammad at one point gave 4 months notice.

8. The Prophet Muhammad counseled doing good to those who harm you andis said to have commanded, “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

9. The Qur’an demands of believers that they exercise justice toward people even where they have reason to be angry with them: “And do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.”[5:8]

10. The Qur’an assures Christians and Jews of paradise if they believe and do good works, and commends Christians as the best friends of Muslims. I wrote elsewhere, “Dangerous falsehoods are being promulgated to the American public. The Quran does not preach violence against Christians.

Quran 5:69 says (Arberry): “Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Christians, and those Sabeaans, whoso believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness–their wage waits them with their Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow.”

In other words, the Quran promises Christians and Jews along with Muslims that if they have faith and works, they need have no fear in the afterlife. It is not saying that non-Muslims go to hell– quite the opposite.

When speaking of the 7th-century situation in the Muslim city-state of Medina, which was at war with pagan Mecca, the Quran notes that the polytheists and some Arabian Jewish tribes were opposed to Islam, but then goes on to say:

5:82. ” . . . and you will find the nearest in love to the believers [Muslims] those who say: ‘We are Christians.’ That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.”

So the Quran not only does not urge Muslims to commit violence against Christians, it calls them “nearest in love” to the Muslims! The reason given is their piety, their ability to produce holy persons dedicated to God, and their lack of overweening pride.

 

If you want to know who are politicians’ favorite whipping boy, look no farther than American Muslims


Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

If you want to win election to Congress, demagogue the Muslim or the Shariah problem in America and you are a shoo-in to get elected.

Suburban Muslims are refuting claims made by Congressman Joe Walsh about the growth of “radical Islam” in the suburbs, saying instead that their religion is increasingly becoming a “punching bag” for Republicans.

“They took it very offensively,” Jamil Zara, General Secretary at the Midwest Islamic Center Masid Al-Huda in Schaumburg said of remarks Walsh made Wednesday at an Elk Grove Village town hall meeting. “It seems Republicans lately are doing this for the political gain. They make Islam a punching bag. They’re using Islam to scare people.”……..

In a statement, Walsh Thursday did not back down from the comments he made at the town hall. Instead, he said, “We cannot let political correctness blind us to reality. While most Muslims in America and around the world are as peace loving as the rest of us, we would be foolish to ignore the fact that there is a radical minority that simply wants to destroy America and the values that we stand for. … It is our responsibility as members of Congress to protect American families.”

I guess Walsh’s Muslim constituents aren’t considered American, or maybe he doesn’t want them to be?  After three years of ridiculous speculation whether the President is Muslim or even foreign, and further equally absurd conjecture of some sort of Islamic takeover of the government or the stealthy encroachment of Islamic law, shariah, in the US judicial system, ambitious politicians realize the path to success is to demonize a group of Americans and play to society’s fear and prejudices in order to succeed.  That’s call demagoguery, ‘seeking support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.’  Of course there’s no truth to or reason for this blatant lie; with the exception of 911 that happened over a decade ago, Muslims have not been the violent group on the verge of reeking havoc on America as politicians or media would have you believe, but in the absence of accurate reporting on political violence and the abundance of false and or misleading information about what American Muslims are supposed to have done, it has become easy for politicians like Walsh to erroneously assert the untruth. If a politician is dishonest about something as important as life and death and the rights of citizens of the republic about what else can they expected to be dishonest? What’s equally distressing is knowing that American politicians aren’t presenting them with clear choices of leadership and integrity  too many of the electorate  are willing to bet the aberrant behavior to “fudge” on the truth will only apply when politicians talk about Muslims and not when issues which directly affect them are up for discussion. Fat chance…and so confidence in Congress will continue to diminish because lawmakers haven’t been called on the lies they tell us about people or things we don’t like. Wake up America!

What is it about people’s religious scriptures that drives other people insane?!?


America is in the throes of Shariah lunacy.  It seems US lawmakers on the state and federal level are going out of their way to promote the idea that America is in danger of being overwhelmed by “Shariah” the legal code of Islam.  The very notion has caused some to border on the verge of insanity, and almost half of the states in America have or will consider some form of anti-Shariah law for a threat that simply doesn’t exist, legally or in reality.  Or take the recent talk about the dreaded Muslim Brotherhood which has gone so viral that John McCann had to go on the Senate floor to denounce the accusations that a long-time Hillary Clinton aide is some kind of conduit for the organization which now is represented by the newly elected President of Egypt.   We have also heard a lot about the desecration of the Quran on the part of  various and sundry folks, from the deranged Florida pastor to the US military’s burning of the Quran in Afghanistan and the resulting public outcry such heresy brings.

Here now is another case of some whack job driven insane by the New Testament; unfortunately for us he is a member of our ally, Israel’s government.   Michael Ben-Ari, pictured above,  decided to make his desecration a very public act, calling in cameras to record it for all the world to see.  Evidently he thinks the existence of the New Testament is responsible for the persecution and murder of Jews all over the world.  One has to wonder if he thinks the United States, a reportedly Christian country, is also responsible for the same?  What I also found enlightening was the language used by Ben-Ari in relation to the people who sent him the copy of the Bible and the followers of it.  Taking a page out of the Iranian president’s reference to the state of Israel, Ben-Ari said the place of the book and its messengers is in the trash of history.  There’s no doubt this Ben-Ari is so radical and enraged a member of the Israeli parliament that he’s been denied a visa to come to the US twice and after this latest outrage some within the Israeli government, to their credit, have denounced his actions.  However, it’s troubling that our only ally in the region, as they like to call themselves, elects members to its government that hold such strident and racist notions about Christians and Christianity and no doubt about their benefactor, America.

Just who are the Muslim Brotherhood


They certainly haven’t infested every branch of American government or life that many of the Islamophobes claim.  I found this excerpt revealing

It has become accepted wisdom in some circles that the Muslim Brotherhood is a force for progressive change, even democracy, in Egypt. Since the mid-1980s when the Brotherhood entered electoral politics in a coalition with the allegedly liberal Wafd party, its leaders have embraced the rhetoric of political reform. On the eve of the 1990 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood’s then Supreme Guide Mohamed Abul Nasr penned an open letter to President Mubarak in which he boldly stated, “Freedom is dear and it is preferable for you to avoid your nation’s anger and riots. It cannot be imagined that any people will remain under subjugation and repression after hearing and witnessing surrounding nations achieve their freedom and dignity…A nation’s power is derived not from material power, but from the entire citizenry’s liberty, the people’s trust in the government, and the government’s trust in the people.” Those are reassuring (and prescient) words–even 22 years after the fact–but the Brothers have always been rather fuzzy about what democracy means to them, falling back on the concept of shura or “consultation,” which could or could not be the foundation of Egyptian democracy. They have also been vague about shari’a. While Morsi and Brotherhood big wallas have said that they will implement Islamic law, members of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party told the American foreign policy establishment during a visit in March that they support “the principles of shari’a, but not necessarily its particular legal rulings.” I guess that sounds fine to the uninitiated, but the statement amounts to nothing more than obfuscation.

It is entirely possible that the Brothers are democrats despite themselves. Here is the theory: Hammered as they are between the military, which still controls the guns, and other political forces including revolutionaries who mistrust the Islamists and thus can stir up trouble, the Brotherhood could determine that their only source of power is through the ballot box. As a result, the Brothers will seek regularly scheduled, free and fair elections as the only way to legitimate their power. In time, this will transform the Brothers into committed democrats. Never mind (cliché warning) that elections don’t make democracy, but this is roughly what happened in Europe and how theocratic parties of the 19th century became today’s Christian Democrats. There are many insights to be gleaned from Europe’s experiences, but it is important to remember that history can be a guide, but it is not a blueprint.

In the end, the intellectually honest answer about the Brothers’ commitment to democracy is, we just don’t know. It’s an empirical question. Let’s pay less attention to what they say and focus on what they are doing.

The last line is especially insightful and mature given the topic at hand.

Muslim countries? What Muslim countries!?


Islam

Islam (Photo credit: rogiro)

As if to put “Muslim countries” in their place, someone suggests that there aren’t any. I wish I had written this

What makes a good Islamic country? Is it one where the people dress conservatively (or even severely in the case of women), adhere strictly to the rituals of Islam, where shariah laws apply?

Or is a good Islamic country one that keeps to the substantive teachings of Islam, more concerned with the content rather than the form of the religion? Where fairness, justice, honesty are the cornerstones of government policies and of its citizens’ daily dealings.

How is a good Muslim judged? By the number of times he prays a day, by how assiduously he keeps to the rules? Or by how he lives the true meaning of his faith?

A study by Scheherazade S Rehman and Hossein Askari from George Washington University, published in the Global Economy Journal Vol 10 drew surprising conclusions.

The study examined if policies of Muslim countries (or Muslim majority countries) were founded on Islamic principles in comparison to non-Muslim countries. 208 countries were studied.

The criteria: economic opportunity, economic freedom, corruption, financial systems and human rights were used to measure the level of ‘Islamicity’ (based on an information website about Islam and Muslims).

The study found that most Islamic countries did not conduct themselves according to Islamic principles concerning economic, financial, political, legal, social and governance issues.

This is reflected in the governments in those countries but also the practices of the citizens in their daily dealings. Even at a social level it was found that many non-Muslim countries did much better in keeping to Islamic values.

The most ‘Islamic’ country the study found was actually non-Muslim – New Zealand. Luxembourg came second. The top 37 countries in the study were all non-Muslim.

Imaddudin Abdulrahim, one of Indonesia’s leading thinkers on Islamic monotheism claimed that Ames, a small city in Iowa, represents an exemplar of an Islamic state.

Yet Islam does not play a part in the day-to-day social, economic and political life of the city. The population does not observe Islamic rules on food or dress.

Imaddudin was not interested in form; he used parameters which reflect what he considered true Islam – trust, justice, fairness, freedom.

He found that people did not lock their doors when they went out and yet no one trespassed.

If you returned a broken egg to the grocer he accepted that it was broken when you bought it and replaced it without question.

People were honest in their dealings irrespective of the value of the transaction.

The government was fair and non-discriminatory. People were accepting of ethnic or religious differences.

He saw Islam beyond shariah and beyond its textual appearances. He was more concerned with the substantive elements of the religion.

Recently I enquired through a friend the possibility of getting a scholarship (from a certain university funded by a Muslim tycoon) for an Indian girl who had done very well in her exams but whose parents were poor and unable to send her to university. I was told in no uncertain terms that scholarships were only given to Muslims.

How does this reflect the true values of Islam?

When I was in Sudan I visited villages where artesian water was pumped out by equipment donated by Christian charities. I saw clinics and schools built and maintained by Christian foundations. Every village involved was however 100 percent Muslim!

Is there anywhere in any ‘Christian’ country where Muslims are forbidden to build mosques? As long as they comply with the local building codes they have every right to do so and the law will protects their rights.

Yet this is not the case in many Muslim countries. No wonder so many non-Muslim countries score higher than Muslim ones based on Islamic principles.

It’s no use spouting chapter and verse of the Quran if our deeds do not match the words we mouth.

We can follow all the rituals – fast, do the haj, pray five times a day, abstain from non-halal food, and cover ourselves. They all count for little if our deeds do not reflect the values of the religion.

If we are corrupt, if we discriminate against others because of ethnicity or religion, if we deny freedom of worship to others or even to one’s own, are we living by the true values of Islam?

Are our economic policies geared to help those at the bottom of the ladder or do they benefit the top disproportionately? Is our political system fair?

Do we respect human rights? Have we an untainted legal system? Is our governance transparent and accountable?  Are we tolerant of other religions and not impede their practice?

By any of the above criteria Malaysia has failed to live up to Islamic principles.

The authorities obstruct the building of non-Muslim places of worship – or even demolish them.

Christians are persecuted on dubious grounds. Our government discriminates on race and religion. Corruption is rife especially in high places.

The poor (the majority of whom are Malays) are left behind while the rich get richer. There is no respect for human rights and the political system is skewed.

On every count we fail to live up to Islamic values.

Lately radical Muslims have started to see ‘Christians under the bed’ – an Islamic form of the infamous McCarthyism of the fifties in the US.

They imagine that Christians are out to proselytise their fellow believers. They don’t believe that other Muslims can be more sophisticated than they and can make up their own minds what to believe in.

More than that, they demand Christians desist in doing whatever may remotely be a threat to them.

If these people were in charge in Sudan there would have been a lot of thirsty people and a lot of people without medicine and children without schooling.

I suppose they will now pass a fatwa that no Muslims must go to Christian hospitals. The Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Penang has been servicing the people for a long time and a lot of Muslims use the hospital.

There are symbols of Christianity everywhere and there are Bible tracts for those who want to read them.

Going by recent events the hospital could be charged with proselytising. If so I think they would have failed miserably – I doubt a single Muslim patient has converted.

You go to a hospital because you are sick and because you think it gives good service. You send your children to a school because you think it gives your children the best education, you drink because you are thirsty, you don’t care who paid for the pump that brought the water out.

Religion does not come into the reckoning for most people in this way.

Conversely you provide care irrespective of that person’s religion or give scholarships because the person is poor and deserving, irrespective of her skin colour or her religion.

If Malaysia lives up to the real values of Islam and not its superficiality, the country would be much better off.

Radical Muslims should be careful that the Christians they imagine lurking  under their beds may turn out to be better Muslims than themselves.

But then maybe that’s the crux of the problem, they are being exposed for what they are, faux Muslims.

How an article of clothing brings out the worse in US


What’s the difference between this and that?  What are we told should be our reaction to the image on the right versus the image on the left?  Mankind has been struggling with women’s sexuality since the beginning of time and inevitably we end up objectifying women either as objects of pleasure or revulsion, yet legally speaking, in most western democracies women were allowed the freedom to choose what they could wear and we as a society were told to respect that choice or face legal consequences for our indiscretion.  You will not find one politician who will claim the woman on the right has an ulterior motive to subvert the American way of life by wearing such an outfit in public, yet women who appear as the image on the left we are told want to impose a way of life on us that is akin to the terrorist attacks of 911 and therefore the weight of the law should be brought to bear against them…..not their detractors.  Raising the cry of No Sharia, politicians, pundits and the general public alike have likened such an article of clothing as an act of sedition.  In fact, too many societies in the West are even deciding to remove the right of women to choose what they, women, want to wear or what they should do with their bodies or the bodies that grow inside their bodies.  Legally, no woman is responsible for the inappropriate behavior of a male  towards her if she appeared as the image on the right.  Rape, a crime of violence is rarely if ever excused because the attacker gave in to an uncontrollable desire to ravage a woman’s body because she was wearing clothing that excited him.  As a society, we’ve come to accept the notion that regardless how a woman may appear, we are not to infringe on her ability to appear that way or punish her with our male notions of how we can behave as a result, yet far too many people feel compelled to punish women who wear niqab, either by restricting their right to wear it or denying them access in society.

Authorities have given in to their uncontrollable desire to assault the body of women who choose to wear the niqaab with the full weight of a government that has ingrained in its law freedom of religious and personal expression by removing the freedom or right to those that offend government.   The silence of an American public so beat up with the fear of Muslims and Islam is more than deafening, its complicit.  That no one can see the charade of charlatans who invent an object of fear and then say the only way it can be dealt with is to undo the fundamental precepts on which this country were built in order to make people feel comfortable is not only an absurd notion but highly treasonous.  After more than a decade of intense fear mongering which has produced not one scintilla of an outcome we were told was inevitable, more straw dogs, like the niqab, have been erected to convince a weary public that more needs to be done to assuage their fear and rid us of a menace.  Yet, what we’re being rid of is a woman’s right to choose how she wants to behave in this society. This battle is being fought by Muslim women, pregnant women, teenaged women, of all races and ethnic backgrounds.  They should join one another in standing against a trend that can only lead to them losing control of how they define themselves.  Ours should not be a society that fears or objectifies women.

The Racist’s Playbook exposed


People for the American Way have compiled the strategy used by the Right to inflame public passion against Muslims and gain political power.  The work entitled The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism, contains such tidbits as this

Anti-Muslim sentiments are commonplace among Republican Party officials, candidates and activists. Right-wing activist David Horowitz maintains that “between 150 million and 750 million Muslims” are known to “support a holy war against Christians, Jews and other Muslims.” Religious Right leader Pat Robertson has likened Muslims to Adolf Hitler and said that Americans should fight Muslims in the same way the country fought Nazi Germany. Radio talk show host and American Family Association political chief Bryan Fischer calls Muslim-Americans “parasites” and a “toxic cancer” who are “out to eliminate and destroy western civilization.”

Presidential candidate Herman Cain said he would never consider appointing a Muslim to his administration, telling Fischer on his radio show, “I wouldn’t have Muslims in my administration”. Newt Gingrich defended Cain’s position in a Republican presidential debate, arguing that Muslims lie about their loyalty to the country and comparing them to Nazis. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), in an ad before the 2010 election, equated all Muslim-Americans with the terrorists who committed the September 11th attacks. Rep. Allen West (R-FL) claimed Muslims are naturally “wild” because God cursed Ishmael and his (Muslim) descendents.

The American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative legal foundation founded by Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow, claims that Muslims are compelled by their religion to fight America and other countries: “Because Islam grew out of the belief in complete world domination, every Muslim is obligated to labor in his own way toward achieving that goal, no matter where he lives or what sovereign claims his allegiance,” the group writes in Shari’a Law: Radical Islam’s Threat to the U.S. Constitution. The ACLJ is one of the driving forces behind the attempt to block construction of the Park 51 Muslim community center in Manhattan and offers elected officials legal advice to crack down on the supposed ‘Sharia threat.’ In its Shari’a Law pamphlet, ACLJ makes clear its view that Muslims cannot be loyal Americans, asserting that “devout Muslims cannot truthfully swear the oath to become citizens of the United States of America.”

Attempts by Muslims to defend their faith and community are rendered meaningless under this Right Wing framing, because anti-Muslim activists dishonestly argue that Muslims are mandated by their religion to lie in order to further their violent objectives.

Now Cain, thank God is gone…..effectively removed from the power landscape of the GOP, but the others mentioned in the excerpt are still recognized, vocal, visible and quoted by far too many across the width and breath of this country.  The fact that in today’s America, people have become popular, powerful and influential because they have incited public passions against certain segments of the society is not only disgraceful, but an indication of how far America has to go and just how backwards it has become in the second decade of the 21st century.  Those who pooh pooh the need for a discussion of race in this country are disillusioned, with their heads in the sand.

Members of Muslim Paramilitary ‘Mahdi Unit’ charged for home invasion


Finally, news that every American should be concerned about.

Michael Schaffran and Cody Jacob Rogers, arrested after Gautier home invasion.

Two members of a Muslim paramilitary group called “The Mahdi Unit” were charged with kidnapping and burglary for allegedly conducting a home invasion while clad in ski-masks, military garb and bullet-proof vests.

Ahmed Abdulla, 32, and Abdulla Ahmed, 18, were arrested after allegedly breaking into a home on Tuesday night in Gautier, Mississippi. They were each charged with three counts of kidnapping and burglary of an occupied house, the Sun-Herald reports.

According to police, Abdulla and Ahmed dressed up in military gear, ski masks and bullet-proof vests, broke into the house, and attacked the three people who lived there. At the time of the arrest, Abdulla had a knife, though Ahmed was unarmed.

Authorities say Abdulla is the “commander” of a paramilitary group of teenagers called “The Mahdi Unit” or “The Tactical Support Unit,” and Ahmed is the “captain.” According to an operations manual allegedly confiscated from Abdulla and Ahmed, the goal of the group is to “promote Islam, obtain offenders who are a danger to society, do community service work for mosques and halfway houses, and do security for different functions.

You can read more about these miscreants and their threat to America  here.  Now that we know who the REAL enemy is here in America, why don’t we work together to eradicate it and get back to healing this society so that we can coexist peacefully!

American Muslim voices-Things you might not have heard from them before


Racism and Islamophobia are hideous, counterproductive, provincial inventions that afflict our society and reduce its effectiveness.  It is meant to nominalize the voices of its victims and dehumanize them and de-value  anything they have to say.  The following article written by an American Muslim expresses a view probably shared by a majority of non Muslim Americans which they might never hear coming from an American Muslim, and while it should not be a deal clincher, should emphasize the commonality that Americans have with one another.

What’s Up With Muslims and Dogs?
I’m not a big follower of reality television, but was happy to hear about TLC’s new reality show “All-American Muslim.” We know that personal contact is the best way to break down stereotypes, but with Muslims less than 2% of the U.S. population, many Americans will never get to know a Muslim. Meeting us through reality television might not be ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

After watching “All-American Muslim” for a few weeks, I now believe that the show is good for our community beyond the way it might lessen prejudice against Muslims. The additional benefit is that the show has engaged our community in discussing some of the many challenges we face making distinctions between critical religious values and flexible cultural practices. In the fourth episode, the issue of Muslims having dogs in the home came up, and this is worth further discussion.

In this episode, newlywed Arab-American Shadia tells Jeff, her Irish-American convert husband, that she does not want his dog to move with them to their new home. Shadia has allergies, and her asthma is exacerbated by the dog’s hair. This is an understandable and common dilemma. But Shadia bolsters her position with statements about the impermissibility for a Muslim to have dogs in the home. Her father will not pray in the house if the dog is there, she says, because dog hair is impure and a prayer space needs to be pure. Later, Shadia backs off from the religious argument, admitting that the main reason she doesn’t want a dog in the house is “I wasn’t raised with dogs; I’m not used to them.” I appreciated this moment of honesty. The use of a religious norm as a trump card in an argument we want to win is a temptation we all face.

So what is the Islamic position about dogs? In fact, there are a variety of opinions according to different legal schools. The majority consider the saliva of dogs to be impure, while the Maliki school makes a distinction between domestic and wild dogs, only considering the saliva of the latter to be impure. The question for Muslims observant of other schools of law is, what are the implications of such an impurity?

These Muslims should remember that there are many other impurities present in our homes, mostly in the form of human waste, blood, and other bodily fluids. It is fairly common for such impurities to come in contact with our clothes, and we simply wash them off or change our clothes for prayer. When you have children at home, it sometimes seems you can never get away from human waste. But we manage it, often by designating a special space and clothing kept clean for prayer.

Some Muslims object to having a dog in the home because of a prophetic report that angels do not enter a home with dogs in it. If a Muslim accepts this report as authentic, it still requires an analysis of context to determine its meaning and legal application. Ordinary people are not recipients of divine revelation through angelic messengers, so it is possible that this statement, although in general form, might suggest a rule for the Prophet’s home, not all homes. This interpretation is strengthened by the fact the Qur’an states that angels are always present, protecting us and recording our good and bad actions.

Whatever the implications of this report, there is no doubt that the Qur’an is positive about dogs. The Qur’an allows the use of hunting dogs, which is one of the reasons the Maliki school makes a distinction between domestic and wild dogs – since we can eat game that has been in a retriever’s mouth. But most compelling is the Qur’anic description of a dog who kept company with righteous youths escaping religious persecution. The party finds shelter in a cave where God places them in a deep sleep; the Qur’an (18:18) says:

You would have thought them awake, but they were asleep And [God] turned them on their right sides then on their left sides And their dog stretched his forelegs across the threshold

This tender description of the dog guarding the cave makes it clear that the animal is good company for believers. Legal scholars might argue about the proper location of the dog – that he should stay on the threshold of the home, not inside – but home designs vary across cultures. In warm climates, an outdoor courtyard is a perfectly humane place for a dog – its physical and social needs can be met in the yard. This is not the case in cold climates, where people stay indoors most of the day for months at a time.

Extreme concern about the uncleanliness of dogs likely arose historically as Islam became more of an urban phenomenon. In medieval cities, as in modern cities in underdeveloped countries, crowding of people and animals leads to the rapid spread of disease and animal control is not a priority. A few run-ins with an aggressive or diseased animal can result in excessive caution, fear and negativity.

I have long felt badly that many Muslims fear dogs as a result of negative experiences and that they resort to confused religious reasoning to shun them. It is one of the reasons why I try to introduce my students and friends to my very sweet, very large dog Ziggy.

2011-12-13-Ziggy.jpg

Ziggy came into our home to be like the dog in the cave: to keep company to my child who lies in exile from the world because of a debilitating illness. He has been nothing but a blessing – guarding the house while we sleep, forcing me to exercise daily, and showing us, as he happily follows our tiny cat around the yard, that if cats and dogs can get along so well, then we people have no excuse.

There is another reason why I love having my dog around. Ziggy came from Tennessee. He was rescued by an animal control officer who uses her own resources to save dogs who would otherwise be destroyed in a few days. Tina saves as many dogs as she can by bringing them home and putting them up for adoption on the internet. When I called Tina to speak about adopting Ziggy, she had 65 dogs she had rescued out in her yard. After being disheartened by some terrible things that have come out of Tennessee lately – mosque burnings and anti-Shari`ah legislation among them – I love looking at Ziggy and thinking about the woman with the thick southern accent and big heart who saved his life.

 

What a difference a year makes


Last year about this time there were demonstrations in New York city in opposition to the building of a community center which would feature a mosque, among other places of worship, at Park 51.  Islamophobes whipped up anti Islamic fervor and garnered a lot of media attention surrounding their racist rants.  We were inundated, regaled with news articles like this and this and this. One could make the case that such constant exposure in the media was an incitement to the mosque’s opponents to continue their assault against the First amendment to the Constitution.  The New York city demonstrations were duplicated in other cities across the country, taking the form of “anti-sharia” protests, intimating that as the number of mosques grew in America the possibility of Americans being ruled by Islamic law would increase too.  Faulty assumptions built on racial prejudice, that were never called that and magnified under the  full light of America’s media and gobbled up by America’s darkside, the Ground Zero mosque debacle was fully embraced by America.  One year later and Park 51 mosque has opened, people are praying there, life is still being lived and America is no worse for that event taking place as it should have.  It is correct to point out, albeit more pointedly than a writer here that the furor over the Park 51 mosque was indeed racist, fueled by a racist media, and particularly FoxNews, that journalistic anathema  that has soiled the American conscious.

A year later and what has changed is this, there is a ground swell against the nefarious activity of Wall Street bankers who have profited greatly at the expense of  the American economy through business transactions which solely benefited them.  What has also changed is the American media’s ignoring these protests which have been equally vociferous and as well attended but which have far more impact on the lives of every American than the building of a place of worship in New York city.  Media some say  serves as a source of intelligence for the public about what is or should be important to them but it has failed miserably in the two instances for this piece, over emphasizing Park 51 demonstrators while ignoring Occupy Wall Street protestors.  It appeared media’s intent was to neglect the protests in hopes they would fizzle out, disperse and quietly go away.  That hasn’t happened, I’m sure much to the chagrin of a lot of hand wringing execs in news rooms who must now cover these protests.

If you want to know what are the goals of these demonstrations, why are they being held and what it is the people taking part in them want, you can find that information below.

 

All those cowering in fear about an impending sharia take over of America, ignore the fear mongerers and fear no more


GOP Presidential Debate June 13, 2011 in New H...

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

It’s all a “myth”, but that’s something I’ve been telling you many times here and at the same time highlighting the incendiary, racist and seditious nature of those who are trying to scare the Nation into enforcing a pogrom against Muslims in America. So, read carefully

If you are not vitally concerned about the possibility of radical Muslims infiltrating the U.S. government and establishing a Taliban-style theocracy, then you are not a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. In addition to talking about tax policy and Afghanistan, Republican candidates have also felt the need to speak out against the menace of “sharia.”

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum refers to sharia as “an existential threat” to the United States. Pizza magnate Herman Cain declared in March that he would not appoint a Muslim to a Cabinet position or judgeship because “there is this attempt to gradually ease sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government.”

The generally measured campaign of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty leapt into panic mode over reports that during his governorship, a Minnesota agency had created a sharia-compliant mortgage program to help Muslim homebuyers. “As soon as Gov. Pawlenty became aware of the issue,” spokesman Alex Conant assured reporters, “he personally ordered it shut down.”

On Religion
Faith. Religion. Spirituality. Meaning. In our ever-shrinking world, the tentacles of religion touch everything from governmental policy to individual morality to our basic social constructs. It affects the lives of people of great faith — or no faith at all. This series of weekly columns — launched in 2005 — seeks to illuminate the national conversation.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has been perhaps the most focused on the sharia threat. “We should have a federal law that says under no circumstances in any jurisdiction in the United States will sharia be used,” Gingrich announced at last fall’s Values Voters Summit. He also called for the removal of Supreme Court justices (a lifetime appointment) if they disagreed.

Gingrich’s call for a federal law banning sharia has gone unheeded so far. But at the local level, nearly two dozen states have introduced or passed laws in the past two years to ban the use of sharia in court cases.

Despite all of the activity to monitor and restrict sharia, however, there remains a great deal of confusion about what it actually is. It’s worth taking a look at some facts to understand why an Islamic code has become such a watchword in the 2012 presidential campaign.

What is sharia?

More than a specific set of laws, sharia is a process through which Muslim scholars and jurists determine God’s will and moral guidance as they apply to every aspect of a Muslim’s life. They study the Quran, as well as the conduct and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, and sometimes try to arrive at consensus about Islamic law. But different jurists can arrive at very different interpretations of sharia, and it has changed over the centuries.

Importantly, unlike the U.S. Constitution or the Ten Commandments, there is no one document that outlines universally agreed upon sharia.

Then how do Muslim countries use sharia for their systems of justice?

There are indeed some violent and extreme interpretations of sharia. That is what the Taliban used to rule Afghanistan. In other countries, sharia may be primarily used to govern contracts and other agreements. And in a country like Turkey, which is majority Muslim, the national legal system is secular, although individual Muslims may follow sharia in their personal religious observances such as prayer and fasting. In general, to say that a person follows sharia is to say that she is a practicing Muslim.

How and when is it used in U.S. courts?

Sharia is sometimes consulted in civil cases with Muslim litigants who may request a Muslim arbitrator. These may involve issues of marriage contracts or commercial agreements, or probating an Islamic will. They are no different than the practice of judges allowing orthodox Jews to resolve some matters in Jewish courts, also known as beth din.

U.S. courts also regularly interpret foreign law in commercial disputes between two litigants from different countries, or custody agreements brokered in another country. In those cases, Islamic law is treated like any other foreign law or Catholic canon law.

What about extreme punishments like stoning or beheading?

U.S. judges may decide to consider foreign law or religious codes like sharia, but that doesn’t mean those laws override the Constitution. We have a criminal justice system that no outside law can supersede. Additionally, judges consider foreign laws only if they choose to — they can always refuse to recognize a foreign law.

So if sharia is consulted only in certain cases and only at the discretion of the court, why has it become such a high priority for states and GOP candidates? One answer is that sharia opponents believe they need to act not to prevent the way Islamic law is currently used in the U.S. but to prevent a coming takeover by Muslim extremists. The sponsor of an Oklahoma measure banning sharia approved by voters last fall described it as “a pre-emptive strike.” Others, like the conservative Center for Security Policy, assert that all Muslims are bound to work to establish an Islamic state in the U.S.

But if that was true — and the very allegation labels every Muslim in America a national security threat — the creeping Islamic theocracy movement is creeping very slowly. Muslims first moved to the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, for example, nearly a century ago to work in Henry Ford‘s factories. For most of the past 100 years, Dearborn has been home to the largest community of Arabs in the U.S. And yet after five or six generations, Dearborn’s Muslims have not sought to see the city run in accordance with sharia. Bars and the occasional strip clubs dot the town’s avenues, and a pork sausage factory is located next to the city’s first mosque.

Maybe Dearborn’s Muslims are just running a very drawn-out head fake on the country. It’s hard to avoid the more likely conclusion, however, that politicians who cry “Sharia!” are engaging in one of the oldest and least-proud political traditions — xenophobic demagoguery. One of the easiest ways to spot its use is when politicians carelessly throw around a word simply because it scares some voters.

Take Gerald Allen, the Alabama state senator who was moved by the danger posed by sharia to sponsor a bill banning it — but who, when asked for a definition, could not say what sharia was. “I don’t have my file in front of me,” he told reporters. “I wish I could answer you better.” In Tennessee, lawmakers sought to make following sharia a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison — until they learned that their effort would essentially make it illegal to be Muslim in their state.

During last year’s Senate race in Nevada, GOP candidate Sharon Angle blithely asserted that Dearborn, as well as a small town in Texas, currently operate under sharia law. And Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann used the occasion of Osama bin Laden’s death to tie the terrorist mastermind to the word: “It is my hope that this is the beginning of the end of Sharia-compliant terrorism.”

The anti-communist Red Scare of the 1950s made broad use of guilt by innuendo and warnings about shadowy conspiracies. If GOP candidates insist they are not doing the same thing to ordinary Muslims, they can prove it by explaining what they believe sharia is and whether they’re prepared to ban the consideration of all religious codes from civil arbitration. Anything less is simply fear mongering.

fear mongering has become a tenet of the Republican Party and many of those who’ve run for political office in that party; by promoting a non-existing threat Republicans have relegated themselves to a party of irrelevance.  Vote for them at your and the Nation’s peril.

The GOP is bad for business, which means they’re bad for America


The Republican Party encourages every form of ...

Image by Cornell University Library via Flickr

All the talk about terrorism and fighting a war on terrorism led to the biggest American deficit in the history of our country, under the direction of George W. Bush…..you remember him don’t you?  Well the GOP doesn’t want you to, because they’d rather blame Obama and the Muslims.  Turns out the Republicans are their own worse enemy, brilliantly executing the cutting off of their own nose to spite the face of American business and the American people, what with all their talk about “sharia” law.  It’s a natural extension, “sharia” law and the Repub’s attempts to scare you about it, to the war on terror.  This bit of news shouldn’t come as a surprise

Islamic finance is growing, but politics, and perhaps prejudice, might be hamstringing this business in the United States.

In the past few years bills have been introduced in at least 20 states to forbid courts from invoking foreign laws in rulings. Proponents have touted the bills as a way to prevent Sharia, a code derived from Islamic law, from becoming the law of the land — a risk that many attorneys say is nonexistent. Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee have passed “Sharia ban” laws, which critics call a way of scoring political points by exploiting anti-Muslim sentiment.

It is unclear whether those laws would directly affect the growth of Islamic finance, which follows the tenets of Sharia law, such as a ban on paying interest. But at the very least, the political climate for Muslims is certainly not fostering a welcoming environment for what experts call an emerging market.

“The U.S. is behind. There is a strong and rapidly growing Muslim population,” said Steven Watts, a partner with KPMG’s financial services consulting practice in Toronto. “The holdup seems to be largely political, but it is to the detriment of the U.S.”

Watts said there are more opportunities, namely “ethical” investments that avoid putting money in gambling or alcohol and could appeal to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

However, Sharia-compliant mortgages (which are permissible under Islamic law because they are structured as lease-back or co-ownership arrangements) are a great entrance to the Islamic finance world, he said.

“There’s not enough of a business to attract a major bank,” said Stephen Lange Ranzini, University’s president and chief executive officer. “It is a big enough niche for us to make a small profit.”

Ranzini said that while anti-Sharia legislation has largely been passed in states that have small Muslim populations, he sees it as harmful.

“Passing laws to ban Sharia when we have American soldiers in two Muslim countries and bases all across Europe where there are large minority Muslim populations is an ill-considered idea,” Ranzini said. “The people that are hyped up about this issue are just very uninformed.”

Ranzini said there are 300,000 Muslims in the United States who are renters, despite having the attributes of creditworthy borrowers.

“Bringing these Muslims onboard as homeowners is good public policy and would assist with solving the housing crisis,” Ranzini said.

’nuff said.

 

It’s time to call a spade a spade and a bigot a bigot


Muslim bashing by GOP candidates? Nothing new here
By John L. Esposito (I’m glad I’m not the only one who has noticed!)

It’s no surprise that two candidates could not resist playing the “Muslim card” in the recent GOP debate. The bigger surprise is that more candidates did not follow suit.

Park 51 (the plan to build the so-called mosque at ground zero) surfaced the deep roots of fear of Islam and Muslims and triggered a tsunami of hate crimes. Shariah has become the code word and symbol to exploit voters fears and engage in Islam and Muslim-bashing without any push-back because nobody, including most of the candidates, knows what it is. And lets us not forget the Peter King congressional hearings.

Poor Herman Cain knows shariah is a problem, but does not know what it is or why it is a problem? Cain is “uncomfortable” including a Muslim in his cabinet or having one as federal judge because “…there is creeping attempt to gradually ease Shariah Law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong to our government.”

Cain insisted, “There have been instances in New Jersey and Oklahoma where Muslims did try to influence court decisions with Sharia Law.” Is he sure? If so, who, when and where? Why does fellow Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey refuse to toe that line? Pressed in the debate as to why he would not be comfortable having a Muslim in his administration, he replied, ‘I wouldn’t be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and militant Muslims – those that are trying to kill us. I meant the ones that are trying to kill us.’ So would he appoint African Americans, Hispanics, Italian-Americans and members of other groups associated with past crime waves or whose members have been imprisoned for violent crimes?

Cain wants to question Muslims about their commitment to the Constitution “to make sure we have people committed to the Constitution working for this country.” But he wouldn’t do the same with Christians or Jews. So much for equality of all citizens.

Newt Gingrich could not afford to be “left” behind: “I’m in favor of saying to people, ‘If you’re not prepared to be loyal to the United States, you will not serve in my administration, period.’ We did this in dealing with the Nazis and we did this in dealing with the communists and it was controversial both times, and both times we discovered, after a while, there are some genuinely bad people who would like to infiltrate our country. And we have got to have the guts to stand up and say no.”

So ALL Muslims, not just an infinitely small number of terrorists, are to be compared to Nazis and communists? Is that the magnitude of the threat? Gingrich and Cain should be real patriots and turn over their evidence to the FBI, Justice Department, Homeland Security and local police because law enforcement offices certainly have not found evidence to support these allegations.

Surprisingly, Tim Pawlenty did not weigh in. Pawlenty has touted the fact that he shut down a program for Sharia compliant mortgages, a program whose creation his administration initially supported. Of course you can’t blame him because, like other candidates, he knows that many potential voters from the right wing of the Republican Party believe Sharia-compliant finance is part of a stealth jihad to subvert the Constitution.

The far right is long on fear mongering and short on providing supportive evidence. They ignore major polls by Gallup, Pew and others that show that the vast majority of Muslims are politically, economically middle class and educationally integrated into American society. Their desire not to be confused by the facts contributes to a growing climate of Islamophobia that has led to discrimination, hate crimes, violence, desecration of mosques and the violation of the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. Surveys have shown that Muslims are not looking to install Islamic law in the U.S., promote terrorism or undermine the American Constitution.

Let’s get it right. Should candidates address issues of national security and concerns about Muslim terrorists in America? Of course they should. What candidates have succumbed to is the exploitation of legitimate fear about domestic terrorism with the brush stroking (or perhaps better the tar and feathering) of a faith and the majority of its mainstream believers. Most states that have moved to pass anti-Shariah legislation have not acted because of a major Muslim attempt to replace American law with Islamic law. Indeed, as a mystified Muslim in North Dakota said when a legislator announced he would push for anti-sharia legislation: “There are only 2,000 of us in the entire state.” In fact, there are far more right wing politicians, political commentators and Islamophobes talking about Shariah than the vast majority of American Muslims who, like Jews and Christians and followers of other faiths, accept and follow the Constitution and American laws.

It’s time to call a spade a spade, a bigot a bigot and stop those who would resurrect the intolerance of the past and add Muslims to a long list of groups that has included Jews, African Americans, World War II Japanese Americans and others who have been victims of religious discrimination and racism.

Islamophobes in Tennessee are at it again


A cartoon threatening that the KKK would lynch...

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The folks in the great state of Tennessee are at it again whipping up racist fervor against Muslims in ways that are so comical they look downright stupid and  state representative Bill Ketron is willing to take up that mantle of stupidity.  How could any legislator from Tennessee talk about outlawing material support for terrorist organizations without first talking about the role his/her state played in terrorism with the formation of the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1865.  With all the talk about people wanting to honor that organization and by people we’re talking about high ranking  officials as well as states it will be interesting to see whether Tennessee will sanction such groups in much the same way as they are calling for with Islamic organizations.  Look at the possibilities of ridding the South of any connection with or support of such clearly racist groups as the Klan, the Imperial Klan of America, Knights of the White Camelia, et.al. who have more poignantly soiled the American fabric than any Muslim or Islamic group has to date.  I think Muslim groups should welcome Ketron’s Material Support for Designated Entities Act demand the state of Tennessee begin cleaning out its own backyard of racists, supremacists and any reference to them by the state.  Let’s see how eager he is to embrace that idea.

But beyond that, Ketron made another faux pas by passing out a video wherein a Muslim imam in it said homosexuality is a sin punishable by death, meaning to imply such a person uttering that remark is clearly a terrorist.  Such sentiments however are not just the belief of Muslims.  Many Christians hold the view that homosexuality is not compatible with Christian doctrine, including Ketron’s own United Methodist Church.  That’s probably one of the more mild remarks made by members of Ketron’s faith.  Would Ketron apply his material support legislation against the people, all Christians, who rallied in New York recently, with some who also said homosexuals are worthy of death?  Hello, Mr. Ketron?

Beating a dead horse


I keep saying the Republican Party is the party of racists and bigots.  That’s not to say that all members of the Party are bigots; many are law abiding, patriotic Americans who honestly believe in the diversity of this great Republic but have serious political differences in the way  things are done.  Unfortunately, many others have wrapped themselves in these differences with racial polemic like that which has come from the lips of Donald Trump, despite  his protests to the contrary that he has such a great relationship with ‘the blacks’.   Now he will claim that his recent publicity is due to his belief Obama is not qualified to be President because he’s not really a US citizen….in other words he’s a birther.  It doesn’t matter that Obama showed his birth certificate during the presidential campaign, it wasn’t the “right” birth certificate, which forced Obama to produce the one birthers really wanted.  So once he did that what was Trump’s response?  Of course nothing will satisfy Trump or the others in the GOP as long as Obama is black which will be for some time to come.  But Trump isn’t the only guilty party rattling the GOP cage of bigotry.

Sally Kern from Oklahoma the state with the distinction of being one of the first in America to pass “anti-Sharia” legislation, which will undoubtedly be deemed unconstitutional took to that infamous legislative chamber to rant and rave against the lack of initiatives African-Americans, reverting to that age old racist diatribe of the lazy, shiftless black man or woman who is a drain on an otherwise perfect society.  Of course Kern is a Republican and of course she apologized, but why I’ll never know, when she lives in a state that wants to distinguish itself with divisiveness and fear.  It seems wherever you go on the American political landscape you will find people who have such extraordinary and extreme views about their fellow citizens that seem to get so much air time from main stream media, it’s enough to get even the likes of Bob Schieffer of CBS News to call them out on their bigotry.  We’ve said time and again America has a racial problem…it’s not simply a black and white problem, but one where we demonize and sow discord and distrust among ourselves towards people who are different from ourselves.  This is racism and this is something we must deal with as a society if we are to flourish.

Another one who got away


‘Not all Muslims are terrorist but all terrorists are Muslims’, so goes the ‘phobes chant when talking about the dangers of an imagined enemy, the Shariah welding Muslim fanatic.  What they don’t say is all non-Muslim terrorists aren’t categorized as such.  Rather they are given more inert sounding names like manic depressive and charged not with terrorism, but with ‘placing a bomb’ inside a federal building and thus fall beneath the terrorist radar.  Such is the case with this guy, Gary Mikulich.  His bomb sat in said federal building for over a month, is that fodder for a conspiracy theory or what, before it was discovered, which goes to show you all the money you can squeeze out of everyday working Americans and  give to Homeland Security can’t buy security if people don’t do their jobs.  This electrical engineering genius made a bomb and put it in front of a federal building with the intent to kill people, yet he’s not charged with a terrorist related offense.  So what good are the terrorism laws if we don’t apply them equally to all?  It should be apparent that the law is designed to single out a group of people , not law breakers, in order to effect a blanket condemnation of all members of that group.  Shame on you America….you’re still as bigoted as ever.

 

Who is driving the anti-Shariah legislation in state legislatures


We’ve often spoke here about people whose views and opinions about their fellow Americans are so outdated and beyond the pale such dialogue belongs in the dust bin of American relics.  David Yerushalmi’s name needs to be added to the list.  He is one of the forces behind the emergence of this latest American phenomenon popping up in state legislatures across the country, called anti-Shariah legislation.  Yerushalmi and his minions have managed to frighten people in state governments into thinking their citizens want to “impose” Islamic law on others, the US Constitution notwithstanding, and therefore a clear and definite curtailment of the rights of Muslims to practice their religion is necessary to stop a threat that only exists in the minds of Yerushalmi, et.al.  The et.al who agree with this xenophobe is the Republican Party who has taken up the banner of Islamophobia in trying to enact this legislation.  If anyone has any misgivings about the GOP, they should dispel them now; it has gone over to the dark side and become the party of racists and war mongers.  How else can you account for them embracing someone as avidly racist as Yerushalmi.

this is a guy who endorses the principle that “Caucasians” are superior to blacks and that Jewish liberals are a cancer in the U.S. body politic.  The nearest Jewish “intellectual” antecedent I can determine would be Meir Kahane.  But Yerushalmi’s views are far more radical than Kahane’s.  The only difference is that Kahane embraced violence as a tool in his campaign against Arabs and anti-Semites.  The latter-day Jewish Islamophobe, an attorney, is far too slick for that.  He merely suggests that all non-citizen Muslims in the country be deported and many of the rest thrown in concentration camps. In Yerushalmi-world, any Muslim who espoused Sharia would earn him or herself a 20 year stay in the federal pen.

But there’s more

Stop the Madrassa leader David Yerushalmi also condemns democracy in the United States and, in comments that evoke classical anti-Semitic stereotypes, says he finds truth in the view that Jews “destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite.”

Yerushalmi, a national advisory board member, counsel and de facto treasurer for Stop the Madrassa, wrote regarding conservative criticism of Israel, Zionism and Jews: “Much of what drives it is true and accurate.” Conservatives’ primary “critique,” he said, “is that the Jews of the modern age are the most radical, aggressive and effective of the liberal Elite.”

“One must admit readily that the radical liberal Jew is a fact of the West and a destructive one,” he wrote. “Indeed, Jews in the main have turned their backs on the belief in G-d and His commandments as a book of laws for a particular and chosen people.”

In Israel, he said, other than the ultra-Orthodox, “Most Israelis are raging Leftists, and this includes the so-called nationalists who found a home in the ‘right-wing’ Likud political bloc or one of the other smaller and more marginal right wing parties.”

In Yerushalmi’s world, there is no room for dissent, even from his anti-semitic, fascist ramblings.  His  organization, Society of Americans for National Existence, SANE, declares, it  ‘is dedicated to the rejection of democracy and party rule and a return to a constitutional republic’.  You can read more about this darling of the Republican party who is more worthy of legal remedies to stop the spread of his anti-democracy message than even the strongest al-Qaida operative, here and here.  The fact that his ideas have found traction in todays America is both troubling and an indication of how backwards American politics have gone.

America Under Attack!!


No, it’s not by the red horde (native Americans) or the brown horde (Muslim Americans).  Rather it’s from fear mongering elected officials who’ve given into the politics of fear and are attempting to enact legislation that would make it illegal for a particular religious group to practice their faith

Increasing media attention is focusing on Republican state lawmakers who have proposed a bill that would make following Sharia a felony punishable by 15 years in jail.

The bill, by state Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma and state Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, states that it exempts the peaceful practice of Islam, but it also labels any adherence to Sharia “which includes peaceful religious practices ” as treasonous.

We’ve written about the Oklahoma attempt to do the same thing with the initiative they asked for voters to approve during the last election.  We wrote about that misdirected political stunt here and here.  The Tennessee bill is even worse than what Oklahoma proposed and some of the worst America has to offer are on board with this attempt to deny Americans of their right to religious freedom.

the bill was drafted by none other than Pamela Geller associate David Yerushalmi, a raving racist who has written that “blacks” are “the most murderous of peoples,” who advocates criminalizing Islam itself and imposing 20-year sentences on practicing Muslims, and who wants to return to a pre-Bill of Rights Constitution, restricting voting rights to white male land-owners.

The irony is we’ve often heard how Islam wants to return people to the 8th century, but now it’s being opposed by “enlightened” Americans who want to return this country to the darkest days of American history, when Africans were slaves and women were disenfranchised, when we fought one another over the right to legally oppress human beings.

What those yelling from the sidelines don’t realize is any attempt at removing the rights of the “hated group” of the day, could end up with the abolition of their rights as well which is why every American should resist the attempt to de-legitimize  or marginalize the rights of ANY American.  Why don’t Americans understand that?

 

 

The racist nature of right wing opposition


We’ve said here repeatedly the opposition to Obama based on birth or his supposed adherence to Islam, and the Islamophobia sweeping the country is a continuation of the  disease of racism that has afflicted this country since its inception.  In the case of the citizens of Oklahoma it has forced them to take extraordinary and illegal measures that have forced even some jurists to sit up and  take notice and one in particular U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange,pictured right,  to block a law that was approved by Oklahomans.   In that state for now it is not recognizing sharia law, as they put it, but it will most certainly extend to not recognizing or giving Muslim citizens their rights and due protection under the law as Islamophobes argue if shariah law is a part of Muslim daily life, and therefore not allowed, then neither should its adherents.

But before you guffaw that prospect comes this bit of news that is as repulsive as the Okhlahoma example.  In what could only be called an act of  racist cannabalism,  a Texas Christian Republican is campaigning to replace his Republican Jewish colleague as speaker of the Texas state legislature  because said Jewish representative is not Christian, and therefore not capable of doing as good a job as any Christian.  I have not seen or heard any Texas “Christian”,  the former President of the United States included, speak out against or repudiate such clear and blatant racism, like the common request made on Muslims by Islamophobes to speak out terrorism. Yet such rationale borders on the same absurdity as the Oklahoma state question on sharia law, because in many ways it is trying to enforce a state religion, something clearly prohibited by the US Constitution.    Moreover, it shows how grim and bare the notions of many people are who oppose the presence of different groups in America.  If Muslims and their places of worship and Jewish representatives in state government are conflated as objects of derision, scorn and opposition by people on the right, how much longer will it before people of color are too?  We’ve already seen anti-immigration measures in places like Arizona take firm hold in the national discourse, and there are even rumblings from those on the right that only property holders should be eligible to vote…..harking back to the days of 18th century America.  That there are people who want to go back to that era, seeing a return to it as something noteworthy is beyond explanation or reason, but such are the people driving anti-sharia movements and mosque opposition across the country.  Their snake oil salemen, carpet baggers travel the country inciting people to fear and distrust their fellow citizens because of creed; race, color and gender will be soon to follow.  This is where we are in 21st century America.  It is not an enviable place to be.

Oklahoma’s Reactionary Politics


The citizens of Oklahoma recently agreed to SQ 755 which amends their state constitution and bans Oklahoma courts from considering Islamic law and international laws or treaties when rendering decisions.

This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other. It also deals with some of their relationships with persons.

The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also include international agreements, as well as treaties.

Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.

I’m not sure why the citizens of Oklahoma think they have to fear Islamic law will become a problem for them, however several proponents of the measure cited what is happening in European countries as the impetus for such measures here in America.  No doubt the visual elements, absent reasonable discussion, of Muslims and the conflicts between them and their countrymen in faraway places is enough to scare Americans into accepting what may be unconstitutional, dare one say, fascist remedies at home.

CAIR has already filed a suit to ban the enactment of  the change on very good grounds

The Establishment Clause

The First Amendment directs all government bodies to “make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” This measure violates that basic principle of American law and governance by specifically targeting one faith and one religious community.

Separation of Powers

Our federal system and our state system is in part governed by the concept of separation of powers. One branch of government cannot restrict what another branch of government can consider in terms of doing its job — in this case, deciding cases.

Supremacy Clause

International law refers to the conduct of the relationships between sovereign nations. … International law is, according to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the law of the United States of America.

It will prevent Oklahoma courts from implementing international agreements, honoring international arbitrations, honoring major international human rights treaties, honoring marriages and divorces from other countries, and will cost jobs by sending the message that contracts between Oklahoma companies and international partners will not be enforceable. Oklahoma could become the only state in the nation incapable of enforcing international business law.

Oklahoma is a state with the second largest number of native Americans living in its borders and due to the language of the measure voted on, there could be a negative impact between the State and its native population as well….something the REAL Americans have already picked up on

While aimed at prohibiting the influence of Islamic law on Oklahoma court decisions, the text of the proposed amendment reveals that it could also damage the sovereignty of all Oklahoma tribes in the process.It completely ignores the possibility that an Oklahoma state court may be called upon to apply the law of any of the 39 Indian tribes located with the borders of Oklahoma to resolve a dispute….

the proposed constitutional amendment inhibits state courts from looking to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures for a decision.  The language of this proposed amendment starkly reminds us that some Oklahoma lawmakers forgot that our nation and state were built on the principles, blood, and backs of  other nations and cultures,  namely, our tribes.  It also ignores that Oklahoma tribes have become valuable economic partners with the State that it cannot afford to ignore or exclude.

 

As an aside, with over 50 casinos in Oklahoma all owned by native American tribes, the economic impact such a law could have on the local economy could be devastating.   The provision that speaks to not entertaining international law in resolving disputes could also have an affect on Oklahoma’s dealing with foreign companies located in that state. Oklahoma businesses that deal with companies overseas also could feel the side effects from the state questions.  Transactions between companies rely on international treaties to uphold contracts but with the state question banning courts from making rulings based on “international law,” instability of how state judges can rule on these types of cases could be the end product.  Of course, no one in their right mind would want to invest in an area of instability.

Finally, the law could adversely affect the very people the forces behind the law want to protect, or think they are protecting….i.e. the followers of the Judaeo-Christian ethic.  According to one legal jurist

I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn’t that a precept of another culture and another nation? The result of this is that judges aren’t going to know when and how they can look at sources of American law that were international law in origin

Chaos is the word to describe, for now, what this legislation the citizens of Oklahoma have accepted would make for their near future, and it all stems from a manufactured fear that they have no basis in fact to entertain.  The concept of Sharia they are so concerned about is nothing more than the desire of Oklahoma citizens who are Muslims to have follow personal law based on their religious beliefs.  Laws of inheritance, wills, marriage all of which can be easily codified under acceptable American law.  It would have no bearing, nor could it ever, on anyone who does not accept the premise of that law, namely non Muslims.  Conversely any Islamic concept that is in direct conflict with US law, Oklahoma Muslims are bound by their faith not to assert or face whatever legal consequences coming their way for breaking US law. Without a doubt, the people behind this anti-Sharia movement in Oklahoma do not have the best interests of their constituents at heart; rather their motivation is purely personal, political and perhaps even financial.  There’s gold in the political landscape of America’s Islamophobia and the folks in Oklahoma are clearly mining it!