Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do US courts justify Sharia-based Crimes? (Tawfik Hamid)

In the USA, some rights are more equal than others?

Reminds me of  ... "All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others"


Do US courts justify Sharia-based Crimes?   

By Tawfik Hamid

A federal appeals court has blocked an Oklahoma voter-approved measure barring state judges from considering Islamic and international law in their decisions.

Muneer Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Oklahoma, sued to block the law from taking effect, arguing that the Save Our State Amendment violated his First Amendment rights.
The court stated "When the law that voters wish to enact is likely unconstitutional, their interests do not outweigh Mr. Awad's in having his constitutional rights protected."
Awad argued that the ban on Islamic law would likely affect every aspect of his life as well as the execution of his will upon his death. The appeals court pointed out that Awad made a strong depiction of how this ban would be potentially harmful.
"This is an important reminder that the Constitution is the last line of defense against a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry within our society and it is pleasing that the appeals court recognized that fact," Awad claimed. "We are also hopeful that this decision serves as a reminder to politicians wishing to score political points through fear-mongering and bigotry."
Speaking after Judge Miles-Lagrange's decision in 2010, Mr Awad said the ruling provided an opportunity to "demonstrate that Oklahoma's Muslim community simply seeks to enjoy the civil and religious rights guaranteed to all Americans."

1-    The above comments about Sharia law do not properly depict how controversial the risks to society would be if considered. Fundamental principles of Sharia law that are not only approved but also unchallenged in Islamic Jurisprudence include the killing Muslims who convert from Islam to another faith, the stoning of adulterers, and the killing of gays [1].  Furthermore, it justifies polygamy, pedophilia, and beating women to discipline them. If the judges of the Oklahoma Court knew that the basic principles of Sharia Law promote such inhumane and derogatory acts and still lifted the ban on it, it would subsequently end in catastrophe. Not only would it be a disastrous to our society but it would also show a level of ignorance within the U.S judicial system that ultimately must be treated accordingly.

2-    If one day Mr. Awad wanted to kill another Muslim because he converted to Christianity (or any other faith), would the Oklahoma court uphold his 'constitutional right' to practice Sharia Law and kill that Muslim - as Sharia Law dictates - or will they uphold the 'constitutional right' of the other Muslim to practice his 'Freedom of Religion'? In other words, should the court of Oklahoma protect such constitutional rights that arouse criminal activity (an example being the killing of apostates) but not protect such constitutional rights that allow citizens to freely select their faith and convert out of Islam without being threatened? The court MUST explain this discrimination in respecting once 'constitutional right' over another.
3-    Courts must be able to find sources for Sharia Law that illustrate how it DOES NOT promote the above mentioned criminal activities. Such sources must be cited appropriately and it must be noted whether any major Islamic institution approves it. Removing the ban on Sharia Law -without showing even one single approved Sharia text that rejects the crimes mentioned above - can be seen as a form of endorsement for legalizing such criminal acts.  
4-    Some may argue that the ban on Sharia Law is discriminatory against Islam, as it did not ban other religious laws, e.g. those acts in the Old Testament that promote, what would be considered today to be, criminal activity. The answer to this point is simply that the practice of the law or the 'jurisprudence' in mainstream Christianity and Judaism (for instances) clearly stands against implementing these laws in our modern day and age. Sadly, the only mainstream religious jurisprudence that still promotes and practice criminal acts - such as killing apostates - is the Islamic one (i.e. the Sharia Law). That is why we see killing apostates, stoning adulterers, and killing gays considered to be legal in Islamic countries that practice Sharia law, such as Saudi Arabia, but we do not see such practices legalized in the Vatican or in Israel.
5-    Another argument could be that even if Sharia Law promotes the previously mentioned crimes we can only punish a person if he committed these crimes. We have a precedent that challenges this concept. The American law forbids driving with a relatively high Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) as itmay lead to an accident or killing of a person. In other words, the American law criminalized driving with a high BAL despite the fact that not everyone whose BAL is high causes an accident. The law did not wait for an accident or tragedy to occur to justify criminalizing driving with a high BAL. The American law simply used consequential common sense that if driving with a high BAL increases the possibility of causing an accident then it must be considered illegal.  The same principle MUST be applied to Sharia law as practicing this law can threaten other people's lives (such as the lives of apostates, adulterers, and gays) and lead to increases in the possibility of killing innocent people.   In other words, as we do not wait for accidents to occur to punish drivers with a high BAL, we also cannot wait for Sharia-based crimes to occur to ban Sharia law.     

6-    The US declaration of  independence clearly stated that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." The Judges who lifted the ban on Sharia law must explain to us how allowing a law that justifies the above mentioned crimes can fit with our "unalienable Rights" of Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness.
Accepting Sharia Law that shamelessly allows killing apostates, adulterers & gays AND promotes beating women, pedophilia and slavery is ultimately destructive to our unalienable Rights and as the declaration of independence stated "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government." The US courts simply do not have the right to deprive us from our "unalienable Rights!"


[1] Sharia Law also promotes Non-Violent teachings such as personal cleanness, however, the above mentioned violent principles represent integral component of it. Denying one of these principles -such as denying apostasy Law -is considered a form of Apostasy that deserves capital punishment (beheading)  according to all 4 mainstream schools of Islamic Jurisprudence (Shafeii, Maleki, Hanbali, and Hanafi).  

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