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Romney's Religion Problem [Sharia, not Mormon]
National Review ^ | 6/18/2011 | Andrew C. McCarthy

Posted on 06/19/2011 11:29:56 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross

Mitt Romney is said to be the early frontrunner in the GOP presidential sweepstakes. One rival, Newt Gingrich, is perceived as floundering in a swirl of unforced errors and staff insurrection. Yet when it comes to Islam, which will continue to matter mightily in the next administration, the frontrunner could learn a thing or two from the flounderer. The issue is not religion. It is the seditious Islamist political program.

Most Americans, myself included, would prefer not to have to think about Islam at all. Muslims forced their beliefs onto our consciousness by wanton violence and gross violations of human rights. While there are fitful efforts to reform Islam, and thus differing interpretations of its dogmas, mainstream Islam is still founded on sharia, Islam’s archaic, immutable legal framework (also known as “Allah’s law”).

Sharia systematizes discrimination against (and brutal repression of) women, homosexuals, and, above all, non-Muslims (“dhimmis”). It is thus ironic that when the left-leaning legacy media broaches the subject of Islam, as CNN did during the GOP candidates’ debate this week, the context is usually claimed discrimination against Muslims. It is a testament to how deeply front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood — an enterprise that marries Islam’s Salafist fundamentalism to modern statism, under the populist banner of “social justice” — have seeped into the Democratic party, from which the press gets its talking points. And given how desperately the GOP establishment craves the crumbs of love that fall from the media’s table, it should not surprise us that Republicans, too, are cowed by the Brotherhood’s agents. That was not a Democratic president hustling over to the nearest mosque after the 9/11 attacks to brand Islam the “religion of peace.”

With barely concealed contempt, a CNN correspondent recounted Herman Cain’s prior statement that “a lot of Muslims are not totally dedicated to this country,” then pointedly asked the candidate, “Are American Muslims as a group less committed to the Constitution than, say, Christians or Jews?” For CNN, as moderator John King made clear, this is strictly a matter of religious discrimination: Even amid a war against Islamic terrorists, even amid unabashed promises to “conquer America” from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime, to regard Muslims differently is to violate the constitutional protections accorded to religious believers.

Cain gave a game albeit wandering answer, distinguishing “peaceful Muslims” from “militant Muslims” who are “trying to kill us.” This dichotomy leaves out a third, more insidious group: ostensibly peaceful, covertly terror-supporting Muslims who are trying to destroy the U.S. from within by using the freedoms available in the West to infiltrate our government and institutions — what the Brotherhood describes its “Grand Jihad” (the descriptor I used as the title of my book on the subject). Cain, however, did address this third category, at least implicitly, in objecting to sharia’s creep into American courts.

King construed Cain as seeking to impose “a purity test, or a loyalty test” uniquely on American Muslims before allowing them to serve in government — a fair description, though a bracing one that drew Cain’s objection. The exchange teed up the issue for Governor Romney. King asked him, “Should one segment of Americans — in this case for religion, but in any case — be singled out, treated differently?” Of course, the problem is not that Islamist Muslims are members of a religious group but that under the auspices of religion they pursue an anti-American political program. Yet Romney did not question King’s premise. He accepted it, and he exhibited a disturbing detachment from reality on the ground: “Well first of all, of course we’re not going to have sharia law applied in U.S. courts,” he said. “That’s never going to happen. We have a Constitution, we follow the law. No, I think we recognize that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, our nation was founded on the notion of religious tolerance, it’s in fact why some of the earlier patriots came to this country. And we treat people with respect regardless of their religious persuasion.”

The late-breaking news for the man who would be America’s next president is that we already have sharia law being applied in U.S. courts. Put aside the embarrassingly patent fact that having a Constitution has never meant “we follow the law” — judges ignore the Constitution regularly, and Romney’s own campaign aims to show that President Obama has run roughshod over our constitutional order. The fact is that sharia-based claims are now routinely posed in American legal cases and, increasingly, entertained by courts. Indeed, right before Romney spoke, Cain alluded to a New Jersey judge’s refusal to grant a protective order to a Muslim woman who was being serially raped by her Muslim husband — reasoning that the husband was merely following Islamic tenets, under which the wife is chattel and has no right to refuse.

Apologists hell-bent on burying this alarming trend point out that the New Jersey case was reversed on appeal. But we only know about the case because it got to the appellate courts. Thousands of lower court cases never make it there, and, since these are rarely reported on, we have no way of knowing how often sharia principles are affecting litigation. Nevertheless, the Center for Security Policy has just released a study, “Shariah Law and American Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases,” which — using standard Google search techniques — uncovered 50 cases, from 23 states, in which Islamic law materially impacted the litigation. In 15 trial-court cases and 12 appellate cases, courts found sharia to be applicable. This sampling, as the report observes, is just “the tip of the iceberg,” because Google Scholar is only a general Internet search tool — there is no complete database of state legal cases involving sharia.

Moreover, this tip of the iceberg refers only to outputs from the justice system. What about the inputs? For well over a decade, federal and state governments have compelled their law-enforcement agencies to undergo Islamic “sensitivity training,” often conducted by Muslim Brotherhood affiliates. Academic institutions including Harvard and Georgetown, supported by tens of millions of Saudi endowment dollars, aggressively support such initiatives as sharia-compliant finance, regularizing Islamic financial strictures in the American banking, mortgage, and insurance sectors.

Perhaps someone should tell Governor Romney that, a little over a decade ago, apologists were telling us it was preposterous to claim that sharia would gain a foothold in Europe. Has he had a look at Eurabia lately? Does he really think that what is happening there couldn’t happen here?

Legal infiltration aside, though, where Romney — like CNN, like the Republican establishment — truly goes off the rails is in his mulish determination to analyze Islamist ideology through the prism of religion. To the contrary, it is a totalitarian political program masquerading as a purely spiritual doctrine — banking on the fact that Americans don’t know much about it and that their reverence for religious liberty will prevent them from piercing the veil.

There are four salient points about Islamist ideology, and whoever would be our next president would do well to master them. First, it is not a fringe movement. It is mainstream Islam, the Islam that is propagated in American mosques, just as it is propagated in foreign capitals from northern Africa to eastern Asia, and from Ankara to Dar es Salaam. Minimizing it as if it were just the doctrine of al-Qaeda or Iran’s mullahs is foolish. Those factions are more brutal tactically, but strategically, they are no different — no more hostile to Western liberalism — than reputedly “moderate” groups that seek to impose sharia but are content to proceed incrementally.

Second, while religion is what makes sharia binding, the substance of sharia is not primarily, or even mostly, about spiritual life. It governs matters that, in the West, are considered secular concerns: civil and criminal law, economics and finance, the use of force, privacy, sexual preferences, social interaction between men and women, etc. Consequently, when a politician insists that American principles of religious liberty forbid us from inquiring into a Muslim’s beliefs, he is not just insulating spiritual principles; he is removing from scrutiny a plethora of matters that are not controlled by religion in pluralistic societies.

Third, a defining principle of sharia to which this mainstream interpretation of Islam adheres is that there can be no separation of mosque and state — of religious doctrine and civil society. It is not just that sharia features laws that are different from American laws; it is that this dominant form of Islam does not allow the Muslim to say, “Sharia is just for my private spiritual life, and I can otherwise ignore it — or at least put it aside — where it conflicts with laws in the secular sphere.” Where there is a conflict between American law and sharia, this mainstream interpretation of Islam calls for the Muslim to follow sharia and to labor to make sharia the law of the land.

Fourth, the divergence between sharia and American constitutional law is fundamental and unbridgeable. Apologists for Islam try mightily to obscure this fact. They pretend not only that a reformist brand of Islam is more prevalent than it actually is, but that, in this sugary “moderate” creed, sharia has no existence other than as an aspirational guide to private spirituality. This badly misses the point. The issue for America is not who is right about sharia; it is that most Muslims in the world accept the Islamist interpretation of sharia propounded by influential Muslim clerics and reject the smiley-face sharia on offer from Western politicians. When a woman is convicted of adultery in a country where sharia is binding, they don’t throw aspirations at her. They throw stones.

This widely accepted interpretation of sharia rejects the foundational principle of American law, that we are free to govern ourselves as we choose, irrespective of any religious code. Sharia rejects freedom of conscience (apostates from Islam face ostracism and death); freedom of speech (speech critical of Islam is considered blasphemy and punishable by death — and truth is not a defense); equality under the law (sharia systematically discriminates in favor of men over women and Muslims over non-Muslims); Western notions of privacy (homosexuality is a capital offense under sharia, which also rigorously regulates social interaction between the sexes in a manner that segregates and often oppresses women); the protection of private property (sharia nominally protects private property but the owner is considered a mere custodian of property that actually belongs to Allah, such that its use can be dictated by the Islamic state); and economic liberty (sharia condemns the charging of interest and agglomerations of wealth, which are seen as the exploitation of the have-nots by the haves). Moreover, sharia encourages both the use of violence when necessary to compel fidelity to Islamic norms and lying if it is helpful in advancing the mission of spreading Islam.

In our society, these are not religious issues. And contrary to Governor Romney’s palaver, the relevant questions do not involve “tolerance” and “respect” for Muslim spirituality. What is at stake are everyday matters of public life. Sovereignty over them belongs to the people, not to a code that styles itself as a religious belief system. A president cannot stick his head in the sand about that, under the guise of religious tolerance, and simultaneously preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

However beleaguered his campaign’s missteps may have left him, Newt Gingrich grasps what Romney has yet to learn. Reacting to the frontrunner’s mush, the former Speaker forcefully countered, “I am 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.’” He pointed in particular to the would-be Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani who had no compunction about taking a loyalty oath to become an American citizen, which helped him plot against our country from within. America is his enemy, he told the sentencing judge, so he lied. He wasn’t lying about spiritual principles. He was lying about his fidelity to an anti-American, anti-constitutional political ideology.

As Gingrich recounted, we did not flinch from inquiring into ideology when the threat to America came from Nazism and Communism. Of course, he noted, “It was controversial both times.” Most Germans in the U.S. were not Nazis, and most liberals were not Communists. They were patriotic Americans, the kind we should embrace. But patriotism entails understanding that, when there is a real threat to our liberties, such inquiries are essential to protect the nation. That is why patriotic American Muslims are a lot less exercised by them than the Muslim Brotherhood’s grievance industry.

When the threat came from 20th-century totalitarian ideologies, Gingrich concluded, “we discovered after a while, well you know, 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.’” It is every bit as essential today to say “No” to Islamists who use the shield of American religious liberty as a sword in the service of a dark political program — one that has precious little to do with spirituality. It remains to be seen whether Republicans will offer a presidential candidate with the guts to do it. If Mitt Romney is to be that candidate, he’s got work to do.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: andymccarthy; islam; mccarthy; romney; sharia

1 posted on 06/19/2011 11:30:00 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross
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To: Servant of the Cross

Good to see NRO telling it like it is for a change.

2 posted on 06/19/2011 11:54:08 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero; All

agreed. good article.
but it omits the connection between Islam and Mormons.

AND the fact that the Mormon Church calls Mohammed a “great religious leader” and teaches “Moral truths were given to them by God”.
...aside from the obvious similarities, both having prophets who were given scripture that came directly from God, polygamy, and much more...
the fact is while Smith condemned ALL other Christian churches to hell, the Mormon faith specifically,
and fairly recently, said:

“On February 15, 1978 the First Presidency, (the highest ruling body of the Church), declared in an official statement titled God’s Love for All Mankind that “the “great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals”
- - -
2) “While there are fitful efforts to reform Islam, and thus differing interpretations of its dogmas, mainstream Islam is still founded on sharia, Islam’s archaic, immutable legal framework (also known as “Allah’s law”).”
this ignores that SHARIA ITSELF, comes DIRECTLY from Islamic scripture.
“reform” is IMPOSSIBLE. because the Quran is believed to be literally the Words of God.
it would be BLASPHEMY to them, to change a single word.

3 posted on 06/19/2011 12:17:02 PM PDT by Elendur (the hope and change i need: Sarah / Colonel West in 2012)
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To: Cicero

McCarthy generally gets it right.

4 posted on 06/19/2011 5:38:57 PM PDT by thouworm
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