Yeah, you read that correctly. This is all based on the trope that somehow Shariah Law is going to be imposed in the United States. Radical Republicans like Senate Candidate Sharon Angle have made statements implying that Shariah is already the law in cities like Dearborn, MI. Let's be 100% clear, there is no court that takes Shariah as the law in the United States. None. There is no place where it has been proposed as law, none.
I grew up in Michigan, I lived near Dearborn. My childhood friend married a woman who was the child of Iraqi immigrants. Diane was about as hard core a Muslim as I was a Catholic. This is to say she was culturally Muslim, but didn't really practice the religion of her parents. Many of the Muslims I knew as a kid were the same. Dearborn is not a hot bed of Islamic ferment; it is just another American city which boasts a big population of one kind of immigrant, in this case folks from the Middle East.
This idea that if we allow Muslim citizens to practice their religion they will try to impose the strictest type of their culture is bogus on its face. However it is instructive that the very people who are pushing it tend to be the ones who would have us live under their religious precepts. Sharon Angle and her ilk are uniformly anti-choice. They would control a woman's reproduction because of religious beliefs. This is the same group of people who say that gay citizens should not have the same rights as everyone else, again for religious reasons.
Maybe it is me, but I can't see a whole lot of difference between imposing these beliefs, against the will of the majority of the people of this nation, and imposing Shariah. Both are a system of law that is based on religion and not the will of the governed. The good news is that neither of these systems are going to get any traction as far as being law.
It is part of what makes this whole anti-Mosque movement so pernicious. When I wrote about the Park51 Center the folks from Andrew Breitbart's site jumped all over me for saying that 9/11 was more about optics than actual damage. The point was that 3,000 deaths while undeserved and tragic were quite a small number compared to our continuing response. We went to war in Afghanistan, a war we still don't know if we can get to anything approaching a "win" and now we are using it to persecute American Muslims who want to have the same freedoms that Catholics or Baptists or Buddhists have.
I received a lot of e-mail about how Muslims could not be trusted because one of the tenets of their religion was the world wide conversion of all people to Islam. Leaving aside the fact that all Christina religions have this same requirement, the premise that Islam is monolithic is just nutty. There are many stripes and types of Islam; Sufi, Sunni, Shiite are the best known, and they are not all in agreement as to the best way to do things. There are also inside all the divisions' hard core, moderate, and cultural Muslims, just like every other religion.
Here is the text of a robocall that a Muslim from Dearborn paid for in Nevada:
Hello, my name is Tarek Baydoun and I am a Muslim American from Dearborn, MI. I am proud of who I am as an American and a Muslim. I regret the fact that Senate candidate Sharron Angle has raised the specter of Muslims taking over Dearborn, MI or any part of our great country. My religion teaches me to respect the law of the land and to seek improvement through peaceful dialogue and understanding. Muslims don't want to take over America, they want to improve America, like all Americans. Since when is it a threat to America for Muslims to practice their religion freely under the protection of our constitution. It is a shame, in this day and age that any candidate, like Sharon Angle would use my religion to stigmatize my city and score cheap political points. Ms. Angle owes us all an apology - Nevada deserves better, and America deserves better. Please join myself and other people of all faiths here in Dearborn Michigan and across the country by rejecting the politics of division and fear. I paid for this message because I believe that we cannot stay silent in the face of hate and division. Thank you.
Mr. Baydoun is a Dearborn real estate agent. Does he sound like he is an advocate to switch to Shariah? Not that it matters to the Wingnuts; they will just see this as someone covering their true beliefs.
All of which brings us back to this argument that Islam is not a religion. The Wingnuts have to delegitimize Islam if they are going to have cover for their own religious inspired policy. They can't be the "proud, brave, defenders of the Constitution" they like to think of themselves as if they are so clearly violating the 1st Amendment. They like the 1st Amendment protections of their religious liberty but they don't want it for the "other" "them" the Muslims they are very busy vilifying for political gain.
It seems pretty clear that they are going to lose. I have a hard time imagining a judge who will be willing to get the government into the job deciding which is a real religion and which is not. Even if there is an ultra-conservative yahoo on the bench hearing this case, any appeals court in the land is going to smack it down, as they will see it as the box of snakes that it would for them.
Still, it is just another indicator of how far to the Right the Right has gone. They are in their own world, they have their own facts and they do not match with the consensus reality the rest of us share. Sadly it is unlikely that they will allow new information in. I have not heard anything from the e-mailers who said that Imam Rauf was connected to extremists and his funding was coming from Hezbollah and other terrorist sources. Since those assertions have proved to be completely false there has only been silence from Breitbart's readers, at least in my e-mail in box. When presented with a fact that does not match their beliefs, they just turn the other way.
The floor is yours.