Call it Trumpism, an ad-hoc term for the cresting wave of white Republican resentment that Donald Trump has been surfing like Duke Kahanamoku. Some find it fascinating. Late-night comics like Stephen Colbert have been treating it like it’s hilarious.
But a lot of people take Mr. Trump completely seriously, and support him fervently. So when do we start being frightened for this country?
A poll came out today. It’s just one poll in one Southern state, North Carolina, by one polling outfit (Public Policy Polling, or PPP) with Democratic Party ties, asking questions of a few hundred Republican primary voters.
But still, these results:
“Do you think a Muslim should ever be allowed to be President of the United States, or not?
A Muslim should be allowed to be President of the United States: 16 percent
A Muslim should not be allowed to be President of the United States: 72 percent
Not sure: 12 percent”
“Do you think the religion of Islam should be legal or illegal in the United States?
Islam should be legal in the United States: 40 percent
Islam should be illegal in the United States: 40 percent
Not sure: 20 percent”
Do these people know what it means to outlaw Muslim worship? Do they teach history in the North Carolina schools? Do they know what would happen if we closed mosques, arrested worshipers and prayer leaders, imposed religious tests for public office? Are these overwrought questions, or do the ugly answers in this poll portend something seriously wrong: an outbreak of a deadly fever this country has seen many times before?
July 10, 2014
(RNS) Muslim tradition calls for breaking the Ramadan fast in the evening with a date and a sip of water, and increasingly these days, the company of Jews.
Muslim-Jewish iftars are popping up across the nation, bringing together dozens and sometimes hundreds of people for a celebratory Ramadan meal and a chance to forge interfaith friendships.
This Ramadan, as Jews and Muslims exchange rocket fire in Israel and Gaza, those attending these meals say they are all the more significant, as a way of demonstrating that Jews and Muslims have much in common, and can enjoy each others’ food and company.
In Los Angeles on Thursday (July 10), an iftar that bills itself as the single largest gathering of Muslims and Jews in the city, is sponsored by NewGround, an organization that works year-round on Muslim-Jewish relations. The group exists to build resilient relationships that both groups can draw upon in particularly difficult times, said Rabbi Sarah Bassin, NewGround’s former executive director.
“Yes, we are in another awful flare-up of violence and both of our communities are suffering,” Bassin said. “That will be acknowledged at the iftar.”
At Muslim-Jewish iftars, particular attention is paid to food. In Los Angeles, the meal will be both halal and kosher, in keeping with both Muslim and Jewish dietary laws, which often overlap. Neither faith community eats pork, for example. Out of respect for Muslim tradition, no alcohol will be served.
Some of these interfaith Iftars will be hosted in mosques or other Muslims institutions — on Sunday (July 13), for example, at the Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies in Cary, N.C. Others will take place in synagogues.
(RNS) North Carolina became the seventh state to prohibit its judges from considering Islamic law after Gov. Pat McCrory allowed the bill to become law without formally signing it.
McCory, a Republican, called the law “unnecessary,” but declined to veto it. The bill became law on Sunday (Aug. 25).
The state joins Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee.
Supporters hailed the bill as an important safeguard that protects the American legal system from foreign laws that are incompatible with the U.S. Constitution, while critics argued that the bill’s only purpose is to whip-up anti Muslim hatred because the Constitution already overrides foreign laws.
Although the bill does not specifically identify Islamic law, critics argue that the bill’s only purpose is to invoke anti-Muslim sentiments since the US Constitution already supersedes foreign law. In an action alert [text] urging McCrory to veto the bill, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stated “The bill itself is intended to marginalize and stigmatize North Carolina Muslims and will have a negative impact on the rights of people of all faiths and backgrounds.”
The North Carolina ban is limited to family law; bans in other states are broader, applying to commercial law, contract law and other types of laws.
Critics of sharia law, the very individuals who encourage banning it, would probably be the first to ask: If U.S. laws do in fact trump sharia laws for American Muslims who live in the United States, then why would a ban bother them? The answer to this question is simple: Because banning sharia law is unconstitutional and an infringement on their religious freedoms as American citizens.
The amendment was approved by about 70 percent of Oklahoma voters on November 2, 2010, but the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued to block the amendment, arguing it violated separation of church and state and discriminated against Muslims.
A U.S. District Court judge agreed and issued a temporary injunction against the amendment. That decision was upheld in 2011 by a federal appeals court that returned the case to the judge, who made the final ruling Thursday (Aug. 15, 2013).
“It is our hope that, in finding this anti-Islam law unconstitutional, lawmakers in other states will think twice before proposing anti-Muslim laws of their own,” said Gadeir Abbas, a CAIR staff attorney and counsel for the plaintiffs.
The amendment struck down Thursday specifically mentioned Shariah, and is different from anti-Shariah laws adopted over the last few years by state legislators in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. North Carolina legislators also passed an anti-foreign-law bill this spring, which is now on the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory, who must decide by August 25 whether to sign or veto it.
While these laws do not mention Shariah, but “foreign law,” their backers have stated Shariah was their target. Those laws have not been challenged in court, although Muslim civil rights activists say they may still try.
North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday (July 24) approved a bill to prohibit judges from considering “foreign laws” in their decisions, but nearly everyone agrees that “foreign laws” really means Shariah, or Islamic law.
North Carolina now joins six other states — Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee — to pass a “foreign laws” bill. A similar bill passed in Missouri, but Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it, citing threats to international adoptions.
The bills all cite “foreign laws” because two federal courts have ruled that singling out Shariah — as Oklahoma voters originally did in 2010 — is unconstitutional.
So what’s the big deal with Shariah?
Other Shariah scholars say such a punishment system can only be instituted in a society of high moral standards and where everyone’s needs are met (thereby obviating the urge to steal or commit other crimes). In such a society, the thinking goes, corporal punishments would be rarely needed.
That said, corporal punishments have been used by Islamic militant groups in places like Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria, and governments in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Aceh state in Indonesia and elsewhere.
North Carolina Muslims hope they can persuade Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, to veto a bill that prohibits state judges from considering “foreign law.”
“It’s going to be tough,” said Rose Hamid of Charlotte. “But I do believe there is a chance.”
Muslims across the state oppose the bill they think is motivated by intolerance and may potentially infringe on other religious groups. Bills against judicial consideration of “foreign laws” are believed to really be opposing Shariah, or Islamic law.
If McCrory signs the bill, North Carolina would become the seventh state to have an anti-Shariah law, joining Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. In May, Alabama lawmakers approved a like-minded constitutional amendment that state voters will consider in 2014.
Dozens of anti-Shariah law bills have been proposed in roughly 30 states in the last few years, and Muslim Americans expect many more bills in the years to come. “It’s not a trend that’s going away,” said Saylor.
RALEIGH — The state Senate on Friday passed a bill that would keep courts from recognizing Sharia law.
While proponents of the legislation said it would keep people safe from foreign laws, critics derided the bill as sending a message of intolerance and bigotry to followers of Islam.
The Senate had already approved the measure when it was attached to a controversial measure that would impose stricter regulations on abortion providers in the state. But the foreign law provision wasn’t sufficiently critiqued because abortion overwhelmed the floor debate, said Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Democrat from Durham.
Now called House Bill 522, the provision’s contents haven’t changed. It reminds judges that the U.S. and N.C. constitutions are the law of the land and no foreign law can supersede them. Sometimes international laws are used in court as evidence before a judge, or in written opinions. But this bill would stop judges from considering foreign law when it violates a citizen’s constitutional rights.
“Unfortunately we have judges from time to time … that sometimes seem to forget what the supreme law of the land is, and sometimes make improper rulings,” said Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton, a Wilson Republican and the legislation’s Senate sponsor.
Though the bill doesn’t specifically mention it, Newton was clear during Friday’s session that the legislation targets Sharia law, a legal system based on the religious and moral tenants of Islam. Few Muslim countries apply the entire body of rules, instead choosing measures relevant to them. More than 60 countries use at least part of Sharia law in their governance.
Its improper use has “worked to deprive” U.S. citizens and immigrants of their constitutional rights, Newton said. There have been 27 reported cases around the country in which Sharia law has been used, he added.
More than 20 states have introduced legislation banning Sharia law or foreign law in state courts. Many bills – including North Carolina’s – would apply only to cases in which the application of foreign law would violate a person’s constitutional rights.
Sen. Ellie Kinnaird of Chapel Hill, a Democrat, said she thinks the bill’s sponsors don’t truly mean to inform judges that foreign law is unacceptable, but rather the people of North Carolina.
“I think the audience is really wider,” Kinnaird said.
The North Carolina legislature is advancing a package of stringent abortion restrictions that appeared in the Senate this week without any public notice. The anti-abortion measures popped up on Tuesday night, tacked onto a controversial measure to ban Sharia law, and caught women’s health advocates completely off-guard.
House Bill 695, which would prohibit the recognition of Sharia law in family courts — an increasingly popular conservative tactic that essentially serves to demonize the Islamic faith — was slated for consideration in a Senate committee on Tuesday. As soon as that committee convened, it quickly approved several abortion-related amendments to the legislation. HB 695 now combines several different anti-abortion measures that were in different stages in the legislature into one omnibus measure.
The new amendments would prevent insurance plans on Obamacare’s health marketplaces from covering abortion services, ban “sex-selective” abortions, impose unnecessary restrictions on doctors administering the abortion pill to women, and require the state’s abortion clinics to adhere to complicated new regulations that would likely force most of them to close. A similar package of abortion restrictions has inspired weeks of protest in Texas, where thousands of reproductive rights activists have been rallying at the state capitol.
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina man was sentenced Friday to four life terms for plotting to behead federal witnesses whose testimony helped convict him for his role in an earlier plot to slaughter U.S. servicemen and their families.
Hysen Sherifi, 29, was one of six Raleigh-area Muslims convicted in 2011 of planning to attack the Marine base in Quantico, Va., and overseas targets.
Shortly after starting his 45-year prison sentence in the terror case, Sherifi approached another inmate to help him hire a hit man to behead government informants and FBI agents. He recruited his younger brother Shkumbin Sherifi, 23, and former special education teacher Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 48, to help pay the hit man and organize the murders.
But the inmate whose help Sherifi sought turned out to be yet another government informant. FBI agents then staged an elaborate sting that involved secretly videotaped meetings with a woman posing as the go-between for a fictional hit man named Treetop and doctored photos that appeared to show the corpse of a beheaded witness in a shallow grave.