Corey Saylor is one of CAIR's top officials in Washington. Recently, he spoke before a group in Maine on the topic of sharia law. He has written an almost exact version of that speech on CAIR's website, which is linked in the below text.
Louis Palme has written a critical response to Saylor's assertions that Sharia law is compatible with US democracy. I am posting it below with his permission. The only edits I have made were to put appropriate quotation marks and spacing. I also made two spelling corrections (where in place of were and correct spelling of Mr Saylor's first name.)
CAIR loves democracy – so long as it doesn’t contradict Sharia Law
By Louis Palme
On March 22, Corey Saylor, CAIR’s National Legislative Director, gave a forty-minute speech in Vacationland, Maine, on the topic: Is Sharia Compatible with Democracy? His dancing between likening Sharia to political democracy and hiding behind “religion” to oppose anything that didn’t fit his premise was enough to make one’s head spin. See the text at: http://www.cair.com/cair-blog/entry/is-sharia-compatible-with-democracy.html But before we get into his devious arguments, let’s define the situation for those who haven’t been exposed to Sharia Law and CAIR.
Sharia -- The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, ‘Umdat al Salik, (better known in English as Reliance of the Traveler), which has been endorsed by the U.S. International Institute of Islamic Thought as well as the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, defines Sharia Law as:
The basic premise of this school of thought is that the good of the acts of those morally responsible is what the Lawgiver (syn. Allah or His messenger) has indicated as good by permitting it or asking it be done. And the bad is what the Lawgiver has indicated is bad by asking it not to be done. The good is not what reason considers good, nor the bad what reason considers bad. The measure of good and bad, according to this school of thought, is the Sacred Law, not reason. (para a1.4) (Note: Shafi’I jurisprudence is identical with 75% of all four schools of Islamic law.)
Since Muhammad was the only witness to Allah and since Muhammad and Allah are partnered no fewer than sixty-four times in the Quran, the measure of good and bad in Sharia Law is ultimately what Muhammad did or said (plus the Quran, of course). That is why Muslims keep copious accounts of Muhammad’s life and his pronouncements in the Sira and the Hadith. Only 14 percent of Sharia Law comes from the Quran. Less than one-third of the practices specified in Reliance of the Traveler address religious practices like prayer, charity, and fasting. The bulk of the provisions deal with commerce, inheritance, justice, and of course, jihad which is defined as “war against non-Muslims . . to establish the religion.” (o9.0) Reliance of the Traveler was compiled in the late 14th Century, and it remains the primary source for Sharia Law for English-speaking Muslims.
Democracy – By its very definition, democracy is a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Neither the U.S. Constitution nor the individual laws take force unless approved by the people or their elected representatives. The U.S. Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times to reflect agreed-to changes in the relationship between our government and its citizens over the past 225 years.
Corey Saylor -- Corey Saylor converted to Islam in 1992, apparently in his first year at George Mason University. He earned his stripes suing deep-pocket companies like Burger King and Bell Helicopter-Boeing “when their actions or advertisements negatively impacted the American Muslim community.” He actively opposed the renewal of the Patriot Act. Currently he is the National Legislative Director for CAIR – the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Readers can draw their own conclusions about Corey Saylor as they read this report. Suffice it to say that when he called on non-Muslims in his speech to be partners to “work together to establish our shared ideals of justice,” he was blowing smoke. Note that throughout his speech Mr. Saylor cited provisions of the U.S. Constitution numerous times, but he didn’t mention a single specific provision of Sharia Law. CAIR is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood’s HAMAS and the Islamic Association of Palestine. The U.S. has declared HAMAS and Hezbollah to be terrorist organizations. When Fox News reporter David Lee Miller asked Mr. Saylor to condemn HAMAS and Hezbollah by name in 2011, he refused. His response was, “Well I recognize that you don’t like my answer to the question, but that’s the answer to the question.”
Sharia is a lot of things – In his Vacationland speech, Mr. Saylor complained that sharia “had been hijacked and turned into something scary.” From his perspective, sharia was like recipe that has different results depending on who is cooking. He even went so far as to admit that the actions and decrees of Muhammad have actually been, and continue to be, interpreted by human beings. The flaw in this reasoning is that the sacred source documents of Sharia Law have not changed (and cannot change) since they were first compiled.
Sayyid Qutb, the ideological father of the Muslim Brotherhood, warned Muslims against losing sight of the final commands of the Quran:
"Some defeatist elements are overwhelmed by the pressures resulting from the desperate situation of present-day Muslims, who have nothing of Islam other than its name, and from the wicked attack by the Orientalists on the concept of jihad. Hence they try to find excuses by relying on provisional rulings and ignoring the true basis of the Islamic approach that moves forward to liberate mankind from the servitude to other human beings, so that they can worship Allah alone. . . This smacks of disrespect for Islam and Allah Almighty, resulting from a feeling of utter defeat. . . If the Muslims today, in their present situation, cannot implement these final rulings [in Surah 9], then they are not, now and for the time being, required to do so. For Allah does not charge anyone with more than he or she can do. . . Let them fear Allah and not attempt to weaken Allah’s faith under the pretext of showing it to be a religion of peace. It is certainly the religion of peace, but this must be based on saving all mankind from submission to anyone other than Allah." (Under the Shade of the Quran, Vol. VIII, pg. 25-28)
Muslims respect the law of the land – Mr. Saylor’s next defense of Sharia in America was that Sharia Law mandates that Muslims practice their faith while respecting the law of the land. This is where Mr. Saylor throws political Islam and religious Islam into the blender. He observed that sixty-two percent of Americans agreed that it was more important for the government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if it intrudes on personal privacy. He also cited a Cornell University survey where nearly half of all Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans. But then he reminded his audience that Article VI of the U.S. Constitution prohibits any religious test for public office. What Mr. Saylor glossed over in this defense of Sharia is that most Americans have no issue with the religious practices of Muslims, but rather their concern is over the political excesses of denying basic human rights to Muslims and others and waging eternal warfare on non-Muslims. The supremacist political ideology of Islam commands in its final major decrees of Quran: “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them.” (Surah 9:123) and “Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and Allah’s religion shall reign supreme.” (Surah 8:40)
There is nothing “unconstitutional” about requiring loyalty oaths for American citizens. They were required after the Civil War and after World War II when Communists threatened to infiltrate our government. While loyalty oaths have been challenged in the courts numerous times, the last major loyalty oath case heard by the Supreme Court, Cole v. Richardson - 405 U.S. 676, was decided in 1972, and it upheld a requirement that the State of Massachusetts employees swear to uphold and defend the Constitution and to "oppose the overthrow of the [government] by force, violence, or by any illegal or unconstitutional method". That is why so many Americans took offense when Denver Nuggets player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand during the National Anthem in 1996.
Mr. Saylor might have trouble explaining what it says in Reliance of the Traveler about respecting the laws of the land:
. . . areas where Muslims reside and there is a remnant of Islam’s rules – even if this is limited to marriages and what pertains to them, for example – are considered Muslim lands. . . . in the light of which, it is clear that there is virtually no country on the face of the earth where a Muslim has an excuse to behave differently than he would in an Islamic country, whether in his commercial or other dealings. (R of T, w43.5)
Finally, Mr. Saylor might be a bit uneasy about what Reliance of the Traveler says about America’s Christians and Jews:
"Previously revealed religions were valid in their own eras, as is attested to by many verses of the Holy Koran, but were abrogated by the universal message of Islam. . . It is unbelief (kufr) to hold that the remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as “Christianity” or “Judasim,” are acceptable to Allah Most High after He has sent the final Messenger to the entire world." (R of T, w4.0)
Sharia is for the good of all humanity -- Mr. Saylor stretched credibility when he asserted that the goal of Sharia Law is to bring good to all humanity. This sounds like equal rights for all, n’est-ce pas? Unfortunately, the actual provisions of Sharia Law make Mr. Saylor a liar.
· An Arab woman may not marry a non-Arab because Arabs are superior (m4.2(1))
· A virgin can be married off by her guardian without her consent (m3:13(2))
· The value of a woman is one-half that of a man (o4.9)
· The value of a Christian or a Jew is one-third that of a Muslim (o4.9)
· The value of a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim (o4.9)
· A woman’s testimony is worth one-half that of a man (Quran Surah 2:282)
· A woman’s inheritance is one-half that of a man (Quran Surah 4:11)
(By the way, Mr. Saylor stated in his speech that men inherit more because they have to pay the funeral expenses. This is not true. The deceased’s funeral expenses and debts are settled before the inheritance is divided up. (L4.2))
· A slave is worth ten meals (Quran Surah 5:89)
Look – Muslim scholars wrote a declaration saying there is no conflict between Sharia and the Constitution – Mr. Saylor thinks if he can produce a piece of paper that says there is no conflict between Sharia Law and the Constitution, then the issue will go away. So he reminded his audience that in 2011 the Fiqh Council of North America issued a resolution saying “We do not see any conflict with the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. . . so long as there is no conflict with Muslims’ obligation for obedience to God [i.e., Allah].” This falsehood has been discussed in detail elsewhere: http://www.archive2012.faithfreedom.org/op-ed/sharia-law-and-the-us-constitution/ Suffice it to say here that the two systems have very little in common.
Blaming all the evils of Islam on Al Qaeda -- Al Qaeda has become the favorite whipping boy not only of the U.S. government but also of apologists for Islam. Mr. Saylor tried to stake out common ground with Americans by virtue of our common enemy. He declared: “The world view of violent extremists is a complete distortion of Islam. Islamic teachings clearly state that the killing of one innocent is the moral equivalent to killing all humanity.” One would think that by now CAIR, of all organizations, would abandon that meme about “killing one innocent” because what is clearly stated in the Quran is that the edict applied only to the Jews, not the Muslims. See Surah 5:32. The Muslim punishment for those who oppose Islam is clearly stated in the subsequent verse: “[they] shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country.”
It would be hard to heap on to Al Qaeda all of the blame for such world-wide Sharia Law outrages as Female Genital Mutilation, forced child marriage, wife beating, honor murders, eye-for-eye retaliation, stoning of adulterers, and chopping off hands of petty thieves. Nice try, Mr. Saylor.
CAIR cranks up the grievance machine -- It wouldn’t be a CAIR speech without ending it with a laundry list of what CAIR perceives as Constitutional violations that have victimized Muslims. Never mind that everything Mr. Saylor citied is now discredited and forgotten history:
· Oklahoma’s SQ 755 anti-Sharia law, declared unconstitutional in January, 2012.
· Defeated Presidential candidate Herman Cain’s 2011 call for a loyalty oath for Muslim staff.
· Defeated Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s 2007 call for Americans to “educate, engage, evangelize, and eradicate” to win against the Islamist enemy.
· Defeated Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s 2011 speech in which he feared that future generations would see our country potentially dominated by radical Islamists.
Getting back to the issue of the compatibility of Sharia Law with democracy, Mr. Saylor couldn’t ignore the fact that American Laws for American Courts legislation has proceeded successfully all across the nation. By his own tally, there have been 37 bills in 16 states and laws have been passed in seven states. He calls them “Anti-Islam” bills, but the American Laws for American Courts legislation have carefully avoided mention of any religion, and consequently, they have not been successfully challenged as being unconstitutional. The Constitution actually states, “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” (Article VI, Clause 2) There is nothing “Anti-Islam” about the Constitution or about American Laws for American Courts. Instead, Islam and Sharia Law are blatantly and defiantly “anti-Constitutional”-- against the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s democratic principles.
Mr. Saylor called on Americans to “debate differences while partnering on ideals.” He claims that the differences between the ideals of Sharia Law and democracy are relatively minor. Then why, Mr. Saylor, are states rushing to pass American Laws for American Courts legislation, and why is this effort so “Anti-Islam”?
If anyone is tempted to follow Mr. Saylor’s advice to “work together to establish our shared ideals of justice,” I would recommend that they first take a look at the actual provisions of Sharia Law as contained in Reliance of the Traveler (http://www.shafiifiqh.com/maktabah/relianceoftraveller.pdf) and see how many of those provisions, particularly those in Section o on Justice, would help form a peaceful, equal, and humanitarian society.
To that I would like to add a couple of points. There is a section of sharia law called hudud sharia, which deals with so-called crimes against God. Among the offenses are adultery, blasphemy, apostasy and homosexuality. For all of these, the penalty is death. This is affirmed by leading Islamic schools of thought such as Bukhari. If you ask the leading Islamic clerics and leaders in the US ( I have asked a few), you get a lot of confusing answers. However, setting aside the obvious discriminatory language vis-a-vis women and non-Muslims, those four provisions right there would seem to contradict any claim that sharia is compatible with US law.
In addition, as Palme points out, the 2011 statement by the Fiqh Council of North America as to the compatibility of Islam and the American Constitution and Bill of Rights leaves a bit of wiggle room.
"....so long as there is no conflict with Muslims’ obligation for obedience to God" [i.e., Allah].
It is correct that Muslims are enjoined to follow the law of the country they live in if they are a minority. I assume that includes the above phrase. But I wonder what Mr Saylor would say if asked hypothetically what would or should happen to US law if Muslims became a majority in said country or countries. What about those hudud sharia provisions I listed above?
As always, I invite my Muslim readers to weigh in.