It is important to understand the difference between our constitution in the U. S. and Sharia Law.
Why is this important? There are now an estimated 3 million Muslims residing in the United States as citizens or with permanent legal status, and more than 250,000 new Muslim residents enter the U.S. per year as refugees, on work visas and student-based visas, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
A poll commissioned in May 2015 by the Center for Security Policy showed that 51 percent of American Muslims preferred that they should have their own Shariah courts outside of the legal system ruled by the U.S. Constitution. And nearly a quarter believed the use of violent jihad was justified in establishing Shariah.
“That would translate into roughly 300,000 Muslims living in the United States who believe that Shariah is ‘The Muslim God Allah’s law that Muslims must follow and impose worldwide by Jihad,'” writes Frank Gaffney Jr., president of the Center for Security Policy.
First, what is Sharia? Wikipedia states Sharia refers to the sacred law of Islam. All Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law, but they have differences between themselves as to exactly what it entails. Which will be difficult to discern what to apply when, but we’ll labor along for the sake of discussion.
In Western countries, where Muslim immigration is more recent, Muslim minorities have introduced Sharia family law, for use in their own disputes. Attempts to impose Sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare (Second Sudanese Civil War).
Here are some core differences to consider.
Equal Rights. The Constitution guarantees equal rights for all Americans, but Sharia Law denies equal rights for women or non-Muslims.
Freedom of Religion. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but Sharia Law does accept the right of other religions to practice their beliefs.
Freedom of Speech. The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but Sharia Law limits freedom of speech and no one can say or write anything negative about the prophet, Mohammed or the Quran.
In fact, according to Sharia Law, anyone criticizing or denying any part of the Quran must be put to death.
There are many more things that Sharia law prohibits that are inconsistent with American practices and traditions including…
- A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
- A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
- A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
- A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
- Homosexuals – men and women alike – must be killed.
- Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
- A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
- A woman is prohibited from driving a car or speaking alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
- The Quran says that Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
Is Sharia compatible with the U.S. Constitution? The simple answer is of course “no”.
But lets take a look at some aspects of Sharia Law and where it may or may not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.
The following is a truncated version with a couple of modifications (eliminating repetitious ibids and links) of multiple Wikipedia entries.
Legal and Court Proceedings:
1. Sharia courts do not generally employ lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves.
2. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system.
3. There is no pre-trial discovery process, no cross-examination of witnesses, and no penalty of perjury (on the assumption that no witness would thus endanger his soul) Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents under the principle of stare decisis and unlike civil law, Sharia does not utilize formally codified statutes (these were first introduced only in the late 19th century during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, cf. mecelle).
4. Instead of precedents and codes, Sharia relies on medieval jurist’s manuals and collections of non-binding legal opinions, or fatwas, issued by religious scholars (ulama, particularly a mufti); these can be made binding for a particular case at the discretion of a judge.
5. Sharia courts’ rules of evidence also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony and excluding written and documentary evidence (including forensic and circumstantial evidence), on the basis that it could be tampered with or forged.
6. A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of a witness are the only evidence admissible in a Sharia court, written evidence is only admissible with the attestations of multiple, witnesses deemed reliable by the judge, i.e. notaries.
7. Testimony must be from at least two witnesses, and preferably free Muslim male witnesses, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character; testimony to establish the crime of adultery, or zina must be from four direct witnesses.
8. Forensic evidence (i.e. fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.
9. Testimony from women is given only half the weight of men [in most sources outside of Wikipedia Sharia states that a woman’s testimony only carries the weight of 1/4th of a man’s], and testimony from non-Muslims may be excluded altogether (if against a Muslim).
10. In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence.
11. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.
12. Sharia courts, with their tradition of pro se representation, simple rules of evidence, and absence of appeals courts, prosecutors, cross examination, complex documentary evidence and discovery proceedings, juries and voir dire proceedings, circumstantial evidence, forensics, case law, standardized codes, exclusionary rules, and most of the other infrastructure of civil and common law court systems, have as a result, comparatively informal and streamlined proceedings. [that’s one way of putting it]
13. This can provide significant increases in speed and efficiency (at the cost of the safeguards provided in secular legal systems), and can be an advantage in jurisdictions where the general court system is slow or corrupt, and where few litigants can afford lawyers. (end Wikipedia)