Tuesday, February 17, 2015

GIGO: Islamophobia, the Ridiculous Radical Religious Right, and Hate Crimes

Remember when....... pick one.......the state of (blank) passed laws banning Sharia law?  There's more coming.
A panel of local Muslims last week denounced the state’s ban on a foreign law designed to bar Sharia or Islamic law.
“Folks were in this hysteria thinking that the minority Muslim Community here in North Carolina could somehow impose our laws, laws taken from the Sharia,” Imam Khalid Griggs of Community Mosque said at a forum on the subject held Tuesday, Jan. 27 at the Polo Recreation Center
...Proponents of the bans say they protect the Constitution, but many disagree. Muslim groups have been joined by Jewish organizations in their opposition to the bans. The Anti-Defamation League in Florida opposed that state’s foreign law ban, which passed last year, for fear of its potential effects on alimony, child custody and even the ability to remarry for Jews who divorce in Israel."
The right is wrong, and has been wrong since Barry Goldwater said this:
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!
But Goldwater was correct when he noted, as an ardent opponent of the religious right:
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies.
Ironically, both quotes are from Goldwater's presidential nomination acceptance speech in San Francisco waaaaay back in 1964.

That right wing extremism has resulted in actual hate crimes.  No, not the shooting of the three Muslim students in North Carolina, but in more clear and obvious and genuine hate crimes like the burning of a Mosque in Ohio by an Indiana man 'riled up' by Fox News.

But there is plenty of hate to go around with out actual violence, like regarding the arson attack on a Muslim Center in Texas, where a person misrepresenting himself to be a fireman used social media to post this:

We have plenty of hate, by the right, from the right, riling up people with purely evil right wing propaganda full of lies.

There is a real tragedy that OPPOSING the evils and abuses of religion, like the ones below, from any and every religion, wherever it occurs, is being miscontrued as a hate crime in what appears to be an ordinary, every day case of gun violence by a man in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the tragic shooting deaths of three Muslim students by a man obsessed like George Zimmerman with trying to dominate and intimidate a wide variety of people in his immediate neighborhood with his excessive gun collection, a man who had apparent anger issues.

There are a lot of things to criticize Craig Hicks for, but being an Islamophobe is not one of them, nor should being Anti-Theist.   This is a case where the Left wing media has it wrong, in generalizing that being Anti-religion generally for what is wrong with religious oppression and conflict is the same as being Anti-Muslim.  And of course the Right has it wrong as well.  The promoting of Islamophobia was one of the things Hicks opposed.  Hicks was indicted by a grand jury yesterday, per MSNBC news:
A grand jury indicted a North Carolina man on Monday for the shooting deaths of a newlywed Muslim couple and the wife's sister last week, a court official said.
Craig Hicks, 46, of Chapel Hill, was charged by a grand jury with three counts of first-degree murder and one of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling, said Angela Kelly, an assistant clerk of the Durham County Superior Court.
Investigators have said initial findings indicate a dispute over parking prompted the shooting, but they are looking into whether Hicks was motivated by hatred toward the victims because they were Muslim.
A new law to ban Sharia law is being introduced in Montana, following passage in other states, and of course the overturning of such a ban after Oklahoma passed one. From another apparent Islamophobe/ bigot, in the Examiner:
Montana's Senate Bill 199–also called the Primacy of Montana Law–would prohibit the state from abiding by foreign religious customs and foreign laws within the court system. Well there's an idea! A United States that follows United States laws. I'm getting excited already. Maybe we'll even follow the Constitution one day. Janna Taylor, a Republican state senator in Montana, said that the bill is modeled after a similar anti-Sharia law that has been passed by Republicans in three other states so far: Tennessee, Kansas and Louisiana.
Of course, the islamophobe bigots CLAIM, wrongly, that they support the U.S. Constitution as well as their state constitutions. They just forget that we have the supremacy clause, which establishes that where there is a conflict between Federal and State law, Federal law 'wins' aka usually supersedes state law.

We have in this country, and have always had, religious courts in parallel to our secular court system.  In Christianity it is Canon law, versions of which are practiced by Roman Catholics, Eastern Rite Christianity, Anglicans and Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists, Lutherans, and in some forms by Quakers and the Amish.  Judaism has Halacha (aka Halakha) law and courts, and Islam in this country has Sharia.

An example of how a religious court operates would be the requirement for both a SECULAR legal decision and a religious one to end a marriage, either by divorce or annulment in some faiths and the requirement to do so by secular courts as well, before one can marry, IF one's religion has that requirement (and some do).  In other instances religious courts are purely advisory, for example on the finer points of keeping Kosher or Halal.

If you don't want to go through the religious courts, then no one requires it for secular purposes; it is entirely voluntary as a matter of religious faith and conscience.

But the ridiculous radical religious right deliberately misrepresents this, ginning up fear that Sharia law is somehow a threat to replace secular law.  It never has been and never would or could be; this is pure propaganda, complete ignorance pandering to the gullible, looking for an excuse to express their hatred for anyone who does not conform to their belief or will. From the same source above:
At least individual states are finally taking matters into their own hands to stop the travesty of Sharia law in America. The Christian Action Network noted on its website that Sharia law, also called Islamic law, has been used in United States courts multiple times to override America's law under the guise of Freedom of Religion. Of course! Freedom of Religion is suddenly important when it involves catering to the violent religion of Islam. However, if you take your Bible to the public square you better have on a bullet proof vest and when you demand protection from your President against foreign and domestic threats you get psycho-babble about the Crusades.
The Christian Action Network site went on to say: “Montana may be on the brink of accomplishing what Congress, the federal court system and all but three other states could not: Banning Islamic Shariah law from being used in state courts.”
There is NO case, whatsoever, ANYWHERE in the United States, its possessions or territories, at any time, that any religious law, Sharia, Halacha, or Canon law, has been used to override American law.

Another example of this kind of fear mongering and hate peddling is occurring across right wing media over a Sharia court in Irving Texas.  Specifically, a proposal for a ban on Sharia law in Mississippi is referencing that religious court, from the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN):
Lawmakers in Mississippi are proposing legislation that would ban Sharia law from the state.
"I think we need to make a stand and a statement that we are not going to allow it to be used in our court system," state Rep. John Moore, R-Brandon, said.
More than two dozen states have considered similar bans on the laws followed in Muslim nations.
A group of Muslims in northern Texas has created what may be the first official Sharia law system in the United States
The Sharia tribunal in Irving, Texas, said they're not planning to follow the type of Sharia practiced in Muslim countries, where severe punishments are handed out for even small crimes, women have very few rights, and blasphemy against Mohammed can result in a death sentence.
But in Mississippi, Rep. Moore recently introduced a meaure that blocks any foreign laws from being enforced or applied in the state and country.
He made clear that Sharia law is a big concern and wants to make sure it never gets argued in a Mississippi courtroom.
He said a Muslim defendent could try to use Sharia law as a defense against a U.S. criminal case.
This is a right wing lie; no one has succeeded in using such a defense, nor is it a defense attempt unique to one religion.  The closest we have come to a problem with a religious law interfering with the function of civil and criminal secular law was the abuse by the Roman Catholic church in conducting their own investigations under Canon Law instead of immediately reporting all accusations of sex crimes.  This led to priests being protected by the Church from legal action, including prosecution  under cover of priests being subject to Canon Law rather than civil and criminal secular law, as we see in the findings of subsequent law suits and investigative reports by journalists.

So we see the ridiculous, radical, religious right engaging in the most vile hypocrisy when it comes to outlawing Canon Law, and instead obsessing factually falsely about Sharia Law, as a justification and pretence for raging bigotry and Islamophobia.

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