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Islam and the First Amendment

July 15, 2010 2:26 PM

The desire of a group of Muslims to build a mosque near the Ground Zero location of the September 11, 2001 attack by a Muslim militant faction on the sovereign territory of one of the United States of America has now kindled an intense dispute. The two sides appear to boil down to a conflict between advocacy of private property rights versus advocacy of national interest against a sworn enemy, Al-Qaeda and its allies. However, the U.S. Constitution, in particular, the First Amendment, provides a less complicated way of looking at the conflict: the Free Exercise Clause versus the Establishment Clause.

The First Amendment states, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Both clauses are contained in that single statement. Concerning Islam, a religion, Congress is not to make any law prohibiting the free exercise of that or any other religion. The First Amendment makes that very clear.

However, Islam, among other characteristics, has an element which makes it different from all other religions: the establishment of religion does appear to be an inseparable part of Islamic doctrine, historically and in the present. The Islamic concepts of Ummah and Dar Al-Islam make that clear. Therefore, the Constitution bars Congress from making any law which supports, specifically, an Islamic establishment of religion.

Since I am not a Muslim and was not raised as a Muslim, whatever I learn about Ummah and Dar Al-Islam, I am learning from outside sources and passing on to my readers. Nevertheless, I am quite confident that what I have learned would be accepted by almost all, or perhaps all, of the world's Muslims (excepting secularized Muslims) as an accurate representation of what the Muslim religion asserts.

Ummah, a word derived from the Arabic word for "mother," means a community, a motherland or nation, and in fact the same word, meaning "nation" exists in Israeli Hebrew. However, in the Qur'an, ummah has a more specific meaning, the "best community," the Nation of Islam:

[3:110] You are the best community ever raised among the people: you advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and you believe in GOD. If the followers of the scripture believed, it would be better for them. Some of them do believe, but the majority of them are wicked. [3:111] They can never harm you, beyond insulting you. If they fight you, they will turn around and flee. They can never win. [3:112] They shall be humiliated whenever you encounter them, unless they uphold GOD's covenant, as well as their peace covenants with you. They have incurred wrath from GOD, and, consequently, they are committed to disgrace. This is because they rejected GOD's revelations, and killed the prophets unjustly. This is because they disobeyed and transgressed.

What, then, does the Muslim religion prescribe as a solution for such transgression? It divides the world into two spheres, the Dar Al-Harb (the Abode of War) and the Dar Al-Islam (the Abode of Submission.)

The Sunni website khilafah.com, which commemorates the Ottoman Caliphate, states:

According to Shariah terminology, Dar al-Islam is defined as the land which is governed by the laws of Islam and whose security (Aman) is maintained by the security of Islam, i.e. by the authority and protection of Muslims inside and outside the land, even if the majority of its inhabitants are non-Muslims.

The key words is "authority." In principle, the Free Exercise clause of the US Constitution, if enforced, would afford protection to Muslims to practice their faith. The US Constitution, however, is not a Muslim authority, but a secular authority.

It does not take an enormous leap of logic to conclude that the Qur'an and Shariah law advocate an establishment of religion which violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

In my opinion, those Americans who fully support the Constitution need to to be aware of this, to understand this, and to study this; and they need to make it clear that they oppose a Muslim establishment of religion in the United States. This is not "Islamophobia" but common sense and defense of the Constitution, an act which a US President swears to uphold. This does not mean that non-Muslim Americans oppose the right of Muslims to think about a Muslim establishment of religion, or even to advocate for one inside and outside of mosques. What the Constitution specifically bans is a Congressional act making one or more laws which promotes or institutes an establishment of any religion, including the Muslim religion.

Muslims, should they build a mosque near Ground Zero (or anywhere else) can be expected to preach Islam, including the ideas of Dar Al-Islam and the Ummah in that mosque. How much of a threat is that?

In my opinion, the real threat, in the near term, comes not from Muslims and mosques, but from Congress. Why? This is why, and this.

[Keywords: impeach-them-all.org al constitution establishment islam muslim muslims religion ]