Parsing the Tennessee Sharia Bill

First it was Oklahoma and the Save Our State amendment. Then there was the more subtly worded South Carolina Senate Bill 444 and Georgia’s House Bill 45.  Oklahoma, South Carolina and Georgia (and there are probably other states at this point) are trying to prevent the courts of their states applying sharia law. A pointless vote-getter. And a legislator can hardly vote against these ridiculous measures without then being accused of supporting jihad.

Now it is Tennessee and Senate Bill 1028. And once again, it is legislators who know nothing about the thing they are trying to legislate against, but this time with a new twist. Tennessee is doing something different. SB 1028 makes it a felony to support sharia. And it’s not subtle about it at all. Muddled and unconstitutional, but not subtle.

Tennessee needs to be saved from the perils of sharia law on the verge of engulfing the state. Apparently. After all the bill starts off with “The threat from terrorism continues to plague the United States generally and Tennessee in particular.” Tennessee is plagued with the threat from terrorism. In particular. No doubt. Not since the Battle of Stone’s River has sponsoring Senator Bill Ketron’s home of Murfreesboro been under such a siege.

By paragraph 3 we learn that “sharia is based historically and  traditionally on a full corpus of law and jurisprudence termed fiqh and usul al-fiqh, respectively, dealing with all aspects of a sharia-adherent’s personal and social life and political society.” So sharia deals with all aspects of a “sharia-adherent’s” personal and social life. The other name for a “sharia-adherent” is “Muslim”. Just so we are sure of how comprehensively the bill defines “sharia-adherent”, in paragraph 2,  it is described as a “legal-political-military doctrine and system adhered to, or minimally advocated by, tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of its followers around the world.”

And all of them want to plague Tennessee with terrorism and overthrow the government.

“The knowing adherence to sharia and to foreign sharia authorities constitutes a conspiracy…” (Paragraph 11)  “The knowing adherence to sharia and to foreign sharia authorities is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the United States government and the government of this state through the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions by the likely use of imminent criminal violence and terrorism with the aim of imposing sharia on the people of this state.” (Paragraph 13)

Nowhere in the bill is “foreign sharia authority” defined. However sharia is defined as “any rule, precept, instruction, or edict arising directly from the extant rulings of any of the authoritative schools of Islamic jurisprudence of Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali, Ja’afariya, or Salafi”.  This is the equivalent of saying “any interpretation of the Bible by any pastor or Bible teacher, whether Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, Baptist…”

So being a Muslim constitutes a conspiracy and is prima facie evidence of that conspiracy to overthrow the US government – and of course the government of the plagued state of Tennessee – by criminal violence and terrorism. But I am curious about this “likely use” of imminent violence. Is the violence likely or imminent? If it is imminent isn’t it a bit more that likely? But when it comes to Muslims, who has time to worry about things like this? Tennessee is in the midst of a plague, after all. (Evidence of the plague usually takes the form of, “I hear told someone even saw a woman wrapped in one of them funny scarf thangs at the Family Dollar in Smyrna t’other day. Sakes alive! She might’a had a bomb under that thang.”)

I could parse out all the statements in the thirteen paragraphs of findings that, if enacted, the Tennessee General Assembly will have found to be true about sharia and sharia-adherents, but because they are repetitive while also managing to be occasionally contradictory, it would take more space than you have patience. If you are a member of the Tennessee General Assembly and voting for this bill, things like repetition, contradiction and violation of the First Amendment aren’t going to stand in your way.

I will, however, point out that in paragraph 9, there is a reference to the “jihad groups identified by the federal government as designated terrorist organizations pursuant to § 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act”. On the other hand, the bulk of the bill sets out procedures for the Tennessee Attorney General to designate “sharia organizations” so that anyone who is associated with them can be prosecuted and liable for all sorts of civil causes of action. If the federal government has already designated jihad groups – a task for which they expend considerable federal tax dollars on extensive covert operations – why does the Tennessee AG need to do the same? And if the members of these organizations are already subject to federal law, why does Tennessee need to step in?

Now I wish this was just a looney bill introduced by a lone ranger legislator. Every legislature gets some of those every session. Those sorts of bills grab a newspaper headline and then die quietly in committee without a hearing. Unfortunately in this case, there are three Senate co-sponsors, the chairs of the Education, Transportation and Judiciary committees, the last of which has the bill under consideration. Ketron is the GOP Caucus Chair. And like the legislation in the other states, it has a companion bill in the other chamber, in this case sponsored by Rep. Judd Matheny. It has twelve co-sponsors, including the chair the State and Local Government committee.

And finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the goofiest bit of legislative drafting I’ve seen in a long, long time. It goes back to that definition of sharia. “‘Sharia’ means the set of rules, precepts, instructions, or edicts which are said to emanate directly or indirectly from the god of Allah…” The god of Allah? What is the god of Allah? “The god Allah” maybe. I can allow that some people think that Allah, as worshipped in Islam, is a different god than God as worshipped in Christianity, rather than just a erroneous understanding of God. And I understand that most American Christians are completely clueless that Arab Christians call God “Allah” because that’s the Arabic word for God. And most are Islamo-illiterate enough that they don’t know that Muhammad came up with Islam after lots of contact with Judaism and Christianity and in essence derived his idea of God from them and his intent was to worship the God of Abraham. But “god of Allah”? Is this the god that this Allah putatively worships? Who knows? Probably not even the real author of this legislation, David Yerushalmi, a self-proclaimed expert on Islamic law.

Yerushalmi has contended in the press that the bill does not prevent Muslims from practicing their religion – you know, that old First Amendment thing. This only raises the question of why this legislation was so appalling poorly drafted – so vague and contradictory – even if the intent is supposed to be more narrow.

Just like there is no case of sharia having been applied by any judge in any court in the US, there is no instance in which Tennessee, its government or Constitution, or Ellie May down at the Family Dollar have been harmed by sharia-adherent jihadists or could be harmed in such a way that having the state attorney general proscribe anyone or any group would make any difference whatsoever.

Does the Obama Administration Consider You a Terrorist Threat?

The current US administration has shown it’s hand and it’s not backing down. They are defining what it means to be a right-wing extremist and how you — and you might be surprised and just a little worried how many of you this includes – might be a terrorist threat. As reported in the Washington Times,

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was briefed before the release of a controversial intelligence assessment and that she stands by the report sent to law enforcement that lists veterans as a terrorist risk to the U.S. and defines “rightwing extremism” as including groups opposed to abortion and immigration.

The Washington Times has also published the actual government document, available as a pdf on their website. A right wing extremist terrorist threat is anyone who is antigovernment, and specifically singled out are those rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority. As far as the Obama administration is concerned, Congressman Ron Paul joins the ranks of Timothy McVeigh and Mohammed Atta. Thomas Jefferson was fortunately born two centuries too early or he’d be on the list as well.

Anyone opposed to the passage of “new restrictions on firearms” is suspect as well. Then report further says,

Weapons rights and gun-control legislation are likely to be hotly contested subjects of political debate in light of the 2008 Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller in which the Court reaffirmed an individual’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but left open to debate the
precise contours of that right. Because debates over constitutional rights are intense, and parties on all sides have deeply held, sincere, but vastly divergent beliefs, violent extremists may attempt to co-opt the debate and use the controversy as a radicalization tool.

So if you are a member of a pro-life group (and who knows what constitutes a group – perhaps you need to be careful which Facebook groups you join), support the Second Amendment, or have served in the Armed Forces, just know that in the Obamanation, you are a threat.

More Terrorism in London

I was going to blog about the Christians that beat up an imam, stole his copy of the Qur’an and laptop, and threatened to break his legs if he ever went back into the studio after the imam had an argument with Christians who called into his live TV show. Except of course that it didn’t happen. The only thing is that not surprisingly it happened the other way around, and it wasn’t in Pakistan or Afghanistan or Egypt or Turkey, it was in west London.

Rev. Noble Samuel of Asian Gospel Ministries International hosts the Asian Gospel Show on a satellite channel broadcast from Wembley. Several Muslim callers rang into the show in recent weeks trying to argue with him. He wouldn’t take the bait and said, “Those are your views and these are my views.” The callers got very aggressive.

It seems verbal aggression wasn’t enough for them. A car pulled in front of him and a man got out to ask directions in Urdu.  Rev. Samuel described what happened when he rolled down his window, “He put his hand into my window, which was half open, and grabbed my hair and opened the door. He started slapping my face and punching my neck. He was trying to smash my head on the steering wheel. Then he grabbed my cross and pulled it off and it fell on the floor. He was swearing. The other two men came from the car and took my laptop and Bible.” Then they warned him, “If you go back to the studio, we’ll break your legs.”

Rev. Samuel and his family are now in fear for their safety. The thugs that attacked him may not have blown up buildings or killed any one (that we know of) they are still terrorists.

Ted Kennedy Knighted For Being Anti-British

I never thought I’d see the day that the Her Majesty’s Government would knight someone for supporting terrorism. That’s how important the special relationship between the US and UK is to the British. Gordon Brown went to Washington to buddy up with Barack. If there is any part of the Constitution for which most Americans have no use, it is the Emolument Clause and the British know this. So Gordon came bearing gifts.

The only redeeming fact is that the recipient cannot be known as Sir Edward Kennedy. Perhaps this is a bit of quid pro quo for support during the election. Ted supported Barack and Barack couldn’t swing getting Ted’s niece appointed to the Senate from New York. But he still got him the gift that money can’t buy – an honorary knighthood.

Every knighthood is given for an official reason. In this case it was for “services to the British-American relationship and to Northern Ireland”. How does that work, exactly? Kennedy is an Irish-American who consistently supported the Nationalist cause in Northern Ireland. He does seem to have pulled up short of open support for the IRA in their campaign of terrorism, though he did compare the British military presence in Northern Ireland during the Troubles to the American military in Vietnam. He said Irish Protestants should go back to Great Britain.

I know Americans are fascinated by, and covetous of, British honours. You would think, however, that one person who would not want to be an honorary knight of the realm would be someone who with such a high profile so openly opposed it. And while there is no evidence that he was personally involved, it is Ted Kennedy’s Irish Catholic electoral base in Boston that funnelled huge amounts of money to the IRA  so they could blow up innocent Brits in pubs and shopping centers around the UK.

So this is the dynamic of the “special relationship”. Britain’s socialist Prime Minister honouring America’s premier champagne socialist for supporting the dissolution of the United Kingdom.

One Right Move

In some ways I’m happy that Obama is president. Being a grumpy old man, yet a Republican, it has been difficult to complain about American politics while being loyal to the president and the party. Now that the Democrats control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, it will be much easier.

Before I launch into what will no doubt be at least four years of moaning, I will give credit where credit is due. One of policies of the Bush administration with which I disagreed was the detention of enemy combatants and various others at Guantanamo Bay, using it as a loophole to avoid the usual Constitutional constraints. In one of his first acts, President Obama ordered the closure of Gitmo within a year.

I’m not denying that this will not be an easy thing to do while maintaining the security of the US and avoiding the disclosure of classified information. However, these things must be resolved within the law, something that was wearing thin in the ongoing situation since the overthrow of the Taliban and the installation of the current Christian-hating regime in Afghanistan.

So in this one small way, I think BHO has moved in the right direction. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Honest Hate

At least he’s honest. Anjem Choudary has been telling Muslims they shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas. “How can a Muslim possibly approve or participate in such a practice that bases itself on the notion Allah has an offspring? The very concept of Christmas contradicts and conflicts with the foundation of Islam.”

He sees that all this bunkum about worshipping the same God is as offensive to Islam as it is to Christianity. Either Jesus is the Son of God, the incarnation of Allah, or He is not. To say that the Babe in the manger is the Most Holy One is direct contradiction to the very essence of Islam.

So I don’t see why it is such big news that he is saying this. He’s just being a good Muslim.

Why didn’t it make bigger news when Choudary, who is the chairman of the Society of Muslim Lawyers, praised the Mumbai attacks? Nobody seemed to notice when he called for the assassination of the Pope.  It is almost forgotten that he organised the demonstrations over the Muhammad cartoons, which included incitement to murder.

And why it is only mentioned in passing that his family is not supported by his legal work and he apparently isn’t well paid as Principal Lecturer at the London School of Shari’ah.  Perhaps he doesn’t have time for that with all of his preaching since he has to fill in for his mentor Omar Bakri Mohammed, who has been exiled from the UK. I’m just guessing that’s why they receive  £25,000 a year in state benefits.

It’s like, sure he is bigging up the deaths of 163 people in the name of Islam, but now he hates Christmas, too? Good grief. Why not actually expose that we are supporting the work of a domestic terrorist who doesn’t just hate Christmas. He hates us.

Oops, They Did It Again

Clearly the Government chooses its contractors on the basis of the cheapest bid, without any regard for little things like competence. Many of the security and information breaches over the last couple of years have been by EDS. This time it is by Atos Origin.

A memory stick containing all the confidential pass codes to the tax websites was found in a pub car park. As a result the Government had to shut down access to driving licence applications, VAT returns, pension entitlements and child benefit.

The Prime Minister has now even admitted the government cannot promise the safety of personal data entrusted by the public. He has not changed his plans for ID cards for everyone, which security experts have said will be hacked almost as soon as they are issued. So the Prime Minister is saying that even though the data will be completely insecure and unreliable, and will be used illegally to the detriment of an incalculable number of citizens in terms of financial loss and identity theft on top of the usual invasion of privacy, the Government must have it to control terrorism and immigration.