Saturday, November 21, 2009

American Muslims and the Constitution

I've said on several occasions that the Muslim world doesn't see anything wrong with an Islamic theocracy. And it seems more or less true when you look around the world at nations that are primarily or overwhelmingly Muslim.

I think Turkey is about the only one that has any kind of representative democracy, and they seem to have the church and state thing under control.

Some time back I interviewed for a story I was writing a prominent and well-known American Muslim who had been in the national news just prior to my interview, and I pointedly asked him several questions about where American Muslims stand on the issue of church and state.

He was kind of cagey and seemed to dance around the issue, acknowledging that we do in fact have a separation of church and state in this nation, which is a good thing for Muslims as well as everyone else, but then the screw got turned a little more and I asked him what he thought would happen if Muslims became the majority and were in a position to institute Sharia Law, for example, in the US.

More dancing around, some hedging and hawing, and I didn't really get a definitive answer out of him. All of which more or less lent support to my previously-held stereotype of Islam and government.

Given that, it was with more than idle interest that I read Sheila Musaji's American Muslims must defend the Constitution of the United States over at the American Muslim website:

America is a secular and democratic nation with a clearly marked wall between church and state (thank God!). One of the reasons America has been a beacon to the world is the freedom that all Americans have to practice any (or no) religion. As an American Muslim I don’t believe that America can be defined as anything but a secular democracy (secular meaning neutral towards religion, not devoid of religion or hostile to religion) in which all religions are free to worship.
I don’t want to see Shariah, or Biblical law, or any other religious law replace the Constitution, and I don’t want to see any kind of a theocracy in place based on any religion. I agree with Rabbi Arthur Waskow that “When those who claim their path alone bespeaks God’s Will control the State to enforce their will as God’s, it is God Who suffers.”
Go ahead and real the whole thing. It was an eye-opening experience for me.


Fran said...

This is far off topic, but I just wanted to let you know that Roseann from "Give Peace a Chance, PLEASE!" died at 8:45pm last night. Thanks for leaving that lovely comment for her.

She will not soon be forgotten.

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks for letting me know, Fran.