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Romney’s Religion Problem
Sharia is not about private faith, but public institutions.


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Andrew C. McCarthy

Mitt Romney is said to be the early frontrunner in the GOP presidential sweepstakes. One rival, Newt Gingrich, is perceived as floundering in a swirl of unforced errors and staff insurrection. Yet when it comes to Islam, which will continue to matter mightily in the next administration, the frontrunner could learn a thing or two from the flounderer. The issue is not religion. It is the seditious Islamist political program.

Most Americans, myself included, would prefer not to have to think about Islam at all. Muslims forced their beliefs onto our consciousness by wanton violence and gross violations of human rights. While there are fitful efforts to reform Islam, and thus differing interpretations of its dogmas, mainstream Islam is still founded on sharia, Islam’s archaic, immutable legal framework (also known as “Allah’s law”).

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Sharia systematizes discrimination against (and brutal repression of) women, homosexuals, and, above all, non-Muslims (“dhimmis”). It is thus ironic that when the left-leaning legacy media broaches the subject of Islam, as CNN did during the GOP candidates’ debate this week, the context is usually claimed discrimination against Muslims. It is a testament to how deeply front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood — an enterprise that marries Islam’s Salafist fundamentalism to modern statism, under the populist banner of “social justice” — have seeped into the Democratic party, from which the press gets its talking points. And given how desperately the GOP establishment craves the crumbs of love that fall from the media’s table, it should not surprise us that Republicans, too, are cowed by the Brotherhood’s agents. That was not a Democratic president hustling over to the nearest mosque after the 9/11 attacks to brand Islam the “religion of peace.”

With barely concealed contempt, a CNN correspondent recounted Herman Cain’s prior statement that “a lot of Muslims are not totally dedicated to this country,” then pointedly asked the candidate, “Are American Muslims as a group less committed to the Constitution than, say, Christians or Jews?” For CNN, as moderator John King made clear, this is strictly a matter of religious discrimination: Even amid a war against Islamic terrorists, even amid unabashed promises to “conquer America” from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime, to regard Muslims differently is to violate the constitutional protections accorded to religious believers.

Cain gave a game albeit wandering answer, distinguishing “peaceful Muslims” from “militant Muslims” who are “trying to kill us.” This dichotomy leaves out a third, more insidious group: ostensibly peaceful, covertly terror-supporting Muslims who are trying to destroy the U.S. from within by using the freedoms available in the West to infiltrate our government and institutions — what the Brotherhood describes its “Grand Jihad” (the descriptor I used as the title of my book on the subject). Cain, however, did address this third category, at least implicitly, in objecting to sharia’s creep into American courts.

King construed Cain as seeking to impose “a purity test, or a loyalty test” uniquely on American Muslims before allowing them to serve in government — a fair description, though a bracing one that drew Cain’s objection. The exchange teed up the issue for Governor Romney. King asked him, “Should one segment of Americans — in this case for religion, but in any case — be singled out, treated differently?” Of course, the problem is not that Islamist Muslims are members of a religious group but that under the auspices of religion they pursue an anti-American political program. Yet Romney did not question King’s premise. He accepted it, and he exhibited a disturbing detachment from reality on the ground: “Well first of all, of course we’re not going to have sharia law applied in U.S. courts,” he said. “That’s never going to happen. We have a Constitution, we follow the law. No, I think we recognize that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, our nation was founded on the notion of religious tolerance, it’s in fact why some of the earlier patriots came to this country. And we treat people with respect regardless of their religious persuasion.”

The late-breaking news for the man who would be America’s next president is that we already have sharia law being applied in U.S. courts. Put aside the embarrassingly patent fact that having a Constitution has never meant “we follow the law” — judges ignore the Constitution regularly, and Romney’s own campaign aims to show that President Obama has run roughshod over our constitutional order. The fact is that sharia-based claims are now routinely posed in American legal cases and, increasingly, entertained by courts. Indeed, right before Romney spoke, Cain alluded to a New Jersey judge’s refusal to grant a protective order to a Muslim woman who was being serially raped by her Muslim husband — reasoning that the husband was merely following Islamic tenets, under which the wife is chattel and has no right to refuse.



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