Andy’s excellent article on Saturday argued, among other things, the absurdity of U.S. military efforts to follow Islamic law in our wars in the Muslim world.
It turns out that the civilian branch of the U.S. government is also doing its part to comply with Islamic law as part of the war effort. In a statement that could have been lifted from the website of the embassy of Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Postal Service website uses sharia guidelines to list what is forbidden in packages sent from America to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Military Mailing Restrictions
Learn what you should — and shouldn’t — send to our troops.
Before you send a letter or package to one of our military service members overseas, make sure you’re aware of the restrictions. Mail addressed to military and diplomatic post offices overseas is subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding content, preparation, and handling. Although there are specific restrictions for each five-digit Military and Diplomatic Post Office ZIP Code (APO/FPO/DPO), generally, the following are prohibited in the region of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom:
Obscene articles (prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc) and horror comics.
Any matter depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items, or nonauthorized political materials.
Bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith. Items for the personal use of the addressee are permissible.
Pork or pork by-products.
Military Restrictions For specific restrictions and mailing prices to an APO/FPO/DPO address, visit the Price Calculator. You can also call 1-800-ASK-USPS or consult your local Post Office™.
— Nina Shea is director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, and co-author with Paul Marshall of the forthcoming book Silenced: How Apostasy & Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide(Oxford).