New York lawyer Steven J. Stein attended a recent dinner of the Yale Club of Greenwich which was addressed by Yale Law School dean, Harold Hongjiu Koh. Koh suggested that sharia law, among other foreign laws, could have applicability within the United States in certain circumstances. If we are a nation constituted solely and entirely by “ideas,” isn’t it distressing to see how easy it is for such a prominent person to forget them? Fortunately Stein remembers. His letter is below.
Dear Dean Koh: I attended the dinner of the Yale Club of Greenwich earlier this week. In your discussion of “global law” I recall at least one favorable reference to “Sharia”, among other foreign laws that could, in an appropriate instance (according to you) govern a controversy in a federal or state court in the US. I, for one, oppose following “law” that is not the product of democratic lawmaking processes such as in this country, the Constitution, treaties to which the US is a party, legislative acts, (whether by a congress or a rulemaking authority in the executive branches of government) and, of course, judicial interpretations thereof . You mentioned, en passant, your extensive travels to Muslim countries so I must assume some familiarity with Sharia “law” including its decidedly undemocratic source, i.e., the truth as revealed to a Seventh Century “prophet” . Therefore, I must assume your awareness that such ‘truths” include, the following: Sura 8:12: “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”
Sura 3:151 “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: And evil is the home of the wrong-doers!”
Sura 9:25 declares: “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Sura 9:29 states: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (Jizya was a tax which non-Muslims had to pay to their Muslim overlords).
Your own world view, as expressed in Greenwich, based on fairness, reasonableness and tolerance seems very much at odds with the foregoing “laws” followed by over One Billion residents of this planet.