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Frank Gaffney: Muslims Practicing Sharia Should Be Prosecuted for Sedition

Frank Gaffney

Gaffney appears with Brigitte Gabriel of ACT, I mean Hate! for America and calls for Muslims to be prosecuted for sedition if they practice Sharia’. This is even more quixotic when considering today’s feature on the man who chose to stone his gay friend after reading the Bible. Robert Spencer and other anti-Muslims also support this sort of legislation.

Frank Gaffney: Muslims Practicing Sharia Should Be Prosecuted for Sedition

(Little Green Footballs)

Here’s Frank Gaffney of the anti-Muslim Center for Security Policy, calling for Muslims who practice any version of sharia law to be arrested and prosecuted for “sedition.”

Gabriel: But a lot of people say that Sharia law is a religious practice, and maybe it should be protected by the First Amendment. Can you please tell us, is it compatible with the Constitution? Should it be protected by the First Amendment as a religious practice?

Gaffney: It is the law of the land in Saudi Arabia and Iran, and anyone who thinks that what life is like in either of those two countries is the same as life in America obviously doesn’t know anything about either Saudi Arabia or Iran. In fact, it is absolutely antithetical, Sharia is, to our Constitution, and the pursuit of it as you said in your comment, Brigitte, is incompatible with the Constitution’s Article VI, and therefore, far from being a protected religious practice, it is an impermissible act of sedition, which has to be prosecuted under our Constitution.

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  • Mosizzle

    Haha. Is that JCL whining about Zionist conspiracies when he links to that crappy site that displays the Palestinian flag as a swastika?

    Well, what can we expect from a JWer.

  • Turbanbomb? Perhaps you mistyped
    In that your Turbanbomb blog has an Alexa rank of 8,900,407, perhaps you’ll not be surprised to learn that it’s new to me. Still, many thanks for the link. It’s kinda funny.


    I think Zogby’s numbers are incorrect. Other polls are showing closer to 85% negative, but with __only slight__ differences for party affiliation. Kinda ironic, though: for the first time since 9/11 Americans dislike Muslims just about precisely as much as Arabic-speaking Muslims dislike Americans.

    Look on the bright side…. it could be worse. Americans absolutely love Muslims compared to folks in France or the UK. Moreover, hate crimes against Muslims are still extremely low. Nothing like (say) Sweden, where Muslims are 52 times (5,200%) more likely to experience a hate crime than they are in the U.S.


    > “Indeed, so why the need for new legislation? Why the need for silly paranoia? Is your faith in the American Constitution so weak that you fear a tiny minority will overthrow the government?”

    As I said already, the legislation is pretty pointless.

    Is there really any question why folks are trying to pass such laws?

    1. They don’t like Muslims.
    2. They read or hear about traditional Islamic law and are appalled.
    3. Perhaps, too, they hear Muslims saying how great shariah is.

    Here’s an example of these laws.

    How does it prohibit free exercise of Islam as a religion?

    One could only reach that conclusion by concluding that the execution of apostates or the hudud laws are __an essential__ part of Islam.


    Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:Section 1. R.S. 13:4249 is hereby enacted to read as follows:§4249.

    Application of foreign law

    A. “Foreign law” means any law, rule, or legal code or system established and used or applied in a jurisdiction outside of the states or territories of the United States.

    B. The legislature finds that it shall be the public policy of this state to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

    C. A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative,mediation, or enforcement authority shall not enforce a foreign law if doing so would
    foreign law to govern its interpretation or the resolution of any dispute between the parties, and if the enforcement or interpretation of the contractual provision or agreement would result in a violation of a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States, the agreement or contractual provision shall be modified or amended to the extent necessary to preserve the constitutional rights of
    the parties.

    E. If any contractual provision or agreement provides for the choice of venue or forum outside of the states or territories of the United States, and if the
    enforcement or interpretation of the contract or agreement applying that choice of venue or forum provision would result in a violation of any right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States, that contractual provision or agreement shall be interpreted or construed to preserve the constitutional rights of the person against whom enforcement is sought. Similarly, if a natural person subject to personal jurisdiction in this state seeks to maintain litigation, arbitration,agency, or similarly binding proceedings in this state, and if a court of this state finds that granting a claim of forum non conveniens or a related claim violates or would likely lead to the violation of the constitutional rights of the non-claimant in the foreign forum with respect to the matter in dispute, the claim shall be denied.

    F. Any contractual provision or agreement incapable of being modified or amended in order to preserve the constitutional rights of the parties pursuant to the provisions of this Section shall be null and void.

    G. Without prejudice to any other legal right, the provisions of this Section shall not apply in favor of a juridical person as defined by Civil Code Article 24.

    H. The public policies expressed in the provisions of this Section shall apply only to actual or foreseeable violations of the constitutional rights of a person caused by the application of the foreign law.

    # cut

  • NassirH

    *your syllabus?

    I suggest everyone go to this loon’s site and take a look at his insanely biased syllabus. This jingoist should be fired, in my opinion.

  • NassirH

    Why is this part of you syllabus?

  • NassirH

    “I know, I know, I know, all those whom you dislike are evil and vile bigots … and stupid … and probably card-carrying members of the Learned Elders of Zion. Tell you what. I’ll concede the point, and even throw in a bit of holocaust denial and a couple of CIA conspiracies, but only if you agree to go back on your meds.”

    Seriously John, you need to calm down. We know that you’re a good Christian and patriotic American who acknowledges this country’s God-given right to torture a Muslim. We here at Loonwatch respect that, just as we respect your rather bizarre litany of labels we never attached to your noble name. It’s all good, so just chill bro. As for the meds, you can’t tell which ones won’t give you diarrhea here in the dirty Muzlm world.

    “I’ve read them all. There’s no question on this point.”

    You read them all? You apparently didn’t read Translating Jihad’s shoddy translations before you gave him two thumbs up. Even if what you’re saying is true, the legislation is nothing more than ignorant nuts attempting to gain the clown vote (according to a Zogby poll, over eight in ten Republicans don’t think so fondly of them jihad taqiyya Muzlms). Therefore, I will not support any legislation that is rooted in anti-Muslim sentiment. Maybe brown clown Jasser will, but I can affirm that every Muslim I know would despise the guy if they knew about him, regardless of whether they are liberal or conservative. Also, in contrast to your words Dear John, the evil Muslims over at Aljazeera have suggested that the wording of the legislation might make my praying to a Satanic moon god criminal behavior.

    “But again, large portions of traditional and modern Islamic law have already been voided by the US courts, and even regarded as criminal.”

    Indeed, so why the need for new legislation? Why the need for silly paranoia? Is your faith in the American Constitution so weak that you fear a tiny minority will overthrow the government? Am I the only one who thinks that would be grounds to send you to a psychiatric ward? Don’t worry; I will pay for that like a good Muzlm. Consider it Zakat. Just please don’t nuke Mecca; that town means a lot to me.

    Or does giving some cash to John count as sedition? The questions of our time…

  • I know, I know, I know, all those whom you dislike are evil and vile bigots … and stupid … and probably card-carrying members of the Learned Elders of Zion. Tell you what. I’ll concede the point, and even throw in a bit of holocaust denial and a couple of CIA conspiracies, but only if you agree to go back on your meds.


    The anti-shariah laws are mostly not terribly interesting. They do not criminalize behavior that is not already regarded as criminal. At the same time, contrary to what the agit-props here say, they do not criminalize Islam as a system of philosophical beliefs or as a system of religious rituals. I’ve read them all. There’s no question on this point.

    The only new element is (seemingly) a strengthening of current laws on sedition. If I’m reading them right, it would be criminal for someone to advocate the observance of some point of foreign law if it is in violation of US law. And thus, an imam could be prosecuted for officiating at a polygamous marriage ceremony, or perhaps even for teaching the necessity of observing divinely-mandated polygamy.

    But again, large portions of traditional and modern Islamic law have already been voided by the US courts, and even regarded as criminal.

    Can I assume you agree that this is the case?

    Should I also assume that you think this is wrong? A violation of the rights of Muslims to the free exercise of their religion?

    If so,
    — does Allah’s law trump US law?
    — do you change Allah’s law?
    — do you pull a Qaradawi?

  • NassirH

    I appreciate your wonderful droll, John. I find that your other comments are also quite quaint. Perhaps one day we can put aside our differences (i.e. you ignore JW, whose noble authors have advocated celebrating the deaths of evil Mooslims, while I do the same for LW, whose nefarious goal is to fight anti-Muslim sentiment) and have a nice cup of tea or something.

    The problem is that the separation of Church and State is already in the Constitution, and the anti-Sharia legislation being considered in various states is nothing more than an attempt to score points amongst the anti-Muslim bigot crowd, which you are likely a part of. Need proof about your open contempt for Muslims? Simply take a look at your own comments on JW. I do hope that they aren’t reflective of your teaching.

    You’d also best bring the marriage age back down to its Islamic standard and start giving your kiddos some lovin’.

    ‘Course, if you’re a young Turkish gentleman, the chances are that you can’t even afford to get married. And we all know that that’s just going to get worse.

    So sad… I hear the young Turkish ladies are feeling lonely. At least they’ve got their religion to keep them company at night.

    You’ll have to be content with your western porn.


    And even if you can triple the total number of Muslims, how are they going to fight? Throw camel turds? Bore us to death chanting nashids? Make us laugh so hard that we die from asphyxiation?

    In fact, all other markers point in the same direction. Most Muslim states, especially those in the Arabic-speaking M.E., will fall further and further behind over the next century.

    The beautiful Turkish ladies are just going to get poorer and lonelier.

    Shame, too. Turkish guys are so very cute.

    From my checking your blog and my charming conversations with you, John, it seems you are a fan of luminaries such as Debbie Schlussel and Rush Limbaugh. Hmmm…what’s the phrase I’m looking for?

  • Mosizzle

    He’s a regular JWer as well.

    But, JCL, all these anti-Sharia laws are in very open language, so even the parts of Sharia that you have declared ‘acceptable’ will be affected.

  • Danios

    Prof. Lamoreaux,

    The creator of the “Translating-Jihad” website has included a quote on his website in which you praise his work, as follows:

    “A short note of thanks, for your translations. I’ve done more than a few myself, and I well know that it’s not easy [to] be both accurate and readable. Your versions are both. First rate work.”
    -Dr. John C. Lamoreaux, associate professor, Department of Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University

    Considering that Al-Mutarjim (creator of the site) has been exposed as an absolute fraud (see here, here, here, here and here), your endorsement of him calls into question your academic neutrality.

    Are you an ideologue masquerading as an academic scholar? Are you also just a Christian polemicist like Al-Mutarjim of Translating-Jihad? Considering that you teach at a Christian school, it’s not hard to believe. Do you really think that Al-Mutarjim is a “first rate” translator? Do you give that A+ rating to anyone who pumps out anti-Muslim propaganda? Again, I ask: are you really a scholar or just a religious ideologue?


  • Nur Alia,

    When it comes to issues of Islamic law, the courts at present have a surprising amount of latitude. There’s much they accept. There’s much they reject. There are even some things for which they’ll throw you in jail, for a very long time. It does not matter much that this is religiously sanctioned law, as opposed to French, or Chinese law, or tribal practice from the Amazon. The separation clause does play a role, but it’s pretty small. The courts can criminalize (say) a Pashtun tribal custom as easy as one derived from classical Islamic law or the laws of modern Muslim states.

    In general, the courts will give consideration to and enforce those aspects of Islamic law that they do not regard as opposed to fundamental precepts of US, state, or local law. Other matters, however, even voluntary contracts valid under Islamic law, can be declared void. Further, the courts criminalize aspects of the observance of Islamic law.

    For instance, take just family law and aspects that have come before the US and similar courts in the last couple years. All of the following have been adjudicated by US, Canadian, UK, or Australian courts.

    1. Mahr, if deferred, often declared invalid — even when it is specified in the marriage contract. At times, courts have also declared the mahr itself invalid, esp in the event of dispute at the time of a divorce.

    2. Shiite marriage contracts with fixed terms have not been recognized as valid, when they’ve come before the courts.

    3. Marriages themselves have been voided by the courts. The reasons vary: not having the marriage registered with the state, not using a licensed religious authority, proxy marriages, underage marriages, polygamy. Even when such marriages are regarded as valid in Islamic law, the courts have and do void them, if it sees a reason to do so.

    4. There have been some (just a few) instances where defendants tried to argue that their spousal abuse was not abuse, but religiously acceptable discipline. Courts have dismissed the defense. In one recent case, however, a lower court held with the defendant. The decision was overturned by a higher court. And I’m pretty sure that the lower court judge lost his job.

    5. Divorce. Talaq-divorce frequently ends up in court, whenever one party thinks they’ll get a better shake with non-Islamic law. The same holds for arguments between ex-spouses re support of self and children or payment of deferred dower. Courts are almost always willing to void even items spelled out in detail in the marriage contract. In some cases, courts have even ruled that a couple is still married, even when the both of them did not want to be married and did not regard themselves as married. In one case, the man had even since gotten remarried (or at least thought he had: the court annulled that marriage).

    6. Child custody and support. Strict interpretations of Islamic law is consistently declared void. In the US, e.g., custody is determined by the best interest of the child. Issues of lineage are dismissed as largely irrelevant. Substantial support for divorced woman and the children may be required by the courts, even when it goes beyond the requirements of Islamic law. The same holds for assets. In Islamic law, the husband and the wife have traditionally maintained separate and inviolable estates. The courts will often decree that there is communal property and that the divorced woman is entitled to a portion of that property. Language in the marriage contracts can sometimes prevent this from happening, but until recently folks tended to use the types of contracts they used back home, in which there was little protection of the husband’s assets.

    7. The raising of children as Muslim. This sometimes comes before the courts after the divorce of mixed couples. For the US courts, at least, a non-Muslim woman cannot be forced to raise the child as a Muslim, nor can children be taken from her if she doesn’t do so — and this, even if it was required in the marriage contract.

    8. Discipline of children. There have been some cases where parents were determined to have broken the law for physically disciplining their children for not praying and not fasting. The same happens in some states for corporal punishment more generally.

    9. Circumcisions of girls is regarded by some Muslims as mandatory, as evidenced by raes of observance in the high 90%. Even though the textual support is not strong, for such Muslims it is fully an Islamic ritual. The practice is not well received by US courts, even in those cases where the parents are from countries where the practices is near universal. The courts have commonly imposed criminal sanction against both parents and the person performing the circumcision. For a time, some tried to get around the law by having the ritual done while on vacation back in the old country. Most states will now prosecute that, too.

    10. Circumcision of boys has also, though rarely, been a problem for the courts — to my knowledge, this has only occurred in those cases where the boys were nine or ten years old at the time of the ritual. The one case I followed most closely: the parents had not yet undertaken the ritual. Somehow, the coming event came to be known to the boy’s teacher, and she called social services. The matter ended up in the courts, and the parents were instructed that they could not circumcise the boy, and that that if they did do so, they would lose custody and face time in jail. In the future, the boy can elect to get circumcised, but the court explicitly stated that he must wait until he’s 18 years old.

    11. Cases touching `iddah and in the case of remarriage to one’s ex-husband the need to consumate a married with a second party — such things occasionally come under consideration as parts of larger cases involving divorce. They courts have consistently refused to accord them much wait. E.g., in event of divorce, if there’s question of the wife being pregnant, the courts will order a medical test and dispense with the three months of waiting and (importantly) the need to support one’s spouse during this period.

    12. Cases where issues of paternity (and financial responsibility for child) have been determined in ways contrary to traditional Islamic law. In one famous case, neither mother nor father regarded the child as belonging to the father (nor was he, in traditional Islamic law), but the court ruled contrary to both parents and Islamic law.

    13. Inheritance issues frequently come before the courts. The courts have mostly upheld traditional Islamic law, but only when there is a valid will. When people die intestate, the courts are in a pickle, as they have a hard time enforcing traditional laws about shares, especially in the case of widows and daughters.

    14. I’ve not seen any cases on adoption recently, but there were a couple about a decade back. One such case involved the court recognizing adoption as valid (though it is explicitly prohibited): I don’t remember all the details, but the man had one official wife and one unofficial, he adopted the children of the unofficial wife, for the welfare benefits, and for some reason, at a later date, tried to argue that he had not actually adopted them. in that there’s no such thing as adoption in Islam….

    15. Cases now and again reach the courts concerning a family’s right to request religious accommodations for children: e.g., being released from gym class; being forced to participate in dancing as part of a school activity; whether a girl can be allowed to forego school activities when they require an immodest uniform or the mixing of genders. The courts do take into consideration the parents’ understanding of Islamic law but only as one among a number of factors.

    16. Polygamous marriages are not usually treated as criminal. Nonetheless, there have been a fair number of instances where they’ve ended up before the courts for other reasons. These have usually involved cases where there is one official wife and one unofficial one. The cases have typically arisen in event of divorce, when the second wife wants a portion of the assets or support. Such matters also reach the courts when there are problems with immigration status, custody of children, or receipt of state benefits.

    (There is a whole other set of problems that arise with voluntary and binding arbitration, whether at the mosque or with an Islamic mediation service. The courts will sometimes rule that a party to such arbitration has certain responsibilities or rights that are not found within Islamic law. Usually, it seems, they are trying to make sure that women are given a fair shake. They tend to err on the side of caution especially in cases where the wife a younger than the husband, only recently arrived in the US, and/or poorly educated.

    The courts are not generally over eager to criminalize the observance of Islamic laws that differ from the state’s laws (apart from spousal abuse and immigration fraud). Still, criminal sanctions are sometimes applied. Not surprisingly, such sanctions tends to be more frequent when the courts are confronted with very strict or very traditional ruling of Islamic law: the stricter the Islamic law, the more likely it is to contain elements that rise to the level of criminal behavior. Think family law as practiced by Taliban v. Tunisians.

    Ironically, the more times such cases come before US courts, the more the courts rather than Muslims themselves get to determine what constitutes real Islamic law and how it is to be applied. If there’s a case dealing with talaq, and the laws about talaq are interpreted in a Saudi fashion, that Saudi interpretation becomes part of the case law. The Saudi understanding of talaq will then impact later cases, even cases where the parties do not share the Saudi understanding of talaq.

    It might also work in the opposite direction. One can well imagine, e.g., a case about the veil, where a Muslim argues that the veil is not required. The way the veil was understood in that case might then, in a later case, be treated as normative, even if, in this case, the Muslim is trying to establish the necessity of veiling, in order (say) to get permission to wear it at work.


    Family law is just one section of a traditional handbook of Islamic law. One chapter out of a hundred (say). As for the remainder:

    About 50%, I’d think, is ritual law. Most such matters are not problematic.

    The majority of rituals (taharah, prayer, Ramadan, etc) have been recognized as a private matter. Such things tend to come before the courts mostly in cases involving either requests for reasonable accommodations or requests by prisoners to have freedom to practice such rituals. Such cases are frequent enough. Someone wants to be able to take time off from work in order to pray, and needs the court to order the employer to make a reasonable accommodation. Or again, someone wants time off from work as a highschool teacher in order to go for hajj.

    On such matters, the courts tend to be pretty unpredictable. Mostly, I think, because it is sometimes difficult to determine when an accommodation presents undue hardship.

    (I don’t include the more public aspects of rituals: things like call to prayer, zoning for mosques, construction and style of mosques. In deciding such matters, the courts are faced with a different set of issues.)

    As for the other 50% or Islamic law, the majority of it overlaps with the jurisdiction of the state. Where this happens, Islamic law is will be voided. The state doesn’t want two sets of criminal law, two sets of contract law, etc.

    Significant portions of this second half of Islamic law would, I think, receive criminal sanction, should a Muslim try to observe it. This applies to the entirety of the sections of criminal law (hudud), laws for war (siyar/jihad), laws for captives and spoils, laws for how to get and how to treat slaves, laws about how to punish public breeches of the divine law, including capital crimes for such things as blasphemy, laws about how non-Muslims are to be treated in Islamic society (e.g., lesser punishment if they are killed vs the killing of a Muslim, rules about them having to wear special clothes to distinguish them from Muslims, etc), law on the authority of men vs other spouse and children or vs women (e.g., intercourse with slaves and wives without need of their consent; and in some legal schools, a father’s ability to contract a marriage for a minor daughter without her explicit consent, silence being taken as consent), laws that forbid marriage between members of different social classes or different tribes or races (kafa’ah), laws about how to kill those Muslim who decide that they don’t believe in Islam anymore; laws about how to kill those non-Muslims and Muslims who are regarded to have offended the honor of Allah or his Ummah; laws that severely limit freedom of belief and practice for Muslims, so much so that breach of them is protected by the execution of the malefactor.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Islamic law is some ghastly and horrible thing. If one compares it to other legal systems in the ancient world it was in many matter actually progressive. In ancient Greece and ancient Roman, one could not accept legal testimony from a slave unless that testimony was extracted under torture. If I were a slave, I’d much prefer to live under a master who followed Islamic law. On the other hand, if I were a slave, I prefer even more strongly to live under a system of laws that declared slavery to be a crime.

    At any rate, all such matters are not only voided by the US courts. They are also righty subject to criminal sanction.

    US courts will appeal to comity where they can and try to enforce those aspects of islamic law that are not contrary to US, state, or local law. And again, I’d estimate, that this applies to around half the entire corpus of traditional Islamic law. As for the rest, they courts declared it either void or criminal.

    It is not important that Islamic law is religious law. If Socrates were to get himself arrested for buggering little boys and plead that it’s the custom in Athens, he’ll not get far with that defense. He still goes to jail. Still, even customary laws are afforded comity, where possible. The same applies to Islamic law, whether modern Egyptian (codified) family law or a Saudi imam’s classical handbook of fiqh. Some half gets on just fine with US law. The other half either does not get on at all or is positively inimical to US law.


  • Mr. Frank, did you say that KSA is a shariah-state? Really? Since when?

    My Saudi friends (both those that are still relatively sane and those that are now completely mad) assure me that the royals abandoned Islam when in ’79 (what a year!) Prince Turki used poison gas against the great Bin Baz’s favorite pupil and a harmless little guy calling himself the Mahdi.

    To be fair, some of them date the second riddah to the end of WWI, when the royals hired the Brits to use their fancy flying machines to take out the (original) Ikhwan. And for what? What had the bros done? Raided a couple few, tiny little kafir villages and maybe a handful of kafir hajj caravans … no big deal. The bros had a right to a shar’i living, after all.

    Whatever the case, they say, the impious, two-state proposal (may Allah cause it to burn in the flames of Jahannam!) sealed the fate of the kuffar, running-dog, Zionist-Crusader stooges.

    Accordingly, the pious Saudis tell me, it is fard for all Muslims to seek to overthrow the accursed monarchy and set up a proper Islamic state, one run by real Muslim men, for real Muslim men, in accordance with real Islamic law.

    Surely the Loons at Loonwatch will agree that takfir is fully justified, and that a pious Arabian Emirate is far, far better than its current impious self.

    Trust the Loons, Mr. Frank, they’ll not blow taqiyah up your … ear. You have nothing to fear from shariah! There’s no reason for you to be worrying your little kafir brain. Only rawafidah dogs and that unspeakable neighbor to the north of the future Arabian Emirate need take umbrage at the prospect of rule by shariah.

    And so, Mr. Frank, listen to the Loons, and make your precious constitution truly pluralist. Find a place in it for true diversity, even such sorts as you and yours personally detest — and that includes theocracy, in all its myriad and wonderful forms. It’s the right thing to do.

    Vive la R’evolution!

    > Adolphus Abu Lihya

  • Terry

    Just another Zionist nut that is lobbying on behalf of Israel.

  • Daniel

    Hmmm…can a non-Muslim do a good deed to get arrested as well?

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