Khizr Khan and Sharia Law

“We already have creeping Sharia law in this country.”  — Mark Levin, political commentator, author, and radio host

By now, we’ve all heard Khizr Khan’s speech (or part of it) at the Democratic National Convention, including his critical comments directed at Donald Trump and his ideas about banning Muslim immigrants. Khan had every right to speak out, but I don’t think his comments were entirely fair or accurate. We have also heard what Trump said in response, which was typically reactionary. Trump’s handling of the whole thing was undiplomatic and ill-advised. But, that’s not what I want to focus on tonight.

trump-khan-e1470061636334Of course, I was not sure I wanted to tackle this at all, let alone be critical of Mr. & Mrs. Khan. After all, that Trump had the gall to “attack” a Gold Star family was a big part of the hubbub around this whole thing. But, I think it is justified to look into the Khans a bit, as some have done. I hate to sound cynical, but we also must consider a) the deception we know that the Clintons and many other Democrats are willing to commit for their cause and b) the deception (taqiyya & kitman) that Muslims are authorized to practice in defense of and to advance Islam. So, consider this…

“Shocking revelations include that Khan has deep financial and legal connections to the Muslim immigration industry, and well as connections to the Saudi Arabian government, and to the Clintons themselves. Khan’s own website (which he hurriedly DELETED) confirmed that he specialized in a controversial visa program that allows wealthy foreigners to invest in American businesses and property as a means of buying citizenship for themselves and their families – a program mostly used by Islamic investors.”  — Team DML, associated with Newsmax.tv’s “Dennis Michael Lynch UNFILTERED”

Some of these revelations might be chalked up to coincidence and/or be of relatively little surprise or importance (e.g., Khan worked for Hogan & Hartson for some of the same years that Loretta Lynch did). Others, like the obviously ulterior motive for speaking out against Muslim immigration bans, are very suspicious. But, the relevant issue here is what Khan has said about Islamic Law. As per Alex Pfeiffer at the Daily Caller,

“Khan wrote “Juristic Classification Of Islamic Law” in the Houston Journal of International Law in 1983. In it he breaks down different levels of Islamic law. Khan writes that the Quran and the Sunnah which were both directly created by the Muslim prophet Muhammad were the only sources in Muhammad’s lifetime that “were recognized as binding.”

“The Shari’ah was completed during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammed, in the Quran and Sunnah. This brings up an important fact which is generally overlooked, that the invariable and basic rules of Islamic Law are only those prescribed in the Shari’ah (Quran and Sunnah), which are few and limited,” Khan continues to write. “All other juridical works which have been written during more than thirteen centuries are very rich and indispensable, but they must always be subordinated to the Shari’ah and open to reconsideration by all Muslims.””

I am sure there is some disagreement on this among Muslim scholars, but… fair enough.

Now, fast-forward 30+ years to the other day, when Khizr and Ghazala Khan appeared on PBS. Judy Woodruff asked Mr. Khan about the poll that Trump quoted, which said over 50% of American Muslims believe “that there should be Sharia Law” (presumably in the U.S.) — with all of the violence against women, non-Muslims, etc., that it entails. Khan responded:

“Sharia Law cannot be implemented in [the] United States, because this distorted Sharia Law is against the basic principle of equal dignity, equal protection of law in the United States. What are we talking about? These are political statements to gather votes and create hatred and dislike. I would love to sit down and talk on what Sharia Law are we are talking about. There is no such thing. These are laws of these Muslim countries. These are [a] hodge-podge of various traditions, various British laws, various colonized-times laws… legal system. There is no such thing. United States has the Islamic Law, which is equal protection of law under the 14th Amendment. Therefore, there is no fear, except fearmongers make it fear. Unless we amend our Constitution and we take out the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment… sure, we can talk about Sharia Law coming here, sneaking in here and all that. Otherwise, there is no place for that.”

The Khans on PBS

The Khans on PBS

Now, I must confess, I found Khan’s statement a bit unclear and hard to follow. If I were to restate what he seems to be saying, I would say, “Many other influences have ‘corrupted’ Islamic law, such that what is now called “Sharia” by many is not true Sharia.” These other influences — i.e., “traditions, various British laws [really?!], various colonized-times laws” — are probably the “other juridical works” mentioned in Khan’s 1983 paper. There is certainly truth to this. From what I understand, so-called “honor killings” are not commanded in the Quran and Sunnah; also, the more severe requirements for women wearing burqas and associated punishments (including death) for violating them are similarly found only in the traditions of the more extremist sects & fundamentalist movements (e.g., Wahhabis, Salafis, Taliban). (The more violent forms of jihad also come from these groups, though arguably they have Quranic justification.)

But, how can he say “United States has the Islamic Law, which is equal protection of law under the 14th Amendment” with a straight face? Setting aside the question of whether it applies to his point, it sounds like he is saying that the core principle of true Sharia is “equal protection”, but this is absurd. The relevant portion of the 14th Amendment, Section 1, states,

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That part I italicized is known as the “Equal Protection Clause”. Please also note the preceding parts, as well, though. The entire amendment was in support of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which made clear that persons of African descent who were born in or brought to America were full citizens with the same legal rights as other citizens. Passage of the amendment affirmed that Congress had the power to enact the Act.

Even if we ignore those parts of Islamic Law that cannot be clearly substantiated by the Quran or Sunnah, we know that there is still incredible inequality when it comes to women, non-Muslims (aka Kafirs), and the lower classes, such that they have little-to-no power or opportunities for independence and are often discriminated against. They do not have equal protection under the law. Add to this the incredible severity of punishment, including beatings and various brutal means of mutilation and execution for “crimes” (e.g., apostasy, homosexuality, adultery, theft) that the U.S. — indeed, most of Western civilization — would never consider worthy of such punishment. (Especially not without thorough investigation of the accusations. And, who knows what they consider “due process”?) Many freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution are lost under Sharia Law. These are very good reasons to fear “creeping sharia” in the United States, which has already begun in a few areas (e.g., Dearborn, MI).

An ancient copy of the Quran

An ancient copy of the Quran

As I re-read both the above section of the 14th Amendment and Khan’s comments for the Nth time, I realized that there is another way to understand at least part of what he meant. It hinges on one little word — “of” — and perhaps some confusion by a person who learned English as a second (or third?) language. Notice that the Equal Protection Clause says “equal protection of the laws”. Then, look at Khan’s comments on PBS. He uses the phrase “equal protection of law” twice. The second time follows his explanation of what doesn’t belong in true Sharia, and he says, “United States has the Islamic Law, which is equal protection of law under the 14th Amendment. Therefore, there is no fear….” It occurred to me that he could be using the phrase to mean not protection of people under the law but rather that any established law is itself protected. Thus, if Islamic Law is already present in parts of the U.S., then it is illegitimate to talk about it “sneaking in”, and it must now be protected by federal law.

However, if this is an accurate understanding of Khan’s comments, then he is talking out of both sides of his mouth. Never mind his professed love of the U.S. Constitution. (Could that be because he feels it can be manipulated to allow his pure form of Sharia?) He is equivocating on the use of the Equal Protection Clause, because up to this point he has been using it in his defense against immigration bans. Wouldn’t this be for protection of the people? (I never did hear a clear articulation of what his argument was, come to think of it.) Also, he seems to go from saying that the Islamic Law we fear is not genuine Sharia, but then he says we already have Islamic Law. Well, we know from the statements and actions of a few outspoken, Sharia-minded Muslims in America that this includes radical, fundamentalist interpretations. This would seem to be an inconsistency.

Or, am I still not getting what Khan is saying?

Either way, I am afraid that Khan has only clouded the issue. Was this intentional? He seems to be either misunderstanding or misrepresenting the meaning & application of the 14th Amendment. I must also conclude that he is, at the very least, not being entirely forthright about the dangers of allowing even true Sharia to take hold in the United States. Worse, I hate to say it, but, despite the love he claims for the U.S. and its Constitution, his true loyalties may lie elsewhere.

P.S.  Check out this brief comparison of Sharia Law vs. the Constitution of some key points.

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