Displaying posts published in

September 2017

There’s No Such Thing as Islamophobia Critique of religion is a fundamental Western right, not an illness. Pascal Bruckner

In 1910, a French editor in the colonial ministry, Alain Quellien, published The Muslim Policy in West Africa. This work, addressed to specialists, is one of measured praise for the religion of the Koran, a “practical and indulgent” religion, better adapted to indigenous peoples, while Christianity is “too complicated, too abstract, too austere for the rudimentary and materialist mentality of the Negro.” Seeing Islam as a civilizing force that “removes peoples from fetishism and its degrading practices” and thus facilitates European penetration, the author calls for an end to prejudices that equate this confession with barbarism and fanaticism, castigating the “Islamophobia” prevalent among colonial personnel. What is needed, on the contrary, is to tolerate Islam and to treat it impartially. Quellien was writing as an administrator, concerned with order. Why demonize a religion that keeps peace in the empire, whatever may be the abuses, which he considers minor, of which it is guilty—that is, slavery and polygamy? Since Islam is the best ally of colonialism, believers must be protected from the nefarious influence of modern ideas; their way of life must be respected.

Maurice Delafosse, a colonial administrator living in Dakar, writes at about the same time: “Whatever may say those for whom Islamophobia is a principle of indigenous administration, France has nothing more to fear from Muslims in West Africa than from non-Muslims.” He adds: “Islamophobia therefore serves no purpose in West Africa.”

The term “Islamophobia” probably existed before these bureaucrats of the empire used it. Still, this language remained rare until the late 1980s, when the word was transformed little by little into a political tool, under the pressure of British Muslims reacting to the fatwa that the Ayatollah Khomeini had pronounced against novelist Salman Rushdie, following his publication of The Satanic Verses. With its fluid meaning, the word “Islamophobia” amalgamates two very different concepts: the persecution of believers, which is a crime; and the critique of religion, which is a right. A newcomer in the semantic field of antiracism, this term has the ambition of making Islam untouchable by placing it on the same level as anti-Semitism.

In Istanbul, in October 2013, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, financed by dozens of Muslim countries that themselves shamelessly persecute Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus, demanded that Western countries put an end to freedom of expression where Islam was concerned, charging that the religion had been represented too negatively as a faith that oppresses women and that proselytizes aggressively. The signatories’ intention was to make criticism of the religion of the Koran an international crime.

This demand arose at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban as early as 2001 and would be reaffirmed almost every year. UN special rapporteur for racism Doudou Diene, in a 2007 report to the organization’s Human Rights Council, decries Islamophobia as one of the “most serious forms of the defamation of religions.” In March of that year, the Human Rights Council had equated this type of defamation to racism, pure and simple, and demanded that all mockery of Islam and its religious symbols be banned. This was a double ultimatum. The first goal was to impose silence on Westerners, who were guilty of colonialism, secularism, and seeking equality between men and women. The second, even more important, aim was to forge a weapon of enforcement against liberal Muslims, who dared to criticize their faith and who called for reform of family laws and for equality between the sexes, for a right to apostatize and to convert, and for a right no longer to believe in God and not to observe Ramadan and other rites. Such renegades must face public condemnation, in this imperative, so as to block all hope of change.

The new thought crime seeks to stigmatize young women who wish to be free of the veil and to walk without shame, bareheaded in the street, and to marry whom they love and not who is imposed on them, as well as to strike down those citizens of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom of Turkish, Pakistani, or African origin who dare claim the right to religious indifference. Questions about Islam move from the intellectual, individual, or theological sphere to the penal, making any objection or reticence about the faith liable to sanction. The concept of Islamophobia masks the reality of the offensive, led by the Salafists, Wahhabis, and Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and North America, to re-Islamize Muslim communities—a prelude, they hope, to Islamizing the entire Western world. Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, a refugee in Qatar sought by Interpol for inciting murder and promoting terrorism, often deplored the fact that Islam failed twice in its conquest of Europe: in 732, when Charles Martel stopped the Saracens at Poitiers; and in 1689, with the aborted attempt of the Ottomans to take Vienna. Now the idea is to convert Europe to the true faith in part by transforming the law and the culture.

The Ripples of 9/11 A decade of surprises in the war on terror Victor Davis Hanson

It has been a decade since 3,000 Americans were murdered on September 11, 2001. Much of what followed in the subsequent ten years was unexpected, while what was expected did not happen.

On October 7, just 26 days after the attacks, the United States went after both al-Qaida and its Taliban sponsors when it invaded Afghanistan, removing the Islamists from that nation’s major cities in little more than two months. By early 2002, the “graveyard of empires” had a UN-approved constitutional government—despite earlier warnings of Western failure and a Soviet- or British-like disaster. We forget now the national euphoria over Donald Rumsfeld’s “light footprint” and a new way of war characterized by a few Special Forces troops with laptops who guided volleys of GPS munitions from jets circling above.

The subsequent decision to invade Iraq in March 2003 ended entirely the fragile national consensus about retaliation that had followed 9/11. When the Bush administration hyped WMD as the real casus belli—and subsequently found none in Iraq—most forgot that Congress had, in bipartisan fashion, voted for war on over 20 other counts as well, all legitimate and unquestioned. But the postwar insurgency took over 4,000 American lives and tore Iraq apart, and the war would be written off as misguided, unnecessary, and “lost.” Suddenly too few troops was the charge. Traditional army divisions once again replaced Special Forces as the conventional wisdom.

Few thought, in the dark days of December 2006, that General David Petraeus and his Surge would save Iraq. But the U.S. military met the Islamists’ call for thousands of terrorists to flock to Anbar Province—defeating them, killing thousands, and thereby weakening the global jihadist cause. Soon Iraq, the “bad” war theater, would grow relatively quiet, while the once “good” effort in Afghanistan went bad. Over 100,000 Western NATO and American troops are still fighting a resurgent Taliban in a decade-long effort to prop up the government of Hamid Karzai.

Osama bin Laden had bet that the entire Arab world might erupt in turmoil after the U.S. response to 9/11. It did, but not until a decade later—and neither in anger at the United States, Europe, or Israel, nor at the urging of a reclusive bin Laden in the final months of his life. The more pundits sternly lectured that the “Arab-Israeli” conflict was at the heart of 9/11-generated Islamic anger at the West, the more that conflict seemed irrelevant to the violence that swept the Arab world from Tunisia to Syria. Bashar Assad is now shooting hundreds on sight—his own people, not soldiers of the IDF.

We can disagree about the causes of the popular protests against Middle East strongmen and about whether constitutional government, Mogadishu-like chaos, or Islamic theocracy will arise from them. We can argue, too, over whether we’re witnessing the long-promised ripples of reform in Iraq that would follow from the demise of Saddam Hussein. We do know, though, that the al-Qaida dream of mobilizing the Muslim world against the West—supposedly decadent and imploding, from Europe to America—never quite happened.

Conventional wisdom following 9/11 insisted that we would soon find bin Laden but that his insidious terror gang would probably remain a permanent existential threat that could repeat the September attack almost whenever it wished. A near-decade after the fall of the Twin Towers, bin Laden was finally killed by the United States, right under the nose of his Pakistani hosts. His radical Islamic terrorist organization is in disarray, without popular support, without the old covert subsidies from the oil sheikdoms, and without the infrastructure and networks that it would need to repeat its 9/11 attacks. The old post-9/11 warning of “not if, but when”—referring to the inevitability of more terrorism here—has not panned out so far, mostly because of heightened security at home and the projection of U.S. force abroad.

Professor Trump’s Lessons for Higher Education By Ken Masugi

Following some elite campus visits with his daughter, the morose father lamented that one cannot simply opt out of college. Such a defiance of convention did not seem feasible socially or economically. Like all men of sense, he is among those flabbergasted by former Princeton President Woodrow Wilson’s eagerness to make his students “as unlike their fathers as possible.”https://amgreatness.com/2017/09/10/professor-trumps-lessons-higher-education/

Today’s college administrators have gone well beyond Wilson’s edict. It seems that the default position on campus today is to surrender common sense and the most obvious moral scruples, allow questionable social habits, and yield to one’s youthful passions and impulses. All this misery comes at an enormous cost to the parents.

Parents no longer can be deluded by expressions such as the “old college try.” The current successors of Woodrow Wilson are more in line with the pseudo-Socrates of Aristophanes’ Clouds—a man whom the horrified father sees as a charlatan who would gladly allow his son to rape his mother, just after the twerp has assaulted him. The dread and dismay facing parents and prospective students is the same today as it was in 4th century B.C. Athens.

Don’t kid yourself that a great reputation or even a religious affiliation will protect your son or daughter. A venerable and distinguished priest and professor, now retired, said about Georgetown University that its only guarantee is that freshmen will graduate as moral relativists. Similar debunking applies to most any university today.

The corrupting temptation of higher education, as it is of any business enterprise, is to flatter the passions of the consumers and accommodate their appetites. Such an attitude means that actual dedication to the good of the students will be subordinate to the good of the institution.

The great question remains: Who will educate the educators?

The way to think about choosing a university might be clarified by reflecting more on the political career of Wilson, who in 1912 was elected president of the United States, just two years after leaving Princeton (and having served as governor of New Jersey in between). Based on his scholarship of applying scientific principles to politics, Wilson enacted a revolution in political practice known as Progressivism, which is rooted in a rejection of the principles of the Declaration of Independence and promotion of rule by bureaucratic experts.

Wilson succeeded all too well. The problem of life in the modern world is our deference to experts: Experts on the Mideast who led us into futile wars; experts on poverty who increased it; experts on race who stoked and aggravated racism; experts on immigration who weakened the bonds of citizenship; the list goes on. One man was unfazed by the experts and defied their minion strategists and was elected president, largely (or should I say, “bigly”) through relating directly to the people. He bypassed the experts.

This is flabbergasting: Can Donald Trump of Trump University notoriety really teach us about choosing the right school? The example is indeed instructive, though not in the way his critics wish. If false advertising is a cause for legal action, America’s “respectable” colleges and universities are the most under-litigated class in the country.

After all, how many colleges advertise or even admit in their catalogs to suicides, drug and alcohol abuse, post-graduation debt, “gut” courses that make no serious demands, or give an honest accounting of the professional accomplishments of their graduates? Far more widespread are slick packaging of slim pickings and meager accomplishments. If I may flash my own badge of expertise, I served for several months in higher education assessment for the State of Virginia, when I rejected some preposterous programs trying to pass as universities. Higher authority overruled my objections, and the pseudo-schools allowed to offer courses for college credit. Trump U is more the rule than an exception in American higher education, and may even have been more honest.

Lawmaker: Replace Confederate Statues in U.S. Capitol with Heroic Women By Nicholas Ballasy

WASHINGTON – Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said the statues of Confederate leaders present in the U.S. Capitol building should be replaced with “female heroes.”

Schakowsky also said other members of Congress should support the proposed resolution “censuring and condemning” Trump over his reaction to the white supremacist violence last month in Charlottesville.

“We should be aware that there are 10 statues within the Statuary Hall collection that represent Confederate leaders. They do not have a place in our Capitol. I, for one, want to see some more women heroes to be there in Statuary Hall, but there are plenty of really heroic Americans who have stood for our values that could replace those statues in Statuary Hall,” she said during a press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with the nonprofit organization Bend the Arc Jewish Action. “So this fight is far from over.”

Bend the Arc’s official website says the organization’s vision is to “build and activate Jewish power to help transform our country to be inclusive, equitable, and supportive of the dignity of every person across race, class, gender and faith.”

According to the censure resolution backed by Democrats, President Trump’s “immediate public comments rebuked ‘many sides’ for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and failed to specifically condemn the ‘Unite the Right’ rally or cite the white supremacist, neo-Nazi gathering as responsible for actions of domestic terrorism.”

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) shared a similar view of the Confederate statues in the Capitol building and added that Confederate symbols should be moved out of veterans’ cemeteries.

“Right behind me in the people’s house there are statues that glorify racist Confederate leaders who committed treason against the United States and fought to defend the institution of slavery. We’re going to have to change that as well, but mainly today I want stand in solidarity with all of you,” he said.

Huffman also called for passage of his amendment that would cut off taxpayer funding for the salaries of Trump administration officials including White House Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Miller for supporting what he called “white nationalist” policies such as the travel ban and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program repeal. The amendment was proposed with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

“Trump keeps filling his administration with people with these twisted ideologies and sowing their division, racism and bigotry,” he said. “Stephen Miller is still there, and of course he’s the mentee of arch-racist Richard Spencer.”

Huffman said he recently learned that the Republican leadership is not going to allow his amendment to be put up for a vote.

“So we’re going to press forward in every other way that we can,” he said. “We have to stand up and confront this hate, bigotry and racism, and we’ll keep doing it.”

How Did Hillary Lose? Let Us Count the Ways By Rick Moran

We’ve been reading excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened, for weeks now and the litany of excuses she’s made for her loss.

As it turns out, the book isn’t so much about “what happened” as it is about “who screwed me over.” But I don’t think that title would have been a best seller, even if it is more accurate.

Clinton appeared on CBS Sunday Morning and was interviewed by one of her friends, Jane Pauley. What makes this particular interview so valuable is that by watching it, we don’t have to go out and spend any money on her book. You can just watch the video and get the highlights.

How did Clinton cope with her loss?

Off I went, into a frenzy of closet cleaning, and long walks in the woods, playing with my dogs, and, as I write– yoga, alternate nostril breathing, which I highly recommend, tryin’ to calm myself down. And– you know, my share of Chardonnay.

So alternate nostril breathing and getting drunk. If it was me, I’d do a lot more of the latter than the former.

But how did Hillary lose the election? Let is count the ways.

1.The fact that I’m a woman did me in.

“I started the campaign knowing that I would have to work extra hard to make women and men feel comfortable with the idea of a woman president,” she said. “It doesn’t fit into the– the stereotypes we all carry around in our head. And a lot of the sexism and the misogyny was in service of these attitudes. Like, you know, ‘We really don’t want a woman commander in chief.'”

If a single Republican or surrogate of Donald Trump had even hinted at that, they would have been tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. Of the teeny tiny percentage of voters who cared that she was a woman, most supported her because of her sex.

2. White supremacism

“He was quite successful in referencing a nostalgia that would give hope, comfort, settle grievances, for millions of people who were upset about gains that were made by others because—” Clinton said.

“What you’re saying is millions of white people,” Pauley said.

“Millions of white people, yeah,” Clinton replied. “Millions of white people.”

3. The Russians were coming!

“The forces that were at work in 2016 were unlike anything that I’ve ever seen or read about. It was a perfect storm,” Clinton said.

4. Comey, Comey, Comey

“I don’t know quite what audience he was playing to, other than– maybe some, you know, right-wing commentators, right-wing members of Congress, whatever,” Clinton said.

Democrats’ DACA dishonesty : Cal Cannon

Fulfilling his role as the titular head of “The Resistance,” Barack Obama took to Facebook Tuesday to snipe at the Trump administration’s announcement that it was rescinding the 44th president’s 2012 executive action called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

“We shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own,” Obama said. His post was florid and self-serving. But five words in his lengthy screed —“through no fault of their own” — are undeniably true.

It’s not the fault of the “Dreamers” that their parents brought them here, without papers, as minors. On that we can agree. But whose fault is it that they are still in limbo? For that answer, Obama needn’t take to social media. He can simply look in the mirror.

Ten years ago, a narrow consensus was forged in Washington, if only briefly. Its architects were Edward Kennedy and John McCain. Their carefully crafted legislation created a new temporary work visa, established an electronic data base for employers to check employees’ work status, and earmarked money for border enforcement. It also provided a path to citizenship for an estimated 11.6 million illegal immigrants, provided they paid a fine and back taxes, met English and civics requirements, and stayed on the right side of the law.

President George W. Bush signaled his support. But the vote was going to be close, which Kennedy and McCain knew. Conservatives dismissed the path-to-citizenship as a fig leaf for amnesty. Organized labor hated the guest-worker program, known as Y-1. McCain and Kennedy could have overcome that opposition, albeit narrowly, except for one last little group of senators. Call it the Senate Presidential Wannabe Caucus. Its membership included Illinois freshman Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. That’s only two votes, but it was enough.

On June 6, 2007, Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, introduced an innocuous-sounding rider to the McCain-Kennedy bill. Its official description was “an amendment to sunset the Y-1 non-immigrant visa program after a 5-year period.” As everyone in the Senate understood, this was a “poison pill” designed not to shore up the bill, but sink it. Dorgan got his way, too. The amendment passed 49-48, essentially killing comprehensive immigration reform.

Kennedy was incensed. He’d implored Dorgan and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid not to do it. McCain felt particularly sandbagged by Obama, who’d inserted himself into the legislative negotiations uninvited, wrangled a concession he wanted, then voted with Dorgan. McCain assumed Obama didn’t want George W. Bush or himself — the man Obama expected to face in 2008 — to get credit for immigration reform. Ted Kennedy, who ended up endorsing Obama over Clinton anyway, believed this, too.

The Hard Right and Hard Left Pose Different Dangers By affirming benign goals, Antifa and its comrades make intolerance and even violence seductive. By Alan M. Dershowitz

The extreme right—neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other assorted racists and anti-Semites—and the extreme left—anti-American and anti-Israel zealots, intolerant censors, violent anarchists such as Antifa, and other assorted radicals—both pose a danger in the U.S. and abroad.

Which group poses a greater threat? The question resists a quantitative answer, because much may depend on time and place. It may also be in the eye of the beholder: For many on the center left, the greater danger is posed by the hard right, and vice versa. Yet the most important reason for this lack of a definitive quantitative answer is that they pose qualitatively different dangers.

History has set limits on how far to the extremes of the hard right reasonable right-wingers are prepared to go. Following the horrors of the Holocaust and Southern lynchings, no one claiming the mantle of conservative is willing to be associated with Nazi anti-Semitism or the KKK. Neo-Nazi and Klan speakers are not invited to university campuses.

The hard left lacks comparable limits. Despite what Stalin, Mao, the Castros, Pol Pot, Hugo Chavez and North Korea’s Kims have done in the name of communism, there are still those on the left—including some university professors and students—who do not shrink from declaring themselves communists, or even Stalinists or Maoists. Their numbers are not high, but the mere fact that it is acceptable on campuses, even if not praiseworthy, to be identified with hard-left mass murderers, but not hard-right mass murderers, is telling.

The ultimate goals of the hard right are different, and far less commendable, than those of the hard left. The hard-right utopia might be a fascist society modeled on the Italy or Germany of the 1930s, or the segregationist post-Reconstruction American South.

The hard-left utopia would be a socialist or communist state-regulated economy aiming for economic and racial equality. The means for achieving these important goals might be similar to those of the hard right. Hitler, Stalin and Mao all killed millions of innocent people in an effort to achieve their goals.

For the vast majority of reasonable people, including centrist conservatives, the hard-right utopia would be a dystopia to be avoided at all costs. The hard-left utopia would be somewhat more acceptable to many on the center left, so long as it was achieved nonviolently.

The danger posed by the extreme left is directly related to its more benign goals, which seduce some people, including university students and faculty. Believing that noble ends justify ignoble means, they are willing to accept the antidemocratic, intolerant and sometimes violent censorship policies and actions of Antifa and its radical cohorts.

For that reason, the most extreme left zealots are welcomed today on many campuses to express their radical views. That is not true of the most extreme neo-Nazi or KKK zealots, such as David Duke and Richard Spencer. Former White House aide Steve Bannon recently told “60 Minutes” that “the neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates and the Klan, who by the way are absolutely awful—there’s no room in American politics for that.” In contrast, prominent American leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and even Bernie Sanders, supported the candidacy of British hard-left extremist Jeremy Corbyn, despite his flirtation with anti-Semitism.

The hard right is dangerous largely for what it has done in the past. For those who believe that past is prologue, the danger persists. It also persists for those who look to Europe for hints of what may be in store for us: Neofascism is on the rise in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Greece, Lithuania and even France. Some of this rise may be attributable to regional issues, such as the mass migration of Muslims from Syria and other parts of the Middle East. But some may also be a function of growing nationalism and nostalgia for the “glory” days of Europe—or, as evidenced in our last election, of America.

The danger posed by the extreme hard left is more about the future. Leaders of tomorrow are being educated today on campus. The tolerance for censorship and even violence to suppress dissenting voices may be a foretaste of things to come. The growing influence of “intersectionality”—which creates alliances among “oppressed” groups—has led to a strange acceptance by much of the extreme left of the far-from-progressive goals and violent means of radical Islamic terrorist groups that are sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-Western. This combination of hard-left secular views and extreme Islamic theological views is toxic.

I Guess We’re All McCarthyites Now A congressman insults John Kelly’s service—and nobody notices. By Philip Terzian

I’m indebted to Luis Gutiérrez, the bumptious congressman from Illinois’s Fourth District, for confirming what I long resisted acknowledging: America’s political discourse has been painfully coarsened.

My epiphany came last week, when Mr. Gutiérrez reacted angrily after Donald Trump put on notice the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Mr. Gutiérrez had met in July with John Kelly, the retired Marine general who was then secretary of homeland security, and who seems to have offered soothing words on the subject. But then Mr. Kelly became President Trump’s chief of staff—and, presumably, signed off on ending DACA.

“General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear,” Mr. Gutiérrez declared last week. “He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House, along with the other white supremacists and those enabling the president’s actions by ‘just following orders.’ ”

Mr. Gutiérrez is no stranger to bombast, but what surprised me here was that his words passed largely unnoticed. A general in government service who is “a disgrace to the uniform.” Where have we heard that before?

In the early 1950s, an Army dentist named Irving Peress refused to complete forms asking about his political background. When Sen. Joseph McCarthy learned in 1954 that Peress had been recommended for honorable discharge, he subpoenaed the dentist to appear before his investigatory committee, where the dentist was alternately defiant and evasive.

McCarthy then summoned the commanding officer at the base where Peress worked to explain why the dentist—who McCarthy believed was a communist—had been promoted and discharged. Patiently and, presumably, very carefully, Brig. Gen. Ralph Zwicker explained that he had followed the recommendations of subordinates and Army protocol. McCarthy raged: “Any man who has been given the honor of being promoted to general and who says ‘I will protect another general who protects Communists’ is not fit to wear that uniform.”

‘It Is Chilling to Hear . . . ’ Notre Dame’s president has some pointed words for Senate Democrats.

Our editorial last week on the spectacle of Senate Democrats questioning the Catholic faith of Notre Dame law professor and judicial nominee Amy Barrett struck a nerve. Many readers are stunned that politicians would suggest that having “orthodox” religious views could disqualify someone from the American judiciary.

Also concerned is John Jenkins, President of the University of Notre Dame. Fr. Jenkins is no conservative but he can spot an attack on religious belief, and on Saturday he wrote to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee who led the assault on Ms. Barrett. Here is the letter in full:

Dear Senator Feinstein:

Considering your questioning of my colleague Amy Coney Barrett during the judicial confirmation hearing of September 6, I write to express my confidence in her competence and character, and deep concern at your line of questioning.

Professor Barrett has been a member of our faculty since 2002, and is a graduate of our law school. Her experience as a clerk for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is of the highest order. So, too, is her scholarship in the areas of federal courts, constitutional law and statutory interpretation. I am not a legal scholar, but I have heard no one seriously challenge her impeccable legal credentials.

Your concern, as you expressed it, is that “dogma lives loudly in [Professor Barrett], and that is a concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.” I am one in whose heart “dogma lives loudly”, as it has for centuries in the lives of many Americans, some of whom have given their lives in service to this nation. Indeed, it lived loudly in the hearts of those who founded our nation as one where citizens could practice their faith freely and without apology.

Professor Barrett has made it clear that she would “follow unflinchingly” all legal precedent and, in rare cases in which her conscience would not allow her to do so, she would recuse herself. I can assure you that she is a person of integrity who acts in accord with the principles she articulates.

It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge. I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom “dogma lives loudly”—which is a condition we call faith. For the attempt to live such faith while one upholds the law should command respect, not evoke concern.


Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.


Victimizing Women: Islamic Laws vs. Multiculturalism by Khadija Khan

The majority of the judges nevertheless determined that “triple talaq” was actually “against the basic tenets of the Holy Quran,” and “what is bad in theology is bad in law as well.” According to the decision, the practice was in violation of Article 14 of India’s constitution, which guarantees the right to equality.

In Britain, abusive practices against Muslim women are still undertaken by Sharia Councils with impunity. In the West, the supposed dangers of multiculturalism are still regarded as more important than human rights. All Britain would need to do is enforce its own laws.

What supporters of this form of multiculturalism fail to realize — or refuse to acknowledge — is that the very existence of Sharia-compliant tribunals is not only a threat to modern justice, but necessarily abets the abuse of Muslim women, lack of equality, and the total lack of equal justice under law. In truth, justice is denied.

In a recent landmark ruling, India’s Supreme Court followed the lead of 22 Muslim countries — including Pakistan and Bangladesh — by outlawing the Islamic practice according to which a husband is able to divorce his wife instantly by uttering the word talaq (Arabic for “divorce”) three times — including by text or voice mail. The decision was not unanimous. A minority of the judges argued that banning “triple talaq” would be a violation of the Indian constitution, which protects religious freedom.

The majority of the judges nevertheless determined that “triple talaq” was actually “against the basic tenets of the Holy Quran,” and “what is bad in theology is bad in law as well.” According to the decision, the practice was in violation of Article 14 of India’s constitution, which guarantees the right to equality.

The verdict was the result of a petition filed by five Muslim women whose “triple talaq” divorces left them destitute, all because of undue powers bestowed upon their husbands by radical clerics. The verdict was an enormous relief to them, and other women like them across India. Its broader message, however, needs to serve as a road map. And a warning. In the West, the supposed dangers of multiculturalism are still regarded as more important than human rights.

In Britain, abusive practices against Muslim women are still undertaken by Sharia Councils with impunity. These practices include “triple talaq,” halala (a ritual enabling a divorced Muslim woman to remarry her husband only by first wedding someone else, consummating the union, and then being divorced by him) and iddah, a mandatory waiting period of three menstrual cycles before a divorced woman is allowed to remarry.

These Sharia Councils in the U.K. have been running unofficial parallel justice systems “everywhere in the country,” performing weddings and decreeing divorces according to the strictest interpretation of Islam.

In spite a liberal marriage contract issued in 2008 by the Muslim Institute, guaranteeing equal rights to British Muslim women (including the banning of forced marriages) — which was endorsed by the Muslim Council of Britain, the Islamic Sharia Council and other prominent Islamic groups — virtually nothing has changed. Britain’s Forced Marriage Unit reported 1,428 cases of forced marriages in 2016 alone. All Britain would need to do is enforce its own laws.