The adage “charity begins at home” served as a reminder that if one is generous at home it creates a sense of responsibility to be charitable outside the home as well.
Obviously, a variation of the adage is unknown to those who protested at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles last month.
The hotel, owned by the government of Brunei, was being targeted since Shariah law was being phased in there starting April 1.
The three phases of Shariah’s implementation in Brueni involve first fines and imprisonment for violations, such as indecent behavior, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and preaching religions other than Islam; second, physical punishments, including severing limbs and floggings; and third, executions such as hangings and stoning for adultery and blasphemy.
Shariah courts have a judge but no jury with justice – if that is what it can be called – being swift.
High-profile personalities to jump onboard the anti-Shariah-in-Brunei bandwagon included Jay Leno, Stephen Fry, Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Osbourne and Richard Branson.
The city of Beverly Hills also got into the act, voting unanimously to pressure Brunei to divest itself from the hotel; bookings by various organizations to hold events there were cancelled.
Yet in an example of how oblivious Americans are as to what is happening within their own borders, there were no high-profile protests over Shariah right here in the United States by some state court judges – long before Brunei implemented it there.
The Center for Security Policy has been tracking the creeping influence of Shariah within the nation, issuing a 2010 report entitled “Shariah: The Threat to America.” The center warned that Shariah is “an all-encompassing legal and political code that covers all aspects of life including those that have nothing to do with religion.” It becomes a system of laws in direct conflict with American values.
There is a misperception that its application by state courts are isolated occurrences. Not so, according to the Center for Security Policy, which found:
“Shariah law has entered into state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy. Some commentators have said there are no more than one or two cases of Shariah law in U.S. state court cases; yet we found 50 significant cases just from the small sample of appellate published cases.”
As the report also underscored, those within America’s borders who suffer most from Shariah’s application are Muslim women and children: “These cases are the stories of Muslim American families, mostly Muslim women and children, who were asking American courts to preserve their rights to equal protection and due process. These families came to America for freedom from the discriminatory and cruel laws of Shariah. When our courts then apply Shariah law in the lives of these families, and deny them equal protection, they are betraying the principles on which America was founded.”
One New Jersey case involved a Muslim wife seeking a restraining order against her Muslim husband after he raped her. The judge denied the request as he applied Shariah to determine the husband’s intent to commit rape. Since under Shariah, a wife must submit to her husband or he has the right to force himself upon her, the judge ruled he lacked the required intent.
While this judgment was overturned on appeal, it demonstrates the liberties state court judges are taking in applying foreign over U.S. law.
In a March 2012 interview, the Center for Security Policy’s founder, Frank Gaffney, made no bones about Shariah, stating, it “is absolutely antithetical to our Constitution.”
Furthermore, application of Shariah is being made in spite of Article Six of the U.S Constitution, which prohibits anyone – judge, legislator or the president – from imposing laws contrary to those made pursuant to it. In other words, the U.S. Constitution “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” No foreign law – such as Shariah – is to even be considered.
Mr. Gaffney noted what these state court judges are doing is illegal: “The pursuit of [Shariah] is incompatible with the Constitution’s Article Six and therefore far from being a protected religious practice, it is an impermissible act of sedition which has to be prosecuted under our Constitution.”
Apparently oblivious to the U.S. Constitution, some state court judges are flagrantly committing sedition.
Ironically, as these judges continue to apply Shariah, there are women in Muslim-majority countries fighting to defeat its application due to its unfairness and disdain toward them and their children. Shariah, for example, would permit sexual abuse of underage children. Such states would become safe havens for child predators.
Just like charity begins at home, so too must our concern about the spread of Shariah.
Following Beverly Hills city’s vote, Robert Anderson, the great-grandson of the hotel’s founder, said, “This is misguided. We should be against human rights violations in all countries, not just the Brunei.”
Mr. Anderson is right. Our fight against human rights violations in the form of subjecting people to Shariah needs to begin here at home – starting with our own court system.
A version of this piece previously appeared on Washington Times.