Behind the Orange Curtain is a Minority Majority

When you hear the words “Orange County,” I’m sure you have an image that comes to your head very much like the ones on television shows “The O.C.” or “The Real Wives of Orange County.” The image I have, after having organized there for the past two years, is very different. The O.C. is a largely diverse county, with a “minority majority” where only 45% of the population is White and 17% of the population of Asian descent, according to the recent 2009 Census report. The largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam resides in Garden Grove in Little Saigon, and Santa Ana is an epicenter of the Latino population. And of course, the Muslims. There is a large population of Muslims scattered across the county – in fact, according to a religious study from 2000, it is the 5th most popular religion in the county, representing 1.4 percent of the population of The O.C. I’m sure the statistics on this will be different if you look at 2011 result of the region on religion.

Why am I telling you about this other perspective of Orange County? To give you context as you watch this video, released by CAIR-LA on Wednesday.

The above video was filmed at a rally in February, outside of a fundraiser for the Islamic Circle of North America, a charity driven international Muslim organization.

The event – held at Yorba Linda Community Center, a facility that has been frequented by Muslim families and businesses over the years – first became a target of anti-Muslim bigots over two of the fundraiser’s speakers, who were to speak on the importance of charity in Islam. [cair-la]

What was most disturbing to me, albeit not surprising since I’ve had to build relationships with Electeds in this region, is the statements that came from the politicians that spoke at the rally. Councilwoman Deborah Pauly clearly implied that all the Muslims should be murdered. In light of what happened with the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, due to the hate sentiments fueled in the community (as well as by Sarah Palin) and a lunatic eventually retaliating with a gun shot in to head… Well. Can Deborah Pauly really be that ignorant to not make a connection that her words could have the same effect? Or maybe she knows, and simply doesn’t care.

Villa Park Councilwoman, Deborah Pauly, while addressing the crowd at the rally, appeared to threaten Muslim event-goers. Congressman Ed Royce (R-40), in a troubling trend of disparaging Islam and its followers, added fuel to the fire by encouraging protesters to continue on with their hate-mongering. The attendance of Congressman Gary Miller (R-42) was a clear surprise, since he previously has engaged with all constituents, including Muslims, toward a better America. [cair-la]

But this situation isn’t simply a one-off of crazy tea-baggers in Orange County. There have been a string of Islamaphobic stories recently in Orange County – from the protesting of the construction of mosques to a hijabi woman fighting for her job at Disneyland because she wanted to wear her hijab to work. But the biggest story currently comes from UC Irvine, with the case of the Irvine 11.

The students — 8 currently at UC Irvine and 3 UC Riverside graduates — were charged with with two misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to disturb a meeting and disturbance of the meeting by the Orange County District Attorney’s office on Friday, only a few days after a protest was staged outside of the DA’s office in support of the so-called ‘Irvine 11.’ > The incident prompted the suspension of the school’s Muslim Student Union group and sparked debates on campus regarding limitations on free speech…[huffpost]

Since when did the District Attorney’s office get involved when students spoke out against a speaker on a campus? Students do this all the time on university campuses and they never get criminal charges. As the above video shows, this is a clear case of double standards and a racist example of selective punishment in the criminal justice system.

In comparison, none of the protesters in the first video were pressed with criminal charges. Even with Councilwoman Pauly’s veiled threats.

Racism still exists, both on the ground and in navigating the legal system. It pains me to hear people say that racism is no more when this incident just happened last month and hate was hurled at young children walking into a space, just because they were wearing hijab. I would go as far as to say that because Orange County is a minority majority now, these two incidences are a clear reflection of the fear felt by the now “minority” Whites. They are scared, and they are backlashing.

One final video, to cleanse your palette. I dedicate this one to all the bigots that stumble upon this site today. This one is for you.

And just to nip it at the bud, yes this is a Desi story. Look at the faces in the video, this a Desi-Muslim narrative. Not Muslim, so you don’t care? You should because in case it wasn’t clear from the video, these protesters aren’t very smart and won’t be able to differentiate the differences in the Brown Muslims, the Brown Hindus and the Brown Sikhs. If there ever was an example where Desi unity is needed to stand up to bigoted sentiments, this would be it.

98 thoughts on “Behind the Orange Curtain is a Minority Majority

  1. Thanks for writing about this incident, Taz! It’s truly dangerous hate-mongering. I hope ICNA sues the protest organizers. They certainly have a claim for harassment. Moreover, while protesting is protected by the First Amendment, incitement to violence and fighting words are not.

  2. “And just to nip it at the bud, yes this is a Desi story. Look at the faces in the video, this a Desi-Muslim narrative. Not Muslim, so you don’t care? You should because in case it wasn’t clear from the video, these protesters aren’t very smart and won’t be able to differentiate the differences in the Brown Muslims, the Brown Hindus and the Brown Sikhs. If there ever was an example where Desi unity is needed to stand up to bigoted sentiments, this would be it.”

    thank you

  3. I found the following comment/information on another forum, but I thought it was worth reposting here. Please contact any or all of them and let them know that this is not acceptable.

    Contact: Gary Miller (R) California (http://garymiller.house.gov/Contact/) Contact: City of Villa Park regarding Councilwoman Deborah Pauly (http://www.villapark.org/members.htm) Contact: Ed Royce (R) California (http://www.royce.house.gov/Contact/) Contact Jerry Brown – Governer California (http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php) Contact: Other Congress Members (https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml)

    Dear [NAME], I would like to bring attention to recent actions by elected officials of the State of California. On February 13th, a group of Muslims gathered to raise money for woman’s shelters and to help relieve homeless and hunger in the US at a Yorba Linda community center. Outside, there was what one could call a protest. Although many of those attending this so called protest held American flags, their actions were the antithesis of what it means to be an American. It is an absolute right for anyone in this country to protest. But what happened on February 13th showed some of the ugliest display of bigotry and racism in the modern world. The Muslim attendees were called pedophiles, terrorists, and were repeatedly verbally abused. The fact that there were Muslim children attending the event could not stop the shrills of this angry mob. Beyond the hate speech, local Councilwoman Deborah Pauly stated “as a matter of fact, I know quite a few marines who will be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.” If this type of speech is not considered hate speech, I’m not sure what is. Other elected officials that were present included both Gary Miller (R-Caifornia) and Ed Royce (R-California). I want it on the record that this does not reflect the ideals of America. The notion that an elected official can issue a veiled death threat is deplorable. Whether her comment has any sort of legal consequence, should be left up to the lawyers. Sincerely, [NAME]

  4. As I said on FB, when I briefly lived in Orange County (Laguna Beach, one of the more liberal parts) as a child, I got beaten up and harrassed by my schoolmates many times for being brown, for being Indian-American, for being vegetarian and for being a Hindu/Gaudiya Vaishnav/Hare Krishna. Honestly, the kids were probably just giving me a hard time b/c I was new in town and they were seizing on everything obviously that was different about me. They’re behavior was not as actively discouraged by the adults as I would have liked, but as far as I know it wasn’t actively encouraged. My deskmate who constantly harassed me about about my weird religion and even pulled out the the ‘go back home’ line once (did he mean Denver? or India, which I could not remember even visiting at that point?) was mortified when his Dad suddenly decided that the Hare Krishna restaurant was actually a great deal for dinner. But even that mild level of prejudice was deeply upsetting and hurt me for years. I shudder to think what it must be like to be a little brown girl of any religion in the OC today if this is what’s now socially acceptable behavior for large groups of adults.

    I just took a quick glance at ICNA’s 2009 audit report. Anyone here have a contact with Catholic Charities USA or Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response? I think it would be great if those two organizations would demand a meeting with those two congressman and ask them why they were encouraging harrassment and hatred towards a partner organization that has helped them with American disaster relief. It would also be great if Lutheran Pastors and Catholic priests in Orange County made a stand with their fellow charitable-servants-of-God and preached against hate in the pulpits this Sunday.

    I found the part where they were yelling about wife-beating particularly hard to listen to, since one of ICNA’s big focus is helping wome escape domestic violence.

  5. The “protesters” in the first video reminded me of the Westboro Baptist Church except that their signs were not nearly as professional. Very disturbing.

  6. Regarding the Hijabi woman at Disneyland, I fully oppose it, This woman refused to take a job at Disneyland that did not involve dealing with the public. She is just a trouble maker,

    The UCI_Irvine case involved repeat offenders and were in fact treated too leniently

    ICNA is associated with Muslim Brotherhood, a known terrorist organisation

    There is no single brown-USA, muslim Pakistani and Bangladeshis do not over-achieve financially or educationally like US Hindus

    In UK, Hindu and Sikh Indians dissociate themselves from brown muslims Several have joined BNP openly

    What is needed is an outreach by Sikhs to the conservative churches highlighting their anti-islamic history.

    Are muslims in US treated better than Christians in Pakistan ?, If so, US muslims have no legitimate grounds to complain

  7. The Yorba Linda protesters claim 2 of the speakers at the event Imam Siraj Wahhaj and Amir Abdel Malik Ali, are terrorist supporters. The former is said to deny Osama Bin Laden role in 911 and was named as a co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The latter supports Hamas and Hezbollah and is antisemitic enough to have caught the attention of the the Southern Poverty Law Center, no friend to the American RW and therefore likely to thread carefully:

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2008/fall/anti-semitism-goes-to-school

    A protest would seem justified if these allegations are true. Are they true? What is the response?

  8. Are muslims in US treated better than Christians in Pakistan ?, If so, US muslims have no legitimate grounds to complain

    Are you serious? This has to be the most backwards ass “logic” I’ve heard in my life. So let me get this straight: - In some Moslem nations, Christians are treated in an uncivilized, barbaric manner - Therefore in the USA, we should be able to treat some citizens in a barbaric un-American manner because they had the misfortune of sharing DNA with people in uncivilized countries?

    What’s pathetically amusing here is you’re essentially calling for discrimination against yourself. Assuming you’re brown, Barani, in the eyes of these Orange County protesters you’re just another wife-beating Brown Moslem terrorist looking to implement Sharia law. I promise you they could not give less of a shit what your religion or ethnicity are, what you think of ICNA or the crazy DisneyWorld Hijabi, or what your political beliefs are. There’s no distinguishing between your brown ass and the other “terrorists” they don’t want in their homeland; you’d be naive to think otherwise.

    So if an angry mob of Christian-Americans physically assaults you and your family, surely you’ll have “no legitimate grounds to complain” – I mean back in South Asia, every ethnicity and religion is discriminated against in some form. And if brown folk discriminate against Christians there, surely there’s nothing wrong with beating your brown ass to death with a baseball bat here, right? ;) Hope y’all don’t vacation in Cali anytime soon.

    A protest would seem justified if these allegations are true.

    The DisneyWorld Hijabi is an attention-seeking twit, the Brotherhood of Islam is a terrorist organization, and the 2 speakers have sketchy backgrounds for sure. So I think the protesters have some valid points and peaceful protests against those specific issues would have been justified. Instead we have people outright discriminating and making sweeping generalizations against an entire ethnicity and religion over the actions of a few. That’s what I take issue with here.

  9. @Alina

    Yes, I do blame the entire religion of islam Islam calls for non-muslims to be killed , converted or made into Dhimmis

    I am also aware of Taqiyah or islamic deception

    I have gone to plenty of Pam Gellar anti-islam protests, and been welcomed as a brown non-muslim

  10. I have gone to plenty of Pam Gellar anti-islam protests, and been welcomed as a brown non-muslim

    O please, you and Pam Gellar should be given honorary membership in the Muslim Student Union of UC-Irvine, for having the same attitude toward the first amendment.

  11. I have gone to plenty of Pam Gellar anti-islam protests,

    This is nothing to be proud of … that woman is a lunatic. Hey, Ann Coulter might be repulsive, but at least she’s intelligent, well educated, and articulate. I’m not judging you for your anti-Islamic views here (I have my own issues with the religion, though I’m certainly not anti-Islam), but you’re very naive if you think people who support Geller and her allies don’t hold you (and other desi’s) in contempt for the crime of being brown. Of course they’re not going to turn against you in rallies where you stand side-by-side with your anti-Islam signs burning crescent flags, but you don’t have that sense of protection otherwise…these are the types of people who beat Sikhs to death for having turbans and beards. By your own twisted logic, you would have no right to complain either, since Jews like Geller are hardly given warm reception in Brown majority countries.

  12. Very disturbing…

    @Manju… I don’t know if this is true, but if it is, then shouldn’t the protests be waged against the SPEAKERS, not by screaming hate at people? I have been to protests where I don’t agree with speakers. We have signs about the speakers, and why we don’t think they should be there. I don’t think it really matters what “reason” they gave to be there– it’s obvious that what they wanted to do was scream hateful things and belittle people and make them feel shitty.

    Those white bigoted bastards are far less “American” than any person stepping foot into that event, in my opinion.

  13. I used to think that California was a fairly liberal state and with a minority majority Muslims would be more comfortable there. Instead I’m shocked to see these type of Islamaphobic protests. I live in Texas and if anything before I would have expected something like this in my republican, white majority state. So far there has yet to be any Islamaphobic protests in the area of Texas I’m in. There’s continuously fundraisers for new mosques and Islamic relief organizations. As a recent hijabi I haven’t even gotten asked by anyone why I wear the hijab or gotten any sort of extra attention. I didn’t know about the rumors about the 2 speakers. Imam Siraj Wahhaj has spoken at a couple of fundraising events around here recently and I didn’t hear anyone gossiping about his “supposed ties” to terrorism. I wish protesters would at least protest something valid instead of something like ICNA that is trying to decrease suffering. If anything I would call this protest closer to terrorism than anyone attending.

  14. There was a big thread on reddit about this http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/fw7x9/this_is_what_happens_when_muslims_get_together_to/

    Most relevant is this comment : http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/fw7x9/this_is_what_happens_when_muslims_get_together_to/c1j4p7n

    It has all the details of all the elected republicans in that video, so feel free to contact them and to have your own representative contact them and demand an apology for hate speech.

    Shit like this should not be tolerated.

  15. @Manju… I don’t know if this is true, but if it is, then shouldn’t the protests be waged against the SPEAKERS,

    I think its rather customary to protest the entire event, not just the speaker, if a speaker has crossed some (granted subjective) line. The organizers are certainly included if the forum is one where speaking implies a level of approval. I can think of instances when someone could be invited without the invite implying support, like Ahmadinejad at Columbia U, but this doesn’t seem to fit that mold.

    Attendances have a lower level of responsibility but shaming them as they enter strikes me as par for the course. I once walked past a group shouting “racist” to everyone entering a David Irvine talk. A quick google of his name will show you protesters taking even more draconian steps than those guys did, like shutting down the event, which I do not approve of.

    Given that its such a common rhetorical device to label the audience what the speaker is, I have a hard time feeling sympathy for anyone being called a terrorist while entering this event…assuming these two were the keynote speakers and they are as bad as advertised. I mean, to get on the SPLC’s radar without being a white-supremacist type is a pretty impressive task, so its not looking good.

    not by screaming hate at people?

    Agreed.

  16. I feel especially for those children walking in. I wonder how I would have taken something like this at such a young age. Reminds me of those brave black children walking into the first non-segregated schools requiring police protection because of protesters venting their hatred all around them.

  17. First off, I don’t side with the nutters yelling “evil terrorists” at the people walking into the meeting.

    Secondly, I also don’t side with the Muslim Students interrupting the speech of the Israeli diplomat. People paid babysitters to go hear that guy speak and if I were them, I’d be pissed at those who obnoxiously disrupted his speech. They should have just remained silent until the floor was open for questions/comments and then in a calm and cultured way – presented the “facts”.

    I am however against pressing criminal charges against them mostly because – well, there goes my hard earned tax dollars down the drain on some more bukwus.

    Thirdly, why are little children wearing hijab in the first place? When did that trend start and what to parents hope to accomplish by dressing their children in such a manner?

    Fourthly, we must assimilate. Its common sense. When I travel anywhere immediately upon landing I observe my surroundings and suss out what are the cultural norms as far as dress code and I adjust myself asap. It makes for a smooth transition and helps me build bonds with the locals.

    Even here at home, although I have a penchant for eccentric dressing, I’ve had to tone it down in order to “get ahead”. The woman at Disney Land should consider that.

    If the wider community you find yourself living in has a problem with the way you dress – adjust. Desi women especially are familiar with that “adjust” word, so do it.

    Its like if I went to Tirumalla and because the temp reached 100 I decide to walk around outside in a bikini top and booty shorts. Legally can I? Sure.

    Is it culturally sensitive? NO. Is it socially acceptable? NO. Is it even safe? NO.

    If people consider this in Tirumalla, why not consider the same here in Cali?

    Now, regarding Minority Majority…. quite frankly, I’ll be honest. I would not want to see any town in the US having a majority of children wearing hijab, It goes against our several decades of Feminism.

    We are now well into the 21st Century and Islam is going to have to come to terms with Feminism. The sooner the better.

    “Racism still exists, both on the ground and in navigating the legal system. It pains me to hear people say that racism is no more when this incident just happened last month and hate was hurled at young children walking into a space, just because they were wearing hijab. I would go as far as to say that because Orange County is a minority majority now, these two incidences are a clear reflection of the fear felt by the now “minority” Whites. They are scared, and they are backlashing.”

    And we must be culturally sensitive to these minority Whites.

    Afterall, our parents and grand-parents came to their country because of what they made of it.

    There are some good cultural traits amongst them that made the US a country that people from all over the world want to immigrate to.

    I would be scared too if it looked like those solid cultural traits that made this country so awesome that everyone wanted to immigrate to it looked like they were fading.

    As far as “multi-culturalism” – it remains to be seen whether or not such a social experiment is going to work in the long run.

    It should not be forced down peoples throats.

    Everyone should assimilate as fast as possible.

  18. Christians Arrested during Muslim Outreach”…Latest news from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia or Rawalpindi, Pakistan? No, this is just from Dearborn, Michigan, one of the cities with the highest Muslim population in the States. http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2538820/posts

    While it wrong to demonize any particular race, the sad truth is that where there is a Islamic majority, life becomes hell on earth for other minorities, so there is justifiable fear of demographic change because of high muslim birthrate or immigration.

    As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given

    country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:

    United States — Muslim 0.6% Australia — Muslim 1.5% Canada — Muslim 1.9% China — Muslim 1.8% Italy — Muslim 1.5% Norway — Muslim 1.8%

    At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. This is happening in:

    Denmark — Muslim 2% Germany — Muslim 3.7% United Kingdom — Muslim 2.7% Spain — Muslim 4% Thailand — Muslim 4.6%

    From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:

    France — Muslim 8% Philippines — 5% Sweden — Muslim 5% Switzerland — Muslim 4.3% The Netherlands — Muslim 5.5% Trinidad & Tobago — Muslim 5.8%

    At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

    When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections in:

    Guyana — Muslim 10% India — Muslim 13.4% Israel — Muslim 16% Kenya — Muslim 10% Russia — Muslim 15%

    After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:

    Ethiopia — Muslim 32.8%

    At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:

    Bosnia — Muslim 40% Chad — Muslim 53.1% Lebanon — Muslim 59.7%

    From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:

    Albania — Muslim 70% Malaysia — Muslim 60.4% Qatar — Muslim 77.5% Sudan — Muslim 70%

    After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:

    Bangladesh — Muslim 83% Egypt — Muslim 90% Gaza — Muslim 98.7% Indonesia — Muslim 86.1% Iran — Muslim 98% Iraq — Muslim 97% Jordan — Muslim 92% Morocco — Muslim 98.7% Pakistan — Muslim 97% Palestine — Muslim 99% Syria — Muslim 90% Tajikistan — Muslim 90% Turkey — Muslim 99.8% United Arab Emirates — Muslim 96%

    100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace. Here there’s supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrasses are the only schools, and the Koran is the only word, such as in:

    Afghanistan — Muslim 100% Saudi Arabia — Muslim 100% Somalia — Muslim 100% Yemen — Muslim 100%

    It is important to understand that in some countries, with well under

    100% Muslim populations, such as France, the minority Muslim populations live in ghettos, within which they are 100% Muslim, and within which they live by Sharia Law. The national police do not even enter these ghettos. There are no national courts, nor schools, nor non-Muslim religious facilities. In such situations, Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. The children attend madrasses. They learn only the Koran. To even associate with an infidel is a crime punishable with death. Therefore, in some areas of certain nations, Muslim Imams and extremists exercise more power than the national average would indicate.

    Today’s 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22% of the world’s population. But their birth rates dwarf the birth rates of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and all other believers. Muslims will exceed 50% of the world’s population by the end of this century.

  19. “While it wrong to demonize any particular race, the sad truth is that where there is a Islamic majority, life becomes hell on earth for other minorities, so there is justifiable fear of demographic change because of high muslim birthrate or immigration.”

    Perhaps why no one is standing for hours on end in long embassy ques order to move to those countries, but citizens of those countries do so to immigrate to the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe.

    (Reminds me: one SM commenter proudly declared that his/her Desi parent was opposed to Thankgiving Holiday on principle and refused to celebrate or acknowledge it. I wonder if that Desi parent ever considered if it weren’t for the events around “Thanksgiving” – he or she most likely would’ve never wanted to immigrate to the U.S.? Ahhh… the irony.)

    Obama’s mantra was “change we can believe it.”

    All this attention on the Muslim Ummah is a sign its time for some change. Time for self-reflection. To review the religion, its traditions, cultures, tenents and politics, decide what works well in the 21st Century and chuck the rest.

    Keep the 5 pillars.

    Drop the hijab.

    Wherever you go – assimilate like there’s no tomorrow.

    See if it works. It did for me!

    Check out the heading on this Pakistani Forum Site; http://www.siasat.pk/forum/

    It says:

    “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  20. “Keep the 5 Pillars. Drop the hijab”

    YES! Dropping the hijab en masse is probably the most symbolic thing Islam could do right now to show its willingness to progress and assimilate into the 21st Century.

  21. “And just to nip it at the bud, yes this is a Desi story. Look at the faces in the video, this a Desi-Muslim narrative. Not Muslim, so you don’t care? You should because in case it wasn’t clear from the video, these protesters aren’t very smart and won’t be able to differentiate the differences in the Brown Muslims, the Brown Hindus and the Brown Sikhs. If there ever was an example where Desi unity is needed to stand up to bigoted sentiments, this would be it.”

    Frankly it is not really a Desi story any more than it is a story about Arabs, Iranians, Southeast Asians (e.g. Indonesia/Malaysia) whites, blacks, etc.. Islam is not a race/ethnicity and the issues generated by it have far broader implications than just the Desi community. That being said I don’t object to it being here as its implications affect a large number of our community.

    As for the protesters, I agree with some of their points. I am loathed to demonize a whole community, however, demonization appears to be the only way to motivate a largely intransingent and isolated community to change. Many American Muslims have very isolationist, supremacist, and prejudiced tendencies with regard to their religion with virtually no room for self reflection or growth. The only thing that motivates these people to change is self-interest (in this case to avoid being an outcast in America). An ideal solution? No, but I cannot think of any other.

  22. And by the way Taz, here’s the lyrics to “Sharia Law in the USA” found by googling the same, which led me to one of their fan’s sites; http://swedenburg.blogspot.com/2009/09/even-more-on-kominas-pakistani-rock.html

    WARNING: Trigger Alert! The lyrics are sexually explicit (perverted even) and well, just plain…. bizarre.

    am an Islamist I am the Antichrist Most squares don’t make the wanted list But my my! How I stay in style Cops chased me out of my mother’s womb My crib was in state pen before age two The cops had bugged my red toy phone So I devised a plan for heads to roll… Sharia law in the — USA (2x) Sharia law in the – we’ve had to pay …for the white man can take with two free hands Imagine our debts cut in half Our wives multiplied by the number four Why the president’s daughters couldn’t ask for more One can lick my Afghan’s clit Wife three’s ready to help As I keep screaming Penetrate me with a strap on dick While a brother from New Orleans does you anally

  23. “And just to nip it at the bud, yes this is a Desi story. Look at the faces in the video, this a Desi-Muslim narrative.”

    Truth be told, its a non-assimilating Muslim narrative. Look at the female (even kids!) faces — surrounded by hijab.

    Also, I noticed an East Asian face in the crowd of the “scared white minority majority backlashers.”

    OK, I’m done and outta here.

    Don’t Hate.

    Assimilate.

    ;)

  24. What is most disturbing is that the politicians speaking (especially the woman) remind me a lot of Mahmoud Ahmedinajad..and their supporters are reminiscent of the rabid “Death to America/Jews” crowds

  25. Several leaders of ICNA are/were leaders of Badr, which genocided Bangladeshi Hindus in 1971

    I wonder if any of the brown Hindus in this forum who sympathised with ICNA are aware of the genocidal links ( 3 million mostly Hindus killed ) of ICNA founders and leaders.

    Indeed, accused Al-Badr death squad leader, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, whose Al-Hera Islamic Institute is located less than two miles from ICNA in the Jamaica section of Queens, is a former National Vice President and Secretary General of ICNA.

  26. Taz, I find it telling that you felt the need to justify why this is a brown issue, when it should be fairly obvious post 9/11. Understandable though, I’ve seen the bigots here too…

    The video was painful to watch, but I’d like to see a few more incidents like it so that these hateful xenophobes will marginalize themselves into a Westboro style organization that no one takes seriously. That would be the be best outcome.

    As to the second video, I’m not sure there’s any racial/religious element to it simply because Oren is an ambassador, and more of a VIP than the others. I certainly believe that double standards exist, but on a far larger scale than you are suggesting. It could very well be a minority majority issue, but I lean towards a clash of cultures, an east-west issue, and good, old fashioned prejudice stemming from sometimes willful ignorance. A rich Saudi sheikh with connections to the CAIR mosque is obviously some kind of Islamic fundamentalist who ought to be on terror watch lists. The same guy, when associated with Fox, suddenly doesn’t seem so scary. Keep in mind, Fox incited a nation to war. CAIR has done no such thing.

    The west doesn’t see itself as scary because the west understands its motivations. It gives itself the benefit of the doubt when its questionable links are revealed. Mistakes will happen. The outsider, however gets no such consideration, because its motives are either not understood, or are attributed to religious fundamentalism.

  27. And lets talk about CAIR and brown Hindus

    Randall Royer, a senior CAIR official was sentenced to 15 years by US courts for being a member of Laskhar-e-Taiba, and attempting to wage Jihad against Hindu Indians in Kashmir.

    The muslim organisations mentioned by Taz, ICNA – founded by genocider of Hindus CAIR- senior official sentenced for jihad against Hindus

    so why should any brown Hindu listen to apologists for these organisations that have brown Hindu blood on their hands

  28. Come on, its ridiculous to ask desis to sympathize with people whose agenda is to replace the secular american constitution with islamic sharia. These people should be deported. Any right thinking desi can see who is on the wrong side here. Why are these fundoos in america anyway??? Shameless hypocrites. Their greed is stronger than their faith.

    We need large numbers of desis to stand up against muslim sharia pushers and jihadis, hindu casteists, south asian govts that abandon their citizens to hunger and destitution and so on.

  29. Sharia law has no place whatsoever in a civilized country. And Muslims, including Taz, should get used to the idea of democracy where people have the right to PROTEST (like the people in the video) and to ASSEMBLE (like the Islamic Circle of North America), they go hand in hand.

  30. I have no problem in standing beside Muslims when they experience prejudice like this.

    I just wish Muslims would stand up for non Muslims once in a while, especially when it comes to the dissemination of hateful bigoted ‘Kuffar-phobia’ within the Islamic community that leads to supremacism, jehadist attitudes and separatist bigotry.

    Any chance of any posts on that subject from Sepia Mutiny one day?

  31. Sharia civil law is perfectly fine by me. That’s how India and the UK do it. I’m not a fan of the government getting into civil affairs anyway, so I don’t see why Sharia can’t be used by those who want it, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of anyone else. No civilized country should be telling its citizens what civil laws to follow. I fully support gay marriage too, but current civil laws don’t exactly permit that, do they?

    To the commenters above, there are fundamentalist Christians who are trying to hijack the US constitution too, and they seem to be the ones fueling much of this. They already wield immense political influence and control over foreign policy. They’re the ones who shift the tides with wars, creating needless victims and permanent enemies. That’s what I’d be scared of if I were you.

    I’m no fan of religion, but I’m even less a fan of holding it down because every single instance where that has happened, there have been massive popular uprisings against the oppressors. People need to find their own equilibrium. Change is most effective when it comes from within.

    • Um, not to be flip but how exactly do you suppose gay Muslims will have a right to marry if they’re bound by sharia law?

      The UK and India apply sharia in their civil codes, but this has been an unmitigated disaster for both countries as evidenced by the fact that Muslims in both lag behind in terms of literacy and economic development. Civil law codes are meant to handle issues within families regarding gender norms and children. They play a huge role in the well being of minority groups who are prone to facing abuse from their peers. These are motivated by concerns about justice and basic human dignity. Having separate civil codes for Muslims just reinforces the idea that Muslims aren’t real Indians or real Brits who can’t even be bothered to abide by the same rules as everyone else.

      It would basically be like leaving Christian social norms and mores in the hands of the most conservative fundamentalist lunatics available. No secular institutions get to have a say? That’s just silly and not properly thought out.

  32. In UK, there is none of this so called brown unity. Hindus and Sikhs have faced low level assaults, riots, sexual-grooming from brown southasian muslims, with the result many are now in leadership positions in EDL, which does street level confrontations with brown muslims.

  33. Yoga Fire, the whole point of personal choice in civil affairs means you have the right to live your life your way. In civil matters, nobody should be bound by anything other than social/religious conventions that they may choose to adopt. This is a position that is consistent with the 1st amendment. Religion, like it or not, spills over into civil life. I’m hardly arguing for any radical paradigm shift, this is in fact already how the US functions. I’m arguing for status quo with the addition of gay rights. To further clarify, I’m arguing against any enforced rubbish, such as a hijab ban.

    Muslims in India, overwhelmingly, are as patriotic as anyone else. I’m sorry you feel differently. Furthermore, I’d argue that it’s precisely because they feel free to practice their religion that they are patriotic Indians. Taking away the their civil laws is the most surefire way to alienate them. Did you know, for instance, that the Muslim Feminists seceded from the Muslim Personal Law Board to form a separate group to deal specifically with women’s issues in a non-traditional way? I think it’s a great example of change from within that wouldn’t have been possible to enforce non-controversially with a uniform civil code. You can’t afford to allow 20% of the country to feel disenfranchised. It would be a nightmare.

    Everyone follows the same legal code for non-civil matters. How did you assume I’d want no secular institutions to have a say? That’s preposterous, I absolutely want them to have a BIG say!

  34. @Swati

    “Sharia civil law is perfectly fine by me. That’s how India and the UK do it. I’m not a fan of the government getting into civil affairs anyway, so I don’t see why Sharia can’t be used by those who want it, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of anyone else.”

    India’s civil religious laws are nothing to trumpet about. They reduce a person to their religious classification (e.g. I am Muslim so I can have 4 wives) which essentially conflicts with a fundamental precept of equality before the law and in the US would be a violation of the 14th amendment. It sounds little more than appeasement to me. The UK does not have sharia law, there are private sharia advisory judges for the things such as divorce but their opinions have no legal effect and depend upon both parties adhering to those terms of separation when filing for divorce in the civil proceeding.

    “No civilized country should be telling its citizens what civil laws to follow.”

    So I should be able to have 10 wives? How about some 40 year old marrying a 8 year old girl (Yes that is part of Sharia Law as well)? Pedophiles would rejoice at your comments.

    ” I fully support gay marriage too, but current civil laws don’t exactly permit that, do they?”

    Many jurisdictions allow for civil unions which in effect is marriage. Besides given that the Supreme Court court has ruled that gay intimacy is legal, getting “married” is merely a legalism that affords certain property benefits to your partner.

    “To the commenters above, there are fundamentalist Christians who are trying to hijack the US constitution too, and they seem to be the ones fueling much of this. They already wield immense political influence and control over foreign policy. They’re the ones who shift the tides with wars, creating needless victims and permanent enemies. That’s what I’d be scared of if I were you.”

    In what way? What provision of the US Constitution are hardcore Christians seeking to overturn? They mainly protest about abortion which they argue is killing a human being (nonetheless I am pro-choice) and I have never heard of a right to have an abortion as being part of the Constitution. And your comments conflate hardcore Christians with Neo-Cons. There are many hardcore Christians (e.g. Catholic priests) that are on the leftwing and are anti-war.

    “I’m no fan of religion, but I’m even less a fan of holding it down because every single instance where that has happened, there have been massive popular uprisings against the oppressors. People need to find their own equilibrium. Change is most effective when it comes from within.”

    Frankly the only thing that popular uprisings have done is overthrown secular leaders. Pre-9/11 the American Muslim Community was largely static, praising America by the day and cursing it by night and using venomous language against gays and other groups they deemed morally inferior. Heck the vast majorities of Muslims were hardcore Republican voters pre-9/11. What elicited a change? The answer is simple: Fear. You are right effective change does come from within, but change requires motivation, and the only motivation that seems to work is fear.

  35. I’m not a lawyer but I think what Swati and Yoga Fire are discussing is contractual law here in the US, not civil. Muslims should have a constitutionally protected right to make contracts that instruct the courts, or an arbitrator, to follow sharia law, if they like.

    The problem is the right-to-contract, once highly protected as an implicit one, is now barely so in the USA…a product of the New Deal and the constitutional crises (court packing) FDR initiated to get his legislation thru. In general, the left does not support the right and the far-left is even more suspicious, as they do not want to honor contracts that further traditional modes of oppression. A woman who gives up her claim to her family’s property in the event of divorce, would likely be considered coerced in lefty circles (speaking very broadly here). The libertarian right would consider the contract a product of free-will, as they don’t recognize economic coercion to the degree the left does.

    This has already lead to some strange bedfellows, with RW libertarian lawyers coming to the defense of Muslims wishing to enforce sharia law within their private contracts. There was a case where the husband demanded a lot of money from his ex-wife after divorce, due to some sharia law stipulation. A mosque recently wished to have the police remove all women from the premises. Many on the left objected to the police being used to further sexual discrimination and religious laws, but the libertarian stand is that the police should be value neutral…ie they should remove people as the owners wish.

    Also, there is a debate as to whether the state is allowed to interpret religious law. we an the right think you on the left misinterpret the establishment clause as requiring a separation of church and state. But those words do not appear in the document for a reason, as the lady who is not a witch tried to explain to you all.

  36. Cronous, I respect that you have a different opinion, but can we lay off the wildly inaccurate and sensationalistic claims? First, let’s be clear. Civil laws do not cover pedophilia, criminal laws do.

    As to the ten wives statement, sure, the law doesn’t allow you to have ten wives, but outside of most non-Islamic nations, nobody is going to jail you for having affairs with ten women either. Secular governments should enforce criminal laws, not morality. The polygamy argument is a bit of a canard because only around 2% of Muslims (and by no means in all Muslim countries) practice it. Contrast that to infidelity rates in America, which are at around 53%. My own sense of morality wouldn’t permit either, but I’m not going to call for jail sentences for cheaters.

    I have no interest whatsoever in hijacking this thread to convince you that the religious right wields political influence.

    Your last statement bears responding to. The absence of Western style democracy (if there is such a thing) is seen by many as a dangerous breeding ground for terrorism. Yet, America is often complicit in stifling democracy through its support of dictators. To further complicate matters, the US is involved in large scale wars in the Islamic world. Now my question is, why do you believe that enforcing civil laws that target one religion would somehow magically lead to less radicalized thought, when you are willing to overlook the effects of war and suppression of democracy on radicalization?

  37. Manju, interesting perspective on the debate. I’m clearly no lawyer either, but it sounds eminently sensible that certain civil matters would fall under the purview of contractual law.

    I am arguing this from a more or less libertarian position myself.

  38. Thanks for making this post, Taz. It’s horrible to watch, but I’m not surprised at all. In fact, I am glad to see the hate that defines Right Wing Christian and Jewish religious intolerance against Muslims and have shaped US foreign policy in the Middle East for the past 70 years out in the open. In fact this attitude that has defined Western colonial thought from the 1800s onward is out here for all to see.

    There is nothing new about the smear campaign of sharia law or denouncing Prophet Muhammad’s character. Pick up a colonial text from 1800s onward or even rabbinical or christian “travel” narratives from the 11th century onward, and it is exactly the same: Muslims are inhuman monsters, so kill them.

    The difference now is mass media that sheds more light on the cockroaches. That’s always a good thing. I am glad that this video is widely distributed, and i know that it has appeared on TV around the world.

    I am not surprised that there are browns here defending someone like Geller. It’s amusing…to see lack of irony in their comments. I guess browns think these kinds of whites would never trash Hindus and that the British Empire and current western corporatization of India are benevolent, good for India.

    But then, to sustain colonial/imperial hate and corporate control, Whites have always relied on Browns and Blacks to do their dirty work for them.

  39. beginning with the CAIR video with soo many whoa moments to cringe inducing comments like “Whites have always relied on Browns and Blacks to do their dirty work for them.” wtf goin on brownies! irrespective of how one feels about sharia or dumbass arguments like 9 years olds freewill in marrying a 40yearold/only 2% of muslims practice polygamy so its no big deal (yeah only 20 million trampled lives), the cair video above is HORRRIBLE.if the hate and injustice directed at those poor kids and their parents walking in to the meeting doesnt churn your stomach and one cant see it in the larger context of hatred toward immigrants in general (& latinos in particular, where sadly the desi voice of support has largely been missing) we’re doomed

  40. @Swati

    “First, let’s be clear. Civil laws do not cover pedophilia, criminal laws do.”

    I think that misses the point. Marriage is a civil matter and also a defense to pedophilia. Normally I cannot have sex with a 15 year old girl, but if I legally marry her I am insulated from such a charge. If we change civil laws relating to marriage to allow for 8 year olds to get married then we would be allowing pedophilia. Many Muslim clerics opine, in view of Sharia Law, that such child marriages are legal since Mohammed married Aisha when she was 6 and consummated the marriage at 9.

    “As to the ten wives statement, sure, the law doesn’t allow you to have ten wives, but outside of most non-Islamic nations, nobody is going to jail you for having affairs with ten women either. Secular governments should enforce criminal laws, not morality. The polygamy argument is a bit of a canard because only around 2% of Muslims (and by no means in all Muslim countries) practice it. Contrast that to infidelity rates in America, which are at around 53%. My own sense of morality wouldn’t permit either, but I’m not going to call for jail sentences for cheaters.”

    I don’t believe anyone goes to jail for polygamy, it is simply not recognized as a form of marriage by the state. Similrarly, casual sex between strangers is not punished by jail time but it is not recognized by the state as some kind of legal association such as marriage. Application of Sharia Law would allow for such marriages including child marriages.

    “I have no interest whatsoever in hijacking this thread to convince you that the religious right wields political influence.”

    I have never stated that the religious right does not wield political influence. I only stated nothing they advocate is against the U.S. Constitution and in my view things like banning abortion pale in comparison to child marriage, blasphemy laws, a woman’s testimony being worth half a man’s etc.

    “Your last statement bears responding to. The absence of Western style democracy (if there is such a thing) is seen by many as a dangerous breeding ground for terrorism. Yet, America is often complicit in stifling democracy through its support of dictators.”

    Frankly I think the equation democracy = less religious extremism is hogwash. Case in point: Pakistan. That country has had a number of cycles of Democracy and religious terrorism has only increased during those tenures (e.g. in the 90s and from 2008 onward). America supports dictators because they are the lesser of two evils (namely dictatorship vs. a dictatorial religious state enacted via democracy).

    “Now my question is, why do you believe that enforcing civil laws that target one religion would somehow magically lead to less radicalized thought, when you are willing to overlook the effects of war and suppression of democracy on radicalization?”

    I think it will have virtually no affect on radicalization at large. Consider the Park 51 mosque issue. It was a big issue last summer and raised significant due process issues, however, it was met with largely a collective yawn from the Muslim world. I think some clerics were even saying that it should not be built there. On the other hand the Muslim world reacted viscerally to the planned burnings of the Koran. To conservative and/or extremist elements, the rights of Muslims in the US or UK matter far less than insults to god.

  41. Cronous, thanks for keeping it civil, but I’ll ask that you don’t misrepresent my position with the red herring pedophilia argument. Pedophilia is criminal, and the marriageable age in most states is 15-17 except in rare cases where there is both parental and judicial consent. The child marriages you describe are not legally recognized, and would be chargeable with statutory rape at the very least. As they should be.

    As to the rest, well, we disagree. Except on free speech. As I’ve stated before, I fully support the right of these jackasses to protest peacefully and marginalize themselves into obscurity with their untenable, illogical, and frankly, hypocritically loony positions, given that their republican bedfellows didn’t allow the bill on stopping child marriages to pass in December.

    Whenever someone says ‘I don’t even care if you think I’m crazy anymore’, it’s usually a sign that they are in fact crazy. Glenn Beck crazy. Don’t know about you, but as a brown Hindu atheist, I don’t believe these bigots will protect my interests.

  42. swati opines -

    Sharia civil law is perfectly fine by me. That’s how India and the UK do it.

    Really? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Do you realize that under Sharia law a man (only a man!) is allowed to divorce a women by essential saying – I divorce you – three times? Do you support that? Are you familiar with Shah Bano case?

    What about female genital mutilation, is that also culturally permissible by your uber-liberal standards?

    Personally, I am deeply happy that hindus threw out the bizarre cultural practices that used to comprise hindu civil law and replaced it by modern practices in the 1950s hindu family law. I am no fan of Nehru, but on this point, working with Ambedkar, he did the right thing.

    Its unfortunate that we are stuck with this india (not so in the UK), but there is no need to support a primitive and medieval set of legal codes.

  43. @Swati

    “Cronous, thanks for keeping it civil, but I’ll ask that you don’t misrepresent my position with the red herring pedophilia argument. Pedophilia is criminal, and the marriageable age in most states is 15-17 except in rare cases where there is both parental and judicial consent. The child marriages you describe are not legally recognized, and would be chargeable with statutory rape at the very least. As they should be.”

    No problem, however, I don’t see how I am misrepresenting your position. You stated that Sharia civil law is fine by you and that in civil matters, that nobody should be bound by anything other than social/religious conventions that they may choose to adopt, and that this is consistent with the 1st amendment. If Sharia Civil Law was implemented it would lower the age of legal marriage down to at least age 6 (when Aisha was married to Mohammed). So yes while you are not advocating for pedophilia your advocacy of multicultural religious rights would allow for pedophilia. One last thing the Supreme Court, which is the only legal arbiter of what the Constitution/1st amendment says, has already held in Reynolds v. U.S. (a case involving the Mormons right to polygamy) that “Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices.” In other words you choose what to believe but can’t do what you want on the basis of some religious duty.

    “Whenever someone says ‘I don’t even care if you think I’m crazy anymore’, it’s usually a sign that they are in fact crazy. Glenn Beck crazy. Don’t know about you, but as a brown Hindu atheist, I don’t believe these bigots will protect my interests.”

    Obviously Beck is a loon, but to describe everyone at protests that have anti-Islam tone as being Glenn Beck is a stretch.

  44. “Personally, I am deeply happy that hindus threw out the bizarre cultural practices that used to comprise hindu civil law and replaced it by modern practices in the 1950s hindu family law. I am no fan of Nehru, but on this point, working with Ambedkar, he did the right thing.”

    Al beruni why have India’s leaders allowed Sharia to persist if the Hindu equivalent was eliminated? Was it a voting issue or appeasement? This has always struck me as a double standard and have never heard a satisfactory explanation.

  45. I think I’ve clarified my position sufficiently in stating that I would not want the inclusion of any provision that would harm a child who hasn’t attained legal consent. The Muslim personal law board in India, for instance, utilizes aspects of sharia, but child marriage remains illegal. I think it is important to make the distinction between ‘aspects of sharia pertaining to civil law’ and sharia law. We need to stop getting our panties in a twist and overreacting to the word ‘sharia’.

    As for Britain, that’s what I’m talking about. You may have a hard time believing this, but I actually object to these religious courts having any jurisdiction over domestic violence, which is criminal. I don’t think all protesters are crazy, just these. You may also have a hard time believing that I was on the side of the Danish newspapers when those crazy protests happened. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend, and the freedom of religion includes the freedom to a certain degree of nutty, even morally reprehensible behavior. However, ONLY to the extent that nobody else is hurt (against their will).

    To al_beruni, if you have somehow extrapolated that I support FGM, you’re nuts. I’m not that jazzed over multiculturalism. I think many cultural practices are, quite frankly, retarded, and by no means limited to one geographical area or religion. But I believe that what goes on between consenting adults is none of my damn business. Also, I am not a liberal.

    I think I’m done here. Moving on, now. :)

  46. from swati -

    I think I’m done here. Moving on, now. :)

    A wise move. May I recommend Saudi Arabia where Sharia law is the only law?

    from kidpoker666

    why have India’s leaders allowed Sharia to persist if the Hindu equivalent was eliminated?

    This is a difficult topic with many perspectives, from one point of view, yes this is pandering, the congress party has a long history of pandering to islamic conservatives and mullahs. From another point of view, the creation of pakistan made this a delicate and complex issue.

  47. Al Beruni

    thanks for the response. Yes I imagine we could fill encyclopedias with the answer to that question. In simple terms however it seems a burden on HIndus to have to compete with muslims who can use Sharia to govern their lives while Hindus must abide by the general laws of the land…just the birth rate issues would seem to give muslims the advantage in terms of population growth going forward. Seems like if muslims can have 4 wives then HIndus ought to be able to as well…

  48. A wise move. May I recommend Saudi Arabia where Sharia law is the only law?

    Look at it this way. Saudi Arabia denies its citizens the right-to-contract as they wish. They must follow sharia law. So to advocate an arraignment where the state would dictate to its citizens the principles under which they can enter into a private agreement, like denying 2 consensual Muslims the ability to have their agreements enforced under the principles of sharia law, would put you more in line with the Saudi view.

    Of course, from your point of view, defending the right to practice sharia law is tantamount to supporting it. And I concede my position will indeed enable terrible things to be done, particularly to women…notwithstanding Radha Krishna’s assurances that there is a “smear campaign” against sharia law enforced by mind-colonized browns who are controlled by Zionists and The Corporations, though its unclear whether its Goldman Sachs or the Bronfmans at the helm. It definitely can’t be Soros Fund Management though. I say Disney!.

    But this is the central principle of our republic as codified in the first amendment. The debate is old and familiar so I won’t go into all the reason why its important. But suffice to say, it is the right to do something that should be the primary concern of any regime founded to maximize freedom, not what that something is.

  49. al_beruni, that was uncalled for, but I can’t say I was expecting better, and maintain that we all possess a constitutionally protected right to be a jerk.

    Well, the hills are alive with the sound of paranoia. This bill might be struck down anyway, because it is very likely unconstitutional. Unlike Christine O Donnell, I’m no constitutional expert, but Charles Haynes, a constitutional scholar with the First Amendment Center, sums it up well.

    Haynes… said the law is based on a complete misunderstanding of Shariah law. He described it as a set of voluntary religious rules, similar to Catholic canon law or Jewish religious law. The bill is wrongheaded, he said. “It’s complete nonsense,” he said. The bill is also unnecessary, said Haynes. He said that people of all faiths have to follow secular law. “Civil law and the Constitution of the United State trumps religious law,” he said. “The government can’t label religious laws as wrong or treasonous or evil. The government may not take sides in religion. It may not say what is a good religion or a bad religion.”

    Manju, do you say Disney only because W’s views may have conceivably changed (were he alive) following the exoneration that Ratzinger recently granted? Or did you say Disney with a heavy dose of irony?

  50. May I also suggest that someone on SM write an article about this:

    http://www.nas.org/polArticles.cfm?doctype_code=Article&doc_id=1839

    “Hartford Seminary prides itself on its large number of Muslim students, both domestic and foreign-exchange. Among my first experiences with the Muslim students there was in a class on interfaith dialogue. I had done interfaith dialogue before, so this was not a new experience for me. We were separated into groups for the dialogue, and when I was permitted to speak, I said, “I am Catholic, and I do not believe in Islam.” Following me, one of the Muslim students spoke. She said that she was Muslim, and then she addressed me directly. In a soft, Arabic accented voice, she told me, “You are an infidel because you do not accept Islam” and that “according to Islam you do not deserve to live.” A second Muslim student heartily agreed, and after repeating the first student’s comments, she added that “in Islam, the Koran and the tradition of the prophet are very clear about this” and that “you deserve to die.””

    “In another incident, I was in a class on modern Islamic thought and an American male convert to Islam informed me in front of my classmates and the professor, “You deserve to die on account of your disagreement with Islam.” Another student, an American Muslim woman of Egyptian heritage, informed me that I was “dirty” on account of being a Christian. When I tried to address these and other incidents with the HS administration, I was told directly that I was “intolerant” of Muslims and needed to show a better “understanding of Islam” as a solution. No action was ever taken by the seminary. “

    Unless Muslims are proactive about protesting about this kind of thing, let them expect no reciprocity from others.

    • A former liberal.