In Sharia Newt Won’t Trust; It’s a ‘Mortal Threat’
‘I believe Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it,’ Mr. Gingrich said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington in July 2010 devoted to what he suggested were the hidden dangers of Islamic radicalism. ‘I think it’s that straightforward and that real.’
Mr. Gingrich was articulating a much-disputed thesis in vogue with some conservative thinkers but roundly rejected by many American Muslims, scholars of Islam and counterterrorism officials. The anti-Shariah theorists say that just as communism posed an ideological and moral threat to America separate from the menace of Soviet missiles, so today radical Islamists are working to impose Shariah in a ‘stealth jihad’ that is no less dangerous than the violent jihad of Al Qaeda.
‘Stealth jihadis use political, cultural, societal, religious, intellectual tools; violent jihadis use violence,’ Mr. Gingrich said in the speech. ‘But in fact they’re both engaged in jihad, and they’re both seeking to impose the same end state, which is to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Shariah.’
Gingrich taps into the view that Islamic law in general is dangerous and poses a threat to the American way of life, ignoring that Muslims make up less than 1% of the population in the US according to the CIA Factbook and Pew Research Center (CAIR subscribes to the notion that there are about 7 million Muslims living in the US or 2.2%).
While Sharia has been ascribed and used by Islamic terrorists to justify their mayhem and carnage, many other Muslim theologians have denounced them. But in any event, US Constitutional law supersedes and prohibits the establishment of religion (you know, this part):
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That same passage prevents Congress from prohibiting the free exercise of religion, which is what folks like Pamela Geller are ultimately seeking.
Indeed, this is a major step backwards from what the Bush Administration sought to accomplish by trying to limit the fight to Muslim extremists - jihadis, rather than trying to lump together the entire Muslim community here and abroad. There is a subset of that worldwide community that ascribes to jihad and the use of any means necessary to accomplish those goals, and they should be resisted by both Muslims living in those communities and the world at large. They are a destabilizing element that exploits longstanding historical grudges (such as the Sunni-Shi’a schism), and there are elements that look to establish a form of political Islam in the Middle East (such as via the Muslim Brotherhood).
President Bush, and now President Obama adhere to a similar view on extremists within Islam that are perpetuating the violence, rather than smearing the entire religion and its adherents. What Newt and his ilk are supposing and doing is nothing less than a smear of all Muslims. It’s Islamophobia and xenophobia all rolled into one ball of hate and mistrust.