Rauf, then, is endorsing a theocracy in which there is no separation between religion and state. Indeed, he goes even further in his argument, claiming that religious Sharia law must govern all aspects of human life:
[S]ince a Sharia is understood as a law with God at its center, it is not possible in principle to limit the Sharia to some aspects of human life and leave out others. […]The sharia thus covers every field of law – public and private, national and international – together with enormous amounts of material that Westerners would not regard as law at all…
Among the fields of law Rauf claims must be governed by Sharia are laws controlling religious observances, criminal law (which, according to the Imam, “includes crimes such as murder, larceny, fornication, drinking alcohol, libel”), family law, and economic laws. According to him it is imperative that these laws be followed by all humanity for fear of displeasing God:
…if you don’t want to be accused by God of being a depraved, disbelieving wrongdoer, you’ve got to abide by “what Allah has sent down…”
Rauf’s book also describes the punishments that must be meted out to those who disobey Sharia:
Theft, for which the punishment according to the Quranic rule is: “As for the male thief and the female thief, cut off their hands, as a punishment for what they have earned, an exemplary punishment from Allah…”
The punishment for a fornicator, not bound by marriage, is according to the majority of jurists one hundred lashes of the whip and exile for one year.
Rauf diverges irredeemably from the core American principle separating religion and government in a secular democracy. For all the talk of his constitutional right to build a mosque, Rauf’s writings reveal his desire to ultimately extirpate the 1st Amendment (as well as the 21st) from the Constitution. No American, especially not self-described liberals like Maureen Dowd, should wish to see this happen.
Ilya Feoktistov is the Research Director of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, a Boston-based interfaith group devoted to promoting peaceful coexistence in an ethnically-diverse America.
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