“This plank is part of a nationwide trend to marginalize Muslims and keep them from having the same rights and access to the courts as Americans of other faiths,” CAIR Government Affairs Coordinator Robert McCaw alleged in a news release. “The plank is irrelevant, since the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause ensures that no foreign law can replace it, and only serves as a smoke-screen for anti-Muslim bigotry.” He added: “We wish…the Republican Party had as much confidence in the Constitution as we do.” Perhaps CAIR might more effectively deflate concerns about Sharia by specifically renouncing any attempt to codify it into civil law.
It’s not at all clear the Republican Platform even addresses Sharia. Only two sections mention “foreign laws.” One warns: “Subjecting American citizens to foreign laws is inimical to the spirit of the Constitution. It is one reason we oppose U.S. participation in the International Criminal Court. There must be no use of foreign law by U.S. courts in interpreting our Constitution and laws. Nor should foreign sources of law be used in State courts’ adjudication of criminal or civil matters.”
The GOP’s other mention of “foreign laws” declares: “Despite improvements as a result of Republican nominations to the judiciary, some judges in the federal courts remain far afield from their constitutional limitations. The U.S. Constitution is the law of the land. Judicial activism which includes reliance on foreign law or unratified treaties undermines American law. The sole solution, apart from impeachment, is the appointment of constitutionalist jurists, who will interpret the law as it was originally intended rather than make it.”
Although a Republican from Kansas at the convention cited concerns about Sharia, the emphases of these two sections on “foreign law” seemed aimed at jurists with a fondness for quoting the laws of other nations in their rulings, or subjugation of American citizens to global tribunals. Neither concern relates to Sharia or to Muslims per se.
In a quote for The Washington Post about Muslim delegates at the Democratic Convention, an Indiana religious studies professor said many American Muslims are disappointed in Obama over continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan plus lack of an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. But “in the end, the decision to support Obama is a decision to defend Muslims against Islamophobia.”
Touting chronic victimhood can garner attention but usually fails to gain real political influence. CAIR’s victimology and proclivity for the kinds of scare tactics it ascribes to its critics make it unappealing and ultimately an ineffective advocate for American Muslims.
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