Why is Tennessee Worried about Islamic Law in Bible Belt?
It is illegal to commit terrorism in the U.S. There is not a region in the country where it's not. It is illegal to conspire to commit terrorism or murder.
Doesn't matter what your religion may or may not be, you can't do it. Pretty simple, right? Well, a proposed bill in Tennessee will enhance the penalty if you happen to be a Muslim and you committed or plotted to do this act in the name of Sharia or Islamic law.
Now, first, this law wouldn't ban the practicing of Islam, though I am sure quite a few of the people who voted for the author of this legislation would want to do exactly that. Tennessee is a hotbed for banning Islamic mosques.
Now, according to this bill, if you supported or believed in the part of Sharia law that deals with imposing Islam on the rest of the nation, then you can be put in prison, especially if it involves an act of terrorism. First of all, this signals out one religion and its believers for extra punishment.
If someone commits an act of violence in support of Christian right-wing views, there is no enhancer penalty. This is un-Constitutional both when it comes to the federal and state constitution of Tennessee. Being the member of an unpopular and minority religion does not mean you have less rights under the law and that your religious view can make you suffer a greater punishment if you commit a violent act than the member of any other religion.
The bill states:
"The knowing adherence to sharia and to foreign sharia authorities is
prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the United States
government ... ."
If this was applied to Christianity, than all Catholics (laymen or clerics) who adhere to Catholicism and the Vatican (for some reason a church is a nation state that we recognize, but it is) than that would be according to the bill, "prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the United States government ... ."
For some reason, I don't foresee a bill dealing with those who support or believe in Christian Reconstructionism, being proposed. If someone supports the idea that the American Constitution to be closer to the 10 Commandments (such as Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee) they could be charged under this bill, if this bill wasn't solely directed at Muslims.
Strangely, on the radio, the author of this bill stated that the bill could also be used against Christians, atheists etc. That is an inane defense of course, no atheists or Christians would want Sharia law in any form imposed.
The bill had defined the parts of Sharia being illegal as :
"Sharia as a political doctrine requires all its adherents to actively support the establishment of a political society based upon sharia as foundational or supreme law and the replacement of any political entity not governed by sharia with a sharia political order.
Sharia requires all its adherents to actively and passively support the replacement of America’s constitutional republic, including the representative government of this state with a political system based upon sharia."
Does that sound any different than Pat Robertson's vision for America, other than instead of Islam, having Christianity as replacing our secular government and Constitution? Look, if someone wants to support the establishment of a nation based on a theocratic vision where church or mosque are thoroughly intertangled with religion, that is their right.
I will oppose them, of course, but they have as much right as anyone else to do so. If a Muslim wants an America that has daily and mandatory Quran readings, that is their right. If they want a nation where women have to wear a burqa, that is their right, along as they try to do it through the democratic process, just as Christian conservatives, who go through the same process, have been able to deny me a right to die (if I am in great pain) because their religion says so.