View Full Version : The Latest Attack on Islam: It’s Not a Religion

09-28-2018, 05:04 AM

The Latest Attack on Islam: It’s Not a Religion
Too many Americans would deny Muslims the religious liberty they insist upon for Christians.

By Asma T. Uddin
Ms. Uddin is a lawyer and an expert on religious liberty.

Sept. 26, 2018
A mosque in Washington. In recent years, state lawmakers and others have been arguing that Muslims are not protected by the First Amendment.CreditCreditYasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images
Religious liberty has become a particularly politicized topic in recent years, and recent months were no different. In a long-awaited June decision, the Supreme Court decided in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a custom wedding cake for a gay couple. In July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions introduced a “religious liberty task force” that critics saw as a mere cover for anti-gay discrimination. And Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s record has been scoured for evidence of what his appointment to the Supreme Court would mean for future decisions in which Christian beliefs clash with law and policy.

But when it comes to religious liberty for Americans, there’s a disturbing trend that has drawn much less attention. In recent years, state lawmakers, lawyers and influential social commentators have been making the case that Muslims are not protected by the First Amendment.

Why? Because, they argue, Islam is not a religion.

This once seemed like an absurd fringe argument. But it has gained momentum. John Bennett, a Republican state legislator in Oklahoma, said in 2014, “Islam is not even a religion; it is a political system that uses a deity to advance its agenda of global conquest.” In 2015, a former assistant United States attorney, Andrew C. McCarthy, wrote in National Review that Islam “should be understood as conveying a belief system that is not merely, or even primarily, religious.” In 2016, Michael Flynn, who the next year was briefly President Trump’s national security adviser, told an ACT for America conference in Dallas that “Islam is a political ideology” that “hides behind the notion of it being a religion.” In a January 2018 news release, Neal Tapio of South Dakota, a Republican state senator who was planning to run for the United States House of Representatives, questioned whether the First Amendment applies to Muslims.

The idea that Islam, which has over 1.6 billion adherents worldwide, is not a religion was even deployed in a 2010 legal challenge of county approval of building plans for a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The plaintiffs argued that Islam is not a religion but rather a geopolitical system bent on instituting jihadist and Shariah law in America. Because Islam is not a religion, the argument went, the mosque construction plans should not benefit from the county or federal laws that protect religious organizations. The local court ruled against the mosque, but the Tennessee appellate court overturned the ruling and the mosque prevailed.

This argument about land use is particularly distressing because not too long ago, a bipartisan coalition in Congress helped enact the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act to prevent discriminatory or burdensome regulations from restricting religious exercise. In 2000, it passed both the House and the Senate by unanimous consent, as lawmakers expressed concern that minority faiths disproportionately faced zoning conflicts, and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It’s jarring that some would now argue that these protections do not apply to Muslims.

At the root of the push to deny that Islam is a religion is a misguided belief that Muslims are anti-American. An industry of anti-Muslim fearmongering has helped stoke and perpetuate moral panic about Islam taking over America and subverting American values.

A 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center found that almost half of all American adults believed that “at least some” American Muslims are anti-American; this number included 11 percent who think “most” or “almost all” American Muslims are anti-American. Fourteen percent thought that about half of all American Muslims are against America. A 2017 poll found that half of United States adults believed that Islam does not have a place in “mainstream American society,” and almost half (44 percent) thought there was a “natural conflict between Islam and democracy.” The fear is so real that in 2010, when the mosque opponents in Murfreesboro argued against the religious validity of Islam, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief explaining that “under the United States Constitution and other federal laws, it is uncontroverted that Islam is a religion, and a mosque is a place of religious assembly.”

The fear is not limited to mosque cases. There have been legislative efforts in 43 states to ban the practice of Islamic religious law, or Shariah law; 24 bills were introduced in 2017 alone, according to the Haas Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. This year, Idaho introduced an anti-Shariah bill, bringing the number of measures introduced since 2010 to at least 217. Of those, 20 have been enacted.

The laws’ backers seem to see them as necessary stopgaps to protect against their imagined Muslim takeover of America. When an Idaho state representative, Eric Redman, a Republican, introduced his anti-Shariah bill in January, he said it was needed so that “foreign law” would not “defile our constitutional laws” and to “protect our state and our country.” That’s a similar sentiment to the one expressed by the conservative political activist Pamela Geller, who argued in a 2016 commentary published by Breitbart that Muslim women seeking accommodations to wear a head scarf in the workplace are part of a “Muslim effort to impose Islam on the secular marketplace.”

It’s not hard to imagine what the reaction from these corners would be if Muslims sought other exemptions, including ones routinely sought by Christians — from performing certain medical procedures, providing certain medications or, say, from baking a wedding cake for a gay couple. A June poll by Morning Consult showed that white evangelicals are more likely to support religious business owners refusing services to L.G.B.T. individuals if the business owner is a Christian, Jew or Mormon — but less so if the business owner is a Muslim.

If Islamophobes are successful in their efforts to strip American Muslims of the same protections that Christians enjoy, it’s they — not the Muslims they irrationally fear — who will be responsible for curtailing religious liberty.

Asma T. Uddin, a religious liberty lawyer and scholar, is the author of the forthcoming book “When Islam Is Not a Religion.”

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09-28-2018, 06:47 AM
Saying that Islam is not a religion typically comes from those people who blindly believes in secular darwinism and calls it facts and not a religion.

09-28-2018, 10:42 AM
Just in case..

Definition of religion

(1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

09-28-2018, 02:31 PM
In america they have a dodgy federal religion which often conflicts with dodgy state religions - and then the sheriffs and the fbi sometimes clash.
The high priests are the senators and the clergy are the congressmen and governors.
Their object of worship has one eye which they call the eye of providence.
Their idol is a giant concrete woman made by some frenchies and a re-designed british east india company flag.
One reason why devotees of such a religion often come into conflict with Islam is that the primary doctrine of Islam states that there is no god but the One and only God and that Muhammad :saws: is His messenger. Another is a little more hidden due to the fact that the opponents seek to hide their true aims - it is the fact that Allah :swt: and His messenger have declared war on usury, and this seriously hinders the ability of these usurers to cheat people of their resources.

One of these religions is based on truth and another is based on falsehood, the truth is obvious and the falsehood is obvious - only sincere pondering is necessary.

Christianity is simply a bandwagon used by the haters of Allah :swt: and His messengers in order to provide an alternative stance due to the fact that a stark contrast between good and evil will automatically attract people to the good, but this also helps the people of the true religion in that the common people who are bombarded with pro-christian propaganda are pushed towards God's side and most will inevitably accept the truth when the divisions and stances become clearer.
God's plan is wide in scope, and the inceremental steps before the sending of the messenger - including the conversion of rome and europe from paganism to christianity -are a part of the plan to bring guidance to the whole of humanity - so rejoice in the fact that Allah :swt: guides people to the truth through mysterious ways.

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