Prayer in public schools has been a hot-button issue in the United States ever since the Supreme Court ruled against it in the landmark 1962 decision Engel v. Vitale. But now it’s back, at least in one school district in Newsomland. EdSource reported Monday that California’s “Elk Grove Unified School District began offering culturally appropriate meals and setting aside rooms in many of its middle and high schools for prayer during Muslim holidays in preparation for the additional Afghan refugee students it expects in the next month.”
Ironically, as Daniel Greenfield noted, the Elk Grove Unified School District “became famous for Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, in which an atheist sued the school because the Pledge of Allegiance includes the word, ‘Under God’. The case was an awkward mess that went to the Supreme Court, but should never have gotten that far and ended up being tossed out because Newdow didn’t actually have custody of his daughter.”
There was, however, a case in Texas in 2017 that establishes an important precedent for what Elk Grove Unified School District is doing for Afghan evacuee students now. Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas, established a prayer room for Muslim students, drawing a rebuke from Texas Deputy Attorney General Andrew Leonie, who said:
“Liberty High School’s policy should be neutral toward religion. However, it appears that students are being treated different based on their religious beliefs. Such a practice, of course, is irreconcilable with our nation’s enduring commitment to religious liberty.”
Indeed. One parent put it this way at a Frisco school board meeting in 2017: “Liberty High School is not a mosque. It’s not a synagogue. It’s not a tabernacle. It’s not a temple. It’s not a church. It is a school. It is a public school supported by taxpayers for the purpose of educating our children.”
However, Liberty High was able to assuage concerns. Several weeks after Leonie’s statement, Marc Rylander, director of communications for the Texas attorney general’s office, issued another statement, saying: “We are grateful for Frisco ISD’s prompt response and have been in contact with their attorneys. They assured us today that students of all faith, or no faith, may now use this meeting room during non-instructional time on a first-come, first-served basis for student-led activities. Religious liberty is a cornerstone of our society and we are glad that students at Frisco ISD may practice their faith in accordance with their beliefs.”
https://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.png00Robert Spencerhttps://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.pngRobert Spencer2021-09-27 09:26:072021-09-27 09:26:07Prayer in Public Schools Is Back … as Long as It’s Prayer to Allah
She signed a prenuptial agreement agreeing to abide by Sharia, but says she was tricked into doing so. This ought to have been taken into account.
Non-Muslims in several states a few years ago tried to outlaw the elements of Sharia that interfere with Constitutionally protected freedoms, not Islam as an individual religious practice. These anti-Sharia measures were aimed at political Islam, an authoritarian ideology at variance with the Constitution in numerous particulars: Sharia denies the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law. That is what people wanted to restrict, and the elements of Sharia that contradict Constitutional freedoms were all they want to restrict. But of course these efforts met furious opposition and were denounced as “Islamophobic.”
Meanwhile, Sharia really does deny equality of rights to women. But to oppose that is “racist.” So Mariam Ayad just has to suffer, you see, for diversity.
A judge in Texas earlier this year effectively denied a U.S. citizen her constitutionally protected due process rights, choosing instead to order her to appear before an Islamic tribunal where her testimony is considered inferior. And when her lawyers sounded the alarm — the judge doubled down.
What are the details?
In March, Collin County District Judge Andrea Thompson ordered a Muslim woman seeking a divorce from her husband to undergo arbitration not through regular channels but through an Islamic court, also known as a Fiqh Panel — a move that the woman’s lawyers argue is an obvious and unconscionable affront to her constitutional rights.
The woman, Mariam Ayad, was attempting to exercise her legal right to a divorce last year when her husband, Ayad Hashim Latif, revealed that on the day of their wedding in 2008, she had signed an Islamic prenuptial agreement to have all matters regarding the marriage and divorce be decided according to Sharia law.
According to court documents, Mariam claims that she was essentially hoodwinked and defrauded into signing the document. At the time, she believed she was signing two copies of a marriage acknowledgment form, which is customary in Muslim cultures.
Notwithstanding, Mariam’s lawyers argue the agreement — which outlines that a three-man panel of Muslim imams are to decide all issues relating to the marriage, including alimony, division of property, child support, and even custody of the couple’s 6-year-old son — ought to be voided in lieu of U.S. law. A copy of the agreement was provided to TheBlaze.
The Texas district judge — in complete disregard of both federal and state law — ruled that the prenuptial agreement is binding, without taking testimony from the wife.
In absence of relief, Mariam will now be required to settle her divorce matters with the Islamic Association of North Texas in front of the Muslim clerics who view her testimony and evidence as carrying half the weight as a man’s.
Mariam has filed a writ of mandamus with the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas to restrict the lower court from enforcing the arbitration order. She is being represented by Michelle O’Neil and Michael Wysocki of the O’Neil Wysocki law firm in Dallas.
What changes did the judge make?
Moreover, court documents obtained by TheBlaze show that Thompson vacated the original March order after Mariam’s lawyers challenged it. But instead of changing the order’s effect, the judge seemed to have merely changed some of the wording to make it appear less controversial.
“It is therefore ordered that Respondent’s Motion to Enforce Islamic Prenuptial Agreement and Refer Case to Muslim Court or Fiqh Panel is granted and the Court refers the case to a Muslim Court or Fiqh Panel for [Alternative Dispute Resolution],” the court order dated March 24, which was viewed by TheBlaze, said.
An updated order, dated June 14, removed words such as “Islamic,” “Muslim,” and “Fiqh,” but reiterated the court’s decision.
“The Court has no discretion but to enforce the agreement of the parties in their Prenuptial Agreement signed on December 26, 2008, and refer the parties to arbitration per the terms of their agreement,” the June order states….
https://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.png00Robert Spencerhttps://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.pngRobert Spencer2021-07-09 05:45:292021-07-09 05:45:29Texas judge denies U.S. citizen due process rights, sends her to Sharia tribunal
“Slavery cannot be intrinsically evil in Islamic law,” Georgetown University professor Jonathan Brown stated during a July 20, 2020 webinar. This disturbing assessment came during a 2019-2020 series of presentations on his 2019 book, Slavery & Islam, whose theses have hardly improved upon this Muslim convert’s past scandalous comments on slavery.
On February 7, 2017, Brown had caused furor while presenting a paper on slavery and Islam at the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). Thereby he noted the traditional Islamic doctrine expressed in Quran 33:21 that Islam’s prophet Muhammad is an “excellent pattern” of behavior. Therefore this example sanctified the slavery practiced by him and his companions, including sex slavery, a doctrine that had justified slavery throughout Islamic history.
Once public, such views completely negated Brown’s disclaimer at the presentation’s beginning. “I always make some hyperbolic statement that really makes sense in the context,” he noted, such that he would face accusations of “calling for slavery.” Given such concern over criticism, he expelled this author from the presentation before it started.
Brown’s elaboration of his views during his subsequent book tour has been hardly more reassuring, for slavery is “simply a fact of life in the Quran” and perhaps even “part of the DNA of Islam.” “Every area of Islamic law is permeated by slavery,” something that “sharia, without exception until the 20th-century, validated.” Muslim scholars have even speculated about a “time when the laws of slavery will actually be needed again,” such as in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-like world, he has noted.
In this regard, Brown has unsettlingly reprised his 2017 comments on sex slavery. Thus any norm that sex be consensual “is fairly unusual in world history.” This corresponds to Islamic doctrine’s proprietary understanding of female sexuality, which, he has noted, denies any recognition of rape in marriage.
Slavery in Islam is faith-based, Brown has explained. Under sharia the “only way that someone can lose their freedom is if they are a non-Muslim who lives outside the Muslim state and is then captured by Muslims.” Slavery therefore “is a reduction in legal status that is caused by unbelief,” whose “vestigial effect” can remain even for an enslaved convert to Islam or a child born into slavery.
Yet Brown has argued that Islam is “obsessed with emancipation.” Islamic doctrine’s numerous biases towards freeing slaves, such as a means to expiate sin, means that Islam “does not have an equal in any religious or philosophical tradition” from the premodern world. “The Quran and Sunna are unprecedently adamant about emancipation.”
However this emancipation should not help a slave return to unbelief in Islam. “Freedom is not the most important thing in Islamic law,” Brown has noted, although Muslim scholars have historically argued that “slavery is intrinsically harmful.” Rather, true freedom comes from submission to Islam, an “emancipatory force.” Seventh-century Arab Muslim conquerors, for example, before subjugating the Persians, announced that they would be free only as “slaves of God alone.”
Correspondingly, Brown has described Islamic civilization as a “vacuum cleaner, just sucking in people.” Muslim scholars have historically advocated enslavement of non-Muslims as a means of introducing them to Islam. Then “Muslims are always manumitting slaves, which means they need new slaves,” in an “emancipation turbine.”
Brown has correctly described how Christians led the revolutionary movement against a once universal acceptance of slavery to create the “abolitionist consensus that is held worldwide today.” “Muslims talking about the issue of slavery and abolition of slavery doesn’t happen until they encounter essentially Western abolitionism,” a development true of the Westerners themselves. In his assessment, Christians had in the process to “desacralize scripture” in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament with its numerous references to forms of servitude.
Jewish rabbis and scholars would beg to differ with Brown, for as McGill University Professor David Aberbach has written, “Judaism is intrinsically an abolitionist religion.” “In Jewish belief, every human life matters.” Contrary to superficial readings, Rabbi Dov Linzer has noted, the “Torah only accepts slavery as a deeply entrenched societal institution.”
The late Jewish sage Rabbi Jonathan Sacks delved into this deeper understanding of the Torah’s position of slavery. God’s intends “slavery is to be abolished, but it is a fundamental principle of God’s relationship with us that he does not force us to change faster than we are able to do so of our own free will.” Nonetheless, in the “Torah’s value system the exercise of power by one person over another, without their consent, is a fundamental assault against human dignity.”
This analysis requires that non-Jews such as Brown properly understand Jewish scripture. “Jews have always read the Torah through a rabbinic interpretive lens and not simply on the plain meaning of its words,” the website My Jewish Learning has observed. Thus Jews cannot “read every mitzvah as an ideal” that allows for no further development, Linzer has cautioned.
Accordingly, in various stipulations the “Torah indeed sees slavery as a problematic phenomenon,” Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of Jerusalem’s Western Wall and holy sites has noted. “Although it sanctions the institution of slavery, biblical law begins the process toward abolition,” University of Waterloo Professor James A. Diamond has observed. “Rules limiting slavery challenged the way society was built and prompted Jews to question an institution perhaps so natural it was invisible,” Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner has confirmed.
The Torah’s restrictive regulation of slavery indeed manifested a Jewish “light to the Gentiles” in the ancient slave-holding world. As the Chabad-Lubavitch organization has noted:
At a time when Romans had literally thousands of slaves per citizen, even the wealthiest Jews held very modest numbers of servants. And those servants, the Talmud tells us, were treated better by their masters than foreign kings would treat their own subjects.
Particularly the Bible’s Exodus narrative of Jews escaping bondage in Egypt imprints upon Jewish consciousness emancipation’s value. Diamond has noted that the Passover “commemorates the exodus, anchoring the relationship between God and Israel as Liberator and slave.” As Sacks commented, “Jews were the people commanded never to forget the bitter taste of slavery so that they would never take freedom for granted.”
Tellingly, Brown has noted that Islamic tradition rejects the Torah’s narrative of a gracious God emancipating Jews in ancient Egypt and equates them with Muhammad’s early Muslim followers in pagan Mecca. “The Muslims in Mecca are like the Jews in Egypt, but they are not slaves, they are oppressed.” Thus the Israelite exodus “is not a story of emancipation, it’s a story of victory over oppression,” symbolizing Islam’s triumph.
The contrast between beliefs held by Muslims such as Brown and the Judeo-Christian tradition clearly indicates why Muslims have struggled to reject slavery. Confronted with this moral evil, Muslim reformers have argued that slavery is an artifact of jihadist doctrines inapplicable in modernity, or that rulers have discretionary power to prohibit human bondage. Nonetheless, Brown has recalled that jihadists going to Muslims’ defense during Bosnia’s 1990s sectarian carnage had asked Saudi clerics about taking slaves, only to hear warnings that this would create bad publicity.
These Islamic realities reflect Brown’s moral relativism. Although the Ottoman Empire’s slave trade “was undeniably brutal,” he has argued that slavery and other often onerous labor relations such as indentured servitude have widely varied across human history. Following therefore his dubious claim that slavery is not really objectively definable, any slavery-induced “disgust is a cultural construct” and “just custom; it’s just urf.” By analogy, he has noted that China’s brutal dog meat trade horrifies many non-Chinese, although increasing domestic opposition to dog meat consumption undermines his cultural relativism arguments.
Despite grappling with slavery’s moral problems for Islam’s legitimacy, Brown has failed to find a solution. In recent years Islamic State jihadists in their mercifully brief caliphate have “really caused a crisis for young Muslims” by piously invoking Islamic canons to justify the enslavement of Mesopotamia’s non-Muslims. But as the foregoing analysis has proven, he is wrong to claim in Islam’s tu quoque defense that slavery’s abolition “is not indigenous to any religion or any philosophy.”
Christianity’s commitment to freedom was so pronounced that Frederick Douglass, who decried the hypocrisy of slave-holding religion vividly, did not convert to Islam and become “Frederick X,” but professed, “I love the religion of our blessed Savior.”
While Brown’s exculpation for slavery in Islamic doctrine is unconvincing, he has nonetheless provided valuable insight into this previously “taboo subject.” As Azumah has written, a “critical approach is reserved for the Christian past but forbidden for the Muslim past.” However inadvertently and awkwardly, Brown has helped uncover Islam’s dark slavery legacy.
Incitement to violence against any group should always be blocked. The problem here is that Islamic advocacy groups and their allies in the West have for years claimed that any honest discussion of the motivating ideology behind jihad violence was “anti-Muslim hate.” Facebook already makes such discussion virtually impossible to find. Expect it to be completely blacked out in a Biden/Harris administration.
“US senators call on Facebook to address anti-Muslim bigotry,” Middle East Eye, November 16, 2020 (thanks to Henry):
Democratic senators are calling on Facebook to “do more” to mitigate the spread of anti-Muslim bigotry, after the social media giant was criticised for failing to address attacks against the faith group on multiple occasions, including the aftermath of the Christchurch shootings.
In a letter sent to Facebook to CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, a group of 15 Senators said the platform needed to immediately enforce its community standards to address anti-Muslim hate and ban the use of event pages for the purpose of “harassment, organizing, and violence” against the Muslim community.
The letter also said that Facebook had not taken proper steps to enforce its “call to arms” policy, a year-old rule created in large part due to pressure from Muslim advocacy groups, which since 2015 had flagged multiple instances where organisers of Facebook events had advocated for followers to bring weapons to mosques and other places of worship.
“We recognize that Facebook has announced efforts to address its role in the distribution of anti-Muslim content in some of these areas,” the letter, signed by Senator Chris Coons, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and 12 others, said.
“Nevertheless, it is not clear that the company is meaningfully better positioned to prevent further human rights abuses and violence against Muslim minorities today.”
An independent civil rights audit of the social media company released in July outlined that despite having policies that did not allow for hate speech against religious groups, incidents of hate speech continued to persist across Facebook.
Muslim Advocates, a rights group that called for the audit two years ago, thanked the senators for writing the letter.
“Since 2015, Muslim Advocates had warned Facebook that the platform’s event pages were being used by violent militias and white nationalists to organize armed rallies at mosques,” the group’s executive director Farhana Khera said on Monday.
“We need to know what Facebook plans to do to end the anti-Muslim hate and violence enabled by their platform – and end it now.”…
“As members of Congress who are deeply disturbed by the proliferation of this hate speech on your platform, we urge you to do more,” the senators’ letter read.
https://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.png00Robert Spencerhttps://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.pngRobert Spencer2020-11-19 05:16:552020-11-19 05:16:5515 Dem Senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, urge Facebook to block ‘anti-Muslim hate’
I’m not in favor of the burning of any book, and I believe that people ought to read and understand the Qur’an rather than burn it. However, note that Stengel is calling for legal “guardrails” against “speech that incites hate.”
If someone burns a Bible, no one cares. If someone burns a Qur’an, there are riots and death threats. So for Stengel, burning a Bible would not be “speech that incites hate,” but burning a Qur’an would be. Saying that “speech that incites hate” must be criminalized is tantamount to calling for the heckler’s veto to be enshrined in law. Stengel says: “Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another.”
So if Muslims riot over burned Qur’ans, we must outlaw burning Qur’ans. That would only signal to Muslims that they can get us to bend to their will by threatening violence, and ensure that we will see many more such threats. In Richard Stengel’s ideal world, non-Muslims are cowed into silence by Muslims who threaten to kill them if they get out of line, and by non-Muslim officials who react to the threats by giving the Muslims what they want.
Note also that Leftist and Islamic groups in the U.S. have for years insisted, with no pushback from any mainstream politician or media figure, that essentially any and all criticism of Islam, including analysis of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims, is “hate speech” and “speech that incites hate.” Thus Richard Stengel will silence that as well, and the global jihad will be able to advance unopposed and unimpeded.
In a year or two I might have told you “I warned you this was coming,” but by then I probably won’t be able to.
“Joe Biden transition official wrote op-ed advocating free speech restrictions,” by Steven Nelson, New York Post, November 13, 2020:
President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team leader for US-owned media outlets wants to redefine freedom of speech and make “hate speech” a crime.
Richard Stengel is the Biden transition “Team Lead” for the US Agency for Global Media, the US government media empire that includes Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Stengel, an Obama administration alumnus, wrote last year in a Washington Post op-ed that US freedom of speech was too unfettered and that changes must be considered.
He wrote: “All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate.”
Stengel offered two examples of speech that he has an issue with: Quran burning and circulation of “false narratives” by Russia during the 2016 election.
“Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?” Stengel wrote.
“It’s a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.”…
“Since World War II, many nations have passed laws to curb the incitement of racial and religious hatred. These laws started out as protections against the kinds of anti-Semitic bigotry that gave rise to the Holocaust. We call them hate speech laws, but there’s no agreed-upon definition of what hate speech actually is. In general, hate speech is speech that attacks and insults people on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin and sexual orientation,” Stengel wrote.
“I think it’s time to consider these statutes. The modern standard of dangerous speech comes from Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) and holds that speech that directly incites ‘imminent lawless action’ or is likely to do so can be restricted. Domestic terrorists such as Dylann Roof and Omar Mateen and the El Paso shooter were consumers of hate speech. Speech doesn’t pull the trigger, but does anyone seriously doubt that such hateful speech creates a climate where such acts are more likely?”…
https://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.png00Robert Spencerhttps://libertyfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_v6_225x110.pngRobert Spencer2020-11-16 06:35:392020-11-16 06:35:39Biden transition official wants speech restrictions, criminalization of burning of Qur’an
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