The Constitution Applies To Sharia, Refugees, And Immigrants
Donald Trump is the Andrew Jackson of 2016. To Trump and his supporters free trade deals are the equivalent of the Bank of the United States and Muslims/refugees/immigrants are seen in the same light as Native Americans. Where Jackson could point to adopting a Native American child as proof of his compassion Trump can point to his immigrant wife and “the many friends and members of the group he offended that he employs” as proof of his.
Encompassing both a personal moral code and religious law, there are two sources of Shariah:The Quran, which many Muslims consider to be the literal word of God; and the “Sunnah,” the divinely guided tradition of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) is man-made and therefore amendable, but Shariah for many Muslims, is divine and cannot be changed. Islamic law consists of Shariah and fiqh.
Shariah has three components – belief, character, and actions. Only a small portion of the “action” component relates to law. In fact, only about 80 of the Quran’s 6,236 verses are about specific legal injunctions. Actions relating to other humans can be regulated by the state, while actions relating to God (as well as belief and character) are between an individual and God. This is where the possibility for conflict with the Constitution arises.
Interpreting Shariah is done by jurists known as “fuqahaa” who look at the practicality of both time and place regarding how a ruling can be applied. Fiqh interpretations divide human behavior into five categories: obligatory, recommended, neutral, discouraged, and forbidden.
In the United States, there are no Islamic courts, but judges sometimes have to consider Islamic law in their decisions. For example, a judge may have to recognize the validity of an Islamic marriage contract from a Muslim country in order to grant a divorce in America.
As the number of court cases that involve conflicts between civil law and Sharia law rise in America, states have introduced bills banning courts from accommodating Sharia law. Those bills have been stalled by challenges in court by groups that also campaign against politicians who sponsor and/or support such bills. Oklahoma’s law banning Sharia law from courts has been struck down, but seven other conservative states (Louisiana, Arizona, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Kansas and Alabama) have passed Sharia law-limiting legislation. That sounds like the system working. What’s the problem?
Refugees and Immigrants
In a number of landmark cases, the Supreme Court has ruled that those, including refugees and immigrants, who are within the jurisdictional boundaries of the US enjoy due process protections. In fact, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) holds that even enemy combatants are entitled to due process.
The Constitution makes a clear distinction between citizens and everybody else. When it refers to citizens, it actually states “Citizens”. When it talks about everybody else, it states “persons”. The Constitution does indeed entitle everyone to due process when it states “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In other words, Constitution protections are afforded to non U.S. citizens while they are here.