TLDR ADVISORY: This article exceeds 1,000 words, and may be lengthy for some readers.
There are certain elements amongst us, certain persons and groups with dangerous agendas. Agendas that, if carried to fruition, would see the very freedoms that we currently enjoy taken from us. This has been made crystal clear to me, especially within the past few hours. It all started with a Facebook post. (Doesn’t it always these days?)
One of my Facebook friends had commented on an article post. Now, I can’t find the post in newsfeeds again, but I did have the presence of mind to bookmark the article itself. The website “Bare Naked Islam” posted an article today, in which they allege that CAIR-Missouri director Faizan Syed “wants people who insult Islam on the internet to be punished under Sharia law.” I immediately questioned this as what I thought was just so much neo-conservative, anti-Muslim fearmongering. So, I went and read the article on the website. (1)
Hold on a few minutes, let me back up and elaborate a bit on who and what “CAIR” is, for those who don’t know. It stands for the “Council on American-Islamic Relations”, and is headquartered in Washington D.C., with regional offices in various places around the country. Their stated aim is to “enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding”. In addition, their stated core principles include the following;
- “CAIR supports free enterprise, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.”
- “CAIR is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of faith.”
- “CAIR supports domestic policies that promote civil rights, diversity and freedom of religion.”
- “CAIR opposes domestic policies that limit civil rights, permit racial, ethnic or religious profiling, infringe on due process, or that prevent Muslims and others from participating fully in American civic life.”
- “CAIR is a natural ally of groups, religious or secular, that advocate justice and human rights in America and around the world.” (2)
The article at “Bare Naked Islam” explains how the director of the St. Louis, Missouri branch of CAIR, Faizan Syed, has outlined his suggestions for addressing and controlling what he refers to as “anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim content on the internet”, suggesting the necessary formation of a youth-based group that would monitor social media. According to the article, Mr. Syed believes that Islamic “Sharia Law” should be introduced and applied to the American justice system. (1)
Again, I initially took this as right-wing rhetoric, but decided to do my customary “internet datamining” to determine the truth of the matter for myself. What I discovered absolutely floored me! It seems that the folks at BNI are telling the truth! (At this point, it’s important to understand that so many of the things that the neo-conservatives are positing these days are slathered with lies and half-truths, so when something this starkly honest comes to the fore, it’s a true surprise!) By following the links and doing some google searches, I arrived at the CAIR-Missouri website, where I was able to read Mr. Syed’s original post, replete with grammatical errors. (3) (It should be noted that as of 21 Feb 2013, this link has been removed from the CAIR-MISSOURI website.) In the article, Syed makes the following suggestions;
- An association of Muslim Youth should be created, they be trained in media monitoring and response and in media relations (See above link of Jewish organization for further details)
- These Youth should be encouraged to be passionate, aggressive and prompt in their responses.
- There need at least one such team in every country (I know it’s a daunting taks, but one small steps takes us to bigger one)
- They should coordinate with other Muslim youth operating in different countries.
- Report anti Islamic and anti Muslim content on the internet to appropriate authorities to take action to remove it and go after those who post it online and prosecute and take actions according to the Shariah ruling. (Emphasis added.)
- Highlight the inconsistencies of the mainstream media and spread it across the web using social networking and all other platforms available to us.
- Highlight the bias of media in reporting issues pertaining to Islam and Muslims
- Write to editors and journalist reporting on Islam and on Muslim issues (Believe it does have an impact)
- Send mass emails out promptly urging Muslims to respond on news reports that is bias and anti Islamic in nature to the editors and journalist and TV anchors.
- Promote books, documentaries, movies that is of beneficial to the Muslim youth.
Now, a lot of these are noble ideas, but there is one in particular that would seem to run contrary to the very concept of the laws and principles that our nation was founded upon; the United States Constitution. Not only that, but it also seems to directly contradict CAIR’s stated aims! So, either CAIR is lying about their aims, or they would appear to have a renegade director.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
(Amendment I, Constitution of the United States of America.)
[SOAPBOX=ON. IT IS SO ON.] When I swore my oath of enlistment in the United States Army back in March of 2000, I swore to “defend the constitution against all enemies; foreign and domestic.” Although I no longer serve actively, I still take that oath seriously. See, that same constitution guarantees my freedom to do what I do here; examine, comment, dissect, counter, dissent. If I think that someone’s religious views absolutely suck, then it is my right to state that opinion without fear of reprisals. What Mr. Faizan Syed is suggesting is a complete denial of those freedoms, in favor of the application of a set of laws based in a religious dogma…one that I don’t happen to adhere to. In my not-so-humble opinion, this is yet another example of how religion can become a danger to the good and proper maintenance of a free and democratic society.
Sharia law is part of a religious doctrine. As such, any adoption of it by the justice system of this country would be blatantly unconstitutional. Mr. Syed wants Sharia in our courts, but I would ask him, “How does it feel to want?” It would appear that Mr. Faizan Syed is opposed to the constitution, and that would make him an enemy to it. And, as I have sworn to defend my country and its highest laws from these enemies, I am bound by honor and principle to respond to Mr. Syed’s attack on our freedoms;
Mr. Syed, I will submit to Sharia the minute you go procreate…with yourself. Now, I hope you found that equally as offensive as I find your suggestion that my right to free speech be amended and / or denied by your proposed “task force”, and your proposed adoption of Sharia law by our courts. Mr. Syed, you and I both know full well, that the Sharia penalty for speech critical of or opposed to Islam…is death. I find your suggestion that my criticism of your religion be met with the deprivation of my very life, completely unacceptable. And, since this suggestion finds its basis in your chosen religion, I will close with the following sentiment, complete with the appropriately-dropped “F” bomb. With extreme prejudice: F – you, your “suggestions” and you can shove your Sharia…shall I “suggest” where?