Karen Lugo

Also attending, though not invited, were hecklers who provided CAIR’s waiting video cameras with fodder for a full-scale propaganda campaign. Although CAIR clipped from the official video which showed speakers affirming moderate Muslims over a dozen times, the CAIR product intentionally and singularly hyped ignorance, hate and hysteria. Fear, Inc. perpetuated the fraud by disregarding the real concerns that drove the protest – as well as the message that the main rally sent – and both have cynically exploited an opportunity to alienate Muslims who would have appreciated the commitment of 500 Americans to denounce radical Islam. The message is that Islamists get a pass, while Americans willing to ask the critical questions about constitutional concerns are condemned.

Another of the travesties committed by the efforts to stifle debate is that Muslim leaders are not held accountable to clearly define the practice of Islam in America. A recent speech by Los Angeles CAIR Director Hassam Ayloush described sharia as the essence of goodness, justice, mercy and equality. He instructed the faithful to defend sharia as “enforcing many of the beautiful values of the [American] Constitution.” Ayloush obviously expects all to take his poetic platitudes at face value and not note the reproach that arose from the very crowd assembled to hear him speak; all attendees were male.

As the video camera swept the Islamic Institute of Orange County training session audience of “brothers,” not one sister was apparently present. From separated prayer and teaching meetings to the covering of women to marriage and divorce rules that disadvantage females, it is deceitful to call sharia’s discriminatory practices consistent with the spirit or letter of the American Constitution.

America deserves straight answers about whether sharia dictates that men, as heads of households, may apply “light [physical] disciplinary action” when their wives commit a “moral infraction.” This was the interpretation offered by Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, Muzammil Siddiqi, to soften the Koranic instruction regarding “women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly)” (An-Nisa': 34-35).

And do Muslim leaders still agree that “all Islamic schools of jurisprudence consider “gay acts to be unlawful” but only disagree on the “terms of penalty”? Where is the call from CAP to square these practices with American constitutional due process, equal protection, equal rights and freedom of conscience?

Ayloush relied upon the same lexicon of fluff words for defining jihad as “striving for goodness.” Apparently this clarification was not received by the Muslims in the Norwegian asylum center last week who beat and burned a Muslim convert to Christianity, “doing jihad” to punish the convert’s violation of the Ramadan fast.

Clarity and leadership are desperately needed from Muslim teachers who must explicitly say reform is expected of the hardliners. Otherwise Americans and Europeans can only then conclude that the harsh sharia terms still stand behind the façade of frothy pronouncements of truth and light.

It is time to challenge the soft peddling of sharia in America. Either Muslims hold to a divinely dictated, and clerically interpreted, system of unassailable rules – or they consent in word and deed to a secular system of self rule, founded upon constitutional standards.

Karen Lugo

Karen Lugo is the Founder of the Libertas-West Project and a co-director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.