Islamic Law and the Constitution: Are They Compatible?

December 10, 2007

Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC) has made the statement that he would not rule out Sharia (Islamic Law) in this country. However, he has also taken an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States. Keith Ellison (D-MN), our first Muslim Congressman, has ties to individuals and groups that want to replace the Constitution with Sharia, and he himself has never denounced Sharia, yet he has also taken an oath to defend the US Constitution. Is it possible for a person to support Sharia law and the US Constitution at the same time? The short answer is: No, it is not possible.

The first amendment of the Constitution states: “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….”

To “establish a religion” would mean the government would promote one religion over the others. Sharia clearly does this, by discriminating against non-Muslims. Sharia also forbids the free exercise of non-Muslim faiths. It abridges the freedom of speech and of the press by making criticisms of Islam, Mohammed, and Sharia illegal. All these are unquestionably unconstitutional.

The fourteenth amendment states: “…No State shall….deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws….” Sharia, however, does not offer equal protection to all citizens. For example, a non-Muslim’s testimony is worth less than a Muslim’s, and a woman’s is worth less than a man’s. Again, clearly unconstitutional.

Since it’s obvious that Sharia law and the Constitution are incompatible, why would any Congressperson hesitate to say so? For Congressmen Mel Watt and Keith Ellison, we don’t know why. But here are some possibilities:

They could be ignorant of the Constitution, or ignorant of Sharia.

They could be pandering for the Islamist vote.

They could be pandering for Islamist contributions.

None of these possibilities are really very comforting. Moreover, it begs the question: How many other Congresspeople, Senators, and presidential candidates are equally unwilling to rule out Sharia, and for what reasons?