In May, 2012, Imam Faisal Rauf, the one-time champion of the Ground Zero Mosque, allowed himself to be interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox Television so he could promote his new book, Moving the Mountain. Not only was he thoroughly humiliated by Hannity, but he was forced to apologize for some of his signature “sound bites,” including the statements that Americans were accessories to the crime of 9/11 and that Americans had more blood on their hands than Al Qaeda.

Here is the video of the interview:

Why would Rauf subject himself to all of that abuse? It is the gauntlet authors must endure in order to sell their books. Unfortunately, Hannity asked few penetrating questions about the book itself. The American public and the media need to hold authors of books justifying Islamic practices accountable to the same standards of accuracy and truth as authors critical of the Islamist agenda in the U.S.

Moving the Mountain is Imam Rauf’s vision for a non-existent ideal Islamic state which would deliver justice, equality under the law, and as best it could, the "objectives" of Sharia law. The major obstacle to this, he admits, is Islamic extremism and hostility toward non-Muslims. So Rauf sees Muslims all over the world "fully engaged in the effort to move the mountain of extremism and hostility out of the way" (Pg. 194). Rauf’s thesis, however, contains three major flaws: 1) He continually uses conditional words like "could", "would", "may be", and "ought to be" much more than "is" and "are".  Unfortunately, the "is" and "are" realities of Islamic extremism and hostility in the Middle East and elsewhere are overwhelming his vision. 2) He lays his hope in “moderate Muslims,” forgetting that they can’t possibly prevail unless there is also a moderate Quran to support their views.  As long as Allah’s laws in the Quran command Islamic extremism and hostility toward non-Muslims, the existence of “moderate Muslims” is a temporary phenomenon at best. 3) Rauf’s vision depends heavily on Christian concepts of neighborly love, human equality, and tolerance, which are non-existent in the unabrogated, final Surahs of the Quran.  Perhaps a better title for the book would have been Ignoring the Mountain (of Islamic Extremism and Hostility Toward Non-Muslims).

Throughout this essay I will be referring to Reliance of the Traveller by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri. This “classic manual of Islamic sacred law” was approved by Al-Azhar University in Cairo in February, 1991.  Al Azhar is the same institution that sent out Imam Rauf’s father on missionary assignments that included Malaysia, Great Britain, and the United States, according to Imam Rauf’s book.  Reliance of the Traveller is also endorsed by the U.S.-based International Institute of Islamic Thought.

pew-muslim-support-islam-role-politicsWhile Imam Rauf invokes Caliph Abu Bakr’s high standard of truth – "disregard for truth is treachery" – many of Rauf’s most categorical pronouncements have no substantiation or empirical support.  For example, he states on page 26, "I know, from personal experience throughout the Muslim world, that the overwhelming majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims disagree profoundly with the extremist, narrow, parochial interpretations of Islam that have gained force in recent decades."  Really?  When the Pew survey of 17,000 people in 17 countries was made in 2005, the data indicates Rauf’s gut feel about world’s Muslims is severely mistaken:

As we have seen in the Arab Spring, all of the countries that have overthrown despotic rulers so far have voted by democratic elections to elect Islamist candidates -- the kind of “extremist, narrow, parochial” Islamist leaders Rauf suggests would be rejected by the world’s Muslim population.

Another measure of Rauf’s respect for accuracy in his book is his lack of footnotes to support his claims.  By way of comparison, there are two personal life stories published recently: Geert Wilders’ Marked for Death and Faisal Rauf’s Moving the Mountain. The two books are roughly the same length.  What stands out is that Wilder’s book is heavily referenced, with 711 footnotes, including 74 references to the Koran or Hadith. Rauf’s book has only 30 footnotes plus only 60 Quran citations. Furthermore, Rauf distorts the meaning of some of the Quran citations. For example, on page 42 he uses Surah 3:113-115 to argue that Jews and Christians who are sincere and devout would receive Allah’s approval and salvation. When read in context, that passage refers to "some People of the Book", meaning those Jews who had converted to Islam. The unacceptability of Jews and Christians by Allah is confirmed by Allah’s prophet’s final deathbed vow: "I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslims." (Sahih Muslim, number 4366)

Another problem is that Rauf bases much of his defense of Sharia Law on what he calls "the Second Commandment," a reference to the Judeo-Christian commandment "to love your neighbor as yourself (regardless of race or religion)." Rauf refers to the Second Commandment at least nine times in his book. The “love your neighbor” sentiment is not found anywhere in the Quran or Sharia Law. Instead, the Quran instructs Muslims, "Muhammad is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another" (Surah 48:29). Sharia Law discriminates on the basis of religion, race, gender, occupation, and even virginity. So, not only is Rauf's main thesis a second-hand idea copied from the discredited 2007 "Common Word" campaign, but it is clearly contradicted by the Quran and Sharia Law.

Probably the most concentrated piece of takiyya can be found on page 64, where Rauf states:

Another principle of Sharia is that no individual Muslim is allowed to take the law into his or her own hands and dispense punishment. Only courts can judge crimes and decree punishments; no one person can be the witness to a crime, its judge, and the implementer of the penalty – they must be separate individuals. Vigilante justice is therefore prohibited.

This is an absolute falsehood because each and every Muslim is obligated to "command the right and forbid the wrong". This obligation is the motivator behind wife beating, honor murders, and of course jihad against both Muslims and non-Muslims. Here is the stipulation from Reliance of the Traveller: Muslims are obligated to discipline others. If censuring with harsh words, breaking things, or intimidation does not work, Muslims are obligated "to directly hit or kick the person, or use similar measures that do not involve weapons". (Para. q5.8)

A revealing signature of Rauf’s defense of Sharia Law is his use of "divine sources" when he talks about the positive (religious) aspects and “ancient” penal codes or "tribal customs" when it comes to the rather brutal (political) aspects of Sharia. Given that all of these aspects emanate from the same Quran and examples of Muhammad, this equivocation is an acknowledgement of the shameful nature of Sharia Law.

Set forth below are some of Rauf’s most outrageous statements – which were either poorly researched or deliberately mischaracterized:

1. Love for your neighbor is the “Second Commandment of Islam” -- Rauf states on page 46 that the Second Commandment of Islam is to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is actually the Second Commandment cited by Jesus in Matthew 22:39. Jesus illustrated this commandment by the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, to emphasize that neighborly love was not limited to those of one’s own race or religion. This concept does not exist in Islam. The Bukhari hadith number 12 quoted by Rauf generally includes the parenthetical clarification that the love for one’s brother is limited to fellow Muslims only. The following Bukhari hadith makes Islam’s priorities quite clear:

Allah’s apostle was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and his Apostle." The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s cause." (Bukhari, Vol. 1, No. 25)

2. Sharia Law includes the Ten Commandments --  Rauf states that Sharia Law includes all of God’s ordinances and commandments including the biblical Ten Commandments.  This is not true.  Listed below are the Ten Commandments from Deuteronomy 5:7-21 along with the equivalent in the Quran:

  1. Worship no god but God -- Do not associate another deity with Allah (Surah 17:22)
  2. Do not worship idols -- Not found. Muslims kiss the Black Stone 21 times when making the hajj, according to Reliance of the Traveller, Para. j5.14
  3. Do not use God’s name for evil purposes -- Do not use Allah’s name in your oaths as an excuse to prevent you from dealing justly. (Surah 2:224)
  4. Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy -- Not found. Muslims must participate in Friday congregational prayer only (Surah 62:9)
  5. Respect your father and mother -- You shall be kind to your parents (Surah 17:23)
  6. Do not commit murder -- Do not take any human’s life – except for just cause (Surah 17:33). Sharia “just cause” exceptions include murdering an apostate (R of T, Para. o4.17), and a parent murdering his/her children or his/her children’s children (R of T, Para.  o1.2(4))
  7. Do not commit adultery – You shall not commit adultery.  Sharia exceptions include sex with multiple wives (R of T, Para.  m6.10), sex with slaves and captives (Surah 33:50), and sex with temporary wives. (Surah 4:24)
  8. Do not steal -- As for the man or woman who is guilty of theft, cut off their hands to punish them for their crimes. That is the punishment enjoined by Allah (Quran 5:38). Sharia exceptions include forcible seizure, snatching and running, and theft by betrayal of trust (embezzlement) (Rof T, Para. o14.6)
  9. Do not accuse someone falsely -- And (know that the true servants of Allah are) those who do not bear witness to falsehood (Surah 25:72). Sharia Law says it is OK to break the intent of the oath, as long as one does not break the letter of the oath (R of T, Para. o19.1) and "When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible." Examples include protecting Islam or a Muslim. (R of T, Para.  r8.2)
  10. Do not covet another’s wife or property -- Do not covet the bounties that Allah has bestowed more abundantly on some of you than on others. (Surah 4:32)

3. Female Genital Mutilation is merely a pre-Islamic custom - Rauf characterizes FGM (which he calls "cutting") as "a pre-Islamic African practice still performed in Egypt Sudan, and Somalia" (Pg. 52). Not only is FGM much more wide-spread among Muslim communities, but it is supported by a reliable hadith: "Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband" (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 5251). This practice would not exist if it weren’t part of the sunna of Muhammad.

4. Sharia Penal Codes aren’t that bad -- Rauf employs the tu quoque tactic to dismiss the significance of the Islamic hudud punishments of chopping off hands of thieves and stoning adulterers by saying, "...the truth is that most countries’ penal codes in previous centuries were brutal by modern terms" (Pg. 62). What this statement ignores is that Muslims believe the brutal Sharia penal codes were ordained by Allah, and also that they continue unabated into the present time in some Sharia-compliant countries. Rauf also distorts the meaning of Surah 2:179 by suggesting that eye-for-an-eye lex talionis retributions somehow "are intended to enhance life".

5. There is no punishment for apostasy -- Imam Rauf gets into knee-deep takiyya when he asserts on page 64, "...the penal code  in Sharia law has no provision – none at all – for punishing disbelief in God". He argues that the killing of apostates in Muhammad's time was merely because it was considered treason in time of war. He reminds his readers that Muhammad negotiated the Truce of Hudaybiyah which allowed Muslims who had chosen to apostatize to freely return to Mecca unmolested. What he forgot to mention, however, is that the Truce’s return provision applied only to children who had joined the Muslims without their parents’ permission and that Muhammad broke the ten year truce after only two years. (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, pages 509 and 544). Reliance of the Traveller, Para. o8.7, lists the acts of apostasy which include intending to commit unbelief, to speak words of unbelief, and to deny the existence of Allah. The punishment for apostasy is spelled out in Paras. o8.1 - o8.4: “When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed... [I]f he refuses [to repent], he is immediately killed. There is no indemnity for killing an apostate or any expiation, since it is killing someone who deserves to die.”

6. There is no punishment for the consumption of alcohol -- With steady persistence, Imam Rauf also tries to whitewash the punishment for drinking. "The prohibition on drink... carries no penalty in the Quran or the Hadith" (Pg. 66). Rauf wants readers to understand that the punishment imposed was actually for the slander committed by those who had been drinking, but the following two hadiths make it clear that Muhammad was punishing the drinking, not the slander:

The Prophet beat a drunk with palm-leaf stalks and shoes. And Abu Bakr gave (such a sinner) forty lashes. (Bukhari, Vol. 8, No. 764)

Abu Huraira said, "A man who drank wine was brought to the Prophet. The Prophet said, 'Beat him!" Abu Huraira added, "So some of us beat him with our hands, and some with their shoes, and some with their garments (by twisting it) like a lash, and then when we finished, someone said to him, 'May Allah disgrace you!' On that the Prophet said, 'Do not say so, for you are helping Satan to overpower him.' " (Bukhari Vol. 8, No. 768)

The Sharia Law punishment is specified in Reliance of the Traveller, Para. o16.2: "The penalty for drinking is to be scourged forty stripes, with hands, sandals, and with ends of cloth. It may be administered with a whip, but if the offender dies, an indemnity is due for his death."

7. We are all of one family and equal in the eyes of Allah -- Rauf states, "If we Americans – Christians, Jews and Muslims – accept God’s assertion in our respective scriptures that humanity was created from one man and one woman, then we are all of one family and equal in the eyes of God, distinguished only by our piety and our ethics." While this statement reflects the Judeo-Christian concept of equality found in Galatians 3:28, Islam has a rather different view. Surah 2:66 calls Jews "detested apes". Surah 5:60 states that Allah turned Jews into "apes and swine". Surah 9:28 calls idolaters najasun (filth). Meanwhile, Surah 3:110 assures Muslims, "You are the noblest nation that has ever been raised up for mankind." And a minor hadith collected by Shaykh Jalauddin Abdur Raman As Suyuti (d. 911 AH) states "The best of people are the Arabs."

8. Judaism and Christianity are not diminished by arrival of Islam – Imam Rauf uses a series of quotes from Meccan Surahs (42:13, 22:67, 14:4) to demonstrate that Islam is just a continuation of the Judeo-Christian revelation. These Surahs were revealed when Muhammad’s new religion had only a few followers, and he needed to show similarity with Judaism and Christianity. "Here Allah is saying that the Quran is part of a sacred line of divine revelations to human beings; previous revelations are not diminished in significance by the arrival of a new revelation" (Pg. 88). This statement is in stark contrast to what is written in The Reliance of the Traveller, Para. w4.0 – The Finality of the Prophet’s Message:

Previously revealed religions were valid in their own eras, as is attested to by many verses in the Holy Koran, but were abrogated by the universal message of Islam. . . [I]t is unbelief (kufr) to hold that the remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as “Christianity” or “Judaism,” are acceptable to Allah Most High after He sent the final Messenger to the entire world. . . (Para. w4.3 goes on to say that any Jew or any Christian who hears of Muhammad and dies without believing in what he has sent with will be an inhabitant of hell.)

9. The Jewish Passover Seder, the Christian Last Supper, and the fast of Ashura are all connected liturgically – Imam Rauf in his quest for commonality with the Judeo-Christian heritage tries in vain to link totally unrelated events. He writes, “The Abrahamic faiths are connected liturgically as well as scripturally. One only needs to remember that the Last Supper of Jesus was in fact a Passover Seder.” Then in a complete non sequitur, he observes that Muhammad once fasted on the tenth day of the New Year on Yom Kippur to appease the Jews of Medina when he first arrived there.  By coincidence, Ashura, the day Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein, was assassinated by rival Sunnis also fell on the tenth day of the New Year, but that occurred 58 years after Muhammad arrived in Medina.  Meanwhile, Muhammad had banned the practice of “intercalculation” as a “grossly impious practice” just nine years after arriving in Medina per Surah 9:37, ending all but random synchronization of Yom Kippur and Ashura.  By this deliberate decree, Muslims share neither a holy day nor even a calendar in common with Jews and Christians.  But Imam Rauf opines, “I think it would be wonderful if American Muslims continued [sic] to fast on Yom Kippur, even when it does not coincide with Ashura, to keep the Prophet’s sentiments alive for our times.” (Pg. 90)

10. What unites Jews, Christians, and Muslims is that they all believe in one God --  Imam Rauf repeats a theme from the discredited 2007 “Common Word” initiative: “We Muslims should feel enormous kinship with Jews and Christians, partly because we are kin – literal siblings in the great monotheistic adventure that began in the ancient Near East several thousand years ago.” (Pg. 95)  However, he goes on to cite Islamic versions of events that are not found anywhere in the Judeo-Christian sacred texts: 1) “Abraham is about to sacrifice Ishmael” is contradicted by Genesis 22:2; 2) “the banishment of Hagar and Ishmael has a happy result” is contradicted by Genesis 16:12; 3) “later Abraham returned to the [Zamzam well], and together with Ishmael built the original mosque [i.e., the Kaaba]” is contradicted by Genesis 16:12; 4) “Abraham began the practice of an annual pilgrimage to Mecca” is contradicted by Genesis 12-25 which document that Abraham never in his whole life got closer than to Mecca than Gerar (Genesis 20:1), some 400 miles away; 5) “[The Black Stone was] laid by Abraham himself” is also contradicted by the same foregoing citations.  While the Quran plagiarizes names and skeletal stories from the Bible, there are only a couple of passages in common – Surah 21:105 echoes Psalm 37:29 and Surah 7:40 echoes Matthew 19:24.  By contrast, the Christian New Testament contains 224 direct citations from the Jewish Old Testament.  As to whether Allah and God are one and the same, I will leave it to readers to consider a longer exposition of that topic found at:

pew-muslim-justify-suicide-bombing11. Muslims around the world were horrified and saddened by the 9/11 attack -- Rauf writes, “I knew that most of the world’s Muslims shared American Muslims’ horror and sadness at this vicious and un-Islamic attack on innocent people in a great nation.”  While this event may have been a set-back for Islamic dawa missionary efforts in America, Osama bin Laden’s suicide tactic was initially widely supported, as the following chart from the Pew survey illustrates:

12.  Muhammad promoted gender equality – While Imam Rauf’s concern for women’s rights and gender equality are commendable, there is little evidence in the Quran or the Hadith to indicate that Muhammad was a champion of women. Here is what Rauf claimed: "The Prophet’s pronouncements and the Quran’s, by moving in the direction of an egalitarian society, pointed the way toward a genuinely different status for women" (Pg. 112). While it is true that it is unfair to compare the situation in 7th Century Arabia with the present, the dilemma for Islam is that Islam’s treatment of women has changed very little since then, while enormous progress has been made in the rest of the world. Because Sharia Law is based on unchangeable commands in the Quran and the sunna of Muhammad, the treatment of Muslim women is dismal by comparison. Sharia Law is relentless in its bias against women -- in violation of every modern concept of civil or human rights. A woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man (Surah 2:282) and her inheritance is one-half that of a man. (Surah 4:11). Female Genital Mutilation is  ”obligatory” for women. (Reliance of the Traveler, Para. e4.3) Young women may be forced to marry without their consent to total strangers (R of T, Para. m3.13(1). A husband may beat his wife (R of T, Para. m10.12) and confine her to the house. (R of T, Para. m10.12(2))  A husband can divorce a wife at will (R of T, Para. n3.2), marry multiple wives (R of T, Para. m6.10), and he automatically gets custody of children at age 7 (R of T, Para. m13.5) or if the mother remarries (R of T, Para. m13.4). Worse yet, women are forced to abide by Sharia Law rulings against them because challenging rulings of the "Lawgiver" is an act of apostasy, punishable by death. (R of T, Para. o8.7(19)).

13. Women’s dress requirements are shaped more by culture and tradition than legal precept -- With regard to women’s clothing, Imam Rauf states, "most so-called Muslim practices are in fact the cultural practices of their societies". However he admits, “The issue of women’s dress and head coverings has become a painful issue not only in Europe, but in America as well, as more hard-line men and some women are pressuring all women to cover their heads and criticize or attack women who refuse as "not Muslim enough" (Pg. 129). No one in America objects to women dressing modestly, and there is certainly no standard apparel in American society. However, the “culture and tradition” excuse is bogus because Muslim women did not cover themselves with niqabs, chadors, or even hijabs until the latter part of the 20th Century. Therefore, these non-conformist outfits are properly interpreted as symbolic rejection of non-Muslim norms and refusal to assimilate. Imam Rauf urges people to be non-judgmental and leave the judgment to Allah. However, when the dress code is not voluntary and when young American Muslim women are subject to "Honor Murder" for being "too American", as in the cases of Amina and Sarah Said, then society must intervene to protect lives.

14. Muslim women may marry non-Muslim men -- Although Sharia law stipulates, in R of T, Para. m6.7(5), that it is unlawful for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim, Rauf admits that he actually performs such weddings because "denying women opportunities for marriage is not a good thing" (Pg. 131). However, Rauf requires that the non-Muslim husband-to-be must first agree in writing that the woman can practice her religion freely and raise her children as Muslims. He must also believe in God and that Muhammad was a prophet of God, even if not necessarily the prophet he follows. This requirement flies in the face of the claim in Surah 2:256, "There shall be no compulsion in religion. True guidance is now distinct from error." No Christian could make such a declaration about Muhammad in good conscience because the Bible says in 1 John 4 that anyone who denies that Jesus is God’s Son is a false prophet.

15. “Clash of Civilizations” provoked Muslims into extremism against non-Muslims – Imam Rauf doesn’t throw down the "victim card" until page 139, but then he slams it down with great finesse. He claims that Samuel Huntington’s 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations, “amplified Muslims’ perceptions that we were now America’s next enemy... Huntington’s work appeared to prove America’s true colors toward Muslims in the minds of bin Laden and many others." Really? Immediately after the United States won its independence from Britain in 1783, the Muslim Barbary pirates began attacking American merchant ships because they were no longer protected by the tribute paid by Britain.  When asked by America’s ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson, why the Muslims were doing this, Tripoli’s ambassador to London informed him, “It was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” Before the U.S. ultimately engaged in its very first shooting war to suppress the Muslim aggression, the government initially paid tribute (jizya) which amounted to twenty percent of the Federal budget in 1797. Muslims in America and around the world are still following the same Koran and the same Sharia dhimmi rules that declared non-Muslims “sinners” and authorized armed aggression against them.

16. Islam is within the spectrum of Christian theology -- When speaking to Christians, Imam Rauf says he often asks them to consider Muslims "as Unitarians with an Arabic liturgy... The point is that we are within the spectrum of Christian theology" (Pg. 142). The two central beliefs of Christians are that Jesus was the Son of God and that he was crucified as an atonement for the sins of mankind. These tenants are categorically denied by the Quran in Surahs 4:171, 19:36, and 4:157. Rauf is confusing Biblical Unitarians who are Christians with Unitarian Universalists who are actually Polytheists. The Unitarian Universalists deny that Jesus was the Son of God, just as Muslims do. Neither is in the “spectrum of Christian theology.”

17. Christians, Orthodox, and Jews enjoyed substantial religious freedom under the Ottoman Empire -- In refuting the "myth" that Muslims and Jews have been existential enemies, Imam Rauf wonders if Jews know "that for centuries the Ottoman Empire ruled over Arabs and Turks, Armenians and Greeks, Christians, Orthodox, Jews, and Muslims, who all enjoyed substantial religious freedom" (Pg. 144). I guess Rauf’s view of religious freedom means that non-Muslims were forbidden to build churches (R of T, Para. o11.4(7), had to wear distinctive clothing (R of T, Para. o11.4(2)), had to pay devastating tribute (jizya) "out of hand and are utterly subdued". (Surah 9:29), and Christians had to give up their male children to slavery in a system of human tribute known as devshirme.

18. Most Muslim antagonism toward Jews has nothing to do with religion --  Imam Rauf suggests that the Jewish-Muslim conflict only began in earnest with the establishment of Israel in 1948. He states,"Most Muslim antagonism toward Jews has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with land and nationalism: the question of Israel and the Palestinians" (Pg. 147). This is another attempt to obscure the ideological roots of Muslim anti-Semitism. Something like 21 times a day, devout Muslims pray the Exordium (Al-Fatihah), Surah 1 of the Quran, asking Allah to guide them not to the path “of those who have incurred Your wrath,” referring to Jews. This interpretation is confirmed by Surah 2:61. The Quran calls Jews apes and swine in Surah 5:60 and likens them to asses laden with books in Surah 62.1. According to Ibn Ishaq’s biography, Muhammad not only drove all of the Jews out of Medina (and later the Arabian Peninsula), but he personally participated in the beheading of 600 to 900 Jews in the market square of Medina (Ishaq, page 464). Most scholars and historians attribute Muslim anti-Semitism from the very beginning of Islam to the Jews’ refusal to recognize Muhammad as one of their prophets, a very religious justification.

19.  The United States is Sharia Compliant – Probably the most baffling and bizarre argument of Imam Rauf’s entire book is that “there is a profound congruence between the fundamental principles and objectives of Sharia ...and the founding – and enduring – principles and structures of the United States of America.” (Pg. 170)  Where to begin? The United States was founded on inalienable God-given rights, whereas Sharia Law is a list of obligations. The U.S. Constitution insists that laws are generated by the people through their elected representatives, whereas Sharia rejects man-made laws and ties every Sharia requirement and even the determination of good and bad to the "Lawgiver" who is Allah or Muhammad (R of T, Para. a1.4). The Constitution states quite clearly in the First Amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Sharia Law states (Para. p40.2), "He who obeys me obeys Allah, and he who disobeys me disobeys Allah. He who obeys the leader obeys me, and he who disobeys the leader disobeys me." Thus compliance with Sharia Law and the leader is a religious obligation, not a matter of civil obedience. The U.S. constitution establishes universal suffrage, term limits, and a single prescribed method of electing a President. Sharia Law, on the other hand, says that a Caliph is empowered by an oath of fealty, by appointment, or through violent seizure of power. (R of T, Para. o25.4) In fact, Sharia Law is so hostile to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and state laws that half of the U.S. states are in the process of banning any use of Sharia Law in legal determinations in their states. The most recent laws of this nature were passed in Louisiana, Arizona, Tennessee and Kansas.

Rauf’s Moment of Clarity

In the closing pages of Imam Rauf’s book, he finally has a moment of clarity. The Arab Spring has completely undermined all of his idealistic vision about an Islamic state which would deliver justice, equality under the law, and a Sharia Law free from compulsion and discrimination. Reflecting on this grim reality, Rauf observes:

The danger is that in the rush by Islamic political parties and their supporters to establish Sharia Law, these nascent democracies may make the same mistakes as the Taliban and countries like Pakistan and Nigeria, believing that the way to establish Islamic statehood is by focusing first of all on the penal code, forcing people to wear their religion on their sleeves... It would be hard to find an action more opposed to God’s explicit commandments in the Quran -- that there shall be no coercion in religion -- than forcing the worship of believers in faiths other than Islam into hiding or treating those believers as criminals.

Unfortunately, Rauf’s book is so disconnected from the current Islamic realities playing out in America and in the world at large that it is only useful as an anecdotal collection of the failed deception efforts by apologists for Islam to forestall the inevitable truth: The Quran is a handbook for violence, oppression, and intolerance. This truth has been evident for the past 1400 years. This mountain of Islamic extremist and hostile ideology cannot be moved. It must be torn down.

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