Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Vetting Immigrants (Pt. I)

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has written a powerful essay in National Review Online on the idea of vetting Muslim immigrants that I highly commend to you. He begins by denying as utterly false the notion that barring immigrants is by itself unconstitutional:
The U.S. Constitution allows barring would-be immigrants who would subvert our Constitution. Imagine an American government official, interviewing an alien seeking admission to our country from, say, Syria:
U.S. official: “Will you support the United States Constitution?”

Syrian alien: “Well, sure, except that I believe the government should be overseen by a caliph, who must be Muslim and male, and who must rule in accordance with Islamic law, which no man-made law may contradict. None of this ‘We the People’ stuff; Allah is the sovereign. Non-Muslims should not be required to convert to Islam, of course, but they must submit to the authority of Islamic law — which requires them to live in the second-class status of dhimmitude and to pay a poll tax for that privilege.” “I also believe women must be subservient to men, and that men are permitted to beat their wives if they are disobedient — especially if they refuse sex, in which they must engage on demand. There is no such thing as marital rape, and proving non-marital rape requires testimony from four male witnesses. Outside the home, a woman should cover herself in drab from head to toe. A woman’s testimony in court should be worth only half of a man’s, and her inheritance rights similarly discounted. Men should be able to marry up to four women — women, however, are limited to marrying one man.” “Oh, and Muslims who renounce Islam should be put to death . . . as should homosexuals . . . and blasphemers . . . and adulterers — at least the ones we don’t let off with a mere scourging. The penalty for theft should be amputation of the right hand (for highway robbery, the left foot is also amputated); and for drinking alcohol, the offender is to be scourged with 40 stripes.” “There are a few other odds and ends — you know, jihad and whatnot. But other than that, will I support the Constitution? Sure thing.”

U.S. official: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on a second. That’s not supporting the Constitution. That would be destroying the Constitution.”

Syrian alien: “Yeah, maybe so. But it’s my religion.”

U.S. official: “Oh, your religion. Why didn’t you say so? I thought you were spouting some anti-American political ideology. But as long as you say it’s your religion, no problem. C’mon in!”
This conversation is impossible to imagine because . . . it would be honest.
Sally Kohn, a commentator at CNN, has apparently already accepted dhimmi status. She recently rebuked Trump for his wish to control Muslim immigration by claiming that there are lots of Muslims who embrace sharia who are also progressives.

This sounds oxymoronic, and Kohn has been hammered on twitter for her remark. Sharia and progressive are, or certainly should be, mutually exclusive descriptors. There's now a tongue-in-cheek petition circulating to get Kohn, who is herself a Jewish, lesbian feminist, to spend a week in a sharia-compliant country to see what she thinks of the progressive treatment Jews, women and gays receive there. Apropos Kohn's belief that sharia is compatible with progressive political views, last month I wrote the following (slightly amended):
One thing I think we can say about sharia is that it's not what Westerners would call "moderate" or "progressive."

Suppose you found yourself among a group of people which, it eventually became clear to you,...
  • held approximately the same views about gays as the Westboro Baptists, only worse.
  • held approximately the same views about women as Jim Crow era southerners held about blacks.
  • held approximately the same views about Jews as did the Nazis.
  • held approximately the same views about freedom of religion as medieval inquisitors.
  • held approximately the same views about freedom of speech as the North Korean government
  • held approximately the same views about human equality as advocates of the Hindu caste system.
Would you call the group "moderate"? Would you call them "progressive"? Yet these are views held by large numbers of mainstream Muslims, not just in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, but in Europe and the U.S. A Pew poll found that a majority of American Muslims prefer sharia, and one in four accepts the use of violence against other Americans who give offense to Islam, for instance, by caricaturing Mohammed.
I intend to look at some other aspects of McCarthy's NRO piece in tomorrow's Viewpoint. Meanwhile, I hope you'll read his column.