“Shariah is consistent with the U.S. Constitution”

In 2008 Suhail Khan debated Frank Gaffney at the Harbour League Club, taking the AFFIRMATIVE position over the question “Is Shariah Consistent with the U.S. Constitution?”:

Khan has consistently argued that Shariah is benign and compatible with U.S. law and society.  The following excerpts from the debate are representative of Khan’s overall thesis that Shariah is “interpretive” and that there is a viable “American version” of Shariah that is consistent with the Constitution:

Shariah itself is not antithetical to democracy or modernism, because, again, it’s interpretive…

…when it comes to Shariah, Frank called it a black box, which somehow some mysterious scholars out there who are trying to define Islam for everybody else and [make] people, whether they’re Muslim or otherwise, follow it blindly. That’s not the case. Shariah means “the way” in Arabic. And it’s an interpretive law that governs the protection of religion, life and property for Muslims. And it’s specific to Muslims. There is no strict static set of laws in Shariah…

Khan gives specific examples of “reformist Islamic scholars” who in his view are creating a legitimate American form of Shariah:

There are, there are several Islamic scholars… again, these medieval interpretations… And there are modern ones: Khaled Abou el-Fadl, a graduate of Yale University, University of Pennsylvania Law School and a PhD. graduate of Princeton University, currently at UCLA, is developing a book on Shariah. And Sheik Hamza Yusef, whom Frank called a Wahabbi. He is developing a book on Shariah and he also has a seminary… They do exist. And they have Shariah and they have developed Shariah specific to the American context. They are graduates of the schools in the Muslim world and they’re graduates of schools here in the United States. And just as I said, they have taken the interpretation of Islamic texts, the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, and they have integrated that into a Shariah-compliant, constitutionally compliant program for American Muslims to live their lives under the Constitution, in no way abrogating the Constitution, and in no way running up against the Constitution, but just living their lives under the free principle that all of us Americans can do to practice our faith freely. That is what their principles are.

Sheik Hamza Yusef was invited to consultations at the White House in the aftermath of 9/11 by characters such as former insider – and current imprisoned al-Qaeda terrorist – Abdulrahman Al-Amoudi.  Yusef’s “moderate” image is belied by his on-the-record radical statements.

  • In 2004 the Khaleej Times quoted Yusef as saying: “Jihad is actually considered a Rahma (mercy) in Islam. If there is an oppressor and there is Jihad to stop his oppression, it is a mercy on him (the oppressor).”
  • When asked about the roots of Islamic rage, Yusef said, referencing the Israel/Hezbollah war of 2006:

If you had one word to describe the root of all this rage, it’s humiliation. Arabs in particular are extremely proud people. If you look at what happened in Lebanon recently, the Arabs kind of raised their head– they think it’s a big victory, the fact that their whole country was destroyed and over a thousand people were killed, many of them children. Why is it a victory? Because they fought back. That’s all. “OK, you can crush us into the Earth, but you’re not going to get us to submit.” And I think that’s deeply rooted in Muslim consciousness, the idea of not submitting to anything other than God.

  • Yusef’s views also conflict with basic American concepts such as the drive to better oneself and society through progress, and the concept of free market capitalism:

Muslims do not believe in progress. Progress is completely antithetical to the Islamic doctrine. Muslims believe that human society reached its pinnacle in Medina in the 7th century. This is the best society that has ever existed. The verse which says “Today We have completed your Religion…” made Umar (ra) weep because he realized that nothing is ever completed except that it begins to decrease.

If the goal of life is to establish Deen, then that is the highest progress that humans can achieve and therefore all this modern technological madness is an exteriorization of the human impulse to know…

…Western technology is based on the exploitation of the other 90 percent of the world. All our wonderful technological achievements are based on the rest of the world living in abject poverty. Through enjoying the fruits of Western technology, we are in fact participating in the destruction of indigenous cultures all over the world and the impoverishment of those people.


At the 2008 Harbour League Club debate Suhail Khan offered the following defenses on his position:

In recent years, and especially since the horrifying events of 9-11, racists have falsely claimed that my faith commands its followers to violence. Some, like [Robert] Spencer, have taken… out-of-context quotations from the Koran to suggest that Islam sanctions violence or terrorism.

Here Khan resorts to the “racism” canard often used by Shariah-adherent Muslims and their leftist apologists to distort the issue at hand.  Shariah is a body of law created from the Quran, Hadiths and the precedents of Islamic jurisprudence: in essence, it is an ideology, not a race.

When I spoke at the Council for National Policy last year, a woman asked me whether my religious beliefs and practice was consistent with our Constitution. Her question was sad. The first amendment is quite clear, that all Americans are free to worship as they wish. No one is disqualified from citizenship or high office because they are Catholics, Jews, Muslims, or Mormons.

More dissimulation.  The woman asked whether Islamic belief and practice (i.e. Shariah) was consistent with the Constitution.  Of course freedom of conscience, belief and private religious practice is guaranteed by the Constitution for professing Muslims and all other Americans.  The question is whether the broader dictates of Shariah as a comprehensive ideological/political program conflict with the Constitution, and Mr. Khan sidestepped that issue.

The Bottom Line:

Shariah is a comprehensive theological, political and military ideology that lies in direct contradiction to the U.S. Constitution in myriad ways, which is the basis of a recent study conducted by a group of leading national security and intelligence experts known collectively as Team B II: “Shariah: The Threat to America.” Khan’s conflation of Shariah with an individual Muslim’s right to freedom of thought, conscience, worship and speech is a common tactic of Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR.

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