So, there’s this extensive article from Sunday’s NY Times, “The Man Behind the Anti-Shariah Movement,” which in addition to documenting the various state legislative efforts to deny courts power to consider Shariah law in settling private disputes, profiles the Brooklyn Hasidic Jew whose efforts lie behind all the state initiatives. He’s been at it for five years.
Working with a cadre of conservative public-policy institutes and former military and intelligence officials, Mr. Yerushalmi has written privately financed reports, filed lawsuits against the government and drafted the model legislation that recently swept through the country — all with the effect of casting Shariah as one of the greatest threats to American freedom since the cold war.
Now, mind you, I’m no apologist for Shariah law. In its strictest interpretation it is misogynistic and homophobic, which casts it into the outer darkness so far as I’m concerned. That being said, however, so long as its adherents don’t apply it in ways that deny people their civil rights, and so long as it deals with interpersonal relationships among Muslims and remains subordinate to the laws and constitutions of civilized societies, like those who adhere to irrational belief systems, I say let them have at it.
Which brings me to the absurd irony I detect: the anti-Shariah efforts are being led by an adherent to a belief system (ultra-conservative Judaism) that includes a religious law and set of strictures that is every bit as restrictive and (to my understanding) misogynistic and homophobic as Shariah law, but which its adherents expect courts to receive favorably when — all other things considered — two parties include it as the basis for interpretation of private agreements. (In this regard, see yesterday’s commentary by the ACLU, “ACLU Lens: The Truth Behind the Anti-Sharia Movement.”)
Difference Decades Make Department
The CBS Sunday Morning show this past Sunday had an entertaining but also poignant video essay showing NYC City Clerk marriages in 1988 and today. The joy of the celebrants has not diminished, if the ceremony’s wording has. (Check out the hairdos!)
Plus ça change, plus la même chose.
I’ll not share my thoughts about the budget “deal.” The title above says most of it. I’m thinking of creating a Bill of Particulars applicable to my failed hope, President Obama.
From our recent session.