On November 16. the Center for Security Policy, the 7th Amendment Advocate and The Legal Project of the Middle East Forum presented a discussion on Capitol Hill entitled, “Shariah vs. the Constitution.” Opening remarks on that topic was the event’s sponsor, Rep. Doug Lamborn. The panel featured David Yerushalmi, General Counsel, Center for Security Policy; Daniel Huff of The Legal Project of the Middle East Forum; and me. The Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney moderated the panel and led the discussion. The panel was my idea and followed the debate over the decision by New York City zoning officials to allow Imam Rauf to build his mosque near Ground Zero.
I presented the history and purpose of the right to a jury trial for civil and criminal cases, starting in ancient times, through the signing of the Magna Carta and centuries of British law, to recognition in the founding documents of the United States. I contrasted American constitutional law with the principles of sharia justice, in which there are no juries and little resemblance to the official Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure in use in the United States today. As a warning to participants, I discussed the confusing judicial systems in use in Malaysia, in which some Muslim communities are allowed to apply various forms of sharia law in their courtrooms, while non-Muslim areas employ traditional procedural norms that provide the types of safeguards provided in 800 years of American and British law. As I posted on September 8 and on August 30, Sharia civil and criminal procedure – if you can call it that – is clearly incompatible with the right to jury trials protected in the Bill of Rights. American judges must resist any notion that they should compromise the Constitution to appease Muslims or any other faith.
The Center for Security Policy has posted a video of the panel on its Secure Freedom YouTube channel. I will post a transcript or link to a transcript when it becomes available. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the panel and hope we can conduct a repeat performance for new Members of Congress and other audiences early next year.