In Imam Raufs America There Would Be No Juries for Civil or Criminal Trials

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It’s one thing to build a mosque near Ground Zero – it’s another altogether when the proponent of the mosque is an Imam who believes in imposing Shariah law inside the United States. And that’s what Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, believes is his mission, and that’s what he would pursue inside any completed “Ground Zero mosque.” He already said so on the Huffington Post on April 24, 2009:

In America, we have a Constitution that created a three-branch form of government – legislative, executive and judiciary. The role of the judiciary is to ensure that the other two branches comply with the Constitution. What Muslims want is a judiciary that ensures that the laws are not in conflict with the Quran and the Hadith. Just as the Constitution has gone through interpretations, so does Shariah law.

And what does he mean by referring to “a judiciary that ensures that the laws are not in conflict with the Quran and the Hadith?” For starters, NO JURIES, EVER. A Shariah-trained lawyer for Aramco Oil wrote in 1966 about the complete control that a judge (the “Qadhi”) has inside a Shariah court:

In a Shari’ah court the Qadhi is the central figure. In some instances there may be a Junior Qadhi assisting him, but there are no juries. As an American lawyer, I was at first surprised by the absolute control which the Qadhi maintains over the proceedings before him and by the large discretionary authority at his command. In marked contrast to the more neutral role that a United States trial judge plays, the Qadhi actively participates in the case. Since his role is not to arbitrate, but to actively seek the truth to procure justice, he questions both parties and all witnesses at will. He even concludes cases by convincing the parties to settle their differences by the honorable method of sulh, or compromise, usually on the basis he recommends, when he is in doubt as to which party is in the right.

And that lawyer made it clear that the Qadhi is much more than just a trial of fact and law, he is revered above all other citizenry and leads the community’s religious life:

In the United States a judge is called “Your Honor.” In Saudi Arabia he is called “Your Reverence” and the difference is significant. A judge–more properly, Qadhi–in Saudi Arabia is more than a judge. He is also a religious leader, who leads prayers in the mosque, delivers sermons, advises the Amir of his area on religious matters and hands down fatwas (legal opinions) on matters referred to him. This is at once logical and necessary since the law in Saudi Arabia is rooted in the religious teachings of the Prophet, Muhammad.

So in Imam Rauf’s America, say goodbye to the 7th Amendment right to a jury trial for civil suits (and the 4th Amendment too, of course); farewell to the common law of each of the 50 states, now protected by the 10th Amendment; adios to the 795-year-old right to a jury trial written in blood into the Magna Carta. That’s not my idea of an idea worth defending. Liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, can find common ground in our Constitution for opposing Imam Rauf’s mission and his mosque.