On Friday, October 21st, the Miami, FL, Commission; the Monroe County, NY, Legislature; the Rochester, NY, Board of Education; and the Rochester, NY, City Council announced proclamations condemning hate speech against Muslims. These proclamations define neither hate speech nor the person or persons who will decide what constitutes hate speech. Far from benign calls to let peaceful Muslims go about their lives and prayers in peace, these proclamations represent a step towards elevating Shariah (Islamic law) over the Frist [sic, First] Amendment.
Why do I make this claim? Backtrack to 2012 and the aftermath of Benghazi, when President Obama told the UN, “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” The subtext of this statement was lost amidst several nods by Obama to the First Amendment later in his speech. The subtext was this: slander in Shariah is not telling lies that hurt someone’s reputation; rather, slander in Shariah is telling a truth or a lie which someone doesn’t want to be told. Slander in Shariah is thus defined by what the potentially aggrieved party wants or doesn’t want to hear, not by evidence.
For evidence of this, see Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law. On page 730 of the English translation of this law manual – – which has been endorsed by the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Al-Azhar University, the premier authority in Sunni Islam – – slander is defined as follows: “to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, property, son, father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissoluteness, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else connected with him.”
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