On this morning's Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson hosted Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney to continue Fox's months-long assault on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. In the segment, they played about 15 seconds of Rauf's September 13 appearance at the Council for Foreign Relations. In normal Fox News fashion, the video was heavily cropped to keep their audience from hearing the context of Rauf's comments. To start the segment, Carlson played the following clip from Rauf's CFR appearance, which consisted of Rauf saying "so 90 percent of sharia law is fully compatible, and not only -- not only compatible, is consistent or compatible with American constitutional law and American laws. The areas of difference are small and minor." From Fox & Friends:
Here is how Carlson and Gaffney characterized Rauf's comments:
CARLSON: So is the American Constitution and sharia law, are they really compatible? Frank Gaffney, the founder and president for the Center for Security Policy is my guest right now. Are they compatible, Frank?
GAFFNEY: This is preposterous on its face. Sharia, just for people's benefit who haven't been following closely, is the law of Saudi Arabia and Iran and Somalia and Sudan. And anybody who thinks knowing even a little bit about how women are treated there, how people who leave the faith are treated there, people who are homosexuals are treated there can possibly say this is consistent with the way they're treated here is obviously either ignorant, which seems very unlikely, or he's engaged in what they called under sharia, taqiyya, which is lying for the faith.
It's a sign of his contempt, I think, really for Americans that he thinks that they might actually believe this nonsense. We shouldn't and I believe we shouldn't allow him to promote this sharia program inside the United States either.
But Rauf was in no way saying that oppressive treatment of women, gays and people who leave the faith is compatible with the Constitution or US law. In fact, in his full comments, Rauf noted that "there are aspects of shari'a law which we ourselves have trouble with." The point he was making was that there are similarities between the Declaration of Independence and Muslim jurists' focus on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The examples Rauf cites of Muslims following Sharia law in a way that is fully compatible with American law were following dietary restrictions, bequeathing estates to their children, praying and fasting. Here is the transcript of his appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations (emphasis added):
RAUF: The fundamental rights of -- the opening lines of Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" -- the equality of human creation is a fundamental principle of the Abrahamic faiths -- "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights" -- the fact the creator gave these rights to us, not any government or man-made agency, is a religious concept among which our life, life and property, then changed to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.
Seven centuries before these words were penned by Thomas Jefferson, Muslim jurists said all of shari'a law, all of Islamic law is intended to uphold six fundamental objectives: the protection of life, of human dignity, which I relate to liberty, to religion, to family, to property and the intellect.And what do we do after life to pursue our happiness? We get married to our loved ones, we seek material well being, we seek our intellectual pursuits and we seek to practice our faith religions.
In many respects, yes, there are aspects of shari'a law which we ourselves have trouble with. But in many respects we practice shari'a already when we practice -- when we -- when we -- when we adhere to our dietary laws, we are practicing shari'a law. When we bequeath our estates to our children in accordance with the dictates of shari'a, we are -- there are -- we are consistent with American law and consistent with Islamic law. And when we pray, when we fast, these are all commandments of shari'a law. So 90 percent of shari'a law is fully compatible, and not only -- not only compatible, is consistent or compatible with American constitutional law and American laws. The areas of difference are small and minor.
About Gaffney's fear that "what he's doing is promoting the insinuation into this country of something that is absolutely antithetical to our constitution to our freedoms, form of government, our way of life," Rauf has a response to that too, also unaired by Fox:
RAUF: And by the way, Islamic jurists have said from the earliest of times -- because Muslim communities lived as minorities first in Abyssinia, in Ethiopia, at the time of the prophet -- and they said that wherever Muslims are a minority, they are required to follow the laws of the land. It is a requirement of shari'a to follow the laws of the land.
Moreover, Rauf has specifically rejected the notion that discrimination against women and the "coercion of faith" are antithetical to Islam. In a June 2009 op-ed, Rauf said "the Quran expressly and unambiguously prohibits the coercion of faith because that violates a fundamental human right - the right to a free conscience." Rauf also wrote that the "true meaning of Islam" includes "gender equality." Back in 2005, Rauf was arguing that "the American political structure is Shariah compliant" because it upholds life, mental well-being, religion, property and family. And in a July 18, 2005 interview, Rauf said:
RAUF: A century ago or more than a century ago the Chief Mufti in Egypt made a statement which was very well known in the Muslim world and among scholars of Islam even in the West.
On a visit to Paris and to France he returned and said that in France I saw Islam but no Muslims and in Egypt I see Muslims with no Islam. It's a very important point for people to understand, both Muslims and non-Muslims.
The reason why Muslims are fleeing many of their societies to countries like Australia, western Europe, United States and Canada is because the societal mandates of an Islamic society and Islamic State is in fact the kind of structure of society that we see in Western societies - the ability of people to participate in issues of governance, issues of the economic wellbeing and economic pie are fundamental to Islamic principles of governance.