But how can intolerance be tolerated? 348

In his speech to a largely Muslim audience at a Ramadan dinner at the White House on Friday August 13, 2010 [transcript here], Obama stressed points of US law and the values that inspired them to justify his support for the building of a mosque at the site of the 9/11 attack in New York. The speech was a ringing endorsement of religious tolerance. These are some of the statements he made:

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.” The First Amendment of our Constitution established the freedom of religion as the law of the land.

Indeed, over the course of our history, religion has flourished within our borders precisely because Americans have had the right to worship as they choose – including the right to believe in no religion at all. And it is a testament to the wisdom of our Founders that America remains deeply religious – a nation where the ability of peoples of different faiths to coexist peacefully and with mutual respect for one another stands in contrast to the religious conflict that persists around the globe.

As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.

This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.

He implied that Islam  shares the American value of tolerance, custom of “diversity”, and principle of mutual respect:

Tonight, we are reminded that Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity.

We can only achieve “liberty and justice for all” if we live by that one rule at the heart of every religion, including Islam—that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

That’s the so-called “Golden Rule”, holy writ for Jews and Christians. It’s also a sound principle for all civilized people to revere – and perhaps even to try and live by. But we doubt that you could find it stated or suggested in the Koran or any authoritative source of Islamic belief.

Obama, however, is not alone in alleging that the laws and values of America are compatible with the sharia law of Islam. One Muslim who supports his view, at least to some degree, is Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who is planning to build the mosque at Ground Zero.

In his book What’s Right With Islam is What’s Right With America: A New Vision for Muslims and the West, Chapter 3, America: A Sharia-Compliant State, Rauf writes:

What I am demonstrating is that the American political structure is Shariah compliant.

The principles of the Declaration and Constitution are consistent with divine ordinance, the particular method of government and a particular scheme of sociopolitical cooperation that follow from it are thereby invested with divine sovereignty and command an authority that comes from God.

But the claim is exposed as fiction by Dr Jal Maharaj. He has devised a questionnaire for Muslims seeking U.S. Citizenship, which illustrates the essential difference between American law and sharia. He lists the contradictions, and at the end of each item asks the imaginary Muslim applicant, “Do you repudiate this verse in the Qur’an [which contradicts US law]?”

Here is an abridged version of his document:

1. The Constitution of the United States requires equal legal rights for men and women. [Sharia does not.]

Qur’an, Surah 2: 282 says, in part: “call in to witness from among 
your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man 
and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses…” 
This is the basis for Shariah law which holds that in all cases of 
law the testimony of two women is necessary to equal that of one man.

2. US Law does not tolerate wife beating and regards it as a crime [while sharia orders it].

Qur’an, Surah 4: 34 says: “Men are the maintainers of women because 
Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend 
out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded. But as to those women on 
whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone 
in the sleeping-places and beat them …”

(3) Cruel and unusual punishment is illegal by provisions of the 
US Constitution.

This includes such retribution as physical mutilation and injury to 
the body.

Quran, Surah 5: 38 “As for the thief, both male and female, cut off 
their hands. … ”

Surah 5: 33 “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief 
through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land:”

(4) The age of marriage varies by state, but in all cases requires 
that a wife should be of child bearing age, that is, she should be 
post-pubescent, generally 15 or 16 years of age minimum, 17 or 18 in 
other jurisdictions.

Qur’an, Surah 65: 4 “As for your women who have despaired of further 
menstruating, if you are in doubt, then their waiting period is three 
months as well as those who have not yet menstruated. As for those 
who are pregnant, their term shall be the time they deliver their 
burden. Allah will ease (matters) by His order for whosoever fears 

As a Muslim scholar named Maududi has said in his official [and incomprehensible! – JB] interpretation of this verse:

“Therefore, making mention of the waiting-period for girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl at this age but it is permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has 
the right to forbid a thing which the Qur’an has held as 

(5) The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution explicitly outlaws slavery in all forms, male or female.

Qur’an, Surah 4: 92 “And it does not behoove a believer to kill a 
believer except by mistake, and whoever kills a believer by mistake, 
he should free a believing slave, and blood-money should be paid, but 
he who cannot find a slave should fast for two months successively.” 
As scholars have pointed out, this verse assumes that Muslims will own slaves, or a significant number will, as did Muhammad, who owned slaves and bought and sold them. This is just one verse out of dozens that approve the institution of slavery and present in as an eternal condition of humanity.

(6) Hate speech is objectionable in American culture, and federal 
law regards such language as legally actionable, deserving punishment.

Qur’an, Surah 5: 60 – 65, says in part, speaking specifically of Jews 
as verse 59 makes clear, “Those whom God has cursed and with whom He 
has been angry, he has transformed them into apes and pigs, and those 
who serve the devil”

This is the source of Muslim demonstrators’ signs and chants that Jews are apes and pigs — the Qur’an itself. There are still other 
passages in Muhammad’s book which also are anti-Semitic — as the 
term is generally used in America to refer to anti-Jewish bigotry.

(7) War or any acts of physical violence, or threat of violence, with the intention of forcing people to convert to a religion is utterly abhorrent to American law and is explicitly outlawed by the 
First Amendment.

Qur’an, Surah 8: 12 “Thy Lord inspired the angels (with the 
message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Muslims, I will instill terror into the hearts 
of the unbelieversSmite them on their necks and cut all their fingers off.

This is one of 164 jihad verses in Muhammad’s book. Of this number 
approximately 100 are commandments to able-bodied Muslim men to physically fight against non-believers.

There is no reasonable doubt that the meaning of the 100 
jihad verses in question all promote violence against people of other 
faiths. The main objective is conversion but also important is 
terrorizing others so that they fear the wrath of Muslims.

(8) The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion to all US 
citizens. No-one may prohibit someone from changing religion, or 
ceasing to belong to a religion. No-one may prohibit someone, in any 
appropriate setting, from seeking to convince someone else of the 
rightness of his or her faith and seeking to win converts. No 
believers of any faith are exempt from this provision of the First 

Qur’an, Surah 4:88-89 “Then what is the matter with you that you 
are divided into two parties about the hypocrites? Allah has cast 
them back (to disbelief )… Do you want to guide him whom Allah has 
made go astray?… They wish that you reject (Islam), and thus that 
you all become equal (like any other faith). So, take not… 
(friends) from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah (to 
Muhammad). But if they turn away (from Islam), take hold of them 
and kill them wherever you find them.” One of several verses which 
deal with what Muslims characterize as apostasy. The penalty for what 
Americans insist is a God-given right, to free choice in religion, 
is death in an Islamic context.

(9) In America, free speech is sacrosanct and, while a people have 
the right to object to criticisms of their beliefs, and while others 
must obey libel or slander laws, everyone who so desires is free to 
make any criticisms of religion he or she wishes to make.

Qur’an, Surah 4: 140 “Allah will collect the hypocrites and those who defy faith – and put them in Hell.” This is one verse which is 
foundational to Shariah law penalizing all forms of what Muslims 
characterize as “blasphemy.” Depending on the “offense” and what 
country such law is enforced in, the punishment may be anything from 
jail time or banishment, to death.

What qualifies as blasphemy? A few examples–criticizing Islam making 
jokes about Muhammad or the Qur’an criticizing the Qur’an, … criticizing Muhammad, especially perceived insults 
of Muhammad criticizing such Muslim practices as saying prayers 5 times a day, … reporting objective facts that embarrass Muslims, such as the fact that Muhammad married Aisha, a 
girl of 6 and consummated the “marriage” when she was 9, creating an 
image of Muhammad or portraying him with an actor in a movie or stage play …

(10) The First Amendment guarantees freedom to worship any deity of 
your choice. Or freedom to be an Agnostic or Atheist. You may worship 
100 Gods or Goddesses, or just one, or none at all. All US citizens 
accept this principle but are free to express their opinions if they 
think someone else’s beliefs are wrong.

Qur’an 4: 116 “Verily Allah does not forgive setting up partners in 
worship with Him. But He forgives whom he pleases, sins other than 
that.” To be devoted to a Goddess, in other words, is, in Islam, the 
unforgivable sin. Also extremely serious is 2: 28, “How do you 
disbelieve in Allah, seeing that you were dead and he gave you life! 
Then he will cause you to die…”

In other words, Goddess worship [as in Hinduism] deserves death according to Islam, and Atheists also deserve death.

Dr Maharaj adds:

There are numerous other morally reprehensible passages in the 
Qur’an, all of which contravene American law and the freedoms 
guaranteed in the Constitution.

And declares that in his opinion:

Islam should be recognized for what 
it is, a subversive and criminal religion that functions in outright defiance of American law and which is based on principles which are totally incompatible with the US Constitution.

Quod erat demonstrandum.