Tennessee Rep. Ketron’s Dog Whistle Law against so-called “Shariah”

OK, so I actually read the article and well…

MURFREESBORO — State Sen. Bill Ketron defended anti-Shariah law legislation he is sponsoring Wednesday, saying it is designed to attack terrorism and does not “delve” into religious activity.
“This bill deals solely with a single part of Shariah that is strictly political in nature and which impacts and interfaces with the very real and compelling concerns about the safety of Tennesseans,” Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, stated in a written release. “This bill in no way inserts itself into the religious laws of Islam.”

However, this seems to be contradicted later on in the article…

Though Ketron said the legislation is not designed to outlaw adherence to Shariah law, the bill states: “Sharia(h), as defined and understood by traditional and authoritative sharia scholars and leaders, is a legal-political-military doctrinal system combined with certain religious beliefs; further, sharia is based historically and traditionally on a full corpus of law and jurisprudence termed fiqu and usul al-fiqh, respectively, dealing with all aspects of a sharia(h)-adherent’s personal and social life and political society.”

fiqhu and Usul-al-fiqh? Uh, ain’t that the same thing? Talk about a highlighted blinking red sign that screams “I don’t have any idea what I’m talking about but I wanna sound as if I do by throwing a few “Islamic”-sounding words in there!” Or, “I got my info from Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch”. Which Rep. Ketron probably did, unfortunately. And there’s so much more I could critique in that paragraph, but I just don’t have the energy at this point.

The bill also states that Shariah “requires all its adherents to actively and passively support the replacement of America’s constitutional republic, including the representative government of this state with a political system based upon sharia(h).”

Really? I’ve been Muslim for over ten years now, and a few fringe elements notwithstanding, I’ve never heard of anyone say that a Muslim is required to actively or passively support the change in America’s political system. But I guess that all depends on how you define “active and/or passive support”. The closest I’ve heard is some people say that one day Inshallah, we’d become a “Muslim country” just by virtue of more people accepting Islam, and thus by extension our country taking on more of a Muslim character, but I don’t see how that’s any different from some Christian groups who call say for a “Christian government” or a government that governs by “Christian principles”. And I can’t say that I’ve not had the thought that I’d sure be easier if this were a Muslim country, because then perhaps there’d be more public places to pray, or more accommodations could be made at work for things like performing prayer and fasting during Ramadan and celebrating the Eids, etc. But this doesn’t mean I think our current government should be overthrown to accomplish this. I actually think our existing laws would be more than adequate to make life easier for Muslims, as well as adequately addressing the kinds of things that Mr. Ketron is supposedly trying to protect against. Why is a new law even necessary? If indeed, Mr. Ketron is only trying to “protect Tennesseans” even “Muslim ones”? But I’m still stuck on the “fiqhu and usul-al-fiqh respectively” quote. It’s a shame that the article/bill doesn’t go into detail about the differences that Mr. Ketron thinks there are between these two concepts.

So if I’m understanding Ketron’s bill, he doesn’t wanna delve into Muslims’ “religious matters” unless of course if our religion, as laid out in “shariah”, says that we must actively and/or passively support the replacement of our government with one that follows shariah? I find these statements by Mr. Ketron to be contradictory, somewhat confusing, and rather like he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. Because he does indeed want to infringe on the practice of Muslims, as he sees it anyway, of their religion, at least the parts of it he supposedly doesn’t like. And again, how do you define “active or passive support”? If a Muslim is praying, what’s to stop some overzealous person from concluding that “they’re praying for the overthrow of our government”? I mean, as I said before in my previous post regarding this, this law has all kinds of unintended, and I also maintain, absolutely intended, consequences. IMHO, Mr. Ketron knows exactly what he’s trying to do, he just knows how to say it, dog whistle and all, that most people’ll say “oh OK, well that ain’t so bad”. “We don’t mind if people practice their religion, we just don’t want them trying to ruin our way of life”, and the “we also wanna protect peaceful Muslims” bit, reminds me of Germany, when restrictions were first placed on the Jewish population there, and the reasons given were “for their own protection” when it was actually anything but and in fact, the exact opposite of “their own protection”.

Note the following:

Senate Bill 1028, which is co-sponsored by state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, is designed to protect Tennesseans, “including those who engage in the peaceful religious worship of Islam” from radicals, according to Ketron.

Anyone else catch that? “including those who engage in the peaceful religious worship of Islam”? OK so how do you define that? Especially when some might consider building a mosque, or praying, or wearing hijab, in and of themselves to be somehow “passive support” for a change in our government?

He singled out Carlos Bledsoe of Memphis, who said he was following “jihad” when he killed a serviceman at an Arkansas Army recruiting station.

Yeah well just because Mr. Bledsoe may have said he was “following jihad”, doesn’t mean he actually was. If Rep. Ketron had actually consulted a reputable and mainstream Islamic scholar on the issue and not someone endorsed by Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes and the like, he’d have been told that what Mr. Bledsoe did was most certainly not “jihad”, no matter what Mr. Bledsoe might have thought about it. And at any rate, we don’t need some kinda dog whistle law against “shariah”, which is such a broad concept that even Mr. Ketron can’t define it properly, to deal with someone like Mr. Bledsoe. Just use the existing laws and charge the guy with murder, put him on trial and move on. I mean, isn’t that what the Republicans say all the time when talking about “hate crime laws” and other laws they don’t like? Don’t they say “hey why don’t we use the existing laws already on the books to deal with this problem”?

We don’t need new laws to deal with things like terrorism, etc., just use the laws we already got. That’ll protect Tennesseans, and the rest of us, just as well if not better than laws that have the potential, if not actual full intent, of infringing on peoples rights and religious freedom.


About Ginny

A blind Muslim woman currently living in Florida, just trying to make sense of the world around me! !
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