Should President Obama and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Apologize For A Failed Foreign Policy Leading To Genocide and Democide in Iraq, Syria, and Libya? — Yes, but They Never Take Responsibility For Their Failures But Blame It On Others — No Wonder Carson and American People Oppose A Muslim President — ‘How Do You Spell Genocide? O-B-A-M-A’ — Videos

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Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 537: September 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 536: September 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 535: September 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 534: September 16, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 533: September 15, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 532: September 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 531: September 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 530: September 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 529: September 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 528: September 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 527: September 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 526: September 3, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 525: September 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 524: August 31, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 523: August 27, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 522: August 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 521: August 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 520: August 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 519: August 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 518: August 20, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 517: August 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 516: August 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 515: August 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 514: August 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 513: August 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 512: August 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 511: August 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 510: August 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 509: July 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 508: July 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 507: July 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 506: July 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 505: July 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 504: July 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 503: July 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 502: July 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 501: July 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 500: July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499: July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498: July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497: July 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 496: June 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 495: June 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 494: June 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 493: June 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 492: June 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 491: June 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 490: June 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 489: June 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 488: June 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 487: June 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 486; June 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 485: June 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 484: June 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 483: June 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 482; June 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 481: June 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 480: June 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 479: June 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 478: June 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 477: June 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 476: June 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 475: June 1, 2015

Story 1: Should President Obama and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Apologize For A Failed Foreign Policy Leading To Genocide and Democide in Iraq, Syria, and Libya? — Yes, but They Never Take Responsibility For Their Failures But Blame It On Others — No Wonder Carson and American People Oppose A Muslim President —  ‘How Do You Spell Genocide? O-B-A-M-A’ — Videos

United States Constitution

Article VI

All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlevi

U.S. Bill of Rights

Amendment I (1): Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

https://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-constitution-amendments/bill-of-rights/

Sharia Law

Shariah law

Sharia law is the law of Islam. The Sharia (also spelled Shariah or Shari’a) law is cast from the actions and words of Muhammad, which are called “Sunnah,” and the Quran, which he authored.

The Sharia law itself cannot be altered, but the interpretation of the Sharia law, called “figh,” by imams is given some leeway.

As a legal system, the Sharia law covers a very wide range of topics. While other legal codes deal primarily with public behavior, Sharia law covers public behavior, private behavior and private beliefs. Of all legal systems in the world today, Islam’s Sharia law is the most intrusive and strict, especially against women.

According to the Sharia law:

•  Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand (above).
•  Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Muhammad is a prophet is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Allah, the moon god of Islam is punishable by death.
•  A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
•  A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
•  Girls’ clitoris should be cut (per Muhammad‘s words in Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
•  A woman can have 1 husband, but a man can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
•  A man can unilaterally divorce his wife but a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
•  A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
•  Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
•  A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
•  A woman’s testimony in court, allowed only in property cases, carries half the weight of a man’s.
•  A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
•  A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
•  A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
•  Meat to be eaten must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah – i.e., be Halal.
•  Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
•  The list goes on.

http://www.billionbibles.org/sharia/sharia-law.html

HUMAN GENOCIDE DOCUMENTARY. IRAQ AND SYRIA . ISIS, USA, UN ::: 2ND AUGUST 2014

Christians in Iraq are heeding an ultimatum by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to convert to Islam, get out or be killed.

Reports from the Middle East say that large numbers of Christians have fled the northern city of Mosul — now under control of the ISIL — after a message warning them to get out by Saturday was broadcast by loudspeakers on the city’s mosques.

An ISIL document reviewed by AFP said that there would be “nothing for them but the sword” if Christians didn’t adhere to the deadline.

The ISIL announcement also said that Christians could stay and pay a tax, often known as a “jizya,” though the exact amount was unspecified. A jizya is a historical policy of allowing non-Muslims to keep their own religion and their property if they pay a certain amount to Islamic rulers.

In centuries past, there have been examples of Christians paying the tax and living peacefully with Muslims. Recently however, it has often been exploited as a form of extortion against non-Muslims.

Many Christian families fleeing Mosul didn’t seem to put much trust in the promise of peace.

The aim of this documentary is to raise awareness.
WE ARE URGING ALL: PEOPLE TO SPEAK UP AND DO SOMETHING!!!

help world’s

TO DONATE FOR OUR CHRISTIANS PLEASE VISIT:
http://theacero.org/donate/

Fox’s Oliver North: ‘How Do You Spell Genocide? O-B-A-M-A’

Priests from Iraq and Syria: what’s happening in the Middle East is genocide

What Is Sharia Law?

How Is Sharia Law Dangerous for Western Society?

484. Is Islam A Religion Of Peace?

485. Was Muhammad A Prophet Of Peace?

493. What Is Sharia Law?

Enforcing Sharia in Raqqa: The Islamic State (Part 3)

Shocking documentary about Islam – The world’s most dangerous cult! ISIS ISLAMIC STATE

ISIS – “Islamic” Extremism? | Full Documentary – HD

Is Sharia Law Coming to America?

Sharia Law In America‽

David woods story of sharia law in America!

\

Shariamerica: Islam, Obama, and the Establishment Clause

US caught working to impose Islamic Sharia Law

Irving, Texas says “take a hike” to foreign (i.e. Sharia) laws

Ann Coulter on Muslims

Ben Carson Does Not Believe a Muslim Should Be President Meet The Press

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said today he would not support a Muslim as president on meet the press The retired neurosurgeon also said Islam, as a religion, was inconsistent with the Constitution. Carson told NBC’s “Meet the Press” he believed a president’s faith should matter “depending on what that faith is.” “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson said. “If it’s [a president’s faith] inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter.” Carson, who has been near the top of several presidential polls, said he would consider voting for a Muslim in Congress “[depending] on who that Muslim is and what their policies are.” ABC News has reached out to Carson’s campaign for comment.
Ben Carson Does ‘Not Advocate’ A Muslim As President Sun, Sep 20 Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson tells Chuck Todd that the faith of a presidential candidate should matter to voters “if it is inconsistent with the values … of America.”

GOP candidate Carson: Muslim shouldn’t be elected president

Cruz says no religious test for the presidency

The Alex Jones Show (VIDEO Commercial Free) Sunday September 20 2015: Sharia vs. Constitution

Muslim-American group calls on Ben Carson to drop out

Important: 260 Million Unarmed Civilians Killed – Democide = Death By Government

Sharia Law and the U.S. Constitution

[Update I:  I have streamlined the following post to be easily readable to the average layman, but informative enough for a lawyer or law professor to learn a bit more on the similarities and differences between Sharia and U.S. Law]

Is Sharia compatible with the U.S. Constitution?

The simple answer is of course “no”.

But lets take a look at some aspects of Sharia Law and where it may or may not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.  (For disclosure I am not a lawyer nor a legal expert in Sharia or U.S. Law.)

First, what is Sharia?

Wikipedia states Sharia refers to the sacred law of Islam.  All Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law, but they have differences between themselves as to exactly what it entails.  Which will be difficult to discern what to apply when, but we’ll labor along for the sake of discussion.

In Western countries, where Muslim immigration is more recent, Muslim minorities have introduced Sharia family law, for use in their own disputes. Attempts to impose Sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare (Second Sudanese Civil War).

The recent incidents at the Arab International Festival have reinforced the poor image of Sharia inside the United States and its incompatibility with American culture and law.

The following is a truncated version with a couple of modifications (eliminating repetitious ibids and links) of multiple Wikipedia entries [with my comments]:

Legal and Court Proceedings:

Wikipedia states that Sharia judicial proceedings have significant differences with other legal traditions, including those in both common law and civil law.

1. Sharia courts do not generally employ lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves.

2. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system.

3. There is no pre-trial discovery process, no cross-examination of witnesses, and no penalty of perjury (on the assumption that no witness would thus endanger his soul) Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents under the principle of stare decisis and unlike civil law, Sharia does not utilize formally codified statutes (these were first introduced only in the late 19th century during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, cf. mecelle).

4. Instead of precedents and codes, Sharia relies on medieval jurist’s manuals and collections of non-binding legal opinions, or fatwas, issued by religious scholars (ulama, particularly a mufti); these can be made binding for a particular case at the discretion of a judge.

5. Sharia courts’ rules of evidence also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony and excluding written and documentary evidence (including forensic and circumstantial evidence), on the basis that it could be tampered with or forged.

6. A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of a witness are the only evidence admissible in a Sharia court, written evidence is only admissible with the attestations of multiple, witnesses deemed reliable by the judge, i.e. notaries.

7. Testimony must be from at least two witnesses, and preferably free Muslim male witnesses, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character; testimony to establish the crime of adultery, or zina must be from four direct witnesses.

8. Forensic evidence (i.e. fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.

9. Testimony from women is given only half the weight of men [in most sources outside of Wikipedia Sharia states that a woman’s testimony only carries the weight of 1/4th of a man’s], and testimony from non-Muslims may be excluded altogether (if against a Muslim).

10. In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence.

11. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.

12. Sharia courts, with their tradition of pro se representation, simple rules of evidence, and absence of appeals courts, prosecutors, cross examination, complex documentary evidence and discovery proceedings, juries and voir dire proceedings, circumstantial evidence, forensics, case law, standardized codes, exclusionary rules, and most of the other infrastructure of civil and common law court systems, have as a result, comparatively informal and streamlined proceedings. [that’s one way of putting it]

13. This can provide significant increases in speed and efficiency (at the cost of the safeguards provided in secular legal systems), and can be an advantage in jurisdictions where the general court system is slow or corrupt, and where few litigants can afford lawyers. (end Wikipedia)

This is not a concise review of the difference nor similarities between U.S. Law and Sharia.  It is only meant to educate us on what Sharia law is in comparison to our legal system.

http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/25/sharia-law-and-the-u-s-constitution/

Sharia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Islamic law” redirects here. For Islamic jurisprudence, see Fiqh.

 

Sharia applies in full, covering personal status issues as well as criminal proceedings

 

Sharia applies in personal status issues (such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody)

 

Regional variations in the application of Sharia

 

Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation where Sharia plays no role in the judicial system

Sharia or sharia law (Arabic: شريعة‎ (IPA: [ʃaˈriːʕa]), is the Islamic legal system[1] derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. The term sharia comes from the Arabic language term sharīʿah, which means a body of moral and religious law derived from religious prophecy, as opposed to human legislation.[2][3][4]

Sharia deals with many topics, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Adherence to sharia has served as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim faith historically.[5] In its strictest and most historically coherent definition, sharia is considered in Islam as the infallible law of God.[6]

There are two primary sources of sharia: the Quran, and the Hadiths (opinions and life example of Muhammad).[7] For topics and issues not directly addressed in these primary sources, sharia is derived. The derivation differs between the various sects of Islam (Sunni and Shia), and various jurisprudence schools such as Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali andJafari.[8][9] The sharia in these schools is derived hierarchically using one or more of the following guidelines: Ijma(usually the consensus of Muhammad’s companions), Qiyas (analogy derived from the primary sources), Istihsan(ruling that serves the interest of Islam in the discretion of Islamic jurists) and Urf (customs).[8][10]

Sharia is a significant source of legislation in various Muslim countries. Some apply all or a majority of the sharia code, and these include Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen andMauritania. In these countries, sharia prescribed punishments such as beheading, flogging and stoning continue to be practiced judicially or extra-judicially.[11][12] The introduction of sharia is a longstanding goal for Islamist movements globally, including in Western countries, but attempts to impose sharia have been accompanied by controversy,[13]violence,[14] and even warfare.[15] Most countries do not recognize sharia; however, some countries in Asia, Africa and Europe recognize parts of sharia and accept it as the law on divorce, inheritance and other personal affairs of their Islamic population.[16] In Britain, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal makes use of sharia family law to settle disputes, and this limited adoption of sharia is controversial.[17]

The concept of crime, judicial process, justice and punishment embodied in sharia is different from that of secular law.[18] The differences between sharia and secular laws have led to an ongoing controversy as to whether sharia is compatible with secular forms of government, human rights, freedom of thought, and women’s rights.[19][20][21]

Etymology and origins[edit]

Scholars describe the word sharia (/ʃɑːˈriːɑː/, also shari’a, šarīʿah) as an archaic Arabic word denoting “pathway to be followed” (analogous to the Hebrew termHalakhah [“The Way to Go”]),[22] or “path to the water hole”. The latter definition comes from the fact that the path to water is the whole way of life in an arid desert environment.[23]

The etymology of sharia as a “path” or “way” comes from the Quranic verse[Quran 45:18]: “Then we put thee on the (right) Way of religion so follow thou that (Way), and follow not the desires of those who know not.”[22] Malik Ghulam Farid in his Dictionary of the Holy Quran, believes the “Way” in 45:18 (quoted above) derives from shara’a (as prf. 3rd. p.m. sing.), meaning “He ordained”. Other forms also appear: shara’u[Quran 45:13] as (prf. 3rd. p.m. plu.), “they decreed (a law)”[Quran 42:21]; and shir’atun (n.) meaning “spiritual law”[Quran 5:48].[24]

The Arabic word sharīʿa has origins in the concept of ‘religious law’; the word is commonly used by Arabic-speaking peoples of the Middle East and designates a prophetic religion in its totality. Thus, sharīʿat Mūsā means religious law of Moses (Judaism), sharīʿat al-Masīḥ means religious law of Christianity, sharīʿat al-Madjūs means religious law of Zoroastrianism.[3]

The Arabic expression شريعة الله (God’s Law) is a common translation for תורת אלוהים (‘God’s Law’ in Hebrew) and νόμος τοῦ θεοῦ (‘God’s Law’ in Greek in the New Testament [Rom. 7: 22]).[25] In contemporary Islamic literature, sharia refers to divine law of Islam as revealed by prophet Muhammad, as well as in his function as model and exemplar of the law.[3]

Sharia in the Islamic world is also known as Qānūn-e Islāmī (قانون اسلامی).[citation needed]

History

In Islam, the origin of sharia is the Qu’ran, and traditions gathered from the life of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (born ca. 570 CE in Mecca).[26]

Sharia underwent fundamental development, beginning with the reigns of caliphs Abu Bakr (632–34) and Umar (634–44) for Sunni Muslims, and Imam Ali for Shia Muslims, during which time many questions were brought to the attention of Muhammad’s closest comrades for consultation.[27] During the reign of Muawiya b. Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, ca. 662 CE, Islam undertook an urban transformation, raising questions not originally covered by Islamic law.[27] Since then, changes in Islamic society have played an ongoing role in developing sharia, which branches out into fiqh and Qanun respectively.

The formative period of fiqh stretches back to the time of the early Muslim communities. In this period, jurists were more concerned with pragmatic issues of authority and teaching than with theory.[28] Progress in theory was started by 8th and 9th century Islamic scholars Abu Hanifa, Malik bin Anas, Al-Shafi’i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others.[8][29] Al-Shafi‘i is credited with deriving the theory of valid norms for sharia (uṣūl al-fiqh), arguing for a traditionalist, literal interpretation of Quran, Hadiths and methodology for law as revealed therein, to formulate sharia.[30][31]

A number of legal concepts and institutions were developed by Islamic jurists during the classical period of Islam, known as the Islamic Golden Age, dated from the 7th to 13th centuries. These shaped different versions of sharia in different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, called fiqhs.[32][33][34]

The Umayyads initiated the office of appointing qadis, or Islamic judges. The jurisdiction of the qadi extended only to Muslims, while non-Muslim populations retained their own legal institutions.[35] Under the Umayyads Islamic scholars were “sidelined” from administration of justice and attempts to systematically uphold and develope Islamic law would wait for Abbasid rule.[36] The qadis were usually pious specialists in Islam. As these grew in number, they began to theorize and systemize Islamic jurisprudence.[37] The Abbasid made the institution of qadi independent from the government, but this separation wasn’t always respected.[38]

Both the Umayyad caliph Umar II and the Abbasids had agreed that the caliph could not legislate contrary to the Quran or the sunnah. Imam Shafi’i declared: “atradition from the Prophet must be accepted as soon as it become known…If there has been an action on the part of a caliph, and a tradition from the Prophet to the contrary becomes known later, that action must be discarded in favor of the tradition from the Prophet.” Thus, under the Abbasids the main features of sharia were definitively established and sharia was recognized as the law of behavior for Muslims.[39]

In modern times, the Muslim community have divided points of view: secularists believe that the law of the state should be based on secular principles, not on Islamic legal doctrines; traditionalists believe that the law of the state should be based on the traditional legal schools;[40] reformers believe that new Islamic legal theories can produce modernized Islamic law[41] and lead to acceptable opinions in areas such as women’s rights.[42] This division persists until the present day (Brown 1996, Hallaq 2001, Ramadan 2005, Aslan 2006, Safi 2003, Nenezich 2006).

There has been a growing religious revival in Islam, beginning in the eighteenth century and continuing today. This movement has expressed itself in various forms ranging from wars to efforts towards improving education.[43][44]

Definitions and disagreements

Sharia, in its strictest definition, is a divine law, as expressed in the Quran and Muhammad’s example (often called the sunnah). As such, it is related to but different from fiqh, which is emphasized as the human interpretation of the law.[45][46] Many scholars have pointed out that the sharia is not formally a code,[47] nor a well-defined set of rules.[48] The sharia is characterized as a discussion on the duties of Muslims[47] based on both the opinion of the Muslim community and extensive literature.[49] Hunt Janin and Andre Kahlmeyer thus conclude that the sharia is “long, diverse, and complicated.”[48]

From the 9th century onward, the power to interpret and refine law in traditional Islamic societies was in the hands of the scholars (ulema). This separation of powers served to limit the range of actions available to the ruler, who could not easily decree or reinterpret law independently and expect the continued support of the community.[50] Through succeeding centuries and empires, the balance between the ulema and the rulers shifted and reformed, but the balance of power was never decisively changed.[51] Over the course of many centuries, imperial, political and technological change, including the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, ushered in an era of European world hegemony that gradually included the domination of many of the lands which had previously been ruled by Islamic empires.[52][53] At the end of the Second World War, the European powers found themselves too weakened to maintain their empires as before.[54] The wide variety of forms of government, systems of law, attitudes toward modernity and interpretations of sharia are a result of the ensuing drives for independence and modernity in the Muslim world.[55][56]

According to Jan Michiel Otto, Professor of Law and Governance in Developing Countries at Leiden University, “Anthropological research shows that people in local communities often do not distinguish clearly whether and to what extent their norms and practices are based on local tradition, tribal custom, or religion. Those who adhere to a confrontational view of sharia tend to ascribe many undesirable practices to sharia and religion overlooking custom and culture, even if high-ranking religious authorities have stated the opposite.” Otto’s analysis appears in a paper commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[57]

Sources of sharia law

Main article: Sources of sharia

There are two sources of sharia (understood as the divine law): the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran is viewed as the unalterable word of God. It is considered in Islam to be an infallible part of sharia. The Quran covers a host of topics including God, personal laws for Muslim men and Muslim women, laws on community life, laws on expected interaction of Muslims with non-Muslims, apostates and ex-Muslims, laws on finance, morals, eschatology, and others.[58][59] The Sunnah is the life and example of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Sunnah’s importance as a source of sharia, is confirmed by several verses of the Quran (e.g.[Quran 33:21]).[60] The Sunnah is primarily contained in the hadith or reports of Muhammad’s sayings, his actions, his tacit approval of actions and his demeanor. While there is only one Quran, there are many compilations of hadith, with the most authentic ones forming during the sahih period (850 to 915 CE). The six acclaimed Sunni collections were compiled by (in order of decreasing importance) Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah. The collections by al-Bukhari and Muslim, regarded the most authentic, contain about 7,000 and 12,000 hadiths respectively (although the majority of entries are repetitions). The hadiths have been evaluated on authenticity, usually by determining the reliability of the narrators that transmitted them.[61] For Shias, the Sunnah include life and sayings of The Twelve Imams.[62]

Quran versus Hadith

Muslims who reject the Hadith as a source of law, sometimes referred to as Quranists,[63][64] suggest that only laws derived exclusively from the Quran are valid.[65]They state that the hadiths in modern use are not explicitly mentioned in the Quran as a source of Islamic theology and practice, they were not recorded in written form until more than two centuries after the death of the prophet Muhammed.[63] They also state that the authenticity of the hadiths remains a question.[66][67]

The vast majority of Muslims, however, consider hadiths, which describe the words, conduct and example set by Muhammad during his life, as a source of law and religious authority second only to the Qur’an.[68] Similarly, most Islamic scholars believe both Quran and sahih hadiths to be a valid source of sharia, with Quranic verse 33.21, among others,[69][70] as justification for this belief.[64]

Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.

For vast majority of Muslims, sharia has historically been, and continues to be derived from both the Quran and the Hadiths.[64][68][70] The Sahih Hadiths of Sunni Muslims contain isnad, or a chain of guarantors reaching back to a companion of Muhammad who directly observed the words, conduct and example he set – thus providing the theological ground to consider the hadith to be a sound basis for sharia.[64][70] For Sunni Muslims, the musannaf in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim is most trusted and relied upon as source for Sunni Sharia.[71] Shia Muslims, however, do not consider the chain of transmitters of Sunni hadiths as reliable, given these transmitters belonged to Sunni side in Sunni-Shia civil wars that followed after Muhammad’s death.[72] Shia rely on their own chain of reliable guarantors, trusting compilations such as Kitab al-Kafi and Tahdhib al-Ahkam instead, and later hadiths (usually called akhbār by Shi’i).[73][74] The Shia version of hadiths contain the words, conduct and example set by Muhammad and Imams, which they consider as sinless, infallible and an essential source of sharia for Shi’ite Muslims.[72][75]However, in substance, the Shi’ite hadiths resemble the Sunni hadiths, with one difference – the Shia hadiths additionally include words and actions of its Imams (al-hadith al-walawi), the biological descendants of Muhammad, and these too are considered an important source for sharia by Shi’ites.[73][76]

Disagreements on Quran

Main article: Naskh (tafsir)
Authenticity and writing of Quran

Some scholars such as John Wansbrough have challenged the authenticity of the Quran and whether it was written in the time of Muhammad.[77] In contrast, Estelle Whelan has refuted Wansbrough presenting evidence such as the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock.[78][79] John Burton states that medieval era Islamic texts claiming Quran was compiled after the death of the Prophet were forged to preserve the status-quo.[80] The final version of the Quran, states Burton, was compiled while the Prophet was still alive.[81] Most scholars accept that the Quran as is used for Sharia, was compiled into the final current form during the caliphate of Uthman.[82][83]

Abrogation and textual inconsistencies

From the founding of Islam, the Muslim community has also debated the authenticity of compiled verses and the consistency within the Quran.[84][85] The inconsistencies in deriving sharia from the Quran, were recognized and formally complicated by verses 2.106 and 16.101 of the Quran, which are known as the “verses of abrogation (Naskh)”,[86]

When We substitute one revelation for another, – and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages),– they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.

The principle of abrogation has been historically accepted and applied by Islamic jurists on both the Quran and the Sunnah.[84][86] Sharia is thus determined through a chronological study of the primary sources, where older revelations are considered invalid and overruled by later revelations.[86][87] While an overwhelming majority of historical and modern Islamic scholars have accepted the principle of abrogation for the Quran and the Sunnah, some modern scholars disagree that the principle of abrogation necessarily applies to the Quran.[88]

Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh)

Main article: Fiqh

Fiqh (school of Islamic jurisprudence) represents the process of deducing and applying sharia principles, as well as the collective body of specific laws deduced from sharia using the fiqh methodology.[8] While Quran and Hadith sources are regarded as infallible, the fiqh standards may change in different contexts. Fiqh covers all aspects of law, including religious, civil, political, constitutional and procedural law.[89] Fiqh deploys the following to create Islamic laws:[8]

  1. Injunctions, revealed principles and interpretations of the Quran (Used by all schools and sects of Islam)
  2. Interpretation of the Sunnah (Muhammad’s practices, opinions and traditions) and principles therein, after establishing the degree of reliability of hadith’s chain of reporters (Used by all schools and sects of Islam)

If the above two sources do not provide guidance for an issue, then different fiqhs deploy the following in a hierarchical way:[8]

  1. Ijma, collective reasoning and consensus amongst authoritative Muslims of a particular generation, and its interpretation by Islamic scholars. This fiqh principle for sharia is derived from Quranic verse 4:59.[90] Typically, the recorded consensus of Sahabah (Muhammad’s companions) is considered authoritative and most trusted. If this is unavailable, then the recorded individual reasoning (Ijtihad) of Muhammad companions is sought. In Islam’s history, some Muslim scholars have argued that Ijtihad allows individual reasoning of both the earliest generations of Muslims and later generation Muslims, while others have argued that Ijtihad allows individual reasoning of only the earliest generations of Muslims. (Used by all schools of Islam, Jafari fiqh accepts only Ijtihad of Shia Imams)[8][91]
  2. Qiyas, analogy is deployed if Ijma or historic collective reasoning on the issue is not available. Qiyas represents analogical deduction, the support for using it in fiqh is based on Quranic verse 2:59, and this methodology was started by Abu Hanifa.[92] This principle is considered weak by Hanbali fiqh, and it usually avoids Qiyas for sharia. (Used by all Sunni schools of Islam, but rejected by Shia Jafari)[8][10]
  3. Istihsan, which is the principle of serving the interest of Islam and public as determined by Islamic jurists. This method is deployed if Ijtihad and Qiyas fail to provide guidance. It was started by Hanafi fiqh as a form of Ijtihad (individual reasoning). Maliki fiqh called it Masalih Al-Mursalah, or departure from strict adherence to the Texts for public welfare. The Hanbali fiqh called it Istislah and rejected it, as did Shafi’i fiqh. (Used by Hanafi, Maliki, but rejected by Shafii, Hanbali and Shia Jafari fiqhs)[8][10][30]
  4. Istihab and Urf which mean continuity of pre-Islamic customs and customary law. This is considered as the weakest principle, accepted by just two fiqhs, and even in them recognized only when the custom does not violate or contradict any Quran, Hadiths or other fiqh source. (Used by Hanafi, Maliki, but rejected by Shafii, Hanbali and Shia Jafari fiqhs)[8][10]
Schools of law
Main article: Madhhab

Map of the Muslim world with the main schools of Islamic law (madhhab)

A Madhhab is a Muslim school of law that follows a fiqh (school of religious jurisprudence). In the first 150 years of Islam, there were many madhhab. Several of the Sahābah, or contemporary “companions” of Muhammad, are credited with founding their own. In the Sunni sect of Islam, the Islamic jurisprudence schools of Medina (Al-Hijaz, now in Saudi Arabia) created the Maliki madhhab, while those in Kufa (now in Iraq) created the Hanafimadhhab.[93] Abu al-Shafi’i, who started as a student of Maliki school of Islamic law, and later was influenced by Hanafi school of Islamic law, disagreed with some of the discretion these schools gave to jurists, and founded the more conservative Shafi’i madhhab, which spread from jurisprudence schools in Baghdad (Iraq) and Cairo (Egypt).[94] Ahmad ibn Hanbal, a student of al-Shafi’i, went further in his criticism of Maliki and Hanafi fiqhs, criticizing the abuse and corruption of sharia from jurist discretion and consensus of later generation Muslims, and he founded the more strict, traditionalist Hanbali school of Islamic law.[95] Other schools such as the Jaririwere established later, which eventually died out.

Sunni sect of Islam has four major surviving schools of sharia: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali; one minor school is named Ẓāhirī. Shii sect of Islam has three: Ja’fari(major), Zaydi and Ismaili.[96][97][98] There are other minority fiqhs as well, such as the Ibadi school of Khawarij sect, and those of Sufi and Ahmadi sects.[89][99] All Sunni and Shia schools of sharia rely first on the Quran and the sayings/practices of Muhammad in the Sunnah. Their differences lie in the procedure each uses to create Islam-compliant laws when those two sources do not provide guidance on a topic.[100] The Salafi movement creates sharia based on the Quran, Sunnah and the actions and sayings of the first three generations of Muslims.[101]

Hanafi-based sharia spread with the patronage and military expansions led by Turkic Sultans and Ottoman Empire in West Asia, Southeast Europe, Central Asia and South Asia.[102][103] It is currently the largest madhhab of Sunni Muslims.[104] Maliki-based sharia is predominantly found in West Africa, North Africa and parts of Arabia.[104] Shafii-based sharia spread with patronage and military expansions led by maritime Sultans, and is mostly found in coastal regions of East Africa, Arabia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and islands in the Indian ocean.[105] The Hanbali-based sharia prevails in the smallest Sunni madhhab, predominantly found in the Arabian peninsula.[104] The Shia Jafari-based sharia is mostly found in Persian region and parts of West Asia and South Asia.

Categories of law

Along with interpretation, each fiqh classifies its interpretation of sharia into one of the following five categories: fard (obligatory), mustahabb (recommended),mubah (neutral), makruh (discouraged), and haraam (forbidden). A Muslim is expected to adhere to that tenet of sharia accordingly.[106]

  • Actions in the fard category are those mandatory on all Muslims. They include the five daily prayers, fasting, articles of faith, obligatory giving of zakat (charity, tax) to zakat collectors,[107][108] and the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.[106]
  • The mustahabb category includes proper behaviour in matters such as marriage, funeral rites and family life. As such, it covers many of the same areas as civil law in the West. Sharia courts attempt to reconcile parties to disputes in this area using the recommended behaviour as their guide. A person whose behaviour is not mustahabb can be ruled against by the judge.[109]
  • Mubah category of behaviour is neither discouraged nor recommended, neither forbidden nor required; it is permissible.[106]
  • Makruh behaviour, while it is not sinful of itself, is considered undesirable among Muslims. It may also make a Muslim liable to criminal penalties under certain circumstances.[109]
  • Haraam behaviour is explicitly forbidden. It is both sinful and criminal. It includes all actions expressly forbidden in the Quran. Certain Muslim dietary and clothing restrictions also fall into this category.[106]

The recommended, neutral and discouraged categories are drawn largely from accounts of the life of Muhammad. To say a behaviour is sunnah is to say it is recommended as an example of the life and sayings of Muhammad. These categories form the basis for proper behaviour in matters such as courtesy and manners, interpersonal relations, generosity, personal habits and hygiene.[106]

Areas of Islamic law

Main article: Topics of sharia law

The areas of Islamic law include:

Other classifications

Shari’ah law has been grouped in different ways, such as:[110][111] Family relations, Crime and punishment, Inheritance and disposal of property, The economic system, External and other relations.

Reliance of the Traveller“, an English translation of a fourteenth-century CE reference on the Shafi’i school of fiqh written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, organizes sharia law into the following topics: Purification, prayer, funeral prayer, taxes, fasting, pilgrimage, trade, inheritance, marriage, divorce and justice.

In some areas, there are substantial differences in the law between different schools of fiqh, countries, cultures and schools of thought.

Disagreement on the objectives of Islamic law

Main article: Maqasid

A number of scholars have advanced “objectives” (مقاصد maqaṣid al-Shariah also “goals” or “purposes”) they believe the Sharia is intended to achieve. Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali argued that they were the preservation of Islamic religion, and in the temporal world the protection of life, progeny, intellect and wealth of Muslims.[112][113]Yazid et al summarize sharia’s objective to be recognize the limitations of reason, and complement the role of reason with revelation.[114] They state that objective of sharia in Islamic finance is to provide rules and regulations from the Quran and Sunnah.[114]

Jan Otto writes that moderate Muslims and puritan Muslims differ in their interpretation of the objectives of sharia.[115] The moderate Muslims consider sharia to be a flexible code of law, where technicalities of its wording cannot subvert sharia’s objectives to “help Muslims in their quest for submission, humility, gratitude before God, and a quest for Godliness”.[115] In contrast, according to Otto, puritan Muslims believe that sharia is a strict, complete and exact set of rules that one must submit to, by strict compliance, because it is only “through meticulous obedience, Muslims will avoid punishment of God in after-life and will enter heaven” which is the ultimate objective, and it does not matter if some sharia “law is harsh or that its application results in social suffering, this perception is considered delusional”.[115]

Application

Application by country

Use of Sharia by country:

  Sharia plays no role in the judicial system
  Sharia applies to Muslim’s personal law
  Sharia applies in full, including criminal law
  Regional variations in the application of sharia

Most Muslim-majority countries incorporate sharia at some level in their legal framework, with many calling it the highest law or the source of law of the land in their constitution.[116][117] Most use sharia for personal law (marriage, divorce, domestic violence, child support, family law, inheritance and such matters).[118][119] Elements of sharia are present, to varying extents, in the criminal justice system of many Muslim-majority countries.[12]Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Brunei, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan andMauritania apply the code predominantly or entirely.[12][120]

Most Muslim-majority countries with sharia-prescribed hudud punishments in their legal code, do not prescribe it routinely and use other punishments instead.[116][121] The harshest sharia penalties such as stoning, beheadingand the death penalty are enforced with varying levels of consistency.[122]

Since 1970s, most Muslim-majority countries have faced vociferous demands from their religious groups and political parties for immediate adoption of sharia as the sole, or at least primary legal framework.[123] Some moderates and liberal scholars within these Muslim countries have argued for limited expansion of sharia.[124]

With the growing muslim immigrant communities in Europe, there have been reports in some media of “no-go zones” being established where sharia law reigns supreme.[125][126] However, there is no evidence of the existence of “no-go zones”, and these allegations are sourced from anti-immigrant groups falsely equating low-income neighborhoods predominantly inhabited by immigrants as “no-go zones.”[127][128]

Enforcement

Main articles: Islamic religious police and Hisbah

Sharia is enforced in Islamic nations in a number of ways, including mutaween and hisbah.[citation needed]

The mutaween (Arabic: المطوعين، مطوعيةmuṭawwiʿīn, muṭawwiʿiyyah)[129] are the government-authorized or government-recognized religious police (or clericalpolice) of Saudi Arabia. Elsewhere, enforcement of Islamic values in accordance with sharia is the responsibility of Polisi Perda Syariah Islam in Aceh province ofIndonesia,[130] Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Gaza Strip) in parts of Palestine, and Basiji Force in Iran.[131]

Official from the Department ofPropagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, beating a woman inAfghanistan for violating local interpretation of sharia.[132][133]

Hisbah (Arabic: حسبةḥisb(ah), or hisba) is a historic Islamic doctrine which means “accountability”.[134] Hisbah doctrine holds that it is a religious obligation of every Muslim that he or she report to the ruler (Sultan, government authorities) any wrong behavior of a neighbor or relative that violates sharia or insults Islam. The doctrine states that it is the divinely sanctioned duty of the ruler to intervene when such charges are made, and coercively “command right and forbid wrong” in order to keep everything in order according to sharia.[135][136][137] Some Salafist suggest that enforcement of sharia under the Hisbah doctrine is the sacred duty of all Muslims, not just rulers.[135] The doctrine of Hisbah in Islam has traditionally allowed any Muslim to accuse another Muslim, ex-Muslim or non-Muslim for beliefs or behavior that may harm Islamic society. This principle has been used in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and others to bring blasphemy charges against apostates.[138]For example, in Egypt, sharia was enforced on the Muslim scholar Nasr Abu Zayd, through the doctrine of Hasbah, when he committed apostasy.[139][140] Similarly, in Nigeria, after twelve northern Muslim-majority states such as Kano adopted sharia-based penal code between 1999 and 2000, hisbah became the allowed method of sharia enforcement, where all Muslim citizens could police compliance of moral order based on sharia.[141] In Aceh province of Indonesia, Islamic vigilante activists have invoked Hasbah doctrine to enforce sharia on fellow Muslims as well as demanding non-Muslims to respect sharia.[142]Hisbah has been used in many Muslim majority countries, from Morocco to Egypt and in West Asia to enforce sharia restrictions on blasphemy and criticism of Islam over internet and social media.[143][144][145]

Legal and court proceedings

Sharia judicial proceedings have significant differences from other legal traditions, including those in both common law and civil law. Sharia courts traditionally do not rely on lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system. There is no pre-trial discoveryprocess, and no cross-examination of witnesses. Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents[146][147] under the principle of stare decisis,[148]and unlike civil law, sharia is left to the interpretation in each case and has no formally codified universal statutes.[149]

The rules of evidence in sharia courts also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony.[150] Witnesses, in a sharia court system, must be faithful, that is Muslim.[151] Male Muslim witnesses are deemed more reliable than female Muslim witnesses, and non-Muslim witnesses considered unreliable and receive no priority in a sharia court.[152][153] In civil cases, a Muslim woman witness is considered half the worth and reliability than a Muslim man witness.[154][155] In criminal cases, women witnesses are unacceptable in stricter, traditional interpretations of sharia, such as those found in Hanbali madhhab.[151]

Criminal cases

A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of Muslim witnesses are the main evidence admissible, in sharia courts, for hudud crimes, that is the religious crimes of adultery, fornication, rape, accusing someone of illicit sex but failing to prove it, apostasy, drinking intoxicants and theft.[156][157][158] Testimony must be from at least two free Muslim male witnesses, or one Muslim male and two Muslim females, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character. Testimony to establish the crime of adultery, fornication or rape must be from four Muslim male witnesses, with some fiqhs allowing substitution of up to three male with six female witnesses; however, at least one must be a Muslim male.[159] Forensic evidence (i.e., fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.[160][161]

Muslim jurists have debated whether and when coerced confession and coerced witnesses are acceptable. The majority opinion of jurists in the Hanafi madhhab, for example, ruled that torture to get evidence is acceptable and such evidence is valid, but a 17th-century text by Hanafi jurist Muhammad Shaykhzade argued that coerced confession should be invalid; Shaykhzade acknowledged that beating to get confession has been authorized in fatwas by many Islamic jurists.[162]

Civil cases

Quran recommends written contracts in the case of debt-related transactions, and oral contracts for commercial and other civil contracts.[155][163] Marriage is solemnized as a written financial contract, in the presence of two Muslim male witnesses, and it includes a brideprice (Mahr) payable from a Muslim man to a Muslim woman. The brideprice is considered by a sharia court as a form of debt. Written contracts are paramount, in sharia courts, in the matters of dispute that are debt-related, which includes marriage contracts.[164] Written contracts in debt-related cases, when notarized by a judge, is deemed more reliable.[165]

In commercial and civil contracts, such as those relating to exchange of merchandise, agreement to supply or purchase goods or property, and others, oral contracts and the testimony of Muslim witnesses triumph over written contracts. Sharia system has held that written commercial contracts may be forged.[165][166]Timur Kuran states that the treatment of written evidence in religious courts in Islamic regions created an incentive for opaque transactions, and the avoidance of written contracts in economic relations. This led to a continuation of a “largely oral contracting culture” in Muslim nations and communities.[166][167]

In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.[168] Taking an oath for Muslims can be a grave act; one study of courts in Morocco found that lying litigants would often “maintain their testimony ‘right up to the moment of oath-taking and then to stop, refuse the oath, and surrender the case.”[169] Accordingly, defendants are not routinely required to swear before testifying, which would risk casually profaning the Quran should the defendant commit perjury;[169] instead oaths are a solemn procedure performed as a final part of the evidence process.

Sentencing
Main article: Diyya

Sharia courts treat women and men as unequal, with Muslim woman’s life and blood-money compensation sentence (Diyya) as half as that of a Muslim man’s life.[170][171] Sharia also treats Muslims and non-Muslims as unequal in the sentencing process.[172] Human Rights Watch and United States’ Religious Freedom Report note that in sharia courts of Saudi Arabia, “The calculation of accidental death or injury compensation is discriminatory. In the event a court renders a judgment in favor of a plaintiff who is a Jewish or Christian male, the plaintiff is only entitled to receive 50 percent of the compensation a Muslim male would receive; all other non-Muslims [Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Atheists] are only entitled to receive one-sixteenth of the amount a male Muslim would receive”.[173][174][175]

Saudi Arabia follows Hanbali sharia, whose historic jurisprudence texts considered a Christian or Jew life as half the worth of a Muslim. Jurists of other schools of law in Islam have ruled differently. For example, Shafi’i sharia considers a Christian or Jew life as a third the worth of a Muslim, and Maliki‘s sharia considers it worth half.[172] The legal schools of Hanafi, Maliki and Shafi’i Sunni Islam as well as those of twelver Shia Islam have considered the life of polytheists and atheists as one-fifteenth the value of a Muslim during sentencing.[172]

Support

Anti-democracy, pro-Sharia public demonstration in 2014 in Maldives.

A 2013 survey based on interviews of 38,000 Muslims, randomly selected from urban and rural parts in 39 countries using area probability designs, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that support for making sharia the official law of the land is very high in many Muslim-majority countries: Afghanistan (99%), Iraq (91%), Niger (86%), Malaysia (86%), Pakistan (84%), Morocco (83%), Bangladesh (82%), Egypt (74%), Indonesia (72%), Jordan (71%), Uganda (66%), Ethiopia (65%), Mali (63%), Ghana (58%), and Tunisia (56%).[176] In Muslim regions of Southern-Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the support is less then 50%: Kosovo (20%), Albania (12%), Russia (42%), Kyrgyzstan (35%), Tajikistan (27%), Turkey (12%), Azerbaijan (8%).[176]

In Muslim-majority countries and among Muslims who say sharia should be the law of the land, a percentage between 74% (Egypt) and 19% (Kazakhstan) want sharia law to apply to non-Muslims as well.[177]

A 2008 YouGov poll in the United Kingdom found 40% of Muslim students interviewed wanted sharia in British law.[178]

Since the 1970s, the Islamist movements have become prominent; their goals are the establishment of Islamic states and sharia not just within their own borders; their means are political in nature. The Islamist power base is the millions of poor, particularly urban poor moving into the cities from the countryside. They are not international in nature (one exception being the Muslim Brotherhood). Their rhetoric opposes western culture and western power.[179] Political groups wishing to return to more traditional Islamic values are the source of threat to Turkey’s secular government.[179] These movements can be considered neo-Sharism.[180]

Extremism

Fundamentalists, wishing to return to basic Islamic religious values and law, have in some instances imposed harsh sharia punishments for crimes, curtailed civil rights and violated human rights. Extremists have used the Quran and their own particular version of sharia to justify acts of war and terror against Muslim as well as non-Muslim individuals and governments, using alternate, conflicting interpretations of sharia and their notions of jihad.[181][182]

The sharia basis of arguments of those advocating terrorism, however, remain controversial. Some scholars state that Islamic law prohibits the killing of civilian non-combatants; in contrast, others interpret Islamic law differently, concluding that all means are legitimate to reach their aims, including targeting Muslim non-combatants and the mass killing of non-Muslim civilians, in order to universalize Islam.[181] Islam, in these interpretations, “does not make target differences between militaries and civilians but between Muslims and unbelievers. Therefore it is legitimated (sic) to spill civilians’ blood”.[181] Other scholars of Islam, interpret sharia differently, stating, according to Engeland-Nourai, “attacking innocent people is not courageous; it is stupid and will be punished on the Day of Judgment […]. It’s not courageous to attack innocent children, women and civilians. It is courageous to protect freedom; it is courageous to defend one and not to attack”.[181][183]

Criticism

A protester opposing the Park51project, carries an anti-sharia sign.

Compatibility with democracy

Further information: Islamic ethics, Islam and democracy, Shura and Ijma

Ali Khan states that “constitutional orders founded on the principles of sharia are fully compatible with democracy, provided that religious minorities are protected and the incumbent Islamic leadership remains committed to the right to recall”.[184][185]Other scholars say sharia is not compatible with democracy, particularly where the country’s constitution demands separation of religion and the democratic state.[186][187]

Courts in non-Muslim majority nations have generally ruled against the implementation of sharia, both in jurisprudence and within a community context, based on sharia’s religious background. In Muslim nations, sharia has wide support with some exceptions.[188] For example, in 1998 the Constitutional Court of Turkey banned and dissolved Turkey’s Refah Party on the grounds that “Democracy is the antithesis of Sharia”, the latter of which Refah sought to introduce.[189][190]

On appeal by Refah the European Court of Human Rights determined that “sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”.[191][192][193] Refah’s sharia-based notion of a “plurality of legal systems, grounded on religion” was ruled to contravene the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It was determined that it would “do away with the State’s role as the guarantor of individual rights and freedoms” and “infringe the principle of non-discrimination between individuals as regards their enjoyment of public freedoms, which is one of the fundamental principles of democracy”.[194]

Human rights

Several major, predominantly Muslim countries have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for its perceived failure to take into account the cultural and religious context of non-Western countries. Iran declared in the UN assembly that UDHR was “a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition”, which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.[195] Islamic scholars and Islamist political parties consider ‘universal human rights’ arguments as imposition of a non-Muslim culture on Muslim people, a disrespect of customary cultural practices and of Islam.[196][197] In 1990, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group representing all Muslim majority nations, met in Cairo to respond to the UDHR, then adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.[198][199]

Ann Elizabeth Mayer points to notable absences from the Cairo Declaration: provisions for democratic principles, protection for religious freedom, freedom of association and freedom of the press, as well as equality in rights and equal protection under the law. Article 24 of the Cairo declaration states that “all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic shari’a“.[200]

In 2009, the journal Free Inquiry summarized the criticism of the Cairo Declaration in an editorial: “We are deeply concerned with the changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a coalition of Islamic states within the United Nations that wishes to prohibit any criticism of religion and would thus protect Islam’s limited view of human rights. In view of the conditions inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Bangdalesh, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we should expect that at the top of their human rights agenda would be to rectify the legal inequality of women, the suppression of political dissent, the curtailment of free expression, the persecution of ethnic minorities and religious dissenters — in short, protecting their citizens from egregious human rights violations. Instead, they are worrying about protecting Islam.”[201]

H. Patrick Glenn states that sharia is structured around the concept of mutual obligations of a collective, and it considers individual human rights as potentially disruptive and unnecessary to its revealed code of mutual obligations. In giving priority to this religious collective rather than individual liberty, the Islamic law justifies the formal inequality of individuals (women, non-Islamic people).[202] Bassam Tibi states that sharia framework and human rights are incompatible.[203] Abdel al-Hakeem Carney, in contrast, states that sharia is misunderstood from a failure to distinguish sharia from siyasah (politics).[204]

Freedom of speech

Blasphemy in Islam is any form of cursing, questioning or annoying God, Muhammad or anything considered sacred in Islam.[205][206][207] The sharia of various Islamic schools of jurisprudence specify different punishment for blasphemy against Islam, by Muslims and non-Muslims, ranging from imprisonment, fines, flogging, amputation, hanging, or beheading.[205][208][209] In some cases, sharia allows non-Muslims to escape death by converting and becoming a devout follower of Islam.[210]

Blasphemy, as interpreted under sharia, is controversial. Muslim nations have petitioned the United Nations to limit “freedom of speech” because “unrestricted and disrespectful opinion against Islam creates hatred”.[211] Other nations, in contrast, consider blasphemy laws as violation of “freedom of speech”,[212] stating that freedom of expression is essential to empowering both Muslims and non-Muslims, and point to the abuse of blasphemy laws, where hundreds, often members of religious minorities, are being lynched, killed and incarcerated in Muslim nations, on flimsy accusations of insulting Islam.[213][214]

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

According to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights,[215] every human has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change their religion or belief. Sharia has been criticized for not recognizing this human right. According to scholars[19][216][217] of Islamic law, the applicable rules for religious conversion under sharia are as follows:

  • If a person converts to Islam, or is born and raised as a Muslim, then he or she will have full rights of citizenship in an Islamic state.[218]
  • Leaving Islam is a sin and a religious crime. Once any man or woman is officially classified as Muslim, because of birth or religious conversion, he or she will be subject to the death penalty if he or she becomes an apostate, that is, abandons his or her faith in Islam in order to become an atheist, agnostic or to convert to another religion. Before executing the death penalty, sharia demands that the individual be offered one chance to return to Islam.[218]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is not a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), he or she can live in an Islamic state by accepting to be a dhimmi, or under a special permission called aman. As a dhimmi or under aman, he or she will suffer certain limitations of rights as a subject of an Islamic state, and will not enjoy complete legal equality with Muslims.[218]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), sharia demands that he or she should be offered the choice to convert to Islam and become a Muslim; if he or she rejects the offer, he or she may become a dhimmi. failure to pay the tax may lead the non-muslim to either be enslaved, killed or ransomed if captured.[218]

According to sharia theory, conversion of disbelievers and non-Muslims to Islam is encouraged as a religious duty for all Muslims, and leaving Islam (apostasy), expressing contempt for Islam (blasphemy), and religious conversion of Muslims is prohibited.[219][220] Not all Islamic scholars agree with this interpretation of sharia theory. In practice, as of 2011, 20 Islamic nations had laws declaring apostasy from Islam as illegal and a criminal offense. Such laws are incompatible with the UDHR’s requirement of freedom of thought, conscience and religion.[221][222][223][224] In another 2013 report based on international survey of religious attitudes, more than 50% of Muslim population in 6 out of 49 Islamic countries supported death penalty for any Muslim who leaves Islam (apostasy).[225][226] However it is also shown that the majority of Muslims in the 43 nations surveyed did not agree with this interpretation of sharia.

Some scholars claim sharia allows religious freedom because a Shari’a verse teaches, “there is no compulsion in religion.”[227] Other scholars claim sharia recognizes only one proper religion, considers apostasy as sin punishable with death, and members of other religions as kafir (infidel);[228] or hold that Shari’a demands that all apostates and kafir must be put to death, enslaved or be ransomed.[229][230][231][232] Yet other scholars suggest that Shari’a has become a product of human interpretation and inevitably leads to disagreements about the “precise contents of the Shari’a.” In the end, then, what is being applied is not sharia, but what a particular group of clerics and government decide is sharia. It is these differing interpretations of Shari’a that explain why many Islamic countries have laws that restrict and criminalize apostasy, proselytism and their citizens’ freedom of conscience and religion.[233][234]

LGBT rights

Main article: LGBT in Islam

Homosexual intercourse is illegal under sharia law, though the prescribed penalties differ from one school of jurisprudence to another. For example, only a few Muslim-majority countries impose the death penalty for acts perceived as sodomy and homosexual activities: Iran,[235] Saudi Arabia,[236] and Somalia.[237] In other Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Iraq, and the Indonesian province of Aceh,[238] same-sex sexual acts are illegal,[239] and LGBT people regularly face violence and discrimination.[240]

Women

Domestic violence

Many scholars[20][241] claim Shari’a law encourages domestic violence against women, when a husband suspects nushuz (disobedience, disloyalty, rebellion, ill conduct) in his wife.[242] Other scholars claim wife beating, for nashizah, is not consistent with modern perspectives of the Quran.[243]

One of the verses of the Quran relating to permissibility of domestic violence is Surah 4:34.[244][245] In deference to Surah 4:34, many nations with Shari’a law have refused to consider or prosecute cases of domestic abuse.[246][247][248][249] Shari’a has been criticized for ignoring women’s rights in domestic abuse cases.[250][251][252][253] Musawah, CEDAW, KAFA and other organizations have proposed ways to modify Shari’a-inspired laws to improve women’s rights in Islamic nations, including women’s rights in domestic abuse cases.[254][255][256][257]

Personal status laws and child marriag

Shari’a is the basis for personal status laws in most Islamic majority nations. These personal status laws determine rights of women in matters of marriage, divorce and child custody. A 2011 UNICEF report concludes that Shari’a law provisions are discriminatory against women from a human rights perspective. In legal proceedings under Shari’a law, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s before a court.[154]

Except for Iran, Lebanon and Bahrain which allow child marriages, the civil code in Islamic majority countries do not allow child marriage of girls. However, with Shari’a personal status laws, Shari’a courts in all these nations have the power to override the civil code. The religious courts permit girls less than 18 years old to marry. As of 2011, child marriages are common in a few Middle Eastern countries, accounting for 1 in 6 all marriages in Egypt and 1 in 3 marriages in Yemen.UNICEF and other studies state that the top five nations in the world with highest observed child marriage rates — Niger (75%), Chad (72%), Mali (71%), Bangladesh (64%), Guinea (63%) — are Islamic-majority countries where the personal laws for Muslims are sharia-based.[258][259]

Rape is considered a crime in all countries, but Shari’a courts in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia in some cases allow a rapist to escape punishment by marrying his victim, while in other cases the victim who complains is often prosecuted with the crime of Zina (adultery).[154][260][261]

Women’s right to property and consent

Sharia grants women the right to inherit property from other family members, and these rights are detailed in the Quran.[262] A woman’s inheritance is unequal and less than a man’s, and dependent on many factors.[Quran 4:12][263] For instance, a daughter’s inheritance is usually half that of her brother’s.[Quran 4:11][263]

Until the 20th century, Islamic law granted Muslim women certain legal rights, such as the right to own property received as Mahr (brideprice) at her marriage, that Western legal systems did not grant to women.[264][265] However, Islamic law does not grant non-Muslim women the same legal rights as the few it did grant Muslim women. Sharia recognizes the basic inequality between master and women slave, between free women and slave women, between Believers and non-Believers, as well as their unequal rights.[266][267] Sharia authorized the institution of slavery, using the words abd (slave) and the phrase ma malakat aymanukum (“that which your right hand owns”) to refer to women slaves, seized as captives of war.[266][268] Under Islamic law, Muslim men could have sexual relations with female captives and slaves without her consent.[269][270]

Slave women under sharia did not have a right to own property, right to free movement or right to consent.[271][272] Sharia, in Islam’s history, provided religious foundation for enslaving non-Muslim women (and men), as well as encouraged slave’s manumission. However, manumission required that the non-Muslim slave first convert to Islam.[273][274] Non-Muslim slave women who bore children to their Muslim masters became legally free upon her master’s death, and her children were presumed to be Muslims as their father, in Africa,[273] and elsewhere.[275]

Starting with the 20th century, Western legal systems evolved to expand women’s rights, but women’s rights under Islamic law have remained tied to Quran, hadiths and their faithful interpretation as sharia by Islamic jurists.[270][276]

Parallels with Western legal systems

Elements of Islamic law have influenced western legal systems. As example, the influence of Islamic influence on the development of an international law of the sea” can be discerned alongside that of the Roman influence.[277]

Makdisi states Islamic law also influenced the legal scholastic system of the West.[278] The study of legal text and degrees have parallels between Islamic studies of sharia and the Western system of legal studies. For example, the status of faqih (meaning “master of law“), mufti (meaning “professor of legal opinions“) andmudarris (meaning “teacher”), which were later translated into Latin as magister, professor and doctor respectively.[278]

There are differences between Islamic and Western legal systems. For example, sharia classically recognizes only natural persons, and never developed the concept of a legal person, or corporation, i.e., a legal entity that limits the liabilities of its managers, shareholders, and employees; exists beyond the lifetimes of its founders; and that can own assets, sign contracts, and appear in court through representatives.[279] Interest prohibitions also imposed secondary costs by discouraging record keeping, and delaying the introduction of modern accounting.[280] Such factors, according to Timur Kuran, have played a significant role in retarding economic development in the Middle East.[281]

See also

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia

Ben Carson says no Muslim should ever become US president

  • 2016 hopeful: ‘I would not advocate we put a Muslim in charge of this nation’
  • Retired neurosurgeon says Islam is not consistent with US constitution

The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has said no Muslim should be president of the United States of America.

In an interview with NBC for broadcast on Sunday morning, the retired neurosurgeon said: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson’s discussion with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd centered around controversy that arose this week when Donald Trump – the real-estate mogul keeping Carson in second place in the polls – failed to correct an audience member at a New Hampshire campaign rally who said President Obama was a Muslim.

The audience member also appeared to advocate the forcible removal of Muslims from the US.

On Saturday, in a series of tweets on the subject, Trump defended himself and said: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!”
Trump: I was not obligated to correct questioner who called Obama Muslim
Read more
He also addressed the issue in an appearance before an evangelical audience in Iowa, at which he brandished a Bible and said: “You see, I’m better than you thought.”

In such circles, Trump has lost some support to Carson.

In his NBC interview, Carson was asked: “So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?”

“No,” he said, “I don’t, I do not.”

Article VI of the US constitution states: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

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The first amendment to the constitution begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Carson, a Christian, is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church. In October, he will publish a new book, written with his wife Candy Carson and entitled A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties.

In publicity material issued by Penguin Random House, Carson is quoted as saying: “I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the US constitution.

“And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the constitution isn’t brain surgery.

He adds that he and his wife wrote the book to “help defend” the constitution “from those who misinterpret and undermine it”.

Carson did have a constituency to speak to, however. In a recent poll, 38% of voters said they would not vote for a Muslim president.
Quiet rise of Ben Carson is shaking up Republican presidential race
Read more
The Ohio governor, John Kasich, who is polling an average of 2.5%, enough for 10th place out of 16, was also asked by NBC if he “would ever have a problem with a Muslim becoming president”.

Kasich, one of the more moderate candidates in the GOP field, also had to field a question about whether he was a Republican at all. He did not say he would have a problem with a Muslim president, but nor did he dismiss the question.

“You know, I mean, that’s such a hypothetical question,” Kasich said. “The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigours, and people will look at everything.

“But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing, and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”

Carson was also asked if he would consider voting for a Muslim candidate for Congress.

He said: “Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know.”

Two members of Congress, both Democrats, are Muslim: Keith Ellison of Minnesota was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and André Carson of Indiana followed in 2008.

Every American should be disturbed … national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry
Representative Keith Ellison
This week, Ellison carried a clock around Congress to show support for Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old boy who was arrested at his school in Irving, Texas, over suspicions a homemade clock was in fact a bomb.

On Sunday Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, released a statement in answer to Carson’s comments.

“For Ben Carson, Donald Trump, or any other Republican politician to suggest that someone of any faith is unfit for office is out of touch with who we are as a people,” he said.

“It’s unimaginable that the leading GOP presidential candidates are resorting to fear mongering to benefit their campaigns, and every American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry.”

 

Ahmed Mohamed is tired, excited to meet Obama – and wants his clock back
Read more
According to the Pew Research Center, the 114th Congress contains 491 Christians, of which 306 are Protestant, split between 13 sects though without any declared Anabaptists, Quakers or Pietists.

Another 164 members of Congress are Catholic, while 16 are Mormon and five Orthodox Christian. As well as the two Muslims there are 28 Jewish and two Buddhist members of Congress; there is one Hindu member, one Unitarian Universalist and one “unaffiliated”.

Nine members of Congress either told the Pew researchers they didn’t know what religion they were, or refused to answer the question.

On Meet the Press, Carson continued: “And, you know, if there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them.”

Asked if he believed President Obama was both born in the US – another issue raised at the Trump rally on Thursday and not rebutted by the candidate – and a Christian, Carson said: “I believe that he is. I have no reason to doubt what he says.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/20/ben-carson-no-muslim-us-president-trump-obama

Carson says he does not agree with a Muslim being elected president

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson suggested Sunday that a Muslim should not be president, extending the new and unexpected religion debate on the 2016 campaign trail.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Carson, a Christian and retired neurosurgeon, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson, a top-tier 2016 candidate and popular among the GOP’s evangelical wing, made the statement after fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump was addressed by a man during a rally Thursday in New Hampshire who said President Obama is a Muslim.

“We have a problem in this country,” the unidentified man said. “It’s called Muslim. … You know our current president is one.”

Obama says he is a Christian. But Trump has declined to address the issue, saying he is not “morally obligated” to set straight the record.

Carson also described the Islamic faith as inconsistent with the Constitution. However, he did not specify in what way Islam ran counter to constitutional principles.

Carson said he believes Obama is a Christian and has “no reason to doubt what he says.”

He also said he would consider voting for a Muslim running for Congress, depending on “who that Muslim is and what their policies are.”

Carson also made a distinction when it came to electing Muslims to Congress, calling it a “different story” from the presidency that “depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says.”

Congress has two Muslim members, Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana.

“If there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them,” Carson said.

Trump on Sunday told ABC’s “This Week” that he doesn’t talk about other people’s faith and that Obama is “very capable of defending himself.”

He also said the politically correct statement is that Muslims are not a problem in the United States but the reality is that “some” associated with terrorism pose a worldwide threat.

“We can say … everything’s wonderful,” Trump said. “But certainly it is a problem. … if I want to say no, not at all, people would laugh at me.”

Fellow GOP contender and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told ABC about the Muslim debate: “This has nothing to do with the future of our country. These issues have been discussed ad nauseam over the last few years. It’s a big waste of time. Barack Obama will not be president in a year and a half. It’s time to start talking about the future of America and the people that are at home.”

Carson’s comments drew strong criticism from the country’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“To me this really means he is not qualified to be president of the United States,” said the group’s spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper. “You cannot hold these kinds of views and at the same time say you will represent all Americans, of all faiths and backgrounds.”

Hooper said the Constitution expressly forbids religious tests for those seeking public office and called for the repudiation of “these un-American comments.”

In a separate appearance on NBC, fellow 2016 GOP candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was asked whether he would have a problem with a Muslim in the White House.

“The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigors, and people will look at everything. But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who taped Sunday an episode of Iowa Press, an Iowa Public Television program, was asked if he agreed with Carson’s statements on Muslims being president. “The Constitution specifies that there shall be no religious test for public office, and I am a constitutionalist,” Cruz said.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “It’s hard to understand what’s so difficult about supporting an American citizen’s right to run for president.

“But unsurprisingly, this left Republicans scratching their heads. Of course a Muslim, or any other American citizen, can run for president, end of story.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/09/21/carson-suggests-muslim-should-not-be-elected-president/

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Story 1: Should President Obama and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Apologize For A Failed Foreign Policy Leading To Genocide and Democide in Iraq, Syria, and Libya? — Yes, but They Never Take Responsibility For Their Failures But Blame It On Others — No Wonder Carson and American People Oppose A Muslim President —  ‘How Do You Spell Genocide? O-B-A-M-A’ — Videos

United States Constitution

Article VI

All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlevi

U.S. Bill of Rights

Amendment I (1): Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

https://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-constitution-amendments/bill-of-rights/

Sharia Law

Shariah law

Sharia law is the law of Islam. The Sharia (also spelled Shariah or Shari’a) law is cast from the actions and words of Muhammad, which are called “Sunnah,” and the Quran, which he authored.

The Sharia law itself cannot be altered, but the interpretation of the Sharia law, called “figh,” by imams is given some leeway.

As a legal system, the Sharia law covers a very wide range of topics. While other legal codes deal primarily with public behavior, Sharia law covers public behavior, private behavior and private beliefs. Of all legal systems in the world today, Islam’s Sharia law is the most intrusive and strict, especially against women.

According to the Sharia law:

•  Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand (above).
•  Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Muhammad is a prophet is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Allah, the moon god of Islam is punishable by death.
•  A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
•  A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
•  Girls’ clitoris should be cut (per Muhammad‘s words in Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
•  A woman can have 1 husband, but a man can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
•  A man can unilaterally divorce his wife but a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
•  A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
•  Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
•  A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
•  A woman’s testimony in court, allowed only in property cases, carries half the weight of a man’s.
•  A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
•  A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
•  A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
•  Meat to be eaten must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah – i.e., be Halal.
•  Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
•  The list goes on.

http://www.billionbibles.org/sharia/sharia-law.html

HUMAN GENOCIDE DOCUMENTARY. IRAQ AND SYRIA . ISIS, USA, UN ::: 2ND AUGUST 2014

Christians in Iraq are heeding an ultimatum by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to convert to Islam, get out or be killed.

Reports from the Middle East say that large numbers of Christians have fled the northern city of Mosul — now under control of the ISIL — after a message warning them to get out by Saturday was broadcast by loudspeakers on the city’s mosques.

An ISIL document reviewed by AFP said that there would be “nothing for them but the sword” if Christians didn’t adhere to the deadline.

The ISIL announcement also said that Christians could stay and pay a tax, often known as a “jizya,” though the exact amount was unspecified. A jizya is a historical policy of allowing non-Muslims to keep their own religion and their property if they pay a certain amount to Islamic rulers.

In centuries past, there have been examples of Christians paying the tax and living peacefully with Muslims. Recently however, it has often been exploited as a form of extortion against non-Muslims.

Many Christian families fleeing Mosul didn’t seem to put much trust in the promise of peace.

The aim of this documentary is to raise awareness.
WE ARE URGING ALL: PEOPLE TO SPEAK UP AND DO SOMETHING!!!

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Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said today he would not support a Muslim as president on meet the press The retired neurosurgeon also said Islam, as a religion, was inconsistent with the Constitution. Carson told NBC’s “Meet the Press” he believed a president’s faith should matter “depending on what that faith is.” “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson said. “If it’s [a president’s faith] inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter.” Carson, who has been near the top of several presidential polls, said he would consider voting for a Muslim in Congress “[depending] on who that Muslim is and what their policies are.” ABC News has reached out to Carson’s campaign for comment.
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Sharia Law and the U.S. Constitution

[Update I:  I have streamlined the following post to be easily readable to the average layman, but informative enough for a lawyer or law professor to learn a bit more on the similarities and differences between Sharia and U.S. Law]

Is Sharia compatible with the U.S. Constitution?

The simple answer is of course “no”.

But lets take a look at some aspects of Sharia Law and where it may or may not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.  (For disclosure I am not a lawyer nor a legal expert in Sharia or U.S. Law.)

First, what is Sharia?

Wikipedia states Sharia refers to the sacred law of Islam.  All Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law, but they have differences between themselves as to exactly what it entails.  Which will be difficult to discern what to apply when, but we’ll labor along for the sake of discussion.

In Western countries, where Muslim immigration is more recent, Muslim minorities have introduced Sharia family law, for use in their own disputes. Attempts to impose Sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare (Second Sudanese Civil War).

The recent incidents at the Arab International Festival have reinforced the poor image of Sharia inside the United States and its incompatibility with American culture and law.

The following is a truncated version with a couple of modifications (eliminating repetitious ibids and links) of multiple Wikipedia entries [with my comments]:

Legal and Court Proceedings:

Wikipedia states that Sharia judicial proceedings have significant differences with other legal traditions, including those in both common law and civil law.

1. Sharia courts do not generally employ lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves.

2. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system.

3. There is no pre-trial discovery process, no cross-examination of witnesses, and no penalty of perjury (on the assumption that no witness would thus endanger his soul) Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents under the principle of stare decisis and unlike civil law, Sharia does not utilize formally codified statutes (these were first introduced only in the late 19th century during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, cf. mecelle).

4. Instead of precedents and codes, Sharia relies on medieval jurist’s manuals and collections of non-binding legal opinions, or fatwas, issued by religious scholars (ulama, particularly a mufti); these can be made binding for a particular case at the discretion of a judge.

5. Sharia courts’ rules of evidence also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony and excluding written and documentary evidence (including forensic and circumstantial evidence), on the basis that it could be tampered with or forged.

6. A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of a witness are the only evidence admissible in a Sharia court, written evidence is only admissible with the attestations of multiple, witnesses deemed reliable by the judge, i.e. notaries.

7. Testimony must be from at least two witnesses, and preferably free Muslim male witnesses, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character; testimony to establish the crime of adultery, or zina must be from four direct witnesses.

8. Forensic evidence (i.e. fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.

9. Testimony from women is given only half the weight of men [in most sources outside of Wikipedia Sharia states that a woman’s testimony only carries the weight of 1/4th of a man’s], and testimony from non-Muslims may be excluded altogether (if against a Muslim).

10. In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence.

11. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.

12. Sharia courts, with their tradition of pro se representation, simple rules of evidence, and absence of appeals courts, prosecutors, cross examination, complex documentary evidence and discovery proceedings, juries and voir dire proceedings, circumstantial evidence, forensics, case law, standardized codes, exclusionary rules, and most of the other infrastructure of civil and common law court systems, have as a result, comparatively informal and streamlined proceedings. [that’s one way of putting it]

13. This can provide significant increases in speed and efficiency (at the cost of the safeguards provided in secular legal systems), and can be an advantage in jurisdictions where the general court system is slow or corrupt, and where few litigants can afford lawyers. (end Wikipedia)

This is not a concise review of the difference nor similarities between U.S. Law and Sharia.  It is only meant to educate us on what Sharia law is in comparison to our legal system.

http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/25/sharia-law-and-the-u-s-constitution/

Sharia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Islamic law” redirects here. For Islamic jurisprudence, see Fiqh.

 

Sharia applies in full, covering personal status issues as well as criminal proceedings

 

Sharia applies in personal status issues (such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody)

 

Regional variations in the application of Sharia

 

Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation where Sharia plays no role in the judicial system

Sharia or sharia law (Arabic: شريعة‎ (IPA: [ʃaˈriːʕa]), is the Islamic legal system[1] derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. The term sharia comes from the Arabic language term sharīʿah, which means a body of moral and religious law derived from religious prophecy, as opposed to human legislation.[2][3][4]

Sharia deals with many topics, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Adherence to sharia has served as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim faith historically.[5] In its strictest and most historically coherent definition, sharia is considered in Islam as the infallible law of God.[6]

There are two primary sources of sharia: the Quran, and the Hadiths (opinions and life example of Muhammad).[7] For topics and issues not directly addressed in these primary sources, sharia is derived. The derivation differs between the various sects of Islam (Sunni and Shia), and various jurisprudence schools such as Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali andJafari.[8][9] The sharia in these schools is derived hierarchically using one or more of the following guidelines: Ijma(usually the consensus of Muhammad’s companions), Qiyas (analogy derived from the primary sources), Istihsan(ruling that serves the interest of Islam in the discretion of Islamic jurists) and Urf (customs).[8][10]

Sharia is a significant source of legislation in various Muslim countries. Some apply all or a majority of the sharia code, and these include Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen andMauritania. In these countries, sharia prescribed punishments such as beheading, flogging and stoning continue to be practiced judicially or extra-judicially.[11][12] The introduction of sharia is a longstanding goal for Islamist movements globally, including in Western countries, but attempts to impose sharia have been accompanied by controversy,[13]violence,[14] and even warfare.[15] Most countries do not recognize sharia; however, some countries in Asia, Africa and Europe recognize parts of sharia and accept it as the law on divorce, inheritance and other personal affairs of their Islamic population.[16] In Britain, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal makes use of sharia family law to settle disputes, and this limited adoption of sharia is controversial.[17]

The concept of crime, judicial process, justice and punishment embodied in sharia is different from that of secular law.[18] The differences between sharia and secular laws have led to an ongoing controversy as to whether sharia is compatible with secular forms of government, human rights, freedom of thought, and women’s rights.[19][20][21]

Etymology and origins[edit]

Scholars describe the word sharia (/ʃɑːˈriːɑː/, also shari’a, šarīʿah) as an archaic Arabic word denoting “pathway to be followed” (analogous to the Hebrew termHalakhah [“The Way to Go”]),[22] or “path to the water hole”. The latter definition comes from the fact that the path to water is the whole way of life in an arid desert environment.[23]

The etymology of sharia as a “path” or “way” comes from the Quranic verse[Quran 45:18]: “Then we put thee on the (right) Way of religion so follow thou that (Way), and follow not the desires of those who know not.”[22] Malik Ghulam Farid in his Dictionary of the Holy Quran, believes the “Way” in 45:18 (quoted above) derives from shara’a (as prf. 3rd. p.m. sing.), meaning “He ordained”. Other forms also appear: shara’u[Quran 45:13] as (prf. 3rd. p.m. plu.), “they decreed (a law)”[Quran 42:21]; and shir’atun (n.) meaning “spiritual law”[Quran 5:48].[24]

The Arabic word sharīʿa has origins in the concept of ‘religious law’; the word is commonly used by Arabic-speaking peoples of the Middle East and designates a prophetic religion in its totality. Thus, sharīʿat Mūsā means religious law of Moses (Judaism), sharīʿat al-Masīḥ means religious law of Christianity, sharīʿat al-Madjūs means religious law of Zoroastrianism.[3]

The Arabic expression شريعة الله (God’s Law) is a common translation for תורת אלוהים (‘God’s Law’ in Hebrew) and νόμος τοῦ θεοῦ (‘God’s Law’ in Greek in the New Testament [Rom. 7: 22]).[25] In contemporary Islamic literature, sharia refers to divine law of Islam as revealed by prophet Muhammad, as well as in his function as model and exemplar of the law.[3]

Sharia in the Islamic world is also known as Qānūn-e Islāmī (قانون اسلامی).[citation needed]

History

In Islam, the origin of sharia is the Qu’ran, and traditions gathered from the life of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (born ca. 570 CE in Mecca).[26]

Sharia underwent fundamental development, beginning with the reigns of caliphs Abu Bakr (632–34) and Umar (634–44) for Sunni Muslims, and Imam Ali for Shia Muslims, during which time many questions were brought to the attention of Muhammad’s closest comrades for consultation.[27] During the reign of Muawiya b. Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, ca. 662 CE, Islam undertook an urban transformation, raising questions not originally covered by Islamic law.[27] Since then, changes in Islamic society have played an ongoing role in developing sharia, which branches out into fiqh and Qanun respectively.

The formative period of fiqh stretches back to the time of the early Muslim communities. In this period, jurists were more concerned with pragmatic issues of authority and teaching than with theory.[28] Progress in theory was started by 8th and 9th century Islamic scholars Abu Hanifa, Malik bin Anas, Al-Shafi’i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others.[8][29] Al-Shafi‘i is credited with deriving the theory of valid norms for sharia (uṣūl al-fiqh), arguing for a traditionalist, literal interpretation of Quran, Hadiths and methodology for law as revealed therein, to formulate sharia.[30][31]

A number of legal concepts and institutions were developed by Islamic jurists during the classical period of Islam, known as the Islamic Golden Age, dated from the 7th to 13th centuries. These shaped different versions of sharia in different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, called fiqhs.[32][33][34]

The Umayyads initiated the office of appointing qadis, or Islamic judges. The jurisdiction of the qadi extended only to Muslims, while non-Muslim populations retained their own legal institutions.[35] Under the Umayyads Islamic scholars were “sidelined” from administration of justice and attempts to systematically uphold and develope Islamic law would wait for Abbasid rule.[36] The qadis were usually pious specialists in Islam. As these grew in number, they began to theorize and systemize Islamic jurisprudence.[37] The Abbasid made the institution of qadi independent from the government, but this separation wasn’t always respected.[38]

Both the Umayyad caliph Umar II and the Abbasids had agreed that the caliph could not legislate contrary to the Quran or the sunnah. Imam Shafi’i declared: “atradition from the Prophet must be accepted as soon as it become known…If there has been an action on the part of a caliph, and a tradition from the Prophet to the contrary becomes known later, that action must be discarded in favor of the tradition from the Prophet.” Thus, under the Abbasids the main features of sharia were definitively established and sharia was recognized as the law of behavior for Muslims.[39]

In modern times, the Muslim community have divided points of view: secularists believe that the law of the state should be based on secular principles, not on Islamic legal doctrines; traditionalists believe that the law of the state should be based on the traditional legal schools;[40] reformers believe that new Islamic legal theories can produce modernized Islamic law[41] and lead to acceptable opinions in areas such as women’s rights.[42] This division persists until the present day (Brown 1996, Hallaq 2001, Ramadan 2005, Aslan 2006, Safi 2003, Nenezich 2006).

There has been a growing religious revival in Islam, beginning in the eighteenth century and continuing today. This movement has expressed itself in various forms ranging from wars to efforts towards improving education.[43][44]

Definitions and disagreements

Sharia, in its strictest definition, is a divine law, as expressed in the Quran and Muhammad’s example (often called the sunnah). As such, it is related to but different from fiqh, which is emphasized as the human interpretation of the law.[45][46] Many scholars have pointed out that the sharia is not formally a code,[47] nor a well-defined set of rules.[48] The sharia is characterized as a discussion on the duties of Muslims[47] based on both the opinion of the Muslim community and extensive literature.[49] Hunt Janin and Andre Kahlmeyer thus conclude that the sharia is “long, diverse, and complicated.”[48]

From the 9th century onward, the power to interpret and refine law in traditional Islamic societies was in the hands of the scholars (ulema). This separation of powers served to limit the range of actions available to the ruler, who could not easily decree or reinterpret law independently and expect the continued support of the community.[50] Through succeeding centuries and empires, the balance between the ulema and the rulers shifted and reformed, but the balance of power was never decisively changed.[51] Over the course of many centuries, imperial, political and technological change, including the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, ushered in an era of European world hegemony that gradually included the domination of many of the lands which had previously been ruled by Islamic empires.[52][53] At the end of the Second World War, the European powers found themselves too weakened to maintain their empires as before.[54] The wide variety of forms of government, systems of law, attitudes toward modernity and interpretations of sharia are a result of the ensuing drives for independence and modernity in the Muslim world.[55][56]

According to Jan Michiel Otto, Professor of Law and Governance in Developing Countries at Leiden University, “Anthropological research shows that people in local communities often do not distinguish clearly whether and to what extent their norms and practices are based on local tradition, tribal custom, or religion. Those who adhere to a confrontational view of sharia tend to ascribe many undesirable practices to sharia and religion overlooking custom and culture, even if high-ranking religious authorities have stated the opposite.” Otto’s analysis appears in a paper commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[57]

Sources of sharia law

Main article: Sources of sharia

There are two sources of sharia (understood as the divine law): the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran is viewed as the unalterable word of God. It is considered in Islam to be an infallible part of sharia. The Quran covers a host of topics including God, personal laws for Muslim men and Muslim women, laws on community life, laws on expected interaction of Muslims with non-Muslims, apostates and ex-Muslims, laws on finance, morals, eschatology, and others.[58][59] The Sunnah is the life and example of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Sunnah’s importance as a source of sharia, is confirmed by several verses of the Quran (e.g.[Quran 33:21]).[60] The Sunnah is primarily contained in the hadith or reports of Muhammad’s sayings, his actions, his tacit approval of actions and his demeanor. While there is only one Quran, there are many compilations of hadith, with the most authentic ones forming during the sahih period (850 to 915 CE). The six acclaimed Sunni collections were compiled by (in order of decreasing importance) Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah. The collections by al-Bukhari and Muslim, regarded the most authentic, contain about 7,000 and 12,000 hadiths respectively (although the majority of entries are repetitions). The hadiths have been evaluated on authenticity, usually by determining the reliability of the narrators that transmitted them.[61] For Shias, the Sunnah include life and sayings of The Twelve Imams.[62]

Quran versus Hadith

Muslims who reject the Hadith as a source of law, sometimes referred to as Quranists,[63][64] suggest that only laws derived exclusively from the Quran are valid.[65]They state that the hadiths in modern use are not explicitly mentioned in the Quran as a source of Islamic theology and practice, they were not recorded in written form until more than two centuries after the death of the prophet Muhammed.[63] They also state that the authenticity of the hadiths remains a question.[66][67]

The vast majority of Muslims, however, consider hadiths, which describe the words, conduct and example set by Muhammad during his life, as a source of law and religious authority second only to the Qur’an.[68] Similarly, most Islamic scholars believe both Quran and sahih hadiths to be a valid source of sharia, with Quranic verse 33.21, among others,[69][70] as justification for this belief.[64]

Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.

For vast majority of Muslims, sharia has historically been, and continues to be derived from both the Quran and the Hadiths.[64][68][70] The Sahih Hadiths of Sunni Muslims contain isnad, or a chain of guarantors reaching back to a companion of Muhammad who directly observed the words, conduct and example he set – thus providing the theological ground to consider the hadith to be a sound basis for sharia.[64][70] For Sunni Muslims, the musannaf in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim is most trusted and relied upon as source for Sunni Sharia.[71] Shia Muslims, however, do not consider the chain of transmitters of Sunni hadiths as reliable, given these transmitters belonged to Sunni side in Sunni-Shia civil wars that followed after Muhammad’s death.[72] Shia rely on their own chain of reliable guarantors, trusting compilations such as Kitab al-Kafi and Tahdhib al-Ahkam instead, and later hadiths (usually called akhbār by Shi’i).[73][74] The Shia version of hadiths contain the words, conduct and example set by Muhammad and Imams, which they consider as sinless, infallible and an essential source of sharia for Shi’ite Muslims.[72][75]However, in substance, the Shi’ite hadiths resemble the Sunni hadiths, with one difference – the Shia hadiths additionally include words and actions of its Imams (al-hadith al-walawi), the biological descendants of Muhammad, and these too are considered an important source for sharia by Shi’ites.[73][76]

Disagreements on Quran

Main article: Naskh (tafsir)
Authenticity and writing of Quran

Some scholars such as John Wansbrough have challenged the authenticity of the Quran and whether it was written in the time of Muhammad.[77] In contrast, Estelle Whelan has refuted Wansbrough presenting evidence such as the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock.[78][79] John Burton states that medieval era Islamic texts claiming Quran was compiled after the death of the Prophet were forged to preserve the status-quo.[80] The final version of the Quran, states Burton, was compiled while the Prophet was still alive.[81] Most scholars accept that the Quran as is used for Sharia, was compiled into the final current form during the caliphate of Uthman.[82][83]

Abrogation and textual inconsistencies

From the founding of Islam, the Muslim community has also debated the authenticity of compiled verses and the consistency within the Quran.[84][85] The inconsistencies in deriving sharia from the Quran, were recognized and formally complicated by verses 2.106 and 16.101 of the Quran, which are known as the “verses of abrogation (Naskh)”,[86]

When We substitute one revelation for another, – and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages),– they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.

The principle of abrogation has been historically accepted and applied by Islamic jurists on both the Quran and the Sunnah.[84][86] Sharia is thus determined through a chronological study of the primary sources, where older revelations are considered invalid and overruled by later revelations.[86][87] While an overwhelming majority of historical and modern Islamic scholars have accepted the principle of abrogation for the Quran and the Sunnah, some modern scholars disagree that the principle of abrogation necessarily applies to the Quran.[88]

Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh)

Main article: Fiqh

Fiqh (school of Islamic jurisprudence) represents the process of deducing and applying sharia principles, as well as the collective body of specific laws deduced from sharia using the fiqh methodology.[8] While Quran and Hadith sources are regarded as infallible, the fiqh standards may change in different contexts. Fiqh covers all aspects of law, including religious, civil, political, constitutional and procedural law.[89] Fiqh deploys the following to create Islamic laws:[8]

  1. Injunctions, revealed principles and interpretations of the Quran (Used by all schools and sects of Islam)
  2. Interpretation of the Sunnah (Muhammad’s practices, opinions and traditions) and principles therein, after establishing the degree of reliability of hadith’s chain of reporters (Used by all schools and sects of Islam)

If the above two sources do not provide guidance for an issue, then different fiqhs deploy the following in a hierarchical way:[8]

  1. Ijma, collective reasoning and consensus amongst authoritative Muslims of a particular generation, and its interpretation by Islamic scholars. This fiqh principle for sharia is derived from Quranic verse 4:59.[90] Typically, the recorded consensus of Sahabah (Muhammad’s companions) is considered authoritative and most trusted. If this is unavailable, then the recorded individual reasoning (Ijtihad) of Muhammad companions is sought. In Islam’s history, some Muslim scholars have argued that Ijtihad allows individual reasoning of both the earliest generations of Muslims and later generation Muslims, while others have argued that Ijtihad allows individual reasoning of only the earliest generations of Muslims. (Used by all schools of Islam, Jafari fiqh accepts only Ijtihad of Shia Imams)[8][91]
  2. Qiyas, analogy is deployed if Ijma or historic collective reasoning on the issue is not available. Qiyas represents analogical deduction, the support for using it in fiqh is based on Quranic verse 2:59, and this methodology was started by Abu Hanifa.[92] This principle is considered weak by Hanbali fiqh, and it usually avoids Qiyas for sharia. (Used by all Sunni schools of Islam, but rejected by Shia Jafari)[8][10]
  3. Istihsan, which is the principle of serving the interest of Islam and public as determined by Islamic jurists. This method is deployed if Ijtihad and Qiyas fail to provide guidance. It was started by Hanafi fiqh as a form of Ijtihad (individual reasoning). Maliki fiqh called it Masalih Al-Mursalah, or departure from strict adherence to the Texts for public welfare. The Hanbali fiqh called it Istislah and rejected it, as did Shafi’i fiqh. (Used by Hanafi, Maliki, but rejected by Shafii, Hanbali and Shia Jafari fiqhs)[8][10][30]
  4. Istihab and Urf which mean continuity of pre-Islamic customs and customary law. This is considered as the weakest principle, accepted by just two fiqhs, and even in them recognized only when the custom does not violate or contradict any Quran, Hadiths or other fiqh source. (Used by Hanafi, Maliki, but rejected by Shafii, Hanbali and Shia Jafari fiqhs)[8][10]
Schools of law
Main article: Madhhab

Map of the Muslim world with the main schools of Islamic law (madhhab)

A Madhhab is a Muslim school of law that follows a fiqh (school of religious jurisprudence). In the first 150 years of Islam, there were many madhhab. Several of the Sahābah, or contemporary “companions” of Muhammad, are credited with founding their own. In the Sunni sect of Islam, the Islamic jurisprudence schools of Medina (Al-Hijaz, now in Saudi Arabia) created the Maliki madhhab, while those in Kufa (now in Iraq) created the Hanafimadhhab.[93] Abu al-Shafi’i, who started as a student of Maliki school of Islamic law, and later was influenced by Hanafi school of Islamic law, disagreed with some of the discretion these schools gave to jurists, and founded the more conservative Shafi’i madhhab, which spread from jurisprudence schools in Baghdad (Iraq) and Cairo (Egypt).[94] Ahmad ibn Hanbal, a student of al-Shafi’i, went further in his criticism of Maliki and Hanafi fiqhs, criticizing the abuse and corruption of sharia from jurist discretion and consensus of later generation Muslims, and he founded the more strict, traditionalist Hanbali school of Islamic law.[95] Other schools such as the Jaririwere established later, which eventually died out.

Sunni sect of Islam has four major surviving schools of sharia: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali; one minor school is named Ẓāhirī. Shii sect of Islam has three: Ja’fari(major), Zaydi and Ismaili.[96][97][98] There are other minority fiqhs as well, such as the Ibadi school of Khawarij sect, and those of Sufi and Ahmadi sects.[89][99] All Sunni and Shia schools of sharia rely first on the Quran and the sayings/practices of Muhammad in the Sunnah. Their differences lie in the procedure each uses to create Islam-compliant laws when those two sources do not provide guidance on a topic.[100] The Salafi movement creates sharia based on the Quran, Sunnah and the actions and sayings of the first three generations of Muslims.[101]

Hanafi-based sharia spread with the patronage and military expansions led by Turkic Sultans and Ottoman Empire in West Asia, Southeast Europe, Central Asia and South Asia.[102][103] It is currently the largest madhhab of Sunni Muslims.[104] Maliki-based sharia is predominantly found in West Africa, North Africa and parts of Arabia.[104] Shafii-based sharia spread with patronage and military expansions led by maritime Sultans, and is mostly found in coastal regions of East Africa, Arabia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and islands in the Indian ocean.[105] The Hanbali-based sharia prevails in the smallest Sunni madhhab, predominantly found in the Arabian peninsula.[104] The Shia Jafari-based sharia is mostly found in Persian region and parts of West Asia and South Asia.

Categories of law

Along with interpretation, each fiqh classifies its interpretation of sharia into one of the following five categories: fard (obligatory), mustahabb (recommended),mubah (neutral), makruh (discouraged), and haraam (forbidden). A Muslim is expected to adhere to that tenet of sharia accordingly.[106]

  • Actions in the fard category are those mandatory on all Muslims. They include the five daily prayers, fasting, articles of faith, obligatory giving of zakat (charity, tax) to zakat collectors,[107][108] and the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.[106]
  • The mustahabb category includes proper behaviour in matters such as marriage, funeral rites and family life. As such, it covers many of the same areas as civil law in the West. Sharia courts attempt to reconcile parties to disputes in this area using the recommended behaviour as their guide. A person whose behaviour is not mustahabb can be ruled against by the judge.[109]
  • Mubah category of behaviour is neither discouraged nor recommended, neither forbidden nor required; it is permissible.[106]
  • Makruh behaviour, while it is not sinful of itself, is considered undesirable among Muslims. It may also make a Muslim liable to criminal penalties under certain circumstances.[109]
  • Haraam behaviour is explicitly forbidden. It is both sinful and criminal. It includes all actions expressly forbidden in the Quran. Certain Muslim dietary and clothing restrictions also fall into this category.[106]

The recommended, neutral and discouraged categories are drawn largely from accounts of the life of Muhammad. To say a behaviour is sunnah is to say it is recommended as an example of the life and sayings of Muhammad. These categories form the basis for proper behaviour in matters such as courtesy and manners, interpersonal relations, generosity, personal habits and hygiene.[106]

Areas of Islamic law

Main article: Topics of sharia law

The areas of Islamic law include:

Other classifications

Shari’ah law has been grouped in different ways, such as:[110][111] Family relations, Crime and punishment, Inheritance and disposal of property, The economic system, External and other relations.

Reliance of the Traveller“, an English translation of a fourteenth-century CE reference on the Shafi’i school of fiqh written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, organizes sharia law into the following topics: Purification, prayer, funeral prayer, taxes, fasting, pilgrimage, trade, inheritance, marriage, divorce and justice.

In some areas, there are substantial differences in the law between different schools of fiqh, countries, cultures and schools of thought.

Disagreement on the objectives of Islamic law

Main article: Maqasid

A number of scholars have advanced “objectives” (مقاصد maqaṣid al-Shariah also “goals” or “purposes”) they believe the Sharia is intended to achieve. Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali argued that they were the preservation of Islamic religion, and in the temporal world the protection of life, progeny, intellect and wealth of Muslims.[112][113]Yazid et al summarize sharia’s objective to be recognize the limitations of reason, and complement the role of reason with revelation.[114] They state that objective of sharia in Islamic finance is to provide rules and regulations from the Quran and Sunnah.[114]

Jan Otto writes that moderate Muslims and puritan Muslims differ in their interpretation of the objectives of sharia.[115] The moderate Muslims consider sharia to be a flexible code of law, where technicalities of its wording cannot subvert sharia’s objectives to “help Muslims in their quest for submission, humility, gratitude before God, and a quest for Godliness”.[115] In contrast, according to Otto, puritan Muslims believe that sharia is a strict, complete and exact set of rules that one must submit to, by strict compliance, because it is only “through meticulous obedience, Muslims will avoid punishment of God in after-life and will enter heaven” which is the ultimate objective, and it does not matter if some sharia “law is harsh or that its application results in social suffering, this perception is considered delusional”.[115]

Application

Application by country

Use of Sharia by country:

  Sharia plays no role in the judicial system
  Sharia applies to Muslim’s personal law
  Sharia applies in full, including criminal law
  Regional variations in the application of sharia

Most Muslim-majority countries incorporate sharia at some level in their legal framework, with many calling it the highest law or the source of law of the land in their constitution.[116][117] Most use sharia for personal law (marriage, divorce, domestic violence, child support, family law, inheritance and such matters).[118][119] Elements of sharia are present, to varying extents, in the criminal justice system of many Muslim-majority countries.[12]Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Brunei, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan andMauritania apply the code predominantly or entirely.[12][120]

Most Muslim-majority countries with sharia-prescribed hudud punishments in their legal code, do not prescribe it routinely and use other punishments instead.[116][121] The harshest sharia penalties such as stoning, beheadingand the death penalty are enforced with varying levels of consistency.[122]

Since 1970s, most Muslim-majority countries have faced vociferous demands from their religious groups and political parties for immediate adoption of sharia as the sole, or at least primary legal framework.[123] Some moderates and liberal scholars within these Muslim countries have argued for limited expansion of sharia.[124]

With the growing muslim immigrant communities in Europe, there have been reports in some media of “no-go zones” being established where sharia law reigns supreme.[125][126] However, there is no evidence of the existence of “no-go zones”, and these allegations are sourced from anti-immigrant groups falsely equating low-income neighborhoods predominantly inhabited by immigrants as “no-go zones.”[127][128]

Enforcement

Main articles: Islamic religious police and Hisbah

Sharia is enforced in Islamic nations in a number of ways, including mutaween and hisbah.[citation needed]

The mutaween (Arabic: المطوعين، مطوعيةmuṭawwiʿīn, muṭawwiʿiyyah)[129] are the government-authorized or government-recognized religious police (or clericalpolice) of Saudi Arabia. Elsewhere, enforcement of Islamic values in accordance with sharia is the responsibility of Polisi Perda Syariah Islam in Aceh province ofIndonesia,[130] Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Gaza Strip) in parts of Palestine, and Basiji Force in Iran.[131]

Official from the Department ofPropagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, beating a woman inAfghanistan for violating local interpretation of sharia.[132][133]

Hisbah (Arabic: حسبةḥisb(ah), or hisba) is a historic Islamic doctrine which means “accountability”.[134] Hisbah doctrine holds that it is a religious obligation of every Muslim that he or she report to the ruler (Sultan, government authorities) any wrong behavior of a neighbor or relative that violates sharia or insults Islam. The doctrine states that it is the divinely sanctioned duty of the ruler to intervene when such charges are made, and coercively “command right and forbid wrong” in order to keep everything in order according to sharia.[135][136][137] Some Salafist suggest that enforcement of sharia under the Hisbah doctrine is the sacred duty of all Muslims, not just rulers.[135] The doctrine of Hisbah in Islam has traditionally allowed any Muslim to accuse another Muslim, ex-Muslim or non-Muslim for beliefs or behavior that may harm Islamic society. This principle has been used in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and others to bring blasphemy charges against apostates.[138]For example, in Egypt, sharia was enforced on the Muslim scholar Nasr Abu Zayd, through the doctrine of Hasbah, when he committed apostasy.[139][140] Similarly, in Nigeria, after twelve northern Muslim-majority states such as Kano adopted sharia-based penal code between 1999 and 2000, hisbah became the allowed method of sharia enforcement, where all Muslim citizens could police compliance of moral order based on sharia.[141] In Aceh province of Indonesia, Islamic vigilante activists have invoked Hasbah doctrine to enforce sharia on fellow Muslims as well as demanding non-Muslims to respect sharia.[142]Hisbah has been used in many Muslim majority countries, from Morocco to Egypt and in West Asia to enforce sharia restrictions on blasphemy and criticism of Islam over internet and social media.[143][144][145]

Legal and court proceedings

Sharia judicial proceedings have significant differences from other legal traditions, including those in both common law and civil law. Sharia courts traditionally do not rely on lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system. There is no pre-trial discoveryprocess, and no cross-examination of witnesses. Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents[146][147] under the principle of stare decisis,[148]and unlike civil law, sharia is left to the interpretation in each case and has no formally codified universal statutes.[149]

The rules of evidence in sharia courts also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony.[150] Witnesses, in a sharia court system, must be faithful, that is Muslim.[151] Male Muslim witnesses are deemed more reliable than female Muslim witnesses, and non-Muslim witnesses considered unreliable and receive no priority in a sharia court.[152][153] In civil cases, a Muslim woman witness is considered half the worth and reliability than a Muslim man witness.[154][155] In criminal cases, women witnesses are unacceptable in stricter, traditional interpretations of sharia, such as those found in Hanbali madhhab.[151]

Criminal cases

A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of Muslim witnesses are the main evidence admissible, in sharia courts, for hudud crimes, that is the religious crimes of adultery, fornication, rape, accusing someone of illicit sex but failing to prove it, apostasy, drinking intoxicants and theft.[156][157][158] Testimony must be from at least two free Muslim male witnesses, or one Muslim male and two Muslim females, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character. Testimony to establish the crime of adultery, fornication or rape must be from four Muslim male witnesses, with some fiqhs allowing substitution of up to three male with six female witnesses; however, at least one must be a Muslim male.[159] Forensic evidence (i.e., fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.[160][161]

Muslim jurists have debated whether and when coerced confession and coerced witnesses are acceptable. The majority opinion of jurists in the Hanafi madhhab, for example, ruled that torture to get evidence is acceptable and such evidence is valid, but a 17th-century text by Hanafi jurist Muhammad Shaykhzade argued that coerced confession should be invalid; Shaykhzade acknowledged that beating to get confession has been authorized in fatwas by many Islamic jurists.[162]

Civil cases

Quran recommends written contracts in the case of debt-related transactions, and oral contracts for commercial and other civil contracts.[155][163] Marriage is solemnized as a written financial contract, in the presence of two Muslim male witnesses, and it includes a brideprice (Mahr) payable from a Muslim man to a Muslim woman. The brideprice is considered by a sharia court as a form of debt. Written contracts are paramount, in sharia courts, in the matters of dispute that are debt-related, which includes marriage contracts.[164] Written contracts in debt-related cases, when notarized by a judge, is deemed more reliable.[165]

In commercial and civil contracts, such as those relating to exchange of merchandise, agreement to supply or purchase goods or property, and others, oral contracts and the testimony of Muslim witnesses triumph over written contracts. Sharia system has held that written commercial contracts may be forged.[165][166]Timur Kuran states that the treatment of written evidence in religious courts in Islamic regions created an incentive for opaque transactions, and the avoidance of written contracts in economic relations. This led to a continuation of a “largely oral contracting culture” in Muslim nations and communities.[166][167]

In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.[168] Taking an oath for Muslims can be a grave act; one study of courts in Morocco found that lying litigants would often “maintain their testimony ‘right up to the moment of oath-taking and then to stop, refuse the oath, and surrender the case.”[169] Accordingly, defendants are not routinely required to swear before testifying, which would risk casually profaning the Quran should the defendant commit perjury;[169] instead oaths are a solemn procedure performed as a final part of the evidence process.

Sentencing
Main article: Diyya

Sharia courts treat women and men as unequal, with Muslim woman’s life and blood-money compensation sentence (Diyya) as half as that of a Muslim man’s life.[170][171] Sharia also treats Muslims and non-Muslims as unequal in the sentencing process.[172] Human Rights Watch and United States’ Religious Freedom Report note that in sharia courts of Saudi Arabia, “The calculation of accidental death or injury compensation is discriminatory. In the event a court renders a judgment in favor of a plaintiff who is a Jewish or Christian male, the plaintiff is only entitled to receive 50 percent of the compensation a Muslim male would receive; all other non-Muslims [Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Atheists] are only entitled to receive one-sixteenth of the amount a male Muslim would receive”.[173][174][175]

Saudi Arabia follows Hanbali sharia, whose historic jurisprudence texts considered a Christian or Jew life as half the worth of a Muslim. Jurists of other schools of law in Islam have ruled differently. For example, Shafi’i sharia considers a Christian or Jew life as a third the worth of a Muslim, and Maliki‘s sharia considers it worth half.[172] The legal schools of Hanafi, Maliki and Shafi’i Sunni Islam as well as those of twelver Shia Islam have considered the life of polytheists and atheists as one-fifteenth the value of a Muslim during sentencing.[172]

Support

Anti-democracy, pro-Sharia public demonstration in 2014 in Maldives.

A 2013 survey based on interviews of 38,000 Muslims, randomly selected from urban and rural parts in 39 countries using area probability designs, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that support for making sharia the official law of the land is very high in many Muslim-majority countries: Afghanistan (99%), Iraq (91%), Niger (86%), Malaysia (86%), Pakistan (84%), Morocco (83%), Bangladesh (82%), Egypt (74%), Indonesia (72%), Jordan (71%), Uganda (66%), Ethiopia (65%), Mali (63%), Ghana (58%), and Tunisia (56%).[176] In Muslim regions of Southern-Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the support is less then 50%: Kosovo (20%), Albania (12%), Russia (42%), Kyrgyzstan (35%), Tajikistan (27%), Turkey (12%), Azerbaijan (8%).[176]

In Muslim-majority countries and among Muslims who say sharia should be the law of the land, a percentage between 74% (Egypt) and 19% (Kazakhstan) want sharia law to apply to non-Muslims as well.[177]

A 2008 YouGov poll in the United Kingdom found 40% of Muslim students interviewed wanted sharia in British law.[178]

Since the 1970s, the Islamist movements have become prominent; their goals are the establishment of Islamic states and sharia not just within their own borders; their means are political in nature. The Islamist power base is the millions of poor, particularly urban poor moving into the cities from the countryside. They are not international in nature (one exception being the Muslim Brotherhood). Their rhetoric opposes western culture and western power.[179] Political groups wishing to return to more traditional Islamic values are the source of threat to Turkey’s secular government.[179] These movements can be considered neo-Sharism.[180]

Extremism

Fundamentalists, wishing to return to basic Islamic religious values and law, have in some instances imposed harsh sharia punishments for crimes, curtailed civil rights and violated human rights. Extremists have used the Quran and their own particular version of sharia to justify acts of war and terror against Muslim as well as non-Muslim individuals and governments, using alternate, conflicting interpretations of sharia and their notions of jihad.[181][182]

The sharia basis of arguments of those advocating terrorism, however, remain controversial. Some scholars state that Islamic law prohibits the killing of civilian non-combatants; in contrast, others interpret Islamic law differently, concluding that all means are legitimate to reach their aims, including targeting Muslim non-combatants and the mass killing of non-Muslim civilians, in order to universalize Islam.[181] Islam, in these interpretations, “does not make target differences between militaries and civilians but between Muslims and unbelievers. Therefore it is legitimated (sic) to spill civilians’ blood”.[181] Other scholars of Islam, interpret sharia differently, stating, according to Engeland-Nourai, “attacking innocent people is not courageous; it is stupid and will be punished on the Day of Judgment […]. It’s not courageous to attack innocent children, women and civilians. It is courageous to protect freedom; it is courageous to defend one and not to attack”.[181][183]

Criticism

A protester opposing the Park51project, carries an anti-sharia sign.

Compatibility with democracy

Further information: Islamic ethics, Islam and democracy, Shura and Ijma

Ali Khan states that “constitutional orders founded on the principles of sharia are fully compatible with democracy, provided that religious minorities are protected and the incumbent Islamic leadership remains committed to the right to recall”.[184][185]Other scholars say sharia is not compatible with democracy, particularly where the country’s constitution demands separation of religion and the democratic state.[186][187]

Courts in non-Muslim majority nations have generally ruled against the implementation of sharia, both in jurisprudence and within a community context, based on sharia’s religious background. In Muslim nations, sharia has wide support with some exceptions.[188] For example, in 1998 the Constitutional Court of Turkey banned and dissolved Turkey’s Refah Party on the grounds that “Democracy is the antithesis of Sharia”, the latter of which Refah sought to introduce.[189][190]

On appeal by Refah the European Court of Human Rights determined that “sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”.[191][192][193] Refah’s sharia-based notion of a “plurality of legal systems, grounded on religion” was ruled to contravene the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It was determined that it would “do away with the State’s role as the guarantor of individual rights and freedoms” and “infringe the principle of non-discrimination between individuals as regards their enjoyment of public freedoms, which is one of the fundamental principles of democracy”.[194]

Human rights

Several major, predominantly Muslim countries have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for its perceived failure to take into account the cultural and religious context of non-Western countries. Iran declared in the UN assembly that UDHR was “a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition”, which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.[195] Islamic scholars and Islamist political parties consider ‘universal human rights’ arguments as imposition of a non-Muslim culture on Muslim people, a disrespect of customary cultural practices and of Islam.[196][197] In 1990, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group representing all Muslim majority nations, met in Cairo to respond to the UDHR, then adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.[198][199]

Ann Elizabeth Mayer points to notable absences from the Cairo Declaration: provisions for democratic principles, protection for religious freedom, freedom of association and freedom of the press, as well as equality in rights and equal protection under the law. Article 24 of the Cairo declaration states that “all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic shari’a“.[200]

In 2009, the journal Free Inquiry summarized the criticism of the Cairo Declaration in an editorial: “We are deeply concerned with the changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a coalition of Islamic states within the United Nations that wishes to prohibit any criticism of religion and would thus protect Islam’s limited view of human rights. In view of the conditions inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Bangdalesh, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we should expect that at the top of their human rights agenda would be to rectify the legal inequality of women, the suppression of political dissent, the curtailment of free expression, the persecution of ethnic minorities and religious dissenters — in short, protecting their citizens from egregious human rights violations. Instead, they are worrying about protecting Islam.”[201]

H. Patrick Glenn states that sharia is structured around the concept of mutual obligations of a collective, and it considers individual human rights as potentially disruptive and unnecessary to its revealed code of mutual obligations. In giving priority to this religious collective rather than individual liberty, the Islamic law justifies the formal inequality of individuals (women, non-Islamic people).[202] Bassam Tibi states that sharia framework and human rights are incompatible.[203] Abdel al-Hakeem Carney, in contrast, states that sharia is misunderstood from a failure to distinguish sharia from siyasah (politics).[204]

Freedom of speech

Blasphemy in Islam is any form of cursing, questioning or annoying God, Muhammad or anything considered sacred in Islam.[205][206][207] The sharia of various Islamic schools of jurisprudence specify different punishment for blasphemy against Islam, by Muslims and non-Muslims, ranging from imprisonment, fines, flogging, amputation, hanging, or beheading.[205][208][209] In some cases, sharia allows non-Muslims to escape death by converting and becoming a devout follower of Islam.[210]

Blasphemy, as interpreted under sharia, is controversial. Muslim nations have petitioned the United Nations to limit “freedom of speech” because “unrestricted and disrespectful opinion against Islam creates hatred”.[211] Other nations, in contrast, consider blasphemy laws as violation of “freedom of speech”,[212] stating that freedom of expression is essential to empowering both Muslims and non-Muslims, and point to the abuse of blasphemy laws, where hundreds, often members of religious minorities, are being lynched, killed and incarcerated in Muslim nations, on flimsy accusations of insulting Islam.[213][214]

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

According to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights,[215] every human has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change their religion or belief. Sharia has been criticized for not recognizing this human right. According to scholars[19][216][217] of Islamic law, the applicable rules for religious conversion under sharia are as follows:

  • If a person converts to Islam, or is born and raised as a Muslim, then he or she will have full rights of citizenship in an Islamic state.[218]
  • Leaving Islam is a sin and a religious crime. Once any man or woman is officially classified as Muslim, because of birth or religious conversion, he or she will be subject to the death penalty if he or she becomes an apostate, that is, abandons his or her faith in Islam in order to become an atheist, agnostic or to convert to another religion. Before executing the death penalty, sharia demands that the individual be offered one chance to return to Islam.[218]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is not a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), he or she can live in an Islamic state by accepting to be a dhimmi, or under a special permission called aman. As a dhimmi or under aman, he or she will suffer certain limitations of rights as a subject of an Islamic state, and will not enjoy complete legal equality with Muslims.[218]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), sharia demands that he or she should be offered the choice to convert to Islam and become a Muslim; if he or she rejects the offer, he or she may become a dhimmi. failure to pay the tax may lead the non-muslim to either be enslaved, killed or ransomed if captured.[218]

According to sharia theory, conversion of disbelievers and non-Muslims to Islam is encouraged as a religious duty for all Muslims, and leaving Islam (apostasy), expressing contempt for Islam (blasphemy), and religious conversion of Muslims is prohibited.[219][220] Not all Islamic scholars agree with this interpretation of sharia theory. In practice, as of 2011, 20 Islamic nations had laws declaring apostasy from Islam as illegal and a criminal offense. Such laws are incompatible with the UDHR’s requirement of freedom of thought, conscience and religion.[221][222][223][224] In another 2013 report based on international survey of religious attitudes, more than 50% of Muslim population in 6 out of 49 Islamic countries supported death penalty for any Muslim who leaves Islam (apostasy).[225][226] However it is also shown that the majority of Muslims in the 43 nations surveyed did not agree with this interpretation of sharia.

Some scholars claim sharia allows religious freedom because a Shari’a verse teaches, “there is no compulsion in religion.”[227] Other scholars claim sharia recognizes only one proper religion, considers apostasy as sin punishable with death, and members of other religions as kafir (infidel);[228] or hold that Shari’a demands that all apostates and kafir must be put to death, enslaved or be ransomed.[229][230][231][232] Yet other scholars suggest that Shari’a has become a product of human interpretation and inevitably leads to disagreements about the “precise contents of the Shari’a.” In the end, then, what is being applied is not sharia, but what a particular group of clerics and government decide is sharia. It is these differing interpretations of Shari’a that explain why many Islamic countries have laws that restrict and criminalize apostasy, proselytism and their citizens’ freedom of conscience and religion.[233][234]

LGBT rights

Main article: LGBT in Islam

Homosexual intercourse is illegal under sharia law, though the prescribed penalties differ from one school of jurisprudence to another. For example, only a few Muslim-majority countries impose the death penalty for acts perceived as sodomy and homosexual activities: Iran,[235] Saudi Arabia,[236] and Somalia.[237] In other Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Iraq, and the Indonesian province of Aceh,[238] same-sex sexual acts are illegal,[239] and LGBT people regularly face violence and discrimination.[240]

Women

Domestic violence

Many scholars[20][241] claim Shari’a law encourages domestic violence against women, when a husband suspects nushuz (disobedience, disloyalty, rebellion, ill conduct) in his wife.[242] Other scholars claim wife beating, for nashizah, is not consistent with modern perspectives of the Quran.[243]

One of the verses of the Quran relating to permissibility of domestic violence is Surah 4:34.[244][245] In deference to Surah 4:34, many nations with Shari’a law have refused to consider or prosecute cases of domestic abuse.[246][247][248][249] Shari’a has been criticized for ignoring women’s rights in domestic abuse cases.[250][251][252][253] Musawah, CEDAW, KAFA and other organizations have proposed ways to modify Shari’a-inspired laws to improve women’s rights in Islamic nations, including women’s rights in domestic abuse cases.[254][255][256][257]

Personal status laws and child marriag

Shari’a is the basis for personal status laws in most Islamic majority nations. These personal status laws determine rights of women in matters of marriage, divorce and child custody. A 2011 UNICEF report concludes that Shari’a law provisions are discriminatory against women from a human rights perspective. In legal proceedings under Shari’a law, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s before a court.[154]

Except for Iran, Lebanon and Bahrain which allow child marriages, the civil code in Islamic majority countries do not allow child marriage of girls. However, with Shari’a personal status laws, Shari’a courts in all these nations have the power to override the civil code. The religious courts permit girls less than 18 years old to marry. As of 2011, child marriages are common in a few Middle Eastern countries, accounting for 1 in 6 all marriages in Egypt and 1 in 3 marriages in Yemen.UNICEF and other studies state that the top five nations in the world with highest observed child marriage rates — Niger (75%), Chad (72%), Mali (71%), Bangladesh (64%), Guinea (63%) — are Islamic-majority countries where the personal laws for Muslims are sharia-based.[258][259]

Rape is considered a crime in all countries, but Shari’a courts in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia in some cases allow a rapist to escape punishment by marrying his victim, while in other cases the victim who complains is often prosecuted with the crime of Zina (adultery).[154][260][261]

Women’s right to property and consent

Sharia grants women the right to inherit property from other family members, and these rights are detailed in the Quran.[262] A woman’s inheritance is unequal and less than a man’s, and dependent on many factors.[Quran 4:12][263] For instance, a daughter’s inheritance is usually half that of her brother’s.[Quran 4:11][263]

Until the 20th century, Islamic law granted Muslim women certain legal rights, such as the right to own property received as Mahr (brideprice) at her marriage, that Western legal systems did not grant to women.[264][265] However, Islamic law does not grant non-Muslim women the same legal rights as the few it did grant Muslim women. Sharia recognizes the basic inequality between master and women slave, between free women and slave women, between Believers and non-Believers, as well as their unequal rights.[266][267] Sharia authorized the institution of slavery, using the words abd (slave) and the phrase ma malakat aymanukum (“that which your right hand owns”) to refer to women slaves, seized as captives of war.[266][268] Under Islamic law, Muslim men could have sexual relations with female captives and slaves without her consent.[269][270]

Slave women under sharia did not have a right to own property, right to free movement or right to consent.[271][272] Sharia, in Islam’s history, provided religious foundation for enslaving non-Muslim women (and men), as well as encouraged slave’s manumission. However, manumission required that the non-Muslim slave first convert to Islam.[273][274] Non-Muslim slave women who bore children to their Muslim masters became legally free upon her master’s death, and her children were presumed to be Muslims as their father, in Africa,[273] and elsewhere.[275]

Starting with the 20th century, Western legal systems evolved to expand women’s rights, but women’s rights under Islamic law have remained tied to Quran, hadiths and their faithful interpretation as sharia by Islamic jurists.[270][276]

Parallels with Western legal systems

Elements of Islamic law have influenced western legal systems. As example, the influence of Islamic influence on the development of an international law of the sea” can be discerned alongside that of the Roman influence.[277]

Makdisi states Islamic law also influenced the legal scholastic system of the West.[278] The study of legal text and degrees have parallels between Islamic studies of sharia and the Western system of legal studies. For example, the status of faqih (meaning “master of law“), mufti (meaning “professor of legal opinions“) andmudarris (meaning “teacher”), which were later translated into Latin as magister, professor and doctor respectively.[278]

There are differences between Islamic and Western legal systems. For example, sharia classically recognizes only natural persons, and never developed the concept of a legal person, or corporation, i.e., a legal entity that limits the liabilities of its managers, shareholders, and employees; exists beyond the lifetimes of its founders; and that can own assets, sign contracts, and appear in court through representatives.[279] Interest prohibitions also imposed secondary costs by discouraging record keeping, and delaying the introduction of modern accounting.[280] Such factors, according to Timur Kuran, have played a significant role in retarding economic development in the Middle East.[281]

See also

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia

Ben Carson says no Muslim should ever become US president

  • 2016 hopeful: ‘I would not advocate we put a Muslim in charge of this nation’
  • Retired neurosurgeon says Islam is not consistent with US constitution

The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has said no Muslim should be president of the United States of America.

In an interview with NBC for broadcast on Sunday morning, the retired neurosurgeon said: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson’s discussion with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd centered around controversy that arose this week when Donald Trump – the real-estate mogul keeping Carson in second place in the polls – failed to correct an audience member at a New Hampshire campaign rally who said President Obama was a Muslim.

The audience member also appeared to advocate the forcible removal of Muslims from the US.

On Saturday, in a series of tweets on the subject, Trump defended himself and said: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!”
Trump: I was not obligated to correct questioner who called Obama Muslim
Read more
He also addressed the issue in an appearance before an evangelical audience in Iowa, at which he brandished a Bible and said: “You see, I’m better than you thought.”

In such circles, Trump has lost some support to Carson.

In his NBC interview, Carson was asked: “So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?”

“No,” he said, “I don’t, I do not.”

Article VI of the US constitution states: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

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The first amendment to the constitution begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Carson, a Christian, is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church. In October, he will publish a new book, written with his wife Candy Carson and entitled A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties.

In publicity material issued by Penguin Random House, Carson is quoted as saying: “I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the US constitution.

“And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the constitution isn’t brain surgery.

He adds that he and his wife wrote the book to “help defend” the constitution “from those who misinterpret and undermine it”.

Carson did have a constituency to speak to, however. In a recent poll, 38% of voters said they would not vote for a Muslim president.
Quiet rise of Ben Carson is shaking up Republican presidential race
Read more
The Ohio governor, John Kasich, who is polling an average of 2.5%, enough for 10th place out of 16, was also asked by NBC if he “would ever have a problem with a Muslim becoming president”.

Kasich, one of the more moderate candidates in the GOP field, also had to field a question about whether he was a Republican at all. He did not say he would have a problem with a Muslim president, but nor did he dismiss the question.

“You know, I mean, that’s such a hypothetical question,” Kasich said. “The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigours, and people will look at everything.

“But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing, and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”

Carson was also asked if he would consider voting for a Muslim candidate for Congress.

He said: “Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know.”

Two members of Congress, both Democrats, are Muslim: Keith Ellison of Minnesota was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and André Carson of Indiana followed in 2008.

Every American should be disturbed … national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry
Representative Keith Ellison
This week, Ellison carried a clock around Congress to show support for Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old boy who was arrested at his school in Irving, Texas, over suspicions a homemade clock was in fact a bomb.

On Sunday Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, released a statement in answer to Carson’s comments.

“For Ben Carson, Donald Trump, or any other Republican politician to suggest that someone of any faith is unfit for office is out of touch with who we are as a people,” he said.

“It’s unimaginable that the leading GOP presidential candidates are resorting to fear mongering to benefit their campaigns, and every American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry.”

 

Ahmed Mohamed is tired, excited to meet Obama – and wants his clock back
Read more
According to the Pew Research Center, the 114th Congress contains 491 Christians, of which 306 are Protestant, split between 13 sects though without any declared Anabaptists, Quakers or Pietists.

Another 164 members of Congress are Catholic, while 16 are Mormon and five Orthodox Christian. As well as the two Muslims there are 28 Jewish and two Buddhist members of Congress; there is one Hindu member, one Unitarian Universalist and one “unaffiliated”.

Nine members of Congress either told the Pew researchers they didn’t know what religion they were, or refused to answer the question.

On Meet the Press, Carson continued: “And, you know, if there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them.”

Asked if he believed President Obama was both born in the US – another issue raised at the Trump rally on Thursday and not rebutted by the candidate – and a Christian, Carson said: “I believe that he is. I have no reason to doubt what he says.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/20/ben-carson-no-muslim-us-president-trump-obama

Carson says he does not agree with a Muslim being elected president

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson suggested Sunday that a Muslim should not be president, extending the new and unexpected religion debate on the 2016 campaign trail.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Carson, a Christian and retired neurosurgeon, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson, a top-tier 2016 candidate and popular among the GOP’s evangelical wing, made the statement after fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump was addressed by a man during a rally Thursday in New Hampshire who said President Obama is a Muslim.

“We have a problem in this country,” the unidentified man said. “It’s called Muslim. … You know our current president is one.”

Obama says he is a Christian. But Trump has declined to address the issue, saying he is not “morally obligated” to set straight the record.

Carson also described the Islamic faith as inconsistent with the Constitution. However, he did not specify in what way Islam ran counter to constitutional principles.

Carson said he believes Obama is a Christian and has “no reason to doubt what he says.”

He also said he would consider voting for a Muslim running for Congress, depending on “who that Muslim is and what their policies are.”

Carson also made a distinction when it came to electing Muslims to Congress, calling it a “different story” from the presidency that “depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says.”

Congress has two Muslim members, Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana.

“If there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them,” Carson said.

Trump on Sunday told ABC’s “This Week” that he doesn’t talk about other people’s faith and that Obama is “very capable of defending himself.”

He also said the politically correct statement is that Muslims are not a problem in the United States but the reality is that “some” associated with terrorism pose a worldwide threat.

“We can say … everything’s wonderful,” Trump said. “But certainly it is a problem. … if I want to say no, not at all, people would laugh at me.”

Fellow GOP contender and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told ABC about the Muslim debate: “This has nothing to do with the future of our country. These issues have been discussed ad nauseam over the last few years. It’s a big waste of time. Barack Obama will not be president in a year and a half. It’s time to start talking about the future of America and the people that are at home.”

Carson’s comments drew strong criticism from the country’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“To me this really means he is not qualified to be president of the United States,” said the group’s spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper. “You cannot hold these kinds of views and at the same time say you will represent all Americans, of all faiths and backgrounds.”

Hooper said the Constitution expressly forbids religious tests for those seeking public office and called for the repudiation of “these un-American comments.”

In a separate appearance on NBC, fellow 2016 GOP candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was asked whether he would have a problem with a Muslim in the White House.

“The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigors, and people will look at everything. But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who taped Sunday an episode of Iowa Press, an Iowa Public Television program, was asked if he agreed with Carson’s statements on Muslims being president. “The Constitution specifies that there shall be no religious test for public office, and I am a constitutionalist,” Cruz said.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “It’s hard to understand what’s so difficult about supporting an American citizen’s right to run for president.

“But unsurprisingly, this left Republicans scratching their heads. Of course a Muslim, or any other American citizen, can run for president, end of story.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/09/21/carson-suggests-muslim-should-not-be-elected-president/

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Trump Is Not A Conservative Nor A Liberal, But He Is An American Speaking And Advocating What The American People Are Demanding A New Direction For The Country and Make America Great Again Starting with Enforcing Immigration Law — Deal with It Political Elitist Establishment (PEEs) of Democratic and Republican Parties — Trump is Going To Win! — President Trump You Are Hired! — Videos

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Story 1: Trump Is Not A Conservative Nor A Liberal, But He Is An American Speaking And Advocating What The American People Are Demanding A New Direction For The Country and Make America Great Again Starting with Enforcing Immigration Law — Deal with It Political Elitist Establishment (PEEs) of Democratic and Republican Parties — Trump is Going To Win! — President Trump You Are Hired! — Videos

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trump cover 2

make america great again

 embroidered-donald-trump-hat-make-america-great-again-1

Donald Trump Gives Wildly Entertaining Speech in Nashville, TN (8-29-15)

Highlights of Donald Trump’s wildly entertaining speech in Nashville, TN at the 2015 NFRA Presidential Preference Convention, which took place on August 29, 2015.

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fair_tax_bookthe_truth_fairtaxgood_evil_taxes

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Is it fair for rich people to get the same prebate as poor people?

How does the FairTax impact the middle class?

How does the FairTax impact savings?

What is the impact of the FairTax on business?

Will the FairTax lead to a massive underground economy?

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Donald Trump and Ann Coulter Hold Rally in Iowa (FULL)

Mr. Trump’s 757

Hitler reacts to Donald Trump’s presidential bid

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Ann Coulter Introduces Donald Trump at Iowa Speech, 2016 Presidential Campaign Rally 8 25

Victor Davis Hanson: War in the Post Modern World – why the new laws of conflict are surreal

What Makes Donald Run?

by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON September 1, 2015

He’s giving fed-up Republicans something other candidates are not.

Donald Trump has at least three things going for him. One, the mood of the country remains foul and fed-up — and volatile to the point that conventional wisdom is hardly reliable. Two, Trump has turned invective and narcissism into an art form, and his simplistic putdowns seem to garner ever more attention even as they become more monotonous and banal — largely because they are directed at a despised media elite. Three, the Democratic party is in worse shape than the Republican party. Apparently Trump’s attacks can still safely be savored as long as the Democrats are imploding.

Trump’s successes have come about not because of a brilliant new Contract with America or because he is reassuringly conservative on the issues. His diehard supporters — and even those who would never confess that they derive a perverse and stealthy delight from watching him put down the New York/Washington political and journalistic elite — don’t care that just in the last decade he has flipped on all the issues. They apparently ignore the fact that Trump is often self-contradictory, as he wings his way through endless interviews and blustery press conferences.

What fuels his candidacy is attitude — in particular, disdain for those who undeservedly believe they warrant deference. Behind the bombast and the waving hands, he gives the impression of having contempt for the ruling class, of which he is so intimately a part. He winks at us as if to say, “I hang out with these people, and, trust me, they are even worse than you suspect.” His voice has the brash accents of the New York sidewalk, rather than a passive-aggressive Ivy League modulation. His narcissism is unlike Barack Obama’s serious sort (e.g., “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director”). Indeed, Trump’s egotism is a caricature of narcissism itself, in which the only adjectives are superlatives and the only measure of being “great” and “a winner” is net worth or celebrity. Yet somehow TRUMP plastered over everything does not bother people as much as Barack Obama’s faux-Greek columns, Latinate mottos, and promises to cool the cosmos.

After nearly seven years of Obama, the public is worn out by sanctimoniousness — by all the Professor Gates/Trayvon Martin/Ferguson lectures on race by an abject racialist, by all the sermons on climate change by a global jet-setter, by all the community-organizing banality by one who always has preferred the private school and the tony neighborhood, by all the us-versus-the-1-percent warfare by one who feels at home on the golf course only with celebrities and stock hounds. Given all that, the Republican base, at least for a few more weeks, wants someone to be unapologetically unacceptable — both to the liberal establishment that Obama ushered in, and to the wink-and-nod elite Republican opposition.

It is said that Trump appeals most to the pissed-off white man of yesteryear. Perhaps. But in the age of a multiracial United States it is more proper to say than he appeals to the infuriated targets of elite disdain, people who are tired of Democratic slurs about “tired old white men” — as the exempt white and (most of them) old Sanders, Biden, O’Malley, and Webb wait for a mature white woman to fade, while hoping that other old white men like Kerry, Gore, and Brown don’t wade in.

Trumpers are tired of a Republican establishment warning them — even if presciently so — that enforcement of federal immigration law is impossible because of the Latino vote, that even demanding a simple ID at the polling place may alienate the black vote, that stopping federal funding to the grotesque Planned Parenthood will lose the female vote, and that not rushing in to sanctify gay marriage will turn off gay voters. Rank-and-file Republicans are worn out from being lectured that no one can win without the Latino vote (10 percent of the electorate), the black vote (12 percent), and the Asian vote (5 percent ) — all on the premise that to speak in similar terms about getting a large chunk of the white vote (70 percent ) would be somehow racist. There is something Ajaxian, then — something of the Charge of the Light Brigade or the last scene in Breaker Morant — inherent in the Trump call to make America great again.

Telejournalists recycle the trite wisdom that with today’s electorate Trump must lose because he will not garner x percentages of y racial-block voters. They don’t have a clue that the Democratic party — in its worst shape since the 1920s — is in danger of nullifying such racial calculations by creating a white voting block not seen in the modern era. If it is true that Trump probably cannot win unless he takes somewhere around 62 percent of the white vote (depending on the particular state), it is also true that the next Democrat probably cannot win without 40 percent of it. Any of the Democrats is just as much in danger of not reaching 40 percent as Trump is of not reaching 62 percent.

Trump’s trademark is venom directed against the “elite.” But is not Trump a member of the elite himself? Yes, but that is the point. The public has less problem with the brash, take-no-prisoners plutocrat than with the current feuding Hatfields and McCoys of the Ivy League–trained stable, the Medici-like intermarriages between D.C./New York politicians and journalists, and the hip world of the metrosexual that serves up our entertainment and news.

So a public far larger than just the Tea Party was ready for a populist grandstander. And Trump so far has managed to make real outliers — non-establishment political mavericks like Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and Chris Christie, who were the choices of the Tea Party movements just a fortnight ago — look like Eric Cantor/Mitch McConnell company men. That such gifted conservative politicos are considered functionaries is abjectly unfair, but it is nonetheless the jaded perception so far of much of the Republican electorate.

Trump sized up a favorable landscape in 2015–16, and he grasped that the dissatisfaction arose from more than Obama’s profligate borrowing, amnesties, no-growth economic policies, lead-from-behind and reset foreign policies, and hands-up-don’t-shoot racial posturing. The populist furor was also fueled by style. Voters are tired of the DNA of professional politicians, the 24/7 politically correct equivocation, the “I take full responsibility” media pseudo-apology, and the Pajama Boy nasal snarkiness.

Trump has had the skills to turn the primary campaign so far into a war of raw emotion. He channels General George S. Patton — who practiced his facial expressions in front of the mirror and whose line about preferring to kill rather than die for your country Trump recalibrated in his tasteless attack on John McCain. Trump understands that an army really does not march just on its stomach, but is fueled by its emotions.

Recently I asked three quite different Americans — who, on ordinary calculations, should not like Trump — what they thought of him. The first s a local Mexican-American barber. He could offer no logical rationale for his enjoyment of the Trump candidacy other than that Trump is a “jefe” — a big man who gets things done by any means necessary, a crew boss to the world. I sensed that there was also an embarrassed weariness with illegal immigration.

We talk of Latino voters as hating Trump, and some may. But some Latinos are at Ground Zero of illegal immigration. Whereas their elite leaders see profit in millions of Mexicans trekking into the United States, the less well connected see only their local emergency rooms overwhelmed, their jails full, their social services breaking under the influx, and their schools turned into remediation in both English and Spanish.

Another person I quizzed about Trump is a seasoned, though cynical, PhD. His take? Trump is Maximus, and the primary campaign is his arena: We are all thumbs-up/thumbs-down spectators who enjoy the blood sport.

This man plans to jump ship, but not until Trump’s ship is capsizing and there is a nice raft alongside.

The third is a middle-aged professional woman, nominally a Democrat, whose attitude can be summed up as “touché.” The reactive Trump is quite savvy in his selected feuds with supposed untouchables, whom the public occasionally would like to see touched. John McCain started that attacks on Trump, and previously had waved the bloody shirt a bit too much; Megyn Kelly is a bit more than a fine professional journalist and capable legal scholar, at least in the way she dresses and preps for the camera; and Jorge Ramos is a hipper version of an obnoxious Howard Dean, snickering and bloviating ad nauseam. Trump, then, is leveling the playing field for the exhausted TV viewer. His welcome attacks turn our attention away from his own considerable liabilities — as long as he can continue to select objects and methodologies of attack that entertain.

All the above is no reason to become enthusiastic about Trump, but no reason to turn him off quite yet either.

Then there is Trump himself. Any businessman who can become or even remain a billionaire in today’s climate in any field other than banking, trading, or insuring is necessarily talented. Most stars cannot sustain a TV reality show for more than a year or two, much less 14 — proof that Trump has both acting talent and entertainment savvy. It is easy to mock Trump’s hair and sprayed-on tan, but at 69 he seems healthier and more robust to the eye than many who are ten years younger. We forget his age: If he were elected in 2016, he would be the oldest president to be inaugurated and the first since Dwight Eisenhower (whose prior politics likewise were murky) to be elected to the presidency without having held political office before. The supposedly far more seasoned, and slightly younger, Hillary Clinton in comparison comes across as inept, crabby, sarcastic, and a decade older. In other words, in terms of the political assets of our wired age — money, media savvy, celebrity, showmanship, looks, and vigor — Trump is a fit for the times.

For a few weeks longer, Republicans can safely enjoy Trump even as pundits and politicos gnash their teeth in terror that his no-brakes locomotive has too much momentum to be sidetracked. But remember that, so far, the front-running Trump is not fearing an indictment, avoiding reporters, calling his political rivals terrorists, or evoking the Holocaust through references to boxcars — and the alternatives, like Rubio, Walker, Carson, Fiorina, and Kasich, are not socialists unregistered in the Republican party. Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Bob Dole are not waiting in the wings. So Trump can snort and rampage through the china shop, because much of the merchandise is still tottering on the shelf. In the Democrats’ case, the shards are already on the floor.

If Trump brings catharsis for the smoldering anger of the base, if the other candidates appropriate some of Trump’s slash-and-burn style but accompany it with a coherent agenda, if Trump gratuitously slurs yet another race/class/gender icon and confirms he is more a bully than a truth-teller, and if Hillary’s legal problems disappear, then Trump may go back to The Apprentice. But for a while longer that still seems a lot of ifs.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/423325/what-makes-donald-run

GOP circulates loyalty pledge to box Trump in

The move is viewed as an attempt to force the front-runner’s hand after his refusal to rule out a third-party bid.

The GOP is taking its most aggressive step yet to force Donald Trump’s hand.

The Republican National Committee on Wednesday privately reached out to GOP presidential candidates to ask whether they’d be willing to sign a pledge stating they would not run as an independent candidate in the event they fail to win the Republican nomination in 2016.

The move is an implicit challenge to Trump, who pointedly refused to rule out a third-party run during the first GOP debate. He was the only candidate who declined.

The language of the draft pledge speaks directly to the issue vexing Republicans – the possibility that the billionaire could choose to wage a third party bid if he fails to win the GOP nomination, a prospect that could seriously damage the GOP’s prospects of reclaiming the White House. Tapping into deep anti-establishment animosity among the conservative grassroots, Trump has surged to the lead of the deepest presidential field in recent memory. If Trump were to pull just a fraction of the vote as an independent, write-in or third party candidate, it could be enough to sink the eventual Republican nominee.

“I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is,” the pledge reads. “I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.”

At least two campaigns reported Wednesday that they received a call from Katie Walsh, RNC chief of staff, asking if they would be willing to sign such a pledge.

An RNC spokeswoman, Allison Moore, declined to comment. The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump and RNC chairman Reince Priebus are slated to meet in New York City on Thursday, a Trump spokeswoman confirmed. The two are also expected to appear at a press conference.

The relationship between the RNC and Trump has been fraught with tension since Trump joined the race this summer. Trump’s incendiary remarks about Mexicans and immigration have alarmed top Republicans who fear it will further alienate the fast-growing demographic and embarrass the party, leading Priebus to reach out to the billionaire in an attempt to convince him to tone down his rhetoric. But Trump turned the tables on Priebus and gave a contradictory account, insisting that the RNC chairman merely acknowledged that he had “hit a nerve” with the electorate.

Since then, with the billionaire mogul dominating the race for the party’s nomination, Republicans have taken a wary approach. Priebus virtually went dark on Trump following the real estate mogul’s pushback, declining to further fuel the discussion with public remarks. (Scheduled to make a post-debate appearance on CBS Face the Nation, Priebus abruptly pulled out after it became clear that the story of the weekend was Trump’s diatribe against Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.)

At first, the only candidates willing to confront Trump in a concerted fashion were those who did so out of a desperate need to remain relevant – the class of Trump antagonists largely consisted of the candidates struggling to make it into the Aug. 6 primetime debate. Since then, though, as rival campaigns became more convinced that Trump’s candidacy was more than a passing comet and destined to last through the early-voting states, more candidates have shown a willingness to criticize him.

In recent days, Jeb Bush has tangled frequently with Trump, responding to the businessman’s harsh attacks on him.

Other elements of the Republican Party have reckoned with Trump’s candidacy through ballot access requirements also designed to force Trump to play by party rules. GOP leaders in Virginia and North Carolina discussed implementing a new requirement for candidates to qualify for their primary ballots: that they pledge to support the Republican presidential nominee — and not run as a third-party candidate — in the general election.

Last week, the South Carolina Republican Party announced that candidates who want to qualify for the state’s primary ballot must sign a loyalty oath by Sept. 30. Candidates were asked to state that they “generally believe in and intend to support the nominees and platform of the Republican Party in the November 8, 2016 general election.”

Trump has said that he is still weighing whether to agree to the South Carolina pledge.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/republican-national-committee-2016-campaign-pledge-213283#ixzz3kdM7bWo2

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Conservatives Cheer Cruz Candidacy — Faith, Family, Friends, Freedom ~ First — Videos

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Story 1: Conservatives Cheer Cruz Candidacy — Faith, Family, Friends, Freedom ~ First — Videos

cted cruz runs

ted cruz makes pointted_cruz_cnn1

the competition

2016 Republican Presidential Nomination

Polling Data

Poll Date Bush Walker Carson Huckabee Paul Christie Rubio Cruz Perry Jindal Santorum Kasich Spread
RCP Average 1/25 – 3/15 16.6 16.6 10.6 10.2 8.4 6.4 5.0 4.6 3.0 2.0 1.8 1.7 Tie
CNN/ORC 3/13 – 3/15 16 13 9 10 12 7 7 4 4 1 1 2 Bush +3
McClatchy/Marist 3/1 – 3/4 19 18 9 10 7 6 5 4 3 2 Bush +1
Quinnipiac 2/26 – 3/2 16 18 7 8 6 8 5 6 1 2 2 1 Walker +2
PPP (D) 2/20 – 2/22 17 25 18 10 4 5 3 5 3 Walker +7
FOX News 1/25 – 1/27 15 9 10 13 13 6 5 4 4 3 2 2 Bush +2

All 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination Polling Data

fox-cpac-straw-poll

CPAC2015

• Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz • One-On-One • Hannity • 3/23/15 •

Ted Cruz announces presidential bid at Liberty University

Ted Cruz Liberty University FULL SPEECH Ted Cruz Announces He’s Running For President 2016

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas on Monday formally announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, promising a campaign that would be about “re-igniting the promise of America.” Ted Cruz Becomes First Major Candidate to Announce Presidential Bid for 2016. Ted Cruz Opens 2016 As the Election’s Self-Declared Conservative Champion
The Texas senator and presidential candidate kicked off his “The power of the American people as we stand up and fight for liberty knows no bounds,” Mr. Cruz said during a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., in which he talked at length about his family and his faith as he laid out a case for his candidacy.
imagine you compiled a list of all the things Cruz asked his young audience to “imagine” being fulfilled through his presidency: “…millions of courageous conservatives rising up to say in unison, ‘we demand our liberty.’” “…millions of people in faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.” “…millions of young people standing together saying ‘We will stand for liberty.’” “…booming economic growth” “…record number of small businesses” “…young people coming out of college with four, five, six job offers” (lulz) “…innovation thriving on the internet as government regulators and tax collectors are kept at bay.” “…America finally becoming energy self-sufficient.” “…a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.” “…health care reform that keeps government out of the way of your and your doctor.” “…a simple flat tax.” “…abolishing the IRS.” “…a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders.” “…a legal immigration that welcomes and celebrates those who come to achieve the America dream.” “…a federal government that stands for the First Amendment rights of every American.” “…a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage.” “…a federal government that fights to keep the right to bear arms.” “…a federal government that protected the privacy rights of every American.” “…repealing every word of Common Core.” “…embracing school choice as the civil rights issue of the next generation.” “…a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.” “…a president who says I will honor the Constitution and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.” “…a president who says we will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.” “…it’s 1775.” “…it’s 1777.” “…it’s 1943.” “…it’s 1979.”
Drawing on a stump speech he has developed in recent months, Mr. Cruz struck a tone of defiance and appealed to conservatives to “imagine a president” who would repeal the Affordable Care Act, abolish the Internal Revenue Service, secure the border and forbid same-sex marriage.

His criticism of President Obama also extended to foreign policy, where he denounced the administration’s positions on Israel, Iran’s nuclear program and Islamic extremism.

Related Coverage Mr. Cruz made his case to a gathering of conservative activists at an annual gathering in February. Ted Cruz’s Path to the Presidency MARCH 23, 2015 Senator Ted Cruz brought his daughters, Catherine, 4, right, and Caroline, 6, on stage at Liberty University on Sunday during a walk-through for his speech Monday, when he will start his presidential campaign. Road to 2016: Why Ted Cruz Is Such a Long Sho tMARCH 23, 2015 Senator Ted Cruz at a rehearsal on Sunday for his formal campaign announcement at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Things You May Not Know About Ted Cruz MARCH 23, 2015 Senator Ted Cruz is the first Republican to officially enter the presidential race. Ted Cruz Hopes Early Campaign Entry Will Focus Voters’ Attention

Cruz launches 2016 presidential campaign with fiery speech Fox News Video

Senator Ted Cruz Announces Running For U.S. President in 2016 ‘Imagine’ Full Speech (VIDEO)

Sen. Cruz: Obama Counterfeiting Immigration Documents – 2/17/2015

Ted Cruz’ solution to Obama’s illegal actions on immigration

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Sen. Ted Cruz Speaks on the Senate Floor in Opposition to the Gang of Eight’s Immigration Bill

Sen Ted Cruz Wants to DOUBLE Immigration

Laura Ingraham is “pretty sure” Ted Cruz is eligible to be President

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Ted Cruz announces candidacy for President in 2016

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John Lennon – Imagine HD

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Transcript: Read Full Text of Sen. Ted Cruz’s Campaign Launch

Cruz served as a law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1995[8][11] and William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States in 1996.[7] Cruz was the first Hispanic to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.[46]

Private practice

After Cruz finished his clerkships, he took a position with Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal, which is now known as Cooper & Kirk, LLC, from 1997 to 1998.[47] While with the firm, Cruz worked on matters relating to the National Rifle Association, and helped prepare testimony for the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.[48] Cruz also served as private counsel for CongressmanJohn Boehner during Boehner’s lawsuit against Congressman Jim McDermott for releasing a tape recording of a Boehner telephone conversation.[49]

Bush Administration

Cruz joined the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 1999 as a domestic policy adviser, advising then-Governor George W. Bush on a wide range of policy and legal matters, including civil justice, criminal justice, constitutional law, immigration, and government reform.[47]

Cruz assisted in assembling the Bush legal team, devise strategy, and draft pleadings for filing with the Supreme Court of Floridaand U.S. Supreme Court, the specific case being Bush v. Gore, during the 2000 Florida presidential recounts, leading to two successful decisions for the Bush team.[11][50] Cruz recruited future Chief Justice John Roberts and noted attorney Mike Carvin to the Bush legal team.[48]

After President Bush took office, Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department[7][50] and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.[7][21][50]

Texas Solicitor General

Appointed to the office of Solicitor General of Texas by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott,[8][51] Cruz served in that position from 2003 to 2008.[29][11] The office had been established in 1999 to handle appeals involving the state, but Abbott hired Cruz with the idea that Cruz would take a “leadership role in the United States in articulating a vision of strict construction.” As Solicitor General, Cruz would argue before the Supreme Court nine times, winning five cases and losing four.[48]

Cruz has authored 70 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.[8][21][32] Cruz’s record of having argued before the Supreme Court nine times is more than any practicing lawyer in Texas or any current member of Congress.[52] Cruz has commented on his nine cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court: “We ended up year after year arguing some of the biggest cases in the country. There was a degree of serendipity in that, but there was also a concerted effort to seek out and lead conservative fights.”[52]

In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by attorneys general of 31 states, which said that the D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.[32][53] Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[32][54]

In addition to his success in Heller, Cruz has successfully defended the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds before the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, winning 5-4 in Van Orden v. Perry.[21][32][11]

In 2004, Cruz was involved in the high-profile case, Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow,[21][11] in which Cruz wrote a U.S. Supreme Court brief on behalf of all 50 states.[55] The Supreme Court upheld the position of Cruz’s brief.

Cruz served as lead counsel for the state and successfully defended the multiple litigation challenges to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan in state and federal district courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, which was decided 5-4 in his favor in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.[11][56]

Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt to re-open the cases of 51 Mexican nationals, all of whom were convicted of murder in the United States and were on death row.[8][21][32][11] With the support of the George W. Bush Administration, the petitioners argued that the United States had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to notify the convicted nationals of their opportunity to receive legal aid from the Mexican consulate.[57][48] They based their case on a decision of the International Court of Justice in the Avena case which ruled that failing to allow access to the Mexican consulate, the US had breached its obligations under the Convention.[58] Texas won the case in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that ICJ decisions were not binding in domestic law and that the President had no power to enforce them.[57][48]

Cruz has been named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America,[51][59] by The National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America,[60][61] and by Texas Lawyer as one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.[62][63]

Private practice

After leaving the Solicitor General position in 2008, he worked in a private law firm in Houston, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, often representing corporate clients, until he was sworn in a U.S. Senator from Texas in 2013.[35][11][64] At Morgan Lewis, he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.[64]

In 2009-2010, while working for Morgan Lewis, Cruz formed and then abandoned a bid for state attorney general when the incumbent Attorney General Greg Abbott, who hired Cruz as Solicitor General, decided to run for re-election.[20]

U.S. Senate

2012 election

Cruz speaking to the Values Voters Summit in October 2011

Cruz’s election has been described by the Washington Post as “the biggest upset of 2012 . . . a true grassroots victory against very long odds.”[65] On January 19, 2011, after U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would not seek reelection, Cruz announced his candidacy via a blogger conference call.[14] In the Republican senatorial primary, Cruz ran against sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Cruz was endorsed first by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and then by the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative political action committee;[66] Erick Erickson, editor of prominent conservative blog RedState;[67] the FreedomWorks for America super PAC;[68] nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin;[69] former Attorney General Edwin Meese;[50] Tea Party Express;[70] Young Conservatives of Texas;[71] and U.S. Senators Tom Coburn,[72] Jim DeMint,[73] Mike Lee,[74] Rand Paul[75] and Pat Toomey.[76] He was also endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin[77] and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul,[78] George P. Bush,[50] and former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.[79]

Cruz won the runoff for the Republican nomination with a 14-point margin over Dewhurst.[80] In the November 6 general election, Cruz faced Democrat Paul Sadler, an attorney and a former state representative from Henderson, in east Texas. Cruz won with 4.5 million votes (56.4%) to Sadler’s 3.2 million (40.6%). Two minor candidates garnered the remaining 3% of the vote.[15] According to a poll by Cruz’s pollster Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, taken six weeks after the 2012 general election, Cruz received 40% of the Hispanic vote, vs. 60% for Sandler, outperforming Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney with the Hispanic vote by 6 points.[81][82]

After Time magazine reported on a potential violation of ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with Caribbean Equity Partners Investment Holdings during the 2012 campaign, Cruz called his failure to disclose these connections an inadvertent omission.[83]

Political positions

Cruz is pro-life, with an exception only when a pregnancy endangers the mother’s life.[84][85] Cruz opposes same-sex marriage, stating that he instead supports marriage “between one man and one woman,”[86] but believes that the legality of same-sex marriage should be left to each state to decide.[87] On February 10, 2015, Cruz re-introduced the State Marriage Defense Act.[88]

Cruz is a gun-rights supporter.[89] On March 25, 2013, an announcement was made by Cruz and U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee threatening that they would filibuster any legislation that would entail gun control, such as the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which would require additional background checks on sales at gun shows.[90] On April 17, 2013, Cruz voted against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment.[91] Republicans successfully filibustered the amendment by a vote of 54–46, as 60 votes were needed for cloture.[92]

Cruz has raised concerns that the National Security Agency has not done effective surveillance of potential terrorists while intruding needlessly into the lives of ordinary Americans.[93]

Cruz opposes net neutrality because he argues that the Internet economy has flourished in the United States simply because it has remained largely free from government regulation.[94] He believes regulating the Internet will stifle online innovation and create monopolies.[95] He has expressed support for stripping theFederal Communications Commission (FCC) of its power under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to ensure net neutrality,[94] and opposes reclassifying internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.[96]

Cruz opposes the Marketplace Fairness Act, saying that it would hurt competition by creating additional costs for internet-based businesses.[97]

He was an original co-sponsor of the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, Senate Bill 1 of the 114th Congress.[98] And on January 29, 2015, he voted for its passage.[99] It passed the Senate 62-36, the goal of the bill was to approve the construction of the transnational pipeline.[100] Cruz wants Congress to approve the exportation of U.S. natural gas to World Trade Organization countries.[101]

Cruz opposes the legalization of marijuana, but believes it should be decided at the state level.[102]

Economy

Since being elected, Cruz has spent a great deal of time speaking about what he characterizes as the misguided economic policies of the Obama Administration.[103] Chiding the GOP over its 2012 electoral losses, he stated that “Republicans are and should be the party of the 47 percent” [104] and has also noted that the words “growth and opportunity” ought to be tattooed on every Republican’s hand.[105]

In February 2014, Cruz opposed an unconditional increase in the debt limit.[106] He said that Republican politicians feared the truth and “they wanted to be able to tell what they view as their foolish, gullible constituents back home they didn’t do it.”[107]

Foreign affairs

On foreign policy, Cruz has said that he is “somewhere in between” Rand Paul‘s isolationism and John McCain‘s active interventionism.[108]

In 2004, he criticized Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry for being “against defending American values, against standing up to our enemies, and, in effect, for appeasing totalitarian despots.” [109] Cruz helped defeat efforts to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, arguing that the treaty infringed on US sovereignty.[48]

In 2013, Cruz stated that America had no “dog in the fight” during the Syrian civil war and stated that America’s armed forces should not serve as “al-Qaeda‘s air force”.[110] In 2014, Cruz criticized the Obama administration: “The president’s foreign policy team utterly missed the threat of ISIS, indeed, was working to arm Syrian rebels that were fighting side by side with ISIS.”, calling ISIS “the face of evil”.[111] Cruz has called for bombing ISIS, but is doubtful that the United States “can tell the good guys from the bad guys” in a plan to arm “moderate” rebels, and the plan to defeat ISIS should not be “laden with impractical contingencies, such as resolving the Syrian civil war.”[112]

In 2014, Cruz spoke at an event held by the watchdog group In Defense of Christians (IDC). Cruz was booed by the group after making statements considered pro-Israel that were viewed by some pundits as intentionally provocative. When the audience refused to stop booing, Cruz eventually left the stage.[113] The resulting controversy expanded beyond Cruz and some commentators believe has resulted in the conservative movement becoming divided between those who sided with Cruz and Israel, and those who sided with Middle Eastern Christians and argued that Cruz’s comments were out-of-bounds.[114] Republican representative Charlie Dent labeled Cruz’s actions “outrageous and incendiary”.[115] Others who criticized Cruz included Mollie Hemingway and Ross Douthat,[116] as well as Scott McConnell, who claimed the controversy was about more than just Cruz, suggesting it is already causing a schism within the conservative movement over issues relating to Israel and Middle Eastern Christians.[117] Matthew Yglesias described the controversy as a “conservative war”.[118] Cruz apologized for questioning the motives of his critics and said that all should be united in speaking out against persecution of religious minorities.[119]

Health care

Cruz is a strong critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which he usually refers to as “Obamacare”. He has sponsored legislation that would repeal the health care reform law and its amendments in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

After the launch of the HealthCare.gov website, Cruz stated, “Obamacare is a disaster. You have the well-publicized problems with the website. It just isn’t working.”[120] He called for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign.[120]

In 2014 Cruz gave majority leader Harry Reid the procedural opening he needed to allow a Senate vote to confirm Vivek Murthy, who had raised concerns about the health effects of gun ownership, to be United States Surgeon General.[121]

In the summer of 2013, Cruz started a “nationwide tour” sponsored by The Heritage Foundation to promote a congressional effort to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, arguing that a shutdown of the government would not be a disaster for America or the Republican Party (GOP).[122][123]

On September 24, 2013, Cruz began a speech on the floor of the Senate regarding the Affordable Care Act relative to a continuing resolution designed to fund the government and avert a government shutdown.[124][125] Cruz promised to keep speaking until he was “no longer able to stand”.[126] Cruz yielded the floor at noon the following day for the start of the proceeding legislative session after twenty-one hours nineteen minutes.[127] His speech was the fourth-longest in United States Senate history.[128] Following Cruz’s speech, the Senate voted 100–0 regarding a “procedural hurdle toward passing a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown”.[129] Cruz was joined by 18 Republican senators in his effort to prevent stripping out a clause that would have defunded the Affordable Care by voting against the cloture motion, leaving the effort 21 votes short of the required number to deny cloture.[130]

Cruz is believed to be a major force behind the U.S. government shutdown in 2013.[131][132] Cruz delivered a message on October 11, 2013 to fellow Republicans against accepting Obamacare and, describing it as a “train wreck”, claimed the American people remain “energized” around the goal of gutting the law.[133] Cruz stated Obamacare is causing “enormous harm” to the economy.[133] Republican strategist Mike Murphy stated: “Cruz is trying to start a wave of Salem witch trials in the G.O.P. on the shutdown and Obamacare, and that fear is impacting some people’s calculations on 2016.”[132] Cruz said that he “didn’t threaten to shut down the government” and blamed the shutdown on President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid.[134]

The Houston Chronicle which had endorsed Cruz in the general election, regretted that he had not lived up to the standard set by the previous U.S. Senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison.[135][136] After a deal was made to end the shutdown and to extend the debt-ceiling deadline, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called Cruz’s actions “not a smart play” and a “tactical error”,[137] and Cruz stated: “I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare. The test that matters. . . is are we doing anything for all the people that are getting hurt from Obamacare?”[138]

Legislation

Cruz has sponsored 25 bills of his own, including:[139]

  • S.177, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health-care related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, introduced January 29, 2013
  • S.505, a bill to prohibit the use of drones to kill citizens of the United States within the United States, introduced March 7, 2013
  • S.729 and S. 730, bills to investigate and prosecute felons and fugitives who illegally purchase firearms, and to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms through straw purchases and trafficking, introduced March 15, 2013
  • S.1336, a bill to permit States to require proof of citizenship for registering to vote in federal elections, introduced July 17, 2013
  • S.2170, a bill to increase coal, natural gas, and crude oil exports, to approve the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, to expand oil drilling offshore, onshore, in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, and in Indian reservations, to give states the sole power of regulating hydraulic fracturing, to repeal theRenewable Fuel Standard, to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases, to require the EPA to assess how new regulations will affect employment, and to earmark natural resource revenue to paying off the federal government’s debt, introduced March 27, 2014
  • S.2415, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to eliminate all limits on direct campaign contributions to candidates for public office, introduced June 3, 2014

Senate bill 2195

On April 1, 2014, Cruz introduced Senate bill 2195, a bill that would allow the President of the United States to deny visas to any ambassador to the United Nationswho has been found to have been engaged in espionage activities or a terrorist activity against the United States or its allies and may pose a threat to U.S. national security interests.[140] The bill was written in response to Iran‘s choice of Hamid Aboutalebi as their ambassador.[141] Aboutalebi was involved in the Iran hostage crisis, in which of a number of American diplomats from the US embassy in Tehran were held captive in 1979.[141][142][143]

Under the headline “A bipartisan message to Iran”, Cruz thanked President Barack Obama for signing his bill S 2195 into law. The letter published in the magazinePolitico on April 18, 2014 starts with “Thanks to President Obama for joining a unanimous Congress and signing S 2195 into law”. Cruz also thanked senators from both political parties for “swiftly passing this legislation and sending it to the White House.”[144][145][146]

Committee assignments

Presidential campaign

Senator Cruz speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Commentators have expressed their opinion that Cruz will run for President in 2016.[147][148][149] On March 14, 2013, Cruz gave the keynote speech at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC.[150] He came in tied for 7th place in the 2013 CPAC straw poll on March 16, winning 4% of the votes cast.[151] In October 2013, Cruz won the Values Voter Summit Presidential straw poll with 42% of the vote.[152] Cruz came in first place in the two most recent Presidential straw polls conducted in 2014 with 30.33% of the vote at the Republican Leadership Conference[153] and 43% of the vote at the Republican Party of Texas state convention.[154]

Cruz did speaking events in the summer of 2013 across Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, early primary states, leading to speculation that he was laying the groundwork for a run for President in 2016.[155] Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobindescribes Cruz as the first potential Presidential candidate to emphasize originalism as a major national issue.[48]

Since Cruz was born in Canada, commentators for the Austin American-Statesman[156] and the Los Angeles Times,[157] have speculated about Cruz’s legal status as a natural-born citizen. Because he was a U.S. citizen at birth (his mother was a U.S. citizen who lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years as required by the Nationality Act of 1940), most commentators believe Cruz is eligible to serve as President of the United States.[19][158][159][160]

On April 12, 2014, Cruz spoke at the Freedom Summit, an event organized by Americans for Prosperity, and Citizens United.[161] The event was attended by several potential presidential candidates.[162] In his speech, Cruz mentioned that Latinos, young people and single mothers, are the people most affected by the recession, and that the Republican Party should make outreach efforts to these constituents. He also said that the words “growth and opportunity” should be tattooed on the hands of every Republican politician.[161]

On March 23, 2015, Cruz announced on his Twitter page “I’m running for President and I hope to earn your support!”.[163] He is the first announced major Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 campaign.[164][165]

Awards

Senator Cruz speaking at the 2015Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government in The Hill, on December 27, 2013, named Cruz “2013 Person of the Year.”[166] Manning stated that “of course, Cruz made his biggest mark when he and fellow freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) led a last-ditch national grassroots effort to defund ObamaCare before the law went into effect fully. Imagine how many Senate Democrats wish right now that they had heeded Cruz’s entreaties and agreed to delaying or defunding it for one year. Now, they are stuck with the law and all its consequences.”[166]

Cruz was also named “2013 Man of the Year” by TheBlaze,[167] FrontPage Magazine[168] and The American Spectator,[169]“2013 Conservative of the Year” by Townhall.com,[170] “2013 Statesman of the Year” by the Republican Party of Sarasota County, Florida[171][172] and was a finalist in both “2013 Texan of the Year” by The Dallas Morning News[173] and a “2013 Person of the Year” finalist by Time.[174]

Personal life

Cruz and his wife, Heidi Cruz (née Nelson), have two daughters. Cruz met his wife while working on the George W. Bush presidential campaign of 2000. Cruz’s wife is currently head of the Southwest Region in the Investment Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and previously worked in the White House forCondoleezza Rice and in New York as an investment banker.[175]

When he was a child, Cruz’s mother told him that she would have to make an affirmative act to claim Canadian citizenship for him, so his family assumed that he did not hold Canadian citizenship.[176] In August 2013, after the Dallas Morning News pointed out that Cruz had dual Canadian-American citizenship,[160] he applied to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship and ceased being a citizen of Canada, on May 14, 2014.[176][177]

Electoral history

2012 Republican primary
Republican primary results, May 29, 2012[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David Dewhurst 624,170 44.6
Republican Ted Cruz 479,079 34.2
Republican Tom Leppert 186,675 13.3
Republican Craig James 50,211 3.6
Republican Glenn Addison 22,888 1.6
Republican Lela Pittenger 18,028 1.3
Republican Ben Gambini 7,193 0.5
Republican Curt Cleaver 6,649 0.5
Republican Joe Argis 4,558 0.3
Total votes 1,399,451 100
2012 Republican primary runoff
Republican runoff results, July 31, 2012[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Cruz 631,316 56.8
Republican David Dewhurst 480,165 43.2
Total votes 1,111,481 100
2012 General Election
General Election, November 6, 2012[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Cruz 4,469,843 56.45
Democratic Paul Sadler 3,194,927 40.62
Libertarian John Jay Myers 162,354 2.06
Green David Collins 67,404 0.85
Total votes 7,864,822 100

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz

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Part 2 Commentary On: Three Cheers For Netanyahu’s Warning To American People About Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamic State and Three Thumbs Down On Obama’s Bad Deal With The Iranian Republic On Developing Nuclear Weapons And Intercontinental Missiles — “Your Enemy of Your Enemy Is Your Enemy” — Restore Severe Sanctions On Iran Immediately — Take Out The Nuclear Weapons Facilities With Israel Defense Forces – Stop Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Forever Now! — Videos

Posted on March 7, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Bomb, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Physics, Politics, Press, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Science, Security, Shite, Space, Sunni, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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 Story 1: Part 2 Commentary On: Three Cheers For Netanyahu’s Warning To American People About Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamic State and Three Thumbs Down On Obama’s Bad Deal With The Iranian Republic On Developing Nuclear Weapons And Intercontinental Missiles — “Your Enemy of Your Enemy Is Your Enemy” — Restore Severe Sanctions On Iran Immediately — Take Out The Nuclear Weapons Facilities With Israel Defense Forces – Stop Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Forever Now! — Videos

Iran-Nuke-Fixiran_cartoonbombNegotiatingWithTehran-bigmichael_ramirez_michael_ramirez_kerry-cartoonKerry-Chamberlain_Varvelarabs_israelkerry-and-bibiCartoon-Iran-Nuke-Dealtrustkeep nuclearprogram
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nuclear enrichment sitesiran-nuclear-facilitiesiran incidencesiranarsenal_missilesUS-preventative-strike-against-Iranian-nuclear-facilities-and-ballistic-missile-basesShia-Sunni percentagesmid_east_shias2_map416mapMEethnicmuslim-distributionreligious-minorities-chart2iran_ethnic_groupsLegalSystemsberglee-fig08_055menapopulationtablepoplChangeturkey-map

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Benjamin Netanyahu speech to congress 2015 – Prime Minister of Israel Address Meeting of Congress

Benjamin Netanyahu speech to congress 2015 – Prime Minister of Israel Address Joint Meeting of Congress benjamin netanyahu speech to congress Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Address to a Joint Meeting of Congress Netanyahu on Tensions Over Iran Speech to Congress FULL Benjamin Netanyahu Speech To US Congress Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress The quickest of takes are already coming in, but few seem to agree about whether Netanyahu’s speech was a boom or a bust for President Obama and talks with Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Address to a Joint Meeting of Congress

“This was a speech the American people needed to hear, plain and simple. It addressed the gravity of the threats we face and why we cannot allow a nuclear Iran, or any semblance of a path to a nuclear Iran. It demonstrated why there is such deep-seated – and bipartisan – concern about the deal that is being made. I thank my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, who took the time to hear the Prime Minister’s address on behalf of their constituents, and I hope all Americans will have the chance to see it for themselves.” – Speaker John Boehner

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Ambassador John Bolton, American Enterprise Institute CPAC 2015

 

John Bolton: Obama giving Iran “an open path to nuclear weapons”

“The odds are right now the deal will be signed and that Iran will have an open path to nuclear weapons…there’s no guarantee that the verification mechanisms that are required are going to work. You really think we really know everything about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, like whether some of it’s being conducted in North Korea? I have no faith in our verification capabilities, number one. Number two, to the extent Iran is allowed any continuing uranium enrichment capability at all, and that’s where the administration’s concessions are moving, it has in its hands the long pole in the tent that any aspiring nuclear weapons state wants” he said. Adding that appeasing Iran is “par for the course for the Obama administration. The negotiation with Iran over its nuclear weapons program is a policy of appeasement, and the president is desperate to get this deal done so it doesn’t slip between his fingers.”

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Like Israel, U.S. Arab Allies Fear Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal

Kerry Visiting Saudi Arabia to assuage concerns

By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV

DUBAI—It isn’t just about Bibi.

The Israeli prime minister’s public confrontation with PresidentBarack Obama over the U.S. administration’s pursuit of a nuclear bargain with Iran may have drawn all the spotlight this week. But America’s other key allies across the Middle East—such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates—are just as distraught, even if they lack the kind of lobbying platform that Benjamin Netanyahu was offered in Congress.

ANALYSIS

These nations’ ties with Washington have already frayed in recent years, dented by what many officials in the region describe as a nagging sense that America doesn’t care about this part of the world anymore.

Now, with the nuclear talks nearing a deadline, these allies—particularly in the Gulf—fret that America is about to ditch its long-standing friends to win love from their common foe, at the very moment that this foe is on the offensive across the region.

“A lot of the Gulf countries feel they are being thrown under the bus,” said Mishaal al-Gergawi, managing director of the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi and a prominent Emirati political commentator. “The Gulf thought it was in a monogamous relationship with the West, and now it realizes it’s being cheated on because the U.S. was in an open relationship with it.”

Trying to assuage such concerns, Secretary of State John Kerry flew Wednesday to Saudi Arabia. There, he is slated to discuss with King Salman and foreign ministers of other Gulf nations their worries that the nuclear deal may enable Iran to dominate the region.

In remarks after Mr. Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday, Mr. Obama acknowledged Iran’s “ambitions when it comes to territory or terrorism”—but argued that “if, in fact, they obtain a nuclear weapon, all those problems would be worse.”

Steven Simon, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute who served as senior director for Middle East and North Africa at the White House in 2011-12, noted that the Gulf countries—while genuinely alarmed by the U.S. outreach—can’t really propose a viable alternative.

“The alternative to what the administration is doing with Iran is war,” he said. “And I don’t think the Saudis and the Emiratis and others are actually prepared for war.”

America’s other key allies across the Middle East are just as distraught about Obama’s pursuit of a nuclear grand bargain with Iran. WSJ’s Yaroslav Trofimov discusses. Photo: AP

A joint effort to contain Iran and its proxies after the 1979 Islamic revolution was the key reason for the massive architecture of military, political and economic ties that the U.S. built with its regional allies in recent decades.

Even before the revolution, Iran tried to dominate the Gulf, laying claim to Shiite-majority Bahrain and seizing disputed islands claimed by the U.A.E.

Taking advantage of the Obama administration’s attempt to pivot away from the region, Tehran in recent years asserted its influence in Baghdad and solidified its control in Damascus and Beirut. Last month, pro-Iranian Houthi Shiite militias seized power in Yemen’s capital San’a and ousted that country’s U.S.-backed president.

The Sunni Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia that are engaged in proxy conflicts with Tehran in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and Lebanon view this confrontation as an existential zero-sum game—and interpret any American opening to Iran, and any relaxation of the economic sanctions that have hobbled Iran’s ability to project power, as succor to the enemy.

“Some of these countries are more worried about the consequences of the deal, about how it will change the balance of power in the region, rather than the actual contents of the deal,” explained Ali Vaez, Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group think tank. These fears are overblown, he said: “The reality is that the U.S. may have a tactical overlap in its interests in the region with Iran, but strategically it sees the region in a very different way.”

That may be true, but this tactical overlap has already created strategic consequences in the crucial battlefields of Syria and Iraq, cementing Iran’s sway in both nations.

The White House decision to focus the U.S. military effort exclusively on Islamic State, sparing the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has allowed the regime and its Iranian-backed allies to regain ground there.

This means that even the fighters of the U.S.-funded Free Syrian Army, which is supposed to help defeat Islamic State one day, are no longer sure about which side Washington really supports.

“America wants to back whoever is stronger, and the strongest now are Iran and Bashar. This is clear to all people,” said Bakri Kaakeh, a senior FSA officer in Aleppo province.

In Iraq’s war against Islamic State, the U.S. has in fact become a cobelligerent with Iran, which maintains brutal Shiite militias and is directly involved in running major campaigns, such as the current assault on the Sunni city of Tikrit.“Any opportunities that the Arab countries will have to undermine the deal, they will not miss it,” said Riad Kahwaji, CEO of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai. “They will all conclude that the U.S. is no longer a reliable strategic ally, and that the U.S. can sell them out any minute.”

John Kerry in Switzerland before flying to Saudi Arabia Wednesday.
John Kerry in Switzerland before flying to Saudi Arabia Wednesday. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Moeen al-Kadhimi, a senior commander in the largest Iraqi Shiite militia, Badr, which is armed by Iran and staffed with Iranian advisers, said he’s yearning for the day when Tehran and Washington will finally reconcile.

“It’s our wish as Iraqis for this to happen. We will be happy, and the entire Middle East will be stabilized,” he said.

Stability under an Iranian tutelage, of course, isn’t the most desirable outcome for other powers in the region, particularly in the Gulf. The big question is what can these allies do about it.

Not much, said Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a think tank close to the Obama administration.

“All of the fuss shows how much they need America. Who are they going to turn to? Russia or China?” he wondered. “ No one has the security footprint, capabilities, and network of partnerships across the region.”

But that doesn’t mean the disgruntled allies won’t start looking for ways to torpedo any U.S. opening to Iran—and for alternatives, including a nuclear option of their own, if that fails. Their dismay with the administration’s Iran policy—while not displayed as publicly as Mr. Netanyahu’s—is just as strong.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/like-israel-u-s-arab-allies-fear-obamas-iran-nuclear-deal-1425504773

The complete transcript of Netanyahu’s address to Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is addressing a joint meeting of Congress; here is a complete transcript of his remarks.

NETANYAHU: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you…

(APPLAUSE)

… Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Minority — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

I also want to acknowledge Senator, Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Harry, it’s good to see you back on your feet.

(APPLAUSE)

I guess it’s true what they say, you can’t keep a good man down.

(LAUGHTER)

My friends, I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.

I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

[READ: Republicans loved every word of Bibi’s address]

The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.

(APPLAUSE)

Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel.

Now, some of that is widely known.

(APPLAUSE)

Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.

Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.

I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid.

In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment.

Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.

(APPLAUSE)

In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there.

And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister.

But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.

(APPLAUSE)

And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.

(APPLAUSE)

Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Israel.

My friends, I’ve come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.

(APPLAUSE)

Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.

For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.

But Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

The people of Iran are very talented people. They’re heirs to one of the world’s great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots — religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran’s borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to “export the revolution throughout the world.”

I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.

Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.

(APPLAUSE)

We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

Rouhani’s government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.

Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I’d like to see someone ask him a question about that.

Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever.

Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

(APPLAUSE)

The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I’ll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.

(APPLAUSE)

But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.

Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it.

Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.

The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.

Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.

And if — if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.

True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here’s the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn’t stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb.

Now, we’re warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.

Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It’s done that on at least three separate occasions — 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.

Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock — as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught — caught twice, not once, twice — operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn’t even know existed.

Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, “If there’s no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn’t have one.” Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that’s why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs.

Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount — 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.

Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.

And by the way, if Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite — would only wet Iran’s appetite for more.

Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?

Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world’s: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb.

And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second…

(APPLAUSE)

Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.

(APPLAUSE)

And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.

(APPLAUSE)

If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted.

(APPLAUSE)

If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

(APPLAUSE)

My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.

(APPLAUSE)

Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.

(APPLAUSE)

And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.

(APPLAUSE)

Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true.

The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.

(APPLAUSE)

A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.

(APPLAUSE)

A better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country…

(APPLAUSE)

… no country has a greater stake — no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

You don’t have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.

(APPLAUSE)

My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

(APPLAUSE)

Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”

(APPLAUSE)

And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

(APPLAUSE)

Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.

But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.

(APPLAUSE)

We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

(APPLAUSE)

This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.

(APPLAUSE)

But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that you stand with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.

(APPLAUSE)

Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land.

And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.”

My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.

May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.

You’re wonderful.

Thank you, America. Thank you.

Thank you.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/03/full-text-netanyahus-address-to-congress/

 

Comprehensive agreement on Iranian nuclear program

The Comprehensive agreement on Iranian nuclear program is a topic in a series of negotiations among Iran and theP5+1United states, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany.

The prospective agreement is to be achieved based on the context of the Geneva agreement, officially titled the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). The Geneva agreement was an interim deal forged on November 24, 2013,[1] under which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program for relief from some sanctions. The interim agreement went into effect on January 20, 2014.[2] Later the parties agreed to extend their talks. The first extension deadline was set to 24 November 2014[3]and, when it expired, the second extension deadline was set to 1 July 2015.[4]

List of declared nuclear facilities in Iran

 The following is a partial list of nuclear facilities in Iran (IAEA, NTI and other sources):[5][6]

Negotiations under the Joint Plan of Action

First round: 18–20 February

Catherine Ashton and Javad Zarif in final news conference; The negotiation was described “Useful”.

The first round of negotiations was held at the UN’s center in Vienna from February 18 to 20, 2014. A timetable and framework for negotiating a comprehensive agreement was achieved, according to Catherine Ashton and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.[7]

Second round: 17–20 March

Diplomats from the six nations, as well as Ashton and Zarif, met again in Vienna on March 17, 2014. A series of further negotiations were to be held before the July deadline.[8]

Fourth round: 13–16 May

This fourth round of Vienna negotiations ended on May 16. The Iranian and U.S. delegations headed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman held a bilateral meeting. Both sides intended to begin drafting a final agreement, but made little progress. A senior U.S. official said “We are just at the beginning of the drafting process and we have a significant way to go,” while Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters that “the talks were serious and constructive but no progress has been made” and “we have not reached the point to start drafting the final agreement.” The U.S. official emphasized that negotiations had been “very slow and difficult,” saying talks would resume in June and all parties want to keep the July 20 deadline and adding: “we believe we can still get it done.” Negotiators had made progress on one issue, the future of Iran’s planned Arak reactor, but remained far apart on whether Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium should shrink or expand. The U.S. delegation also raised the issues of Iran’s ballistic missile program and military dimensions of its past nuclear research. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton conducted negotiations with Zarif and Wendy Sherman joined the talks at the end the last meeting.[9][10][11]

Fifth round: 16–20 June

The fifth round of talks ended on June 20 “with substantial differences still remaining.” The negotiating parties will meet again in Vienna on July 2. Under Secretary Sherman noted after the talks that it was “still unclear” whether Iran would act “to ensure the world that its nuclear program was strictly meant for peaceful purposes.”[12] Foreign Minister Zarif said the United States was making unreasonable demands of Iran, saying “the United States must take the most difficult decisions.”[13]

Under the Geneva interim agreement Iran agreed to convert some of its up to 5 percent LEU into an oxide powder that is not suitable for further enrichment. According to the monthly IAEA report released during this round the conversion of LEU has not been started yet. This means that Iran’s LEU stockpile “is almost certainly continuing to increase for the time being, simply because its production of the material has not stopped, unlike that of the 20 percent uranium gas.”[14]

Sixth (final) round: 2–20 July

The sixth round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group started in Vienna on 2 July 2014. The parties are headed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.[15]

John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif conduct a bilateral meeting in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other Western foreign ministers arrived at Vienna to break a deadlock in the nuclear talks with Iran,[16] but their joint efforts failed to advance the negotiations. “There has been no breakthrough today,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague on 13 July 2014 after meetings with the foreign ministers of USA, France, Germany and Iran. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “It is now time for Iran to decide whether they want co-operation with the world community or stay in isolation.”[17] The European foreign ministers left Vienna the same day. The Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the talks had “made some important headway.” [18] After three days of talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister Secretary of State Kerry headed back to Washington where he will consult with President Barack Obama and Congress leaders. No decision on an extension of negotiations beyond the July 20 deadline has been taken yet.[19] In order to continue talks a decision of each member of P5+1 is required.[20]

Wrapping-up the sixth round the Foreign Minister Zarif said that the achieved progress convinced the sides to extend their talks and the ultimate deadline would be November 25. He also expressed the hope that the new British foreign secretaryPhilip Hammond “will adopt a constructive diplomacy” towards Iran.[21] Several sources reported that all parties were prepared to extend negotiations but extension faced opposition in the U.S. Congress. Republicans and Democrats in Congress made it clear that they view a prolongation of the talks as allowing Iran to play for time. The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce said he hoped “the administration will finally engage in robust discussions with Congress about preparing additional sanctions against Iran”.[22][23]

Before the expiration of the six months imposed by the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) the sides agreed to extend negotiations by four months with a final deadline set for 24 November 2014. Additionally, in exchange for Iranian consent to convert some of its 20% enriched uranium into fuel for a research reactor, United States will unblock $2.8 billion in frozen Iranian funds. Negotiations will resume in September. John Kerry said that tangible progress had been made, but “very real gaps” remained. Ed Royce stated that he did not see “the extension as progress”.[3][24][25]

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has testified before the U. S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the status of the talks. At her testimony on July 29, 2014 she said: “We made tangible progress in key areas, including Fordow, Arak, and IAEA access. However, critical gaps still exist…” Both Republicans and Democrats have insisted that a final agreement be put to a vote.[26]

Negotiations under the First Extension of JPA

Seventh (first extended) round: New York

Negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program were resumed on 19 September 2014. They started on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts were given the opportunity to join the talks.[27][28] The talks were planned to last until September 26.[29][30]

Eighth round: Vienna

Negotiating teams of Iran and the P5+1 have held their eighth round of talks in Vienna on 16 October 2014. The meeting was led jointly by Foreign Minister Zarif and High Representative Ashton and the parties made an effort to sort out their differences.[31] Ashton’s spokesman stated: “Diplomatic efforts to find a resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue are now in a critical phase”.[32]

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov pointed that the issues of Iran’s enrichment programme, the schedule for sanction lifting and the future of the reactor in Arak were not settled and the subjects of inspection and transparency, duration of the agreement and some others were not completely agreed yet. Ryabkov expressed his opinion that a comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran will require no ratification. “We are negotiating a binding document, but under a generally recognized doctrine international political liabilities are equated with legal,” he said and admitted that some resolutions of the Security Council on Iran will need to be adjusted.[33]

Ninth round: Muscat

The round of talks took place on November 11 in the Omani capital Muscat and lasted one hour. At the meeting, Iranian deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi exchanged views with their counterparts from the P5+1.[34] The round, chaired by former EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, was scheduled to brief the P5+1 members on Kerry and Zarif’s talks.[35] Local media reported that some representatives of the parties remained in Muscat to continue the talks.[36]

Tenth round: Vienna

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 resumed in Vienna on 18 November 2014 with participation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, EU chief negotiator Catherine Ashton, and foreign ministry officials. The talks were supposed to continue until the November 24 deadline.[37][38]

P5+1 Ministers and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in Vienna, Austria, November 24, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry, after meeting British and Omani foreign ministers in London and Saudi and French foreign ministers in Paris, will arrive in Vienna for talks with Zarif and Ashton. Kerry’s meetings with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal were considered critical.[39] After his Paris talks with Kerry Saudi Foreign Minister was due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.[40]

At IAEA meeting held on 20 November in Vienna the agency’s Director General Yukiya Amano, referring to allegations related to Iran’s engagement in weaponization activities, said that “Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures.”[41] The same day at a press conference in Brussels The International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) presented its 100-page investigation report and claimed that Iran was hiding its nuclear military program inside a civil program. The report was endorsed by John Bolton and Robert Joseph and authored by ISJ President Alejo Vidal‐Quadras, a professor in nuclear physics and the former Vice-President of the European Parliament.[42][43][44][45]

The tenth round of nuclear negotiations and the first extension of the Joint Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 have ended on November 24. The two sides have failed to cut a deal at this round of talks and agreed to extend the Joint Plan of Action for the second time. The new deadline for a comprehensive deal was set to July 1, 2015. British foreign secretary Philip Hammond said it was not possible to meet the November deadline due to wide gaps on well-known points of contention. He stressed that while July 1 was the new deadline, the expectation was that broad agreement would be in place by March 1. According to Hammond, expert level talks will resume in December and Iran will receive about $700 million per month in frozen assets.[46][4]

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a press conference after the Vienna talks: “Today the Iranian nuclear program is internationally recognized and no one speaks about our enrichment right…”[47] While answering a question about “fundamental gaps over how much enrichment capacity Iran would be allowed to retain”, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a news conference: “I’m not going to confirm whether or not there’s a gap or not a gap or where the gaps are. There obviously are gaps. We’ve said that.”[48]

Negotiations under the Second Extension of JPA

Eleventh round: Geneva

Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 were resumed on 17 December 2014 in Geneva and lasted one day. No statements were issued after the closed-door talks either by the U.S. negotiating team or by EU spokesmen. Deputy foreign minister Araqchi said that it was agreed to continue the talks “next month” at a venue to be decided. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov said that Arak heavy-water reactor and sanctions against Iran were the two key outstanding issues in the nuclear talks.[49][50]

Twelfth round: Geneva

The round, held at the level of political directors of Iran and the P5+1, took place on January 18, 2015 following the four-day bilateral talks between the United States and Iran.[51] EU political director Helga Schmid chaired the meetings. After the talks France’s negotiator Nicolas de la Riviere told reporters: “The mood was very good, but I don’t think we made a lot of progress.”[52] “If there is progress it is a very slow one and there are no guarantees that this progress will transform into a decisive shift, breakthrough, into a compromise,” Russian negotiator Sergei Ryabkov told journalists, adding that “major disagreements remain on the majority of disputed issues.” [53]

Thirteenth round: Geneva

Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 met on February 22 at the EU mission in Geneva. Nicolas de la Riviere said after the meeting: “It was constructive, we will know results later.”[54][55]

Bilateral and trilateral talks

U.S.-Iran bilateral talks

According to a statement of the U.S. State Department bilateral nuclear consultations between the U.S. and Iranian officials “will take place in the context of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations”. The talks were held August 7 in Geneva and only few details about them were provided. The U.S. delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and included Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Jake Sullivan, national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. The Iranian delegation included Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi.[56][57]

Deputy Minister Abbas Araqchi said that the bilateral talks were useful and focused on “the existing differences” in the negotiations.[58] Deputy Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi made it clear that Iran will not accept a weak enrichment programme, while saying “we will not accept that our uranium enrichment programme becomes something like a toy”.[59]

Mohammad Javad Zarif, John Kerry and Catherine Ashton at a trilateral meeting in New York, September 26, 2014

The second round of the bilateral talks between representatives from the USA and Iran took place in Geneva on September 4–5. The negotiations consisted of 12 hours long political talks and 8 hours long expert talks.[60] The third round of the bilateral talks between the two countries took place in New York on September 18, 2014.[61]

According to The Associated Press, the U.S. has turned negotiations with Iran into a series of bilateral talks between the two countries that “race to seal a deal”.[62] Gary Samore, former White House coordinator for arms control and WMD, participating in a panel, said: “Any deal will have to be struck between Washington and Tehran and then ratified by the P5+1 and ultimately the UN Security Council.”[63]

On October 14 Iranian negotiators headed by the deputy foreign minister held a bilateral meeting with Senior U.S. Officials William Burns and Wendy Sherman in Vienna. Among other issues the negotiators set the stage for the trilateral meeting with Secretary Kerry, Baroness Ashton, and Foreign Minister Zarif that was convened for the next day.[64][65]

The US and Iranian delegations met on December 15 to 16 in Geneva in preparation for the multilateral talks, led by the US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi. A member of Tehran’s team told IRNA that uranium enrichment and how to remove sanctions were sticking points in the bilateral talks.[49] [50]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif met with Secretary of State John Kerry on January 14 in Geneva and on January 16 in Paris.[66] According to Al-Monitorthe negotiators have worked intensively to try draft a joint document called the Principles of Agreement. The document is supposed to be an element of the framework agreement between Iran and P5+1, which is to be completed by March.[67]

Two rounds of bilateral negotiations between Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry occurred on February 6 and 8 on the sidelines of the Security Conference in Munich.[68][69] During the conference, Mohammad Zarif gave an interview in which he claimed that IAEA inspected Iran for 10 years or more and found no evidence that Iran’s program wasn’t peaceful. He also claimed that JPA did not imply step-by-step removal of sanctions and the removal of sanctions has been “a condition for an agreement”. Foreign Minister Zarif stated: “I don’t think if we don’t have an agreement, it’ll be the end of the world. I mean, we tried, we failed, fine.”[70] IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who also took part in the conference, pointed out that Iran must provide urgent clarification on key aspects of its nuclear program. Making this more specific Yukiya Amano said: “Clarification of issues with possible military dimension and implementation of the Additional Protocol and beyond is essential.”[71]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif held three bilateral meetings in Geneva on February 22 and 23.[72] The Associated Press reported progress on a deal that would freeze Iran’s nuclear activities for at least 10 years but then “ease restrictions on programs that could be used to make atomic arms.” After the talks Mohammad Zarif spoke about “a better understanding” between the parties and John Kerry said: “We made progress.”[73] The columnist Charles Krauthammer commented on the leaked “sunset clause” that an agreement, containing this and other concessions to Iran, will mean “the end of nonproliferation.”[74]

U.S.-EU-Iran trilateral talks

Iran, EU and U.S. held two trilateral meetings at the foreign minister level in New York in September 2014. The U.S. State Department has argued that there are points when it makes sense for the foreign ministers at the trilateral level to get together to talk. “In part because the majority of the sanctions are EU and U.S., the trilateral makes sense.”[65]

On October 15 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Secretary of State John Kerry have met again, this time in Vienna. A senior U.S. Department of State official said at a briefing with reporters that the parties were focused on the November 24 deadline and had not discussed an extension of the talks. The negotiators were working on a full agreement – the understandings and the annexes to them. “This is a situation where unless you have the detail, you do not know that you have the agreement,” explained the official.[75][76]

Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and former EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton have held talks on November 9–10 inMuscat seeking to bridge differences on a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Officials from all delegations have abstained from briefing reporters.[77] The talks ended without an imminent breakthrough.[78]

After arriving in Viena on 20 November John Kerry met for more than two hours with Mohammad Zarif and Catherine Ashton. It was not reported whether they made any headway.[79][80]

Main Points

Uranium stockpile and enrichment

Diagram of nuclear power and weapons cycle

Iran’s nuclear enrichment capacity is the biggest stumbling block in the negotiations on a comprehensive agreement.[11][59][81][82][83][84] The Security Council in its resolution 1929 has required Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.[85][86] For many years the United States held that no enrichment program should be permitted in Iran. In signing the Geneva interim agreement the U.S. and its P5+1 partners shifted away from zero enrichment to limited enrichment objective.[87][88] Additionally, they have determined that the comprehensive solution will “have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon” and once it has expired Iran’s nuclear program will not be under special restrictions.[89]

Limited enrichment would mean limits on the numbers and types of centrifuges. Shortly before the comprehensive negotiations began, Iran was estimated to have 19,000 centrifuges installed, mostly first generation IR-1 machines, with about 10,000 of them operating to increase the concentration of uranium-235. The Iranians strive to expand their enrichment capacity by a factor of ten or more while the six powers aim to cut the number of centrifuges to no more than a few thousand.[88][90]

Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the IAEA, said in a radio interview that the agency does not have a complete picture of Iran’s nuclear profile since inspectors have been kept out of some sites. In particular, IAEA has not been able to assess “how much uranium has been produced in Iran over these years” and to verify the completeness of Iran’s declaration about the number of its centrifuges. Heinonen also pointed out that Iran has an “unfortunate history of misleading and not disclosing all its nuclear material.”[91]

Western analysts argued there were two distinct paths to deal with Iran’s nuclear program: complete dismantling or allowing limited activities while preventing Iran from a nuclear “breakout capability”.[92][93] The measures that would lengthen breakout timelines include “limits on the number, quality and/or output of centrifuges”.[94] The former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Robert Joseph has argued that attempts to overcome the impasse over centrifuges by using a malleable SWU metric “as a substitute for limiting the number of centrifuges is nothing more than sleight of hand.” He has also quoted former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying “any enrichment will trigger an arms race in the Middle East.”[95]

In order to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes, constraints should be put on its uranium enrichment. This should include the number and quality of centrifuges, research and development of more advanced centrifuges, the size of low-enriched uranium stockpile. The constraints are interrelated with each other – the more centrifuges Iran would have, the less stockpile the U.S. and P5+1 can accept, and vice versa. Colin Kahl, former Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, estimated in May 2014 that Iran’s stockpile was large enough to build 6 nuclear weapons and it had to be reduced.[96]Lengthening breakout timelines requires a substantial reduction in enrichment capacity and many experts talk about an acceptable range of about 2000-6000 first-generation centrifuges. But Iran stated that it wants to extend its capability substantially. In May 2014 Robert J. Einhorn, former Special Advisor on Non-Proliferation and Arms Control at the U.S. State Department, expressed confidence that if Iran will continue to insist on that huge number of centrifuges, there would be no agreement, since this robust enrichment capacity would bring the breakout time down to weeks or days.[97]

Plutonium production and separation

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, testifying before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that a good deal will be one that cuts off Iran’s uranium, plutonium and covert pathways to obtain nuclear weapon.[26] Secretary of State John Kerry has testified before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs and expressed great concerns about the Arak nuclear reactor facility. “Now, we have strong feelings about what will happen in a final comprehensive agreement. From our point of view, Arak is unacceptable. You can’t have a heavy-water reactor,” he said.[98] President Barack Obama, while addressing the House of Representatives and Senate, emphasized that “these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb.”[99]

Arak Heavy Water Reactor (IR-40)

Despite these statements, some analysts have feared that Obama administration might accept dangerous concessions to achieve a deal with Iran. For example, Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and Chief of Staff to Undersecretaries of State for Arms, believed that such concessions were being proposed, and, as he explained: “… most dangerous is that we are considering letting Iran keep the Arak heavy water reactor which will be a source of plutonium. Plutonium is the most desired nuclear fuel for a bomb, it has a lower critical mass, you need less of it which is important in building missile warhead.”[100]

The head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview that the heavy water reactor of Arak was designed as a research reactor and not for plutonium production. It will produce about 9 kg of plutonium but not weapons-grade plutonium. Dr. Salehi explained that “if you want to use the plutonium of this reactor you need a reprocessing plant”. “We do not have a reprocessing plant, we do not intend, although it is our right, we will not forgo our right, but we do not intend to build a reprocessing plant.” Further in the interview Salehi expressed his opinion that the pressure on Iran has not been genuine, it has been just an excuse to put “political pressure” and the concern about developing nuclear weapons was “fabricated”.[101]

According to information provided by the Federation of American Scientists, a sizable research program involving the production of heavy water might raise concerns about a plutonium-based weapon program, especially if such program was not easily justifiable on other accounts.[102] Gregory S. Jones, a senior researcher and a defense policy analyst, warned that if the heavy-water-production plant at Arak was not dismantled, Iran would be granted a “plutonium option” for acquiring nuclear weapons in addition to the dangerous centrifuge enrichment program.[103]

Agreement’s duration

According to an editorial in the Washington Post, the most troubling part of the Geneva interim agreement has been the “long-term duration” clause. This provision means that when the duration expires, “the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party” to the NPT. Thus, once the comprehensive agreement expires, Iran will be able to install an unlimited number of centrifuges and produce plutonium without violating any international accord.”[104] Many Western analysts have referred to the comprehensive agreement as a “final” nuclear agreement with Iran “but clearly it will only be a long-term interim agreement”.[89]

Iran wants any agreement to last for at most 5 years while the U.S. prefers 20 years.[105] The twenty years is viewed as a minimum amount of time to develop confidence that Iran can be treated as other non-nuclear weapon states and allow the IAEA enough time to verify that Iran is fully compliant with all its non-proliferation obligations.[106]

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said in May 2014: “Battle and jihad are endless because evil and its front continue to exist. … This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought.”[107] This and other declarations of jihadist principles by Ayatollah Khamenei[108] leave no doubt about Iran’s adoption of religiously-inspired combat against the U.S. and the West.[109] These principles include aramesh (hudna)[110] and such a truce cannot exceed 10 years.[111]

Some analysts suggested that if a single 20-year duration for all provisions of the agreement is too constraining, it would be possible to agree on different durations for different provisions. Some provisions could have short duration, and others could be longer. A few constraints, like enhanced monitoring at specific facilities, could be permanent.[112]

Possible covert paths to fissile material

Fordow Underground Fuel Enrichment Facility near Qom

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. “We have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so,” Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said, according to a translation of an interview with him.[113] Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has pronounced a fatwa forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.[114] Some observers, however, have questioned the fatwa’s actual existence.[115]

The Iranian uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz (FEP and PFEP) and Fordow (FFEP) were constructed covertly and designed to operate in a similar manner. The facilities were declared by Iran only after they were revealed by other sources. Thus, only in September 2009, Iran notified the IAEA about constructing the Fordow facility.[116][117] The 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimateon Iran’s nuclear capabilities and intentions stated among the key judgments : “We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.” Additionally the Estimate stated that after 2003 Iran has halted the covert enrichment for at least several years.[118][119]

The Estimate also stated: “We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities — rather than its declared nuclear sites — for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon.”[119] Despite this assessment some analysts have argued that negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, as well as most public discussions, were focused on Iran’s overt nuclear facilities while there existed alternative paths to obtain fissile material. Graham Allison, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Oren Setter, a research fellow at Belfer Center, compared this approach with Maginot’sfixation on a single threat “that led to fatal neglect of alternatives”. They have pointed out at least three additional paths to obtain such material:[120][121]

  • Covert make
  • Covert buy
  • Hybrid pathway (a combination of overt and covert paths)

William Tobey, former Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, has outlined the possible ways to nuclear weapons as follows:[118]

  • Break out of the Nonproliferation Treaty, using declared facilities
  • Sneak out of the Treaty, using covert facilities
  • Buy a weapon from another nation or rogue faction

Some sources published recommendations for agreement provisions relating to monitoring and verification in order to prevent covert activities and to provide tools to react if needed.[122][123][124][118] One of the sources warned the P5+1 that “if the monitoring elements that we recommend are not pursued now to diminish the risks of deception, it is difficult to envision that Iran would be compliant in the future, post-sanctions environment.”[125] According to the recommendations the agreement with Iran should include:

  • A requirement to cooperate with the IAEA inspectors in compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions
  • Transparency for centrifuges, mines and mills for uranium ore and yellowcake
  • Monitoring of nuclear-related procurement
  • Obligation to ratify and implement the Additional Protocol[126] and to provide the IAEA enhanced powers beyond the Protocol
  • Adhering to the modified Code 3.1[127][128]
  • Monitoring of nuclear research and development (R&D)
  • Defining certain activities as breaches of the agreement that could provide basis for timely intervention

IAEA inspection

According to multiple resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803, and 1929), enacted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, Iran is obligated to cooperate fully with the IAEA on “all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear programme, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the IAEA…” On 11 November 2013 the IAEA and Iran signed a Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation committing both parties to cooperate and resolve all present and past issues in a step by step manner. As a first step, the Framework identified six practical measures to be completed within three months.[129] The IAEA reported that Iran had implemented those six measures in time.[130] In February and May 2014[131][132] the parties agreed to additional sets of measures related to the Framework.[133] In September the IAEA continued to report that Iran was not implementing its Additional Protocol, which is a prerequisite for the IAEA “to provide assurance about both declared and possible undeclared activities.” Under those circumstances, the Agency reported it will not be able to provide “credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran”[134][126]

The implementation of interim Geneva Accord has involved transparency measures and enhanced monitoring to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. It was agreed that the IAEA will be “solely responsible for verifying and confirming all nuclear-related measures, consistent with its ongoing inspection role in Iran”. IAEA inspection has included daily access to Natanz and Fordow and managed access to centrifuge production facilities, uranium mines and mills, and the Arak heavy water reactor.[135][136][137] To implement these and other verification steps, Iran committed to “provide increased and unprecedented transparency into its nuclear program, including through more frequent and intrusive inspections as well as expanded provision of information to the IAEA.”[138]

Yukiya Amano and Mohammad Javad Zarif

Thus, there have been two ongoing diplomatic tracks — one by the P5+1 to curb Iran’s nuclear program and a second by the IAEA to resolve questions about the peaceful nature of Iran’s past nuclear activities. Although the IAEA inquiry has been formally separate from JPA negotiations, Washington said a successful IAEA investigation should be part of any final deal and that may be unlikely by the deadline of 24 November 2014.[139]

One expert on Iran’s nuclear program, David Albright, has explained that “It’s very hard if you are an IAEA inspector or analyst to say we can give you confidence that there’s not a weapons program today if you don’t know about the past. Because you don’t know what was done. You don’t know what they accomplished.” Albright argued that this history is important since the “infrastructure that was created could pop back into existence at any point in secret and move forward on nuclear weapons.”[140]

Iranian and IAEA officials met in Tehran on 16 and 17 August 2014 and discussed the five practical measures in the third step of the Framework for Cooperation agreed in May 2014.[141] Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA, made a one-day visit to Tehran on August 17 and held talks with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and other senior officials.[142] After the visit Iranian media criticized the IAEA while reporting that President Rouhani and the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Salehi both tried “to make the IAEA chief Mr. Amano understand that there is an endpoint to Iran’s flexibility.”[143] The same week Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that Iran will not give IAEA inspectors access to Parchin military base. Yukiya Amano has noted previously that access to the Parchin base was essential for the Agency to be in position to certify Iran’s nuclear programme as peaceful.[144] Tehran was supposed to provide the IAEA with information related to the initiation of high explosives and to neutron transport calculations until August 25, but it failed to address these issues.[145] The two issues are associated with compressed materials that are required to produce a warhead small enough to fit on top of a missile.[146] During its October 7–8 meetings with IAEA in Tehran, Iran failed to propose any new practical measures to resolve the disputable issues.[147]

Nuclear-related issues beyond the negotiations

There are many steps toward nuclear weapons.[148] However, an effective nuclear weapons capability has only three major elements:[149]

  • Fissile or nuclear material in sufficient quantity and quality
  • Effective means for delivery, such as a ballistic missile
  • Design, weaponization, miniaturization, and survivability of the warhead

Evidence presented by the IAEA has shown that Iran has pursued all three of these elements: it has been enriching uranium for more than ten years and is constructing a heavy water reactor to produce plutonium, it has a well-developed ballistic missile program, and it has tested high explosives and compressed materials that can be used for nuclear warheads.[150]

Some analysts believe that Iran’s nuclear program should be negotiated in its entirety — it must include not only fissile material discussions but also ballistic missile development and weaponization issues.[151][152]

Priorities in monitoring and prevention

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, has explained in his recent book (2014): “The best—perhaps the only—way to prevent the emergence of a nuclear weapons capability is to inhibit the development of a uranium-enrichment process …”

Joint Plan of Action[153] has not explicitly addressed the future status of Iran’s ballistic missile program. However, having been an interim agreement, it could not take into account all the issues that should be resolved as part of a comprehensive agreement. If a comprehensive agreement with Iran “does not tackle the issue of ballistic missiles, it will fall short of and may undermine … UN Security Council Resolutions.” Moreover, shifting “monitoring and prevention aims onto warheads without addressing Iran’s ballistic missile capacity also ignores U.S. legislation that forms the foundation of the sanctions regime against Iran”.[154]

Additionally, “monitoring warhead production is far more difficult than taking stock” of ballistic missiles and the U.S. government is far less good at detecting advanced centrifuges or covert facilities for manufacturing nuclear warheads.[154]

Anthony Cordesman, a former Pentagon official and a holder of the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), highlighted the view that the U.S. and other members of the P5+1, along with their attempts to limit Iran’s breakout capability and to prevent it from getting even one nuclear device, should mainly focus “on reaching a full an agreement that clearly denies Iran any ability to covertly create an effective nuclear force.”[155]

Ballistic missile program

Iran’s ballistic missiles have been tied to its nuclear-weapons program. Security Council Resolution 1929 “decides that Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”[156] In May–June 2014 a U.N. Panel of Experts submitted a report pointing to Iran’s engagement in ballistic missile activities. The Panel reported that over the last year Iran has conducted a number of ballistic missile test launches, which were a violation of paragraph 9 of the resolution.[157]

Shahab-3 estimated threat range

Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper testified on March 12, 2013, that Iran’s ballistic missiles were capable of delivering WMD.[158] According to some analysts, the liquid-fueled Shahab-3 missile and the solid-fueled Sejjil missile have the ability to carry a nuclear warhead.[159] Iran’s ballistic missile program is controlled by IRGC Air Force (AFAGIR), while Iran’s combat aircraft is under the command of the regular Iranian Air Force (IRIAF).[160]

The United States and its allies view Iran’s ballistic missiles as a subject for the talks on a comprehensive agreement since they regard it as a part of Iran’s potential nuclear threat. Members of Iran’s negotiating team in Vienna insisted the talks won’t focus on this issue.[161]

A few days before May 15, date when the next round of the negotiations was scheduled,[162] Iran’s Supreme Leader AyatollahAli Khamenei told the IRNA news agency that Western expectations on limits to Iran’s missile program were “stupid and idiotic” and called on the country’s Revolutionary Guards to mass-produce missiles.[163]

In his testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, Managing Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Michael Singh argued “that Iran should be required to cease elements of its ballistic-missile and space-launch programs as part of a nuclear accord.” This question was off the table since Iran’s Supreme Leader has insisted that Iran’s missile program is off-limits in the negotiations and P5+1 officials have been ambiguous.[151]

According to Debka.com, U.S. in its direct dialogue with Iran outside the P5+1 framework demanded to restrict Iran’s ICBM, whose 4,000 kilometers range places Europe and the United States at risk. This demand did not apply to ballistic missiles, whose range of 2,100 km covers any point in the Middle East. These medium-range missiles may also be nuclear and are capable of striking Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf.[164]

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan stated at a press conference on August 2014 that Iran’s missile capability issue was not included in the comprehensive talks with the P5+1 countries and “will by no means be negotiated with anyone”.[165]

In a Senate committee hearing former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz has expressed believe that Iran’s missile program and its ICBM capability, as well as its support of the terrorism, should also be on the table.[166]

Possible military dimensions

Since 2002, the IAEA has become concerned and noted in its reports that some elements of Iran’s nuclear program could be used for military purposes. More detailed information about suspected weaponization aspects of Iran’s nuclear program – the possible military dimensions (PMD) – has been provided in the IAEA reports issued in May 2008 and November 2011. The file of Iran’s PMD issues included development of detonators, high explosives initiation systems, neutron initiators, nuclear payloads for missiles and other kinds of developments, calculations and tests. The Security Council Resolution 1929 reaffirmed “that Iran shall cooperate fully with the IAEA on all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the IAEA.”[116][167][168]

In November 2013 Iran and the IAEA have signed a Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation committing both parties to resolve all present and past issues.[129] In the same month the P5+1 and Iran have signed the Joint Plan of Action, which aimed to develop a long-term comprehensive solution for Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA continued to investigate PMD issues as a part of the Framework for Cooperation. The P5+1 and Iran have committed to establish a Joint Commission to work with the IAEA to monitor implementation of the Joint Plan and “to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern” with respect to Iran’s nuclear program, including PMD of the program and Iran’s activities at Parchin.[153][169] Some analysts asked what happens if Iran balks and IAEA fails to resolve significant PDM issues. According to the U.S. Department of State, any compliance issues wouldn’t be discussed by the Joint Commission but would be dealt “at the expert level, and then come up to the political directors and up to foreign ministers if needed.” Thus, an unresolved issue might be declared sufficiently addressed as a result of a political decision.[170]

Prior to the signing of an interim nuclear agreement, it was commonly understood in Washington that Iran must “come clean about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program,” as Undersecretary Wendy Sherman testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2011. The Iranians have refused to acknowledge having a weaponization program. Meanwhile, analysts close to the Obama administration begin to boost so-called limited disclosure option.[171]Nevertheless, 354 members of U.S. Congress were “deeply concerned with Iran’s refusal to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.” On October 1, they sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry stating that “Iran’s willingness to fully reveal all aspects of its nuclear program is a fundamental test of Iran’s intention to uphold a comprehensive agreement.”[172]

Some organizations have published lists of suspected nuclear-weaponization facilities in Iran.[173][174] Below is a partial list of such facilities:

  • Institute of Applied Physics (IAP)
  • Kimia Maadan Company (KM)
  • Parchin Military Complex
  • Physics Research Center (PHRC)
  • Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

In September 2014 the IAEA reported about ongoing reconstructions at Parchin military base. The Agency has anticipated that these activities will further undermine its ability to conduct effective verification if and when this location would be open for inspection.[175] A month later, The New York Times reported that according to a statement by Yukiya Amano, the IAEA Director General, Iran had stopped answering the Agency’s questions about suspected past weaponization issues. Iran has argued that what has been described as evidence is fabricated.[176] In his speech at Brookings Institution Yukiya Amano said that progress has been limited and two important practical measures, which should have been implemented by Iran two months ago, have still not been implemented. Mr. Amano stressed his commitment to work with Iran “to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme”. But he also warned: “this is not a never-ending process. It is very important that Iran fully implements the Framework for Cooperation – sooner rather than later.”[177]

Supreme leader’s Fatwa against nuclear weapon

Ali Khamenei, Iranian leader issued a Fatwa (religious edict) denouncing nuclear weapon and calling it as “Haraam” (Forbidden by religion). American officials noticed the topic several times and called it as a point to start discussions. In an interview in Jordan, Kerry said he respect the idea.[178]

Some observers, however, have questioned the fatwa’s actual existence.[115]

Ayatollah Jalal Ganje’i, a ayatollah based in Paris, has given a detailed explanation why it is “more than evident” that there is no fatwa to back up the regime’s officials when they claim that Iran has only peaceful intentions for its nuclear program. Ayatollah Ganje’i has concluded his comments as follows: “President Obama and other Western leaders cannot set policy according to non-binding and easily reversible remarks by Khamenei. Doing so would put the world in great peril on the basis of a fantasy.”[179] The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has made “a clear-cut distinction between the notion of pure Islam of the Prophet Mohammad and the American-style Islam”, but ‘Paris-style’ Islam has not been declared illegal.[180]

Arak reactor

The head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said in April 2014 that a dispute between world powers and Iran over its heavy water reactor at Arak had been “virtually resolved” and the reactor will be redesigned to produce one-fifth of the plutonium initially planned for it.[181]

In May 2014, after the fourth round closing, Abbas Araqchi announced on Iranian TV that Arak reactor will remain a heavy water facility and would continue its work with 40 megawatts of power.[182]

In June 2014, Salehi announced that Iran was redesigning the Arak reactor to produce less than 1 kg of plutonium per year, compared to 9–10 kg per year with the original design. Princeton University experts had proposed a redesign involving changing the reactor’s fuel and reducing its power level, with a similar effect on plutonium production. However, the concern remained that this redesign could be reversed.[183]

After the sixth round of negotiations Abbas Araqchi had made clear that “any agreement about Arak or Fordo nuclear facilities is denied”.[184]

Uranium enrichment

France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius said on June 10, 2014 that the biggest point of disagreement in the talks is how many centrifuges Iran will be allowed. The six powers say Iran may keep some hundreds of centrifuges while the Iranians say they require hundreds of thousands of centrifuges.[185] “…what is the purpose of having thousands of centrifuges if we’re not heading towards an atomic bomb? So the question that will be asked in the coming weeks is whether Iran is really ready to accept to give up the atomic bomb or not,” Fabius said.[84]

Negotiating countries

Islamic Republic of Iran

The U.S. and Iran cut off diplomatic ties in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution and the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where 52 Americans were held hostage for more than a year. After Barack Obama’s inauguration, he personally authorized talks with Iran in order to reach out to this country.[186]

The FATF has been “particularly and exceptionally concerned” about Iran’s failure to address the risk of terrorist financing. Iran was included in FATF blacklist.[187]In 2014 Iran remained a state of proliferation concern. Despite multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions requiring Iran to suspend its sensitive nuclear proliferation activities, Iran has continued to violate its international obligations regarding its nuclear program.[188]

Iran insists that its nuclear program is “completely peaceful and has always been carrying out under supervision of the IAEA”.[189] Some analysts argue that “Iranian actions, including the evidence of work on weaponization, the development of long-range ballistic missiles, and the placement of the program within the IRGC” indicate that Iran’s arsenal is not virtual.[190]

According to policy documents published by the Obama administration, it believes in the efficacy of traditional Cold War deterrence as the remedy to the challenge of states acquiring nuclear weapons. Another assumption of the administration is that the Iranian regime is “rational” and hence deterrable. Dr. Shmuel Bar, former Director of Studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, has argued in his research that the Cold War deterrence doctrine will not be applicable to nuclear Iran. The inherent instability of the Middle East and its regimes, the difficulty in managing multilateral nuclear tensions, the weight of religious, emotional, and internal pressures, and the proclivity of many of the regimes toward military adventurism and brinkmanship give little hope for the future of the region once it enters the nuclear age. By its own admission, the Iranian regime favors revolution and is against the status quo in the region.[191] Shmuel Bar has characterized the regime as follows:

“Since its inception, it has been committed to ‘propagation of Islam’ (tablighi eslami) and ‘export of revolution’ (sudur inqilab). The former is viewed by the regime as a fundamental Islamic duty and the latter as a prime tenet of the regime’s ideology, enshrined in the constitution and the works of the Imam Khomeini. Together they form a worldview that sees Islamic Iran as a nation with a ‘manifest destiny’: to lead the Muslim world and to become a predominant regional ‘superpower’ in the Gulf, the heart of the Arab world, and in Central Asia.” [191]

A quite different approach to Iran has been proposed by The Economist:

“The disastrous presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the failed Green revolution—which sought to topple him in 2009—and the chaotic Arab spring have for the moment discredited radical politics and boosted pragmatic centrists. The traditional religious society that the mullahs dreamt of has receded… Although this hardly amounts to democracy, it is a political marketplace and, as Mr Ahmadinejad discovered, policies that tack away from the consensus do not last. That is why last year Iran elected a president, Hassan Rohani, who wants to open up to the world and who has reined in the hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”[192]

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has declared on September 4, 2014 that the way forward for his regime is to ramp up its “eqtedar” (might). Ayatollah Jalal Ganje’i has explained that Iranian regime intended to achieve this by one of two ways: to expand regional influence through the export of terrorism, officially described as “export of revolution” or to develop nuclear weapons.[179]

The fighters from Hezbollah and Quds forces have been publicly operating in several foreign territories. Iran and pro-Iranian proxies have been military involved inSyria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and other regional nations. Iranian state TV has been showing the pictures of the commander of Quds force in foreign territories and pointing to the Islamic Republic’s indispensable power and influence in the Middle East. Iranian leaders have been attempting to reassert their power and supremacy in the region more publicly and sending the signal to other states that “Iran is in fact the sole regional power to rely on rather than the United States and Western allies.”[193]

Iran has developed a close and cooperative relationship with Cuba and Venezuela against the U.S. Having limited military capabilities and substantial distance from the region, Iran, in case of a conflict with the U.S., would be able to launch an asymmetrical offensive against the U.S. “through surrogate terrorist states and paramilitary organizations.”[194] Iran and Hizbullah also maintain a considerable presence in other countries of Latin America.[195]

On January 4, 2015 President of Iran Hassan Rouhani pointed out that the Iranians cause was not connected to a centrifuge, but to their “heart and willpower”. He added that Iran couldn’t have sustainable growth while it was isolated. So he would like some economic reforms passed by referendum. These words could be considered as willingness to work with international powers.[196] But a few days later Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who makes final and conclusive decisions on all matters of Iranian national security, warned that “Americans are impudently saying that even if Iran backs down on the nuclear issue, all the sanctions will not be lifted at once.” Iran should therefore “take the instrument of sanctions out of enemy’s hands” and develop “economic of resistance.”[197]

Former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz, testifying in January 2015 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, said about Iranian nuclear ambitions:

“They’re trying to develop nuclear weapons. There is no sensible explanation for the extent, the money, the talent they’ve devoted to their nuclear thing, other than that they want a nuclear weapon. It can’t be explained any other way.”
“They give every indication, Mr. Chairman, that they don’t want a nuclear weapon for deterrence, they want a nuclear weapon to use it on Israel. So it’s a very threatening situation.”[166]

P5+1

United States

In its Nuclear Posture Review in April 2010 the U.S. has stated that in Asia and the Middle East – where there were no military alliances analogous to NATO – it had mainly extended deterrence through bilateral alliances and security relationships and through its forward military presence and security guarantees. According to the Review Report: “The Administration is pursuing strategic dialogues with its allies and partners in East Asia and the Middle East to determine how best to cooperatively strengthen regional security architectures to enhance peace and security, and reassure them that U.S. extended deterrence is credible and effective.”[198] Since 2010 the U.S. position has been less clear and it seems “to be deliberately lowering its profile – either because it might interference with negotiations by the 5+1 or because it has less support within the Obama Administration.”[199]

Two weeks after the Geneva interim deal was achieved, President Barack Obama disclosed in an interview that while taking office, he decided to “reach out to Iran” and open up a diplomatic channel. He emphasized: “the best way for us to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapons is for a comprehensive, verifiable, diplomatic resolution, without taking any other options off the table if we fail to achieve that.” The President also expressed strong belief that an end state can be envisioned, where Iran will not have breakout capacity. Barack Obama, however, added: “If you asked me what is the likelihood that we’re able to arrive at the end state that I was just describing earlier, I wouldn’t say that it’s more than 50/50.”[200][201]

About fourteen months after the Geneva interim agreement was signed, President Barack Obama reiterated his assessment that the chances to “get a diplomatic deal are probably less than 50/50.”[202] Shortly afterwards, in his State of the Union presented to a joint session of the United States Congress, the President announced: “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.”[203] The accuracy of this statement has been challenged by some media sources. For example, based on experts’ assessments Glenn Kessler from the Washington Post has come to the conclusion that between 2013 and 2014 the amount of nuclear material, which could be converted by Iran to a bomb, has been increased. Olli Heinonen observed that the interim agreement “is just a step to create negotiation space; nothing more. It is not a viable longer term situation.” Jeffrey Lewis observed that Obama’s statement was an oversimplification, and that while Iran’s stockpiles of the “most dangerous” nuclear materials had declined, overall stocks had increased.[204] Right-wing publications The Federalist and The Washington Free Beacon have said that the Iranians have exploited loopholes in the interim agreement and made significant progress on all areas of their nuclear program. Right-wing commentator Fred Fleitz stated in The National Review Online that the “number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium has steadily risen throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency”.[205][206][207]Both, the mainstream Washington Post and the conservative National Review Online, presented the Center for Security Policy’s chart that illustrates Iran’s build-up of nuclear material since 2009.[208]

United Kingdom

United Kingdom is interested in constructive relationship with Iran. For decades Iran has been regarded as a threat to the security of the UK and its regional partners in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf. The UK believes that negotiations in Vienna are the most appropriate framework for coping with Iranian nuclear intentions. The British Government is satisfied with the convergence of UK and US policy on Iran and with a united front maintained by the P5+1 countries. It also assures that the agreement with Iran does not imply any diminution in the commitments to the alliances in the region and to the struggle against terrorism. Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons expressed opinion that the comprehensive agreement should include the issues of Parchin Military Complex.[209]

Non-negotiating countries’ positions

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia fears that a deal with Iran could come at expense of Sunni Arabs. President Barack Obama paid a visit to Riyadh in March 2014 and assured King Abdullah that he is determined to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and that USA will not accept a bad deal. However, an editorial in Al Riyadh newspaper claimed that the president did not know Iran as the Saudis did, and could not convince them that Iran will be peaceful.[210]

Israel

After the meetings between Western foreign ministers and Iranian counterpart on 13 July 2014 Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview with Fox News warned that “a bad deal is actually worse than no deal.” He explained that allowing Iran to stockpile nuclear material or to preserve the capability of uranium enrichment in return for the presence of international inspectors would lead to a “catastrophic development”.[211] At his meeting with Barack Obama in Washington in October 2014, Benjamin Netanyahu warned U.S. President not to accept any Iran deal that would allow Tehran to become a “threshold nuclear power.” Netanyahu’s remark highlighted the long-standing disagreement between Israel and the Obama administration on the nuclear talks with Iran.[212]

In his speech presented to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that the negotiated deal was bad because of its two major concessions: leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. “It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb,” said the Prime Minister. Netanyahu also urged the leaders of the world “not to repeat the mistakes of the past” and expressed his commitment that “if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”[213]

What-if analysis

Oil prices

Iran needs oil at $136 a barrel to finance its spending plans. In 2013 it spent $100 billion on consumer subsidies, about 25% of GDP. “Sanctions mean it cannot borrow its way out of trouble”.[214]

Collapse of negotiations]

Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman warned that a failure of the nuclear negotiations with Iran will lead to a dangerous escalation by both Tehran and the West. “That is why I say the stakes are quite high here,” she said on October 23, 2014. “The alternatives are quite terrible.”[215]

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius has supposed that if the parties don’t reach an agreement by the June 30, 2015, the United States may turn on its ability “to use cyberweapons to attack Iranian nuclear facilities” and Iran may turn on its ability “to wage covert war through its proxies in the Middle East.”[216]

Cutting a bad nuclear deal with Iran

A deal “that removes the most important sanctions but does not extend Iran’s breakout scenario to at least six months, that does not address the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear work, that does not allow for rigorous monitoring and transparency, that places only short duration constraints that are easily reversible, and that unravels sanctions against Iran’s support for terrorism and gross human rights violations as well” is a bad deal. This definition has been given by a former senior analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense J. Matthew McInnis at his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on November 18, 2014.[217]

A bad deal will leave everyone in the region uncertain about Iran’s intentions and potential nuclear weapons capabilities. It will lead other countries to take potentially dangerous decisions, such as acquiring nuclear weapons or making strategic accommodation with Iran. According to McInnis, “In the worst case scenario, we could eventually face a nuclear Iran, for whom classic containment and deterrence approaches are unlikely to be effective.”[217]

Testifying before the Committee David Albright said that in order to avoid a bad nuclear deal with Iran “the P5+1 must hold strong on achieving an agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear program to a reasonable civilian capability, significantly increases the timelines for breakout to nuclear weapons, and introduces enhanced verification that goes beyond the IAEA’s Additional Protocol.”[218]

Albright also highlighted at his testimony that a “sound deal” will require Iran to address IAEA’s concerns about PMD of its nuclear program before a deal is finalized or the economic or financial sanctions are relieved. To achieve a “verifiable solution” Iran will have to significantly reduce the number of its centrifuges and uranium stocks, as well as to limit its centrifuge R&D programs.[218]

U.S. President vs Congress

The president remains in overall control of foreign policy and defence. “Mr Obama would probably veto any bill that tightened sanctions against his wishes.”[219]

According to Jack Goldsmith, Harvard Law School professor and a former Bush administration official, President Obama has the authority to “waive most if not all sanctions against Iran for the remaining two years of his term.” If he does so, the deal with Iran “will be tenuous”. The President believes that Congress will not cooperate on this issue now. “So if he wants a deal with Iran (which he clearly does), Obama must strike the deal on his own.”[220] If President Obama suspends sanctions the entire sanctions regime will probably collapse. “The end result would be a deal that expires when Obama leaves and a sanctions regime in tatters. Iran will then have exactly what it wants — relief from sanctions, a deal that doesn’t block it from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability … and a revived economy,” has argued Jennifer Rubin, a lawyer and a columnist for The Washington Post.”[221]

The lawyer Alan Dershowitz is of the view that if “Congress chooses to assert its constitutional power to participate in foreign policy decisions”, Obama would not have a completely free hand in making a deal with Iran. In case of a constitutional conflict between these branches of government, the Supreme Court may resolve the conflict but it is unclear how the judges would deal with it.[222]

Next Supreme Leader Appointment

The Supreme Leader is the most powerful man in Iran. He has the ultimate say on Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear programme. Iran’s Supreme Leader is appointed by the Assembly of Experts in the event of the death, resignation, or dismissal of the leader. While the Assembly of Experts has the formal role in the appointment, in practice the decision will be influenced by powerful lobbies. The most powerful political organization is Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) that has control over the military, politics, economy, and nuclear program. The IRGC and the office of the current Supreme Leader will be the key selecting players. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American scholar at Harvard University, has argued that the IRGC will attempt to choose an individual who serves its objectives: “obtaining nuclear capabilities, having a monopoly over economic and political affairs, having power in foreign policy and having the capability to intervene in other countries’ affairs without hurdles from any political figures including the Supreme Leader.”[223][224]

Clifton W. Sherrill, an assistant professor of international relations at Troy University, has come to the conclusion that with “no consensus successor and with concerns that dividing power among a council may diminish the strength of the regime, the conditions are ripe for an IRGC power grab.” Explaining the role of the IRGC, Sherrill has written (2011): “Today, it has its own air force, navy, and infantry; maintains its own intelligence service; runs strategic think tanks, defense research and development programs, and its own universities; coordinates Iranian support for Islamist terrorist groups abroad; and holds primary responsibility for the regime’s nuclear weapons program.”[225]

See also

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