Open Book
Light Bulb

muslim ban

Perhaps you’re like me—bewildered, maybe even disgusted by the President’s executive order regarding Muslim entry into the USA. Or, perhaps you think it’s a helpful, even needed action. Either way, we need to get beyond the bluster and invectives. And there’s a deep question here that’s not being addressed. But let’s begin by looking at what was done. The executive order fulfilled a campaign promise. However, Foreign Policy reports it’s not something counter-terrorism officials had lobbied for or even wanted. 
Friday’s executive order suspended immediately and for 90 days entry into the USA of nationals from seven countries; Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Syrians were banned indefinitely. The Secretary of Homeland Security or Secretary of State have authority to make exceptions. The order also offers allowances for minority religions, supposedly Christians and Yezidis, but fails to define what is a minority religion. Sunday the White House belatedly added exemptions for holders of green-cards. But, because the order made no allowance for due process, it was Constitutionally easy for four different judges to quickly overturn some of its aspects.

So Muslims have not been banned from entering the USA. Saudis, Indonesians, Turks, Tunisians, and many others from Muslim-majority countries can enter. Cynics observe Mr Trump has no business interests in the seven banned countries. True. Conducting business in Iran has been illegal for years. Terrorism and weapons sales have been about the only business going in Syria for six years. Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Iraq have little more need for Trump’s hospitality business than does North Korea. 

The Constitution grants every President broad authority over immigration. According to 
The Brandeis Center, beginning in the 1930’s, U.S. law limited to 26,000 annually the number of German Jews admitted. That quota was usually less than 25% filled because the Roosevelt administration piled regulations high. Merely having a relative remaining in Europe could disqualify an applicant from entry, the FDR administration feared that applicant might become a spy for Hitler in order to protect their relatives trapped in Europe from the Nazis. So, thousands of Jews were turned back at U.S. ports of entry. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of them died in gas chambers.
I’ve been asking this question: Should our government accept into the US individuals who reject freedom of speech and freedom of religion? 

Muslim Sharia law does not recognize freedom of expression or freedom of religion. But the US Constitution guarantees these freedoms. And the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion—each individual has the right to change their religious beliefs. Sharia encourages the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam. But leaving Islam, expressing contempt for Islam, or converting to another religion is prohibited—punishable even by death. A 2013 Pew Research Center Survey reported that large majorities of the population in six Islamic countries (including Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, and Egypt) support the death penalty for Muslims who leave Islam. And while a majority of Muslims in 43 of the nations surveyed disagreed with this interpretation of Sharia, large minorities in most of these countries approve of death for apostasy. 

The vast majority of American Muslims reject religious punishments. And yet— The AHA Foundation reports more than 25 Muslim honor killings each year in the U.S. America’s freedom of thought, expression and religion arose from a mix of Enlightenment philosophy and New Testament scripture. Famously, the plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

I’m convinced 
America must be a place of welcome for the tired and the poor and every person yearning to breathe free. I’m concerned politically correct compassion makes compromises with those who reject religious freedom. ~

Dan Nygaard