Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Sharia in Belgium: A Wake Up Call for the West

In the US opponents of American Law for American Courts (ALAC), contend that it is not needed, is biased against Muslims, would jeopardize Jewish Halacha and other ecclesiastical law, interfere with foreign treaties and effectively would ban Sharia.  All of these contentions are false. ALAC was designed to ensure that state courts will not apply any foreign law or foreign legal doctrine if the application of that foreign law or foreign legal doctrine would result in the violation of an individual s Constitutional Rights.  This is not a blanket ban on foreign law.  It is a safeguard which guarantees the protection of fundamental Constitutional Rights.

We interviewed Christopher Holton of the Washington, DC-based Center for Security Policy in the March edition of the New English Review about the status of pending ALAC legislation in several state legislatures in 2013. Among those jurisdictions are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.  

One only need look at what has occurred in the countries of the EU.  One example is Belgium, where we find the rise of an Islamic Party with a platform espousing adoption of a foreign law doctrine, Sharia, that might suborn the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Muslim population of Belgium, largely Moroccan and Turkish immigrants in origin, currently comprises over 6 percent of the country’s approximately 11 million total population. Given current demographic trends the Muslim population could reach over 10% by 2020.   Belgium is divided into the majority Flemish or Dutch speaking region with 6.3 million versus 3.4 million French speakers in Wallonia, the Francophone region, with a minority of 73,000 German speakers in the country’s northeast. Muslims in Belgium have a significant presence in the country’s unemployment and welfare rolls.  That has exacerbated relations between the Flemish and Wallonia regions as the former bears the more significant tax burden for social welfare costs  in Belgium, while, the latter has the largest concentration of the Country’s Muslim population.

Soeren Kern, writing in the Gatestone Institute in November 2012 about the emergence of Belgium as an Islamic State in the EU, noted the impact of Belgium’s Muslim community on the capital of the EU, Brussels:

In real terms, the number of Muslims in Brussels -- where half of the number of Muslims in Belgium currently live --- has reached 300,000, which means that the self-styled "Capital of Europe" is now the most Islamic city in Europe.

In practical terms, Islam mobilizes more people in Brussels than do the Roman Catholic Church, political parties or even trade unions, according to The Iris and the Crescent. This book is a product of more than a year of field research.

In October 2012, as Kern pointed out, two Muslim candidates won municipal elections in Brussels espousing adoption of Sharia in Belgium:

The two candidates, Lhoucine Aït Jeddig and Redouane Ahrouch, both from the fledgling Islam Party, won seats in two heavily Islamized municipalities of Brussels.. .

During a post-election press conference in Brussels on October 25, 2012 the two councilors, who sworn in on December 3rd, said they regard their election as key to the assertion of the Muslim community in Belgium.

"We are elected Islamists but above all we are Muslims," Ahrouch said. "Islam is compatible with the laws of the Belgian people. As elected Muslims, we embrace the Koran and the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed. We believe Islam is a universal religion. Our presence on the town council will give us the opportunity to express ourselves," said Ahrouch, who refuses to shake hands or make eye contact with females in public.
[. . .]
Ahrouch, who was sentenced to six months in prison in 2003 for the assault and battery of his disabled wife, also spends considerable time talking about ethics in politics and "respect for the other."

Watch this RTL video of the contretemps at  Ahroch's swearing  ceremony as councillor of  Anderlecht in Brussels in December 3, 2012.   The Islam versus Europe blog noted:

David Erzet, president of the association Nonali and representative of ICLA (International Civil Liberties Alliance) Belgium which opposes sharia, rose up once the oath-taking was over, to declare that it was illegal and anti-democratic to tolerate an elected politician who wants to make Belgium an Islamic state. He was accompanied by Alain Wagner, president of the ICLA in France.

Belgium also has evidence of Islamic anti-Semitism as Kern noted:

The statements of Mark Elchardus, author of a 426 page study, who linked Islam with anti-Semitism, earned him a lawsuit filed by a Muslim group, which said that his comments violated Belgium's anti-discrimination law of 2007, which forbids discrimination on the basis of "religious convictions," and Article 444 of the Belgian penal code as his statements appeared in a newspaper and were therefore repeated extensively in print. Belgian law, however, apparently did not prevent Muslims from resorting to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

Kern, in a new Gatestone Institute article, published today revealed the rising concerns of Belgian political leaders about demands for Sharia compliance by these elected members of the Islam Party:

After members of the newly established Islam Party vowed to implement Islamic Sharia law in Belgium, Members of Parliament introduced a bill that would limit the power of Muslim extremists who win elected office at the local or national levels and isolate themselves from the political mainstream.

Addressing the Belgian Parliament on February 28, 2013 Alain Destexhe, an MP with the Reformist Movement [Mouvement Réformateur], the largest French-speaking classical liberal party in Belgium, and Philippe Pivin, a liberal MP who is also the deputy mayor of Koekelberg, a suburb of Brussels, said it is imperative to curb the power of elected Muslims whose beliefs are inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ruled in February 2003 that Islamic Sharia law is "incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy." The court said that a legal system based on Sharia law "would diverge from the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly with regard to the rules on the status of women, and its intervention in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts."

The legislative proposal, which is currently open for signatures by other Members of the Belgian Parliament, argues that ultra-conservative Muslims who are elected to public office are unsuitable to run local governments or community bodies and should be impeached.

Kern notes the comments of the leader of Vlaams Belang, the Flemish speaking party in Belgium:

Philip Claeys, of Vlaams Belang, a Member of the European Parliament for Flanders,  opposed to multiculturalism and further Muslim immigration. He  said, "It is very worrying to see what is happening. We see people with an Islamic background forming their own political party and demanding the introduction of Sharia law and an Islamic state in Belgium. Until now Muslim people mainly supported Socialist parties and other leftist parties. But now they feel confident enough to establish their own party."

Claeys said he believes it is a "big problem" when people who move to Belgium do not respect the separation of Mosque and State, or the equality of men and women and the rule of law. He said: "We should put a stop to this mass immigration of people coming from outside Europe, mainly Islamic countries, of people who cannot and will not adapt to our way of living in Western Europe."

Adoption of ALAC here in the US would preempt what has occurred in Belgium.  ALAC is designed to protect individual and Constitutional rights. To the extent that Sharia law or any other foreign legal doctrine is compatible with individual Constitutional Rights, there is no conflict whatsoever. If any foreign legal doctrine is not compatible with individual Constitutional Rights, then it is only those conflicting laws or doctrines that would be barred. Kern's   The latest Gatestone article by Kern sends an important message about Sharia demands of elected Muslim officials in Belgium in violation of EU human rights convention and court rulings.  By contrast ALAC in the US would further protect State and US Constitutional guarantees of  individual rights.

Posted on 03/19/2013 10:56 AM by Jerry Gordon
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