Posts

In Amy Coney Barrett, Trump Picks an Exacting Scholar for Supreme Court


President Donald Trump on Saturday evening nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the vacancy created by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Trump appointed Barrett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in October 2017 and, less than a month later, her name was added to those Trump said he would consider for the Supreme Court.

Senate Democrats have vowed to do everything they can to block Barrett’s nomination, but that will be hard given her impressive record, fidelity to the Constitution, and respect for the rule of law.

Now that Trump has nominated Barrett, 48, Americans want to know who she is and what kind of Supreme Court justice she will be.


How are socialists deluding a whole generation? Learn more now >>


Her husband, Jesse M. Barrett, is an attorney and former federal prosecutor. They live in South Bend, Indiana, with their seven children, five biological (the youngest with special needs) and two adopted from Haiti.

Barrett herself was the oldest of seven and grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in English literature from Rhodes College, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Barrett attended Notre Dame Law School on a full-tuition scholarship as a Kiley fellow. She graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame and was first in her 1997 class, receiving the Hoynes Prize. She was executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review and received awards for the best exam in 10 of her courses.

Barrett, a Roman Catholic, also belongs to People of Praise, a nondenominational, faith-based group that grew out of the Pentecostal revival of the early 20th century. Members provide each other with practical and spiritual advice, and have opened eight Blue Ribbon schools and undertaken missionary work throughout the country.

Barrett clerked for two prominent federal judges, Laurence Silberman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1997-98) and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (1998-99).

Back to Notre Dame

After a brief time in private practice, during which she was on  the team representing George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore following the 2000 presidential election, and teaching law at George Washington University and the University of Virginia, Barrett headed in 2002 to her alma mater, Notre Dame Law School, where she would teach for the next 15 years.

Barrett became a full professor in 2010; three graduating classes voted her “Distinguished Professor of the Year.”

Barrett’s extensive scholarship focuses on areas of particular relevance to appellate judges, such as constitutional law, the federal courts, and statutory interpretation. In particular, her work on originalism and judicial precedent earned her a national reputation. This scholarship reflects her understanding of the defined, limited role that judges play in our system of government.

In a 2003 article in the University of Colorado Law Review, Barrett examined the relationship between precedent and due process, arguing that a rigid or inflexible adherence to precedent actually might deprive litigants of a full opportunity to present the merits of their claims.  The legal doctrine of stare decisis, or adherence to precedent, Barrett wrote, must be “flexible in fact, not just in theory.”

In a 2010 article in Boston University Law Review, Barrett explored textualism, stating:

The bedrock principle of textualism, and the basis on which it has distinguished itself from other interpretive approaches, is its insistence that federal courts cannot contradict the plain language of a statute, whether in the service of legislative intention or in the exercise of a judicial power to render the law more just. … There is no justification for departing from the plain text of a constitutional statute.

In a 2013 article in Texas Law Review, Barrett examined how the principle that the Supreme Court should follow its own past decisions is a “weak presumption” in cases that interpret the Constitution.

She endorsed the view that “a justice’s duty is to the Constitution and that it is thus more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she clearly thinks is in conflict with it.”

In the article, she explained that “public response to controversial cases like Roe [v. Wade] reflects public rejection of the proposition that stare decisis can declare a permanent victor in a divisive constitutional struggle rather than desire that precedent remain forever unchanging.”

Joining the 7th Circuit

When Trump nominated her to the 7th Circuit, every Supreme Court clerk from the year when Barrett clerked there wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee supporting her nomination.

One signatory, Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, a noted liberal scholar, said this about Barrett in 2018 when she was under consideration for the Supreme Court seat that ultimately went to Brett Kavanaugh:

There were just under 40 Supreme Court clerks in October Term 1998, none exactly a slouch. She was one of the two best lawyers of the 40—and arguably the single best. Any Senate Democrat who tries to go toe to toe with Barrett over her legal abilities is going to lose. Badly. She has only eight months’ experience on the court of appeals after a career as a law professor. But she was legally prepared enough to go on the court 20 years ago.

At Barrett’s confirmation hearing for the seat on the 7th Circuit, Senate Democrats subjected her to harsh and inappropriate questions.

Although Article VI, clause 3 of the Constitution provides that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked Barrett: “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”

And then Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., proclaimed: “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”

Democrats also focused extensively on an article in Marquette Law Review that Barrett co-authored with Notre Dame law professor John H. Garvey. They examined the “cultural collision” that can occur when a Catholic judge handles a death penalty case and whether her church’s teaching can be at odds with her judicial responsibility.

Barrett and Garvey concluded: “Judges cannot—nor should they try to—align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge. They should, however, conform their own behavior to the Church’s standard.”

The solution to an irreconcilable conflict, they wrote, is “the recusal of judges whose convictions keep them from doing their job.”

Barrett’s critics accused her of believing the opposite of what she wrote in this article, continuing to claim that she “thinks judges should put their religion ahead of the law.” By creating this false impression, these critics could suggest that Barrett would rely on her Catholic faith to decide cases on other divisive issues such as abortion.

In response to this onslaught during her confirmation hearing, Barrett exhibited grace under fire, stating what she would do if she faced a conflict between her religious faith and judicial duty.

“I would recuse,” she testified. “I would never impose my own personal convictions upon the law.”

It is “never appropriate,” she added, “for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they derive from faith or anywhere else, on the law.”

What Her Record Shows

As a judge, Barrett’s record reflects what she actually wrote in that article and what she actually said in her Senate testimony.

In Lee v. Watson, for example, Barrett joined an opinion by Chief Judge Diane Sykes vacating an injunction that blocked the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of the Aryan People’s Republic, convicted of a 1996 triple murder. The opinion is a straightforward application of the Federal Death Penalty Act and criticized the district court judge’s improper “maneuver” of creating her own theory of the case to reach her result.  Barrett joined a similar opinion, also written by Sykes, in Peterson v. Barr.

Barrett’s judicial docket has included some hot-button issues. In Kanter v. Barr, Kanter pled guilty to mail fraud, a felony that, under both federal and state law, resulted in a lifetime ban on firearm possession. Kanter sued, arguing that the categorical ban violated the Second Amendment when applied to nonviolent felons like him. The district court rejected his challenge and, by a 2-1 vote, the 7th Circuit affirmed.

The lone dissenter was Barrett, arguing that “[a]bsent evidence that he either belongs to a dangerous category or bears individual markers of risk, permanently disqualifying Kanter from possessing a gun violates the Second Amendment.”

In Barrett’s view, the Constitution grants the right to keep and bear arms to all, while giving Congress the limited authority to take that right away from some. She rejected the alternative view that, in effect, Congress gets to decide who has the right to keep and bear arms and who does not. This may seem like a fine distinction to some, but it shows that Barrett gives fundamental constitutional rights the importance they deserve.

Barrett has joined, but has not written, opinions in abortion-related cases. Planned Parenthood v. Commissioner was a challenge to Indiana’s law prohibiting abortion for the purpose of sex selection or on the basis of disability and regulating disposal of fetal remains. A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that the prohibition was unconstitutional.

After the full 7th Circuit declined to rehear the case, Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote a dissenting opinion that was joined by Barrett.  Although Indiana had not appealed the decision striking down the abortion ban, Easterbrook noted that Supreme Court precedents such as Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey did not address whether the right to abortion they established extends to abortion “designed to choose the sex, race, and other attributes of children … We ought not impute to the Justices decisions they have not made about problems they have not faced.”

Regarding the portion of the decision striking down the fetal-disposal regulations, Easterbrook noted that states may protect the welfare of animals, including regulating the disposal of their remains, such that “[t]he panel has held invalid a statute that would be sustained had it concerned the remains of cats or gerbils.” If animal welfare statutes are rational, he wrote, “[i]sn’t that equally true of a statute about fetal remains?”

Planned Parenthood v. Box involved a challenge to an Indiana law requiring minors to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion. A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit found the statute unconstitutional before it ever had been implemented, and the full 7th Circuit declined to review that decision.

Barrett, with three colleagues, joined a one-paragraph opinion by Judge Michael Kanne, arguing that the full 7th Circuit should have tackled the issue of when federal courts may issue pre-enforcement injunctions against state laws. “Preventing a state statute from taking effect,” he wrote, “is a judicial act of extraordinary gravity in our federal structure.”

In Price v. City of Chicago, pro-life activists challenged a Chicago ordinance that prohibited communication within eight feet of persons in the vicinity of abortion clinics. The district court upheld the ordinance, relying on a Supreme Court decision that the First Amendment permitted a “nearly identical” Colorado law.

Barrett joined a unanimous 7th Circuit panel affirming that decision. The opinion observed that the Supreme Court’s decisions in this area are “hard to reconcile” and are “in tension” with each other. Although the panel stated that the biding precedent “is incompatible with current First Amendment doctrine,” the judges said that they were nonetheless bound by the decision, and that it was up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to overturn that precedent.

Objectively Applying the Law

Barrett’s opinions on the 7th Circuit demonstrate that she is a judge who pays close attention to the factual record in each case and takes seriously the limited role of a federal appellate court (see here, and here).

Her judicial method, for example, emphasizes an objective application of the law, rather than her own subjective feelings about a case. In Mathews v. REV Recreation Group, she wrote that “[w]e sympathize with the Mathews’ plight; they bought a lemon.” But because the plaintiffs had not shown that the manufacturer had failed to honor its warranty, which was the legal issue in the case, the appeals court affirmed the lower court’s judgment for the defendant.

Barrett also wrote the opinion in Doe v. Purdue University, in which a male college student challenged his suspension after he was found guilty of sexual violence. That one-year suspension resulted in his expulsion from the ROTC program and loss of his related scholarship. He sued the university, claiming its procedures resulting in the suspension violated his constitutional rights as well as federal anti-discrimination laws.

In an opinion by Barrett, the 7th Circuit reversed the lower court, which had dismissed the case.  Barret’s opinion was not a decision on the merits of the student’s claims, but rather a decision on whether the lawsuit could proceed or should be thrown out before it really began. Barrett concluded:  “Purdue’s process fell short of what even a high school must provide to a student facing a days-long suspension.”

The university, for example, refused to disclose the evidence on which it based its decision to suspend the student. This alone, Barrett wrote, is “sufficient to render the process fundamentally unfair.”

She noted that the student might have problems later proving his claims later, “and the factfinder may not buy the inferences that he’s selling.”

“But his claim should have made it past the pleading stage,” she concluded, “so we reverse the magistrate judge’s premature dismissal of it.”

In Cook County v. Wolf, the Illinois county and a nonprofit advocacy organization challenged the Trump administration’s rule implementing the “public charge” provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. That provision allows denial of admission to an immigrant who is “likely at any time to become a public charge.”

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 7th Circuit affirmed a lower court order enjoining the administration from implementing the rule. Barrett dissented, arguing that the majority erred when it said that the term “public charge” referred very narrowly to those who were “primarily and permanently dependent on public assistance.”

Barrett looked at how the term was understood when it first appeared in federal statutes in the late 19th century, concluding that both state legislatures and Congress viewed the term more broadly as a lack of self-sufficiency. Barrett also looked at how courts and administrative agencies used the term in the 20th century, concluding that the 1996 amendments to the public charge provision also took a broader view.

As a result, Barrett concluded that the Trump administration’s rule, which is consistent with this view, is reasonable and therefore likely would be upheld on the merits. As such, an injunction was inappropriate. Those challenging the rule, she wrote, really are challenging the policy choice that it represents, and litigation “is not the vehicle for resolving policy disputes.”

Speaking Outside Court

Barrett has continued to address significant issues outside the courtroom that also help others to understand her judicial philosophy.

In a 2018 speech, she stated that, properly understood, originalism does not involve trying to “think your way into the minds of the Framers.” Rather, she said, it is a recognition that “The text of the Constitution controls, so the meaning of the words at the time they were ratified is the same as their meaning today.”

Speaking days before the 2016 election about what impact the next president would have on the Supreme Court, Barrett declared

People should not look to the Supreme Court as a super Legislature. They should look at the Court as an institution that interprets our laws and protects the rule of law, but doesn’t try to impose policy preferences – that’s the job of Congress and the president.

Barrett’s record gives every indication that she would do just that, and would put the law above her personal views.

Again, although Senate Democrats have vowed to do everything in their power to try to block her nomination to the Supreme Court, it will be a hard case for them to make given Barrett’s impressive record, fidelity to the Constitution, and respect for the rule of law.

Amy Coney Barrett no doubt would be an outstanding addition to the Supreme Court.

COMMENTARY BY

John G. Malcolm is the vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government and director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, overseeing The Heritage Foundation’s work to increase understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law. Read his research.  Twitter: .

Thomas Jipping is deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump Nominates Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court

Heritage Foundation Launches Campaign for Barrett’s Confirmation

Dirty Attacks Against Amy Coney Barrett Begin Early


A Note for our Readers:

Democratic Socialists say, “America should be more like socialist countries such as Sweden and Denmark.” And millions of young people believe them…

For years, “Democratic Socialists” have been growing a crop of followers that include students and young professionals. America’s future will be in their hands.

How are socialists deluding a whole generation? One of their most effective arguments is that “democratic socialism” is working in Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway. They claim these countries are “proof” that socialism will work for America. But they’re wrong. And it’s easy to explain why.

Our friends at The Heritage Foundation just published a new guide that provides three irrefutable facts that debunks these myths. For a limited time, they’re offering it to readers of The Daily Signal for free.

Get your free copy of “Why Democratic Socialists Can’t Legitimately Claim Sweden and Denmark as Success Stories” today and equip yourself with the facts you need to debunk these myths once and for all.

GET YOUR FREE COPY NOW »


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Notre Dame prof hails Islamic law, asks international law judges to consider “referring to parts of Sharia”

“Notre Dame’s Emilia Justyna Powell, an associate professor of political science and concurrent associate professor of law, an expert in both international law and the Islamic legal tradition, traveled to many Muslim-majority nations to research how the two systems work together in practice.”

Now Powell is on a mission to teach Westerners that Sharia is similar to international law and in some ways superior. For this dubious endeavor she is lavishly featured in the Notre Dame University newspaper. Powell’s canvassing for Sharia has led her to ask “some international court judges” if they “would ever consider referring to parts of the Sharia.”

Powell’s interest in researching Islamic law further is driven, in part, by the bias she sees toward Western law to the point of absolute exclusion of any facets of Islamic law in international law. In fact, some international court judges she interviewed were irritated when she asked if they would ever consider referring to parts of Sharia. “Out of all the religions of the world, we’ve contributed to a large-scale misunderstanding of their legal tradition,” Powell said. “Islamic law and international law share many more similarities than they are given credit for.”

Powell’s skewed view of the Sharia is deceptive, propagandistic and dangerous. There is no comparison between international law (which is democracy-based) and Sharia (which is authoritarian and discriminatory). The violence, human rights abuses and murders committed throughout history in the name of Islam are not an aberration. They are reflections of normative Islam, fully backed by Islamic jurisprudence, which teaches the murder of apostates and gays, the conquest and subjugation of infidels, and the inferiority of women, including the head coverings (Quran 24:31, Quran 33:59) about which Powell fallaciously rambles.  The arrogance displayed by Powell is also an affront to Muslim dissidents who face (and experience) imprisonment (and worse) for opposing the human rights abuses sanctioned by Islamic law. Powell’s potential influence on the young minds who must listen to her propaganda in the classroom is concerning. And she is not unique; in fact, in many colleges and universities today, she is the norm.

“Islamic law and international law share many similarities, Notre Dame Professor says,” by Colleen Sharkey, Notre Dame News, April 8, 2020:

The very term Sharia conjures negative images in the minds of many Westerners, in part due to its association with extremist groups. However, an in-depth look at Islamic law, as practiced in the vast majority of Muslim-majority countries, reveals that it is interpreted in different ways depending on the country, its culture and the very people conducting the interpretation.

Notre Dame’s Emilia Justyna Powell, an associate professor of political science and concurrent associate professor of law, an expert in both international law and the Islamic legal tradition, traveled to many Muslim-majority nations to research how the two systems work together in practice. Her findings were published earlier this year in the volume Islamic Law and International Law: Peaceful Resolution of Disputes.

Powell uses the differences in how women dress in various Muslim-majority countries as an analogy for the various interpretations of Sharia.

“A perfect visualization is women’s head coverings. The Taliban encourages women to cover top to bottom, not even showing the eyes. In Saudi Arabia, sometimes eyes are visible but not much else,” she said. “I was recently in Bahrain where I witnessed a new trend: Women are unzipping their abayas and you can see Western-influenced clothing underneath like jeans, ruffles and lace. Many women don’t wear the hijab scarf there and some only wear it halfway on. But who’s to say which is correct? Bahrain is no less Islamic than Saudi Arabia, for example, just different. People in all Muslim-majority countries interpret and, thus, practice the Muslim faith differently.”

International law itself is based on a broad set of norms agreed upon by people from many different nations and cultures. It is also heavily based on Western law which, itself, has deep roots in Christianity — a religion that originated at a time when Roman law was already well established. “Islam, on the other hand, had no a priori legal system to work with other than unwritten tribal customs,” Powell writes. And, while international law has moved to a more secular model, Islamic law remains based in the writings of the Quran and the sunna as well as ijma (judicial consensus) and qiyas (analogical reasoning).

“However, disconcerting the dissonance between the Islamic legal tradition and international law may appear, there are more similarities between these two legal systems than the policy world and the scholarship take into account,” she writes.

By its broad nature, international law allows for interpretation based on norms in individual countries. And many Muslim-majority states have their own declaration of human rights, she notes.

“Sometimes international law promotes the peaceful resolution of disputes, but does not give specific rules or cite specific laws for how to do so. Countries can mediate, peacefully, via negotiation in compliance with international law. Sometimes Muslim-majority countries will also sign international treaties but place restrictions on them — what are technically called ‘reservations.’”

For example, some Muslim-majority countries use reservations to remove “freedom of religion” clauses, because their religion is inextricably part of their culture, with the assumption (often part of the country’s own understanding of human rights) that many of their citizens are all Muslim. In this way, Powell says, they are complying with some international norms but allowing for their identity to remain intact.

Powell also examines how Muslim-majority nations in different geographical areas use Sharia and work within the international law framework. In general, Powell finds that if an ILS (Islamic Law State) country has a secular court system and their constitution mentions peaceful resolutions of disputes, they possess a more favorable attitude toward international courts.

“The Islamic milieu is not a monolith. In each of the ILS, secular law and Islamic law coalesce to create a unique legal framework. Every one of the ILS is different in how it negotiates the relationship between these two legal forces — the religious and the secular — along with their respective differences in socio-demographic and political characteristics. Historically, every one of the ILS has worked out its own unique answers to the question of the balance of Islamic law and secular law,” she writes.

The examples Powell gathered through interviews shed light on the cultural and religious lenses through which many Muslims view courts….

RELATED ARTICLES:

Taliban say coronavirus is “sent by Allah because of the sins of mankind,” demand medicine and aid from sinners

Tennessee: Man who stabbed and killed three women was “practicing Muslim,” no indication of mental illness

Muslim cleric says “hatred and hostility” toward Jews is “part of our faith”

UK: Former soldier charged with three terror offenses, held in prison for fighting AGAINST the Islamic State (ISIS)

Khamenei: “Fighting over toilet paper is the logical outcome of the philosophy that governs Western civilization”

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Notre Dame Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds falsely claims that Qur’an teaches only Allah should take revenge

The fact that Gabriel Said Reynolds, who demonstrates here that he is either abjectly ignorant or willfully dishonest about Islam, is a professor of theology at Notre Dame shows how much our nation’s universities (and the Catholic Church) are dominated by fantasy and wishful thinking rather than being willing to deal with unpleasant realities. Reynolds is an academic laden with honors, employed at Notre Dame and published in the New York Daily News, not because he speaks the truth, with which he is either unacquainted or unwilling to disclose, but because he tells people what they want to hear: that Islam, if only it were properly understood, is actually a religion of peace. How it came to be that so many Muslims misunderstand the religion they follow so devoutly, he does not bother to explain.

Meanwhile, would the New York Daily News ever publish a comparably lengthy theological defense of Christianity? Not on your life.

Anyway, to make his case that in Islam, vengeance belongs to Allah alone, Reynolds quotes a number of Qur’an verses, but he doesn’t even mention or attempt to explain away others that disprove his case. There is actually a great support, passed over in silence by Reynolds here, in the Qur’an and Sunnah for the death penalty for blasphemy. It can arguably be found in this verse: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.” (5:33)

But if you don’t think that verse justifies killing those who insult Islam, there is this: “Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment” (33:57)

Yes, he has cursed them both in this world and the hereafter. What does a curse in this world look like? Muslims are told to fight such people: “If they violate their oaths after pledging to keep their covenants, and attack your religion, you may fight the leaders of paganism – you are no longer bound by your covenant with them – that they may refrain” (9:12).

Not only that, but the Qur’an explicitly says that Allah will punish people by the hands of the believers: “Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them and satisfy the breasts of a believing people, and remove the fury in the believers’ hearts.” (9:14-15)

There is more in the hadith. In one, Muhammad asked: “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” One of the Muslims, Muhammad bin Maslama, answered, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” When Muhammad said that he would, Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).” Muhammad responded: “You may say it.” Muhammad bin Maslama duly lied to Ka’b, luring him into his trap, and murdered him. (Bukhari 5.59.369)

“A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.” (Sunan Abu-Dawud 38.4349)

Why doesn’t Gabriel Said Reynolds mention any of those passages?

“What radical Muslims get wrong about the Koran: Vengeance is reserved for God alone,” by Gabriel Said Reynolds, New York Daily News, March 1, 2020:

In the name of Allah, militant Muslims continue taking up arms against people they consider threats to their faith and way of life. But does it make theological sense for humans to pick up swords and guns to exact retribution in this life?

The Koran, the book those same Muslims purport to revere, says no….

The irony of blasphemy laws, and the tragedy of these attacks carried out in supposed defense of Islam, is that the Koran time and again insists that it is God’s right, and God’s right alone, to exact vengeance.

Allah does not need Muslims to step in and punish those who insult Him. In fact, Allah does not want Muslims to do so. The God of the Koran is clear: He is the only avenger of Islam.

The case of blasphemy laws in Islam is particularly peculiar in light of the example of Muhammad himself. The Koran describes how the unbelievers in his native city of Mecca disputed his claims of prophethood and insulted him.

Koran 68:51 describes how they accused him of insanity: “Indeed, the faithless almost devour you with their eyes when they hear this Reminder, and they say, ‘He is indeed crazy.’”

The Koran does not respond by demanding that the blasphemers be killed for their insolence. It simply affirms the claims of Muhammad.

Elsewhere in the Koran, the voice of God counsels Muhammad to be patient when faced with opposition. Koran 16:126 alludes to some persecution or affliction which Muhammad has suffered from the unbelievers.

The next verse, in response, suggests that Muhammad could strike back in moderation, but should simply endure the persecution patiently: “If you retaliate, retaliate with the like of what you have been made to suffer, but if you are patient, that is surely better for the steadfast.”

This does not mean that the idea of vengeance is foreign to the Koran. The question the Koran poses is not whether offenses against Islam and Muslims should be avenged, but who should do the avenging.

And the answer is consistent: “God.”

Remarkably, and if only Boko Haram and other Salafi-Jihadis would listen, the Koran even teaches this lesson specifically about Christians. In Sura 5, God asks some questions of Jesus about those who followed him, but Jesus does not demand that the wrongdoers be punished.

He leaves their fate in God’s hands: “If Thou chastisest them, they are Thy servants; if Thou forgivest them, Thou art the All-mighty, the All-wise.”

The same lesson is taught about Muslims who are unfaithful to the laws of Islam. In chapter 5, verse 95, the Koran describes the laws of the pilgrimage to Mecca (known as the Hajj). But as for he who breaks the rules, the Koran gives no worldly punishment: “God will take vengeance on him, God is all-mighty, Vengeful.”

So what does divine vengeance look like in the Koran? Allah punishes those who offend Him in hell. The Koran not only describes paradise in vivid colors (as a place with food, drink, and women), it also describes hell in gruesome detail.

Angels of punishment will strike the damned from the front and the back. The damned will be condemned to drink boiling water and eat from a tree named Zaqqum whose fruit is like the heads of demons.

The Koran clearly considers this punishment enough for an unbeliever. Whereas the standard schools of Islam teach that someone who leaves the religion, an apostate, is to be killed, the only punishment for apostasy spoken of in the Koran is hell: “’Did you disbelieve after you had believed? Then taste the chastisement for that you disbelieved!’” (Quran 3:106).

The Koran also teaches that God need not wait for the afterlife to punish unbelievers. He is the lord of the universe and can intervene when He chooses.

A number of chapters in the Koran tell a series of tales, dubbed “punishment stories” by scholars, in which unbelieving peoples are punished for rejecting the prophet who is sent to them. Among these prophets are Biblical figures including Noah, Lot, and Moses, and others who seem to come from Arabian lore with names like Hud, Salih, and Shuʿayb.

In each story it is not the Prophet but God who intervenes….

RELATED ARTICLES:

Defense Dept linguist accused of passing classified info about DoD computer systems and US intel assets to Hizballah

Canada: High school teacher reprimanded for insulting Islam on Facebook

Erdogan: “The number of refugees heading toward Europe will soon be in the millions”

Anti-Zionism and “providing cover” for Palestinian Authority the only unifying factor for World Council of Churches

University of Maryland: Muslim student arrested for repeatedly sending antisemitic messages to female Jewish student

Islamic Republic of Pakistan: Christian tortured to death for bathing in Muslims’ well

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.