Back in 2004, I noted the disbelief that greets me "when I explain that the Islamist goal is to take over the United States and replace the Constitution with the Koran." Five years later, it's still the case, with most Americans incredulous at such an intention. So, I thank (1) the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization (on which, see Zeyno Baran, Hizb ut-Tahrir: Islam's Political Insurgency) for holding a forthright conference yesterday and (2) Steven Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism for attending the event and reporting on it.
IPT begins by setting the scene:
Nearly 300 people packed the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel [in Oak Lawn, Illinois, near Chicago] for its Khalifah Conference on "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam" to listen to listen to HT ideologues blame capitalism for World War I and World War II; the U.S. subprime mortgage meltdown; the current violence in Iraq and Afghanistan; world poverty and malnutrition and inner-city drug use. … Security at the conference was very tight. Oak Lawn police maintained a checkpoint outside the Hilton, and local police and HT's own security people had a substantial presence inside the hotel. In the ballroom where the conference took place, men and women were largely segregated, with men in the front and women in the back.
One speaker, identified as Imam Jaleel Abdul Razek, engaged in the following dialogue with an unidentified member of the audience on the subject of which law should rule in the United States (click here for the video clip):
Audience member: "Would you get rid of the Constitution for Shariah, yes or no?"
Abdul Razek: "Over the Muslim world? Yes, it [the Constitution] would be gone."
Audience Member: And so, if the United States was a Muslim world, the Constitution would be gone?"
Abdul Razek: "If the United States was in the Muslim world, the Muslims who are here would be calling and happy to see the Shariah applied, yes we would."
Audience Member: "And the Constitution gone. That's all."
Abdul Razek: "Yes, as Muslims they would be long gone."
Q.E.D. (July 20, 2009)
July 31, 2009 update: Of course, lawful Islamists who work within the system deny the aspiration to replace the Constitution with the Koran. Here is Salam Al Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, as if on que replying to this post, discussing what he calls myths:
1. Converting America into an "Islamic State" The notion that Muslim Americans want to convert America into an Islamic state is simply a forgery. …
2. Imposing "Islamic Law". Islamic law has five goals accepted by all the scholars of Islam: securing and developing rights to life, expression, faith, family and property. That's similar to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. It's not about draconian measures or puritanical rule. It is about the human interpretation of the Islamic legal code, the core value of which is justice. The Quran calls for freedom of religion: "Let there be no compulsion in matters of faith." (Quran 2:256) In Western tradition, there is separation of church and state; in classical Islamic law, there is separation of Islamic scholars and state. Islam has no Pope and no central religious center as the authoritative body for Muslims. The Quran is the supreme source of Islam, and the Quran established that there is no clergy in Islam. Yet, Islamic scholars always played a prominent role in Islamic history, and they shined when they remained an independent judiciary. When the Islamic scholars made unholy alliances with the state or became the state, the results were usually disastrous to Muslims.
Comments: These statements contain such self-evident nonsense that I won't bother with refutations. Just two brief points: (1) A forgery? What does forgery have to do with this topic? (2) The "no compulsion" verse does not refer to freedom of religion as understood in the American sense; for a discussion of what it does mean, see my article, "[The Issue of Compulsion in Religion:] Islam is What Its Followers Make of It."