What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 17, 2010

The Mosque - Sestak and Toomey Comment

Guess who favors religious liberty and who doesn't?

From James O'Toole of the P-G:
Seeking the middle ground on a polarizing issue, Rep. Joe Sestak said that as long as constitutional rights are respected, it's up to New Yorkers to make the decisions on a proposal to build an Islamic study center and mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center.

"I believe in the constitutional right of religious freedom and that the separation of church and state applies equally to everyone," Mr. Sestak, D-Delaware County, said yesterday. "This issue is a New York issue, and I'll let them resolve it, but it has to be resolved with respect for that constitutional right."
I would not say that's a "middle ground" position. Sestak's defending the Constitution and saying that whatever the resolution is in NYC, the Constitutional right to religious freedom has to be respected. That's "middle ground"? To-MAY-to/to-MAH-to, I guess.

On the other hand, we have Pat Toomey (or rather Toomey's communications director):
Mr. Toomey opposes the mosque proposal.

"It is provocative in the extreme to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero," said Nachama Soloveichik, Mr. Toomey's communications director. "Islamic leaders should be encouraged to move the mosque elsewhere."
The hypocrisy of this statement is subtle and two-fold.

First - One should ask Congressman Toomey if he thinks it's "provocative in the extreme" to allow Muslims to pray to Mecca at The Pentagon. He should be reminded that The Pentagon was attacked too, on 9/11 and as such is no less hallowed ground.

Muslims have been praying in there for years. This is from the Washington Times in 2007:
Navy imam Chaplain Abuhena M. Saifulislam lifted his voice to God as he called to prayer more than 100 Department of Defense employees Monday at a celebration of Ramadan at the Pentagon.

God is most great, sang the lieutenant commander and Islamic leader, in Arabic, as iftar — the end of the daily fast began.

Uniformed military personnel, civilians and family members faced Mecca and knelt on adorned prayer rugs chanting their prayers in quiet invocation to Allah.
Second - There's something called the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (the RLUIPA). It was passed by voice vote unanimously in July, 2000. I should point out now that Pat Toomey joined the House of Representatives in January, 1999. So unless he wasn't there to vote for the act, he voted for it.

Here is what the American Center for Law and Justice has to say about the act:
42 U.S.C. § 2000cc. Thus, within the jurisdictional framework of section (a)(2), RLUIPA prohibits two things: 1) any land use requirement that substantially burdens free exercise, even if the requirement is generally applicable; and 2) discrimination against religious assemblies and institutions.
And yet Congressman Toomey thinks discrimination is OK now.

Against Muslims.


Anonymous said...

I thought that all good conservatives put private property rights above just about all others, as the cornerstone of free-market capitalism. On what grounds could someone like Mr. Toomey decide that it is the place of government to tell a property owner that they can't use their private property as they wish?

EdHeath said...

The only grounds that count, the grounds that it might get him elected.

rich10e said...

"The First Amendment protects freedom of religion," said the spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "Senator Reid respects that, but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else."

Ol' Froth said...

Harry Reid is wrong. Now, what was your point? Other than "Hey, look over here!"

rich10e said...

Oh and you're right...and what about new yorkers, "A majority of New Yorkers oppose plans to build a mosque and Muslim cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday.

Fifty-two percent of the respondents said they did not want the mosque to be built at all, 31 percent are in favor of it, and 17 percent are undecided.

"New York enjoys a reputation as one of the most tolerant places in America, but New Yorkers are opposed to a proposal to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero," said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Director Maurice Carroll in a press release."

Anonymous said...

rich, do you believe that opinion polls should decide how private property should be used? Doesn't that seem, well, socialistic?

rich10e said...


EdHeath said...


Anonymous said...

No? Can you explain your position a little better, rich? If you want to use opinion polls as the basis for deciding how private property should be used, I believe that is forcing the will of the collective upon the individual property owner.

What do you say?

rich10e said...

polls are used to influence decision-making,ergo Harry Reid's decision...as a private property owner in NY I would use this poll to act as a good neighbor and honor the wishes of my community

Anonymous said...


You would forgo the use of your own property, for a perfectly legal purpose, rather than risk offending members of the community at large? You would sacrifice what you want, for what the majority wants?

You're not just a socialist, you're a wuss, too.

Lyon Advocate said...

Since gtl is too polite ... the word I use to describe someone who, like rich10e, changes his positions when it is convenient or furthers an untenable opinion, is "hypocrite".

I have heard no compelling property rights arguments against the mosque. Critics instead prefer to ignore that inconvenient issue and focus on public opinion. Bear in mind, this is the same public (i.e., NY residents) who I imagine vote overwhelmingly against rich10e's preferred candidates in virtually every national election.

I have no problem with conservative dogma, but I expect and respect intellectual honesty and consistency.

Hope that helps.

Ol' Froth said...

Rich, I just conducted a poll, and 67% of the people polled say that you should be evicted from your home.

Majority rules, right?

Too bad that pesky 1st Amendment trumps your poll.

rich10e said...

glt..yeah i'm a wuss..and you'll be trying on Burqa's when sharia hits your neighborhood

Lying Advocate..i was an active and financial supporter of BHO..until recently I was a democratic committee person in my community...i resigned over the leftward lurch of his administration...show me the hypocrisy...

Old Froth, you're sounding like an old fool...keep up the good work...no where do i suggest that the poll should become policy...Im mereely stating that harry reid saw the logic in the numbers. so maybe the propertry owner in NY would also....

Anonymous said...

rich, how on God's Earth will the building of a Moslem community center lead to Sharia law, in my neighborhood, or anywhere else?

Is that all that you have left? How disappointingly shallow.

Bram Reichbaum said...

It does not look like the Quinnipiac poll broke down "opposition" to the mosque among those who believe it actually ought to be stopped, and those who personally prefer it never came up yet would oppose violating constitutional rights far more.

Depending on how you phrase the question you can get vastly different numbers, and by the "commentary" of the poll director ("Is it because we're still nursing the wounds from the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center or is it more like bigotry?") you can tell they preferred a contentious and headline-grabbing shocker over useful data.

I've got to admit if that's all Pat Toomey said, he toed the line very skillfully by NOT actually recommending that any rights be violated (while still catering to bigotry and the compliantly terrorized).

This whole precious boutique issue was obviously trumped up as an election year "Republicans be strong on national security / Democrats be confounded by scruples and a sense of real responsibility" stunt. It makes me sick that some people are going out of our way to rattle the bones of the victims of 9/11 to herd people to the polling booth (and get ratings and stature) in this way.

Ol' Froth said...

Rich, YOU are the one quoting polls about the opinions of people. In your second post, you ARE suggesting that polls determine policy; in this case, that the policy of where a group of people should build their community center be influenced by a group of randomly selected New Yorkers. And yes, Harry Reid's opinion is just as wrongheaded as Pam Geller's but those of us on the left have long complained about Reid's lack of spine.

Meanwhile, my randomly selected group thinks you should move out. The neighborly thing for you to do is to start packing.

Again, other than "Lookie over heeeeerrr!" what is your point?

rich10e said...

all you doubting Thomases, look at present day Europe if you want to gain some insight into the insidious nature of radical islam...it's not just a religion;its a culture;and a form of government.Sharia is the law of the land!!!The creeping nature of Sharia is a handful of Muslims living in a community request a variance to turn a home into a mosque. Soon a Muslim community begins to grow around it. Soon they request local gov't to permit shari law in small matters, such as loans. Soon de facto Sharia has become a way of life in that community at the expense of native law.Its happened in England...and there are dozens of examples of request for Sharia in the look at Greeley CO.


EdHeath said...

Rich, you reveal the essential question, are we at war with Muslim extremist terrorists or with the Muslim faith?

Anonymous said...

"This Ramadan, no ruckus for JBS USA"


The Swift meatpacking plant in Greely, and the one in Grand Island, Nebraska, employ large numbers of Somalis. Swift apparently likes those workers, and accomodates them.

Doubtless, we'll be under the veil, in no time.

Anonymous said...

Fundamental rights ARE NOT subject to popular vote or popular opinion.

You would think that these so-called conservatives, with all their feigned deference for the Constitution of the United States, would understand that. But as we have all seen, they will spit on the Constitution as soon as it goes against what they believe.

A few other points, because Rich is clearly a moron.

First, there is already a mosque - an actual goddamn mosque - in that area. It's been there for at least 30 years.

Second, the Cordoba House community center IS NOT AT Ground Zero; it's two blocks away, to be housed it what used to be a Burlington Coat Factory.

Third, we're talking about American citizens here. But even more so, there were 300 Muslims who died in the WTC attacks, proving that terrorists DO NOT give a flip about who they kill.

Fourth, where's the outrage at the Islamic prayer room at the Pentagon, which was also attacked.

Fifth, this isn't just about Cordoba House, as the frightwing is trying to stop the construction of houses of worship for Muslims across the country. To relate it to Ground Zero and 9/11, and by extension imply that all Muslims - all 1.5 billion - were complicit in the attacks on 9/11/01 is the lowest form of demagoguery.

Sixth, bullshit you support President Obama. Ever.

Seventh, we believe in the Separation of Church and State in this country, so even someone wanted to establish Sharia law in a community as the law, they couldn't. But I don't see the difference between that and rightwing Christians that would have all of our children praying to their God in our public schools or who have been attempting to takeover our government by enforcing Biblical law on us all.

Eight, just to make a historical point, the first Ramadan dinner ever celebrated at the White House was by...Thomas Jefferson in 1805.

Rich, if you don't like the way we do things in the United States of America, if you would prefer that we deny religious freedom to certain among our citizens as they do in other countries, by all means, get the fuck out.

If it's too hard for you to stand up for the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution, then leave.

Anonymous said...

One more thing:

4,415 US soldiers died in Iraq for what reason? Well, according to the conservatives who lied us into that war it was to liberate them from Saddam Hussein and give them a chance to establish democracy.

And what are Iraqi's? Sunni and Shia Muslims.

So it's okay for nearly 5,000 US soldiers to die protecting and saving Muslims in Iraq but we can't let US citizens who are Muslims build a community center on land that they own.

I cannot think of a better way to tell murdering terrorists like Al Qaeda to eff off - that this is who we are as Americans - than to have an area around Ground Zero populated with churches, synagogues, and mosques; to show them that we believe in religious freedom for all, regardless of what they think and do to us; that we are not like them, that we do not deny freedom to those who do not share our beliefs or our creeds; to show them that no attack against us can shake us from standing up for our inalienable rights.

Ol' Froth said...

As someone mentioned on a thread on another blog, two blocks in NYC is like 10 miles in most other parts of the country. Within a two block radius in NYC literally thousands of people can live, work, and socialize. Two blocks is like the next town over.

Blue Number 2 said...

Jaywillie said it right.

Anonymous said...
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rich10e said...

WetWillie...being a moron has its advantages...it still makes me smarter than you...I never said I oppose Islam or mosques...i oppose a mosque at that site...call it two blocks away,what pisses of fools like you who blog under anonymous noms de guerre is that in spite of all your whining you are still a very small minority in the US...Hey Wetbrain, I guess Harry Reid is a frightwing too, and Governor Patterson, and i bet they didn't support Obama either, huh??? run them out of the country too!!!As for your foolish statement about separation of Church and State, that's only for those of the Judeo-christian belief....Europe made accommodations and now they are looking at full out sharia in many countries supplanting national laws...once it gets a foothold, it will not be removed without a fight..Sharia law states that you should not speak badly of Islam...so now the Obama administration has decided to not use the words terrorism or jihad or islamic terrorism. It is an accommodation to Sharia... "creeping sharia"... wait'll it comes to that trailer court in WV you live in, you'll be bummed then !!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Well, it's pretty obvious Rich that you aren't capable of making an actual argument other than to spout a lot of fearmongering and paranoid invective. You fail completely to address a single point I raised.

btw rich10e is a pretty nice pseudonym, too (my name is actually Jay, btw). Do you think that's really Ed Heath, former prime minister of Great Britain, posting comments here???

But please spare the "poor, oppressed Christian" act. Christians are not oppressed in this country, in any sense. What upsets far right religious types like yourself is that you have been prevented from making all of us live according to your religious beliefs. It's far right religious types like you, carried away by hate and fear and paranoia (I truly feel sorry for the wretched, tiny life you must live) that seek to oppress others, that seek to exert their particular religious beliefs on all of us.

I would refer you to the words of Christ, who says that it is better for us to pray to our Father in secret than make a public display of our religion, than to make a public mockery of it. If you need public affirmation of your faith, then the problem is not with society. It's with your faith, or lack thereof.

But I'd rather be right and in the minority than wrong and part of some angry, delusional, paranoid mob intent on denying the rights of our fellow citizens. That's called standing up for principle. It's just too hard to stand up for the 1st Amendment, isn't it?

When you're ready for another rhetorical ass-kicking, just let me know. But I'd brush up on your rhetorical skills a bit, seeing that someone who is, by all appearances, nearly functionally illiterate when it comes to written communication has no business mocking anyone from West Virginia. Unless, of course, you prefer to keep embarrassing yourself.

PS Paragraph breaks, complete sentences, and coherent thoughts are your friends. Try using them to make an actual argument sometime.

PPS You don't hate Islam or Muslims; you just think that American citizens who are Muslims are as guilty as the murderous thugs that have killed indiscriminately around the world and attacked us on 9/11/01.

PPPS Thank God we have the Separation of Church and State in this country to protect us from religious extremists like yourself or those who would seek to establish Sharia law or any other dogmatic religious doctrine.

EDIT: removed multiple posts of same comment do to posting errors.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Rick - you may want to refer to a law sponsored by conservative Republicans and passed unanimously by the House and Senate in 2000 called the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

Whether you want the community center built there or not is irrelevant; that doesn't change the fundamental right of the owners to practice their 1st Amendment rights as US citizens:

""Sponsored by Senator Orin Hatch and passed unanimously by both houses of Congress in July 2000, this law clearly states 'No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that discriminates against any assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious denomination.'"


You know, John Adams didn't defend the British soldiers involved with the Boston Massacre because he agreed with the British or was overly sympathetic to the king but because he believed it was the right thing to do.

That's what it means to stand for principles, to extend them to those with whom you disagree.

When someone tries to shutdown your church because you are a Christian, I'll defend your 1st Amendment rights. And when you try to enforce your beliefs or deny the freedoms of others, those like me will ALWAYS be there to stand in your way.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

And before I forget: it's my right and the right of anyone to post with a nom de guerre, as was so eloquently done by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Marshall with the publication of The Federalist Papers under the pseudonym Publius.

EdHeath said...

Rich, you said "Europe made accommodations and now they are looking at full out sharia in many countries supplanting national laws".

Which countries, which laws specifically?

JayW, that is a cute thought that I might be that Edward Heath. Not only would I be across the pond, I would be commenting from across the river Styx (Charon has a 802.11g connection).

Lyon Advocate said...

The fact that Rich thinks himself informed and intelligent is either the funniest or scariest thing I've read in quite a while. Reciting talking points (from either side of the aisle) is not informed argument. Please see Jay's detailed deconstructions of your "arguments" for a fine example of how opinions can be represented thoughtfully and most importantly on topic.

rich10e said...

this is not a religious issue, nor a private property issue. Erecting another Muslim victory mosque on US soil is wrong. Even our Canadian Muslim neighbor's state that it is insensitive and contrary to the teaching of the Koran.But then Radical Islam doesn't target Canada to make their political statements they use the US.Now you people can "blah blah blah" all you want about the constitution , and hatred, and religious freedom, and pat each other figuratively on the backs., but just the same your are mistaken on this issue.Your understanding of Sharia Law, jihad, and Islamic Fascism is nil. Your collaborationist approach is exactly what they are looking for in the US. They applaud your naivete and will surely be looking you up in your neighborhood.You can pass out the stones at the next sharia condoned murder!!! (and i do oppose the death penalty here in the US)

rich10e said...

Ed in answer to your question....look here...


"A recent study by think tank Civitas concluded there are around 85 Sharia courts currently operating in Britain, of which merely a dozen work within the British legal system.

While Muslim activists want to triple the number of courts by the end of the year, British human rights campaigners say Sharia justice is brutal."

The above is just a brief quote from the article.....watch the news video link....

rich10e said...

or try this all you so called feminists .....

EdHeath said...

Rich, despite the inflammatory and inaccurate title of the Russia Times article you link to, I would call your attention to this passage from it: "Choudary wants to establish an Islamic state in Britain, and institute fully-fledged Sharia law throughout. That would mean cutting off people’s hands for stealing, and stoning women for adultery. But in the absence of a state to support that, for now he can only judge civil matters." So these Sharia courts are similar to the Rabbinical courts used by orthodox Jews to resolve religious and sometimes civil matters. After all, civil proceedings between parties in US law are initiated when one party brings suit against another. I am sure there are legal limits, but obviously "private" courts, such as courts using Sharia or Jewish laws are permitted to adjudicate certain limited issues that the government doesn't to have a direct interest in. This is done in the sense of having an arbiter assisting both parties to reach a satisfactory conclusion. There is mention in this Russia Times article about domestic violence cases being handled in Sharia court in conjunction with a police investigation (meaning the process was monitored by the British police). That is somewhat disturbing but since the police were involved and the British legal system may handle domestic violence differently than ours does, I would defer to their wisdom on that issue.

But that article fails to demonstrate that Sharia has supplanted or replaced British law in any sense, any more than Rabbinical law has replaced US law in Brooklyn or anywhere else in the US. Insulting language and breathless rhetoric won't make it so.

Ol' Froth said...

Muslim victory mosque? What planet are you living on? I saw a comment on another blog that suggested calling Cordoba house a mosque because it has prayer space set aside inside it, is like calling a Las Vegas casino a cathedral because it has a wedding chapel.

Really Rich, your willingness to deny our fellow citizens their Constitutional rights is quite frightening.

Anonymous said...

It's quite astounding how easily Rich just brushes off religious freedom and private property rights. I guess because he says they aren't involved here that makes it so.

What the terrorist want are frightened people like Rich, who will throw way are fundamental rights in a heartbeat.

And, again, it's not a "victory mosque." It's a community center, with a prayer room, that will occupy the space in a former Burlington Coat Factory, a property that is owned by American citizens who are Muslim.

If you knew anything about Islam, Rich, you would know that there are several different sects and that those who own the property in NYC which will house the Park51 Project are Sufi Muslims, which couldn't be more different than the extremist wahabism that Al Qaeda represents.

Folks like yourself are just making it easier for the terrorists to say, "See? We told you the Americans are at war with all of Islam." You're doing their propaganda work for them, making it easier to radicalize Muslims around the world and here at home and transforming a war against terrorism into a war of civilizations and a war against Islam.

Also - the only reason you dismiss our references to the Constitution is because they don't comport with your extreme views, which just goes to show that as soon as the Constitution goes against what rightwing extremists say, they're ready to chuck it out the window.

I'll say it again - Thank God the Founders had the foresight and wisdom to establish a strong Separation between Church & State in order to protect us from theocrats and dogmatic zealots of all religions.

Anonymous said...

The reasoning behind Rich's position:

For this to be a "victory mosque" presumes that it is being constructed by wahabist-inspired terrorists, so there are only two possible groups Rich can hold responsible: Group A - wahabist terrorists specifically or Group B - all Muslims (Sufi, Shia, Sunni, etc).

Since we know that the group constructing Park51 is Sufi Muslim, the underlying reasoning of Rich's argument, regardless of his statements that he is not opposed to Islam or Muslims in general, dictates that he conflates all Muslims with wahabist-inspired terrorists.

Ergo, Rich thinks all Muslims are our enemies and potential terrorists.

rich10e said...

Hey JW, another Dem crosses Obama. Howard Dean also agrees the mosque should go elsewhere. "well Howard Dean's nothing but a bigot. Don"t he care about the
Constitution. Doesn't he care about religious freedom and private property." Then President Obama gave Harry Reid a pass on this issue.An Obama spokesperson said that the president appreciates Harry's independence.Doesn't that make the president a hypocrite??? Gov. Patterson opposes the mosque.Isn't he a bigot?

Hey Willie, I know very well the differences between the Muslim sects; I also know that they kill each other without a second thought.Your pitiful little logic lesson is factually incorrect and faulty in its premise. Victory Mosques have been around since the days of Muhammad. Mecca itself is the site of a victory mosque. Wahabbism, a conservative Sunni sect,has been around since the 1800's.

So Jaywillie's your argument "For this to be a "victory mosque" presumes that it is being constructed by wahabist-inspired terrorists," is incorrect because history tells us that Victory mosques have been around for 1500 years and Wahhabism only a couple hundred.So the rest of your argument goes down the drain. Ergo, you're an idiot passing yourself off as an intellectual.

rich10e said...

End of the story!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making my point, Rich - you think all Muslims, even Sufi Muslims who are American citizens, are just like the wahabist-inspired terrorists.

Considering that Al Qeada is the result of wahabist terrorists, it doesn't follow that Sufi Muslims, who are American citizens, would build a "victory mosque" (it's called context, Rich), since we aren't at war with them or Islam in general - unless they were claiming victory for 9/11, which we know was an act perpetrated by Al Qeada, or claiming a victory over their enemies.

To suggest that Sufi Muslims are building a "victory mosque" implies that you do, indeed, think that all Muslims are our enemy and that we are at war with Islam.

There's an old adage - when you're in a hole, stop digging.

And the difference between you and the misguided Democrats you mention is that they aren't basing their opinions on a bigoted, narrowminded worldview. But clearly I struck a nerve.

PS Glad to see you took my advice about paragraphs. Now, just work on that Yinzer grammar and add in some substantial arguments and maybe one of these days you'll be able to argue yourself out of the rhetorical boxes you climb into.

Anonymous said...

Shorter Rich: "I know the difference between Muslim sects and they're all the same."

Honestly, I don't even need to argue with you; I can just enjoy reading you argue with yourself.

Joy said...

It's not a mosque, it's a cultural center.

Like the JCC in squirrel hill is not a temple, it's a Jewish cultural center. Yeah, if you saw its offerings, you would guess it is Jewish ("Pursue your creative side with a paintbrush, sing with a chorus, practice your Yiddish, or enjoy a game of bridge or mahj. You can take a day trip or see a show with us.") But you don't need to be Jewish to join, or join in, nor is it mostly about religion.

Here's the breakdown on American Muslims:

24% African American [note: that includes all the Macolm X -inspired long-time americans who became Muslim since the 60's].

26% Arab Americans

26% South Asians [including some very moderate Indonesians and Malaysians and Indians etc.]

24% "other"--this includes white, and also a large group of anti-fundamentalist Iranians (persians, not Arabs) who left Iran in a great hurry when the fundamentalists took over (as did the Christian and Jewish Iranians--of which about 8 families seem to have settled within a two block radius of my mom, in L.A., so don't try to tell me they don't exist).

That's a big bunch of cultures, very diverse, most of them very moderate (in religious terms, anyway). You want to encourage moderate Muslims to stay that way? You should cheer if they have somewhere to go to reinforce all the cultural parts of a healthy Muslim daily life, other than a mosque or religious school. Maybe they'll even offer "acrylics and Mahjong."

Oh, and the site is an old burlington coat factory, about as far as 6 city blocks from where the planes hit (as opposed to the parcel of land / parking and grounds belonging to the WTC, which is about two blocks away, hidden behind other buildings). How far is "at," anyway? If you live two blocks from the supermarket, do you live "at" the supermarket?

Joy said...

If it's unclear, I don't mean to imply that Arab Muslims are intrinsically fundamentalist, either--my point about Iranians not being Arab is unrelated to the point about most US Iranians being refugees from the fundamentalist revolution in Iraq.

Joy said...

Here's another set of numbers:

67% of American Muslims have a Bachelor's degree or higher (American average is 44%)

12.4% are engineers
10.8% are physicians or dentists
6.4% are corporate managers
4.1% are researchers

and [grin] only 0.8% are lawyers.

EdHeath said...

Meanwhile, Rich, your point about Sharia supplanting British or any other European law (much less American law) was flat out wrong. And in fact the links you provided were to articles that are intentionally misleading.

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