Unto Caesar…or the Tennessee State Legislature

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words….Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
–Matthew 22:15-21 (Christian Scripture, English Standard Version;
see also Mark 12:17 and Luke 20:25)

Tennessee House Judiciary Committee Proceedings

The Tennessee House Judiciary Committee met on April 26 to consider HB 1353, “Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011.” Among the few witnesses called to testify was CBB friend, Imam Mohamed Ahmed, now imam of the Islamic Center of Nashville. Ahmed was questioned by several lawmakers, including Rep. Rick Womick (R-Rockvale). A complete video recording is available from the tennessee.gov site, with his testimony appearing in the last half hour. The following is an informal transcript of a portion of Ahmed’s testimony and questioning by Womick.

Ahmed: From the Quranic point of view, we [Muslims] are obligated to obey the laws of the land we live in. Period. If we decide to live in Korea or the United States, we have to obey the laws of the land. The definition of Shariah nowadays is being totally flipped and abused. Shariah, in the mind of the Muslim, represents the moral aspect…do not steal…pray five times a day… [It is similar] to the halakhah law of Judaism: You should not drive on Shabbat, not cook, etc.

Shariah is an Arabic word meaning “method.”

Womick: So what you are telling me is that the divine law of the Quran is inferior to the U.S. Constitution?

Ahmed:: We are obligated divinely to obey the law of the land.

Womick:…unless it conflicts with the law of Allah….[Womick went on to insist that the Quran demands beating of women and to say that “mistreatment of women is against the U.S. Constitution.” The Committee Chair prevented Ahmed from responding.]


Earlier, without citing a single source, Womick declared the following, explaining why HB 1353 was not “about religion”:

[Please note: Statements represent the view of Rep. Womick only]
…because there are three parts to shariah law that the majority of Americans do not understand. It’s a political system that has at its center the goal to install Shariah law and its divine beliefs in every country in the world. It is a legal system with a legal code enforced if necessary through militaristic or jihadist methods. And it is also a religion — that part is protected under the First Amendment of our Constitution; the other two are not.
–informal transcript, Tenn. House Judiciary Committee video, April 26


Shariah, Again, For the Record

If you have not already seen it, please take a few moments to view this summary of Shariah from CBB Founder and President Imam Yahya Hendi. Also look for a full CD or DVD presentation on Women and Gender in Islam.

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