Why Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Comments About ‘Sharia Law’ Were Wrong

Was she saying that my not eating pork or drinking alcohol makes me un-American?

God, Faith, and a Pen
Mar 28 · 5 min read

“Think about this,” she said.

“She’s not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party. So if it’s not rooted in the Party, where is she getting it from? Think about it. Omar wears a hijab. Which, according to the Quran 33:59, tells women to cover so they ‘won’t get molested.’ Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

Her remarks were condemned by Fox News in a statement on March 11:

“We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”

Pirro later issued a statement clarifying her remarks:

“I’ve seen a lot of comments about my opening statement from Saturday night’s show, and I did not call Rep. Omar un-American. My intention was to ask a question and start a debate, but of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution.”

Judge Jeanine Pirro was later suspended from Fox News for these remarks.

At least one fan is extremely upset by what happened:

Once again, people — such as the President — are claiming that Jeanine Pirro’s suspension is an attempt to “silence” her, an attempt to curb free speech. This is not true at all. Here is why her comments were wrong.

While she didn’t say it, she clearly insinuated that Omar’s anti-Israel sentiment is because of her Muslim faith. She began by saying that Omar is “not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party.” Continuing, she said: “So if it’s not rooted in the Party, where is she getting it from?” Right after that, she mentioned Omar’s hijab, the Quran, and Sharia Law. Clearly, she is implicating Omar’s Muslim faith with being anti-Israel (and anti-Semitic).

First of all, this is not true. There is nothing about being Muslim that makes me, or any other Muslim, anti-Semitic or anti-Israel. Surely, there are scores upon scores of Muslims who are anti-Semitic. There is no question about this. This anti-Semitism, however, does not come from the Quran or Muslim belief. It is an individual malady.

Pirro says that her comments were intended “to ask a question and start a debate.” What question was that? If she wasn’t saying that being Muslim means “you don’t support the Constitution,” then what was she saying? Here’s the thing about “Sharia Law,” about which so many pundits, commentators, and even Lawmakers keep breathlessly talking.

Literally, “Sharia” is a “path to a watering place.” There is no book called, “The Sharia.” It is a collective effort of tens of thousands of scholars and ordinary Muslims, over 1400 years, to discern the Divine Will in daily life. The vast, vast majority of what is called the “Sharia” has to do with personal conduct — all the way from how I treat my wife, to how much alms I must pay, to picking up litter from the street. As a Muslim, not eating pork (just like Jesus Christ, by the way) and not drinking alcohol comes from the Quran and therefore the Sharia.

So, if Judge Pirro insinuated that “adhering to Sharia Law” makes me somehow un-American, does that mean that I am a traitor to the Constitution because I don’t eat pork and don’t drink alcohol? I mean, many other Americans don’t eat pork due to their religious beliefs. Are they also traitors to the Constitution? Many Americans also don’t drink alcohol, some out of religious conviction as well. Are these Americans traitors to the Constitution?

Of course not, and saying as much is as ridiculous as it is absurd. At the same time, it is only with Muslims that there is this insinuation that they are “disloyal” to America because they follow “Sharia Law.” Some have gone as far as claiming Muslims want to “supplant the Constitution with Sharia Law,” and this sentiment has led to 14 states enacting anti-Sharia law bills.

This is why such talk about Muslims and Sharia Law is wrong. This is why such speech should be called out and condemned. Fox News was absolutely correct in doing so, and I commend Fox for doing so.

Again, this is not the curbing of free speech. It is standing up against incitement against Muslims which, as the horror of New Zealand showed, can lead to violence and death. Racism, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and all other hate speech has no place in America — or anywhere else in the world — and it can no longer be tolerated.

I sincerely hope and pray that Judge Pirro meant it when she said, “of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution.” And I think there is a better way out of this predicament, being said by Judge Pirro herself:

I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.

While there may be no more show for Judge Pirro, I urge Rep. Omar to take her up on the offer. I think it would be great for Rep. Ilhan Omar and Judge Pirro to discuss her comments and their implications, and why they were so hurtful to American Muslims. And, Judge Pirro should ask Rep. Omar about her comments on Israel and learn — from Omar herself — what she meant by them.

We need to come together as a people; we need dialogue and conversation. It is easy to retreat to our own corners and point fingers at “them.” That’s how we get torn apart as a people — which was, by the way, one of the aims of the New Zealand terrorist. We need to be better than that. By our coming together as a people, we can make sure that the New Zealand terrorist, and all others like him, will never win.

God, Faith, and a Pen

Written by

Reflections on Islam and Faith by Hesham A. Hassaballa. Books: “Beliefnet Guide to Islam” and “Noble Brother,” the Prophet Muhammad’s story entirely in poetry.

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