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ObamaCare’s Muslim Exemption

"Equal protection"? Muslims are exempted from the mandate because insurance is haraam.

by
Herbert London

Bio

May 11, 2012 - 12:00 am
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In a curious way the privilege granted Muslims and denied to most others translates into what Muslims call “dhimmitude,” or the taxing of non-Muslims in exchange for the acceptance of their presence. Intentionally or not, ObamaCare allows for the establishment of this practice and Sharia dictates in the United States. Conversely, if a Christian refuses to pay for required health care insurance, liens can be placed against assets and hard prison time could accompany noncompliance. Non-Muslims are, in effect, paying a tax to subsidize Muslims.

This is precisely the issue ObamaCare has insinuated into the national health care debate. Whether one accepts the proposition, cross-subsidization is built into the law: the young are coerced into underwriting the elderly and non-Muslims are being coerced into subsidizing Muslims. Taking from Peter to give to Paul usually pleases Paul. But the question of fairness remains, as does the “equal protection” clause in the Constitution. Ultimately the public will ask why some should be favored to the exclusion of others.

It is certainly odd that the U.S. circa 2012 has become Animal Farm, with privilege granted to some and not others. Equal protection is now simply one of those clichés honored more in the breach than in practice. There may be many reasons for opposing ObamaCare, but none is more important than the illogic of differential treatment.

In the 1960s, civil rights legislation attempted to redress the wrongs of the past by arguing race should neither be a preference nor a handicap. As I see it, this is not only a fair standard, but a distinctly American standard. By offering privilege to some and denying it to others, contemporary legislators have embraced the Orwellian perversion that is fundamentally incompatible with our traditions, notwithstanding moments when aberrational behavior was in the ascendancy.

By arguing the Muslim view that insurance is haraam, legislators open themselves to the thin edge of the wedge. What is likely to be next? Are there other concerns Muslims consider inappropriate because of the demands of Sharia? At what point does this form of “soft extortion” end? The answers are not apparent; neither is there justification for an Animal Farm scenario that defies equal treatment before the law.

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Herbert London is president of Hudson Institute and professor emeritus of New York University. He is the author of Decade of Denial (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2001) and America's Secular Challenge (Encounter Books).
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