Army Capt. Humayun Khan was killed in action during an extended tour in Iraq. Deployed at Baquabah, Khan served in a force protection role and oversaw a unit securing and maintaining his base.
On June 8, 2004, Khan died after ordering his soldiers to stay back, and “hit the dirt,” when he approached a suspicious taxi. While Khan was moving towards the vehicle and motioning for it to stop, two men in the taxi detonated their explosives, killing themselves, Khan, and two Iraqi soldiers. Because of his heroic sacrifice, none of Khan’s soldiers were killed in the blast.
When Khan was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, he received full military honors at the burial, and his commanding officer observed in a letter:
He died selflessly and courageously, tackling the enemy head on. We will not forget him and the noble ideas he stood for.
Simply put, Humayun Khan died defending the uniquely Western conceptions of freedom articulated in the U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
All Americans must acknowledge and honor the Khan family’s grief as parents of a heroic soldier killed in action. Their anguished perspective requires special deference. But we should also take seriously the assertions made by Khizr Khan, Humayun’s father, and a lawyer, about the Constitution, at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which are contradicted by his own earlier published opinions.
Many Americans have their own copies of the Constitution (readers can get your own pocket Constitution here, for free, via Hillsdale College), and they know that Khizr Khan egregiously misrepresented what our founding document states regarding immigration in the 14th Amendment, as discussed recently by Byron York.
It was no doubt unintentional on Khizr Khan’s part that he appeared to attack the large majority of ordinary Americans who are concerned about the DNC’s support for admitting immigrants into the U.S. without background checks — even from countries with known risks for harboring jihad terrorists (i.e., like Syria). As a prime example, adequate databases for vetting Syrian Muslim refugees don’t exist.
Americans want to disagree without being disagreeable, and being hectored that we have “black souls” or lack compassion. We can have genuine, deep sympathy for the Khan family’s loss, and still disagree with Khizr Khan’s misrepresentation of the Constitution.
With all due respect for his deprivation, we must review Mr. Khan’s published articles asserting the supremacy of Sharia over other politico-legal systems. His opinions are antithetical to the principles in the Constitution that he waved at Americans during his DNC convention address, and that his own son died fighting to preserve.
Before examining Khizr Khan’s writings which extol the Sharia, a brief, unbowdlerized overview of Islam’s religio-political canon “law” is in order. The Sharia is traceable to Koranic verses and edicts (45:18, 42:13, 42:21, 5:48; 4:34, 5:33-34, 5:38, 8:12-14; 9:5, 9:29, 24:2-4), as further elaborated in the “hadith,” or traditions of Islam’s prophet Muhammad and the earliest Muslim community, and codified into formal “legal” rulings by Islam’s greatest classical legists.
Sharia is a retrogressive development compared with the evolution of clear distinctions between “ritual, the law, moral doctrine, good customs in society, etc.” within Western European Christendom, and it is utterly incompatible with the conceptions of human rights enshrined in the U.S. Bill of Rights.
Some liberty-crushing and dehumanizing Sharia sanctions: open-ended jihadism to subjugate the world to a totalitarian Islamic order; rejection of bedrock Western liberties — including freedom of conscience and speech — enforced by imprisonment, beating, or death; discriminatory relegation of non-Muslims to outcast, vulnerable pariahs, and even Muslim women to subservient chattel; and barbaric mandatory “hadd” punishments which violate human dignity, such as amputation for theft, stoning to death for adultery, and lashing for alcohol consumption.
Compounding these fundamental freedom and dignity-abrogating iniquities, “matters of procedure” under Islamic law are antithetical to Western conceptions of the rule of law: “evidentiary proof” is non-existent by Western legal standards, and the Sharia doctrine of siyasa (“government” or “administration”) grants wide latitude to the ruling elites, rendering permissible arbitrary threats, beatings, and imprisonments of defendants to extract “confessions,” particularly from “dubious” suspects.
Clearly, Sharia “standards” — which do not even seek evidentiary legal truth and allow threats, imprisonment, and beatings of defendants to obtain “confessions” while sanctioning explicit, blatant legal discrimination against women and non-Muslims — are intellectually and morally inferior to the polar opposite concepts which underpin Western law.
Khizr Khan’s 1983 essay in the fall edition of the Houston Journal of International Law, “Juristic Classification of Sources of Islamic Law,” focused entirely on the “structural” features of the Sharia’s “origins,” scrupulously avoiding its actual contents. But Khan did pay homage to the Sharia understandings of Said Ramadan, who was “gratefully acknowledged,” citing specifically Ramadan’s Islamic Law—Its Scope and Equity. Said Ramadan (d. 1995) was a notorious Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, and a founding member of the Muslim World League, a mammoth Saudi global missionary organization.
From his Geneva, Switzerland home (where he moved in 1961), Ramadan personally established the Islamic Center, a combined mosque, Muslim community center, and think tank. Swiss investigative journalist Sylvain Besson included “The Project,” a 14-page manifesto dated 1982, and discovered by the Swiss secret service in 2001, in his La conquête de l’Occident: Le projet secret des Islamistes (Paris: Le Seuil, 2005, pp. 193-205.)
Proudly and unmistakably, Said Ramadan was the author of Islamic Law—Its Scope and Equity (re-published in 1970). With apposite comparison to the Communist “movement,” Ramadan, whose Sharia treatise was lauded by Khizr Khan, offered these pellucid observations on Islam’s totalitarian Sharia “movement,” from the book’s December 12, 1958, preface:
The need to take an interest in Islamic Law … the drive to implement it, is the principal objective of a widespread movement which aims at totally changing the decadent status of almost all Muslim countries. There is nothing more expressive of the strong influence of this movement—a movement which demands the implementation of Islamic Law… the urge to implement the basic ordinances of Islamic Law in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (the authentic Traditions of the Holy Prophet) … [W]hat is known as the “Islamic Movement” throughout the Muslim world — is a movement that demands the actual implementation of Islamic Law … When we take into consideration the fact that the Islamic Movement, with this juridical concept, is matched in the Muslim world only by the Communist movement all others are mere national blocs that have no ideological background.
Ramadan saw the unanimous 1951 endorsement by 31 Pakistani jurists of the “Basic Principles of an Islamic Constitution” as properly enshrining the rights of non-Muslims in “every sphere.” He cited approvingly articles 7 and 11, which stated, respectively:
The citizens shall be entitled to all the rights conferred upon them by Islamic Law … All obligations assumed by the State, within the limits of the Sharia, towards the non-Muslims, shall be fully honored.
Predictably, Ramadan concluded:
[T]he only differentiation in political rights lies in the confinement of supreme authority to Muslim subjects … [T]he allegiance of subjects is twofold: that of Muslim subjects, which is established on the basis of their faith in the ideology of the State, and that of non-Muslim subjects, which is established on the covenant of dhimmah.
Notwithstanding the apologetic interpretations of devout, traditional Sharia supremacist Muslim religious scholars such as Said Ramadan — or his modern lay acolyte, Khizr Khan — an extensive and irrefragable doctrinal and historical record establishes the following: the “dhimmah” covenant, or pact, relegated non-Muslims to permanent, “sacralized” inferiority, insecurity, and debasement under the Sharia.
Shlomo Dov [S. D.] Goitein (d. 1985) was a historian of Muslim/non-Muslim relations whose seminal research findings were widely published, most notably in the monumental five-volume work A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza (1967–1993). Goitein was professor emeritus of the Hebrew University and a scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. The New York Times obituary for Professor Goitein (published on February 10, 1985) noted, correctly, that his renowned (and prolific) writings on Islamic culture, and Muslim/non-Muslim relations, were “standard works for scholars in both fields.” Here is what Goitein wrote on the subject of non-Muslim dhimmis under Muslim rule — that is, “the dhimmi covenant” — circa 1970:
[A] great humanist and contemporary of the French Revolution, Wilhelm von Humboldt, defined as the best state one which is least felt and restricts itself to one task only: protection, protection against attack from outside and oppression from within … in general, taxation [by the Muslim government] was merciless, and a very large section of the population must have lived permanently at the starvation level.
From many Geniza letters one gets the impression that the poor were concerned more with getting money for the payment of their taxes than for food and clothing, for failure of payment usually induced cruel punishment. … [T]he Muslim state was quite the opposite of the ideals propagated by Wilhelm von Humboldt or the principles embedded in the constitution of the United States. An Islamic state was part of or coincided with dar al-Islam, the House of Islam. Its treasury was mal al-muslumin, the money of the Muslims.
Christians and Jews were not citizens of the state, not even second class citizens. They were outsiders under the protection of the Muslim state, a status characterized by the term dhimma, for which protection they had to pay a poll tax specific to them. They were also exposed to a great number of discriminatory and humiliating laws. . . . As it lies in the very nature of such restrictions, soon additional humiliations were added, and before the second century of Islam was out, a complete body of legislation in this matter was in existence. . . . In times and places in which they became too oppressive they lead to the dwindling or even complete extinction of the minorities.
Finally, Khizr Khan also opined gushingly on a seminal, if full-throated abrogation of U.S. and Western human rights law, published as “Human Rights in Islam.”
This compilation of conference proceedings included a keynote address titled, “The Nature of Islamic Law and the Concept of Human Rights,” by Mr. A.K. Brohi, former minister of legal and religious affairs, and jurist of the Supreme Court in Pakistan. Brohi declared plainly his — and the Sharia’s — unwavering support for full application of hadd punishments (death for apostasy, stoning to death for “adultery,” amputation for theft, lashing for alcohol consumption):
Divinely ordained punishments have to be inflicted and there is very little option for the judge called upon to impose Hadd if facts and circumstances are established that the Hadd in question has been transgressed to refuse to inflict the punishment. The Human duties and rights have been rigorously defined and their orderly enforcement is the duty of the whole of organized communities and the task is specifically entrusted to the law enforcement organs of the state.
The individual if necessary has to be sacrificed in order that the life of the organism be saved. Collectivity has a special sanctity attached to it in Islam.
Khizr Khan riveted upon Brohi’s speech in his review of “Human Rights in Islam” (see Book Review — Human Rights in Islam, Texas International Law Journal, 1983; Volume 18, pp. 239-240), providing this effusive praise for the Pakistani jurist’s championing of brutal Sharia totalitarianism, unmollified:
The keynote speech of Dr. A.K. Brohi, former Pakistani Minister of Legal and Religious Affairs, is a hallmark in this book. It successfully explains the Islamic concepts of “right” and “just” in comparison to their Christian and Judaic counterparts. Brohi argues convincingly for the establishment of a moral value system before guarantees can be given for any kind of rights … the contribution made by Islam fourteen hundred years ago can be seen as representing the manifestation of the Divine Element that somehow will not let man devalue man.
It is indeed a tragic irony that Khizr Khan’s past apologetic promulgation of Sharia supremacism does more to negate his son’s ultimate sacrifice for true freedom than any utterance by any politician. If in the interim Khizr Khan came to view Sharia as the threat to U.S. liberties it remains, now that he is in the public spotlight he must reiterate such condemnation, without qualification.