Roger L. Simon

Time to Decide What We Mean by 'Extreme Vetting'

Flowers and American flags honor the victims of the attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 29. 2015. (AP Photo/ Nick Ut)

It’s time to ignore the travel ban, which has become an absurd political football thanks to the moral narcissists of the Ninth Circuit who take a tweet more seriously than the law.  The ban was only for three months anyway, scarcely a minute in the grand scheme of things, and meant to allow for the development of so-called “extreme vetting.”

So do it. Time to cut to the proverbial chase, determine what that vetting would look like, and institute it before more people die and America starts to look like Europe with Fifth Avenue turning into the Champs-Élysées. We need to put an end as much as possible to “known wolves” stalking our streets, organized ISIS/al Qaeda-type terror attacks, and, to be sure, also crazed vengeance-takers assaulting Muslims as happened Sunday in London.

So what is to be done?

The heart of the matter is civilizational with much of the Islamic world observing Sharia law, many or most of whose tenets have been deemed incompatible with the West for decades — if not for the centuries since the Enlightenment or even considerably before.  The Catch-22 — or is it the Catch-1122 — in all this is that two of the key tenets of that Enlightenment, perhaps best enthroned in our Bill of Rights, are freedom of expression and religion.  We are in a position where retrograde ideologies that we could define as evil are using our own most laudatory advances against us, immigrating to — if that’s the proper word, perhaps colonizing is better — Western countries while making little or no attempt to assimilate into their culture.  In many cases, often successful ones, the attempt is precisely the opposite, to avoid assimilation at all costs.

This must end or our hard-won values will be destroyed and we along with them — yet there seems to be little or no public discussion of what to do about it. Is it merely fear of being called an Islamophobe or something more mysterious and self-immolating? The problem isn’t what Donald Trump said — that we need a pause to “figure out what’s going on.”  We already know what’s going on, have for quite awhile, and are doing nothing about it. (Trump, however, is to be commended for his forthright speech in Saudi Arabia. Let’s hope he follows up on it.)

To begin with — until it is legitimately reformed — we must make Sharia law, with the most minor exceptions, illegal in the United States. This is not as outlandish or extremist as it sounds, because, in essence, it already is.  We have laws on our books mandating equal rights for women and for homosexuals, not to mention the aforementioned freedom of religion and the primacy of state law, all of which are anathema to Sharia.

There are many other areas where Sharia is in contra-distinction to our laws — stoning of adulterers, other cruel and unusual punishments like cutting off limbs and floggings, justification of honor killings and of any form of jihad that is either remotely violent or intolerant, which almost all of them are, to cite just a few. We need to specify these incompatible laws and make forswearing — in public and on camera — of all illegal aspects of Sharia an incontrovertible condition for immigration to our country. Further, we should make immigration conditional on signing a legal document, again on camera, acknowledging those found following, adhering to, or promulgating those unlawful Sharia dictates are subject to immediate mandatory deportation to their country of origin with no possibility ever to return to the USA as an immigrant or as a visitor. (Religious festivals, fasts, etc. are fine when not celebrating or connected to the illegal parts of Sharia. Unfortunately, many are.)  This is strong medicine — and, yes, I realize we might be violating “due process” — but under the, yes, extreme circumstances under which we live, it is  necessary to get the message through. It might also, if we’re lucky, encourage a serious reform movement in Islam, which is long overdue.

Some, will attempt to lie for admittance (taqiyya) and we must be as watchful as possible for that.  But that message at least has a possibly salutary result that will discourage some of the “bad elements” in the first place.. If you don’t wish to assimilate — as practically all other ethnic, national and religious groups have done before — you are not welcome here.

Making Sharia illegal does have its complexities, since it has, perhaps purposefully, so many variants.  Nevertheless the Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper appears to be the standard version, at least in the English language.  From Wikipedia: “The book was translated by the American Muslim scholar Nuh Ha Mim Keller in 1991 and became the first translation of a standard Islamic legal reference in a European language to be certified by Al-Azhar.”  Whatever the definition of Sharia, those many variants that include laws in contra-distinction to our own should be listed and made explicitly illegal for immigrants (as they are for everybody else) to read and swear not to obey.

This should be the philosophical basis of extreme vetting. Of course, we also cannot welcome those associated in any way with Islamist organizations of any stripe, including the Muslim Brotherhood. What we should do with those already here, I will leave for another day because I am conflicted.

I could go on — there is a lot more to be said, obviously, but I would like to hear what you think.  No one person could possibly have the answer to this, the conundrum of our times.  Any suggestions, revisions,  emendations, etc. are encouraged. Let’s reason this out.  Who knows? A heathy discussion might be read by someone or someones of influence.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn’t Already. He tweets @rogerlsimon.