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"Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. … Islam doesn’t care about the land or who owns the land. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam. Any nation or power that gets in the way of that goal, Islam will fight and destroy. In order to fulfill that goal, Islam can use every power available every way it can be used to bring worldwide revolution. This is Jihad.” -- Sayeed Abdul A’la Maududi, founder of Jamaat-e-Islami.

“The West’s propensity for ignorance is nothing short of astounding. …. Never before have books on the subject of Islamic history and terrorism been so prolific, yet the same old opinions on the causes of Islamic violence remain as popular, uniformed and widespread as ever.” -- Australian writer Warner MacKenzie in his article “It’s the ideology, Stupid” about the failure of the West to face the danger of Sharia Law

With the recent Jihadist massacre in San Bernardino by domestic Islamic terrorists, followed by presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to put a moratorium on Islamic immigration "until we find out what the hell is going on,” the debate about Islam in America has become heated.

Despite condemnation from the mainstream media, Democratic leaders and even many in the establishment of the Republican Party, Trump saw his poll number rise substantially in the days following his proposal. Many Americans sense a connection between Islam and the acts of terror we witness overseas and on our shores.

That said, freedom of religion is an enduring American value. Though the Constitution allows Congress to limit or restrict immigration of any group, many of us do not want to take the step of singling out Muslims due to their personal understanding of God. We must have an honest dialogue about the true political threat to America, Shariah Law, if we are to have religious freedom.

First, too many Americans have not taken the time to learn about Sharia Law, and distinguish political ideology of Sharia Law from a personal belief in God. This is surprising, considering we have been at war with those seeking to further Sharia Law for decades. We've had plenty of time to learn in the decade and a half since the attacks of 9-11.

Unfortunately, Americans have listened to Muslim apologists and even American political leaders claiming that Sharia Law is no different than U.S. law. The refusal to understand the distinction between a competing political ideology and religion has become dangerous. For those who can handle the truth: Shariah Law is a political threat that could spell the doom of our constitutional republic and the end of western civilization.

Islamic (Sharia) Law includes a clear legal double standard for non-Muslims, violating our notions of equal protection and due process. Under Sharia, Muslims cannot change their religion. Other religions cannot proselytize Muslims. From the respected Hadiths, or sayings of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, he told his followers (Bukhari): “If a Muslim changes religion, kill him.” This is backed up by similar mandates in the Qur'an.

Therefore, in most Islamic countries, it is illegal (up to the death penalty in nations like Saudi Arabia, Iran and others) for a Muslim to change religion or to proselytize.

Islamic Scholar Brigitte Gabriel described the legal treatment of Christians and Jews under traditional Sharia Law in her book “They Must Be Stopped”: “Christians and Jews were made to pay the jizyah (tax only paid by non-Muslims) at humiliating public ceremonies. … Christians and Jews were forbidden to construct new churches, temples or synagogues. They were also forbidden from ringing their church bells or blowing the shofar to begin services, just as they are forbidden today in Saudi Arabia and Iran. “Dhimmi” (non-Muslims) were forced to wear distinctive clothing, including a yellow badge for Jews, which Hitler copied centuries later.”

The letter of Sharia law is what we see in practice within the Islamic State (aka ISIS or Daesh), and why we see the horrific images of death and mutilation emanating under true Shariah Law in Iraq and Syria. The San Bernardino killers pledged allegiance to ISIS and sought to bring Sharia Law to the United States. That is what is meant by "radical Islam" as distinguished from Muslims who only desire a personal belief in God.

When I served in Afghanistan, I was blessed to have met Christian Afghans living under the oppression of Sharia Law. The Afghan Constitution begins: "No law will conflict with Islam,” and this is unfortunately understood to many as the institution of Sharia Law.

Only one of these Afghan Christians I knew was open about his faith. Quite courageous, as this man knew he faced the possibility of death. His family ostracized him, and he is no longer in Afghanistan. This man faced the Afghan government putting him on trial for his life, as they had done in 2006 with another Afghan Christian.

Also, by Sharia Law a non-Muslim man cannot marry a Muslim woman, though Muslim men are encouraged to marry non-Muslims if possible. This is due to the fact that the children of a Muslim man are considered Muslim and unable to change. Therefore, the Afghan Christian I knew faced a life of never being married due to Sharia law. He is now in India, as he unfortunately could not obtain refugee status to come to the United States.

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It would be nice if the same level of criticism aimed at Donald Trump for a proposed temporary moratorium on Islamic immigration to America were also leveled at the legal discrimination against non-Muslims under Sharia Law, but instead the silence dooms so many non-Muslims.

In addition to the unequal treatment of non-Muslims, women face similar unequal treatment under Sharia Law. For example, the Islamic Prophet Mohammed also is quoted as saying (Bukhari) “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half that of a man?’ The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind. … I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants are women.” Under traditional Sharia Law, a woman’s testimony in court is only half that of a man. This is only one such example of many.

Sharia Law is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, those seeking to further Sharia Law are a "political" threat we should not tolerate. We have every moral and legal right to prevent those holding this ideology from entering the United States as immigrants.

In 1952, during a critical time of the Cold War against the ideology of communism, Congress passed the Immigration and Naturalization Act, specifying that those seeking citizenship in the United States must be "attached to the principles of the Constitution.” Ensuring we allow no immigrants who desire to further Sharia Law is fair and allows for religious freedom by distinguishing faith in God from a political ideology.

The war against radical Islam is worldwide and the goal of our enemy is establishment of Sharia Law throughout the world. Americans need not give into discrimination against those who believe in their understanding of God as a personal matter. Let's keep our religious freedom, but let's also determine to keep Sharia Law out of America.

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Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor was the senior U.S. adviser to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where he received the Bronze Star. He is the author of the book “Articles From War.” Among his multiple tours of duty in the Mideast, Connor served in a six-month peacekeeping mission between Egypt and Israel.

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