U.S. President Donald Trump’s Travel Ban against Muslims from six nations suffered a second rejection by our court system yesterday. The full Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled 10 to 3 in upholding the lower court’s decision. It had barred Trump’s executive order to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. who are residents of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. In this appeal, lawyers removed from this second executive order “Iraq” and some language mentioning the Muslim religion.
It is striking that Saudi Arabia was not mentioned in either of the two orders. Yet on 9/11, 15 of the 19 men who hijacked four U.S. airliners and committed suicide with them by killing almost 3,000 Americans were citizens of Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia, as the center of Islam, has been a stable country and a U.S. ally.
The court’s response was a 79-page opinion paper. Chief Judge Roger Gregory said in it the main problem of the second order was that it did not remove the real motive: “President Trump’s desire to exclude Muslims from the United States.” Judge Gregory also said in the opinion, “From the highest elected office in the nation has come an executive order steeped in animus and directed at a single religious group.” The opinion further states that the President’s claim to protect the nation is a “secondary justification for an executive order rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country.”
Judge Gregory also wrote in the opinion that such an order could not “survive any measure of constitutional review. Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles–that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy or favor or disfavor one religion over another.”
Gregory also wrote on behalf of the majority of the judges, “We find that the reasonable observer would likely conclude that (the order’s) primary purpose is to exclude persons from the United States on the basis of their religious beliefs.”
I’m no lawyer, so I could be wrong about this. But I think President Trump’s Justice Department should argue more from the perspective of the documentary influence behind much of Islamic terrorism. What is that? The Qur’an. See my recent post, “Trump–Talk About the Qur’an.”I’ve posted several times about how the Qur’an contains several texts which advocate violence against non-Muslims. It even names some of these people as “Christians” and “Jews.” It often calls them “people of the Book,” referring the Bible. In many places, the Qur’an is very intolerant of monotheistic religious belief that is not Muslim. See my post, “Does the Qur’an Promote Violence?” Yet I think the Qur’an and Judaism are right about God being a single person, in which the Qur’an rejects the Christians’ belief that God is a Trinity of Persons. The Bible doesn’t teach that, and Christians should listen to Muslims and Jews about this.
Yes, terrorists who call themselves Muslims can be so motivated due to injustice and poverty. But studies have shown that that is not the case with many of these Islamic terrorists, especially their leaders. Just look at Osama bin Laden, the deceased leader of Al Qaeda. He came from a wealthy Saudi family and had gained other wealth as well. He was totally motivated to impose terrorism mostly for two reasons as he explained when he proclaimed his fatwas: (1) remove the crusader U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia, home center of Islam, and (2) attack Israel and the U.S. for their unfair practices against Palestinians. Osama then supported this hatred from Qur’anic verses.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. As quoted above, that is why the court has struck down President Trump’s travel ban order against Muslims. But should the Establishment Clause of our Constitution distinguish between religious beliefs that promote destruction of our democracy and those that don’t? There have been religions in history that were very intolerant of other religions to point of annihilating them.
I don’t know what the answer is. I think peaceful Muslims should be allowed into our country. Yet I support President Trump in his effort to ban Muslims that would do us harm. Distinguishing between such is a difficult ordeal, both in practice and law.