13 April 2012
Mainstream American Muslim Group Warns Muslims Against Working in Law Enforcement, Becoming "Pleased with a Legal System That Does Not Come from Allah"
The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) cautioned American Muslims in a 22-page Arabic-language paper in 2008 against working in law enforcement in countries which do not rule by Allah's dictates. One of their main concerns was that such work might cause Muslims to gain love and respect for secular laws
there are many evils which result from working in law enforcement, the greatest of which is compelling people to obey rulings which do not come from Allah. It could also cause reverence and love for these rulings to enter the heart of the police officer, and perhaps spread to the hearts of his family members and other Muslims who see him at the mosque or even Muslims in general. They could lose conviction of governance by Allah, and become pleased with a legal system that does not come from Allah. (italics added)
AMJA provided some allowances for Muslims to work in certain law enforcement professions, fearing that a lack of Muslim representation in this sector could bring negative effects for the Muslim community. They also reasoned that Muslims working as police officers might be able to use their positions to help the Muslim community, such as helping out with traffic near their mosques and protecting their mosques. Still, there was concern that some of these might be required to enforce laws contrary to the shari'a, such as "arrest[ing] a Muslim man whose wife said he 'raped' her."
The AMJA paper specifically forbade Muslims from working for the FBI or in national security positions, due to their alleged arbitrary targeting of certain Muslims for "their political beliefs, charity work, or some of their convictions under the shari'a"--an apparent reference to counterterrorism investigations against Muslim suspects.
The paper also made clear that Muslims are to seek justice not in secular courts, but in Islamic courts which are compliant with their shari'a: "It is not permissible to pursue justice in the man-made (i.e. non-Islamic) judiciary, except where there is an absence of a shari'a-compliant substitute capable of restoring one's rights and working out one's grievances" (see my translation of another AMJA paper on working in the judiciary here).
Throughout the paper it is made clear that the duty of Muslims is not to uphold and respect the laws of the land in which they reside, but rather to do everything in their power to make the laws of Allah--the shari'a--supreme:
[Muslims are] to seek through legal means which exist in the countries in which they reside to make it possible for themselves to seek legal recourse in their shar'ia, and (not only) for personal affairs.
The duty to make Islam supreme comes above all, even preserving one's life:
We must remember that preserving the religion comes before preserving one’s self, mind, wealth, honor, or offspring. [...] But if saving [the individual's] life destroys Islam, then saving Islam comes first, even if it means the individual is destroyed. This is the case with jihad against the infidels, and the killing of apostates, and so forth.
It is worth stressing once again that AMJA--whose stated purpose is to "clarify the rulings of the sharia which are relevant for those who live in America"--is a mainstream American Muslim organization. Their membership list contains a large number of highly-influential American imams and Muslim leaders, including Muhammad al-Majid of the Adam Center in Virginia; Hussein Hamed Hassan, director of the financial consultancy firm which advises Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and other large American banking institutions; Zulfiqar Ali Shah, former president of Islamic Circle of North America and current executive director of the Fiqh Council of North America; and the author of this paper, Dr. Hatem al-Haj, MD, PhD, a fellow at the American Academy of Pediatrics, and founder and president of "Building Blocks of Islam."
A longer list of some of their prominent American members follows:
- Hussein Hamad Hassan (Chairman of the Board at AMJA), Director of Dar al-Sharia Legal and Financial Consultancy (Dubai) (firm which advises Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and others);
- Mohammad AlMajid, Imam of Adam Center (Virginia);
- Mohammad Naeem AlSael, University of Texas, American Open University (AOU) (Virginia);
- Waleed Basyouni, North American Imam Federation (NAIF) (Arizona), Texas Dawah Convention, AlMaghrib Institute (Texas);
- Ahmad Al Soway'ey Shleibak, Professor at AOU;
- Al Sayed Abd Al Halim Muhammad Hussein, President of Al-Eman Islamic Association of New York;
- Hatem AlHaj, Sharia Academy of America (Florida), Albert Lea Medical Center (Minnesota), NAIF, Islamic Jurisprudence Council of Minnesota;
- Abdel Azim AlSiddiq, Professor at Islamic American University (IAU), Imam/Director of Aqsa Islamic Society;
- Deya-ud-Deen Eberle, Lecturer at AOU;
- Ahmad Al Sherbiny Nabhan, Professor at AOU;
- Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq, Imam of the Islamic Center in New Jersey;
- Gamal Helmy, Chairman of Religious Affairs in the Muslim Association of Virginia (MAV);
- Gamal Zarbozo, Islamic writer and researcher in Denver, Colorado;
- Haitham Abu Ridwan Barazanji, Imam of the Islamic Center in San Pitt, Tampa, FL;
- Ibrahim Dremali, Imam of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, Florida;
- Ibrahim Zidan, Imam of Al-Huda Islamic Center (New York);
- Mohammad Faqih, Khateeb and Lecturer in Columbus, Ohio;
- Mostafa Tolbah, Imam of Islamic Center in Detroit, Michigan;
- Muhammad Abo Al Yosr Al Beyanony, Imam of Islamic Center in Raleigh, North Carolina;
- Muhammad Sayed Adly, President of Imams and Duat Association of South and North Carolina, Imam of Masjid Al-Muslimeen in Columbia, South Carolina;
- Muhammad Muhammad Musa, Imam of Islamic Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan;
- Mukhtar Kartus, Member of Board of Trustees and Daia in Islamic Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan;
- Mustafa Shahin, Lecturer at IAU;
- Mustafa Balkhir, MA student at AOU;
- Mustafa Al-Turk, Chairman of Islamic Organization, Michigan;
- Omar Shahin, President of Executive Committee of NAIF, Lecturer at AOU;
- Sadeq Muhammad Al Hassan, Director of Masjid Annur, Sacramento, California;
- Samy Muhammad Masaud, Imam of Aleman Mosque in New York City;
- Tho Al Fokkar Ali Shah (variant: Zulfiqar Ali Shah), President (Former) of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Executive Director of Fiqh Council of North America, Religious Director of Islamic Society of Milwaukee;
- Yassir Fazaqa, Imam of Islamic Center of Orange County, California;
- Waleed Al-Maneese, Dar-al-Farooq Islamic Center (Minnesota), Vice President of Islamic University of Minnesota, AOU, NAIF;
- Muwaffak Al Ghaylany, Islamic Center in Grand Blank City (Minnesota), Shari`a Academy in America (Florida), NAIF;
- Main Al-Qudah, MAS Katy Center (Texas), AOU, Islamic American University (Minnesota), Al-Yarmook University (Iraq);
- Salah Alsawy, Institute of Arabic and Islamic Sciences (Virginia), AOU, Sharia Academy (Florida), Al-Azhar University (Egypt), Umm Al Qura University (Saudi Arabia); and
- Muhammad Adam Alsheikh, Al Rahmah Mosque (Maryland), Sudanese courts.