In the aftermath of the ISIS-claimed attack in Nice, France, that killed more than 80 people and wounded over 200 more, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich proposed a solution: “We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported.” By Sharia, Gingrich is apparently referring to a diverse body of Islamic prescriptions that cover personal, group and state behavior which vary according to region and scholar.
As The Atlantic noted the morning after his statement, “Sharia” doesn’t mean what Gingrich thinks it means. But if Gingrich wants to explore what it would mean for the United States to enact such a policy, it’s a worthy thought experiment to perform, since the former Speaker of the House has been promised a spot in apotential Trump administration.
First, we’d need to determine who is to handle such a feat. Presumably, this would be a matter for the Department of Homeland Security; deporting as many as 3.3 million peaceful American Muslims would be tough, but they could handle it with enough firepower.
But then who designs the test? According to Gingrich, Sharia is incompatible with “Western civilization,” so presumably the test would need questions about both Sharia and Western philosophy. But Sharia is complex, so one would need to recruit experts to make sure the test contained the necessary questions. One might ask, though, “What if these scholars were of ‘a Muslim background’?” What test do they take, before they’re permitted to help the US combat terrorism? Otherwise, one could rely on discredited hatemongers like Robert Spencer, who draws sweeping and dangerous conclusions about Islam, despite no academic training. Continue Reading