Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and MSNBC “All In” host Chris Hayes debated whether not Muslims, especially refugees from the Middle East, can be effectively assimilated into American culture. Hayes played a clip of King saying earlier on November 24 that he has not seen an example of Muslim immigrants having "assimilated" into America. Hayes called on King to provide evidence for his statement. "Well, Chris that’s a reference to groups of people, not individuals. Of course individuals have assimilated into the broader American society. But yeah, no one has shown me an example of large groups of people that have settled into America from that part of the world that have assimilated into the broader American society," King said.
 
 
King referred to areas such as Dearborn, Michigan (which has the largest mosque in North America), and a Minneapolis neighborhood dubbed “Little Mogadishu” for his Somali residents. When Hayes asked whether such neighborhoods differed from areas such as Little Italy or Chinatown in New York City, King responded "Of course I do." The outspoken King said "They bring with them Sharia law, which is completely contradictory to the Constitution itself. It’s incompatible with the Americanism."
Hayes asked, "Do you think, fundamentally, Muslims from the Middle East are incompatible with American democracy?" King responded, "I believe that Sharia law is incompatible with American democracy."
 
Explaining further about whether all Muslims are incompatible with American democracy, King said "I think that if they are willing to reject Sharia law, then we can talk. But until they do that, their view of Sharia law trumping constitutional law is incompatible with Americanism and eventually will break down the rule of law in our country."
 
In a similar vein, Buck Sexton of ClashTV clashed with Marc Lamont Hill on the same day as to whether there are tenets of Islam that are incompatible with American values. Hill is a professor at Morehouse College – the leader among historically black institutions of higher learning. A social activist and CNN network commentator, Hill is the co-author with Mumia Abu-Jamal of the book “The Classroom and The Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America." Abu-Jamal is a former member of the Black Panthers who is serving a life sentence for the murder of a white police officer, Daniel Faulkner.
 
While not a Muslim himself, but a leftist, Hill argued Islam is “premised on some very basic fundamental values that are in line with what America articulates as its own values — what the West articulates as its own values.” He was responding to a harsh critique of Islam from comedian Bill Maher, who said on November 20,  “This idea that all religions share the same values is bull***t and we need to call it bull***t... if you are in this religion (Islam), you probably do have values that are at odds (with American values). This is what liberals don’t want to recognize.” Furthermore, said Maher, ”I think that Islam is a problem” and that people who think Syrian refugees have values at odds with US values, “may not be wrong.”
 
Hill was more sanguine about Islam and sharia law while speaking on CNN. “So, to say that, somehow, because you have an investment in sharia law means you’re somehow a radical,” said Hill, “or that you’re necessarily anti — anti-growth, anti-democracy, anti-modern — it’s just not true.”
 
Host Sexton pressed on, saying that large swathes of Muslim countries have “tens of millions” of people who are at “odds with liberal values in this country.” He added, “Ideas about the rights of women, the rights of same-sex marriage — these are places where you would think that liberals particularly would be up in arms and very critical of the prevalence of these ideas…that, under normal circumstances, would be considered bigoted by American liberals.” In the United States, Sexton said, liberals have “accepted Islam as part of the victimology class in this country that is, therefore, protected, and is above and beyond criticism.”
 
In response, Hill made the case that all religions have extremists by saying that if a poll were to be conducted at a “Ben Carson rally,” similar results would be found.
However, Sexton was undeterred. “Now, look, Marc, I think it’s important that you brought up other religious traditions,” Sexton responded. “Because there is this, sort of, root fallacy within American liberalism and the American left that all religions more or less have some problems — that they’re all more or less the same — and that’s just, frankly, not true.”
 
 
As to the practice of sharia, Saudi Arabia set the pace this year for executions. As of mid-June 2015, Saudi Arabia was executing people at a record clip. The kingdom killed 100 people as of June 18. If the current pace continues, the Oil Kingdom will surpass its modern-day execution record of 192, set back in 1995. Among the crimes for which beheading is meted out is adultery. Iran, as well as the so-called Islamic Republic, inflict executions, amputations, stonings and floggings for violations of sharia law.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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