AUSTRIAN LAW ON POLITICAL ISLAM, 1912, MODIFIED 2015:
What America can learn from the Austrian Law
BY JEFFREY E. ELLIOTT, ESQ.
Important officials in the United States, including the Judiciary, Legislative and even the Executive branches of government have not fully appreciated the accumulative effect of political massive migration and intrusion into American sovereignty. Moreover, this complacency and malaise has also befallen much of the Christian church’s authority.
What complacency and malaise? The failure of American law and policy to fully understand and articulate the issues of political Islam versus religious Islam. A considerable, substantive, considered and critical understanding of the various parts, components, tenets and doctrines of Islam is essential to the formulation of American law and policy towards Islam.
The Austrians have had considerably more experience in dealing with the various aspects and manifestations of political Islam than Americans. In 1683, the Ottoman Islamic Turks had besieged the Austrian Capital of Vienna in a holy war of conquest to add the Austrian capital to the Ottoman Caliphate as a gift to Allah. The Austrians with the aid of the Poles and other Christians narrowly defeated the Ottoman Turks war of aggression against Vienna.
Thus, given the Austrian historical perspective with Islam, the Austrian passed a law dealing specifically with Islam, entitled the 1912 “Law on Islam”. The original 1912 Habsburg Austrian-Hungarian law recognized Islam as a religion. The Austrian legislature modernized the original 1912 “Law on Islam” in 2015. This modernized law prohibited funding from other nations. (see: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31629543 )
Wikipedia succinctly explains the reality of the existence of “political Islam” as experienced by the Austrians when the Ottoman Islamic Caliphate armies were at the Gates of Vienna. Wikipedia definition states:
“Origins of Islam as a political movement are to be found in the life and times of Islam’s prophet Muhammad and his successors. In 622 CE, in recognition of his claims to prophethood, Muhammad was invited to rule the city of Medina. At the time the local Arab tribes of Aus and Khazraj dominated the city, and were in constant conflict. Medinans saw in Muhammad an impartial outsider who could resolve the conflict. Muhammad and his followers thus moved to Medina, where Muhammad drafted the Medina Charter. This document made Muhammad the ruler, and recognized him as the Prophet of Allah. The laws Muhammad established during his rule, based on the revelations of the Quran and doing of Muhammad, are considered by Muslims to be Sharia or Islamic law, which Islamic movements seek to establish in the present day. Muhammad gained a widespread following and an army, and his rule expanded first to the city of Mecca and then spread through the Arabian peninsula through a combination of diplomacy and military conquest.
Today many Islamist or Islamic democratic parties exist in almost every democracy with a Muslim majority. Many militant Islamic groups are also working in different parts of world. The controversial term Islamic fundamentalism has also been coined by some non-Muslims to describe the political and religious philosophies of some militant Islamic groups. Both of these terms (Islamic democracy and Islamic fundamentalism) lump together a large variety of groups with varying histories, ideologies and contexts. “(see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_aspects_of_Islam)
The significant point is that Islam is not just a religion within the western meaning and context of the common term “religion”, but from Islam’s conception the element of political conquest, jihad and terror have been dynamic edicts to many of the faithful to Islam. Therefore, the question arises in an American constitutional context when does Islam deserve the protection of the American Bill of Rights as a religion and when should constitutional National Security safeguards and restrictions apply because “political Islam” is a clear and present threat to the peace and prosperity of genuine American sovereignty? These are certainly legitimate questions, regarding the political history of Islam.
Even in the more moderate restatement of Sharia law, the statement of Sharia jurisdiction does not refer to a member of the Muslim faith that voluntarily submits to a voluntary religious jurisdiction but refers to Muslims within a political meaning as a “Muslim citizen”. The restatement of Muslim jurisdiction as stated by the Islamic Supreme Council of America, reads as follows.
“Islamic civilization, since the time of Prophet Muhammad (s) until now, is firmly founded on the concept of ‘rule of law.’ For that reason, the law is published and known, and citizens and courts are expected to uphold it. In addition, Muslim citizens must adhere to Islamic law – Shariah. If a Muslim citizen commits a religious violation, he is judged according to Islamic law. A non-Muslim citizen is judged in religious issues by the laws of his own faith.” ( see :http://islamicsupremecouncil.org/understanding-islam/legal-rulings.html ) ( Quoted from the Islamic Supreme Council Of America)
United States Bill of Rights
This brings us to a significant and inherent problematic jurisdictional issue. Within the context of American jurisdiction and sovereignty the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land. A definition of the Supremacy Clause in the United States Constitution reads as follows:
Article VI, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Supremacy Clause because it provides that the “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States … shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” It means that the federal government, in exercising any of the powers enumerated in the Constitution, must prevail over any conflicting or inconsistent state exercise of power. (see: https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/supremacy+clause )
The American Constitutional Article VI, Section 2, Supremacy Clause clearly indicates that the Constitution is the supreme law in the United States. The Article VI, Section 2, Supremacy Clause of the United States maintains supreme jurisdiction within the boundaries of the United States. Thus, Sharia jurisdiction could not prevail nor be accommodated within the province of any American political judicial jurisdiction, such as criminal law or civil law. Hence, to allow otherwise, violates the Supremacy Clause of the American constitutional authority and invites Islamic law to subvert, undermine and replace American law for “Muslim citizens” as a dualistic supremacy jurisdiction.
Hence, America may learn from the Austrian law on Islam. Pursuant to the Austrian law the Austrian authorities recognize Islam as a spiritual religion in the western sense of greater worship to a deity. Austrian Muslim citizens are afforded the right to worship and practice their religion and attend to Islamic religious duties. ( see: https://www.sott.net/article/377463-Austrias-2015-reforms-to-their-1912-Islam-Law-No-foreign-meddling-one-legal-system-for-all-Austrians)
The Austrian law dealing specifically with political Islam can satisfy American Bill of Rights concerns by distinguishing between political Islam versus religious Islam. Although, the majority of Islamic cleric will vehemently oppose, such an approach as anti-Islamic and ignorant of the principles, practices and tenets of Islam, the approach satisfies western standards which must balance First Amendment rights against National Security and Sovereignty concerns. The Austrian approach will also do much to put to rest Supremacy Clause questions and issues. (see: https://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/6606.) (for full PDF text of Austrian Islamic Law, 2015)
Two positive anti-terrorism measures of the legislation are to 1.) require Muslim services to be delivered in German and 2.) prohibit foreign funds from supporting Mosques. Incredibly, the Turkish government through the Turkish controlled Supreme Islamic Council of Turkey was funding many of the Islamic Mosques in Austria. Hence, the 2015 Austrian law on political Islam prohibited a foreign Islamic nation from funding Austrian Mosques. The other improvement was to require the Iman’s to deliver their sermons in German to allow for more accurate monitoring of Islamic jihadist speech, which masquerades as a legitimate religious experience, but really incites violence and terrorism.
Although, the Trump Administration has taken a very positive initiative and affirmative steps to eradicate Muslim jihadism and terrorism, the American Congress and Judiciary must do much more in relationship to the violent forces of political Islam. Congresses initial hurdle is to understand, as the Austrian legislature, the very real danger of political Islam efforts to undermine western society and institutions. Quite frankly, presently, even some members of congress are in league with the goals and practices of political Islam. Indeed, this is a clear and present danger to the American Republic. The Austrian laws may provide a framework, wherein, to allow for the western practice of Islam through submission to western courts and the strict prohibition of political Islam working to overthrow western governments by masquerading as a religion.