The Supreme Court decided on June 26 to allow key parts of the Trump administration’s “travel ban” to go into effect temporarily. This was an unexpected victory for the President—and for common sense. Until the Court hears the full case in October, the administration will be able to bar travelers from six majority-Muslim countries who cannot show a “bona fide” connection to a person or entity in the United States. The Court said the relationship must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course, not for the purpose of evading” the travel ban.
Trump’s next task should be to make the 90-day ban permanent. Over the past two decades hundreds of Muslims born abroad have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the United States. They have included persons who came to America legally on visas, as well as refugees. More than 300 persons who came to the U.S. as refugees are currently the subjects of counterterrorism investigations by the FBI.
In the long term, Trump should seek to reinstate the substance of his original executive order, which was issued on January 27 and revoked on March 6. Its stated “Purpose” declares that
the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law . . . who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Without naming it, Trump’s original order treated orthodox Islam as a violent ideology inimical to America’s “founding principles.” After all, for a Muslim to declare that he accepts the U.S. Constitution as the source of his highest loyalty is an act of apostasy punishable by death under Islamic law. To a Muslim, sharia is not an addition to the Constitution and laws of the United States, with which it may coexist; it is the only basis of obligation. To be legitimate, all political power must rest exclusively with those who enjoy Allah’s authority on the basis of his revealed will, and America is therefore illegitimate ab initio.
Trump’s original order effectively demanded that a Muslim give up this key tenet of his faith in order to be eligible for admission. In principle a Muslim’s naturalization is also problematic, as it includes the oath “that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . . ” To swear this would be sacrilegious for a Muslim, since it means he would be prepared to shoot a fellow Muslim, or denounce him to the authorities, in defense of his adopted homeland.
Immigration officials and law-enforcement officers need new, powerful tools to help them ask pertinent questions and weed out dissimulators. Uniform screening standards should be established, with the goal of preventing individuals from entering the U.S. with the intent to cause harm, as well as those at risk of developing such an intent subsequent to their admission. These should include personal interviews and forms that contain questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent. Questions should be focused and exact: Does a Muslim have the right to convert to a different religion? Should non-Muslims be subject to sharia? Do you have Christian or Jewish friends?
Of all major religions known to man, Islam is the least amenable to dialogue with other faiths. Where a precedent established by Muhammad already exists, no man and no human institution, such as a legislature or a non-Islamic court, may form an independent judgment. The unhappy experience of Europe demonstrates that immigration from majority-Muslim countries creates a permanent terrorist threat and adversely affects the host society’s quality of life. In America, the process is not as advanced as it is in Britain, Germany, or France; the threat can be checked, and eventually eliminated. A significant step would be for the Supreme Court to affirm that a potential visitor’s adherence to the tenets of sharia makes him worthy of exclusion.
The application of clearly defined criteria in deciding who will be admitted to the United States, and in determining who from among Muslims who are already here should be allowed to stay, is essential to national security. It is in the American interest to profile all prospective visitors and, above all, to prevent the entry of hostile aliens. To his credit, Donald Trump is the first President since the passage of the disastrous Hart-Celler Act of 1965 to grasp the problem and to act accordingly.