Political correctness tells Connecticut that Muslims here want only to live normal lives in the state's pluralistic society, and surely some do. Based on this assumption, Gov. Dan Malloy and other leaders support admission of more refugees from the religious and tribal wars of the Islamic world.
But even the politically correct may acknowledge, as President Obama does, that there is a war within Islam between modern and medieval factions, and that the medieval faction construes Islam to require the oppression of women and homosexuals, even the murder of the latter. So which side are Connecticut's Muslims on?
Journal Inquirer reporter Anthony Branciforte recently tried to find out, and the results were disturbing
South Windsor Town Council member Saud Anwar, a candidate for state representative, readily proclaimed himself in favor of equal rights for all. But two Muslim clerics, Kashif Abdul-Karim, of the Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford, and Hafiz Saeed Ul Hassan, of the Al-Noor Islamic Center in Ellington, were equivocal, expressing situational morality.
Abdul-Karim said Muslims should follow the laws of their country but that, in countries with Muslim majorities, oppressing women and homosexuals in the name of Islam is OK. Ul Hassan was OK with oppressing homosexuals and would not respond to a question about women’s rights under Islam.
Thus the imams implied that more Muslim immigration to the United States indeed would jeopardize the rights of women and homosexuals and religious liberty generally.
More disturbing still, 10 Islamic organizations in Connecticut would not respond at all to the newspaper's questions about Islam's application to women and homosexuals: the Islamic Center of Connecticut, Bayt Ui Mamur Mosque, the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, the Islamic Association of Southern Connecticut, United Muslim Mosque, Al-Madany Islamic Center, Daar-ul-Ehsaan, and the Islamic Center of Vernon.
Of course, Judaism and Christianity, preceding Islam by centuries, went through their own long fascist phases, and any modernizing of Islam may take more centuries of butting up against liberty, a struggle in which the United States should assist Islam's reform faction.
But when most Muslim leaders either oppose or refuse to commit themselves to the basic norms of a democratic, pluralistic, and secular society, there already has been far too much Muslim immigration. The United States doesn't need to import more religious fanatics; it has enough of the domestic kind.
Justice Peter T. Zarella, who will retire from the Connecticut Supreme Court at the end of the year, is being described as the court's most "conservative" judge because of his dissent from its decisions that overthrew capital punishment and required the state to recognize same-sex marriage.
That description is false insofar as it implies that Zarella supported capital punishment and opposed same-sex marriage by themselves. Rather, like others who were appalled by these particular decisions, Zarella held that the issues were properly to be decided by ordinary legislation and were not pre-empted by Connecticut's Constitution.
Indeed, the state constitution explicitly recognizes capital punishment, the decision overthrowing it was a crude contrivance, and if, when the current constitution was adopted in 1965, anyone had suggested that it required same-sex marriage, he would have been urged to commit himself to a mental hospital.
No, while Zarella's politics may be conservative, on the court he was conservative mainly insofar as he followed the law, precedent, the plain meaning of words, and the separation of the powers of government. Unfortunately the term for that now is "antique."
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.