June 21, 2005

More American Muslims are going to law school.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The article is mostly about the support groups for Muslim law students. It lacks actual numbers on the extent of the increase and only speculates about the case of the increase. Is it 9/11 and the war on terror? Sheer demographics? ("The number of Muslims in the United States is disputed (from 1 million to 7 million), but it's believed to be growing through immigration, births and conversions .") Or is it the same increased interest in law found in the general population?

Quoted and pictured in the article is UW lawprof Asifa Quraishi.

("1 million to 7 million?" -- Is the available demographic information really so sketchy?)


Charles said...

It is a good method of infiltrating and changing a society to be more like what you want it to be. Long range, say in 2030, you have a lot of Islamists that are judges and making law and rulings according to the Koran. Welcome to the Islamofascist Republik. On the other hand, if you are from a poor background and can get a bunch of economic support, law and medicine makes a lot of sense - you get out of the poor group and they make a lot of money, right? Or so the perception goes.

Timothy K. Morris said...

Worked for the Irish.

I suspect the slippery figures are due to the fact that "muslim" is a religious, not an ethnic, designation and that the total number is still a relatively small percentage of the total population. According the the Census Bureau, the current US population is 296,418,930. However, if you want something to think about it terms of ethnic groups, that 7 million number is significanlty higher than the combined Native American Alaska Native estimate of 4.4 million.

Dave said...

If Islam requires that one use the Koran as the ultimate authority, how can a law student who is Islamic become a lawyer? As I understand the states' bar associations' requirements, in order to become a licensed attorney (or judge) one has to swear to uphold one's state and national constitution.

That duty would seem to preclude, and supersede, one's allegiance to the authority of the Koran.

As I recall, there was a case in Indiana (I think) in which a white supremacist, who received a JD, was nonetheless barred from practicing because one could not reconcile his racist views with lawyers' ethical duty to uphold the state and national constitution. I'm not implying here that Muslims are white supremacists, or even racists (though clearly, many are as avowedly racist as any Nazi), but that it would seem difficult to reconcile their religious requirement with their professional requirement.

I would hope that the presence of more Muslims in American law schools would serve to civilize those Muslims and inculcate in them the importance of assimilation, as college and graduate school has done for untold numbers of other immigrants to this country.

Dave said...

The Anti-Defamation League states that the white supremacist I was thinking of, Matthew Hale, is from Illinois, not Indiana. Apologies.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: Since Jesus said "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also," how can a Christian be a competent lawyer?

Dave said...

I'm not saying a Muslim can't be a good lawyer.

What I'm saying is that I've been told that Muslims are supposed to consider the Koran as the ultimate authority. I don't know how a Muslim would reconcile that requirement with the requirement that the law is the ultimate authority.

There are many Christians who do not believe the bible is the ultimate authority; Christian doctrine on the issue of the Bible's authority seems more divergement than Muslim doctrine on the authority of the Koran.

I don't see how your comparison is relevant.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: My point is that fundamentalist textualists of different religions present the same problem. Presumably, any given individual with this problem who chooses to go into the field of law has to find a way to deal with this difficulty. I think being a lawyer is inconsistent with many religious, philosophical, and political beliefs. I wouldn't make a presumption about an adherent to a particular religion that their problem is different and special because: 1. It presumes to interpret a religion and 2. It encourages discrimination.

Dave said...

Ann: I don't understand your points. Why is it wrong to want to interpret a religion--especially one whose fundamentalist practitioners have foisted upon us the importance of understanding it?

And, how does questioning how a religious person can be a lawyer encourage discrimination? That sounds like a rather politically correct view.

Merely asking a question does not imply support of discriminatory views. I think you're confusing the asking of a question with the way some people may interpret the apparent answer to that question. Just because the answer to a question leads some to troubling conclusions does not mean that the question itself should not be asked.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: I didn't say something was "wrong" or try to dictate what others may properly do. I said what I do. Others can follow my example if they think it's good.

Dave said...

Ann: Fair point.

To each his/her own, as they say.

Kathleen B. said...

"law school could serve to civilize those Muslims"? sorry I just vomited, don't worry about me.

that "sounds politically correct"? oh, in that case, by all means run screaming. can't have that.

I just love the automatic assumption that "more Muslims in law school" means "a lot of Islamists that are judges and ruling according to the Koran." hmmm I wonder how outraged Charles and Dave were when people expressed concern about certain judicial nominees who were alleged to put the Bible ahead of US law? (of course in that case you are talking about specific people, whereas here it is just a entire religion). No one says - can't have those Christians in law school.
This is exactly what I was talking about in my earlier comment in the crucifixation thread (where you were confused about by references to comments on Islam, Prof Althouse).

PatCA said...

Unfortunately, the newspaper cherrypicks its examples--the one Muslim, of course, who fits the preconceived narrative of victim/advocate/morally superior person of the day, complete with a new, probably foundation funded, niche guild. I wonder which PR firm pitched the story to them.

Notice that she says that after 9/11 she sees a need to protect "ourselves" meaning Muslims, not Americans in general. We bad!

If past examples of special interest groups are any indication, she will do as much harm as good to good Muslims in service to her "cause."

Ann Althouse said...

Pat: Law schools are full of students who belong to particular demographic groups, who feel motivated to use their legal education to help other members of the groups they belong to, and who form student organizations that support students in those groups. There are organizations of Christian law students, Jewish law students, Indian law students, gay law students, conservative law students, liberal law students, black law students, Asian law students. Do you think this is a problem? Maybe you do, but there's nothing specific about Muslims. It's completely legitimate to worry about a type of discrimination that could be aimed at a particular group, and it's completely understandable that members of that group would feel motivated to be especially vigilant about it.

Dave said...

I certainly agree that Muslims in America would be well served by having lawyers protect their rights.

PatCA said...

There's nothing inherently wrong with defending the rights of a niche group. I hesitate to call them "minority" groups because in many places, there is no dominant majority, so how can there be a minority? But like all good intentions, they sometimes pave the way to somewhere lower. If white law students formed a group to defend their rights, I believe they would be condemned as racist.

It brings up lots of issues, maybe for another day. If separate is not equal, why do we allow non-white groups to segregate themselves off from the whole in schools? (And BTW I am in favor of affirmative action.) If segregated neighborhoods are racist, why do we allow immigrants, rich or poor, to do the same? Do these trends foster a national identity or tribalism or have no effect at all?

So, like I say, it's not inherently wrong, but neither is it inherently right. I would like to see all Muslims, and all Americans, get a fair legal shake. Dave seems to be saying that at this time Muslims are not, or would be getting a better shake if his lawyer were Muslim. I don't know about that...

My two cents...only time will tell. Here's a funny take on it.

Michael said...

“If Islam requires that one use the Koran as the ultimate authority, how can a law student who is Islamic become a lawyer? As I understand the states' bar associations' requirements, in order to become a licensed attorney (or judge) one has to swear to uphold one's state and national constitution.”

Charles, I believe the answer to your heart of your question may be found with a more simple approach. If one takes an oath that contradicts one’s religion, then they do just that. What this may imply about Muslims is not surprising. How many times have you seen a Christian sin?