- - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Do I detect a note of desperation in how some of my fellow Americans discuss how to treat terrorism, specifically the Islamic State, or ISISISIS has grown from a small group of brutes back in President Obama’s time committing various heinous crimes into a small army consisting of a few thousand, perhaps tens of thousands committing heinous crimes. ISIS and its solitary agents in Europe and America driving vehicles onto sidewalks and engaging in wanton mayhem have killed many innocent people. There seems to be no way to deal with them — at least to some Americans.

Well, as regards the ISIS army in Syria and in Iraq, I do not see that there is anything to worry about. The felicitously nicknamed Secretary of Defense “Mad Dog” Mattis is now dealing with ISIS expeditiously, and my guess is he will have pacified them in due course. But ISIS‘ fellow travelers, so to speak, acting alone or in small cells in Europe and America, are going to be trickier to deal with. The more so in the future, for as some Middle Eastern experts say, the defeated remnants of ISIS are quietly infiltrating the sea of immigrants heading for Europe and America. Once safe and secure in Muslim communities here and in Europe they are going to renew their grisly business.

In America they can renew their calls for Shariah law to supplant the Constitution in those places where they are the majority. The more egregious proponents of jihad can renew their violent acts, though on a lesser scale than they did in the Middle East. Some of the more emboldened Muslims already have called for the institution of Shariah law, and our left-wing friends do not seem to know what to do with them. They seem to forget that we settled the question of the primacy of the Constitution in our law by fighting a great war in the 1860s. We called it the Civil War (though some called it the War Between the States), and not many took issue with that war once it was over. John Wilkes Booth was the exception and he ended badly.

Well, the Constitution is still in place, and of all the laws that it has engendered, one stands out as potentially very useful in dealing with Shariah, jihadis and ISIS in general. That would be 68 Stat. 775,50 U.S.C. 841-844, commonly referred to as the Communist Control Act of 1954. Created after World War II, it was adopted for dealing with the subversive activities of American communists. It was signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower on Aug. 24, 1954, and it has never been found unconstitutional. It is still there waiting to be used. With certain cosmetic changes — for instance, strike out the word “communist,” replace it with the word “ISIS,” add where necessary Shariah and jihadi — the Communist Control Act could be relied upon to expand the commonweal and preserve the safety of all Americans. It might actually stop the carriers of the ISIS cancer before they entered America.

Written with due care for civil liberties, the law could be used to prosecute and imprison anyone claiming to be a member of ISIS or any jihadi group. The same holds true for those who believe that Shariah law should replace the Constitution, say in neighborhoods near Detroit, Mich., and St. Paul, Minn., where they are in a majority. As mentioned earlier, Americans fought a bloody civil war against those who wanted to break off from America and be free of the mild restraints of the Constitution. There is no reason that we should now endure a group of citizens — some recently arrived, I might add — all insisting on Shariah law in their neighborhood, and genital mutilation and multiple wives and all the retrograde customs that go with Shariah. If the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is not to their liking, they should not have come here in the first place. They are free to leave. But if they run athwart the 2017 Jihadi Control Act, the doors of an American prison awaits them.

America is a freedom-loving country. There is no reason we have to endure the barbarism of people who live in a Dark Age. We have dealt successfully with people who wanted to drag us into totalitarianism, the communists. We can deal with people who wish to drag us back to the 7th century. Be of good cheer, my fellow Americans. Laws that can ensure our freedom are on the books. All they need is a little tweaking.

• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is author of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.

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