Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Fatwa- At Home and Abroad

The Fatwa - an interpretation of the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed by Islamic authorities offering guidance on real life FAQs. Most Fatwas featured in Western news stories are bloody, an approval to assassinate Salman Rushdie, an exception to the laws of hospitality so that Iraqis may kill visiting Americans without permission from their host -but today we see the domestic side of Islam. One recent Fatwa from Egypt permits an unmarried man to work with a woman if the woman has breast fed the man five times - establishing the appropriate familial relationship. Reports that the Mullah issuing this Fatwa was advertising for a receptionist remain unconfirmed. A second recent Fatwa advises that drinking the urine of the Prophet is a blessing, The question here is really - Who wants to know? In what universe is this an FAQ? Was there a diner in Cairo offering a special?

Turning to home, a resolution to bring a no confidence vote on Attorney General Gonzales to the Senate floor received only 53 of the 60 votes needed. Retaining a sitting cabinet officer is an executive decision, any action by the Senate would have been non-binding, but maybe it is more than a public relations stunt. Consider the Fatwa, a group of officials (senators, mullahs - is there really any difference) advises on a current application of a revered document (OK the Constitution and the Koran have some differences - hang in there). The advice is not really that Gonzales is stupid or disloyal - He's guilty of implementing the policies of the Rove-Bush administration too vigorously. The hiring and firing of US attorneys has a long tradition of emphasizing competence - Gonzales just followed the new game plan - hire only Republican loyalists, preferably with degrees from Jerry Falwell U. Fire anyone who wants to investigate Republicans or drop a dead end investigation of a Democrat. Always advise that there are no Constitutional limits on Executive power - no limits on eavesdropping (and if you are questioned maybe you can slip it by Ashcroft on his sickbed), no limits on detention of civilians without judicial review. The fatwa is this - Mr. President - the Constitution matters, get an Attorney General who will tell you this even when you don't want to hear it and make exceptions only on those days when you drink the urine of the Prophet for breakfast.

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