How Sharia Supremacism and Judicial Imperialism Threaten National Security

Having failed to define the real threat — sharia supremacism — Trump walked into a trap of his own making.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, May 27, 2017:

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling against President Trump’s so-called travel ban empowers both radical Islam and judicial imperialism. The combination portends lasting damage to the United States.

To rehash, the executive order (EO) proclaimed temporary restrictions (the main one, for 90 days) on travel to the United States by the nationals of six countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Those countries, along with Iraq (cited in Trump’s original executive order, but not the revised EO at issue), had previously been singled out by Congress and President Obama — not because they are Muslim-majority countries, but because a) the presence or promotion of terrorism in their territories makes their nationals suspect and b) their anti-Americanism and/or dysfunctional governments render it impossible to conduct background checks on visa applicants.

This Fourth Circuit’s en banc review of prior invalidations of the EO by “progressive” activists masquerading as jurists produced 205 pages of opinions. The outcome was about as uncertain as Secretariat at Belmont, with ten of the tribunal’s 13 judges joining Chief Judge Roger Gregory’s majority ruling to one degree or another.

Three judges filed compelling dissents that will prove quite useful when, as Trump promises, the case proceeds to the Supreme Court. The continuation of the litigation is an unfortunate outcome, even if conservatives and other rule-of-law types, buoyed by Justice Neil Gorsuch’s appointment, may be right that the EO has a better shot in the High Court.

That’s because the EO doesn’t matter. You may not have noticed, but sharia supremacism has already won, regardless of what the Supreme Court does.

See, the EO was never an end in and of itself. It is a means — a fatally flawed one — to a vital end. That end is a vetting system that enables our security services to distinguish pro-Western Muslims from sharia supremacists. That’s the goal. The EO was conceived as a temporary pause while the vetting system took shape.

From a security perspective, though, the EO was utterly ineffective: applicable to a negligible slice of the global anti-American threat. More significantly, as a strategy, starting with the EO rather than getting to vetting has been a catastrophe.

As we have previously observed, in order to install the vetting system we need, the challenge of Islam must be confronted head-on and without apology. That is unavoidable. You can’t flinch. It is a certainty that the Democrat-media complex — of which Islamist organizations are members in good standing — is going to smear you as a racist “Islamophobe.” (Yes, this is another race-obsessed “progressive” narrative, so Islam gets to be the “race,” so that defenders of the Constitution and Western culture can be cast as “the oppressor.”) You have to be content with knowing that you are not a racist, with knowing that you are defending religious liberty, including the religious liberty of pro-Western Muslims.

There is a single battle that must be won. American culture must be convinced that Islam, while it has plenty of diversity, has a mainstream strain — sharia supremacism — that is not a religion but a totalitarian political ideology hiding under a religious veneer.

Intellectually, this should not be a difficult thing to do. Sharia supremacism does not accept the separation of religion from political life (which is why it is lethally hostile to reform Muslims). It requires the imposition of classical, ancient sharia law, which crushes individual liberty (particularly freedom — of conscience, of speech, and in economic affairs). It systematically discriminates against women and non-Muslims. It is cruel in its enforcement. It endorses violent jihad to settle political disputes (since such disputes boil down to whether sharia is being undermined — a capital offense).

What I have just outlined is not a “theory.” Quite apart from the fact that sharia supremacism is the subject of numerous books, studies, public-opinion polls, and courtroom prosecutions, one need only look at life in Saudi Arabia and Iran, societies in which the regime imposes sharia. As I mentioned a few days ago, one need only look at the State Department’s warnings to Americans who travel to Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, what should be easy to establish intellectually is difficult as a practical matter. Sharia supremacists and their progressive allies maintain that Islam may not be parsed into different strains. For legal purposes, they insist it is a monolith that is protected by religious-liberty principles — notwithstanding that a) progressives are generally hostile to religious liberty and b) sharia supremacists themselves would destroy religious liberty. Perversely, then, they argue that the First Amendment is offended by national-security measures against anti-American radicals who would, given the chance, deep-six the First Amendment in favor of sharia.

It is essential to win this debate over the political nature of sharia supremacism. Our law has a long constitutional tradition, rooted in the natural and international law of self-defense, of excluding aliens on the basis of radical, anti-American political ideology. Thus, if sharia supremacism is deemed a political ideology, we can keep out alien adherents of a cause that both inspires the terrorists of today and, wherever it is allowed to take root, produces the terrorists of tomorrow.

Yet, we also have a strong commitment to religious freedom. If at the end of the debate — assuming we ever have the debate — our culture’s conclusion is that sharia supremacism equals Islam, equals religion, equals immunity from governmental protective measures, then the Constitution really will have become a suicide pact. We will have decided that anti-constitutional sharia radicals are just as welcome as any other Muslim.

It is essential to win this debate over the political nature of sharia supremacism.

Since this is the debate we must have — i.e., Can we legally vet for sharia supremacism? – the Trump administration’s burden was to tee up the debate on favorable terrain. That required having it over something that the public would understand as truly crucial to our current and future security.

That something should have been vetting. That would have put the focus on sharia — specifically, on its noxious, counter-constitutional terms. The argument would not merely be about the possibility that trained terrorists might infiltrate refugee populations. It would be about the resistance of sharia supremacism to Western assimilation, which inevitably leads to the phenomenon of sharia enclaves, to “no go” zones, and to the creation of the conditions in which the jihadists of tomorrow are bred. (See, e.g., Europe.) Vetting is what we absolutely have to do to protect the country. It is not more complicated than that.

Trump, instead, teed things up for guaranteed failure. Instead of a battle over vetting, he forced it to be fought over the EO, which would do nothing meaningful to improve our security. The threat from the six cited countries is less severe than from other cauldrons of sharia supremacism that are not covered in the EO. Since the EO is not a defensible security measure, it can easily be made to look like a gratuitous swipe at Muslims — especially in light of Trump’s reckless campaign rhetoric, which often failed to distinguish sharia supremacists from all Muslims (many of whom have taken heroic measures to help Americans fight jihadists).

Having thus failed to define the real threat, Trump walked into a trap of his own making. Forced to defend itself against claims of racism, forced to defend the pointless exclusion of Muslims rather than the essential exclusion of sharia supremacists, the administration has responded by vigorously contending that the travel ban has nothing to do with Islam. “It’s facially neutral,” the Justice Department insists. The administration now stresses that the EO does not mention Islam, does not target Islam, and is not directed at Islam.

Well, isn’t that wonderful! I’m sure the Supreme Court will be impressed — the administration might even win there . . . though I wouldn’t bet the ranch on getting Justice Kennedy’s vote.

The EO is thus worse than ineffective. It is counterproductive.

But you see, the upshot of the administration’s assurances that the EO has nothing to do with Islam is an implicit admission: If a proposed law or executive order did confront Islam directly, it would be unconstitutional. So then . . . how are we ever going to win the debate over vetting? How are we ever going to make an intellectually honest, convincing argument that adherents to a radical political ideology rooted in Islamic scripture can lawfully be kept out of our country?

The EO is thus worse than ineffective. It is counterproductive. It probably means that vetting will never happen — or, alternatively, that the administration will try to enhance vetting but pretend, as it has with the EO, that the enhancement has nothing to do with Islam.

To be fair, while such dishonesty is not excusable, it is understandable. Inexorably, these battles are fought out in the courts — Congress having defaulted its responsibility to make law and to limit the judiciary’s capacity to interfere, which the Constitution empowers it to do. The courts are no longer courts. They are no longer the peer judicial branch of a government of divided powers, in which each branch respects the constitutional authorities and competencies of the others. The courts now claim supremacy over the two political branches.

Naturally, they are smart enough not to come out and say it that way. They’ve done it by gradually dismantling separation-of-powers. This doctrine always held that the judiciary did not intrude on matters like immigration, national security against foreign threats, and war fighting — matters constitutionally committed to the branches politically accountable to the voters whose lives are at stake. But, as I warned at the time, Justice Kennedy put the last nail in that coffin in the 2008 Boumediene decision, which astoundingly held that alien enemy combatants engaged in an offensive terrorist war against the United States are endowed with constitutional habeas corpus rights, to be asserted against the U.S. government — indeed, against the executive branch that is prosecuting the congressionally authorized military campaign.

Kennedy scoffed at the principle that the judiciary has no business meddling in the political branches’ conduct of war. His Orwellian contortion of separation of powers holds that the actions of the political branches are strengthened by judicial review. Under the new dispensation, it is not the Constitution but the judiciary that determines the legitimacy of executive and legislative action in defense of the nation.

When Kennedy and the Court’s “progressive” bloc ignored the settled jurisprudence of judicial modesty (what we might call, “know your place”), they unleashed the lower courts to do the same — knowing there was always a good chance that five Supremes would endorse renegade “progress.” Thus did the Fourth Circuit, in neutering the EO, ignore a binding 1972 Supreme Court precedent, Kleindienst v. Mandel, which prohibits federal courts from second-guessing executive discretion in the immigration context. Mandel should have made the case a slam dunk in favor of Trump’s EO. Instead, Judge Gregory declared robed oligarchy: There can be no judicial “abdication” in situations where “constitutional rights, values, and principles are at stake.”

Simply stated, that is a breathtaking claim of power to act any time the judges see fit, for whatever “value” they choose to vindicate.

What federal judges do not see as fit is Donald Trump. If he orders it, they will undo it, even if it is manifest that the same orders would be upheld if issued by a different president.

And the judges’ values tend not to be your values. You value American national security. They value a new, aggressive, and indiscriminate protection of religion — provided that the religion is Islam. Your value is a trifle. Their value is transformed into a right of Muslim immigration, derived from the new, judicially manufactured right of America-based Muslims not to have their self-esteem bruised.

Sharia supremacism and judicial imperialism: a combination that is breaking our will in a way no previous challengers ever could.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Also see:

Weaponization of Political Correctness

Secure Freedom Radio, Jim Hanson interview with Dr. James Mitchell, April 19, 2017:

Dr. JAMES MITCHELL, Key architect of the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program, author of Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America:

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

  • Effectiveness of enhanced interrogation
  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s prediction that America would defeat itself

(PART TWO):

Podcast (podcast2): Play in new window | Download

  • The obligation to jihad
  • Terrorism funding through zakat

(PART THREE):

Podcast (podcast3): Play in new window | Download

  • Islamic reform

(PART FOUR):

Podcast (podcast4): Play in new window | Download

  • Three ways to vet immigrants
  • Social media factor analysis

Another Attempt at “Extreme Vetting”

By Daniel Pipes, April 4, 2017, Cross-posted from National Review Online

The Travel Ban Is about Vetting — Which Means It’s about Islam

President Donald Trump prepares to sign an executive order. (Reuters photo: Jonathan Ernst)

Because the United States is in a defensive war against sharia supremacism.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, March 18, 2017:

It is not about the executive orders. When it comes to protecting the United States from the threats posed by radical Islam, it has never been about President Donald Trump’s executive orders: the first one that was torpedoed by the radical judiciary in January, and the new and improved version that was suspended this week — the Lawyer Left having conveniently managed to shop its challenge to Barack Obama’s fellow Hawaiian and Harvard Law School classmate Judge Derrick Watson.

The issue is vetting. Each executive order was conceived as a temporary step, a “hold in place” measure while the permanent solution, vetting, was carefully crafted and ultimately implemented.

Now, just as the Left hoped, the temporary step has not only overwhelmed the permanent solution. It has made the permanent solution much more difficult — perhaps impossible — to achieve.

The president’s first order was not invalidated because it was invalid. It was invalidated by an outrageous political maneuver disguised as a judicial decision by the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court. Yet government lawyers — especially the law-and-order, have-faith-in-the-system types — can’t help themselves. They see litigation as a high-minded chess game, winnable by reasoned strategy: Look at what the court said the infirmities were, address them, and then take another crack at persuading the tribunal.

But that’s not the game being played by the Ninth Circuit and the many progressive activists among the 300-odd lawyers President Obama placed on the federal bench (that’s life tenure, boys and girls). They are about winning the war, not the skirmish.

The Ninth Circuit struck down the first executive order not because it transgressed the theoretical constitutional rights of lawful permanent-resident aliens, immigrant visa holders, or state universities. The judges struck it down because they are the political Left. This had nothing to do with law. The Left has a policy objection to the notion of subjecting Muslims to heightened immigration scrutiny, because it has a policy objection to government recognition of the nexus between Islamic scripture and terrorism committed by Muslims.

For the Left, the law is not a corpus of constitutional and statutory principles to be applied. It is a pliable weapon for achieving policy goals, enabling will-to-power to masquerade as a “legal process.”

No tweaking of an executive order will overcome that.

Tweaking the executive order is not going to bring the Ninth Circuit around. Or judge Watson. Or federal-district judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland, another Obama-appointee who joined Watson in blocking Trump’s directive. Understand this: There is no way to craft an order restricting immigration from Muslim countries that will satisfy them — no matter how rife with jihadism the countries are, no matter how manifest it is that their dysfunctional or anti-American regimes make visa background checks impossible.

The Trump administration seems oddly stunned by this. It is as if they believed they were in a real, bona fide legal dispute; as if a few modifications in response to the judges’ express legal objections were going to make the Left’s implacable policy objection go away.

It was never going to work that way.

The courts were never going to grapple with the four corners of the executive orders — the undeniable, unambiguous, sweeping legislative authority vested in the president to restrict alien entry into the U.S.; the fact that non-immigrant aliens outside the U.S. do not have constitutional rights; the fact that our system makes border security against foreign threats the responsibility of the accountable political branches, not the unaccountable judiciary.

This is politics of a most demagogic kind, not legal analysis. So what the courts offer instead is a dark theory of purportedly rabid anti-Muslim bias, cobbled together by parol evidence of campaign-trail rhetoric.

And the administration fell for it. The administration has been goaded into replying, “No, no, no — this has nothing to do with Islam.” It points to the 85 percent of Muslim aliens globally who are unaffected by the orders. It stresses that the countries with the world’s largest Muslim populations — Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan . . . — are not touched by the orders. It notes that countries covered by the order were first cited in legislation signed by Obama, not because they were Muslim but because they had unstable or hostile regimes that defy reliable immigrant screening. It emphasizes that of the original seven Islamic countries, one has now been exempted from the temporary ban — i.e., that the trajectory is to affect fewer Muslims, not more.

That’s great . . . if what you’re trying to achieve is a temporary step followed by . . . nothing.

The goal here, though, is to achieve a screening system that vets for Islamic radicalism. How do you ever get there if, to try to justify a temporary step that provides no material security improvements, you disavow a purpose to subject alien Muslims to heightened scrutiny?

If that is not what President Trump’s “extreme vetting” is about, then what’s the point? Why bother with any of this?

Here is the blunt, inescapable fact: The United States is in a defensive war against what is imprecisely called “radical Islam.” The war proceeds on two tracks: the kinetic militancy of jihadists, and the cultural challenge of anti-Western, anti-constitutional Islamic law and mores. The ideology that catalyzes both tracks is sharia supremacism — the implementation and spreading of sharia, classical Islam’s societal structure and legal code, is the rationale for all jihadist terror and of all the Islamist cultural aggression that slipstreams behind it.

The dividing line is sharia supremacism. On one side of it we find patriotic, pro-American Muslims who are spiritually devout but reject the imposition of sharia on civil and political life; on the other, the Islamists — the sharia supremacists. The challenge posed by the latter is not merely that some percentage of them are jihadists; it is that as a population — or as enclaves that take hold in the West — they are assimilation-resistant, and their ideological havens will breed the jihadists of the future while stifling the Constitution in the here and now.

That is what we have to vet for. That is what the majority of the American people want: Muslims who embrace our way of life invited in, Muslims who threaten our way of life kept out. You can’t get there without subjecting Muslim aliens to more-extensive inspection.

Of course it is unfortunate that innocent, pro-American Muslims have to be put through more paces than other aliens. But it is not quite as unfortunate as the incontestable fact that inadequately vetted Muslims commit mass-murder attacks. While some of the innocent, pro-American Muslims will resent the heightened scrutiny (though many will see the need for it), those who are eventually admitted to our country will be safer because of it — a matter of no small consequence since peaceful Muslims, more than any other group, are killed and persecuted by jihadists and other sharia supremacists. In any event, though, the security burden has to be imposed on someone, and as between Americans and aspiring Muslim immigrants, it is less the responsibility of Americans than of alien Muslims that Islam endorses war and conquest. We didn’t create this problem.

This is the vetting that the Left and the courts are determined to prevent. They would have you believe that the Constitution is a suicide pact: that alien Muslims somehow have a First Amendment establishment-clause right against enhanced inspection; that an immigration system that has always vetted against totalitarian political ideologies cannot vet against this one, sharia supremacism, because it shrouds itself in religion.

So forget the executive orders. This is the ground on which the Left has to be defeated. We will never get there by denying that Islam is the heart of the matter.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Dr. Daniel Pipes: Trump’s “extreme vetting” should include THESE questions

pipesThe Rebel, by Ezra Levant, February 11, 2017:

Trump has repeatedly promised that going forward, would-be immigrants would be subjected to “extreme vetting.” Dr. Daniel Pipes joins us to talk about his comprehensive list of suggested questions and methodology that he says the Trump administration could and should use during this process:

Study Reveals 72 Terrorists Came From Countries Covered by Trump Vetting Order

refugee-terrorismCenter for Immigration Studies, by Jessica Vaughan, February 11, 2017

A review of information compiled by a Senate committee in 2016 reveals that 72 individuals from the seven countries covered in President Trump’s vetting executive order have been convicted in terror cases since the 9/11 attacks. These facts stand in stark contrast to the assertions by the Ninth Circuit judges who have blocked the president’s order on the basis that there is no evidence showing a risk to the United States in allowing aliens from these seven terror-associated countries to come in.

In June 2016 the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, then chaired by new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, released a report on individuals convicted in terror cases since 9/11. Using open sources (because the Obama administration refused to provide government records), the report found that 380 out of 580 people convicted in terror cases since 9/11 were foreign-born. The report is no longer available on the Senate website, but a summary published by Fox News is available here.

The Center has obtained a copy of the information compiled by the subcommittee. The information compiled includes names of offenders, dates of conviction, terror group affiliation, federal criminal charges, sentence imposed, state of residence, and immigration history.

The Center has extracted information on 72 individuals named in the Senate report whose country of origin is one of the seven terror-associated countries included in the vetting executive order: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The Senate researchers were not able to obtain complete information on each convicted terrorist, so it is possible that more of the convicted terrorists are from these countries.

The United States has admitted terrorists from all of the seven dangerous countries:

  • Somalia: 20
  • Yemen: 19
  • Iraq: 19
  • Syria: 7
  • Iran: 4
  • Libya: 2
  • Sudan: 1
  • Total: 72

According to the report, at least 17 individuals entered as refugees from these terror-prone countries. Three came in on student visas and one arrived on a diplomatic visa.

At least 25 of these immigrants eventually became citizens. Ten were lawful permanent residents, and four were illegal aliens.

These immigrant terrorists lived in at least 16 different states, with the largest number from the terror-associated countries living in New York (10), Minnesota (8), California (8), and Michigan (6). Ironically, Minnesota was one of the states suing to block Trump’s order to pause entries from the terror-associated countries, claiming it harmed the state. At least two of the terrorists were living in Washington, which joined with Minnesota in the lawsuit to block the order.

Thirty-three of the 72 individuals from the seven terror-associated countries were convicted of very serious terror-related crimes, and were sentenced to at least three years imprisonment. The crimes included use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit a terror act, material support of a terrorist or terror group, international money laundering conspiracy, possession of explosives or missiles, and unlawful possession of a machine gun.

Some opponents of the travel suspension have tried to claim that the Senate report was flawed because it included individuals who were not necessarily terrorists because they were convicted of crimes such as identity fraud and false statements. About a dozen individuals in the group from the seven terror-associated countries are in this category. Some are individuals who were arrested and convicted in the months following 9/11 for involvement in a fraudulent hazardous materials and commercial driver’s license scheme that was extremely worrisome to law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies, although a direct link to the 9/11 plot was never claimed.

The information in this report was compiled by Senate staff from open sources, and certainly could have been found by the judges if they or their clerks had looked for it. Another example that should have come to mind is that of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who attacked and wounded 11 people on the campus of Ohio State University in November 2016. Artan was a Somalian who arrived in 2007 as a refugee.

President Trump’s vetting order is clearly legal under the provisions of section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which says that the president can suspend the entry of any alien or group of aliens if he finds it to be detrimental to the national interest. He should not have to provide any more justification than was already presented in the order, but if judges demand more reasons, here are 72.

***

Also see:

American Security and Islamic Reform

muslims

The government must vet aliens for sharia-supremacist ideology.

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy — February 11, 2017

‘Do you think Islam needs reform?”

Wouldn’t it be interesting, wouldn’t it get us to the crux of the immigration debate, if our best news anchors — I’m looking at you, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier — would put that question to every major politician in Washington?

Instead, the press is asking not just the wrong question but one that utterly misses the point, namely: “How many terrorist attacks have been committed by immigrants from this handful of Muslim-majority countries?” It is the same wrong question posed by the imperious federal judge in Seattle who suspended President Trump’s temporary travel ban on aliens from those countries — seven of them. It is the same wrong question that animated the incorrigible Ninth Circuit appeals court in upholding this suspension — and intimating along the way that Trump, and by implication all who fear for the future of our country, are anti-Muslim bigots crusading against religious liberty (the Ninth Circuit being notoriously selective when it comes to protecting religious traditions).

Does the Trump administration realize it’s the wrong question? I wonder. Instead of attacking the question’s premise, the administration undertakes to answer it. It seems not to grasp that the security argument is not advanced, much less won, by compiling a list of terrorist plots.

Let’s try this again.

Islam does need reform. This is critical to our national security for two reasons that bear directly on the question of which aliens should, and which should not, be allowed into our country.

First, reform is essential because the broader Islamic religion includes a significant subset of Muslims who adhere to an anti-American totalitarian political ideology that demands implementation of sharia — Islamic law. This ideology and the repressive legal code on which it rests are not religion. We are not talking about the undeniably theological tenets of Islam (e.g., the oneness of Allah, the acceptance of Mohamed as the final prophet, and the Koran as Allah’s revelation). We are talking about a framework for the political organization of the state, and about the implementation of a legal corpus that is blatantly discriminatory, hostile to liberty, and — in its prescriptions of crime and punishment — cruel.

Islam must reform so that this totalitarian political ideology, sharia supremacism (or, if you prefer, “radical Islam”), is expressly severable from Islam’s truly religious tenets. To fashion an immigration policy that serves our vital national security interests without violating our commitment to religious liberty, we must be able to exclude sharia supremacists while admitting Muslims who reject sharia supremacism and would be loyal to the Constitution.

Second, sharia supremacists are acting on a “voluntary apartheid” strategy of gradual conquest. You needn’t take my word for it. Influential sharia supremacists encourage Muslims of the Middle East and North Africa to integrate into Western societies without assimilating Western culture. The renowned Muslim Brotherhood jurist Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who vows that “Islam will conquer Europe, conquer America,” urges Muslim migrants to demand the right to live in accordance with sharia. Turkey’s sharia-supremacist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, admonishes that pressuring Muslims to assimilate is “a crime against humanity.” The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim governments that purports to speak as a quasi-caliphate, promulgated its “Declaration of Human Rights in Islam” in 1990 — precisely because what the United Nations in 1948 presumptuously called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is neither “universal” nor suitable to a sharia culture.

Voluntary apartheid does not require insinuating terrorists into migrant populations. It requires insinuating assimilation-resistant migrant populations into Western countries. Those populations form sharia-supremacist enclaves, which (a) demand the autonomy to conduct their affairs under Islamic law as a challenge to the sovereign authority of the host country, and (b) become safe havens for incitement, radicalization, paramilitary training, fundraising, and jihadist conspiracy — the prerequisites for terrorism.

The problem is not that our “See No Islam” policies may be letting some small percentage of trained terrorists into the country (although that is certainly a problem). The main problem is that we are creating the conditions under which anti-American enclaves can take root, the Constitution can be undermined, and today’s young Muslim teenager becomes tomorrow’s radicalized jihadist.

RELATED: Weeding Out Terrorist Immigrants Isn’t Enough

We cannot grapple with these challenges if we are intimidated into silence by such questions as whether a “Muslim ban” is being proposed; whether heightened scrutiny would be tantamount to a “religion test”; how many refugees or aliens from this or that Muslim-majority country have been charged with terrorism crimes; whether Muslims would be disproportionately affected by immigration exclusions; and whether a ban on a few Muslim-majority countries can be justified if most Muslim-majority countries are exempted.

Such questions are designed to make vetting Muslims seem inconceivable. They are meant to exhaust you into conceding: “If we have to fret so mightily about the potential impact of immigration laws against Muslims, how could we possibly contemplate examining Muslims directly to sort out sharia supremacists from pro-American Muslims?” You are to pretend that there is no obvious subset of Muslims who are hostile to our country. You are to assume that screening for hostile Muslims would be illegal because to ask about Islam would offend religious liberty — but because you know there are hostile Muslims, you silently hope the authorities have figured out some sneaky, roundabout way to screen for them without appearing to screen for them.

Enough of that. We need to move beyond the “are we targeting Muslims” nonsense and get to the critical question: How do we embrace our Islamic friends while excluding our sharia-supremacist enemies?

Here’s a suggestion: Bring our Muslim friends, loud and proud, into the process.

The only people who may have more interest than we do in Islamic reform are Islamic reformers: courageous Muslims who embrace American constitutional principles of liberty and equality. And at great risk to themselves: Under the supremacist view of sharia, those who depart from Islamic-law principles set in stone a millennium ago are apostates, subject to the penalty of death. You’re not supposed to question that, though, because it’s, you know, “religion.”

How about we stop consulting with the Muslim Brotherhood and other sharia supremacists who tell us Islam is just fine as is, even as its aggressions mount? How about we bring the reformers very publicly into the vetting process, to help the administration tell the good guys from the bad guys? To help the administration show that it is not Muslims but anti-American totalitarians that we seek to exclude.

It is the reform Muslims who tell us that Islam can separate sharia from spiritual life and that pro-Western Muslims do exactly that. It is the sharia supremacists who are outraged by the very suggestion that reform is possible, let alone necessary. If we continue taking our cues from the latter, it means that their noxious political ideology is part and parcel of Islam, and therefore that screening to keep that ideology out of our country is a violation of First Amendment religious liberty.

In other words, if you’re unwilling to say that Islam needs reform, then we can’t vet . . . and we are doomed. On the other hand, if Islam does need reform, isn’t it imperative that we identify the Muslims who resist reform — the sharia supremacists who seek not to join but to radically change our free, constitutional society?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.