An executive order directing the closure of all mosques would be grossly unconstitutional as it would effectively infringe the free exercise of Islam religion in contravention of constitutional provisions. The American Constitution contains various inalienable prerogatives which could not be surrendered or derogated by the state. According to its drafters, these entitlements were deemed natural and flowed from the inherent nature of free people. During the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, it was apparent that many leaders favored a powerful federal administration, which would effectively address the challenges facing the budding nation. However, some people were worried that such an excessively controlling federal government would undoubtedly become tyrannical and intrusive. Consequently, the new Constitutional arrangement would be merely supplanting the British imperialist autocracy with a homegrown variety. The inclusion of robust guarantees to individual liberties and rights was indispensable, as a fortress against dictatorial regimes. Globally, religious freedoms have been receding considerably, necessitating the need to fight for their preservation. In a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and validity of an executive order requiring all mosques to close I would represent the congregation of a Muslim mosque.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is one of the components which comprise the Bill of Rights. It safeguards various civil liberties, such as the freedoms of religion, press, speech, peaceful protests, and petitioning the government to redress any grievances. Adopted in 1791 alongside nine others, the amendment forbids the enactment of any law which would curtail, abridge, impede, or interfere with any of the secured core rights. The amendment epitomizes America’s fight to secure specific liberties and protect citizens from obtrusive and despotic regimes (Berkin 2016, 184). An in-depth interrogation of a declaration intending to close down all mosques would essentially be violating the rights against religious discrimination and freedom of religion (Khaitan and Norton 2019, 1126). The inalienability of these birthrights implies that they are immune to administrative interferences and restraint imposed on them is zero. Therefore, any decree, executive order, or legislation enacted to diminish any of these liberties would be unconstitutional and incapable of enforcement.
In Reynolds v. The United States (1878), the Supreme Court held that legislation, laws, or declarations which impinge the free exercise of religion are outrightly unconstitutional. Their enactment and implementation would restrain and inhibit the explicitly guaranteed constitutional provision. In this regard, the intention and impact of an executive order directing the closure of all mosques would constitute a direct action of a government attempting to regulate religious beliefs and obliterate the Islam faith. This view is supported by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403(1971). The court’s pronouncement amplified that governmental operations and directives should neither inhibit nor promote religion. This implies that President Trump’s executive order violates Muslims’ constitutionally provided liberties by inhibiting the practice of Islam and clandestinely promoting other religious factions.
Further, the Free Exercise Clause safeguards Americans’ right to practice their religion without the regime meddling with it, providing the observance of the faith does not offend any public morals or compelling governmental interests. Trump’s order directing mosques’ closure does not illustrate how the Islam faith runs afoul or antagonizes any aspect of the public morality code or conflicts with any government’s overriding interest. Evidently, compelling the closure of mosques across the country penalizes and discriminates against the Muslim community and is solely inspired by President Trump’s abhorrent attitude towards Islam. To that extent, the presidential mandate invariably puts the existence of religions at the president’s discretion, contrary to the spirit and intent of the constitution. Validating or enforcing such a directive would undoubtedly set a dangerous precedent where tyrannical regimes would force the prohibition of religions they do not like.
Upon rigorous scrutiny, the presidential instruction offends the rules established in various Supreme Court decisions. For instance, in Sherbert v. Verner, governmental actions that punish a particular religion due to personal dispositions are outlawed (“Freedom of Religion” 2018). In the light of the rapidly receding religious rights across the globe, it is obligatory to confront any attempts designed to curtail such liberties (Toft and Christian 2018). In the present scenario, the Muslim faith does not pose any apparent hazard to necessitate the president’s radical and discriminatory actions. In the absence of definitive evidence that the Muslim religion jeopardizes any compelling government agenda or conflicts with a particular public moral code, it would be a constitutional mockery if the court allows the directive to be enforced. Muslims’ entitlement to pursue their religious interests is protected as an unrestrainable prerogative, which cannot be abrogated on the basis of the president’s dislike for Islam. Therefore, the executive order is malicious and stems from the president’s overt disdain for Islam.
In 2017, several federal district courts pronounced unconstitutional and unenforceable Muslim travel ban orders imposed by President Trump. According to the courts, the implementation of the travel prohibitions would discriminate against people who confess the Muslim faith on the basis of their religion. Consequently, the ban infringed the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and would effectively disadvantage the Islam religion. Under the Establishment Clause, governments are prohibited from undertaking any action which inappropriately and unduly demonizes or demeans a particular religion while idolizing another. Indeed, if President Trump’s executive order would be implanted, it would unreasonably put the Islam religion in a disadvantageous and unfavorable position compared to other denominations. To that extent, the executive order to shut down mosques in the United States conflicts with the spirit and the intention of the First Amendment. Therefore, the directive is unconstitutional and should be invalidated against the provisions of the law and the supportive precedents from the adduced case laws.
The First Amendment is America’s fortress that safeguards the Bill of Rights from erosion, interference, and curtailment by despotic regimes. In recent years, President Trump has demonstrated his aversion and open dislike for Islam. Additionally, he has made several attempts to disadvantage the Muslim community through grossly unconstitutional executive orders, restrictions, and bans. These actions are explicitly at cross-purpose with the constitutionally guaranteed Freedom of Religion, which allows Americans to freely exercise a religion of their choice without any government-sanctioned impediment or restrictions. The Supreme Court has previously pronounced itself on this matter, further deepening Americans’ constitutional protection from autocratic tendencies and establishing a robust foundation and clarity on various freedoms. As a result, it behooves the honorable court to decisively render unconstitutional any actions designed to undermine the civil liberties of the Muslim community. Like other similar matters brought before the court, the Americans’ civil liberties and freedoms should be protected from intrusion, systematic attacks, and potential eradication.
Berkin, Carol. 2016. The Bill of Rights: The Fight to Secure America’s Liberties. New York: Simon & Schuster.
“Freedom of Religion.” 2018. History. Web.
Khaitan, Tarunabh, and Jane Calderwood Norton. 2019. “The Right to Freedom of Religion and the Right Against Religious Discrimination: Theoretical Distinctions.” International Journal of Constitutional Law 17 (4): 1125-1145.
Toft, Monica Duffy, and Christian M, Green. 2018. “Progress on Freedom of Religion or Belief? An Analysis Of European and North American Government and Parliamentary Initiatives.” The Review of Faith & International Affairs 16 (4): 4-18.