Minneapolis is dismantling their Police Department. What happens next?

Introduction

Before you read this article, you should know that much of what I write here piggybacks off of the work I did last year on what the Qur’an, the Hadith, and Muslim scholars say about jihad. I wrote a paper entitled “Proposed Foreign and Domestic Policy Solutions to Combat Global Demographic Jihad” back in 2019. The first part was a description of the three stages of Islamic jihad and their underpinnings in the Qur’an and the Hadith. Part two lays out policy suggestions that address this reality that included jettisoning cultural relativism from our foreign and domestic policies and leveraging economic strength to encourage cultural and societal developments that would prevent countries around the world from passing the first stage of jihad.

I feel the need to point out that this is not some kind of hit piece on Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims don’t know their own sources just like the vast majority of Christians in the West don’t read their Bibles. I am simply pointing out some items to consider in this particular situation. If you know me at all, you know that I love my neighbor. Challenging an idea is not the same as attacking a person or a people group.

No Police in Minneapolis?

On June 7, 2020, due to the tragic and disturbing death of George Floyd, the City Council of Minneapolis unanimously resolved to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with… something else. [1] The Minneapolis City Council President, Lisa Bender, was interviewed on CNN the next day.

The interesting thing here is Ms. Bender’s assertion that “the groundwork is laid already” for what will fill the vacuum left by the police department. She also mentions “community-based safety strategies” as one of the already-existing structures that will fill the void.

I don’t have direct knowledge of what that groundwork looks like, but that phrase could include a lot of things. You could, for instance, sanction street-gangs or warlords to do the job of community policing. You could just declare “autonomous zones” where each community comes up with their own rules. It would be like the old wild west. It worked back then, right?

Although, I’m not sure it would work in this day and age. Who authorizes the use of force when it’s needed? Is there really an expectation of no force? What social worker has the training for things other than social work? Would OSHA even allow this strategy? Can someone be sued in federal court for something that is allowed in a local municipality with its own “community-based safety strategy?”

While I am sure city-sponsored vigilantism isn’t on their list of ideas, what with the astronomical political, legal, and physical risk, I do invite you to consider something less flippant:

There is a ready-made, community policing paradigm that already exists for at least one segment of Minneapolis’ population.

Islamic Self-Policing

The most famous example of self-policing of Muslim communities in America is probably New York City’s MCP… Muslim Community Patrol and Services. [2] This independently-funded group patrols the streets of Muslim neighborhoods, purportedly to give a helping hand to the NYPD, similar to the Shomrim in Hassidic Jewish neighborhoods. [3]

MCP vehicle (Picture by James Keivon for the above cited New York Times article [2])

The overarching concept behind the idea is admirable. Honestly, this is part of why I believe the Second Amendment of our US Constitution is so valuable; communities ought to be able and even encouraged to defend and police themselves in the way they desire. This is why police departments all across America are sanctioned by and are accountable to elected officials, and why Sheriffs are elected instead of appointed.

But while Neighborhood Watches and the Shomrim have their roots in the Judeo-Christian worldview that gave rise to Western Civilization (ie, they go hand-in-hand with our US Constitution), the community policing that is sanctioned by Islam has a fundamentally different undertone. While Neighborhood Watches focus on upholding laws passed by state and local legislatures, sharia is a set of laws imported from a religious system. Sharia patrols, which exist all throughout the Muslim world and are now popping up in Europe, uphold law from the Qur’an and the Hadith, not law that has gone through Constitutional processes that are set up in this country and its states.

The clip below, from CNN, shows a report where Muslim men in a certain neighborhood of London enforcing laws which may or may not be vetted by any English authority.

So, what does this have to do with Minneapolis and the dismantling of its Police Department?

Let’s find out.

Minneapolis’ Muslim Somali Population

Minneapolis has a large and growing population of Muslims, mostly Somali immigrants. [4] Those refugees from the last 30 years are here because of the terrible anarchy and economic hardship that Somalia has been experiencing since the early 1990s when the Siad Barre dictatorship was overthrown. [5] Since then, Somalia’s collapse of their central government allowed for Al Shabaab and other groups to fill the vacuum, and many Sharia courts have been set up. [6] Only since 2010, with the formation of a technocratic government, has the country started making inroads in its fight to regain control. [7]

Dismantling the law and order apparatus in Minneapolis creates a huge vacuum that will be filled one way or another. Humans have the psychological need of peace and security and are willing to give up their freedoms for it. [8] Laws and the enforcement of those laws exist to enable a civil society to thrive (freedom) while taking into account the existence of people who do bad things (security).

The question is… what fills the vacuum?

The Muslim community already has a system of laws and enforcement protocols embedded within Islam. Islam is not just a religion; it is a socio-political worldview system. This is a well understood idea in Islam. [9] The Qur’an and Hadith lay out many expectations for Muslims regarding how they are to police themselves and their community responsibly. [10]

Minneapolis had already experienced a tentative self-policing of the Muslim community. In 2017, Abdullah Rashid created a group called the “General Presidency of the Religious Affairs and Welfare of the Ummah” and began enforcing civil sections of Sharia in one Minneapolis neighborhood. [11] Though he was publicly rejected, the article itself cites the willingness of Muslim citizens in the neighborhood to seek out his sharia compliant legal counsel rather than go to the existing institutions within Minneapolis.

If you Google “shiria law in Minneapolis” you will get a ton of articles myth-busting the idea that Minneapolis is imposing sharia. This misses the point. Sharia already exists and is adhered to in the Muslim community as part of their faith. This is independent of the laws of the municipality they live in. They don’t need it to be imposed or decided upon by civil authorities; it’s something Muslims are called to do.

Learning from Somalia

Losing the Police Department will accelerate this process of expanding legitimacy for sharia without explicitly endorsing it. It may even be seen as a blessing for the City Council to wash their hands of a particular community, saying, “Oh good! This neighborhood can already take care of itself! We won’t need to send as many resources over there! Sweet!”

The problem arises when you look at the overall picture of what awaits when jihad moves into stage two and then three. Look at what happened in Somalia. The collapse of government brought anarchy, and sharia compliant militias swept in, and the populace is only now starting to get a handle on things 30 years later. Currently the federal government in Somalia is trying to dissuade citizens from going to areas controlled by militant groups like Al Shabaab to seek justice from their independent sharia courts, even when the country’s constitution is already based on Islamic law.

The city of Minneapolis, thankfully, is smaller than an entire country. There are still multiple layers of state and federal laws and enforcement agencies with which sharia law still has must contend.

But when the Police Department is disbanded, however right the action may seem at the time, there may be other unforeseen consequences on the horizon.

Where will all the Minneapolis refugees go, then?

Policy Recommendations

As outlined in my paper, there is no way to stamp out the seeds of jihad in the DNA of Islam. It’s there, and it is why there are so many jihadis throughout the world and throughout history. Young Muslims get serious about their faith, start digging and learning, and discover Muhammad’s life in the Hadith. The Qur’an tells Muslims they must follow the example of the Prophet in their actions (Qur’an 33:21, 68:4, 3:32, 4:59, and many more). Violent jihad is the end of that particular road.

The only way to mitigate this worldview in the US while maintaining the freedom of religion we hold so dear is to keep Muslim populations from gaining majorities in municipalities across the nation, allowing them to integrate into society and adopting Western culture. This would be difficult to do considering:

  • Fertility rates for Muslim women is significantly higher than other women in the West. [12]
  • The absolute necessity for us as a society to hold true to our values. These Muslim men and women are made in the Image of God and we must respect their inalienable rights. By no means should there be any mass removal or harm done if no law has been broken.
  • It would obviously be wildly unpopular to even acknowledge the problem publicly, let alone propose solutions.

In light of these issues, the most important thing for the Minneapolis City Council to do, then, is this…

Don’t dismantle the Police Department!

Leave the law and order mechanisms in the hands of elected officials, as difficult as it is to stomach following the death of George Floyd.

It wouldn’t be easy, especially now that the cat is out of the bag. No matter what they do, it will take time to build trust. This requires patience and commitment on the parts of the community and the Police Department. I understand this is an emotional time and patience is not often valued in our society. Forgiveness and allowing time for healed wounds are terribly out of fashion.

But, the alternative of throwing up their hands and allowing the doors to open for anyone with agendas to swoop in and take over the policing of the community? That’s worse and will have many unintended consequences. Or, as some might surmise, maybe this reaction is intended? Who knows; either way…

Minneapolis City Council, do the hard thing. Don’t abdicate your responsibility for keeping your constituents safe.