5 Myths About Sharia Law

The problem with discussing Sharia law in the U.S is that very few people seem to know what they are talking about, as Dr. Sherman Jackson, one of the foremost experts on Islamic law in the U.S., points out. Myths about “creeping Sharia” and the take-over of Islamic law abound. Far from anything of this sort happening, what is occurring is the vilifying and scare-mongering about a system of “personal laws” that Muslims use to settle domestic issues: i.e., those related to disputes inheritance, divorce etc. This issue of the “creeping Sharia” is a politically motivated strategy to vilify Muslims and is nothing short of pseudo-intellectualism and scaremongering, passing off as genuine civic discourse.

Before we address some of the myths and de-bunk them, let us look at what Sharia actually is. As Dr. Jackson further points out : “At the most basic level, Sharia is the Muslim universe of ideals. It is the result of their collective effort to understand and apply the Quran and supplementary teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (called Sunna) in order to earn God’s pleasure and secure human welfare in this life and attain human salvation in the life to come prescriptive and normative way that a good Muslim is supposed to live his/her life.” While this includes legal norms, it goes beyond just legal injunctions and includes aspects of good behavior, aesthetics and also personal responsibility, derived from Islam’s rich 1400 year old history

Here are five myths about Sharia that need to be critically looked at:

1. Muslims want Sharia to be applied to everyone in the U.S:

As a recent report from Washington D.C based think-tank Institute for Social Policy and Understanding points out : “For most American Muslims shari’a represents a private system of morality and identity, primarily focused on marriage and divorce rituals. None of the American Muslims interviewed for this study (over 212 interviewees) expected American courts to enforce Sharia. Just like other Americans, they will access the courts for adjudication according to American family law if they cannot make a private agreement (relating to divorce) that meets their needs and values.”

2. Sharia is “archaic” and backward:

While the space limitations here do not allow me to get into a lengthy detail, suffice it to say that the moral framework of civics, living one’s life, and behavior cannot and should not be judged by other’s standards. Each society, nation and culture has its own perspective of life and moral framework and in a plural society such as the U.S, the constitution upholds the right of people to practice their religion.

3. Sharia is one fixed, rigid system of laws:

Far from it. Within Sunni Islam, there are four schools of thought and much diversity within Shii Islam as well. The U.S represents the confluence of almost all major strands of Islam and this reflects the diversity within the Muslim world. There are multiple ways of interpretingSharia and each one is different, depending on the school of legal jurisprudence one follows.

4. Sharia is all about criminal laws and punishments:

As pointed out earlier, Sharia is more a “moral framework” rather than just laws and must be understood as such. Of the legal injunctions, a tiny majority of them pertain to punishments. Also, the fact that there are multiple eyewitnesses needed for application of strict punishments make the laws almost toothless, in that they cannot be applied in real-life situations.

5. Sharia needs to be defeated for everyone to live peacefully:

Muslims without Sharia are like Catholics without their personal laws or the Jews without their Halakah. As Dr. Sherman Jackson points out poignantly: “While most non-Muslim Americans may think of Islam without Sharia as simply Islam without rules or criminal sanctions, for Muslims Islam without Sharia would also mean Islam without prescriptions on ablution, prayer, alms, sales, diet, filial piety, civics, etc.”

So, the next time you read an article or hear someone warning you about Sharia or the evil machinations of Muslims, please ask them to correct their ignorance or better. Educate them about what Sharia truly means. In this day and age of free information, there is no excuse for their ignorance.

State senators advance controversial ‘anti-Sharia’ bill

TALLAHASSEE—A controversial measure dubbed an “anti-Sharia bill” advanced out of the Florida Senate on a 24-14 vote Monday.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, touted SB 286 as “an American bill.”

It would restrict judges from considering foreign law in matters of divorce, alimony, child support and custody.

Under the language of the bill, an order of a foreign court would not be enforceable if it “offends the public policy of the state.”

It goes on to say: “Any attempt to apply the law of a foreign country is void if it contravenes the strong public policy of this state or if the law is unjust or unreasonable.”

Several senators said they were baffled by perceived need for the bill, feared it would inhibit foreign trade and adversely affect the state’s large Jewish population and their Israel-granted divorces.

“There is no record of Sharia law being implemented in the courts of Florida or any other state,” Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a Hollywood Democrat said, in opposition.

Sharia is the moral code and religious laws that governs Muslim life.

Approval rescinded for Shari’a Law event at Farragut High School

April 9, 2014

 

Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre has rescinded approval for an upcoming event at Farragut High School that some said discriminated against Muslims.

“The primary purpose of our school facilities is to provide a safe, healthy and comfortable learning environment for our students.  When other uses of the facility begin to impinge on or interfere with the administration’s ability to provide a suitable education atmosphere, it is necessary for us to reconsider that use,” read a letter sent to the group on Friday.

ACT! For America had planned on hosting what they called a town hall meeting to learn about Shari’a law, but some believe the group is doing more harm than good.

“It’s kind of an aggressive tone on the flyer,” said Abdel Rahman Murphy.

A flyer directing people to the town hall meeting by ACT! for America discussing Islam recently caught the attention of some people in the Knoxville Muslim community.

Murphy is the University of Tennessee Muslim Chaplain. He says he was contacted by a friend who saw it and raised concerns.

6 News reached out to the Knoxville chapter of ACT! for America. They say it is about education.

John Peach with ACT! For America implied that the venue simply should not matter.

“We feel like it’s very important that we have our public institutions take part in this because it’s not meant to be a religious thing. It’s not a political thing. It’s particularly for education purposes,” said Peach.

“The purpose of the meeting was to educate our local citizens about the dangers of Sharia Law, especially as it negatively affects our children, our churches, our law enforcement personnel, and our community leaders. Now, due to the fear of Muslims in the Knoxville area, the venue for the event that was open to everyone was cancelled. This is a great example of what Sharia Law is doing to America.”

There is no word yet if ACT! for America plans to hold the event in a new venue.

Whilst, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today said it has joined with concerned Muslims in Tennessee in welcoming cancellation of an anti-Muslim event scheduled for April 24 at a Knoxville high school.

6 ABC News: http://www.wate.com/story/25220254/upcoming-event-at-high-school-as-some-muslims-on-edge

CAIR.com: https://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12446-cair-welcomes-cancellation-of-anti-muslim-event-in-tenn-school.html

Sharia law for wills

March 23, 2014

 

The Law Society is to issue a practice note to solicitors who may be interested in drafting “Sharia-compliant” wills for their Muslim clients. Some have argued that by issuing the note the law society has opened the doors on the technical issues surrounding gender discrimination inherent in Sharia not only regarding the inheritance provisions, but more importantly endorsing a different set of laws for different groups of people. The idea of equality before the law is being threatened.

In Britain, unless you draw up a will, your estate on death will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. However, although people can do whatever they want with their assets and a lawyer must follow the client’s instructions; it has been argued that this guidance legitimises discrimination towards women, “illegitimate” and adopted children, and non-Muslim partners or offspring who may be the result of inter-marriage.

The key paragraph states: “The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death.”

It adds: “This means you should amend or delete some standard will clauses. For example, you should consider excluding the provisions of s33 of the Wills Act 1837, because these operate to pass a gift to the children of a deceased ‘descendant’. Under Sharia rules, the children of a deceased heir have no entitlement, although they can benefit from the freely disposable third [the third of an estate that can be given to non-heirs or charities].

“Similarly, you should amend clauses which define the term ‘children’ or ‘issue’ to exclude those who are illegitimate or adopted.” It has been argued that the ruling advises solicitors on how to discriminate and avoid equality legislation. But a person has always been able to distribute their assets in any way they choose, and a Muslim may legally have done so according to Sharia principles without letting the lawyer know the basis of the instructions. But the question now is that a solicitor could offer this service and develop a product specifically designed for a Muslim client who wants to distribute their assets according to their religious requirement, which could be considered socially unacceptable. Suppose a client instructed that their assets should not go to a relative because they happened to be of a different race or religion. Would that be acceptable? If one were to accept that people have the right to act in a discriminatory fashion with their assets if they choose to, this guidance encourages solicitors to adopt a separate approach to clients who are deemed “different” – in this case, clients who are Muslim. The guidance also states that “there are specific differences between Sunni and Shia rules on succession.”

The code of conduct for solicitors which all solicitors must abide by says: “As a matter of general law, you must comply with requirements set out in legislation – including the Equality Act 2010 – as well as the conduct duties contained in this chapter.”

 

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10717676/Sharia-law-for-wills-and-then-what.html

The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/23/sharia-law-enshrined-in-uk-legal-system_n_5016396.html

Anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) for ‘religious extremism’: Muslim convert given five-year preaching ban

February 14, 2014

 

A man from east London who took part in vigilante patrols and promoted Islamic extremism has been given a “landmark” Asbo banning him from preaching in public, police said.

Jordan Horner, a Muslim convert, has been consistently linked to extremist groups and has already been jailed for harassing and attacking “non-believers” in east London. The 20-year-old took part in vigilante patrols aimed at non-Muslims in an attempt to promote a ‘Sharia State’ in the UK. He is also thought to have put up the ‘Sharia controlled zone’ leaflets and posters in Waltham Forest, Scotland Yard said.

Horner appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday, where a series of restrictions were placed on him in one of the first Asbos of its kind in the UK. The order – which lasts for five years – bans Horner from being in possession of a loudhailer in any public place and means he cannot enter any educational establishment where he is not a registered student. He has been told he must not make “unsolicited approaches” to promote Sharia law and cannot hand out material promoting Sharia law or place posters and signs which damages a public advert.

He is also banned from being in a public place with four named men who are also linked to extremist behaviour. They include Royal Barnes, the radical preacher Anjem Choudary along with Ricardo McFarlane and Dean Le Page.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/asbo-for-religious-extremism-muslim-convert-given-fiveyear-preaching-ban-9129898.html

 

Michigan Republican Dave Agema under fire again for questioning contributions of American Muslims

January 14, 2014

 

Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema is under fire this week for another controversial Facebook post — this one questioning the contribution of Muslims in American society.

Agema, in a Facebook communication dated January 9, shared with his followers an old internet attack piece comparing Catholics to Muslims.

“Even if you’re not Catholic you may find this eye opening,” Agema wrote.

He then copy-and-pasted an anonymous blog post that has circulated on the web and through email for years. It highlights charity work of the Catholic church before posting a series of questions about Muslim heritage.

“Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?” it asked.
While Agema’s post generated upwards of 40 “likes” on Facebook, it also prompted a series of critical responses on the social media network.

Republican political consultant Joe Munem replied to Agema in a Facebook post of his own, highlighting the contributions of his father, Mustafa Munem, who heads the math department at Macomb Community College.

“My muslim father, an internationally published author, 52 year math professor, business owner and gentleman farmer has done far more to contribute positively to the American way of life than you ever will,” Munem wrote.

As a state representative, the Grandville Republican introduced a bill seeking to ban the implementation of foreign laws, such as Islamic Sharia. Critics said the legislation unnecessary and could fuel anti-Muslim paranoia. It did not pass.

Agema made headlines in recent months for a series of inflammatory andinaccurate statements he made about the gay community on Facebook, conservative radio and a Berrien County GOP holiday party. While many prominent Republicans rebuked his statements, they stopped short of calling for his resignation.

MLIVE.com: http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/01/michigan_republican_dave_agema.html

Tucker Carlson Confronts Islamic Preacher Who Wants to Implement Sharia Law

December 20, 2013

By Josh Feldman

 

Tucker Carlson filled in for Sean Hannity on his show Friday night, and he brought on Anjem Choudary, a Muslim preacher responsible for an effort to threaten Muslim-owned business to stop selling alcohol lest they receive 40 lashes. Carlson confronted Choudary about this stunt and his desire to implement Sharia law in England.

Choudary pushed back against Western “propaganda,” saying he is simply trying to encourage the following of Islamic law in a “den of iniquity.” Carlson shot back, “This isn’t Pakistan, this is Great Britain!”

He continued on to say that “troublemakers like you are thrown in prison in Pakistan,” and called him out for being a beneficiary of social services in the country he’s condemning as decadent. Choudary said the legal notice is actually “intended to provoke discussion” and warn of ultimate punishment in the afterlife.

Carlson concluded by asking, “Will you concede that your unwillingness to denounce violence makes your program repulsive to people in the West and decent people everywhere?” Choudary insisted that “we’re not threatening anyone with violence.”

 

Mediaite.com: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/tucker-carlson-confronts-islamic-preacher-who-wants-to-implement-sharia-law/

Islamic converts threatened to ‘kill non-believers’ in vigilante patrol

November 11, 2013

 

Two Islamic converts threatened to stab members of the public and “kill non-believers” as they roamed the streets of east London in the early hours of the morning. Ricardo McFarlane, 36, and a 23-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons joined a self-styled “Muslim Patrol” attempting to impose Sharia Law. Alongside a ginger-haired white convert called Jordan Horner, 19, the pair confiscated alcohol and berated non-Muslims for their alleged anti-Islamic behaviour as well as uploading YouTube videos criticising inappropriate dress.

Last month Horner, who wants to bring Sharia law to Britain, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault and two charges of using threatening words and behaviour.

Today the prosecution accepted pleas from MacFarlane to affray and the 23 year-old to using threatening words and behaviour. Both men refused to stand in the dock as they pleaded guilty.

 

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10

Anti-Sharia Bill Passed In North Carolina Without Governor Pat McCrory’s Signature

(RNS) North Carolina became the seventh state to prohibit its judges from considering Islamic law after Gov. Pat McCrory allowed the bill to become law without formally signing it.

 

McCory, a Republican, called the law “unnecessary,” but declined to veto it. The bill became law on Sunday (Aug. 25).

 

The state joins Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee.

Supporters hailed the bill as an important safeguard that protects the American legal system from foreign laws that are incompatible with the U.S. Constitution, while critics argued that the bill’s only purpose is to whip-up anti Muslim hatred because the Constitution already overrides foreign laws.

 

Although the bill does not specifically identify Islamic law, critics argue that the bill’s only purpose is to invoke anti-Muslim sentiments since the US Constitution already supersedes foreign law. In an action alert [text] urging McCrory to veto the bill, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stated “The bill itself is intended to marginalize and stigmatize North Carolina Muslims and will have a negative impact on the rights of people of all faiths and backgrounds.”

 

The North Carolina ban is limited to family law; bans in other states are broader, applying to commercial law, contract law and other types of laws.

 

Critics of sharia law, the very individuals who encourage banning it, would probably be the first to ask: If U.S. laws do in fact trump sharia laws for American Muslims who live in the United States, then why would a ban bother them? The answer to this question is simple: Because banning sharia law is unconstitutional and an infringement on their religious freedoms as American citizens.

 

Anti-Islam Activists Are Freaking Out About Crayons Now

Anti-Shariah activists have a new target in their sights: Crayola. Late last week the Pickens County (Ga.) Republican party posted a call to action on its website about a new promotion from the world’s leading crayon manufacturer, which had begun offering free Islamic-themedcoloring pages in honor of Ramadan. Zut alors! The images are pretty innocuous—one features a prayer rug; another features a young boy kneeling while reading from the Koran. But the Pickens GOP sees something more nefarious…

 

Both the Pickens County GOP and another anti-Shariah website, the appropriately named “Creeping Sharia,” both published the exact same text on the exact same day, so it’s not clear who plagiarized whom. Crayola is in good company. Other American institutions that have fallen under the spell of Shariah (according to anti-Shariah activists) include David Petraeus, the grocery store Wegman’s, and Nashville’s Hutton Hotel.