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Defending Religious Freedom, Understanding Shariah

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In the past couple of years, a group of conservative pundits, analysts and bloggers have identified Shariah, or Islamic religious law, as a growing threat to the United States. These pundits and analysts argue that the steady adoption of Shariah’s tenets is a strategy extremists are using to transform the United States into an Islamic state.

A number of state and national politicians have adopted this interpretation and 13 states are now considering the adoption of legislation forbidding Shariah. A bill in the Tennessee State Senate, for example, would make adherence to Shariah punishable by 15 years in jail. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives and potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has called for “a federal law that says Shariah law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States.”

Unfortunately, overnight people have become “experts” on Shariah and have begun writing policy papers, books, lobbying, legislating and attacking Shariah at all levels. There are even several groups that have begun “No Shariah” campaigns.

The main purpose behind their agenda is to generate Islamophobia and the perception that Islam and Muslims shouldn’t be part of the American Society. But what is quite amazing is that the vast majority who argue against Shariah know very little or nothing of what it is, its definition, its scope or even the processes of implementation.

ICNA has taken up the challenge of dispelling the myths about Shariah Law and communicating the truth to the American public and has launched a campaign under the theme: Defending Religious Freedom — Understanding Shariah

During this campaign ICNA will present the facts about Shariah and will have an open dialogue and discussion with American brothers and sisters. And, hopes for a lively and highly civil engagement based on facts, not on myths, bigotry and discrimination.

As President John F. Kennedy once said:

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people”.


  • Eric

    It is a fact, not a myth, that Sharia Law is counter to the U.S.Constitution. Sharia is Islamic law, monotheistic, with no separation between mosque and state. Enjoy America’s freedom of religion and realize the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution over Sharia. Sharia governs every aspect of life for a Muslim, not just religion. It isn’t freedom of religion ICNA falsely claims to defend but rather the cloaked effort to usurp the U.S. Constitution with Sharia.

  • Alan

    You are a bunch of hypocrites! No they are not those fat animals from the Nile river, they are hippos.

    Defending religious freedom only for Moslems?

    What about the religious freedom of Christian minorities in places like Indonesia, Pakistan,Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Iran etc.?

  • Chris

    Before there can be an honest discussion of Sharia Law, readers should consult the most complete concise sourcebook for Sharia Law — ‘Umdat al-Salik, or Reliance of the Traveler, compiled by Ahmad ibn Niqib al-Misri (d. 1368). This “classic manual of Islamic Sacred Law” was translated into English by Nuh Ha Mim Keller in 1991. The 1,200 page volume has been certified by Al-Azhar University (Egypt) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (USA). While the volume represents the Shafi’i School of jurisprudence, it is identical with 75 percent of the other three Sunni Schools of Islamic law. Most of this manual can be accessed on-line at: . In particular, read sections a1.4 about good and evil, sections m10.12 and m5.0 about wives’ obligations, and sections o9.1 to o9.9 about Jihad against non-Muslims.

  • Keith

    However Sharia is interpreted, it is undoubtedly a religious institution. And by that definition alone, it has no part to play in the U.S. government.

    Recent laws forbidding Shariah therefore have no practical benefit whatsoever: government promotion of Shariah law is already forbidden by the 1st Amendment, just as government promotion of Christian beliefs is forbidden.

    The effect of these laws, then, are purely inflammatory, and encourage religious hatred and demagoguery.

  • Pingback: Explaining Shariah (or not) « coming of age()

  • Qasim Sheikh

    It is funny when the far right wants to ban Sharia law and it actually practices Sharia law. Islam doesn’t permit abortion, gay marriage or pornography.

    The Republican party wants to ban abortion, gay marriage and pornography. Hence the most Sharia compliant organization in America is the Republican party.

    We should also anti-Sharia Law promoters, why do they practice Sharia Law more actively than American Muslims.

    According to Sharia Law, Muslims must march to end abortion, ban gay marriage and ban pornography.

    The radical Christian right is making sure it practices Sharia law more passionately than any American Muslim.

    Moreover, Jews have Halakha Law which is almost the same as Sharia Law.

    Here is the most important part of Sharia Law – you have to obey the laws and respect the customs of the country you live in.

    For example, Islam allows polygamy but polygamy is banned in America. Per Sharia law, an Imam in an American mosque must abide by the American law and only perform a wedding ceremony after a couple have received the marriage license from the local county office!

    So Sharia law actually forces American Muslims to obey the American constitution and local laws even more passionately!

    Republicans should focus on recruiting American Muslims as voters as Republican Social Values against gay marriage and against abortion are basically the foundation of Sharia Law.

  • sister

    Guest. I think this is confusing to a new Muslim even an American Muslim that has been kind of poorly educated and only self taught. I have been a practing Muslim since 1995 married to a Muslim, and been communities were education is not set up, people stay to them selves or in their small groups. I have been in 4 communities. It makes being Muslim very difficult when one has no true understanding of Islam except the Quran and books that don’t always help one to understand the text and meaning of the Quran. Left on ones own, interpation can and will be misunderstood.

  • Kristopher Schroder

    Sharia Law Also permits Death bye Stoning of Women that are raped,with out a trial, It also Allows what The Call Honor Killing, If a father believes His Daughter has MisBehaved, WE Put One Such Man In Jail for That Crime!!!

  • Richrd

    The quran claims that there is “no mystery not revealed in the quran”.
    This makes it impossible to acknowledge anything revealed by others. Thats why the claims by muslims that all inventions were made by them.
    Moreover, they also claim that there is no need for any further enlightenment, because they believe that everything is already being revealed by the quran.
    Even when people are not taking aim at extremism, many people still view religion in general, and Islam in particular, as a corrupting influence rather than
    one which grants people a sense of peace and direction in the world. That is why Reza Aslan has come out to defend Islam against the media’s assault. read more details.

  • Sharie Babcock Miller

    But that would go against American law, so that would make it against Sharia Law. Sharia Law states that you must obey the laws and respect the customs of the country you are in.