Anti-Sharia Bill is Un-American


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

My crusade against singling out the Muslim community continues…Here is my piece on the Interfaith Youth Core “Thought Leaders” blog.

The anti-Sharia bandwagon continues to grow in this country, with more and more states introducing bills to ban “Sharia law,” whatever this means. One Missouri lawmaker, in fact, recently compared Sharia law to polio. In Tennessee, the proposed bill says following Sharia law is punishable by 15 years in jail.

Indeed, the text of the Tennessee bill is quite interesting. It says that Sharia is: “a legal-political-military doctrinal system combined with certain religious beliefs…Sharia requires all its adherents to actively and passively support the replacement of America’s constitutional republic, including the representative government of [Tennessee] with a political system based upon sharia.” What’s more, the bill says that “Sharia in particular includes a war doctrine known as jihad…with sharia formulating and commanding jihad, and jihad being waged for the purpose of imposing and instituting sharia.”

But then later, the “crime” of Sharia that is punishable sounds a lot like sedition or treason:

“Sharia” means the set of rules, precepts, instructions, or edicts which are said to emanate directly or indirectly from the god of Allah or the prophet Mohammed and which include directly or indirectly the encouragement of any person to support the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States or Tennessee Constitutions, or the destruction of the national existence of the United States or the sovereignty of this state, and which includes among other methods to achieve these ends, the likely use of imminent violence. Any rule, precept, instruction, or edict arising directly from the extant rulings of any of the authoritative schools of Islamic jurisprudence of Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali Ja’afariya, or Salafi, as those terms are used by sharia adherents, is prima facie sharia without any further evidentiary showing.”

But why have a law calling what is clearly treason “Sharia”? Either this is a total misunderstanding of what Sharia truly is, or it is a
sinister attempt to equate not just Sharia, but Islam and Muslims with something that is seditious, rebellious, and un-American.

All Americans, regardless of faith tradition, must speak out against such laws. These anti-Sharia bills are a solution looking for a
problem. American Muslims are not seeking to supplant the Constitution with the Qur’an. In fact, the Constitution is quite consistent with the Qur’an and Islamic principles. There is no threat to America coming from “Sharia law.” It is as absurd as a bill being introduced to ban the application of Catholic Canon Law or Talmudic law in America.

We all must see through such anti-Sharia efforts: it is all politics, seeking to divide our country along religious lines to gain votes and political dollars. It is detrimental to the country and the national fabric. At a time when the country needs more unity and love, bills such as that in Tennessee are unnecessary and counterproductive. Let us show the politicians behind such efforts that America and her people are better than the bills they are trying to make into law.

Crazy About Sharia


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

During the Peter King “Muslim Radicalization” hearing, one of the members – once again – raised the issue of the danger of Sharia law and how it threatens the American system and way of life. Indeed, in twelve states, laws are currently being drafted to ban Sharia law. In Tennessee, the law goes as far as making following Sharia punishable by 15 years in jail.

I sought out to read the actual text of the Tennessee bill, and the full text can be found here. The text that is most important is this:

Sharia, as defined and understood by traditional and authoritative sharia scholars and leaders, is a legal-political-military doctrinal system combined with certain religious beliefs; further, sharia is based historically and traditionally on a full corpus of law and jurisprudence termed fiqh and usul al-fiqh, respectively, dealing with all aspects of a sharia-adherent’s personal and social life and political society.  Sharia serves as national and local law in several foreign jurisdictions;

Sharia as a political doctrine requires all its adherents to actively support the establishment of a political society based upon sharia as foundational or supreme law and the replacement of any political entity not governed by sharia with a sharia political order;

Sharia requires all its adherents to actively and passively support the replacement of America’s constitutional republic, including the representative government of this state with a political system based upon sharia;

Sharia in particular includes a war doctrine known as jihad, which is an organic, intrinsic and central feature of the laws and traditions of sharia due to a consensus among sharia authorities throughout the ages;

Jihad and sharia are inextricably linked, with sharia formulating and commanding jihad, and jihad being waged for the purpose of imposing and instituting sharia;

The unchanging and ultimate aim of jihad is the imposition of sharia on all states and nations, including the United States and this state; further, pursuant to its own dictates, sharia requires the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions and the imposition of sharia through violence and criminal activity;

This is full of mistruths and distortions. It is clear that the bill’s author(s) have no clue about what “Sharia” truly is. It is not a “legal-political-military doctrinal system combined with certain religious beliefs” at all. Sharia is not even a physical thing that can be touched and handled. There is no book called “The Sharia” that can be accessed and referenced.

In fact, according to Intisar Rabb, Associate Professor of Islamic law and American law at Boston College:

There is no codification of Sharia. There is an attempt to codify a single code of Islamic law very early on in the 8th and 9th centuries, and that was rejected. And ever since, Islamic law has been characterized by a tremendous amount of diversity, and we can’t point to any one code.

Sharia, in fact, is the attempt of Muslims throughout the history of Islam to define the will of God and how it is applied in Muslim life. It has varied across age, place, and ethnicity. It does not, as the bill’s author(s) say, require its adherents – which presumably includes all Muslims – to:

actively support the establishment of a political society based upon sharia as foundational or supreme law and the replacement of any political entity not governed by sharia with a sharia political order…and to actively and passively support the replacement of America’s constitutional republic, including the representative government of [Tennessee] with a political system based upon sharia

Islam does not require me to seek to overthrow the country of my birth and “replace it” with a “Sharia system.” That is called sedition, plain and simple, and Islam – in fact – prohibits me from being seditious and deceitful.

The bill continues:

Sharia in particular includes a war doctrine known as jihad, which is an organic, intrinsic and central feature of the laws and traditions of sharia due to a consensus among sharia authorities throughout the ages;

Jihad and sharia are inextricably linked, with sharia formulating and commanding jihad, and jihad being waged for the purpose of imposing and instituting sharia;

The unchanging and ultimate aim of jihad is the imposition of sharia on all states and nations, including the United States and this state; further, pursuant to its own dictates, sharia requires the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions and the imposition of sharia through violence and criminal activity;

This is patently false. “Jihad” is not a “war doctrine” that is “an organic, intrinsic and central feature of the laws and traditions of the sharia.” Jihad, as defined by the Qur’an, is the struggle to do what is right on earth. It is not, as many claim, “holy war.” Again, when the bill says that the “aim of Jihad,” as if it is a tangible, physical entity, “is the imposition of sharia on all states and nations,” it is obvious that the bill’s author(s) is completely clueless when it comes to the true nature of jihad.

The aim of jihad is to make myself a better person; to make the world a better place. According to the Qur’an, jihad can be done with one’s money and one’s own self. It is separate from and broader than “qital,” which is armed conflict. The latter has very specific rules and restrictions. The bill’s author(s) seek to blend the two and make them one concept. In reality, they are nothing of the sort.

Furthermore, once again, anything that tries to destroy the American system and replace it with “Sharia” is not “jihad,” but sedition. Sedition is illegal in both American and Islamic law. There is no need for a specific bill to ban Sharia law.

Later on in the bill, it defines what is being criminalized and calls it “Sharia”:

“Sharia” means the set of rules, precepts, instructions, or edicts which are said to emanate directly or indirectly from the god of Allah or the prophet Mohammed and which include directly or indirectly the encouragement of any person to support the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States or Tennessee Constitutions, or the destruction of the national existence of the United States or the sovereignty of this state, and which includes among other methods to achieve these ends, the likely use of imminent violence.  Any rule, precept, instruction, or edict arising directly from the extant rulings of any of the authoritative schools of Islamic jurisprudence of Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali Ja’afariya, or Salafi, as those terms are used by sharia adherents, is prima facie sharia without any further evidentiary showing;

Notice how the bill’s author(s) doesn’t even understand Islamic basics: there is no “god of Allah.” Allah is the Arabic name for God, and it was the name that Jesus called God as well.

Yet, for the third time, the above definition is not “Sharia,” as there is nothing that emanates “directly or indirectly from the god of Allah or the prophet Mohammed” that encourages the “abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States or Tennessee Constitutions…” Islam commands Muslims to follow the laws of their countries and be law-abiding citizens.

Rather, this above definition is sedition and rebellion, which is already illegal in both American and Islamic laws. Thus, it seems that the bill’s author(s) have absolutely no clue what Islam, Sharia, Islamic law, and jihad are and just slopped up a law together to ban the non-existent threat of “Sharia law.” They used classical Islamic terms in a context that is truly laughable at best.

On the other hand, perhaps the bill’s author(s) truly do understand what Islam and Islamic law is all about and, using this law, seek to criminalize Islam as a religion and Muslims as followers of that religion. If the bill’s author(s) seek to define Sharia (and by extension Islam and Muslims) as being something that is seditious and rebellious against America, this would be quite sinister indeed. I hope and pray that the latter is not the case.