Defending Religious Freedom – Understanding Shariah
In the past couple of years, a group of conservative pundits, analysts and bloggers have claimed Shariah 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 over 25 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.
The Islamic Circle of North America has taken up the challenge of dispelling the myths about Shariah and communicating the truth to the American public and has launched a year long campaign.
During this campaign ICNA will present the facts about Shariah and will have an open dialogue and discussion with our American brothers and sisters and hopes for a lively and highly civil engagement based on facts, not on myths, bigotry or 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.”
The Islamic Circle of North America is a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the promotion of Islamic values. Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.