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Let me first disclose that I am not Muslim, nor have I ever really studied Islam. Most of what I know about it I've heard from others or looked up online. I was raised a Christian, and became an atheist/agnostic as an adult. I have a much better understanding of Christianity than of Islam. If I get anything wrong in this, please feel free to correct me in the comments section.

Sharia law is the framework for the Muslim faith. It has some extreme tenets, but also includes how a Muslim must pray, what they can eat, and how they must be buried. Moderate Muslims in today's society do not follow the more extreme laws. Many are quite relaxed and have come to disavow the more outrageous practices and beliefs of Sharia. They do not treat women as inferiors, or cut off people's hands when they steal. Some don't even wear traditional Islamic garb or follow dietary standards. However, they are still Muslim. When they pray facing Mecca, or go to Mosque, or bury their parents in keeping with Islamic traditions; they are still following the code of Sharia.

Yet the most extreme tenets of Islam are not under attack here in America. All of Sharia law is, right up to how they may pray and where they may worship. When Herman Cain makes statements that any Muslim he appoints to his cabinet or as federal judge must disavow Sharia law, he is telling them they must abandon their faith. American Muslims is this country came here themselves, or their ancestors before them did, not because they wanted to supplant American law with Sharia; they came because they wanted the freedom that American law entails. They are Muslims, yes, but they are also American; and they understand that in this country, the laws passed by the government come before the laws of their religion.

Christianity too has a lot of extreme laws that would be outlandish by today's standards. Many Christians still believe in God's law as laid out in the Old Testament, but as Lawrence O' Donnell has explained on his show; Christians do not follow the most extreme practices. Some are still behind the times and follow some outlandish traditions, but women and children are not being stoned in the streets. Just because the Bible has some really harsh traditions in it, doesn't mean we force Christians to disavow God's law. We don't call out Christianity for being a very violent religion that calls upon the execution of women, children, and homosexuals; so let's not do it to Islam either. Let's try to understand each other and cohabitate this country; not try to purge each other because of our different backgrounds and beliefs.

3:36 PM PT: I am quite astounded to find people taking my words completely out of context and accusing me of saying things I didn't say. Seriously people, grow up. I am not calling for Sharia law to be made law or upheld in our judicial system. I am not condoning or defending the extreme, inhumane, or sexist practices of any religion. What I am defending is the basic right of Muslims to practice their religion as long it conforms to the law. I am defending their freedom to pray, worship at a Mosque, wear traditional garb, eat as they choose to eat, and bury their dead according to their traditions. What is so damn extreme about that?

Originally posted to SixDollarLiberal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  They outlaw ushery. We could certainly use that! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto
  •  Thank You .... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Edger, Ojibwa, Fire bad tree pretty

    Scheduled to be re-published on Street Prophets.

    JON

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:51:55 PM PDT

  •  secular countries (4+ / 0-)

    are wiser to ignore religious law.

  •  The theological ignorance of the left (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MasterKey, Ojibwa, FG

    is almost as bad as the historical ignorance on the right.

    Christianity too has a lot of extreme laws that would be outlandish by today's standards. Many Christians still believe in God's law as laid out in the Old Testament, but as Lawrence O' Donnell has explained on his show; Christians do not follow the most extreme practices. Some are still behind the times and follow some outlandish traditions, but women and children are not being stoned in the streets. Just because the Bible has some really harsh traditions in it, doesn't mean we force Christians to disavow God's law.

    I'm not even sure how to approach this, but it is wrong on so many levels.

  •  Sharia is both personal and governing law. (4+ / 0-)

    Islam doesn't distinguish between the rules that regulate your personal life and those enshrined and enforced by the government. Sharia Law is(as a religious ideal) to be fully practiced by all people, that means you, and your neighbor, which also means the government.

    There's nothing wrong with Muslims, but there is something wrong with Sharia. Much in the same way there's nothing wrong with Christians, but there is something wrong with many of their laws.

    Sharia is bad. It is a legal system created in the dark ages that is absolutely horrific by modern standards.
    Let us consider that just 200 years ago our country didn't believe in equality for women or that blacks were even complete people deserving of basic human freedom and dignity.

    You're trying to warp a very ancient and truly backwards system into something it is not.

    Yes, someone can find the good parts of Islam and use it as a source of inspiration as most Muslims do. The same with Christianity. But you err in failing to distinguish the difference between a modern person's faith and the rules that governed a society that has no place in the 21st century.

    I have no problem with any personal belief that is open minded and tolerant of those who are different than they themselves are. Sharia does not fit that bill.

    •  It's like you didn't even read my article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      downsouth

      The things you call me out on not getting our things that I brought up in my article. So, either you failed to comprehend what I was getting at in my article, or you just simply didn't bother to read it.

      Muslims can live their lives without following the extremist parts of their scriptures, just like Christians can live their lives without following the most extreme part of their scriptures. Yes, some of Sharia law is bad. It's outdated and has no place in today's society. Not all of it is that extreme, however. I have no problem if they want to wear traditional garb, pray facing Mecca, worship at a Mosque, or bury their family in keeping with their tradition. What you fail to see is that those things are still Sharia; and while I do not condone any of the sexist, inhumane, or violent teachings of Islam; I understand that Sharia is not entirely made up of those things.

      Isn't liberalism delicious?

      by SixDollarLiberal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:11:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You aren't defending Sharia (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TakeMeOutOfMyMissouri

        You're defending modern Islamic faith.
        You can't say "I defend the Ten Commandments" and then proceed to say that you don't support killing anyone for murder, adultery, firmly disobeying one's parents as a child, blasphemy, breaking the Sabbath or worshipping other Gods. But you're okay with the ones about coveting and not using the Lord's name in vain.

        That's not defending the Ten Commandments. You defend modern Christians who reject many Biblical laws.
        You defend modern Muslims who reject much of Sharia Law.

        You aren't defending Sharia. You're defending modern Islamic faith.

        That's good. But you need to understand the two are not the same.

        •  Like I said (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          downsouth

          I am not an expert on Islamic practices. Most of what I know about Islam is what I have heard from other individuals. From my understanding, some modern Islamic practices are taken from Sharia. Prayer, diet, traditional garb, how they bury their dead; all of these are tenets of Sharia. These are things I don't have any problem with.

          However, when people demagogue Sharia, they are also criticizing modern Islamic practices. When states try to pass laws prohibiting the practice of Sharia, or candidates like Herman Cain demand that any Muslim they nominate must disavow Sharia, that includes many of the modern Islamic practices; including prayer, dietary restrictions, and burial.

          I do not defend all of Sharia, but my understanding is that certain modern practices are also Sharia, and those are the parts I am defending.

          Isn't liberalism delicious?

          by SixDollarLiberal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:15:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  What´s somewhat troublesome (4+ / 0-)

    to me, it that quite many Muslims hold full-scale shariah law as some kind of ideal, even if they realise that it cannot and will not be implemented in a modern country.

    Several Western Muslims (including scholars and organizations) have a problem in condemning human rights violations done under shariah law in Muslim majority countries.

    Otherwise, a fine diary. Shariah is a lot of things, many of them totally uncontroversial in a democratic society.

  •  People tend to not fully understand what Sharia is (4+ / 0-)

    As Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, an American and one of the most important Islamic scholars in the West, says (and I'm paraphrasing): Rather than looking at Islamic law as a monolithic system that was set from on high, it must be recognized as divine principles given to us and interpreted as justly as possible by men.

    The principles of Islamic law are not so different than the principles of the natural law that is the basis of Western legal systems.  In both systems, men do their best to interpret the most just way to deal with any given situation.

    The principles mentioned by Shaykh Hamza are, of course, taken from the Koran for Muslims and from the Bible for Christians.  Things such as the ten commandments, for example...but also things like dietary laws, laws regarding marriage and the treatment of women, laws governing sacrifices, fasting, etc.  As you point out, some of these laws seem rather barbaric to our 21st century sensibilities.  When a Westerner speaks of "Sharia" or "Islamic law", 90% of the time it seems they are thinking of things like cutting off the hands of thieves, or stoning people, or so-called "honor killings" (which is against Islam by the way).

    Granted, there are fundamentalist nations that enforce such barbarities.  But the great majority of Muslims believe Islam is a living religion, by which I mean the interpretation of those laws change over time as history progresses.  They don't believe in things such as cutting off the hands of thieves, but rather believe in modern forms of criminal justice for such offenses.

    I guess I'm just trying to say that Westerners tend to over-react to the word "Sharia", simply because it has been used...or I should say ABUSED...by extremists who are all of 1% of all Muslims.

  •  Would you support the Canon law? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TakeMeOutOfMyMissouri

    So, as a logical extension of your arguments, would you support Christianists and Christian dominionists imposing the Canon law (and various interpretations thereof) on all Christians, including those who happen to be merely born into a Christian family as Shariah wants do to Muslims and their children (current and all future generations)? Would you like Christians and their kids to be subjected to harsh anti-gay, anti-women or anti-apostasy (leaving religion) tenets? Ask yourself. And be careful what you ask for.

    Also, Muslims existed and practiced their religion freely in this country for centuries now without the need for any recognized Shariah laws. The new band of Islamists and Islamic dominionists want to change all that and bind them under dogmatic and oppressive laws and rules. We should firmly reject any and all such efforts.

    One common law for all people, with a constitution and laws enacted through the democratic process, has worked for over two centuries, and it absolutely must not be messed with for this republic to survive and thrive.

    A Democratic-leaning Rational-Libertarian Liberal.

    by kickass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:40:06 PM PDT

    •  It's no different from Kosher law or Halacha. (3+ / 0-)

      If that's the way you want to run your life, fine.  It can be recognized by the state (ie in voluntary arbitration agreements, as with a divorce through Halacha laws), but it can't be enforced or imposed by the state.  At least in the US it can't.

      But we're still trying to rid our legal code of Christian 'Sharia' law - many states still have bizarre laws derived from Christianity, even if most are no longer enforced.

      •  Thank You! (3+ / 0-)

        At least someone gets the point I was making. No extreme religious doctrine should be practiced in the United States, but Christians, Muslims, and every other religion should be allowed to pray and worship in ways that follow US law and don't violate people's rights.

        Isn't liberalism delicious?

        by SixDollarLiberal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:42:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't understand why people don't get that. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          downsouth, Fire bad tree pretty

          In matters of law, our secular law always prevails.   But in voluntary relationships you can do pretty much whatever you want, as long as it doesn't violate our secular law.

          We have an establishment clause for a reason - it doesn't matter which religion we're talking about, the government can't restrict its free practice.  All the recent anti-Sharia law attempts in various state legislatures are blatantly unconstitutional, and won't survive the scrutiny of any court in the land.

      •  The logical limit of Shariah law (0+ / 0-)

        and strict enforcement of Islamic tenets is the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Yes, such a state of affairs can come to exist anywhere under suitable conditions.

        For the world to evolve to a better place, we should all want to see it move in a secular direction (while respecting people's right to peacefully and non-imposingly practice a religion of their choice or reject religion), not in reverse.

        Please see my comment below with a link to an important document on Shariah law advances in the UK.

        A Democratic-leaning Rational-Libertarian Liberal.

        by kickass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:29:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You really should be troll rated (0+ / 0-)

          Your irrational Islamophobic rhetoric has no place in a serious discussion about Islam. Someone might mistake your misinformed fear mongering as accurate. I'm trying to fight misunderstanding of Islam, not provide bigots like you with a place to spread your filth and lies.

          Isn't liberalism delicious?

          by SixDollarLiberal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:49:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am doing my bit to keep the world from (0+ / 0-)

            walking backwards in time by making the mistake of allowing religious dogmas, tenet and doctrines, the very forces that made for 2000 years of strife the world over, to creep back in.

            I suggest the readers to go over the One Law for All, UK campaign's document I posted below and judge things for themselves objectively.

            A Democratic-leaning Rational-Libertarian Liberal.

            by kickass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:34:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Kosher law specifically is only necessarily (0+ / 0-)

        applicable to Jews.  Kosher law doesn't say 'everybody should do this'.  It says this is stuff Jews should do.  Sharia doesn't work that way.  That's a poor analogy.  

    •  Misinterpreting my words (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk, downsouth

      To whom are you speaking to, sir? None of this has any bearing on my diary.

      I do not support Sharia law being enacted in this country. I am not calling for any religious doctrine to become law. I am not defending any extreme practices of Islam any more than I would defend any other extreme religious practices. What I am saying is that they should be allowed to worship their God with the same freedoms as any other religion. I am calling for an end of this "creeping Sharia" nonsense that has been picked up recently. Their practices should have to conform to modern law and civil rights, just like any other religion. However, they shouldn't be singled out and targeted and restricted from the legal practice of their religion like some many are calling for.

      Isn't liberalism delicious?

      by SixDollarLiberal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:28:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shariah in the UK (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MasterKey

        is in a more advanced state of 'creep.' They already have what are known as the "British Shariah councils" and a "Muslim Arbitration Tribunal" (google the terms.)

        skrekk's comment above claiming that Shariah is "just like Kosher" is untrue. Halal, not Shariah, is the Islamic equivalent of Kosher, and many practicing Muslims in America have adhered to Halal also for centuries with help from Halal markets and other informal and semi-formal provisions.

        Shariah is a comprehensive body of laws, rules, dogmas and tenets and its proponents want to formalize those into some kind of an official and legal code of conduct for Muslims <-- this must be spurned outright and rejected summarily.

        To better understand what Shariah entails, please see the following report by the One Law For All, UK campaign:

        Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights
        Published by One Law for All, June 2010

        Just a couple of excerpts:

        Under Sharia law’s civil code, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s; a woman’s marriage contract is between her male guardian and her husband and a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim. A man can have four wives and divorce his wife by simple repudiation, whereas a woman must give justifications for requesting a divorce, some of which are extremely difficult to prove. Child custody reverts to the father at a preset age, even if the father is abusive; women who remarry lose custody of their children even if the child has not reached the preset age; and sons are entitled to inherit twice the share
        of daughters.

        In one letter to a solicitor who was enquiring about the status of a client who refused to wear the hijab (veil) her husband had imposed on her, the British Shariah Council in Birmingham wrote: “...any God-fearing woman that has the basic understanding of her religion will wear the hijab...” The letter goes on to say: “In Islam, hijab is compulsory and any woman who denies the ruling of hijab is disobeying her Lord and is rebelling against Islamic law.” Also the “advice to gays and lesbians” of the Islamic Sharia Council is to “make repentance” and “contemplate on the Quran and the punishment and rewards.” A Sharia court in Britain has even issued a death sentence against a writer in 1999.

        The Islamists and Islamic dominionists are just a few years behind in the US, but are firing on many cyclinders at the same time politically.

        Please read the full report.

        A Democratic-leaning Rational-Libertarian Liberal.

        by kickass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:13:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fallacies of Comparing the US and UK (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skrekk, Fire bad tree pretty

          European countries have long viewed immigration differently than the United States. This had led to countries like Britain to let groups, like Muslims, to practice their own laws. This is something that couldn't happen in the United States as the Constitution is now, as their is one uniform law that must be applied equally to all citizens, not specific cultures or religions. That's what makes people who are afraid of "creeping Sharia" nothing more than Islamaphobic loonies. They don't understand that there is no room in our constitution for a different standard to be applied to Muslims; it is expressly forbidden.

          Isn't liberalism delicious?

          by SixDollarLiberal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:35:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Europe is reeling from the rise of Islamism (0+ / 0-)

            That created the backlash against Muslims there.  In order to prevent that from happening here, Muslims and others should keep Islamism from raising its head here.

            'European countries have long viewed immigration differently than the United States. This had led to countries like Britain to let groups, like Muslims, to practice their own laws.'

            That's a perfect example of a fallacy. Immigration policies are independent of whether Shariah law and other aspects of Islamism are allowed to creep in inside the country or not.

            'They don't understand that there is no room in our constitution for a different standard to be applied to Muslims; it is expressly forbidden.'

            This constitutional argument you tried to make is also flaky, since the constitution prohibits only the US congress (hence affecting mainly federal law) from establishing or prohibiting any specific religion

               Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

            which leaves many obvious holes, which religious fanatics, be it Islamists or be it Christianists, can (and will) attempt to exploit.

            'That's what makes people who are afraid of "creeping Sharia" nothing more than Islamaphobic loonies.'

            The premise of this diary is wrong. The immigrants that come here should abide by the laws here and work within our time-tested democratic political system that has worked quite well thus far. No one is telling them not to peacefully practice a religion of their choice. No one is telling them not to informally follow some traditions and customs that they bring with from whichever country or culture they come from, as long as those customs do not violate the laws of this country and of the state where they reside.

            Once you open the can of worms of making special provisions of this kind for one group, every other group will want similar things for their own group. We have immigrants from hundreds of countries and cultures, and dozens of religions, and so in the interest of equality, you'll have to make allowances for all of them if you start letting Shariah creep  in. Then Christianists and Christian dominionists will demand Christian Canon law and other things.

            And all of that will end up destroying much of the progress that has been made over centuries to overcome the regressive power of the Church over the State. LET'S JUST SAY NO to all of it. If you know your history, or have some idea of the present state of Islamic countries (in particular, how non-Muslims are treated in most of them), you will know that the separation of Mosque and State is as important as separation of Church and State.

            A Democratic-leaning Rational-Libertarian Liberal.

            by kickass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:17:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bullshit (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fire bad tree pretty, skrekk
              This constitutional argument you tried to make is also flaky, since the constitution prohibits only the US congress (hence affecting mainly federal law) from establishing or prohibiting any specific religion which leaves many obvious holes, which religious fanatics, be it Islamists or be it Christianists, can (and will) attempt to exploit.

              Maybe you've never heard of the Incorporation Doctrine, which makes most provisions of the Bill of Rights, including the Establishment clause, apply to the states. The holes you bring up don't exist anymore; and your rhetoric is merely the irrational fear mongering of an Islamaphobe.

              The premise of this diary is wrong. The immigrants that come here should abide by the laws here and work within our time-tested democratic political system that has worked quite well thus far

              Nowhere in my diary do I say that immigrants shouldn't have to follow US laws. I specifically stated that US laws should come before the doctrine of any religion. You are purposefully distorting what I said to spread your own lies and misunderstanding of not only Islam in the United States, but also our own constitution.
              No one is telling them not to peacefully practice a religion of their choice. No one is telling them not to informally follow some traditions and customs that they bring with from whichever country or culture they come from, as long as those customs do not violate the laws of this country and of the state where they reside.

              Yes they are. People have been boycotting Mosques and trying to use zoning laws to prevent new Mosques from being built. States have tried to pass laws that are strict on Muslims, including one that would have prohibited the right to pray in a group. Herman Cain said that, if president, he would nominate a Muslim to the Federal courts or his cabinet unless they disavow Sharia law, which includes going to a Mosque and praying facing Mecca.

              Your claims are easily disprovable, your fears are irrational, and you are nothing but a bigot trying to spread your filthy lies and propaganda to create fear in people's hearts.

              Isn't liberalism delicious?

              by SixDollarLiberal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:54:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Funny too that kickass would be using a country (0+ / 0-)

                like the UK - which is technically a Christian theocracy - to spread his Islamophobia.   Even if it's not as overt in the intermingling of church and state as a country like Iran the UK still has distinct religious aspects to some of its laws, like marriage.

                Then again, it's no wonder a country with a state religion would complain about a different religion.

        •  I'm not equipped to debate British law, nor is the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          downsouth

          constitutionless UK system comparable to the US - but it seems pretty clear that the "One Law for All" campaign is virulently Islamophobic.

          If both parties agree to an arbitration, it matters not how that agreement is reached.      I also very much doubt the British system legal system would permit any resolutions which violate British law.

          The other stuff in the pdf appear to be meritless fear mongering, and mostly refers to how Sharia is implemented in theocracies like Iran - not how it interacts with the British legal system.

  •  We don't ask Jewish judges (0+ / 0-)

    to disavow halakha. When you take an oath of public office in America, it's clear which system of law you're expected to apply & uphold. If you cannot, if religious law (or some other personal code) prevents you, brings you into irreconcilable conflict with your duties,  you're supposed to resign. If you do not, you may be removed from office. I think any American Muslim seeking public office understands this.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:14:34 PM PDT

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