posted on Jun, 19 2010 @ 02:12 AM
John, I very rarely post on ATS, but the recent threads filled with ignorance on Islam have brought me out of my lurking habits. I must also mention
that I am a practicing Muslim and was also born and raised in America.
To begin, Sharia commonly refers to the sacred laws of Islam, and it is usually mentioned when discussing societal laws. However, it also broadly
covers the rights and duties of Muslims from the role of the government to personal conduct.
Sharia and American laws are NOT mutually exclusive.
One quick example:
The Bayt-al-Mal, as implemented by Muhammad and the first generation of Muslim rulers, was a part of Sharia that is very similar to our system of
welfare. The government would provide an income to the poor, disabled, elderly, orphans etc. The money used in this welfare system was collected
from Zakat and Jizya (taxes from Muslims and non-Muslims, respectively). If we truly want to distance ourselves from Sharia, should the government
end Social Security? Should it stop giving grants and scholarships to university students? Or, should we just completely get rid of taxes since they
are too similar to Sharia laws? This is only one example out of many.
Futhermore, the consensus of Islamic scholars throughout history state that the goals of Sharia are to protect life, religion, intellect, wealth, and
family. In fact, the philosopher John Locke was influenced by Sharia while studying under Edward Pococke. This influence eventually led him to state
that man has 3 natural rights: life, liberty, and estate. Eventually, our own Founding Fathers were influenced by Locke and his concept of natural
rights when they declared independence from Britain and formed our Constitution. So, should we completely disregard the Constitution due to the
"taint" of Sharia influence?
As LittleSecret wrote, American laws are in a constant state of change. Even our own Constitution has been amended 27 times! If the large majority
of Americans, whether or not they are Muslims, decide to accept Sharia, why not adopt it? It would not make us any less American. It would only be
proof of the success of the American democratic system--the fact that the people, through their representatives, choose what laws they follow.
Also, aside from certain commandments laid out in the Qur'an and Practices of Muhammad, Sharia is fairly elastic. You said it best, "There are many
interpretations of what Sharia means." If America decided to suddenly follow the Sharia, I honestly don't think there would be too many drastic
changes to our style of government. Sharia promotes democracy, as seen in the Election of Uthman, the 3rd Caliph. And, there is nothing in Sharia
against checks and balances, separation of powers, three branches of governments, states' rights, minority rights etc. (I mention those specifically
because they are some of what make American government unique).
I am tired of the close-mindedness I see in this country valued for its liberty. Oklahoma is acting out of fear because of a lack of understanding.
People, stop listening to the garbage news you hear about Islam and Sharia. Stop jumping to the conclusion that Sharia means you'll end up like the
people in Saudi Arabia or Iran. They are NOT Sharia--they are oppressive dictatorships, which are go against true Islamic values as laid out by the
Qur'an and Muhammad. Islam promotes tolerance, justice, and mercy. Don't take my word for it. Go take a class on Islam. Go to a mosque and ask a
Muslim scholar about Sharia. Do some honest research--don't just go by what you heard or read on the internet or in the media.
Sorry about the length...