As most Americans have done since our republic's inception, millions of us across the country this Holy Week will commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But what concerns me in America is not only the growing disdain for Christian sentiment but also the increasing spread of Shariah.
There's no mystery that radical Islamists intend to use the freedoms in our Constitution to expand the influence of Shariah. But still, too many Americans don't know or understand how it threatens the very fabric of our republic. So I've decided to do a series on how Shariah is seeping into American society.
First, let me categorically state that I'm not an Islamophobe. I welcome the plurality of religions in America and am a firm believer in the First Amendment. But just as our religious freedom is secured in the Bill of Rights, so is our freedom of speech to share even our religious concerns.
For those who might not know, the Arabic term "Shariah" literally means "the path to be followed," denoting its nature as a guide for a blessed life. Shariah is derived from both the Quran (the Muslim holy book) and Sunna (Islamic custom, piety and practice). In short, Shariah is Islamic law, a religious code for living; it is a system of moral, religious, social and civic laws. Shariah details and decrees proper benevolence, prayers, fasting, dress, business practices, marital and relational conduct, sexual offenses, custody, contracts, inheritance, etc.
Shariah has been adopted in different ways by various countries, ranging from a narrow and strict interpretation in Saudi Arabia and northern states of Nigeria to a loose and liberal interpretation in much of Malaysia. Some Shariah offenses are criminal and require imprisonment. Others incur hudud, a class of penalties including stoning, flogging and amputation. There are five crimes that are punishable by hudud: sex outside of marriage and adultery, false accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse, wine drinking (sometimes extended to include all alcohol drinking), theft and highway robbery.
Though most Islamic states have adopted elements of Shariah into law, only some have adopted hudud, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Pakistan (though the latter is lax in enforcement). Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon have not adopted hudud. And other countries, such as Turkey, have essentially abandoned Shariah in favor of new law codes based on European systems.
But the main point here is this: Where Islam and Islamic culture have spread, Shariah has shortly followed.
Of course, many Americans watching a video of a Middle Eastern woman allegedly caught in adultery be buried in the ground up to her head and stoned to death would think, "That could never happen in America." But they fail to see how Shariah already has been enabled and subtly invoked in our country and that any induction of it is by understated, lukewarm changes, like a frog boiled in a kettle by a slow simmer.
For those who don't believe in that Shariah simmer, consider that in just the past few months:
—A Florida judge ruled that a dispute between Muslim parties could proceed under Shariah. "This case," the judge wrote, "will proceed under Ecclesiastical Islamic Law."
—Alabama is joining a growing list of states that are considering outlawing the use of foreign and religious laws, specifically Shariah, in their courts.
—President Barack Obama's adviser on Muslim affairs, Dalia Mogahed, appeared on a British television show hosted by a member of an extremist group to talk about Shariah. Mogahed said that the Western view of Shariah is "oversimplified" and that the majority of women around the world associate it with "gender justice." Does she really think that Shariah is the ideological bastion of gender equality?
In the end, it seems to me we have a choice to believe that Shariah is or is not a pro-Islamic system of civic, religious, moral and social laws that is being used to run other countries and governments but that should not be invoked to run ours based upon the belief that our constitutional republic is inferior.
Many think we should just drink the Kool-Aid and adopt the "very small" changes of Shariah, as Sheik Ibrahim Mogra described them when being questioned about its influence in Great Britain: "We're looking at a very small aspect of Shariah for Muslim families when they choose to be governed with regards to their marriage, divorce, inheritance, custody of children and so forth."
Then again, maybe Mogra explained between the lines everything we need to know when he said: "It is very complex; it is not as straightforward as saying that we will have a system (in Britain). We do not wish to see a parallel system or a separate system of judiciary for Muslims. ... We've seen examples of this in Ontario in Canada and in Singapore, where systems have worked very well."
(In the next few articles, I will be discussing "3 Ways Most Americans Enable Shariah," "The Top 10 U.S. Shariah Infiltrations," "Shariah vs. The U.S. Constitution" and "Shariah vs. Biblical Law in the U.S." For more information on Shariah, I recommend "Muslim Mafia," by P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry.)
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