"Protesters use 'sharia' as a slur and rallying cry against Islam," reads the dismissive print edition headline for Michelle Boorstein's page A5 August 27 story. The Washington Post's online edition used different wording: "For critics of Islam, 'sharia' a loaded word."
Boorstein cited "controversial" conservative scholar Daniel Pipes warning that pro-sharia Muslims "want to implement sharia in every detail on everyone in a stringest way." For an opposing view, the Post religion writer also cited Imam Yahya Hendi, a Muslim chaplain for Georgetown University and "spokesman of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America," who argued that more moderate Muslims see sharia as more like a set of guidelines to guide personal and family life than a rigid code of law which must supplant secular governance.
Fair enough, yet Boorstein put her thumb on the scale by lamenting that "the word has become akin to a slur in some camps... an alarming development to many religious and political leaders."
That sentence immediately preceded Boorstein excerpting a statement by liberal National Council of Churches president Peg Chemberlin, who complained that the NCC was "deeply saddened by those who denigrate a religion which in so many ways is a religion of compassion."
While neither Boorstein nor Chemberlin named names, the implication to the reader is that opponents of the Ground Zero mosque are anti-Islam, not merely anti-radical Islam or simply opposed to the mosque being located so close to Ground Zero, and that the specter of sharia law is a convenient bogeyman for those with a cynical agenda.