Ground Zero Mosque imam Feisal Abdul Rauf assures us Sharia is nothing to be concerned about

No one is concerned about Sharia because they don’t want Muslims getting married according to Islamic rituals or praying in an Islamic manner. The only reason why people are concerned about Sharia is because of its denial of rights to women and non-Muslims, its denial of the freedom of speech and the freedom of conscience, and other aspects of it that contradict American law and principles of human rights. But unsurprisingly, the erstwhile Ground Zero Mosque imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, he of the spectacularly sinister mein, disingenuously misrepresents opposition to Sharia in the U.S., and the nature of Sharia itself.

As always, these dishonest snake-oil salesmen get mainstream platforms to spread their deceptions. More below.

“The silly American fear of sharia law,” by Feisal Abdul Rauf, New York Daily News, June 8, 2017:

“Most Americans would be shocked to hear Israel imposes sharia law. But it does for some 60 years.” These are the words of Israeli writer Yossi Gurvitz, opening an article he wrote for +972, an online periodical….

The religious courts belong to the Israeli court system. The Israeli government enforces their decisions. This is called legal pluralism — and Israelis inherit it from the Ottoman Empire.

Why, then, is the very idea of sharia so consistently vilified in our country?…

This is disingenuous in the extreme. Israel may have Sharia courts for private arbitration matters, but that is a far cry from imposing Sharia as a whole upon the whole population. What’s more, Sharia courts that were supposed to be for marriage law and other private matters entered into voluntarily have massively overstepped their authority in Britain, with Sharia judges ruling according to Islamic law without regard for their responsibility to turn over cases that are matters of criminal law to the secular courts. This is a particular problem in spousal abuse cases, since the Qur’an calls for the beating of women “from whom you fear disobedience” (4:34). And such incidents are the only reasons why anyone is concerned about Sharia.

Let’s be clear: America could never have state-sanctioned religious courts. The First Amendment, which prevents government establishment of religion, forbids it.

But Islamic law can and does already operate in America under state sanction. When Muslim Americans are married according to Islamic law by a state-certified officiant of Muslim marriages, and receive in the process a civil certificate of marriage, they have, in effect, practiced Islamic law under official U.S. sanction.

Would the anti-sharia agitators keep Muslim Americans from marrying? Would they keep them from praying, distributing charity, fasting during Ramadan? For Muslim Americans already do all these things at the command of their law.

This is not the point of opposition to Sharia, and Rauf knows that.

Sharia is not about amputations and stoning. These extreme punishments carry over from earlier, biblical law, and such sayings of Jesus as, “If your right hand sins, cut it off” (Matthew 5:30).

Has any sect of Christianity ever interpreted that saying of Jesus as a literal command to amputate hands? No, never. And does Rauf really expect his readers to believe that Saudi Arabia and Iran and other Sharia states, when they amputate limbs and stone people to death, are following Biblical law and not Islamic law? He certainly does take his audience for fools. In reality, both implement Islamic law only, which calls for amputations (Qur’an 5:38) and stonings (numerous hadith; see here) and no religious traditions that revere the Bible carry out amputations or stonings, as they have all developed mainstream interpretative traditions that on various grounds reject literal applications of Torah laws regarding stoning.

Within the history of Islam, they have rarely occurred.

Actually they occur now, on a regular basis, in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

What Islamic law does prescribe are the same do’s and don’ts of the Ten Commandments — the social imperatives most of us recognize whatever our religion.

But what sharia prescribes for criminal acts is in any case irrelevant to America. At the command of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims the world over obey the law of the land they inhabit, whether that is Egypt, Israel or the United States.

All they perform of sharia in any land is what coheres with the law of that land — as surely Muslim marriage, prayer and philanthropy do with the laws of America.

In an Op-Ed for The New York Times last summer, Harvard Law School Prof. Noah Feldman called sharia “a meaning-making effort.”…

Feldman is notorious for ignoring and omitting all discussion of the aspects of Sharia that discriminate against non-Muslims and others.

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