Thursday, December 13, 2012

States cracking down on the Islamic law misunderstand the right to freedom of religion.

thomas sharia
Yusra Mohammed conducts a tour for guests before the grand opening at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Tennessee on Nov. 18. (Photo: HELEN COMER GANNETT)

Story Highlights

  • Outlaw sharia and you've outlawed 5 million to 8 million Americans. L
6:09PM EST December 11. 2012 - Iconic poet Carl Sandburg once was asked what was the dirtiest word in the English language. His answer might have surprised some people: Exclusive.
The tendency to exclude others ” to prejudge and ostracize ” has dogged humankind and the United States since its inception. The first Jews to arrive in New York, then caled New Amsterdam, were refused the right even to get off their ship. When Gov. Peter Stuyvesant's Dutch sponsors prevailed upon him to grant the Jews admission, they still weren't allowed to vote, hold office or serve in the militia.
Throughout America's rich history of welcoming "your huddled masses," this dark thread of bigotry has marred our national tapestry. First, it was Jews, then blacks, Catholics, gays, and now, Muslims who must sometimes bear the brunt of our prejudices.
Small wonder. At one time, "exclusivity" was official government policy. In colonial Virginia, for example, one had to be a white, male, property-owning Episcopalian to enjoy the full benefits of citizenship. Even today, citizens can lapse into thinking that "America" has something to do with the color of my skin, where I go to worship or which language I speak.
No American religion
Being American is about none of these things. It is about the principles and ideals set forth in our Bill of Rights. Yet even a nation founded on the premise that "all men are created equal" can find itself slipping into these old patterns of prejudice and bigotry. The trauma of 9/11 and the fear that it triggered created the opportunity for such feelings to resurface.
Just look at what's happening. There has been widespread resistance to the construction of mosques and Islamic centers. The Pew Research Center cited 53 cases in recent years. Even last summer's attack on Sikhs appears to have been motivated by misdirected anti-Muslim bias. And it's not just the rank and file. More than a dozen states have passed or are considering anti-sharia laws. Oklahoma has amended its constitution.
And what is sharia but the way Muslims must live and work? Drawn from the Quran, the directions of the prophet Mohammed and the teaching of Muslim scholars, sharia is prayer and fasting, work and worship, family. One cannot be a Muslim without practicing some form of sharia. Outlaw sharia and you've outlawed 5 million to 8 million Americans. Like the Bible and other sacred texts, sharia is always subject to interpretation, so sharia does have a dark side. In Egypt's new constitution, to be voted on in the coming days, Islamic religious law is used as the basis for restricting fundamental rights for women and children.
Threatening Islamic law?
But is sharia a threat to America's legal system? The Constitution prohibits courts or other government agencies from substituting religious law for civil law. The government may not compel adherence to the practices of any faith, including Islam.
Now comes an encouraging development. A coalition of more than 20 national groups — including the Interfaith Alliance, Islamic Society of North America and a bevy of church groups — recently released a set of consensus guidelines entitled "What is the truth about American Muslims?" The pamphlet includes interesting history, including the story of how Muslims first came to the USA. Most, as it turns out, came aboard slave ships. There is information about sharia law, jihad, head coverings, honor killings and the Quran. Fascinating stuff. Kudos to the Interfaith Alliance and the Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center for pulling this off. (Learn more at
The need to resist bigotry in all its forms is not just about being nice. It's about making America work. Without equal protection and the free exercise of religion, there is no America. It's who we are.
Oliver Thomas is a Baptist minister, attorney and member of the USA TODAY Board of Contributors.
In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions
from outside writers, including our
Board of Contributors.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sharia in America

Originally Published in July 2010 at Huffington Post with the Title, Sharia Laws, not in America

Sharia in its simplest form is a how-to manual based on the Qur'an and the Hadith (Prophet Muhammad's sayings). It is a human effort to understand the concept of justice enshrined in the Qur'an for day-to-day living.

After the death of Muhammad and the first four Caliphs, there was a leadership vacuum that needed to be filled so that someone could clarify new issues that came up on a daily basis. The scholars of the time met the challenge and created a body of knowledge as supplementary guidance and established the standards of moral conduct. Sharia laws were designed to be free from misapplications and regret-free decision-making processes.

From a layperson's point of view, Sharia is divided into a personal and a public function. The personal Sharia is about the relationship between an individual and the creator, whereas the public Sharia is about the relationship between the individual and society.
The personal Sharia deals with beneficial actions that should be performed by individuals, such as prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, Hajj, and Zakat (tithe, or charity). It is indeed a guide for individual Muslims to observe and follow their faith.
The public Sharia deals with the community affairs involving more than one individual, such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adultery, theft, conversion, apostates and inheritance.
The intent of the Sharia laws was to construct a complete justice system with fairness to all members of society. Peace and a sense of security are the products of justice in a given society. The violations of justice and the rule of law are found in every faith, culture and political system, to varying degrees. In this respect no community is free of blame and no one can cast the first stone against another community.
However, like all laws, the Sharia for public application needs a serious revision to reflect the changing needs of society. The values enshrined in the Qur'an are dynamic, and because Sharia laws are derived from the Qur'an, they must reflect the dynamic applicability of the book. In modern times, the contentious issues that have most often recurred stem from treatment of divorce, women's rights, inheritance, theft, adultery and apostasy.

Even here in America, laws originally framed with the intention of ensuring liberty and justice for all were misapplied for over a century after they were written, resulting in a serious denial of rights to women and slaves. It is only in the last 75 years that we are tuning ourselves to the intent of our constitution. A woman is no longer considered a chattel, and slavery has become an outlawed practice. As of right now the rights of individuals with different sexual orientations are at the center of the debates as much as accepting a woman president in our country. In terms of capital punishment we are still evolving; we are behind Europe and we remain as antiquated as Saudi Arabia in putting people to death.

But even as we speak today there is yet another speculative issue that has been brought up: the issue of application of Sharia laws here in our country. This contentious debate is largely a product of the media and many fearful neoconservatives. As an American Muslim who has widely traveled throughout this country, I can strongly affirm that no group of American Muslims has called for the application of Sharia laws in America. Although a few individuals may have expressed their support for compliance with the laws here in our country, they have nevertheless remained avid supporters of the laws and freedoms of the United States.

The Sharia industry has been built with strong fortifications, to the point that many Muslims are led to believe that Sharia law is divine. In this way the application of Sharia throughout history can be comparable to the business protection plans used by defense, tax preparers and other industries, where the involved matters are made so complicated that they are needed by the society.

Islam teaches each individual to be accountable for his or her actions. We do not need a Sharia industry, and Islam certainly does not have clerical establishment built into it, nor is there a need for one.

We can retain the private Sharia and let go of the public Sharia; the civil laws of our nation provide ample justice, and we don't need a duplicate system. Sharia law was never considered divine to begin with. Hence, there is no need to even dream about it.

American Muslims have placed their trust in the American justice system and will continue to oppose Sharia laws as they are currently applied in many places across the globe. I will be one of the first ones, if not the first one, to stand up against it. The Muslim majority in America is happy with the American system and does not want to have Sharia law here in America.

This may be bad news for the likes of Bridgette Gabriel, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, John Hagee and a host of other right-wingers, who thrive on selling hate and painting chaotic scenarios. It will hurt their sales and affect their cash flow. They cannot dupe Americans with unsubstantiated and statistically insignificant claims. Americans are trained to see another point of view and to be non-judgmental.

However, I urge the passionate neocons to become ambassadors of peace in mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. It will not make them as much money, but they will be able to sleep in peace. We all need to work for a safe and prosperous America with a focus on social cohesion and removing the division and wedges between us.

As a Muslim I stand against Sharia for public consumption and assure the neocons, the fearful and the gullible that we are Americans and the law of the land is our law. There is no substitute for it.

Courtesy of Huffington Post

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A First Amendment Analysis of Anti-Sharia Initiatives

June 21, 2012 by the Muslim observer
By Asma Uddin, Legal Fellow and Dave Pantzer
Executive Summary
FirstAmendmentTen years after September 11, 2001, the American Muslim community continues to be surrounded by a fear created and promoted mostly by a small group of anti-Muslim organizations and individuals. Collectively, these groups have spread their message in twenty-three states through books, reports, websites, and blogs. Other anti-Islam grassroots organizations have utilized this propaganda to “educate” their constituency. The Center for American Progress defines Islamophobia as an “exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from America’s social, political, and civic life.” This Islamophobia movement’s ability to influence politicians’ talking has made mainstream that which was once considered marginal, extremist rhetoric.

The impact of the Islamophobia campaign upon the American public’s perception of Islam and Muslims has been very negative. Approximately half of all Americans hold an unfavorable view of Islam. To date, dozens of bills have been introduced in more than half of the states to ban Sharia and/or international law. Some of these bills are overly broad, and some in essence would outlaw any organization that adhered to any Islamic jurisprudential school. The Muslim community pushed back, specifically because the regulations on common activities such as how to wash before prayer or how much money to give to the poor emanate from these same schools of thought and would cause great restrictions on their ability to practice their faith.

This report describes the broader climate of anti-Muslim sentiment, as promoted by anti-Islam grassroots organizations, and examines the various manifestations of this hate in light of the First Amendment. More specifically, this report analyzes the anti-Sharia bills and ballot measures proposed by numerous states and determines the extent to which they comply with free exercise and establishment principles and jurisprudence.

Key Findings
The American legal system has built-in safeguards
The crucial feature of any kind of arbitration is that an arbitrator, whether religious or not, has no ability to enforce the arbitral decision; only state or federal courts have that power. Moreover, there is an array of carefully crafted safeguards in place to protect individuals. For example, arbitral decisions are annulled when there is evidence that the arbitrator completely disregarded the law or when the arbitrator refused to consider material evidence. Courts also review the arbitral decision to ensure that arbitrators are neutral, that the resulting arbitral decisions are neither grossly unfair nor undermine public policy, and that the parties agreed to take part in the arbitration of their own free will.

The anti-Sharia laws violate constitutional principles

The First Amendment to the American Constitution includes two Religion Clauses, the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. Together, these Clauses provide guidelines for the relationship between the government and religion.

For one, the government may not officially choose among religions, or between religion and non-religion, in creating law. A significant purpose of the Religion Clauses is to protect religious groups from the overreaching of the state. They protect minority religions from state interference, which could arise where a religious (or secular) majority uses the democratic process to punish a minority, and they protect all religions, popular or unpopular, from state encroachment into purely religious matters. Moreover, the government may not generally prevent a person from believing and advocating a religious message; nor may the government prevent behavior simply because it is religious in nature.

Oklahoma’s “Save Our State Amendment,” the only anti-Sharia initiative to be challenged in court thus far, is a good example of how these laws violate the above-mentioned constitutional principles. The legislative history and the actual text of the Amendment make clear that its purpose is to treat Muslims differently than members of other faiths—it seeks to outlaw use of Sharia principles but does not mention principles of any other faith. It also places numerous burdens on Muslims’ religious exercise. For example, if the Amendment were to become law, it would be impossible to enforce a will that is based on Sharia principles or to engage in Sharia-based arbitration. This unequal treatment of Muslims and burdens on their free exercise contradict core Religion Clause principles.

Broader Implications
When religious freedom is limited for one group, it necessarily affects religious freedom for all groups. Although anti-Sharia measures name Sharia specifically, if allowed to stand, they can limit the freedoms of Christians, Jews, and other faith groups in the United States who turn to religious arbitration as the preferred method of dispute resolution.

1. Clarify the meaning of Sharia: The American Muslim community should engage the broader public on Sharia’s meaning and role. It should articulate what this word means generally and what it means to them specifically—that is, the articulation of the concept should not be merely theoretical but explained in concrete terms.

2. Differentiate Sharia from laws in Muslim-majority countries: Even more to the point, the American Muslim community should differentiate the ways Sharia is applied in differing cultural contexts. It is important to emphasize that the way it is applied in some Muslim-majority countries is very different than what is possible, or even preferable, in the American context. How does the American legal and social framework shape the application of Sharia law?

3. Disseminate information on religious arbitration and the First Amendment: Legal think tanks should organize lay-accessible information sessions on the First Amendment and religious arbitration. Many Americans are unaware that religious law is incorporated into the American legal system. How does this work in the case of Sharia? In the case of other religious laws? Americans need answers to these questions.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sean Hannity Does Not Understand the Threat of Islam in America

There is no such things as a right wing group, but there is an attitude among individuals that may be called right wing, and that attitude is sticking to the guns, no matter what information is out there,  and facts simply don't matter to them.  Apparently the writer of this article in the blog "Logan's warning" carries that attitude from time to time.

Here is my response to his blog picking on me, Imam Feisal and Islam.

First the bad part of the Sharia like chopping hands, or stoning the adulterer is not practiced anywhere but Iran, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

Secondly it cannot be called Islamic when 53 other Muslim majority nations are not following it. Thirdly, No Muslim organization or a majority of Muslims in America want Sharia for public governance, but there are some who may want to use Sharia to resolve  differences between family members, just as Jewish Laws. Every American prefers to hear the clergy, counselor or friends to resolve a difference before they go to the court., similarly, for personal Muslims may use a psychologist, a friend or sharia guidance for justice. Sharia is an option for Muslims and not for others.

Fourthly, as a Muslim and Muslim representing many a Muslims, we stand up against "Sharia as practiced in those three nations" Justice is enshrined in American Laws and Muslims prefer Justice, that is the intent of Sharia law, even thought it is misapplied, misinterpreted and miscarried as it happens in any system.

Over the last two years I have been with Hannity, I have seen his sensibility in seeing facts. He sees Sharia of Saudi is not the same as Sharia as most Muslims understand. 

I am glad to see reason and rationality approach by Sean when he says, there are different interpretations, he clearly saw the difference and once he quoted again to some one on his show, "is this the Sharia interpretation Mike Ghouse talks about?" On the interview with Imam Feisal, Sean quoted me again and that caused the stir with the right wingers.

Mr. Logan, I hope you see another point of view, espoused by Muslims, if you do, check my article on “Sharia Not in America” published at Huffington Post and go to the site for a range of articles on the topic.

Here is a response to the two verse quoted by you. Perhaps, misquoted or quoted from Muslim-right-wing translations or European translation since 1142 AD, which they never bothered to correct it as it suits the right wingers.

Response to 9:29 is at:

(Asad) He it is who has sent forth His Apostle with the [task of spreading] guidance and the religion of truth, to the end that He may cause it to prevail over all [false] religion ("the only [true] religion in the sight of God is [man's] self-surrender unto Him". See also 61 : 8-9). however hateful this may be to those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God. 

Indeed the right wing Muslims interpret the “true religion” in the verse above in political terms, that of dominance and impositions.  It goes against the very essence of  Quraan which calls, to honor the people of the book and asserts God alone is the master of the Day of Judgment and that you have to back off judging others on their belief aspect.  Ironically,  the right wingers in all religions see things in similar manner. 

If our constitution were weak, or the right wing Christians were to be strong in America, they will “impose” God’s will as they interpret,  on all Americans like  forcing people against abortion,  beat up Gay people… bomb the abortion clinics, vandalize mosques, synagogues, Catholic Churches, Hindu, Sikh or Baha'i temples etc. They will make America nearly like Saudi Arabia which is a monarchy and cannot be called an Islamic nation.

Thank God for our constitution, and some day, I hope democracy permeates in those nations,  and I hope we support the people, when that happens, the majority of Saudis, or Iranians would behave the same as Americans – live and let live and mind your own business. The world would be a better place.

Mike Ghouse committed to build cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. More about him at
# # #

Sean Hannity Does Not Understand the Threat of Islam in America

Sean Hannity: Kissing Islamic Ass!

Approximately three months ago I was on Twitter talking to a woman about Islam and the UK’s Anjem Choudary. She was a Twitter friend of Fox’s Sean Hannity, and tagged him in an effort to bring him into our conversation. I had stated that I will give Choudary one thing, he does know Islam. Now Hannity could have and should have minded his own business, but the Fox anchor could not help himself. He quickly charged into the conversation by taking a stand for Islam.

As you can see he made sure he capitalized the word “RADICAL”. So right off the bat Hannity is showing that he is either unformed on Islam itself, or does not have the courage to name the enemy. We proceeded to argue over whether Islam itself was the problem. At that point I sent him some Koran verse numbers to prove that Islam itself is the problem. That Islam calls for the dominance over non-Muslims whether we like it or not. On top of him defending Islam, he is also a Zuhdi (I’m selling America a bridge) Jasser supporter. I also sent him links proving that what Jasser is selling is not Islam. But Hannity took the easy way out and pretty much ignored them. Personally I think his ego is too overblown to ever admit he is wrong.

Fight those who do not believe in God, nor in the Last Day, for, otherwise, they would have believed in the Prophet (s), and who do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, such as wine, nor do they practise the religion of truth, the firm one, the one that abrogated other religions, namely, the religion of Islam — from among of those who (min, ‘from’, explains [the previous] alladhīna, ‘those who’) have been given the Scripture, namely, the Jews and the Christians, until they pay the jizya tribute, the annual tax imposed them, readily (‘an yadin is a circumstantial qualifier, meaning, ‘compliantly’, or ‘by their own hands’, not delegating it [to others to pay]), being subdued, [being made] submissive and compliant to the authority of Islam.
He it is Who has sent His Messenger, Muhammad (s), with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may manifest it, make it prevail, over every religion, all the religions which oppose it, even though the disbelievers be averse, to this.
Hannity ducked the verses, told me there are “different interpretations” and threatened to block me on Twitter.

I told him that is leftist talk, and asked him to show me just ONE version that does not call for the dominance over non-Muslims. Of course he did not respond.

He definitely did not like being challenged. But I was not going to bow to him because he is on TV. The truth is more important! The argument ended with Hannity ignoring all the facts I had sent him, and him stamping his feet as he stated he will NOT say Islam itself is the problem.

Then he blocked me.

I thought about posting this information when it happened, but wanted more ammunition. That ammo was sent to me last night. Sean had the ex-Ground Zero Imam Rauf on, and continued his Islamic ass kissing. Now I know some readers are thinking there is only so much he can say. Well that does not cut it anymore, and between the Twitter conversation and the following video we can see that he is passionate about defending Islam.
Hat tip on the video to SanFranCon.

Seans’ first mistake was reaching out to shake the hand of the Islamoconman. He is for Sharia Law, that makes him a clear enemy to America and deserving of no respect at all. At the 1:28 mark the Imam says “Islam is not the enemy of America.” Sean did not skip a beat and quickly agreed with him. Well Sean, Islam has been waging war on non-Muslims for 1400 years.
Muslim Hadith Book 019, Number 4366: It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.·
Maybe Hannity would like to explain the Koran verses above, or how about this one?
Koran 4:89 | { وَدُّواْ لَوْ تَكْفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُواْ فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَآءً فَلاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنْهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءَ حَتَّىٰ يُهَاجِرُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْاْ فَخُذُوهُمْ وَٱقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَلاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنْهُمْ وَلِيّاً وَلاَ نَصِيراً }
They long, they wish, that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, so then you, and they, would be equal, in unbelief; therefore do not take friends from among them, associating with them, even if they should [outwardly] manifest belief, until they emigrate in the way of God, a proper emigration that would confirm their belief; then, if they turn away, and remain upon their ways, take them, as captives, and slay them wherever you find them; and do not take any of them as a patron, to associate with, or as a helper, to assist you against your enemy.
Nothing threatening there….
The Imam then goes on to apologize for some of his past statements, and Hannity actually believes him and basically thanks him. I guess Hannity missed the part about Mohammad instructing Muslims to lie.The Imam is using Sean as a tool of Islam, and he does not even know it.

At the 3:40 mark Hannity ignorantly brags that he separates “radical Islamists”, like the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, etc, from Islam. Right Sean, it is all just one big misunderstanding. What they are doing has nothing to do with Islam. If the situation were not so serious, his line of thinking would be comical in a Keystone Cops sort of way.

From there Hannity mentions faith, and is clearly respecting Islam as it being on equal footing with Christianity. The message of Jesus was one of peace, Mohammad on the other hand was a pervertedplunderer who enslaved people. Hannity has a lot of nerve implying they are both good religions, and then goes onto “peaceful” Muslims. For the most part “peaceful” Muslims are ones who are slowly taking over the West. The UK is a good example of that. Outside of the 7/7 attacks they are changing the country to suit Islam without firing a shot.

Moving on he talks about radio host Aaron Klein. For those who do not know he is also a Jasser supporter. Apparently there are a lot of big names in this who are living in a false comfort zone. “Muslims” will not resolve the threat to our future generations.

As if all that groveling were not bad enough Hannity says it was“horrible” when Pastor Jones burned the Koran. Talk about Islamic ass kissing! I did not think it was necessary for the Pastor to burn the Islamic hate manual. But the truth is that it deserves as much respect as Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and that is none.

Near the end of the video Hannity mentioned his “friend” Mike Ghouse. Mike is a so called “moderate” Muslim who made the mistake of responding to one of my emails. His attempted Islamocon was easily refuted, and he ran for the door. The link to this debate was also sent to Hannity. Of course he ignorned it. As I said, I don’t think his ego will allow him to admit he is wrong. He speaks of “extremists” wanting Sharia. But ignores the fact that Imam Rauf is openly pro-Sharia! In closing the Imam went on to sugar coat Sharia Law. Oh I forgot, Sean said there are “different interpretations”….the only problem is that he has not backed up his claim, and scholars such as Dr. Naik and those at Egypt’s Al Azhar freely admit that non-Muslims have less rights than Muslims under Sharia. Sean do you claim to know more about Islam than those scholars? I highly doubt it. Imam Rauf is playing you for the fool you are. Lose the ego and smarten up. The lives of your future generations are on the line here!
Sean can be reached HERE.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tariq Ramadan: Shariah Law and U.S. Constitution

Tariq Ramadan: Shariah Law and U.S. Constitution Go Hand-In-Hand

Categories: Gimme That OC Religion, Politics

A small group of about a dozen protesters gathered outside theEmbassy Suites in Anaheim where a prominent Muslim theologian was scheduled to deliver a lecture on Shariah - the Islamic legal code akin to canon law in Christianity or Judaic law in Judaism. The Islamic Shura Council of Southern California invited Dr. Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University and a man who was once banned from entering the United States

The protesters waved American flags and signs that read anti-Shariah slogans, reflecting a larger movement in America that currently calls for the ban of Shariah law. In two dozen states, politicians have introduced legislation prohibiting the courts from taking into account Shariah, which has problematic implications for Muslims. States like TennesseeLouisianaand Arizona have passed bills that ban judges from consulting Shariah law, or any type of foreign and religious laws. South Carolina andFlorida legislatures are currently considering anti-Sharia measures. 

The two-year-long anti-Shariah battle has prompted Muslim organizations like CAIR andMPAC to decry the proposed bans as anti-religious freedom. In his lecture, Dr. Ramadan said there is room for Shariah to operate within the United States' common legal framework, just like there is room for Canon law and Judaic law. 

"Everything which is good in this country is our Shariah," he said to a crowd of more than 400 community members. "It's an integrative system. It's not a closed system coming to colonize others." 

"You'll find many things in the [U.S.] Constitution that are similar to Shariah," said Ramadan.  Shariah, more specifically, is a set of laws for Muslims related to family, marriage, creed, burial practices, ethics, morality, and punishments; anti-Sharia proponents mainly criticize the rulings on punishment, which Dr. Ramadan, along with other Muslim scholars, contend is in need of serious reform, and unjustly implemented in places like Saudi Arabia

Dr. Ramadan also noted that historically Shariah and Judaic law inspired European law. "When you have people approach you and say, 'You need to respect our system,' you can tell them that we are already inside," he said. "The problem is that we are ignorant of our own history." 

Many audience members welcomed his words, with frequent head nods and smiles when he delivered punchy points, but Dr. Ramadan is not welcomed everywhere. He is banned from six countries including EgyptTunisia and Saudi Arabia. In 2004, the Bush administration invoked the Patriot Act to ban the Muslim academic from entering the United States. The State Department lifted that ban in January, 2010. Since then, Ramadan has honored multiple speaking engagements in the United States, including this year's spring tour where he has delivered speeches in Washington D.C.New York andMassachusetts, and will end at Berkeley.
The Swiss-born, Egyptian academic is the grandson of Hassan El-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; the once outlawed group now leads the Egyptian parliament. Ramadan's father, Said Ramadan, is attributed with bringing the Brotherhood to Germany where it spread throughout the rest of Europe.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fear of Shariah law spreading

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 7:49 a.m.

When the Florida Senate failed to take a vote, proposed legislation to ban the use of foreign laws in state courts died.
The bill had passed the House easily, and the Senate sponsor plans to reintroduce it next year.
The question is why?
The answer seems to be fear that the Shariah law -- the Islamic law used in some Muslim countries -- will spread to the United States.
The legislation made no mention of Shariah law. The bill simply said state courts could not use foreign law when rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution would be violated. And foreign laws were only banned in domestic cases, such as divorce and child custody.
The ban would not have applied to businesses, or for that matter, criminal cases
But, while Shariah law was not mentioned in the bill it was obviously the target.
Some supporters of the legislation warned that, without such bans, the spread of Shariah law could signal a slow Islamic takeover of the world.
Others say, the rights of American women would be threatened if Shariah law was used in the courts.
Perhaps the best response to this legislation, and these fears, came from Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who said, "You might as well pass legislation to ban unicorns."
Opposition to the legislation also came from the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group dedicated to defending the rights of Jews and others, as well as fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice.
In this case that prejudice comes in the form of anti-Muslim.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, has said the only goal is to make sure only U.S. laws are used in state courts.
That begs the question of what other law would be used?
While judges have cited foreign laws as one of the precedents in a ruling, the rulings themselves have to be ground in federal or state law -- American law.
It is possible for Shariah law to be used informally in a family court case, such as divorce or child custody.
In those cases, the two people involved, and their lawyers, try to reach an agreement to present to the judge to avoid going to trial. That agreement can cover such things as how assets are divided, and who has custody of any children and visitation rights.
And, if a trial is to be avoided, the agreement must be made voluntarily by both people.
It is conceivable that the man and woman in the case could use Shariah law to reach a settlement.
Or they could use Jewish law.
Or they could use no law at all to decide what they think is best of themselves and their children.
But in any of these cases, the agreement will have to go before a Florida judge who is responsible, among other things, to make sure there are no violations of state law or constitutional rights.
As long as no laws are violated, how that agreement is reached is up to the two people involved in reaching it.
If the Legislature were to pass legislation banning the use of foreign laws, the result would be, as Hooper said, as effective as a ban unicorns.
Such a law would not be able to prevent two people from using Shariah law to reach an agreement on, say, custody of their children since that is not done in a courtroom.
And as long as the agreement conforms to American law, the judge can be expected to approve it.
The only thing this legislation would do is to demonstrate that at least some of our legislators are prejudiced.
That is not the kind of signal Florida should be sending to the rest of the world.