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It’s official: Sharia will be an issue in 2012 Presidential Election

14 March 2011 Uncategorized 6 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

By Justin Elliot at Salon

We saw last year in the “ground zero mosque” saga just how politically potent fear of Islam can be. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the increasingly high-profile “issue” of sharia, or Islamic law, has now entered presidential politics.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum has now become the first member of the (likely) GOP presidential field to make an explicit anti-sharia appeal.

Politico reports that Santorum told a political dinner in New Hampshire Friday evening that “Sharia law is incompatible with American jurisprudence and our Constitution.” He went on to explain why there are Muslims in the United States:

“They left because of Sharia law,” he said, referring to why he believes Muslim immigrants left their home countries to come to the United States.

Santorum added, “Sharia law is not just a religious code. It is also a governmental code. It happens to be both religious in nature an origin, but it is a civil code. And it is incompatible with the civil code of the United States.”

Santorum, like others who have slammed sharia, did not specify what he’s talking about when he says “sharia.” As I’ve previously reported, sharia is open to many interpretations and can encompass many different ideas. It is true that some Muslim-majority countries have civil codes that draw on sharia, but, again, practice varies widely. In the United States, aspects of sharia most often come up in the courts surrounding mundane matters like marriage contracts.

As for the question of Muslim immigration, it’s first worth noting that one-third of the American Muslim population was born in the U.S. And there’s little evidence to back up Santorum’s claim that Muslim immigrants left their home countries “because of Sharia law.”

A 2007 Pew survey found the following reasons for emigration:

Educational opportunity — 26

Economic opportunity — 24

Family reasons — 24

Conflict/persecution — 20

Other — 3

Don’t know — 3

That’s a good survey to keep in mind if sharia comes up again — which it almost inevitably will.

Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More:Justin Elliott

Original post: It’s official: Sharia will be an issue in 2012 Presidential Election


  1. Fear is the right wing’s only tool. As 2012 get closer we can expect these attacks against their convenient bogeyman to escalate!

  2. I suffered several years in Pennsylvania with Sanitorium as our Senator. He is one of these empty vessels who only comments on hot button crowd issues like abortion, and the like. The useful idiots who voted for him are simply single issue, uneducated people who view their exclusive world view of “We are a Christian nation”-end of discussion. They eat up this kind of ridiculous non-issue that their local communities are being slowly transformed by “Sharia law.” In fact Rep. Michelle Bachman who is a real contender with Sanitorium for most misinformed in America, cited a TX town that hasn’t existed for years as one of the localities invaded by the Sharia body-snatchers out there. She is adored by The Tea Party buffoons, like the ones who tormented Muslim Americans at a CA shelter a short time ago.

    In the 1950s it was the secret communists taking over America. The current playbook is the “Sharia” people. The same demographic was at work then as now. Be strong ! BTW I am not a Muslim.

    The game plan by Sanitorium and Bachman’s handlers is to distract and mobilize the average American with these hot button “crises” so that they don’t confront inequality and that they bear the cost of recession willingly as long as there are less abortions and the “alien” Muslims who want to kill us are dealt with.

    Look at this way. If Sanitorium and Bachman, and their ilk didn’t have these “issues” they would be likened to “deer in the headlights” on real issues that matter.

  3. Dear Mr. Elliott,

    I just read your article, “It’s official: Sharia will be an issue in 2012 Presidential Election”. Clearly mr. santorum is an idiot for claiming to know what motivates others to come to America. Also you say that sharia has many incarnations, and that is also clear to even the most causal observer of the world. However, all Muslims believe the Koran to be “divine writ” delivered by god through “divine revelation” to his prophet Muhammad. (that’s the definition of being Muslim, is it not?) Sunni, Shia, even the Ahmadiyya (although other muslims don’t let them call themselves muslims) all agree that the Koran is “god’s law”. For some reason god made his law open to a great many interpretations in some cases. i.e. allowing capital punishment for “spreading mischief” or also translated as “corruption”. I think that is 5:32? Check it out in your Koran. Obviously the Pakistanis (well most of them, the one politician calling for the law to be repealed was killed by his bodyguard, and a prominent cleric has said that the Koran doesn’t call for killing blasphemers, but he seems to be shoveling against the tide) have laws against blasphemy and apostate, with the death penalty for those found guilty. However, god is much clearer in other instances. For example the Koran clearly states that a female is to inherit half as much as a male in the event there is no will. Don’t remember the exact verse but it is early in the 4th surah, “The Women”. Also, I just read the 24th surah “The Light” in my CAIR provided “The Message of the Qur an” Translated by Muhammad Asad. I’m no lawyer but it strikes me as fundamentally un-American and unconstitutional to flog people 100 times in public for have consensual sex (except perhaps in Alabama). I’m pretty sure that in would be ruled cruel and unusual punishment. Mr. santorum, despite having little knowledge of islam may have finally stumbled across a valid point. “Sharia law is incompatible with American jurisprudence and our Constitution.” Oddly enough with this example, mr santorum, a devout catholic I think my be more inline with muslims than his non-religious constituents?
    Let me know if you need me to type out the actual verses and the numerous footnote’s mr. asad uses to explain his translation? I’m pretty sure there will be more examples of “god’s laws” not being compatible with the constitution. Tampa’s director of communications from CAIR, who gave me this Koran also sent me an email the other day saying ”Furthermore just for kicks, I have heard of some jurists and scholars in Islam who have measured what is in the Constitution with Sharia law, and the Constitution is about 85% compliant with Sharia.” Considering all the laws we have, that 15% maybe hundreds of instances? I’m pretty sure abortion would be outlawed in sharia, again santorum may be closer in ideology with muslims more than he would care to omit.

  4. sorry i dropped my “a” in may, and i menat to say “admit”. ji think i’m developing some sort of typing dyslexia in my old age?

  5. Do you realise what Sharia Law is? It gives no rights to women, establihes the most violent punishment for small crimes. I completely agree wiht the senetor when he says it is imcompatable with American Freedom.

  6. When he say people left because of the sharia law, he may not be totally wrong.

    I mean, if so many people have to leave their country because it lack of any kind of opportunities, it’s probably because something is wrong. And the laws are one of the most important part of a nation to act in the problems.

    When you have laws that don’t respect the basic human rights, how to expect a community to evolve?

    And if their original country is so bad that people had to leave it behind, why carry those thing that are proved to not work? If it worked, they wouldn’t have to leave their country in the first place.

    The middle-east is rich and beautiful. Why is it covered in poverty and repression?

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