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Sharia law becomes 2012 caucus issue

22 July 2011 General 16 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Small mosque

BY IAN STEWART | JULY 22, 2011 7:20 AM

Though discussion about radical Islam and its connection to terrorism has played a central role in political debates and elections since 9/11, a new issue has surfaced both in domestic policy and in the run-up to the 2012 presidential elections: sharia.

While some Republicans warn that the code of law could infiltrate American culture, scholars and experts say there’s little chance of the justice system being overtaken by Islamic rule.

The Family Leader — an Iowa-based Christian conservative group — has asked GOP presidential-nomination hopefuls in the last few weeks to sign a “Marriage Vow” that includes a pledge to reject “Sharia Islam and all other anti-woman, anti-human-rights forms of totalitarian control.” And earlier this year, Republican hopeful Herman Cain said he would not be comfortable appointing a Muslim to his Cabinet or the federal bench.

“There is this attempt to gradually ease sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government,” Cain told Think Progress, a liberal blog. “It does not belong in our government.”

Cain later clarified his comment, saying he would hire a Muslim who swore allegiance to the Constitution.

Other caucus contenders, too, haven decried supposed Islamic threats. Republican candidate Michele Bachmann voiced her concerns several months ago during an interview on a Massachusetts radio station.

“We don’t understand that there are sharia-compliant terrorists in our midst,” Bachmann said. “If we … fail to understand our enemy, we will make ourselves more vulnerable.”

And former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said in a speech two years ago that Islam is incompatible with democracy.

“A democracy could not exist because Muhammad already made the perfect law,” Santorum said, according to The Daily Nebraskan. “The Koran is perfect just the way it is, that’s why it is only written in Islamic [sic].”

But Ousainou Keita, the president of the executive committee of the Iowa City Mosque, said sharia is simply “the laws that govern our lives as Muslims.”

“Islam and sharia are not divisible,” Keita said. “It’s just like the United States and the Constitution.”
University of Iowa law Professor Adrien Wing, who teaches classes on law in the Muslim world, said she doesn’t see sharia as a threat to America’s courts.

“Given that there’s not that many Muslims in the whole United States generally and that divorce laws are done according to the laws of each particular state, it’s hard to see that this can be such an issue that these things are overtaking the legal system,” Wing said.

Keita said that there is no risk of sharia law replacing American law, calling such claim “nonsense.”

“It’s part of being a Muslim and Islam, you abide by the law of any land you decide to live in,” Keita said. “If you think you cannot abide by the law, you know what to do — get out of there.”

Karen Lugo, an attorney and founder of the Libertas-West project — which she said seeks to preserve “Western democratic culture” — said she believes Islam poses a special risk.

“This group, unlike others, has a stated purpose, when it comes to the radicals, of our destruction,” she said.

“In America, in our community we can say that we are welcoming the moderate Muslims,” she said. “We don’t mind as long as they don’t want to change the way we live.”

But the law and the religion aren’t the only things being questioned.

Mosques, which are at the heart of any Islamic community, have taken political center stage in the past few years — most notably when controversy erupted over proposed construction of a mosque blocks from the former World Trade Center in New York City.

During an interview with Fox News this month, Cain said he opposed the construction of a mosque in Tennessee.

“Our Constitution guarantees separation of church and state. Islam combines church and state,” he said. “They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their mosque in that community.”

But UI Associate Professor of political science Tim Hagle said he thinks Cain’s comments on Islam won’t endear him many voters.

“Is this going to affect Cain? My guess is yes, because even to the extent that some people would understand why he said it, they’ll still be concerned about how he expressed himself,” Hagle said.

Keita said misunderstanding is a very real phenomenon, especially in the decade since the 9/11 attacks.

“There are 2 billion Muslims worldwide … why don’t they just specify these [terrorists] and link it to the group instead of the whole religion,” Keita said. “Accusing 2 billion people of a crime we have no clue why it was committed…it just doesn’t make sense.”

Original post: Sharia law becomes 2012 caucus issue


  1. @Mike this is why your posts get deleted, your question was already answered in the other thread, but you completly ignored it, so are you just here to troll?

  2. these “ban sharia” laws are as nonsensical as the “mcloud is actually an alien” thing from higlander 2 how is this going to help with issues such as jobs and the tanking economy? but if we are going to have laws banning a set of rules from a religion why don’t we have laws that ban religious tenets from other belief systems so they quell as well like ones from christianity, buddhism, and hinduism sure allot of time and money idiotic politicians can sleep soundly now that there paranoia based fears are quelled.

  3. perseveranze,

    thanks for your input. you may be right. see sahra, my post were deleted. but i’m thnking it was a technical issue. oh well, no big deal. yes i’m here to troll. is that a bad thing? should not everyone troll for knowledge? but i think your wrong, my post on the little gitmo article (the 3rd) disappeared and all i said was something like: who builds a fort out of glass and what kind of fbi agent allows a non-cuffed suspect into the back of their car? this is why i have no confidence in our law inforcement community. why erase that? my post on the young ottoman’s was to you: if as you said previously you can’t do any harm to islam then why did you say (looks like it scrolled off i was going to cut and paste because i can’t remeber the guys name, began with an N) that this turk destroyed islam?

    anyways what answers have i completely ignored? if i have time i respond to all answers given me, either with agreeance or my resaon for not agreeing or sometimes a new question arises from the answer. is that not reasonable?

  4. corey,

    i agree we should have one law for all americans.

  5. Mike,

    Have you studied the difference between Shariah and fiqh?

    They are not the same thing. I think that would be a good issue for you to look into.

  6. hannah,

    will do boss. off the top of my head fiqh is the study of sharia which is open to interpretaion? shariah is the over all law some of which is in the koran and is not open to change. is fiqh not the studing of shariah in the hadiths which have been interpreted differently throughout the ages?

    man i’m getting old, i read this a couple of times but i’ve forgot already. is usc an acceptable source? let’s see what they say…..






    not too far off….maybe my confidence is just shot from all the name calling. i thought i saw a much more brief comparison on the usc site once. i’ll keep looking….hope you’re not in the heat wave. stay cool.

  7. accorrding to this guy…

    “Not many Muslims today appreciate the difference between these two very important and distinct terms. Shariat is a set of irrevocable and eternal principles of Islamic doctrine. Fiqh is the understanding of Shariat and the Jurisprudence that embodies that understanding.”


    intersting site


    so hannah forgive me if i’m wrong, like i said i’m getting old and my memory is failing me. it used to be near photographic… anyways i don’t mean to put you in a bad light with your fellow muslims but was it not you who said that the inheritance laws of the koran are no longer applicable? do you not agree with the “irrevocable and eternal principles”?

  8. This sharia law nonsense is a red herring as far as I’m concerned. The bigger danger is biblical law, at least in this country. The so called “christians” are slowly but surely influencing American laws, re: abortion, gay marriage, adoption, education. If they ever take complete power, were all in trouble. They would be just as cruel and merciless as they were in the Dark Ages, when they did have power.

  9. B.L.Spencer,

    i agree we are in more danger of being taken over by the christians than the muslims. but i don’t follow how “The so called “christians” are slowly but surely influencing American laws, re: abortion, gay marriage, adoption, education.” christians are against abortion and it is still legal, they’re against gay marriage and more places then ever recognize gay marriage, not sure what about adoption you’re talking about but prayer keeps getting thrown out of schools?????

  10. They don’t want cetain people to adopt, mostly gays. Abortion is still legal but they’re slowly chipping away at it with restrictive laws. Marriage for all is still being fought by these people who wish to deny to others the same rights that they themselves enjoy. A handful of states recognize it. They want “intelligent design”, which is plainly religious teaching taught in all schools. Prayer does not belong in public schools. If you want to pray, go to church.

  11. b.i.

    i agree with everything you say as to what “they want” but i guess it’s what benchmark you want to start from. christians have been in charge of the country from the start. abortion (an absolutely barbaric act in my opinion) wasn’t legal until roe vs wade in the ’70s. homosexuallity was outlawed in much, if not all, of america. do you think a gay couple could have adopted children in the 50s? also school pray existed up until when? gay marriage, really, so you want to make your point by pointing out something which was not legal nor socially acceptable to most 20 years ago but is becoming both now? as an example of those who mean to stop it with their influence, that said influence is growing? yet it is getting closer and closer to happening.



    plus do you think muslims are in favor of any of the things you mention?

  12. I have a feeling many who are discussing Shari’ah law don’t even know what it is or what the term means. This may become a bigger issue than anticipated in next year’s elections.

  13. eric,

    i agree, what is sharia???????

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