De-Bunking Myths About Shariah
ISNA understands the frustration that many American Muslims feel when they hear yet another news story or blogger quote inaccurate information about Muslims or deliberately spread hate that promotes religious discrimination and intolerance. The rallying point for many of these sources is on Shariah law and creating a fear in America that private religious law for Muslims is somehow a threat to all of America. That is why we have met with elected officials, law enforcement, media, and local community members to provide informed and accurate answers to their questions about Shariah and ensure that unnecessary actions are not taken against Muslims in America based on the lies perpetrated by anti-Muslim groups and leaders.
This Wednesday, ISNA National Director Dr. Sayyid Syeed delivered the keynote address to more than 700 community members in Nashville, TN at their second local community dialogue, “Family of Abraham.” The dialogue was organized by the Islamic Center of Nashville and other faith leaders in their local community.
The Nashville area Muslim community has experienced tremendous discrimination in the last year from a few very loud voices in the national community. Many in the Nashville interfaith community have rallied around Muslims and organized the Family of Abraham events with the understanding that questions about Islam in their local faith communities needed an authoritative response through open and constructive dialogue. Education is the necessary first step toward global understanding and religious harmony.
The Family of Abraham event sought to answer these important questions:
- What is Shariah Law? Is there reason to fear its incursion into American law?
- How do the teachings of the Qur’an influence the behavior and attitudes of American Muslims?
- What role do the mosque and the Imam play in the American Muslim community?
- How can we be assured that American Muslims subscribe to the same values and propositions of other Americans?
- Who speaks for the American Muslim community?
- What is the role of women in Islam?
- How can we help promote tolerance and understanding in our community?
The event was held just six days after an anti-Muslim conference, “Constitution or Sharia,” took place in Nashville, TN. The conference, like many other anti-Muslim initiatives, focused on spreading the false ideology that the values of Islam are incompatible with the values of America and the principles of the American constitution.
Following the event, Dr. Syeed stated, “This was an important opportunity for ISNA to help the interfaith community understand what shariah is along with the dynamic scope of interpretations of shariah. When people are given the opportunity to ask their questions to Muslims and become educated to the fact that the guiding principles of Islam actually support the U.S. Constitution by protecting religious freedom for all faiths and prohibiting Muslims from imposing their beliefs on people of other faiths, they are no longer susceptible to the fear tactics used by anti-Muslim bigots, such as those organizing the “Constitution or Sharia” conference.”