Even though the internet is full of reputable sources for finding out about Sharia Law, people continue to misunderstand it. This is partly because of the recent trend that associates Sharia Law with extremism and terrorism. This trend stems from one clear source: a 2010 report published by the Center for Security Policy (CSP).
The CSP is a conservative think tank that supports mainly neoconservative values. Their mission is to inform the public and policymakers on what they consider to be threats to national security. In their 2010 report titled “Sharia: The Threat to America” they outlined what they considered to be the most important threat of our time, Sharia Law. The term “Sharia Threat” was born and conservative bloggers have never had so much fun.
But the basic message of the report is based on a flawed understanding of Sharia Law, or at least some major contradictions. The report correctly states that:
…Sharia is a reference point for a Muslim’s personal conduct, not a corpus to be imposed on the life of a pluralistic society.
But then goes on to state that Sharia law is a threat to freedom and is incompatible with our Constitution. How can a reference point for your personal life be incompatible with our Constitution, which was was designed partly to protect freedom in personal life?
Sharia Law is interpreted differently by different communities of Muslims. Some are extreme, yes, but most are not. In the same nature, some Jews and Christians are extreme and most are not.
The “Sharia Threat” must sound silly to most Muslims, since for them Sharia law determines how they conduct their personal religious lives. How can prayer and fasting threaten national security?
The Sharia Threat theory is based on an ill-advised understanding of Sharia law that allows an extremist, anti Muslim group to cherry-pick phrases from Muslim sacred texts. The selected phrases are used to paint an incorrect picture of Sharia law. The same could be done with the Bible, or the Torah.
Christians don’t do half the terrible things mentioned in the Bible, like stoning people to death. Same with sharia law, which is also full of antiquated, extreme-sounding punishments that have faded out over time.