Saturday, July 28, 2012

What is Shari'a Law in The Contemporary World?


You likely have heard about efforts to ban Sharia law in America.  These efforts are expressions of fear that somehow Muslims will gain a foothold in America and implement/impose Muslim forms of law on the American people.  Proponents of these laws suggest that Sharia will bring draconian forms of punishment such as beheadings and cutting off of hands and the like.  And, with daily reports from places like Afghanistan in the news, it's easy to see why this is true.

But, is this really what Sharia is all about?  Could it be that Sharia is really an overarching vision of justice and even salvation?  Is it, therefore, more a spiritual concept developed to organize life in a Muslim context than a legal code focused on rules and punishments?  Indeed, is it more akin to Jewish laws that guide diet and marriage and the like, laws that are considered without concern in American courts?

The reality is -- we who live outside the Muslim context simply don't understand Sharia in all it's complexity.  There are rules and punishments that have no place in American life, but then again I oppose capital punishment in all its forms, including American forms, which many conservative Christians are very happy to support.

Well, my friend Saeed Khan, a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, who was filling in for Craig Fahle on his local public radio show, raised the topic in a most interesting and informative conversation with Sadakat Kadri, the author of a new book entitled Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World.   As Mr. Kadri, an attorney practicing law in England, suggests, that these bans are contrary to the 1st Amendment because they focus on protected religious rights, and they will ultimately serve to alienate a growing segment of the American population.  

So, I'd like to invite you to check out the show and listen.  I'd love it if you would return and offer your thoughts.  But here's the key -- first listen to the show, then offer your responses.  

Here it is:

Saeed Khan: What is Shari'a Law in The Contemporary World?: Sadakat Kadri, Author of "Heaven on Earth: A Journey through Shari'a Law From Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World" joins Saeed Khan to talk about Shari'a Law in today's world.

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