Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sharia Law: The Current Boogeyman of the South

The situation I am going to analyze is the recent government proposed ban of Sharia Law. I chose this topic, because I unfortunately do not possess a great deal of knowledge in this area. I want to learn as much as possible about this conflict, so I know where I personally stand on the issue. I am curious how the government can justify an outright attack on a religion when we claim a separation of church and state. How can we, as America, single out individuals based on their religion on one hand, and proclaim freedom and liberty on the other? Our government is riddled with politicians who haven’t the slightest clue of what Sharia Law is actually about. They are merely acting off of fear that accompanies the ignorance of Orientalism. They assume that because the law is strictly interrupted in some countries, that that is the case everywhere, which isn’t true. Many countries have a loose interpretation of the law with less severe punishments. Across the Muslim world, Sharia plays out in different ways, depending on whether the local government is secular, strictly Islamist, or somewhere in between. It also depends on how local Muslim scholars interpret the law.
Sharia Law is defined as the divinely ordained code of conduct or religious law of Islam. It is a wide-ranging body of law and personal rules, regulating matters of jurisprudence, hygiene, politics, business, banking, family, sexuality, diet, and society. Most Muslims believe that there are two primary sources for the Law: the standards set forth in the Qur’an and the example set by the Prophet Muhammad. Basically, Sharia Law outlines a way of living one’s life morally within the laws of Islam, in the same way that the Bible offers a moral code for Christians. Sharia Law is based predominantly off of the Islamic faith, so proposing to outlaw it is, in essence, proposing to outlaw the entire faith.
Also, Sharia Law is only applicable to the followers of Islam, so why does our government have such a desire to stick its nose where it doesn’t belong? It is not affecting them in any way, shape, or form. America is supposed to believe in the freedom of expression of culture and religion; a country where individuals should be able to practice their beliefs without the fear of persecution.
Unfortunately, this extreme bias is happening within our own state. Tennessee State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and state Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma) introduced a bill briefly before Spring Break proposing the ban of Sharia Law. The bill attempts to define Sharia law and to make following it a felony punishable by 15 years in jail. So, you think this doesn’t affect you? Who’s to say that Sharia Law will be the only religious belief up on the chopping block? If the government gets involved in this situation, who’s to say what religious group will be the next target? An open attack against one religious group is a threat to all religious practices.

I encourage you to watch this video and listen to the unfortunate opinions of some of our fellow Tennesseans. The video discusses the proposal of a Murfreesboro mosque, and the article is about the proposed ban on Sharia Law.


  1. Jamie, I am so excited to see the rest of your blog! I love that you are choosing this topic to write about. I totally agree with what you said about all religions being up to the chopping block if one is being persecuted. I mean, I have my own strong set of beliefs, but I don't expect anyone to believe them and I don't try to force them on anyone, which is exactly what's happening with this potential ban. I'm excited to read all that you find out!

  2. This looks like a very interesting topic! However, I think you need to treat it with extreme care. I think the main thing lawmakers were attempting to do when outlawing it here was to say that Muslims could use this law in place of the US laws. In that respect, I completely agree since Christians can't use the Bible's laws over US laws (even though many of our laws are based on the Bible... cough cough anti-gay laws cough cough). Though I have not done much research on the Sharia law, as long as it does not supersede US law and does not suppress people's rights, I have no problem with them adhering to their religious code.

  3. I'm so excited you're writing about this Jamie because now I don't have to do as much research on my own! I'm really curious to see the motivations behind those wishing to ban it.