Tuesday, January 31, 2012

American Muslims reject separate ‘sharia’ law system

Indeed, Muslims like all other people of faith would love the personal form of Sharia, guidelines regarding one’s relationship with the creator, however, the American Muslims believe that American Laws will serve the relationships between the individual and others.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/sharia-law-not-in-america_b_653250.html

Mike Ghouse
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American Muslims say they reject separate ‘sharia’ law system

By Liz Goodman

A new study based on interviews with more than 200 North American Muslims concludes that a recent spate of state laws banning "sharia law" from the court system may be an overreaction to a non-existent threat.

Oklahoma, Tennessee and Louisiana each passed laws or referendums to ban state judges from considering sharia and other foreign laws last year, and more than 20 other states have debated similar legislation. Newt Gingrich has called for a federal law to ban sharia, while his fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has said sharia law is an "existential threat" to America.

The qualitative study, by University of Windsor law professor Julie MacFarlane and published by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding think tank, is the first to ask American Muslims what they think of sharia, or Islamic religious law. MacFarlane interviewed 101 Muslim men and women, 41 imams and 70 community leaders and specialists about their uses of Islamic law in everyday life. (About a quarter of the respondents live in Canada, but MacFarlane found no significant difference between the Canadian and American responses.)

MacFarlane asked the respondents whether they thought American courts should apply Islamic law to non-Muslims in the legal system. All of them said no.

Three imams out of the 41 surveyed said they wanted a parallel Islamic family tribunal where Muslims could go to sort out their legal problems. But this idea was unpopular with every other respondent, who were content with the separate and secular civil court system. The study's sample was not random, and MacFarlane's findings are not generalizable to the American Muslim community as a whole. But the research still offers a rare look into Muslim attitudes about sharia.

MacFarlane began her research after a small group of Muslims in Toronto petitioned the government in 2003 to set up a separate Islamic family tribunal where Muslims could get binding legal decisions on family law issues. (The city already had such a tribunal for Catholic and Jewish Canadians.) The request--which ultimately was denied--sparked protests in Canada as well as in far-off London, Vienna and Paris. Protesters said the tribunal would violate the separation of church and state. In America, a well-organized network of experts warn of the threat of "creeping sharia," whereby American Muslims--who make up less than 1 percent of the population--attempt to infiltrate courts with Islamic law.

Most of the Muslims MacFarlane interviewed use religious law for family issues such as divorce, marriages, and inheritances in tandem with the regular court system, not instead of it. She focused her research on Muslims who are divorced, interviewing 101 people in that situation. Ninety-five percent of those 101 people said they signed both a nikah, or religious marriage contract, as well as a civil marriage license. Those who had a legal marriage also all formally divorced in courts, after receiving religious permission to do so from an imam. Some imams would not grant a religious divorce until the couple first brought in the civil divorce decree.

"For most American Muslims, sharia represents a private system of morality and identity, primarily focused on marriage and divorce rituals," MacFarlane writes.
Most of the people who signed only a nikah, and not a civil marriage document, were recent immigrants to North America, MacFarlane told Yahoo News. (A nikah-only marriage is not recognized as legal in North America.) In a handful of cases, nikah-only marriages were used when a man was already married and wanted to have multiple wives. Some imams tolerated or encouraged this informal bigamy, MacFarlane says.

MacFarlane's sample isn't representative of the Muslim community as a whole. About 75 percent of the respondents were immigrants to America or Canada, and nearly all of them had at least a college degree. Half were of South Asian descent, 30 percent of Middle Eastern descent, and 10 percent of African descent. The remaining 10 percent were Caucasian converts and African Americans. (African Americans are estimated to make up about 35 percent of the total American Muslim population.)

MacFarlane's findings will be published in a book by Oxford University Press in April.

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Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
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Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797



We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.

URL- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/08/planned-muslim-response-to-quran_18.html

Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.