As America’s Muslim population grows, so too does the influence of Islamic law, or Shariah, in daily life in the U.S.
“Shariah Law is the totality of the Muslim’s obligation,” said Abdullahi An-Na’im, a professor of law at Emory University in Atlanta. According to An-Na’im, Shariah is similar to Jewish Talmudic Law or Catholic Canon Law in that it guides an adherent’s moral conduct.
“As a citizen, I am a subject of the United States,” An-Na’im said. “I owe allegiance to the United States, to the Constitution of the United States. That is not inconsistent with observing a religious code in terms of my own personal behavior.”
While many view this as a testament to the “great American melting pot,” others see Islamic law’s growing influence as a threat. Shariah’s critics point to cases such as the airport in Minneapolis, where some Shariah-adherent taxi drivers made headlines in 2006 for refusing to pick up passengers they suspected of carrying liquor. The drivers’ aversion to alcohol stemmed from a verse in the Qur’an that describes “intoxicants and gambling” as “an abomination of Satan’s handiwork.” Continue Reading →