A proposed law in Tennessee would make following Shariah law a felony with a potential penalty of 15 years in prison. Shariah is Islamic law derived from the Quran and teachings of the Prophet. Shariah can be viewed as a moral code that gives a Muslim guidance in terms of how to govern their daily conduct.
Tennessee lawmakers say Shariah is a threat to homeland security and fundamentally incompatible with American ideals. According to the bill, Shariah poses a “real and present danger to the peaceful enjoyment of Citizenship” by Tennessee residents. That’s right folks, Islam is creeping in, and you better watch out or else soon we will all be sitting around in burkas and reverting to the prohibition era.
Never-mind that little instruction in Shariah which tells Muslims to respect and follow the law of the land in which they reside. But wait, if Muslims can’t follow any part of Shariah, should they be breaking Tenneessee law in order to show their ‘non-adherence’ to Shariah law? By following Tennessee law, Muslims are essentially embracing a part of Shariah law which tells them to respect the law of the land, and under the logic of the new bill – that’s illegal.
The proposed law says it exempts peaceful practice of Islam but strictly prohibits any adherence to Shariah law. In fact, following Shariah in any way would be treasonous. Specifically, the law would allow the attorney general to investigate complaints and decide who is practicing it.
The practice of Islam and Shariah are so deeply intertwined that a Muslim who is peacefully praying, is inevitably engaging in Shariah by virtue of the way he or she has performed ablution to be able to pray in the first place. So let me get this straight, a Muslim can pray peacefully but performing the rite of ablution, which is a prerequisite for prayer is treasonous?
I think I hear the First Amendment screaming bloody murder.
Furthermore, in order to ban the practice of Shariah law, you would first need to define it and although Shariah derived from the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet, the interpretation and implementation of it varies by sect, country and culture. There isn’t one concrete and universally accepted version of Shariah. So is the Tennessee legislature going to sit down and define the exact limitations and boundaries of Shariah?
After all, laws are codified to give the public notice of how to behave and set a standard of governance in society. How is a private, law-abiding citizen supposed to conform their conduct in accordance with the law if there is not a clear definition of that law?
So many issues, so little time.