Understanding Sharia law and Islamophobia

Washington Times 21 January 2013
By Bob Taylor

"Sharia law" and "Islamophobia"are popping up more often these days, but are they still largely undefined to most Americans?

While the horrible hostage violence in Algeria last week was brief, it received considerable attention from the media. But the Algerian situation was an offshoot of on-going strife in Mali which has been raging for nearly a year with virtually no attention.

During that time, northern Mali has become controlled by Al Qaeda associated groups, who have introduced Sharia law into an area as large as the country of France.

Now we are steadily hearing the terms "Sharia law" and "Islamophobia," but do we understand their significance?

According to Reza Aslan, a religious scholar and contributing editor to The Daily Beast, Sharia does not exist because it cannot be pigeon-holed into a single code of Islamic principles and values.

That is the same thing Islamic apologists say about their religion, that Muslims cannot be categorized into a monolithic group any more than Christians.

The controversy arises because what supporters of Islam are saying does not jive with what Sharia law and extremists are doing. So-called moderate Muslims do little to condemn the actions of those who wage jihad on the rest of the world. Whether the lack of response is fear or apathy makes little difference because silence is often viewed as compliance, which generates concern about terrorist activities. And that results in what is known as "Islamophobia.”

Is Islamophobia moving into the same category as the term "racism” where it is conveniently used whenever someone disagrees with a member of the offended group? Yet, is there any other religion in the world that has perpetuated so much violence and radical turmoil on a continuous worldwide scale as Islam?

The answer is obvious and the result is genuine fear of reprisal by many who practice the faith, despite the fact that most Muslims are peaceful even if the tenets of their religion are not.

At the edge of the city of Timbuktu in Mali a sign has gone up that reads, "Welcome to the city of Sharia.”

The trouble is that "welcome” and "Sharia” are not compatible. The sign is an oxymoron.

Sharia law, in whatever form it is practiced, is a harsh, cruel system of religious and individual guidelines that make any sort of personal freedom a nightmare to obey, even for the most devoted Muslims. Sharia law in its purest sense defies the humanity of civilized lifestyle.

Timbuktu was noted for its international music festivals until the Islamic regime took over. Now the only music that is heard is the sound of Koranic verses, even on the ringtones of cell phones (continue reading...)