Sharia Law

Sharia LawShariah, often referred to as “Islamic Law,” is in actuality a legal doctrine based on the Quran and Hadith (sayings and acts of Mohammed), but one which goes far beyond what Westerners would regard as religious matters or routine legal matters. It is, in fact, a cultural, political, legal and financial system of mandatory laws and punishment. Shariah governance is complex and all-encompassing, controlling every aspect of life. Many of the values and practices found in Islamic law contradict those of our constitutional republic.

What is covered by Shariah?
Shariah covers all aspects of life, including criminal law, domestic law, statecraft and warfare (Jihad). Shariah encompasses personal ethics and legal issues, religion and state governance, this world and the afterlife. Shariah is said to enforce the will of Allah, as opposed to the will of humans. Shariah regulates belief, speech and religious practice, criminal and legal matters, and other fields including finance and war. There is no such thing as a separate secular authority or secular law under doctrinal Shariah, since religion and state are not distinct, but are one.

How is Shariah related to violent Jihad?
Shariah mandates violent Jihad as a religious obligation. Violent Jihad’s purpose against non-Muslims or former Muslims is to establish Islam’s rule worldwide. The establishment of Shariah rule is a stated goal of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, HAMAS, Al Shabaab, Abu Sayaf, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jemaah Islamiya and other Jihadist known or designated terrorist organizations, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Who interprets and rules on Shariah law?
Shariah is interpreted, adjudicated and substantially controlled by a relatively small group of Islamic Shariah scholars worldwide. Although there are differences among the six major schools of Shariah law, all have consensus on the major issues – which are also the tenets directly in conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

Where is Shariah enforced worldwide?
Shariah is the strict, exclusive law of the land or basis of that law in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan. It is also enforced in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as enclaves around the world controlled by violent Jihadist organizations. Shariah is either a parallel legal system or partly integrated into the legal systems of the other Islamic-majority nations, such as Egypt and Morocco. Some pro-Shariah groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood also support democratic elections as long as they result in governments, constitutions, legal systems and societies based on Shariah.

Where is Shariah appearing in the US?
Shariah is frequently encountered in family law cases across the USA today; in Shariah-compliant accommodations that may result in discrimination against non-Muslims; and in Shariah-Compliant Finance on Wall Street and in the U.S. government.shariah_scoreboard_preview

Why are Shariah courts a problem, but Jewish and Christian courts are not a problem?
Unlike other forms of religious law, such as Jewish law or Catholic Canon law, Shariah does not just apply to Muslims; it applies to non-Muslims as well. Specifically, because neither Jewish law (halacha) nor Christian canon or ecclesiastical law obligates the Jew or Christian, respectively, to violently impose theo-political tenets in lieu of the Constitution, there is simply no basis to apply the laws of sedition to the application of Jewish law or Christian dogma within private religious or commercial contexts. While Jews and Christians may advocate and petition their government for laws that reflect their moral and theological worldview (as may Muslims or atheists), neither Jewish law nor Christian dogma permits the forceful imposition of a theocracy in lieu of representative government or the replacement of our constitution with theocratic legislation.

What are the recent initiatives against Shariah?
Tennessee and Louisiana have passed laws to prevent the infiltration of Shariah into their court systems. A ballot initiative to amend the Oklahoma constitution to prevent the infiltration of Shariah goes to a vote this November. Many more bills are reportedly in the planning stage for the 2011 Congress and state legislative sessions.

For more information contact the Center for Security Policy: