Sharia - The Untold Truth
Publisher: IONA Press
For many Americans today, the word sharia strikes fear in their hearts. Over the last decade, many state legislatures have introduced anti-sharia laws, and a few have even passed them. The concept sharia conjures up images of medieval torture, beheading of infidels, and the brutal oppression of women. Some Americans fear that Muslim Americans harbor a secret desire to destroy the American constitutional system and replace it with sharia law. This irrational fear of sharia, fueled as it is by the deeply entrenched Islamophobic environment in which we live, is actually quite ironic. For as Feisal Abdul Rauf has argued, the American constitutional system shares many of its grandest ideals with the ideals of sharia. America may not always live up to those ideals, but Abdul Rauf is convinced that compared with many Muslim majority countries, America is actually one of the most Islamically oriented countries in the world! How can this be?
Steve Mustapha Elturk, in this excellent little book Sharia: The Untold Truth, may help us answer this question. By laying out the true objectives of sharia as they emerge from Islamic sources, he paints a picture of a framework for life that should sound quite familiar to Americans. When Elturk writes, "Sharia not only insists other faiths coexist with Islam, but also guarantees the protection of their houses of worship and properties," is sharia not espousing a principle consistent with the religious freedom clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Is Elturk's statement, "It (sharia) upholds the sanctity and sacredness of human life, and goes without saying that it is forbidden to kill any person without justification" really something that should prompt fear in Americans? And when we see that sharia protects the right to freedom, justice, and a basic standard of life, are we not in the company of an ideal we would all wish to strive for? When properly understood, sharia is simply not the scary oppressive idea that Islamophobic stereotypes try to create in our minds.
Proof of this can easily be found in the lives of American Muslim communities. Over the past decades, many have had the privilege of being hosted by Muslim communities from Maine to California and many places in between. They have often been struck by the dignity and respect for all people so apparent in these communities and the commitment to serve the greater good of their larger communities, the nation, and the world. We have nothing to fear from sharia or the Muslims in our midst. We have only to fear our own ignorance. Allow Steve Mustapha Elturk's Sharia: The Untold Truth to open your mind to a new and more positive way of viewing our Muslim neighbors, who, as much as anyone, want nothing more than to strive for a world of justice and peace.