America has democracy and freedom of religion. Most Muslim nations have pockets of the radical form of power and religion known as Sharia.
It is the body of the Islamic law, and its rules are based on those of the Quran and hadiths, which are sayings and examples of the Prophet. Encompassing Sharia are thousands of laws that have others in the world fearful of the influence, even an influence possibly in America.
On Nov. 2, Election Day, the voters of Oklahoma approved a constitutional amendment that would bar Sharia and any other international law from being used in the state.
Seventy percent of voters voted for the referendum. A federal judge blocked the amendment temporarily and a hearing will take place on Nov. 22.
Traces of Sharia have been allowed and later banned in parts of Canada.
Some of these laws include legal “honor” killings of women and girls by male family members. Women can be beaten for talking to men who are not a part of their family. They also can be flogged for not wearing a headdress, and non-Muslims can be beheaded. Some customs have been getting media attention over the past couple of years.
According to The New York Times, there was a case of Sharia in news this past summer when a wife from Iran was accused of adultery, and her husband was going to have her stoned. In this instance, it is a part of the law that women accused of adultery can be killed.
The Iranian woman’s son and a lawyer intervened, however, and her stoning verdict has been suspended.
A married couple who currently live in central Texas worked for about five years in Afghanistan with a non-governmental organization. The two would like to remain anonymous and will be referred to as John and Jane.
The NGO oversaw medical and eye care centers and taught the locals how to maintain the facilities on their own to successfully run in the future. John and Jane later worked at an English and computer center where they taught English at the high school level.
John never saw the radical form of Sharia in any of the towns where they lived and says that they there carried out normal lives. However, he said that women do not have the same freedoms as the women of America.
“Women were treated with respect, I’m not going to say they were treated with equality, but I would say that at least publicly they were treated with respect,” he said. “We don’t know what went on behind closed doors.”
Lately, fear has been rising in western countries that Sharia might make its way into their culture.
Professor of Christian studies at UMHB for 30 years, Dr. Tony Martin, said that Americans have nothing to fear from Sharia.
“I doubt that it has much of a chance succeeding in the United States because our Constitution is the primary instrument of law. And the constitutional system of law is not going to tolerate a rival system of law,” Martin said.
As for Jane, she believes the same.
“I would say it is true from a religious Islam leader’s point of view that they are trying to propagate Islam around the world and that (Sharia) would be their goal,” she said. “My personal take on it coming to America is that Americans will not tolerate it and that Americans will stand up (for) what they believe.”
But there is what some consider an underlying problem. In a four-year period, the Muslim population in Britain has grown to 2.4 million due to immigration, a high birthrate and conversions. For Martin, it’s the immigration system that needs to be looked at in Britain and other countries.
“The immigration system in some of these countries needs to be revised in order to try to discourage immigration on the part of violent jihadists who are dedicated to the goal of Islamization to the countries to which they migrate,” he said.
“When some of these Muslims, the radicals, migrate to Western countries, they do so with the long-term goal of encouraging the Islamization of these countries in which they hope to establish Sharia law,” Martin said.
Not every Muslim has the intent to spread their faith until everyone in the world is Muslim, however.
Residing in Afghanistan, John never once had a bad encounter with the locals.
“Our experience living in the Muslim world was overall a very positive experience. The people we interacted with were very friendly, hospitable, kind and that’s my impression of Muslim people,” he said.
Martin has had several positive encounters with the Muslim world as well. He has been to Egypt and said most people seem happy there, but he also said that a handful of Muslims will stop at nothing to spread terror.
“Most of the Muslims that I’ve known and been exposed to are calm, reasonable, prudent people who respected the rights of other people as well,” he said.
“Thugs like Osama bin Laden and the people that follow him are just out of touch with reality. They’re very near psychotic thinking that they can impose their religion on the rest of the world. They’re in for a life of frustration.”
Not only do people of different walks think these radicals are not in the right mind, but so do many Muslims.
“The Muslims we talked to would also say those (radicals) are terrorists. They’re not humans,” John said.
UMHB political science Professor Dr. Janet Adamski agrees with John about how the majority of Muslims do not side with those who support and practice the extreme form of Sharia.
“It’s seen as not being true to Islam. It’s seen as being politicized,” she said. “I think there are many Muslims who don’t like the hardest line version of Sharia.”
Adamski,who has tought in Turkey, said each people group in the world has a source of core values and those can be distinguished in the government form or the people’s religion. Though the extreme form of Sharia isn’t morally accepted by many, even by people of the Muslim faith, those radicals will try to spread their Sharia.
But people of the Western world are beginning to raise concern for the morals and ethics that are infiltrating their countries and their governments.
Martin said that radicals need to realize what countries they are moving to.
“We’ll always have a problem of dealing with those who are unhappy in the world because they can’t impose their religion on everybody else,” he said.
“The radicals and extremists and jihadists who think that way really would do themselves a favor by coming to terms with the fact that we’re not just going to roll over and play dead.”