sharia law

Pastor Terry Jones is No Match for the Beatles’ LOVE

photo   © 2011   Mark Taylor , Flickr
Pastor Terry Jones leads a Islamaphobic march. photo © 2011 Mark Taylor , Flickr

Many will remember pastor Terry Jones as the champion of the “Burn a Quran Day” event, intended to fan anti-Islamic rhetoric on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Though many shouted him down and criticized his motives, he continues to have somewhat of a national platform for his agenda.

In this video produced by the New York Times, we get to witness what I consider a momentary intervention of God’s spirit in a beautifully, creatively nonviolent way. As Pastor Jones condemns Muslims and their religion, a man in the crowd pulls up the lyrics to the Beatles song, “All You Need is Love” on his phone. He stands next to jones and begins to sing, inviting the crowd to join in. It is beautiful because his hate is repaid with song, and the sting of his venomous words is neutralized without a hand or another voice being raised in anger (though I could do without the “idiot” sign, thanks).

Kansas Lawmakers Forget the Greatest Commandment

The Kansas State Capitol, Walter G Arce /
The Kansas State Capitol, Walter G Arce /

Recently, the Kansas’ legislature and governor enacted a law to ensure state courts and agencies do not consider foreign laws in legal decision-making.  While the language is broadly written, the law’s narrow intention is clearly understood. The Kansas legislature has irrationally concluded that Sharia law somehow threatens the state’s well-being and decisive action was needed.

This, of course, is false.

Sharia Hysteria

THE ISLAMOPHOBIC wave, which has been building in America at least since the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, washed up on the shores of pop culture at the end of last year. That’s when the Lowe’s chain of home improvement stores caved to far-right pressure and pulled its commercials from the TLC cable channel reality show All-American Muslim.

The pressure campaign against All-American Muslim was spearheaded by a fringe outfit called the Florida Family Association (FFA), which was able to generate a mass email campaign to advertisers based on a claim that the show “is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.” This, according to the FFA, is because the show depicts Muslim cops and football coaches, but doesn’t show any “honor killings” or Muslims being persecuted for converting to Christianity.

A few things are shameful about this whole flap. One is that it was over such a tedious, mind-numbing reality show. Another is that a one-man band, which is what the Florida Family Association essentially is, could hijack the mass media stage without any questions being raised about its legitimacy until after the damage was done. The episode highlights all the potential dangers of instant “digital democracy” and sort of makes me nostalgic for the days of the pony express.

But the worst thing about the whole affair is that the FFA’s bogus claims about “sharia law” are right in lockstep with the official talking points of the Republican Far Right. In recent months, “sharia law” seems to have taken the place in their discourse that was once occupied by the phrase “homosexual agenda.” Both phrases were concocted to imply an overt conspiratorial threat that simply did not exist, and then lay that threat at the feet of a designated scapegoat group.

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Court blocks Oklahoma's Islamophobia

Photo of an open Quran via Wylio
Photo of an open Quran via Wylio

Earlier this week, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision to halt anti-Sharia initiative from going into effect.

Sharia law, also known as Islamic law, comes from the Qur’an, the Hadith (sayings from the prophet Muhammad), and fatwas (rulings of Islamic scholars). While many people in the West view Sharia as unfair and archaic, many Muslims view it as something that sustains humanity (read more from BBC). In practice, it is therefore not uncommon for Islamic countries to be ruled partially by Sharia law.