What Christians, Jews, and Interfaith partners can do for Sharia

By Altaf Wafaqani

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HHere is what a Christian leader wrote to a Muslim leader in Tennessee while discussing that state’s anti-Sharia law:

“….my brother, the MOST IMPORTANT reality behind this legislation is that the overwhelming majority of Americans (non-Muslim) do not have the slightest idea about the actual character and content of Sharia ….”

Our neighbors are looking for balanced information on Sharia and they have a hard time finding it. Sound Vision is engaged in developing a web portal on Sharia to fulfill this urgent need.

Our neighbors are fair-minded people. Despite ten years of negative propaganda against Islam and Muslims on an almost daily basis, 30 percent of our neighbors  simply don’t believe in the nonsense. That translates into 100 million Americans. Who are these wiser people? It would make for an interesting research paper.

We are, nevertheless, losing them fast. Immediately after 9/11, almost 60% of Americans, that is 200 million of our neighbors, had a positive opinion of Islam and Muslims. But we lost about 100 million to this relentless Islamophobic propaganda. The current anti-Sharia campaign is just another part of this campaign bigotry, prejudice, and intolerance.

Here is what you can do today to help your neighbor with questions about Sharia and Islam:

1. Propose a discussion on Sharia in your interfaith dialogue group

Many Muslims spend a good amount of their valuable time in interfaith dialogue. Some of these groups have been meeting for 20 years or so. We recommended that you propose in the next interfaith meeting an open dialogue on the issue of Sharia. This conversation will enhance your knowledge as you prepare for such conversation and learn from neighbors of other faiths how Jewish Halakha Law is practiced by Orthodox and Conservative Jews in the U.S. and how Catholic Canon Law is practiced in the U.S. At the same time, a Muslim speaker can share how Muslims practice Sharia in the USA.

2. Arrange a panel discussion in a synagogue, church and a mosque

It is not just interfaith dialog partners, but how lay members of the community who need to know how their respective religions have comparable beliefs in the ten commandments, laws, courts, rules, procedures of religious lives for those who like to live by these codes.

3. Ask interfaith partners and churches to publish an article on Sharia in their newsletters and post it on your church or synagogue’s website

This is another way to reach all members of the congregation to share this information.

4. Provide Sharia brochures to your interfaith partners and neighbors

Your Masjid, Church, or Temple can purchase three brochures produced by Sound Vision to be distributed about the Sharia debate:

  1. Comparing Jewish Halakha, Catholic Canon Law & Sharia in the USA
  2. How Muslim Americans Live Sharia?
  3. Why did the US Supreme Court honor the Prophet in 1935 as one of the great lawgivers of the world?

5. Organize a joint press conference if your state is thinking of passing an anti-Sharia law

Three states have passed these laws and 17 other states are actively discussing bills to ban Sharia. It will be important to develop a joint interfaith response stating the following four points:

  • Sharia is what Muslims live on a daily basis.
  • It covers religious marriage, divorce, inheritance and other issues
  • It is quite comparable to Jewish Hadaka laws
  • It is against Sharia to impose Sharia on anyone

6. Go beyond the interfaith in looking for partners

There are many partners in society other than interfaith partners. It is important to look for allies. Many law makers in many states have opposed anti-Sharia bills since they are bad laws, and are built on hate. It is important to meet your law makers in an interfaith delegation. Lawmakers prefer to meet donors and the second priority is for groups and organizations. Individuals come last. So meeting in groups is important.

7. Develop a joint statement against hate and Islamophobia

It is not just anti-Sharia bills, but also anti-immigration bills which are circulating in state capitals. Union busting laws are also being presented. Unfortunately, hate has been rising in the country. It is important that Muslims and their neighbors develop alliances and joint stands against hate.

Any ideas?

If you are doing something unique let us know and we will share with others.

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