Report: Understanding Sharia Law

Back in March I contributed to Center for Amerian Progress’ report on “Sharia Law.” The report can be found here.

But by defining Sharia itself as the problem, and then asserting the authenticity of only the most extreme interpretations of Sharia, the authors are effectively arguing that the internecine struggle within Islam should be ceded to extremists. They also cast suspicion upon all observant Muslims.

It’s important to understand that adopting such a flawed analysis would direct limited resources away from actual threats to the United States and bolster an anti-Muslim narrative that Islamist extremist groups find useful in recruiting.

It would also target and potentially alienate our best allies in the effort against radicalization: our fellow Americans who are Muslim. According to the “Sharia threat” argument, all Muslims who practice any aspect of their faith are inherently suspect since Sharia is primarily concerned with correct religious practice.

Quoted: ABC News on Bin Laden’s Death

Hussein Rashid, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, recognizes this sentiment of bin Laden as a larger than life threat among Muslim-American youth — similar to his generation’s experience during the Cold War.

“We’re now getting a group of young adults whose first conscious memory was formed by Osama bin Laden. Their biggest enemy has always been Al Qaeda and bin Laden,” Rashid said.

from American Muslim Students React to Osama bin Laden’s Death

Quoted: BBC on Bin Laden’s Death

“For Americans, he became the embodiment of the bogeyman for us, that mythical beast that’s a source of fear,” says Hussein Rashid, a Muslim academic from New York who helps to build relations across communities and faiths.

“His death is incredibly cathartic and here in New York, there’s a massive sense of relief, a sense of ‘We’ve got the monster.’ And that’s the mode most Americans will be in for a while.

“It’s incredibly important that we got him, but operationally it is less significant. He hasn’t been the man in charge [of al-Qaeda] and this isn’t the head of the snake.”

Bin Laden’s videos fanned the flames of fear by using language and symbols that alienated Americans, says Mr Rashid, such as once comparing President George W Bush to Hulagu Khan, a Mongol leader who conquered an Islamic empire.

“It was language they didn’t have access to. I had to explain to people why he [Khan] was so important to Muslims and that made it more powerful.”

from Bin Laden: How he haunted the US psyche

The same article in Portuguese.