Would instituting Sharia in the United States be that much different than the Judeo-Christian laws that the nation has been founded on?

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Answered by: Majeda, An Expert in the Law of Islam Category
There is no argument that the three major monotheistic religions of the world all share key figures (such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Jesus), as well as tenets (i.e. The Ten Commandments). This being the case, the question of whether Islamic law is actually similar to the Jewish and Christian laws emerges. The United States of America is currently engaged in a war on terror that is, in reality, also a war with Islam, as most of the known terrorism stems from fundamentalist Muslim groups.

To most in the U.S.A and around the world, Islam is a backwards religion replete with draconian and barbaric laws; a system of laws that is unmerciful and full of laws like the one that requires a person to have his/her hand chopped off for stealing! It is because of this view of Islam and its laws that there is such a resistance to allow Sharia in the United States. But is Sharia law really that much different than the laws of Judaism and Christianity which helped to found the American nation?!

Because those nations who have made Judaism and Christianity their state religions tend to separate religion and state, adherents of both religions are able to practice their religion on certain days, and also be able to deal with society which may contain people with more liberal, and even secular, leanings. With Islam, it has been different. Those nations who have chosen to adopt Islam as the state religion often have Islamic dogma be part of every aspect of the nation's systems, be it the educational system, social system and/or legal system. By this fact, Islamic law has been the victim of alteration to suit political aspirations, as well as pre-existing cultural traditions and customs.

The famous Ten Commandments are found in the three religions, and are essentially the backbone of civilized human interaction, but these three religions also have many other similar laws, such as the stoning of adulterers. The difference today is that Judaic and Christian judgments/sentencing of stoning no longer happens as there are very few, if any, courts of law which adhere strictly to such laws. Islamic courts of law, however, do pass these judgments and assure that they are carried out. Hence, it seems that the laws of Islam are more barbaric, but in essence, they are not that different than the Judeo-Christian founding laws of America.

It is possible to institute have Sharia in the United States without overstepping the secular legislative laws already in place. A good balance can be struck, so long as parties on each side of the argument are willing to honestly explore the benefits and ramifications of such an initiative. There will still be some laws/rules which will not sit well with everyone, but Sharia should only be applied to those who wish to have it applied to them. This will ensure that due process is still applied to all citizens, equally and with integrity, as the American legal system is so famous for.

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