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Contesting the Sharia: The Ideological Interpretation (and Misinterpretation) of Islamic Law

by Najam Haider

The proposed construction of a mosque in the vicinity of Ground Zero in New York City has raised an outcry from a number of critics including (but not limited to) former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Speaker of the House (and potential 2012 presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich.  In a July 28, 2010 article published by Gingrich in the conservative magazine Human Events, he writes:

Radical Islamism is more than simply a religious belief.  It is a comprehensive political, economic, and religious movement that seeks to impose Sharia – Islamic law – upon all aspects of global society.

He goes on to explain that Sharia “does not permit freedom of conscience” or “religious liberty” and is “explicitly at odds with core American and Western values.”  He then chronicles a phenomena that he dubs “creeping Sharia” whereby government institutions refuse to implement the protections of American law in deference to this apparently draconian religious legal code. Continue Reading →