American democracy has a long history with Islam and Shari’ah law
From the founding of the United States as a nation, there has been Islamic influence.
The Islamic nation of Morocco was the first to recognize America as a nation, in 1777. Muslims fought in the Revolutionary War to win our freedom. Muslims were brought to America during the slave trade. Some of the American founding fathers had copies of the Quran, most notably Thomas Jefferson.
The U.S. Constitution itself is said to be influenced by the spirit of the Holy Quran in that it recognizes the inherent rights of the individual, the community, and the universal thread of humanity that connects us all.
Islam itself goes beyond the bounds of religion, geography and ethnicity; it addresses the nature of the human being to submit only to God. In this sense it outlaws slavery, it equalizes men and women, and it imposes no compulsion on the individual to serve anyone, including God.
Shariah law, contrary to popular belief, is not some strict law put down in books that metes out punishment if someone steps outside the law. Shariah is the guidance of the Holy Quran itself that shows the person the path of life recommended by Allah. It is only when that person ignores the guidance that they suffer the consequences of their own disobedience. When societal laws are broken, then the law of the land is applicable.
Those who commit acts of terror on the innocent, as we saw in New York City on Oct. 31, are not only ignorant of the true concepts of the faith, but have refused to understand the faith. They are led to acts of terror by those who hold influence over them and harbor hatred for any who do not share their way of thinking. Neither the teacher nor those they control are considered Muslim.
Imam Yahya Shabazz of Oakland is the author of “Sharia wa Minhaa-jaa-Islamic Law.”