Chuck Norris
As most Americans have done since our republic's inception, millions of us across the country this Holy Week will commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But what concerns me in America is not only the growing disdain for Christian sentiment but also the increasing spread of Shariah.

There's no mystery that radical Islamists intend to use the freedoms in our Constitution to expand the influence of Shariah. But still, too many Americans don't know or understand how it threatens the very fabric of our republic. So I've decided to do a series on how Shariah is seeping into American society.

First, let me categorically state that I'm not an Islamophobe. I welcome the plurality of religions in America and am a firm believer in the First Amendment. But just as our religious freedom is secured in the Bill of Rights, so is our freedom of speech to share even our religious concerns.

For those who might not know, the Arabic term "Shariah" literally means "the path to be followed," denoting its nature as a guide for a blessed life. Shariah is derived from both the Quran (the Muslim holy book) and Sunna (Islamic custom, piety and practice). In short, Shariah is Islamic law, a religious code for living; it is a system of moral, religious, social and civic laws. Shariah details and decrees proper benevolence, prayers, fasting, dress, business practices, marital and relational conduct, sexual offenses, custody, contracts, inheritance, etc.

Shariah has been adopted in different ways by various countries, ranging from a narrow and strict interpretation in Saudi Arabia and northern states of Nigeria to a loose and liberal interpretation in much of Malaysia. Some Shariah offenses are criminal and require imprisonment. Others incur hudud, a class of penalties including stoning, flogging and amputation. There are five crimes that are punishable by hudud: sex outside of marriage and adultery, false accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse, wine drinking (sometimes extended to include all alcohol drinking), theft and highway robbery.

Though most Islamic states have adopted elements of Shariah into law, only some have adopted hudud, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Pakistan (though the latter is lax in enforcement). Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon have not adopted hudud. And other countries, such as Turkey, have essentially abandoned Shariah in favor of new law codes based on European systems.

But the main point here is this: Where Islam and Islamic culture have spread, Shariah has shortly followed.

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris is a columnist and impossible to kill.