Muslims are organizing discussions across America to assert that sharia is compatible with the U.S. Constitution. Since these presentations rarely involve a real debate there is no opportunity for thoughtful challenge to the questionable premise. In fact, if these “town halls” are conducted as the recent session in Garden Grove, CA, they will be characterized by partisan rants, baseless platitudes on harmonizing ambiguous values, and a total lock-down on dissent.
It is time to find out if there is a Muslim bluff to call on sharia and America foundational values. We can, and must, demand an answer to this urgent question: If American Muslims follow a unique interpretation of sharia -- as is implicit in their claim to embrace American ideals -- will they make an unequivocal statement condemning the sharia-justified violence in Islamic countries? In the face of rising violence and defiant death sentences, will American Muslims repudiate the oppression, persecution, and the killing committed in the name of sharia?
Right now, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is reported to be awaiting imminent execution under Iran’s sharia blasphemy laws; web developer Saeed Malekpour faces hanging in Iran on a trumped up corruption charge; Iranian bloggers and freedom activists are subjects of a brutal crackdown; Saudi Hamza Kashgari’s tweets are punishable by death according to Saudi sharia blasphemy laws; and, Christophobia currently rages through Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq, and Egypt in the form of massacres of Christians, maiming, looting, and burning of churches. The silence of American Muslim leadership in the face of this gathering cyclone of human rights abuses is deafening. Their claims that sharia is supportive of fundamental human rights -- as long as they are not willing to repudiate this barbarism -- is offensive. Of course, if there is a different interpretation of sharia applied in America, Muslim leadership bears the burden of making this emphatic distinction.