Sharia Law: We Know What It’s About – Really?

muslim-womanSharia Law in the United States? Really?

I received an email from a friend that included a link to a video. He wanted my opinion of the video’s content. The topic of the video, “Sharia Law”, is discussed by a passionate speaker who goes on to draw connections between Sharia Law (also spelled Shariah) in the United States, domestic terrorism and the American University system.

As I watched the video I felt deeply disappointed and somewhat saddened for three reasons.

  • First, the talk was short on explanations of Sharia law. Brigitte Gabriel, the speaker, goes on a rant about the evils of this ideology without even giving a short definition of this moral code which could easily have been extracted from Wikipedia.
  • Second, Brigitte Gabriel, who is also the founder of Act! for America connects Sharia Law to homegrown terrorism without bothering to give the slightest justification for making this connection.
  • Third, the email had been sent to so many in the Black community with a subject line that said, “Important, Get Informed!”. It wouldn’t surprise me if I learned that it had gone viral within the Black faith community – a community that rarely explores other faiths.

Following is the letter I wrote to my friend. I’ve embedded the video for you to take a look.

Dear Friend,

I was surprised when I received this video, particularly because it was from you. To me, it is clearly propaganda. But I don’t want to just lay a word like “propaganda” out there without an explanation. Frankly, I’d much rather talk to you about this face-to-face but writing will help me to clarify my position.

If I’ve learned anything from the lessons of history, it’s that red flags should go up when accusations are hurled at an entire group of people for the wrong doings of a few. When a speaker accuses an entire ethnic or religious group of wanting to “attack us” or talks of people wanting to infiltrate our universities  — my antenna go up.

Appealing to emotion as opposed to cognition – a tactic frequently used when one is short on data  - raises another red flag.  It is also something that is done in lieu of providing analysis of well-researched data.

She states that 75 arrests have been made in two years. While it is incumbent upon our nation to take these threats seriously, there are many who thrive financially and otherwise when the flames of fear are fanned. Just consider that more than 30,000 people die in this country from gun violence in a single year and then think about the 75 arrests. And we’re not talking convictions or even successful terrorists acts.

Here is the video:

Early in the talk the speaker says, “We know they want to advance Sharia and we know what Sharia is all about”. She states this as if these are established facts. We know? Who is we? And what exactly is it that we know? She then moves on to what would  be the next logical conclusion — which is that we must stop them. The problem is that she hasn’t demonstrated that her first two assertions are, in fact, facts:

  • We know they want to advance Sharia; and
  • We know what Sharia is all about.

Who is “they” and who is “we”?

This video is likely to be dismissed by anyone who is well read or well traveled. So it’s probably fair to assume that an informed audience is not the target audience for this video. This kind of message appeals to people who have not studied history, who aren’t steeped in the social sciences or who have little or no connections to the Muslim community. Without a foundation of knowledge to fall back on, people are more apt to be swayed by emotional appeals and fear. They are also less likely to challenge or question what’s being asserted as truth.

Since 9/11, organizations like ACT! for America speak at conferences, write on websites, and appear on radio shows, to rail against Islam and cast suspicion on Muslims both in America and abroad — treating the entire Muslim community as de factor terrorists.

While this is disturbing, it isn’t new. It isn’t the first time and unless we work to stop it, it won’t be the last time.  We (our nation) tend to cast a very wide net when the “alleged culprits” are anything but white Christians. Think back to the American internment camps during WWII.

A significant portion of the American population had lineage that hailed from Germany and Italy. Were they interned or even looked at suspiciously? No. But the Americans whose lineage traced back to Japan were summarily scooped up and locked away in camps. They were the Americans who were interned. They were the ones who lost property and everything else. The politics of fear led to the post-Pearl Harbor internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans, yet not a single one of the interned was ever found to have any connection to the Pearl Harbor bombing. We cast a wide net and scooped them all up regardless of their citizenship. Sixty percent of the interned were Americans. The only probable cause was the ethnic group these Americans were born into to. But what happened to those Americans whose ancestry traced back to Germany or Italy? Nothing.

The few actual Germans and Italians who were forcibly interned in the United States during WWII were German and Italian citizens, many of which were traveling in the United States when we entered the war. According to Wikipedia, the population of German citizens in the United States – not to mention American citizens of German birth – was far too large for a general policy of internment comparable to that used in the case of the Japanese in America. Instead, German citizens were detained and evicted from coastal areas on an individual basis. The War Department considered mass expulsions from coastal areas for reasons of military security, but never executed those plans. So, although we were at war with Germany, Italy and Japan — only the Americans of Japanese heritage were detained and interned en masse. Not unlike the treatment brown immigrants receive as compared to the white Canadians who cross the border and overstay their VISAs.

Continuing on this — look the other way if the potential terrorist is a white Christian – contrary to the tone of the speaker in the video whose diatribe would lead one to think that American domestic terrorism is primarily committed by Muslims, Department of Justice data suggests that domestic terrorist groups and anti-government extremists are overwhelmingly male able bodied White American heterosexual Christians!

How often does ACT! for America or any similar organization rail against the group who has been identified as the most likely to be involved in domestic terrorism – White American Christians? Never!. The Department of Justice has documented hundreds of arrests that are linked to or classified as domestic terrorism — all committed by white American domestic terrorists. Think Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kazinsky, and Terry Nichols. How likely is it that all male able bodied White American heterosexual Christians will be rounded up and summarily detained or stopped at airports or followed by the FBI? Not very.

When one of these terrorist groups takes action or commits some kind of atrocity, the average white American man doesn’t have to fear for their own personal liberty. They aren’t worried that they’ll all be rounded up. Unlike Muslims, African-American men, or Latinos. After a major highly publicized crime has been committed, white people don’t share the collective hope, “Oh please don’t let the perpetrator be white because we could all suffer the backlash”. Those are the hopes and fears of groups lacking priviledge.

Whenever members of the dominant group violate the law, law enforcement is very specific about how it conducts investigations and gathers evidence. No broadly cast nets — nope, they gather intelligence and use surveillance based on more than ethnic, racial, nation of origin, or religious affiliation — no battering rams, not in their neighborhoods — no ICE raids. This is the way it should be, by the way — for all of us. We should never cast dispersions against an entire group strictly because of ethnic, racial, nation of origin, or religious affiliation.

Unfortunately, we seem to recognize how important this is only when the group being targeted isn’t the one we belong to.

But here is the other kicker. Much of the propaganda put out by this and other organizations similar to it, lays a foundation that sets the stage for fundraising appeals by grassroots and religious right groups. The money they raise then enters the political process and helps fund ads supporting politicians who echo alarmist warnings and sponsor anti-Muslim sentiment. These are often the same politicians who echo alarmist warnings about Latino immigrants and blacks (but with blacks the language they use is cloaked). Hence, the racially skewed outcomes on the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on immigrants.

This is what fuels, what many call “the politics of fear”. The politics of fear helps to build and feed the military-industial complex, the prison-industrial -complex and what appears to be a growing security-industrial complex. We’ve militarized our borders and are investing in drone technology at the local municipal level across the nation.  Yep, somebody is making a shitload of money.

Aside from the financial largess to Department of Defense contractors and ancillary industries, there is also huge growth in security based industries.

Gun ownership is through the roof — further bolstered by “stand your ground” laws. And, of course, Walmart is the number 1 gun retailer in the world. The home security industry is growing in leaps and bounds too. Privately contracted security personnel? Even the City of Los Angeles has a contract for this.

Fareed Zakaria wrote in his CNN column:

Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has created or reconfigured at least 263 organizations to tackle some aspect of the war on terror. Thirty-three new building complexes have been built for the intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet – the equivalent of 22 U.S. Capitols or three Pentagons. The largest bureaucracy after the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs is now the Department of Homeland Security, which has a workforce of 230,000 people.

sharon kyle

Sharon Kyle

The rise of this national security state has entailed a vast expansion in the government’s powers that now touch every aspect of American life, even when seemingly unrelated to terrorism. Some 30,000 people, for example, are now employed exclusively to listen in on phone conversations and other communications within the United States. . . .

Friend — I didn’t mean to write so much on this but it really bothers me when our people are hoodwinked. And that’s exactly what this video does. The woman who is speaking on the video may sincerely believe that she is doing the right thing but scratch the surface and you’ll find that there is another agenda and it ain’t to protect Americans.

UPDATE: In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and the apprehension and arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev there has been a renewed focus on the Muslim community by some in the media. This brings me back to the fact that the average domestic terrorist is an American white Christian male but these same media outlets don’t bring attention to that.

Noted anti-racist and lecturer, Tim Wise, wrote a piece on this topic and included a list naming many of these terrorists (see below). Wise contends that white privilege is being able to know nothing about the crimes committed by most of the terrorists listed by the Department of Justice, he says, “indeed, never to have so much as heard most of their names — let alone to make assumptions about the role that their racial or ethnic identity may have played in their crimes”.

Following is the list comprised by Wise which was included in his article entitled,  “Terrorism and Privilege: Understanding the Power of Whiteness“.

Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols • Ted Kaczynski • Eric Rudolph • Joe Stack • George MeteskyByron De La BeckwithBobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton and Herman Frank Cash and Robert ChamblissJames von BrunnLawrence Michael Lombardi and Robert MathewsDavid Lane and Chevie KehoeMichael F. GriffinPaul HillJohn SalviJustin Carl MooseBruce and Joshua TurnidgeJames KoppLuke HelderJames David Adkisson and Scott RoederShelley ShannonDennis MahonWade Michael PageJeffery HarbinByron WilliamsCharles Ray Polk and Willie Ray Lampley and Cecilia Lampley and John Dare Baird and Joseph Martin Bailie and Ray Hamblin and Robert Edward Starr III and William James McCranie Jr. and John Pitner and Charles Barbee and Robert Berry and Jay Merrell and Brendon Blasz and Carl Jay Waskom Jr. and Shawn and Catherine Adams and Edward Taylor Jr. and Todd Vanbiber and William Robert Goehler and James Cleaver and Jack Dowell and Bradley Playford GloverKen Carter and Randy Graham and Bradford MetcalfChris Scott Gilliam and Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder and Buford Furrow and Benjamin Smith and Donald Rudolph and Kevin Ray Patterson and Charles Dennis Kiles and Donald Beauregard and Troy DiverMark Wayne McCoolLeo Felton and Erica Chase and Clayton Lee Wagner and Michael Edward Smith and David Burgert and Robert Barefoot Jr.Sean Gillespie and Ivan Duane Braden and Kevin HarphamWilliam Krar and Judith Bruey and Edward FeltusRaymond Kirk Dillard and Adam Lynn Cunningham and Bonnell Hughes and Randall Garrett Cole and James Ray McElroyMichael GorbeyDaniel Cowart and Paul SchlesselmanFrederick ThomasPaul Ross EvansMatt Goldsby and Jimmy Simmons and Kathy Simmons and Kaye WigginsPatricia Hughes and Jeremy DunahoeDavid McMenemyBobby Joe RogersFrancis GradyCody Seth CrawfordRalph LangDemetrius Van CrockerFloyd Raymond LookerDerek Mathew ShroutRandolph Linn.

Here are additional links for more information on this topic:

http://chronicle.com/article/Where-Are-All-the-Islamic/128443/

http://sanford.duke.edu/centers/tcths/about/documents/Kurzman_Muslim-American_Terrorism_Since_911_An_Accounting.pdf

http://kurzman.unc.edu/islamic-statements-against-terrorism/

Sharon Kyle
Publisher, LA Progressive

Posted: Tuesday, 8 May 2012

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Comments

  1. Tyrannus Evisceratus says

    So are you ok with wearing a burka and having no rights because you were born a woman?
    I didn’t think progressive meant embracing things like that.

    • says

      Are you saying Muslim woman = burka-wearer? This is just another example of labeling (and demonizing) an entire group that includes millions of people by citing the custom of a small number. Seems you’ve entirely misread Sharon’s essay.

  2. Ryder says

    Wow… this defense of religious law… coming from the progressive left known for constant bashing the “religious right” and Christianity generally, is quite an eye opening experience.

    Sharia law is about as backward and NON-progressive as anything can be… the perfect and permanent mating of religion and government… two great tastes that don’t go great together.

    The American left continually pounds away at anyone and anything that even *hints* at religion having even the slightest influence on government…

    And yet we see this article… in shocking defense of of a force of law that IS religion… and uses religious texts as it’s basis.

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here…

    RS

  3. says

    Hate is nothing new in America, but, what is new is the admiration of ignorance in the name of faith.  Intelligent people can and do believe in something powerful outside of themselves, but, the truly intelligent people understand the metaphor and live by the power of the mind to seek answers in light of the best evidence, not the beliefs and interpretations of others or the beautiful stories and fearful dictates of the power structures of state and religious metaphors meant to be spiritually understood and teach lessons, not followed as law.  They are stories to teach the heart, and bless our minds with understanding, not close it to reality.
    People that teach hate are not prophets; they are to be feared and are the reason that our founding fathers left Europe and built in the separation of church and state; and this is the reason that we have prospered for over 200 years.

  4. Hwood007 says

    I listened again.  Her complaint is that the staff of our schools are not well rounded.  The schools seem to want students from a wide band of thought but do not want the teaching staff to be the same.  The schools (and colleges) say send me your red, yellow, black, and white children of any religion and political leaning.  Yet the school or college does not have a staff that matches the diversity of the students they desire.  She seems to be protesting the possible use of the “Prussian”school system while not really knowing the name of it or what is does.  It is the school system that goverments use to attempt to teach our chldren how to think.  Her complaint is directed to your school also, how many conserative teachers do you have and are their numbers the same as the liberial teachers.  She thinks schools are brain washing our students.  The school system north of mine is not able to keep children in school long enough to do what she fears, and the county uses the drop out rate to compute the number of new jail cells needed for the future.  I have told them to build a trade school for those kids as that will be cheaper than any jail. Some adults do not listen any better than their children. 

  5. Hwood007 says

    If it were not to protect Americns, what was it? 

     I assume you know of the 442nd of WWII.  What was done to citizens with connections to the “enemy” countries was not well done.  I am sure it could have been done much better.  I can still remember the WWII black outs of DC.  Fear was in charge then.  I can also remember being questioned in 1960 by state troopers about transporting a “Black” into the state of TX and one pice of paper saved me from jail.  That does not happen now.

    The fear within Sharia law is this. The Muslim faith is not just a religion,it is a government, and plus a set of laws which controls all actions of those within the faith and those NOT of the faith that live within that country.  It is thus the faith, the law, and the government of the country.  There have been a few Muslims that have not followed US law and followed Sharia law, that have been found guilty of crimes under US law that were not crimes under Sharia law.

    It is going to be hard to live in any country with two sets of laws and that is why it is hard for Muslim countries to have a law other than Sharia, it is their way of life, form of government, and their religion.

    Those of us like me, are persons of the book.  I can live and work in a Muslim state as long as I pay a tax for not being Muslim and follow the Muslim laws.  Those who kill people of the book are a little too raticial and a person of the book never knows when the direction of the wind will change.. Have you noticed that some writers on your site are allowed more freedom that others? If you do not mind the pun, I live and write here under “Sharon Law”.

    • says

      good comment — I may use it for our Featured Comments on Friday. I plan to get back to you with a response but don’t have the time at the moment. But I wanted to thank you for taking the time to try to illuminate this issue.

    • says

      Excellent response because although the lady in the video may not have supported her position with enough facts for some, anyone who really delves in to Sharia, it’s history, and the agenda of those who practice it, will learn that it is as big a threat to this country, and anywhere that those who believe otherwise, as any terrorist plot anywhere. I’d encourage anyone who truly wants to learn more facts regarding this, to check out John Ankerberg’s interviews (Youtube) with 2 Muslim professors who are brothers who rejected Islam, and who give clear reasons why. They don’t offer opinions, but facts, quoting the Qu’ran and the Hadith, the 2 most sacred books of Islam.

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