S: So Christians might practice their faith by tithing—giving money to their church. They might pray before meals. They might observe certain religious holidays. They might not shop on Sunday. But they still obey local laws, federal laws, and the Constitution. For Muslim Americans, what are some ways they observe Sharia?
I: The examples you gave are parallel to the practice of Sharia in daily life. There are certain tenets of Islam that require Muslims who choose to adhere to it to give to charity, to pray, to attend the mosque, to fast during the month of Ramadan. These are some examples of how Muslims fulfill religious obligations.
There are social obligations as well. I like to point to an organization in Chicago—the Inner City Muslim Action Network—that says it is inspired by Islamic precepts to give back to the local community, to make sure that the poor, needy, and disenfranchised in one’s community are taken care of. That is an example of the practice of Sharia in America.
A final example involves areas where Muslims are concerned about private affairs, such as marriage laws. Just as Christians have weddings in a church, Muslims often have weddings in a mosque or some other venue presided over by an imam, and the marriage is also solemnized by the state. There is a religious aspect and a state aspect to a wedding ceremony.
Irony: How leftists will soften the lights on sharia, yet toss hate bombs at conservative Christians.
We have never had a threat to our democracy from the long-time religious practices of Muslims in America. I think in part that stems from the nature of Muslim religious practice in this country—it is more of a private religious matter than a very public iteration. It also speaks to the strength and flexibility of our laws, both state and federal, that continuously affirm religion as a value. We want to encourage its free practice while also not establishing religion in any governmental sense.