Here's the scenario: one guy writes an op-ed in the local paper warning about the dangers of shari'a law in the U.S. Another guy responds the following week, hoping to start a conversation.
The paper? The Gainesville Sun. You know, that Gainesville where a pastor once wanted to host an "International Burn a Koran Day."
Conversations about Islam, Muslims, and understanding are important here. They're important everywhere, but they're particularly poignant in this place. And in this present moment. So, when another local leader asked me to respond to the original op-ed with my own analytic thoughts on shari'a law and the U.S. constitution I obliged. As a doctoral student associated with the University of Florida's Center for Global Islamic Studies and serving as a local pastor I felt I had to be part of the conversation. I think you should be too.
FROM THE GAINESVILLE SUN: There is a tangible fear that courses through a room when the word "Sharia" is spoken. Non-Muslims can panic at the thought of state-sanctioned punishments meted out by pre-modern religious fundamentalists. Muslims may fear that such misconceptions about Sharia will yet again cast aspersion on their religion.
This column is a response to last week’s piece by George L. Barnett, “Sharia law is inconsistent with Constitution.” It is not an open challenge or call for cantankerous debate, but is instead a subtle critique of his opinion and a call for a continuing conversation between people of different faiths regarding religion and law.