Shariah comes to Florida

Bring Al Maghrib to South Florida has announced its 4th seminar titled, “Divine Design of Islamic Law: Objectives of the “S” Word – Shariah”. The seminar is being held at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 23, 2012. According to the Al Maghrib Facebook page the topic is “on one of the most mis-understood topics in the West – Shariah”.

“Shariah is the absolute word of Allah (swt); a moral and religious code that governs Muslims and humanity. It brings out the best in humans and society because quite simply it is the command of an All-gracious and merciful lord. Yet to mainstream media and the common person, the word shariah brings connotations of extreme punishments, harshness and oppression,” notes the Al Maghrib seminar event page.

The term maghrib is in origin an Arabic word for “west occident”, denoting the western most territories in Africa that fell to the Islamic conquests of the 7th century. The word shariah means the path or the “way to the watering hole”. Islam means to submit. Shariah is therefore defined as the path to submission (Islam).

The seminar is being taught by Imam Shamudeen from Islamic Center of Charlotte, North Carolina. According to Al Maghrib, “This seminar will give an introduction to Islamic law with an emphasis on it’s beauty and practicality to us as well as teaching us how to defend it when faced with criticism.”

During the 2012 Florida legislative session Senator Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) introduced SB 1360, known as the Florida Laws for Florida Courts bill. SB 1360 went through the committee process of both Florida houses. The bill was written to prevent shariah and other foreign laws from being used in Florida courts. The bill passed by a veto proof majority in the Florida House but Senate President Mike Haridopolos did not bring it to the senate floor for a vote. Proponents are expected to bring SB 1360 up again during the 2013 legislative session.

Moderate Muslims have a problem with shariah law including Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout practicing Muslim, Arizona physician and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AFID). Dr. Jasser has testified before Congress and Rep. Peter King’s House Committee on Homeland Security. Dr. Jasser defines the threat to America as “Islamism, a theo-political movement that uses shariah to try to control society and prevent liberty”.

Dr. Jasser in his book “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith“, writes, “I owe the United State a profound debt of gratitude and service for all the rights and blessings it has bestowed upon me and my family. It that sense I see myself as an American first, a Muslim second … For Islamists, the thinking is reversed: Islam comes before all else, and everything should be done to make this religion the dominant one in the world and for laws to be based not on secular agreement but purely on shariah (“the way to the watering hole”, or Islamic jurisprudence).”

Dr. Jasser defines Islamism or political Islam as a “malignancy in such a politicized, radicalized version of Islam that threatens not only all free-thinking Muslims but the world at large”. Dr. Jasser warns we under-estimate this threat at our peril. He notes on page 20 of his book, “If the Islamists have their way, the United States will find itself with a nation within a nation one governed by the precepts of the U.S. Constitution, the other under the sway of shariah. More important, abroad, if the the Islamists have their way, U.S. power (soft and hard) will wither and the fifty-seven states of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will flourish vis-á-vis Islamic states.”

Dr. Jasser and other reform minded Muslim have called for a separation of the Mosque and the state (shariah). Dr. Jasser believes, “The real threat to Islam is not external but internal, and it is embodied by the extremists who preach hate and violence in the name of God (Allah)”.