Muslims to gather to combat anti-Shariah movement

Some 15,000 Muslims are expected at this weekend’s 37th annual convention of the Islamic Circle of North America in Hartford, … Continued

Some 15,000 Muslims are expected at this weekend’s 37th annual convention of the Islamic Circle of North America in Hartford, where the theme of “Defending Religious Freedom: Understanding Shariah” reflects the worry that anti-Muslim activists are fanning fear of Islamic law to marginalize U.S. Muslims.

The May 26-28 gathering, which is also sponsored by the Muslim American Society, is the second-largest Muslim convention in the U.S., behind only the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America, which draws between 30,000 and 40,000 people.

Earlier this month, the Kansas House and Senate joined Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, South Dakota, and Tennessee in approving legislation to prohibit state judges from considering foreign laws, including Shariah, in their decisions. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, has not yet signed the bill.

“It’s a deep-down hatred of Muslims that motivates” the anti-Shariah movement, said Naeem Baig, ICNA’s vice president of public affairs. “They don’t want to see Muslims in America.”

Many of the convention programs focus on educating Muslims about Shariah, such as myths about Shariah used to demonize Muslims, as well as its role in their day-to-day lives.

“Muslims need to be educated about Shariah. There’s a need for the community to better understand what Shariah means to us, and how to apply Shariah in a society where most people are not of the same faith,” Baig said.

The convention is open to non-Muslims. About 100 or 150 non-Muslims have come in recent years.

Some of the best-known Muslims in America will be speaking, including Rep. Andre Carson, a Democratic Muslim from Indiana; Islamic Society of North America President Imam Mohamed Magid; and Imam Siraj Wahaj of Brooklyn, who in 1991 became the first Muslim to give an Islamic invocation to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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  • PhilyJimi

    I am an atheist not by choice but by default since I am no longer able to accept the stories about any god or gods as believable or creditable. It is a lot like not accepting Santa Claus being real anymore, once that happens you become an atheist about Santa. I am also antagonistic about this because I don’t know what created the Universe but making up a God to explain how the Universe came to be isn’t an answer.

    The funny thing about this new world view of mine is that I no longer have the bigoted and bias views of my old christian beliefs. It affords me the position where I don’t look at other religions as the enemy of my God and a threat to my faith. We’re all just human. We’re all stuck on the same planet and we all have to try to get along with each other. We all want our children to do well and want to enjoy our friends and families.

    While most religious people want the same for their friends and family. The Abrahamic religions seem to teach that this love and peace we all want is only reserved for the members of their religion. It is sad to see people who profess to love because that is what their God wants but will openly hate people of other religions and world views because they think they are doing their God’s will.

    Again this isn’t why I am an atheist but it is an interesting side benefit of accepting this world view. Religions can be very divisive and destructive because it affords people to entrench themselves in their beliefs and to close their empathic voices about the suffering of others.

  • SODDI

    If you want shariah law, go live in Saudi Arabia. We have legislative law here, subject to the constraints of the constitution. It’s far from perfect, but it’s better than fatwas issued by some unelected imam or mullah.

    Seriously, leave.

  • persiflage

    ‘Religious ‘laws’ mean nothing to citizens in a secular society and we need to keep it that way. If believers are inclined to follow the dictates of religious doctrines that’s their right – as long it it doesn’t interfere with codified civil law…….as the Catholic Church is currently attempting to do. The same holds true for Muslim Sharia….which will remain within the confines of a particular religious tradition and it’s followers.

    For that reason, the phony anti-Sharia legislation trumped up by the political rightwing in this country is completely meaningless bigotry. The Catholic Church is a far greater threat to secular government.