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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Monday, September 20, 2010

Prof. Sherman Jackson: Shariah: Between Two Popes

Originally published in: Huffington Post
Author: Sherman A. Jackson
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Michigan
Posted: August 29, 2010

While it started out as a minor footnote, opposition to sharî'ah has now morphed into the mantra by which many justify their opposition to the so-called "Ground Zero mosque." If we allow this mosque to go forth, so the logic goes, the next thing you know, all the bars in the country will be shut down (and those infidel lushes flogged!), all the women will be draped in sheets, and Muhammad will replace Jacob as the most popular name in America. Allahu akbar!

While some of this hysteria is clearly being peddled by people who know better, most Americans are probably just engaged in a good-faith attempt to understand and respond to sharî'ah through the only prism they have: their own historical experience. I was recently reminded of this on a visit to Cairo, during which time two popes, one Catholic, the other Coptic, expressed almost mutually contradictory sentiments about sharî'ah. The chasm separating their perspectives related not to their different levels of knowledge about sharî'ah but almost entirely to their differences in historical experience...

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