1. The Rock Island City Council has been asked to consider a new piece of “anti-Sharia” legislation that would “prohibit the application of Sharia law in the precincts of this fine city, especially in its propensity to establish Islamic culture throughout our lands under a new
Caliphate.” The council is made up of seven members given the title of “Alderman.” Having heard about RELG 300 (“Islam”), they have requested your expert opinion on this important matter, before they vote “yes” or “no” to ban Sharia law in Rock Island. You are to draft a letter in which you address this proposed ban, arguing either for or against it. Use at least three readings from our class in your letter.
There have been intense debates about whether to allow Sharia law in the
United States. Most debates about the acceptance of Sharia law in the United States relate particularly to the matters of marriage and family. Although Islamic law is being observed in several other countries, it has only made a few appearances in the states.
Those who are against Sharia law point to its harsh criminals penalties and those in favor of Sharia law argue that the United States, a country who prides itself on religious acceptance, is discriminating against Muslims by not recognizing Sharia law in its court system. The idea of allowing Sharia law in the states is not as simple as either side makes it sound. The idea is very complex, the fact that there needs to be a balance in
American society along with the right to religious expression. The idea of allowing
Sharia law in American legal system goes against the main concept, separation of church and state in the United States. The aspects of Sharia law such as the acceptance of polygamy and the treatment of women would prove to be problematic in this country.
The idea of polygamy in the United States has been illegal since the 19th century
(McCombs 1). Under Sharia law a man is allowed up to four wives but he must be able to show that he can treat every woman equally (Arlandson, “Polygamy in the Quran”).
The Sharia law is not required in the religion of Islam but only recommend. As stated by Reinhart, “many of the ‘rules’ themselves are only ‘recommended’ but do not
‘require,’ rules that are not enforceable, are not ordinarily considered by philosophers of law to be apart of the law but belong rather to the domain of mortality” (Reinhart 225).
If a Muslim man is living in the United States, where polygamy is ban then he should obey that law because he would not be considered a better or worse Muslim. Practically speaking, polygamy is almost nonexistent today even among different religions. There are many religions that accepted the idea of polygamy but later changed that. In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the bible did not put any restrictions on the number of wives (Luscombe, “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”). A couple of centuries ago the Christian church restricted the number of wives one can have (Luscombe, “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”). Polygamy is allowed in Judaism, biblical figures such as Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon who had more than one wife
(Luscombe, “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”). However there were reasons to why they took multiple wives, such as Abraham, who married Hagar only after Sarah suggested that he do so because she and Abraham had no children together (Luscombe, “I Do, I Do, I
Do, I Do”). In more recent time, the idea of polygamy has been encouraged by the religion of Mormonism but communities in the United States have been raided and disband by the United States government. If the United States legal system were to
allow polygamy due to Sharia law, this would give rise to many lawsuits by Mormons who believe that polygamy is apart of their lifestyle.
There have been many cases in which United States courts have ignored Sharia law in family matters since it violates public guidelines. This raises the concern of the