Muslims live Sharia everyday when we pray, fast, earn honestly, offer charity, eat Halal, take care of our families and Masjids, as well as serve our communities. However, the term “Sharia” is fast becoming a term of hate at the hands of Islamophobes to attack Islam. This has dangerous and far reaching consequences for American Muslims which have already begun.
Three states have passed anti-Sharia laws since 2010 and now 18 others are discussing similar bills. Meanwhile, the powerful Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is suggesting there should be a federal law banning Sharia altogether. Most other Republican candidates are supporting his position.
The real life implications are many for Muslims. Banning Sharia will directly impact Muslim marriages, divorces, Islamic financing, and mediation. Banning Sharia is like banning Jewish Halakha practiced by many Jews in America. But very few people are articulating Muslim perspectives on Sharia.
A good number of those looking for answers online are our own Muslim children. About 95% of them are not connected with Muslim schools and Masjids. Children spend nearly 55 hours a week consuming media. All of these sites are anti-Islamic. When you search for images or videos about “Sharia”, once again, all of the results are anti-Muslims. Our neighbors, our children, our interfaith partners, including those legislators who are looking for balanced information on Sharia and Muslim perspectives, but they are not finding this online or any where else.
Sound Vision has launched a major campaign, to develop and provide Muslim perspectives on Sharia, set to launch in the fall of 2011 InshaAllah. The aim is to establish a major web portal, Sharia 101.org, that will become a repository of accurate, accessible, concise, as well as in-depth information about Sharia. The site will feature not only articles, but short videos, and images as well. The primary audiences are not just non-Muslims, many of who are being fed hatred and propaganda against Islamic practices, but also, young American Muslims, confused and influenced by the plethora of negative material easily available about Sharia.
We cannot allow our way of eating, praying, fasting, giving in charity, marriage, doing business, and more, all part of Sharia, to be demonized any longer. We cannot afford to be silent about the extreme misinformation that is being fed to our non-Muslim neighbors about our way of life. Our very future as Muslims on this continent depends on us standing up today to ensure that Islam remains a vibrant part of America. The Sharia101 project will be critical tool to foster a better understanding of Sharia, and Islam and Muslims in general. This project is also crucial to safeguard the independence of all religions from the interference of the state.
Sound Vision is in a unique position to help the community with the Sharia 101 project because we have been developing Islamic content for the Muslim community and our neighbors for over 22 years. Using our invaluable connections with Islamic scholars, lawyers, journalists and producers, we have developed a team to accomplish the first phase of the Sharia 101 project within a few months. However, this team of professionals can only assist the community if we raise the resources required for this work.
Abdul Malik Mujahid, President – Sound Vision
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Kentucky Inc. (CIOK) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2007 to provide a common platform for various Islamic / Muslim Organizations in Kentucky. Send your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.