Shariah law has become a controversial issue within the United States. This issue was the core purpose for a Webster University Muslim Student Association (MSA) lecture on Shariah law, held Feb. 14.
MSA’s guest speaker was Faizan Syed, executive director for the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR is a nonprofit civil rights and advocacy group that educates people on Islam. Syed spoke to Muslim students about Shariah law, as it is understood by scholars. Syed said he wanted to challenge people’s perspectives about the law.
“Many of the politicians don’t know the fundamental basics of what is Shariah,” Syed said. “They are trying to forbid something they themselves don’t know anything about.”
Shariah law, also known as Islamic law, means “path” in Arabic. According to the Council on Foreign Relations’ website: “Shariah guides all aspects of Muslim life, including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings. It is derived primarily from the Quran and the Sunna — the sayings, practices and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.”
The anti-Shariah law legislation was not passed in 2011 in Missouri. It was passed in Oklahoma, but did not hold up in Supreme Court after a lawsuit by CAIR, as the judge declared it to be unconstitutional.
Missouri State Sen. Brian Nieves (R) reintroduced Senate Bill (SB) 676 in 2012. The bill “specifies how courts may rule in contractual disputes involving the law of other countries and jurisdictional issues involving other countries,” according to the Missouri State Senate website.
“We are confident it will not pass again,” Syed said. “Two years before it didn’t go anywhere, so we’re very confident this year it won’t go anywhere either.