For Most Americans who regularly watch the news, the term “Sharia law” evokes gruesome images of beheadings, punitive amputations, and women being stoned to death. Muslims who do not approve of the cruelty and misogyny that is often associated with Sharia have two legitimate options for dissociating these practices from Islam. They can either reject Sharia law altogether (much like modern day Judaism no longer believes in the application of Mosaic law), or they can at least demand that the egregious human rights violations that are currently associated with Sharia be declared forever obsolete.
A high school teaching module prepared by the Council on Islamic Education titled “What is Sharia?” rejects the first option by describing Sharia as the “centerpiece and backbone” of Islam 1. It ignores the second option by failing to make any reference whatsoever to the barbarism and misogyny that is currently associated with Sharia law. Despite this appalling oversight, students are expected to explain significance of the five major schools of Islamic law, list the fields of knowledge required for a qualified Muslim jurist, and learn a total of no less than 21 legal terms. In an era when college professors are lamenting the lack of basic knowledge of modern-day high school graduates, it is amazing that anyone should remotely consider supplementing their social studies curricula with so much arcane minutia.
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