Every once in a while there is a flurry of Islamphobia coming into my Facebook pages. It cropped up again in Grand County with a controversial speaker recently at Constitution Week in Grand Lake. I did not attend nor did I hear the speaker, but I am relying on the report in the Sky Hi News. http://www.skyhinews.com/news/controversial-speaker-during-constitution-week-talks-islam-sharia-law/
I first noticed anti-Muslim shout-outs in 2011 and blogged about it then and several times since . The viewpoint mostly promotes fear that Sharia law will become the law of the US, or it is asked in terms, "do you want your neighbor to practice Sharia law and be able to beat their wives ". Recently I am getting some such postings and I was puzzled why. It appears that the only reason must be to justify something that is happening in the US. The newest wave seems to have started with Donald Trump's proposal for a Muslim ban. However, it has risen to a new pitch since the November elections. Why: I have, I think, found the key: It had to do with Donald Trump's appointment of General Michael Flynn to one of his close advisers in the White House. (Flynn since resigned in the midst of controversy and is a major figure in the Russian connection investigations).
First, my answer to such postings and sentiments. Yes, of course Sharia law is not compatible with our Constitution. But also thanks to our Constitution, we cannot establish any state religion. Religious practices which contradict US criminal law are also considered criminal and subject to prosecution, including domestic violence and assault. Practically speaking it will not happen. To gin up fear of Sharia law in the the US only adds to the hatred of all Muslims. Muslims have no political clout since they have less than 1% of our population. Our own US criminal laws would punish assault, domestic violence regardless of religious motivation, including those who assault anyone claiming "my religion made me do it", Christian or Muslim. Sharia law is interpreted many ways in many different countries and this type of abuse is not condoned by all Muslims and clerics, and Islamic scholars. The only purpose I can see to these kinds of postings is to promote hatred of all Muslims and somehow to excuse bigotry and bigots and to legitimize and justify anti- Muslim policies.
Second: the Flynn connection. He has made statements that condemn all Islam as a cancer that needs to be excised and ginned up fear of Sharia law. Fact checkers of similar statements and postings in the past by others rated this "pants on fire". Instead of just repeating his hate speech and his bigotry myself, visit http://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2016/nov/22/donald-trumps-security-adviser-pick-michael-flynn-/
What was interesting as reported by the Sky Hi News, is that the speaker felt confident she could be as safely outspoken against Islam as she could because there were no Muslims in Grand County. I wonder how many in Grand County have ever met a Muslim. That may explain why such one sided,
extreme opinions have such fertile ground to grow here. I have spent a good part of my lifetime interfacing with Bosnian Muslims, since my encounter with it in the late 1950's. Bosnian Muslims are closer to the Turkish more moderate practice since they were a province of Turkey for five hundred years. Ironically, General Flynn did not let his anti-Muslim sentiments stand in way of his being an agent of the Turkish government and is under fire for not having registered as a foreign agent.
I translated that personal experience into independent study of Islam's interface with the West in my senior year in Northwestern and I have followed the subject closely, writing about it frequently in my blog. Those who practice Islam are more diverse in their application of their scriptures and theology than even Christianity. The practice of Islam varies from country to country and cultural and customs are as much an influence as the interpretation of theology. Even within those predominately Muslim countries, there are debates and sects about the role of government in enforcing and applying Sharia law. There are extremists and moderates and secularists (separating religion from government) throughout the Islamic world. The largest numbers of Muslims are in India and Indonesia, not those encountered by the Constitution Day speaker. Extreme applications of Sharia law are concentrated in a minority of countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Isis is considered by most Muslims to be heretical. Blanket indictments of all Muslims and their practitioners is part of the current wave of Islamphobiacs who want you to believe the exceptions are the rule. Their viewpoints are often based upon ignorance, political bias, and/or limited personal experience, or, evangelical Christian zeal (the perspective of the Constitution Day speaker). The danger is that divisive hate and bigotry are increased by them and then get translated into domestic and foreign policy that harms our ability to get along with a major part of the rest of the world. The Muslim ban is the most obvious outgrowth of such sentiments.
Also, not to repeat other of my blog postings on the subject, and additional links to the subject visit: