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Sharia 101
April 20, 2018
The concept of sharia has been around as long as Islam has. So how has it become such a scary word for some Americans in recent years?
American University
What is sharia? Divine, abstract...and extraterrestrial April 20, 2018
Is there another religious word that was once seemingly so esoteric but today causes such anxiety in American politics and culture than sharia? But for all talk about it, few people - both who identify as Muslim and do not - seem to know what it really is. We want to get a better understanding of what sharia is and is not, so we turn to American University teaching assistant professor Sara Omar. She recently completed her PhD in Islamic Studies at Harvard University.

Sara Omar, professorial lecturer on critical race, gender and culture studies at American University
Boston College
How sharia differs from evolving Islamic laws April 20, 2018
We’re learning how Muslim scholars for centuries have attempted to make sense of God's divine will, or sharia, and to bring it down to decidedly imperfect, human levels...through Islamic law. There are numerous interpretations, and then there are varying degrees to which countries incorporate or don’t incorporate Islamic law in their governance. But when states support problematic interpretations of Islam - and when leaders purposefully conflate Islamic law as being the word of God - it leads to a broader misunderstanding of what sharia is at its core. We learn more from the authors of the new book Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know, John Esposito and Natana DeLong-Bas.

(One clarification: Our guest Sara Omar mentioned that Egypt was initially colonized by the French. During religious scholar Muhammad Abdo’s time, they were under British rule.)

John Esposito, professor of religion and insternational affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University
Natana DeLong-Bas, assistant professor of theology at Boston College
David Shankbone | Flickr
Report says 'Islamophobia network' promoted idea of scary sharia April 20, 2018
The concept of sharia law as a threat to the United States, its laws and way of life is a pretty recent introduction into the American zeitgeist. Wajahat Ali, a commentator, playwright, producer, and lawyer, researched to find out how this idea became the behemoth of misunderstanding and a political wedge tool it is today. He co-authored the report "Fear, Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America" with the Center for American Progress back in 2011.

Wajahat Ali, co-author of Fear, Inc. report, commentator, lawyer