Some members of the Tennessee legislature are proposing to make it illegal to “follow some versions of the Islamic code known as Shariah.”
Notice, the linked WaPo article doesn’t give up much detail about the bill. In fact it boils the whole situation down to one group of people going “Aiiieee!! Islamic terrorism!!!” and another group going “Aiiieee!! Anti-Islamic bigotry!!!” No real description of the actual bill, no sober consideration of the ramifications, just random quotes and fluff.
One would think they could do better than that in an organization like the Washington Post. [I know what you’re thinking and no, I did not keep a straight face while typing that sentence.]
In my opinion it’s neither wise nor helpful to try and criminalize religious practices, especially if you can’t clearly define what’s illegal and what’s not, and why. So by way of counterproposal (although I don’t live in Tennessee so it’s not really my business), consider this list of things that come to mind when I think of the ‘bad’ kind of Sharia:
- Setting off bombs in public places
- Conspiracy to do same
- Attempting to overthrow the government of the United States
And what do these things have in common? They’re already illegal. [The ‘good’ Sharia is stuff like praying and singing and beards and stampedes at Mecca, none of which is against the law here in the USA.] There’s really no need to pass laws about Islam if you’re actually enforcing the laws you already have. Are you?
I realize that this law is really less about protecting America than it is about politicians grandstanding to get their names in the paper. Politicians do that. The thing is, they do it so often that we pretty much expect it now, and we know it when we see it.
Summing up (for those trying to score cheap political points): old and busted: pissing off Muslims; new hotness: pissing off public-sector unions. Get with it, Tennessee.