Elections, Courts, and future of the Anti-Sharia Movement

A federal appeals court’s recent decision to support a lower court that blocked the Oklahoma law might be considered as a big blow to the the Anti-Sharia movement, which has gained momentum in recent years. Yet, the anti-Sharia sentiment in the Republican primaries have resurrected fears about Muslims, and thus, fed Islamophobia.

Considering the fact that all of presidential candidates have been asked about the supposed threat from Sharia,  one may wonder if this issue constitutes a serious challenge to the legal system. Here are a few responses among many (appeared in NY Times):

Michele Bachmann told the conservative Family Research Council in a November speech that Shariah “must be resisted across the United States,” endorsing moves by several states to prohibit judges from considering Shariah…Mitt Romney said in a June debate: “We’re not going to have Shariah law applied in U.S. courts. That’s never going to happen”…For Mr. Gingrich, concern about Shariah has been a far more prominent theme. He and his wife, Callista, produced and narrated a 2010 film on the threat from radical Islam, “America at Risk,” that discusses the danger of both terrorism and Shariah against a lurid background of terrorist bombings, bloody victims, wailing sirens and chanting Muslim crowds.

Unlike Republican candidates who played fear card, most observers think that there is a no danger to be worried about (see a recent report).

This political demagoguery, however, invites a substantial danger: alienation of American-Muslims. In his recent work, The Missing Martyrs: Why There are So Few Muslim Terrorists, Charles Kurzman demonstrates how the American-Muslim community has been so helpful to eliminate radicalism among Muslim youth since the 9/11. Now, however, American-Muslims feel besieged as systemic political campaigns are financially supported by prominent right wing groups and the Tea Party movement organizations ( for the list of Islamophobia network, see a recent report by Center for American Progress).

What will be the future of the Anti-Sharia movement? It seems that the movement will considerably benefit from Islamophobia and stigmatization of Muslims. As you read these sentences, a recent Anti-Sharia law bill advances in Georgia legislature.

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