Jewish groups not 'backing sharia law'
by Stephen Schwartz
The article you printed about the referendum in the US state of Oklahoma that would bar the introduction of Islamic sharia law into state courts (JC, May 27) was inaccurately headed, Jewish groups in US backing sharia law.
The intent of the AJC's brief was not to support sharia law, much less — as some readers have presumed, judging from emails I have received — to advocate or defend an imposition of sharia in the US. The Center for Islamic Pluralism is led by moderate Muslims, who follow traditional Islamic guidance and oppose the importation of public sharia law into non-Muslim countries.
The second paragraph of the article claimed that a "coalition of organisations that include the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) are backing a legal appeal against a measure that would prevent Islamic law from being used in the state's courts."
No such coalition exists between the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the mentioned Jewish groups, much less with our organisation. We in CIP consider CAIR to represent radical, not "mainstream" Islam.
CIP defends private sharia in matters such as diet, burial, male circumcision, charity, and forms of prayer. In the words of the AJC's brief, "to a reasonable observer, the amendment's purpose plainly is to disapprove of the Islamic tradition." The amendment violates American constitutional protection of the free exercise of religion.
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
Executive director, CIP
Please see the .pdf of the page on which this letter appeared at http://www.islamicpluralism.org/1799/letter-on-the-oklahoma-shariah-referendum-pdf-page. Unfortunately, the London Jewish Chronicle does not publish letters to the editor on line. The original article to which this letter refers was published here: http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/49526/jewish-groups-us-backing-sharia-law.