Tonight is the Annual Supporters’ Dinner for the Bay Area Chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America. The title of the dinner is Defending Religious Freedom – Understanding Shariah. Here are the details.
John Esposito, professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University.
Imam Zaid Shakir from the Lighthouse Mosque
Shaykh Alaeddin El Bakri from Al Medina Institute
Imam Tahir Anwar from South Bay Islamic Association (SBIA)
Santa Clara Marriot
2700 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara CA 95054
Sunday Dec. 9, 2012
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
$40 per person ($50 at the door)
Buy online at www.icnabay.us
Free babysitting available
ICNA is best known for their relief work, including mobile soup kitchens and women’s shelters. They also run a number of educational campaigns as in the Young Muslims Islamic Quiz and the Why Islam project. But this recent effort is in response to a disturbing trend we’ve seen in the last few years.
A group I’ve come to call the “Anti-Muslim Brain Trust” has been very successful in falsely claiming Islamic religious law is a threat to the United States. These bloggers and self-styled “experts” argue that Shariah is a strategy by extremists to transform the United States into an Islamic state. They’ve been widely successful at this, evidenced by 13 states considering legislation banning Shariah, including a bill before the Tennessee State Senate that made the practice of Shariah punishable by 15 years in jail. ICNA’s Supporter’s Dinner in Orange County, CA last year was ever protested by an anti-Muslims mob.
Their goal is to generate the sentiment that Muslims should not be part of American society, but “Shariah” as these fear mongers interpret and define it is completely different from from the normative practice of actual Muslims. Many religeous communities have faced this kind of bigotry in America’s past, including similar claims made against Jews and Judaic Law, and accusations made against Catholics of duel loyalty to the Pope.
ICNA has taken up the challenge of dispelling these myths about Islam and Muslims by launching their educational campaign Defending Religious Freedom – Understanding Shariah.
I’ll be attending this event tonight, and if you’d like to read my thoughts afterward be sure to subscribe. You can still order tickets online, or get tickets at the door, so maybe I’ll see you there. But it was a paragraph on the event flyer that really told me that they get it:
If one recognizes that human beings are free, then one necessarily recognizes the existence of God, at least tacitly. Freedom cannot be the product or result of material manipulation or biological evolution. Only God creates, and freedom arises only by the act of creation. To negate God and His relationship with creation (religion) is to negate the human essence itself, which is the freedom and the moral implications. Defending Religious Freedom is nothing but asserting the inherent truth with each of us.
I would actually phrased it in reverse. If one recognizes the existence of God, then one necessarily recognizes that human beings are free. Mankind was created free, and coercive hierarchy cannot be the product or result of association among equals. To negate freedom, and it’s moral moral implications, is to negate the equality with which mankind is created.