by Amanda Hara
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Muslims have long looked to what’s known as Shariah Law for moral guidance. But on Wednesday, state lawmakers took aim at the Islamic practice, claiming that it promotes terrorism.
State Senator Bill Ketron said there are Muslim extremists who interpret Shariah law as a license to committ terrorist acts. That’s why he has introduced a bill that would make it illegal to follow the moral code.
The local Imam, or spiritual leader for the Islamic Center of Nashville, said Shariah Law is very much like the Ten Commandments, teaching Muslims “do not steal, do not kill, and do not commit adultery.”
“I don’t think you or I, or anyone, would agree that we want to revoke such concepts such moral standards. We are in need of it regardless of our race our tradition or our region is,” Imam Mohamed Ahmed said.
Imam Ahmed said State Bill 1028 comes from a place of fear and misunderstanding of Islam and confuses most Muslims with extremists linked to Al Qaeda.
The bill, sponsored by State Senator Bill Ketron (R) Murfreesboro, would allow the Attorney General to identify groups that follow Shariah Law, and then cut off funding to those groups.
“There are some who take Sharia Law to the extreme we want to protect those people who are passive but for those who make it on the extreme part we want to be able to identify those who want to create the jihad against our citizens of Tennessee,” Ketron said.
The bill also claimed that Muslims want to replace the U.S. constitution with Shariah Law.
However, the Imam said Shariah Law commands followers to obey the law of the land in which they live, not to try and overthrow it.
Representative Judd Matheny introduced the same bill last week.
He told the Tennessean that he is still researching the topic and might amend the bill before asking the legislature to consider it.