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Eye On Boise

Columnist: Sharia, Islam far from uniform

Sholeh Patrick, a columnist for the Coeur d’Alene Press whose childhood was split between Iran and the U.S., responds today to state lawmakers’ concerns about Sharia law, or Islamic religious law, which played into the rejection of critical child support enforcement legislation on the final day of this year’s Idaho legislative session. “While unrelated to the bill in question, the fearful utterance of one word – ‘sharia’ - in a key committee caused reason to fly out the Capitol window,” she writes. “Sharia (pronounced shah-ree-ah) is a broad word. In Arabic it means path, or path to the watering hole.”

“Some Muslims - let me repeat that, some and not ‘most’ - believe in sharia as marriage of religion to state. In any case most Muslims are the same as any other human being and don't condone violent or exported enforcement regardless of spiritual beliefs. … One man's sharia is a form of personal guidance to an ethical life. To others it is more customary or cultural; and yes, to yet another, more extreme man it can encompass the scary, oppressive stuff.” She writes that there is so much variation in part because there are many holy texts in Islam, including more recent texts and interpretation. “So there is disagreement about what is or isn't Islam, what is or isn't sharia.”

“I wonder how offended Christians would be if a Zoroastrian, Buddhist, or Hindu claimed to know more about Christianity than Christians themselves,” Patrick writes, “yet here we persist in ignoring what Muslims say about their own religion.” You can read her full column here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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