On September 2, The New York Times published an opinion piece by Yale University's Eliyahu Stern titled, "Don't Fear Islamic Law in America." The article compares the fight against Sharia law to anti-Semitism and depicts it as being based in anti-Muslim bigotry. On the contrary, the campaigns to ban Sharia-based judicial rulings actually protect Muslims who love the U.S. and the values that define it.
"The crusade against Sharia undermines American democracy, ignores our country's successful history of religious tolerance and assimilation, and creates a dangerous divide between America and its fastest-growing religious minority," Stern writes.
At least a dozen states are considering outlawing Islamic arbitration tribunals where Muslims can voluntarily settle their disputes according to Sharia law. As Daveed Garteinstein-Ross notes, there are similar courts for Jews and they are not used as criminal courts. However, there is a danger that an Islamist judge will be able to push his interpretation of the faith from the bench, and that Muslims will feel forced by their communities to use Sharia courts. Islamist groups have also promoted Sharia courts as part of an incremental strategy to bring about Sharia-based governance.