The Corner

A Grudging Consensus on Anti-Sharia Legislation

If I were the relativist Andrew Bostom takes me for, I would let his post stand. But I am right and Bostom is — I’ll come right out and say it — wrong. There is a difference between analogy and identification, and one need not suggest Christian canon law and sharia are identical or equivalent to note that they are similar in certain relevant respects. Religions are not interchangeable, and I see no equality between my savior’s Cross and my Muslim fellow citizen’s crescent. But this does not mean I’ll stand aside when his religious liberty is attacked.

Bostom has not, I will note, contested my actual claims about the legal uselessness and potential ill effects of anti-sharia legislation. In fact, it’s fair to say that we now are seeing a consensus emerge on the merits of anti-sharia legislation, however grudgingly or silently some agree. My friend David Goldman, no great ally of Islam, admits over at PJ Media that “Anti-Sharia legislation and opposition to the building of mosques may infringe religious liberty. The anti-Sharia movement wields a blunt instrument that carries the risk of collateral damage.” It was just such bluntness and such damage that I warned of in my article.

So, with no one contesting the original points, we’ve moved on to another subject: the “essence” of Islam and sharia, which Bostom hopes to establish in his two posts. That is a fraught task, one difficult enough for the most cautious cultural critic and well nigh impossible for state legislatures.

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