Do Australian Muslims Want Shari'ah Law in Australia

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Abstract

One of the key emerging issues with respect to Australian Muslims is the apparent incompatibility of Shari'ah within its Western values. In recent years, news and articles frequently appear in media depicting how Muslims insist on applying Shari'ah in Australia. Such coverage invariably gives three implicit messages to its audience. First, Muslims and Islamic law is unfair and discriminate generally against women. Second, Muslims ignore Australian legal norms, values and conventions and insist on the values of Islam creating a legal conflict. Third, it takes Western legal system as a higher arbitrator to solve the legal and ethical conflict. In the process, talk back radio shock jocks and their listeners passionately discussed how Muslims and Islam do not fit in Australian society. The question is do Muslims really want to apply Shari'ah in Australia? An immediate 'yes' will come from two extreme ends of the religious spectrum in society. On the one end, a small band of Muslims will jump at the opportunity to implement all aspects of Shari'ah in Australia. On the other end, a small group of evangelist Christians will insist that Muslims want to implement Shari'ah wherever they are irrespective of local laws and norms. Although they are at opposite ends of the religious divide, these two minority groups share certain things in common.Then there is Islam that falls victim to this tension between tradition and modernity. Whatever issue we look at in our time related to Muslims we find ourselves in this predicament. The issue of Shari'a is no exception. Vast majority of Muslims and non-Muslims lie between the two extremes and are largely confused about Shari'ah. People do not understand what Shari'ah means and how it works. They have no idea how it was implemented in Muslim history and how it influenced the development of other legal systems. They also do not consider the factors that created the gap between traditional application of Shari'ah and some modern concoctions of it. Clearing the cloud of confusion requires us to examine all three aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-79
Number of pages14
JournalSt. Mark's review: A journal of Christian thought and opinion
Volume221
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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