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Considering Islamic law in court rulings

In August 2013, North Carolina became the seventh state to forbid courts from considering Islamic law in their rulings. Also in that month, an Oklahoma federal judge struck down a state constitutional amendment that explicitly disavowed any role of Sharia in judicial proceedings. While some commentators compare Islamic law to Catholic Canon Law and other religious laws that govern internal matters but cannot trump American laws, others point to the discriminatory character of the law in Muslim countries where Sharia holds sway. Still others point to the sharpening internal debate within the Islamic community about the proper reading and role of Sharia within Western cultural and legal contexts.

To help journalists better understand what Islamic law is and is not, and to equip them to explain Sharia to the general public, Religion Newswriters Association, a membership organization that promotes and supports quality religion reporting, has prepared a resource page on Sharia. The page, accessible to the public on the RNA sister site, ReligionLink.com, features background perspective, links to articles, posts and surveys. For perspective on Islam in the U.S., read our feature articles "Latest Census of U.S. Congregations," and "Meet Your Neighbors: Interfaith FACTs."

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