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Shariah – Between Two Popes – Coptic and Roman

Sharî’ah: Between Two Popes While it started out as a minor footnote, opposition tosharî’ah has now morphed into the mantra by which many justify their opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero mosque.” If we allow this mosque to go forth, so the logic goes, the next thing you know, all the bars in the country will be shut down (and those infidel lushes flogged!), all the women will be draped in sheets, and Muhammad will replace Jacob as the most popular name in America. Allahu akbar! While some of this hysteria is clearly being peddled by people who know better, most Americans are probably just engaged in a good-faith attempt to understand and respond to sharî’ah through the only prism they have: their own historical experience. I was recently reminded of this on a visit to Cairo, during which time two popes, one Catholic, the other Coptic, expressed almost mutually contradictory sentiments about sharî’ah. The chasm separating their perspectives related not to their different levels of knowledge about sharî’ah but almost entirely to their differences in historical experience.


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