Sharia law was the topic of a lively discussion among religious leaders in the most recent Rabbi-Imam Dialogue, on May 29.
Nearly 20 rabbis and imams from across the Chicago area, from a wide range of denominations, communities and ethnic backgrounds, met at the Downtown Islamic Center. This was the fourth meeting of this city-wide group, convened by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the Council of Islamic Organization of Greater Chicago.
Participants came to learn more from one another, deepen the dialogue between Muslim and Jewish clergy in Chicago, and specifically to learn more about Sharia Law in the American context.
The conversation was co-facilitated by Rabbi Michael Balinsky and Sheik Abdur Rahman Khan, after Sheik Khan gave a presentation about Sharia law. Many of the participants later described how they deepened their understanding of Sharia law as a moral code, and the ways in which it includes economics, politics, prayer and diet.
They also addressed some of the harder questions, related to Sharia law as a penal code. “Yes,” said Sheik Khan, “Sharia law includes the death penalty, but that is true for the penal codes of 139 countries around the world, including the United States.”