12 U. Md. L.J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class 123 (2012)
Sharia Law, Islamophobia and the U.S. Constitution: New Tectonic Plates of the Culture Wars

handle is hein.journals/margin12 and id is 127 raw text is: SHARIA LAW, ISLAMOPHOBIA AND THE U.S.
CONSTITUTION: NEW TECTONIC PLATES OF THE
CULTURE WARS
SAEED A. KHAN*
Since the twin controversies of the Park 51 Center, the so-
called Ground Zero Mosque, and the threats of Florida pastor Terry
Jones in the summer of 2010 to burn copies of the Qur'an for the
anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the public debates on anti-
Muslim rhetoric and action, commonly described as Islamophobia,
have intensified both in abundance and in rancor. With efforts to block
construction of mosques in places like Murfreesboro, Tennessee,'
Stockton, California2 and Sheybogan County, Wisconsin,3 several
communities with small Muslim populations that have been living as
neighbors for several years have now become the new battlegrounds
for whether they can build houses of worship. Prompted and
encouraged by community leaders and politicians purporting to
represent all members of their constituency, well organized campaigns
seek to limit the visibility of Muslim life in the public arena; or, at the
very least, create conditions of sufficient hostility so as to dissuade
Muslims from moving into the community and give Muslims currently
residing in those communities pause as to whether to continue living
there.4
Given the sordid racial history of the United States,5 and the
demonization of various religious and ethnic suspect groups,6 one may
rightly ask why the country, or at least some segments of it, has failed
to learn from its past and assume a more conciliatory, even
welcoming, posture toward those that do not seem to fit a certain
paradigm. A common rejoinder is to mention the terrorist attacks of
Copyright © 2012 by Saeed A. Khan
*Saeed A. Khan teaches Islamic and Middle East history, politics and culture at Wayne State
University in Detroit, where he is also a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Citizenship.
1. Robbie Brown, Incidents at Mosque in Tennessee Spread Fear. NEW YORK TIMES,
Aug., 30, 2010, A10, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/us/31mosque.html?_r-1.
2. Bobby Ghosh, Islamaphobia: Does America Have a Muslim Problem? TIME, Aug.
19, 2010, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2011936,00.html.
3. Id.
4. Id.
5. RONALD TAKAKI, A DIFFERENT MIRROR: A HISTORY OF MULTICULTURAL AMERICA
11(1993).
6. Id.

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