The “sharia threat” argument is based on an extreme type of scripturalism where one pulls out verses from a sacred text and argues that believers will behave according to that text. But this argument ignores how believers themselves understand and interpret that text over time.
The equivalent would be saying that Jews stone disobedient sons to death (Deut. 21:18- 21) or that Christians slay all non-Christians (Luke 19:27). In a more secular context it is similar to arguing that the use of printed money in America is unconstitutional — ignoring the interpretative process of the Supreme Court.
In reality, sharia is personal religious law and moral guidance for the vast majority of Muslims. Muslim scholars historically agree on certain core values of sharia, which are theological and ethical and not political. Moreover, these core values are in harmony with the core values at the heart of America.
Muslims consider an interpretation of sharia to be valid so long as it protects and advocates for life, property, family, faith and intellect. Muslim tradition overwhelmingly accepts differences of opinion outside these core values, which is why sharia has survived for centuries as an ongoing series of conversations. Sharia has served Muslims who have lived in every society and in every corner of the planet, including many Americans who have lived in our country from before our independence down to the present day.
Recent statements from Muslim religious authorities, such as the 2004 Amman Message, show the dynamic, interpretive tradition of Islam in practice. In fact, the Amman Message is a sharia-based condemnation of violence. So if CSP wants Muslims to reject sharia they are effectively arguing Muslims should reject nonviolence.