Two Twin Cities legal scholars are slated to discuss why anti-Sharia legislation is a threat to religious liberty at a forum tonight at the University of St. Thomas.

Entitled “The Dangers of Anti-Sharia Laws: Muslim and Catholic Perspectives,” the forum features Abdulwahid Qalinle, a native of Somalia and adjunct associate professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School, and Robert Vischer, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at St. Thomas’ School of Law.

The forum -- scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the auditorium of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center -- is co-sponsored by St. Thomas Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center and Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy. 

The title for the forum comes from Vischer’s article, “The Dangers of Anti-Sharia Laws,” published in First Things, the journal of The Institute on Religion and Public Life, according to a released statement from St. Thomas:

“In the article, Vischer explains that Shariah means ‘the way to the watering place.’ It refers to the correct way of practicing religion and rules that govern the lives of Muslims, including conduct between spouses, behavior at funerals and even etiquette.
“Though popular with secularists and religious conservatives, anti-Sharia legislation does not defend against theocracy but calls into question our society’s fundamental commitments to meaningful religious liberty and meaningful access to the courts,” Vischer wrote. “These commitments have been relied on by generations of Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and Jews, and to try to remove them for Muslims both is unjust to Muslims and sets a dangerous precedent for other religious groups.”
“Later in the article, Vischer writes: “Anti-Sharia legislation proposes an unconstitutional double standard. Canon law and biblical principles are not dirty words in the American court system, and Sharia should not be either.”