CAIRO – Seen as the front-runner to challenge incumbent president Barack Obama in next year's presidential elections, US Republican president hopeful Newt Gingrich has a history of anti-Islam slurs, who sees Shari`ah a mortal threat to the United States.
“I believe Shari`ah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it,” Gingrich said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington in July 2010and cited by The New York Times.
“I think it’s that straightforward and that real.”
The former speaker of the House of Representatives in the mid-1990s believes in the theory that advocates of Shari`ah are radical Islamists.
"Stealth jihadis use political, cultural, societal, religious, intellectual tools; violent jihadis use violence,” Gingrich said in the speech.
"But in fact they’re both engaged in jihad, and they’re both seeking to impose the same end state, which is to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Shari`ah."
In 2010, Gingrich and his wife produced and narrated a film, "America at Risk", about what they say the threat of "radical Islam".
In the film, they discuss what they say the danger of terrorism and Shari`ah against a lurid background of terrorist bombings, bloody victims, wailing sirens and chanting Muslim crowds.
Gingrich had once called for a ban on all mosques near Ground Zero "so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia."
Shari`ah has come under scrutiny recently in the US, with right-wing campaigners and politicians questioning its role and operating system.
Lawmakers in at least 15 states have introduced proposals forbidding local judges from considering Shari`ah when rendering verdicts on issues of divorces and marital disputes.
In Islam, Shari`ah govern issues in Muslims’ lives from daily prayers to fasting and from to inheritance and marital cases to financial disputes.
The Islamic rulings, however, do not apply on non-Muslims, even if in a dispute with non-Muslims.
Gingrich has also been critical of president Obama's refusal to label terrorism as "Islamic" or "jihadist".
“The left’s refusal to tell the truth about the Islamist threat is a natural parallel to the 70-year pattern of left-wing intellectuals refusing to tell the truth about communism and the Soviet Union,” Gingrich said.
Administration officials say that labels smear the entire Islamic faith with terrorism.
Gingrich was the front-runner in the Republican race recently, just ahead of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
However, Gingrich's lead has evaporated in national polls amid a barrage of Romney television ads that have cited, among other things, the ethics charges Gingrich faced as House speaker.
Gingrich, who had a reputation in Washington for counter-punching when criticized, has fired back at Romney on occasion, but vowed to continue running a positive campaign.
Gingrich's anti-Islam slurs are not the first by Republican presidential aspirants.
Former candidate Herman Cain had said that he would not appoint a Muslim in his administration.
Cain, who withdrew from the race for the White House, later modified his position by calling for an unconstitutional "loyalty" oath for Muslim appointees.
Republican aspirant Rick Santorum had also describes Islamic Shari`ah as "an existential threat" to America.
US Muslims have been sensing a growing hostility following a hearing presented by Republican representative Peter King on what he described as “radicalization” of US Muslims.
Recently, a Republican Missouri lawmaker described Islam as a disease like polio while another Alaska Rep. branded Muslims as ‘occupiers’ of American neighborhoods.A US survey has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
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