Sharia 'vigilante' in Minneapolis sparks concern among local community

Muslims in Minneapolis are reportedly on edge about a vigilante who is trying to enforce religious standards based on what he has called "the civil part of the sharia law."

According to one expert, Sharia law can include all aspects of life including finances, diet, and other lifestyle choices.

In this case, reports the Star Tribune, local leaders claim that 22-year-old Abdullah Rashid has been patrolling the Cedar-Riverside area, advising people to abstain from drugs, to remain separate from members of the opposite gender, and — for women — to dress in more modest garments.

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Rashid himself is quoted in the piece as saying, "People who don't know me would say I'm a terrorist. I'm someone who's dedicated to Islam and trying to help the community all ways I can."

However, many have pointed out that he reportedly wears a green uniform with extremist flags and that he is trying to recruit others into his group, called the General Presidency of the Religious Affairs and Welfare of the Ummah.

Community leaders have since spoken out about Rashid, with Jaylani Hussein, the head of the local Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter, saying, "He does not reflect what our faith teaches."

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Many reacted to the story on social media as well.

One Twitter user said, "Good to hear the local Muslim community is objecting to this Guy."

Another responded, "He's in for a rude awakening. You cannot do this in America. Freedom of religion means you have a choice. Religion cannot be 'enFORCED."

Reacting to concerns, a commenter noted, "Calm down Sharia law is already banned it's called The Bill of Rights."

In a Washington Post piece covering the myths concerning sharia, Asifa Quraishi-Landes, a University of Wisconsin associate professor, explains, "...sharia isn't even 'law' in the sense that we in the West understand it. And most devout Muslims who embrace sharia conceptually don't think of it as a substitute for civil law. Sharia is not a book of statutes or judicial precedent imposed by a government, and it's not a set of regulations adjudicated in court."

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