CNN political commentator and columnist Sally Kohn received immediate backlash on Twitter Tuesday after she posted a controversial tweet about Islamic law.
Hey @realDonaldTrump, many *progressive Muslims* -- the ones we should support in ideological fight against extremism -- believe in Sharia!!— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) August 16, 2016
The liberal journalist claimed that many peaceful, "progressive Muslims" believe in Shariah law, the legal code that guides members of the Islamic faith and is strictly enforced in fundamentalist Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia.
Many have condemned Shariah as anti-American as it allows for violent forms of punishment and unequal treatment of women in a court of law. Few would call it "progressive."
For example, according to a leading Shariah law manual, Reliance of the Traveller, the code also demands the killing of apostates, or those who once were Muslim but left the faith.
Given this, the responses that flooded in after Kohn's Shariah tweet were not surprising:
No, but seriously, what? Does she even know what she just said here? https://t.co/eXDxznwzU6— ZombieHarambe2016 (@LilMissRightie) August 16, 2016
There is nothing "progressive" about Sharia Law. That should be readily apparent to any thinking person. https://t.co/QoXuhRJtSq— Ian McKelvey (@mckelvey_ian) August 16, 2016
Candidate for dumbest tweet of the year. https://t.co/9KYv4fhapg— Jim Branch (@jamesbranch3) August 16, 2016
That tweet in which a Progressive suggests we should completely abandon Western values to be PC. https://t.co/DhU2F0pNrI— Stacey Lennox (@ScotsFyre) August 16, 2016
Liberal Muslim intellectuals focused on religious reform have been executed under Shari'a regimes. But whatevs. https://t.co/tPP7w4xyFh— Blame Big Government (@BlameBigGovt) August 16, 2016
Afterward, however, Kohn defended her comment by posting an Atlantic article and encouraging critics to educate themselves.
The article, written by Jeffrey Goldberg, slams conservative politician Newt Gingrich's criticism of Shariah by explaining how Israel has adopted the legal code for certain proceedings:
Israel’s sharia courts, which are supervised by the Ministry of Justice, allow the more than 15 percent of Israel’s population that is Muslim to seek religious recourse for their personal dilemmas. These courts have been in operation since Israel’s founding, and yet the country does not seem to have been fatally undermined by their existence.
Speaking to the Jewish Chronicle in 2008, Dr. Aviad Hacohen, a constitutional law expert from Hebrew University and the head of the Mosiaca Centre on State and Religion, detailed what he sees as the "two main shortcomings" of Israel's system:
The first is that it creates a twin-track system of religious and civil law that are not always compatible. Over-ruling of the religious courts by the Supreme Court is not uncommon, and in 1992, in the landmark case Bavli v Bavli, the Supreme Court ruled that civil courts take precedence over religious courts.
The second shortcoming is that the system isn’t good for everyone. It can’t deal with mixed marriages, or those who are not recognised as belonging to a religion.
Such arrangements between religious courts and the civil authorities are impossible in countries like the US and France, where there is a strict division between state and religion, but they exist in Germany and Belgium where some religious groups are allowed to rule on such matters.
Germany and Belgium were both devastated by multiple terrorist attacks in 2016 carried out by Islamic extremists.