Brad Sherman: State Dep’t Should Hire Islamic Scholars to Combat IS Ideology

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Congressman Brad Sherman (D., Calif.) said the U.S. State Department has enough lawyers, but needs more experts in Islamic jurisprudence to combat the ideology of the Islamic State.

On Tuesday, Sherman told a congressional hearing that the U.S. should hire Muslim theologians and experts in Shari'a law to help reduce the threat of worldwide terror.

Sherman backed up his statements during an interview with Al Jazeera America's Antonio Mora on Tuesday night.

"We have the outreach–what we don't have is the research," Sherman said. "Keep in mind, the State Department has a thousand lawyers. I think they ought to hire one or two experts in Islamic jurisprudence, whether they be practicing Muslims or others who have the expertise.

"It's not enough to say, ‘look at what ISIS did, they beheaded somebody, it's evil.'"

Sherman stressed the need to find Islamic–rather than secular or humanitarian–justifications against the brutality of the Islamic State to appeal to Muslims worldwide, particularly in the West, who are susceptible to recruitment via social media.

Sherman said this would involve employing established Muslim scholars who can justify opposition to IS with passages from the Quran and the Hadith–the collections of teachings, sayings, and actions of the Prophet Muhammad.

"One must be able to turn to the Quran, to turn to the Hadith and show how ISIS is making a mockery of a great world religion," Sherman said. "You cannot appeal to Islamic jurists unless you can cite Hadith, unless you can cite Quran, unless you can do all the things you would do in working before any other jurists anywhere in the world.

"You need legal expertise to get the Islamic legal scholars to be on our side."

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