After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that ended the constitutional right to abortion, Zahra Ayubi started to notice a theme among some critics of the historic shift.
“They’ll draw analogies between abortion bans in the United States and Muslim conservatism,” Ayubi, a professor of Islamic Ethics at Dartmouth College, said of some of the commentary she saw on TV and on social media. Critiques ranged from attempts at humor to outright Islamophobia.
In some cases, as Ayubi recalled, critics blamed the so-called “Texas Taliban” for new abortion restrictions in that state. She also saw a widely-shared photo of Supreme Court justices edited to show them in beards, turbans, and burqas. The punchline?
“To show that SCOTUS has now become ruled by Sharia,” Ayubi said wearily.
New York City-based artist and writer Maryam Monalisa Gharavi shares a similar weariness, given the difficulty she’s faced in talking openly about abortion in her community, and in light of one simple fact: Sharia — the body of religious law in Islam — can, in fact, be very permissive of abortion.
“I myself started provoking conversations in my own circles, in my own family,” said Gharavi, “Saying, hey, do Muslims even know their own faith?”
What Sharia actually dictates on abortion
Polls show opinions on abortion, like in other faith groups, are deeply divided. According to a survey conducted last March by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, 56% of Muslim Americans think abortion should actually be legal in all or most cases.