Fact check: COVID-19 restrictions are not related to imposition of Sharia law

Fact check: COVID-19 restrictions are not related to imposition of Sharia lawThe Ali family traveled from Manhattan to the Islamic Center of Passaic County to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan. To  practice social distancing the Paterson mosque decided to have a car parade instead of a normal gathering that would typically draw thousands of people to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Sunday, May 24, 2020 in Paterson, N.J.

The claim: Steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 are the first moves to impose Sharia law in the United States.

This social media post claims that steps adopted in the United States to limit the spread of the coronavirus — such as the slaughter of hogs; closing of bars and churches; and cancellation of sports — are actually part of a secret agenda to facilitate the spread of Sharia law.

Misspelled in the post as "shiria," Sharia law provides a framework by which Muslims may live their lives. It is based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

According to the Library of Congress, some provisions of Sharia law clash with Western concepts of personal freedom and equality between the sexes. That also has made it an easy target for extremists to point to when attempting to vilify or demonize Muslims. I wonder if thi

More:List of sports events affected by the coronavirus pandemic

Pigs, bars, churches

The social media post states that among the actions that point to the adoption of Islamic law in the U.S. is the slaughter of 700,000 pigs a week. Muslims avoid all pork products for religious reasons.

More:As leaders warned of US meat shortages, overseas exports of pork and beef continued

The coronavirus outbreak forced the closure of slaughterhouses across the country. Demand from restaurants, closed by the pandemic, has also dropped. That has left farmers with more pigs than they can handle, leaving them often with little choice but to euthanize their hogs, according to The Associated Press. The slaughter of the pigs has nothing to do with Islam.

Health officials reported dozens of cases of the coronavirus at the Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The post also states bars, along with churches, are closed in accordance with Muslim beliefs. This is true, but has nothing to do with Sharia law.

The moves are tied to social distancing measures backed by science and health officials, and adopted by the U.S. – and much of the rest of the world – to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes limits on houses of worship, where people gather together in large numbers and often in close quarters.

More:Businesses react to 'pause' on Texas reopening

Many of those temporary closures have now been lifted as states slowly begin to reopen their economies, with most restaurants allowed to offer in-house dining and even bars opening in some places.

But the reopening has led to a spike in COVID-19 cases in several states, prompting governors in Texas and Florida last week to announce the re-implementation of several mitigation measures — notably the closure of bars.

Muslim worshippers, distanced safely from each other and clad in face masks due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, perform the noon prayers at a mosque in Kuwait City on June 10, 2020 for the first time since a lockdown was instated three months ago.

And to the claim that mosques have remained open, in line with Islamic law, while churches are closed — that has been debunked by FactCheck.org.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a major Islamic civil liberties organization, told FactCheck.org that even during Ramadan, “I personally know of no mosques remaining open for prayers.”

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Lastly, the post states that sports are canceled. (There is debate among Muslims over whether sports are permissible, according to the website UmmahSport, which presents stories involving Muslim athletes.)

Global sports have not been permanently canceled. Sports also are slowly returning, with NASCAR and the PGA Tour already back up and running and most professional team sports, including the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, planning to start training again by mid-July.

More:As MLB makes plans for 2020 season, what about the mascots?

Our ruling: False

We rate this claim as FALSE. The steps taken are scientifically based and are recommended by health officials worldwide to try to stem the spread of COVID-19. The social distancing measures are not based on the views of one religion.

Our fact-check sources:

Library of Congress, Sharia lawAssociated Press, U.S. News Slaughterhouses reopen but farmers still euthanizing pigsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, CoronavirusPolitico, Texas, Florida governors order bars closed, impose new restrictions as cases surgeReuters Fact Check, False claim: Social distancing measures are being used to impose sharia lawUmmahSports, Sports in IslamFactCheck.org, Stay-at-Home policies treat mosques same as churches

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/06/27/fact-check-covid-19-orders-are-not-tied-sharia-law-islam/3269954001/

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