Tuesday, August 16, 2005

British Muslim Groups Say
There Is Nothing Extreme About Sharia

The Islamofascists best friend in the newspaper business, The Guardian, today published this joint statement from the Muslim community in Britain:

As members of the Muslim community the undersigned individuals and organisations feel the need to communicate our view regarding some of the recently proposed antiterrorism measures in the aftermath of the London bombings, and address statements made by the prime minister in the past few weeks. We fear that recent events are being exploited by some sections in society to demonise legitimate Islamic values and beliefs and hence consider it appropriate to make the following observations:

1. The term "extremism", frequently used in the public discourse about religion and terrorism, has no tangible legal meaning or definition and is thus unhelpful and emotive. To equate "extremism" with the aspirations of Muslims for Sharia laws in the Muslim world or the desire to see unification towards a Caliphate in the Muslim lands, as seemed to be misrepresented by the prime minister, is inaccurate and disingenuous. It indicates ignorance of what the Sharia is and what a Caliphate is and will alienate and victimise the Muslim community unnecessarily.

2. The Muslim community in Britain has unequivocally denounced acts of terrorism. However, the right of people anywhere in the world to resist invasion and occupation is legitimate. Therefore the proposal to criminalise "justification" or "validation" of such self defence appears to be intended to stifle discussion about, and support for, such resistance. Thus anyone even verbally opposing the illegal invasion of Iraq, for example, could in future be made out to be justifying and supporting "acts of terrorism" and prosecuted. We are concerned that these proposed measures are intended to prevent the popular opposition witnessed in the run-up to the Iraq war should the United States wish to attack Iran, Syria or any other sovereign nation in the near future.

In other words, they want to have the right to encourage their believers to attack British and American troops in Iraq. If these people are citizens, then they would be hanged for treason. If they are not citizens they should leave Britain.

It is insane to expect Britain, or any other country to allow people within their borders to advocate attacks against their own armed forces.

3. It is natural for Muslims to feel sympathy with fellow Muslims elsewhere in the world and to desire justice for those of them living under oppression. Many people compare the Israeli reality with South African apartheid and demand a similar solution. To denounce anybody who questions the legitimacy of Israel will be seen as an attempt to silence academic thought and legitimate political expression. If the government hopes to pander to Zionist pressure by condemning and excluding from this country people who are critical of Israeli apartheid, it is in fact supporting apartheid.

In other words, they are Muslims before they are British. When they see poor Iraqis being oppressed, they want to have the right to encourage believers to take up arms against Britain.

4. The proposal to ban the non-violent organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir is, in our view, unwarranted, unjust and unwise, and runs counter to all the principles which Western democracies are currently trying to promote abroad. Any disagreement with a political organisation must be expressed through debate not censorship. Whatever objections one may have to someone else's point of view, we must uphold their right to hold and articulate those views. If it is suggested that any laws have been broken by any individuals or groups then this must be proven by due legal process. Criminalising the mere possession of certain opinions is the hallmark of dictatorships, not democracies.

5. The same reasoning applies to the proposal to close mosques if they are arbitrarily defined as being "extremist" or to try and politically influence what may or may not be said during a religious talk. This would amount to a collective punishment of the community and will be likely to create fear and prevent legitimate political discussion within mosques. This repression could lead to the very radical subculture which we all seek to prevent.

Doesn't that sound a bit like a threat?

6. The proposal to deport and/or extradite foreign nationals to countries known for gross human rights abuses is abhorrent to a civilised nation, irrelevant of whether or not a diplomatic assurance that deportees will not be mistreated is obtained.

This recent move comes across as a cynical attempt to resolve the problem of dealing with those currently under "control orders" after the judiciary found their continued detention without trial to be unlawful. Given that the alleged bombers on July 7 in London were British nationals, such an exploitation of the events to move against foreign nationals as well as unwanted asylum seekers is indeed shameful.

This list of concerns is not conclusive, but we are putting these issues forward to help prevent a knee-jerk reaction to recent events which would drive a rift between communities in the UK and set the course of British politics onto the slippery slope of intellectual censorship and totalitarianism.

Basically, what they are saying to Britain here is don't impose your totalitarianism. We have a better totalitarianism in mind for you.

Here's some info about the Sharia Law they want to impose:

The authority of Sharia is drawn from two primary sources, as well as two other sources. The first major source is the specific guidance in the Qur'an, and the second source is the Sunnah, literally the 'Way', i.e. the way that Muhammad (the Prophet of Islam) lived his life. (The compilation of all that Muhammad said, did or approved of is called the Hadith.) A lesser source of authority is Qiyas, which is the extension by analogy of existing Sharia law to new situations. Finally Sharia law can be based on ijma, or consensus.

There is tremendous variation in the interpretation and implementation of Islamic laws in Muslim societies today. Some believe that colonialism, which often replaced religious laws with secular ones, has caused this variation. More recently, liberal movements within Islam have questioned the relevance and applicability of sharia from a variety of perspectives. As a result, several of the countries with the largest Muslim populations, including Indonesia, Bangladesh and India, have largely secular constitutions and laws, with only a few Islamic provisions in family law. Turkey has a constitution that is strongly secular.

Likewise, most countries of the Middle East and North Africa maintain a dual system of secular courts and religious courts, in which the religious courts mainly regulate marriage and inheritance.

Saudi Arabia and Iran maintain religious courts for all aspects of jurisprudence. Sharia is also used in Sudan, Libya and for a time in modern Afghanistan. Some states in northern Nigeria have reintroduced Sharia courts.

In practice the new Sharia courts in Nigeria have most often meant the re-introduction of relatively harsh punishments without respecting the much tougher rules of evidence and testimony, such as the necessity of four eyewitnesses, with a woman's testimony counting no less than that of a man. The punishments include amputation of one/both hand(s) for theft and stoning for adultery.

So, in other words Sharia can include such punishments, in the worst case scenario, and it does in several major countries. But, usually all Sharia applies to is marriage and inheritance. In other words, it is usually only used to oppress women:

According to the Sharia, despite declarations of the equality of the sexes before God, women are considered inferior to men, and have fewer rights and responsibilities. A woman counts as half a man in giving evidence in a court of law, or in matters of inheritance. Her position is less advantageous than a man’s with regard to marriage and divorce. A husband has the moral and religious right and duty to beat his wives for disobedience or for perceived misconduct. A woman does not have the right to choose her husband, or her place of residence, to travel freely or have freedom in her choice of clothing. Women have little or no autonomy and are deemed to need the protection of their fathers, husbands or other male relatives throughout their lives. Any conduct that undermines the idea of male supremacy will fall foul of the Sharia.

The legal age of marriage varies from country to country, ranging from 9 in Iran to 13, 15 or 17 (in Tunisia). This follows from the marriage of Mohammed to Aisha, a 9-year-old girl, when the Prophet was 53. It should be noted, however, that the Prophet was allowed many actions by Allah that were denied to the other faithful, and not all Muslim scholars would accept the Aisha marriage as a precedent.

The various Sunni schools of law and that of the Shi'ites differ on a number of points important to women. In all schools, however, marriage is a contract according to which the husband should perform sexually and provide materially for the wife. The wife must have sex whenever the husband wishes. A man can easily divorce a woman by pronouncing that he is divorcing her three times. Polygamy with up to four wives is permitted, and in the Shi'ite sect, temporary marriage is allowed whereby a man can have access to an unlimited number of women. The practice is known as Mot'a or Sigheh. Men are also permitted concubines and female slaves.
In many Islamic countries a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man whereas Muslim men are allowed to marry non-Muslim women. With the object of protecting morality and preventing sexual anarchy, women are expected to cover their whole bodies bar their faces and their hands up to their wrists. The Sharia is totally opposed to freedom of dress – for women. This is obviously a huge barrier to the personal development of women, not allowing them to develop sexually and as people. It is inhumane to imprison women behind veils when it is the men who according to Islamic law cannot be trusted to control themselves. On the pretext of protecting their honor women are kept locked up, isolated and unable to enjoy a full life or to develop their potential.

In order to protect their morality women can have no contact with men to whom they are not related without the presence of a male relative. The segregation of sexes in this way makes it very difficult for women to leave their houses and participate in society in any way at all. Under the Taliban many war widows were forced into starvation. Their crime? Had they prayed harder their husbands would have survived!

Many apologists for Islam, women among them, argue that women are happy in their roles in Islamic society, happy to be afforded the protection of their menfolk and to be kept away from the gaze of other men. But this of course is a false argument. If some women want to stay at home under the protection of their men they can do so. But do the apologists for Islam have the right to tell all other women, including non-Muslims, how they should behave? Women deserve to be treated as autonomous human beings and for this reason alone misogynistic Political Islam and its imposition of the Sharia should be opposed.

How can they say with a straight face that the desire to implement Sharia is not "extremism?"

Well, they can, because they are extremists.