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Since World War I, the West has enshrine human rights as an ideal for all nations and societies, as codified in the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966), and the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action of June, 1993. Today these concepts are a cornerstone of Western Civilization.
But Islam offers a different perception of human rights — human rights as understood through Shariah law. As the number of Muslims living in western countries grows, and along with that their influence in politics and society, Shariah comes into competition with western ideals.
Much ink has been spilled over the last few years in debate about the value, or the danger, of Shariah to western society. On one hand there is a strongly anti-Shariah movement, led primarily by David Yerushalmi, a New York lawyer promoting awareness of the dangers of Sharia to American society and lobbying to ban it from American courts.
The New York Times has been a leader in the defense of Shariah, with commentators Roger Cohen, Andrea Elliott, and Noah Feldman, inter alia, offering detailed expositions of the beauties of Shariah, its benign nature, and the absence of any reason to fear its co-existence with the secular law of the western countries. They argue that Shariah law is a “non-existent threat,”  a “problem more imagined than real,” and its defense is a defense of religious freedom.
The most eloquent, detailed, almost elegiac defense of Sharia comes from Noah Feldman who opines that “…for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world.”
Defending threatened minorities is an excellent expression of American democratic values. Shilling for Sharia, if it threatens our society, is not.
So why might Shariah be a danger to America?
Shariah (lit. a path, a way) is the product of Muslim jurists who use the Qur’an, the extra-Qur’anic accounts of Mohammed’s teachings, analogical reasoning, and consensus to create Muslim law. There are certain characteristics of Shariah that have been apparent since its inception in the 7th century, such as:
Condoning murder for sexual transgressions or for the accusation of sexual transgressions
Condoning forced marriages and marriage of under-aged girls
Condoning wife beating and marital rape
Establishing women’s legal status in courts to be literally half of a man’s (it takes 2 female witnesses to counter one male witness in court)
Requiring that female heirs receive only half of what males receive
Prohibiting Moslem women from marrying non-Moslem men.
Prohibiting homosexuality, with punishment of flogging or execution
Prohibiting alcoholic beverages, gambling, music, much western art
Use of lex talionis (literally an eye for eye, tooth for tooth)
Amputation, flogging, crucifixion, stoning and decapitation for a variety of crimes, many of which would be considered non-capital offenses or even torts by western standards
Death for insulting or criticizing Islam, Muslims, Mohammed, the Qur’an, Sharia, or Allah
Requiring execution or assassination of Muslims who convert out of Islam
Creating the dhimmi status for Non-Muslims: a sub-class non-citizen denied civil and human rights
In Sharia a non-Muslim’s life is worth less than a Muslim’s
Requiring eternal jihad and exhorting Muslim leaders to abrogate treaties with non-Muslim countries if doing so will advance Jihad.
So Shariah is based upon a religious ideology that embraces gender apartheid, religious apartheid, cruel punishment and the denial of freedoms of speech, thought, and conscience. As such it cannot be compatible with western pluralistic democratic societies.
But defenders of Shariah argue that much of what is objectionable to western sensibilities has often been not strictly enforced, and that over much of the past Shariah was more humane and just by modern standards than other national or religious laws of those same times.
These assertions, even if true, are irrelevant. We are concerned with the present and future impact of Shariah on our civilization, not a comparative historical analysis of various legal systems. Moreover, the religious, triumphalist, supremacist, imperialist Islam of el-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Saudi Arabia and Iran includes the brutal enforcement of Shariah; and these terrorist forces and states have made deep inroads into Muslim countries previously ruled by far less extreme Islamic governments, and into African, Asian and European countries.
Feldman himself admits that “In the Muslim world Shariah has undergone an extraordinary revival in recent years. … Today, 66 percent of Egyptians, 60 percent of Pakistanis and 54 percent of Jordanians say that Shariah should be the only source of legislation in their countries. Islamist political parties… make the adoption of Shariah the most prominent plank in their political platforms. And the message resonates. Wherever Islamists have been allowed to run for office in Arabic-speaking countries, they have tended to win almost as many seats as the governments have let them contest. The Islamist movement…. is easily the fastest growing and most vital in the Muslim world; the return to Shariah is its calling card.”
For almost 40 years, Saudi Arabia and later Iran have made carefully orchestrated efforts to advance their own extreme interpretation of Shariah throughout the Muslim world. They have succeeded. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are examples of the triumph of Shariah in what were once more moderate Islamic states. With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan in 1983, pro-Shariah forces precipitated a war that caused the death of millions. Nigeria, Somalia, and Malaysia are in the throes of just such a conflict now. Turkey, a secular country since Ataturk (early 20th century), now boasts a radical Islamist government.
Add to that the Global Sharia Movement, with its own YouTube channel and Face book pages, whose goal is the total islamization of the world, implementation of Shariah and abolition of democracy. In the UK there is constant pressure from the Global Sharia Movement’s local chapter, Sharia4UK, to advance Shariah as an alternative to British criminal law. And this is not merely the work of some few extremists. Recent polls show that growing numbers of young UK Muslims support Shariah, with almost 40% wishing to live under Shariah in Britain.
Proliferating across European cities are “no-go zones” in which the majority Muslim population does not allow non-Muslims to enter, not even police, fire department, or ambulances. France alone has 751 such zones.
In Britain, a Muslim group called Muslims Against the Crusades has launched the Islamic Emirates Project, a campaign to turn twelve British cities – including what it calls “Londonistan” – into independent Islamic mini-states, or “Islamic Emirates,” which will function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Shariah entirely outside of British jurisprudence.
In the Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden, Muslim leaders are becoming more and more aggressive and violent in their bids to create Muslims-only enclaves, where Shariah is enforced to the exclusion of state laws.
And what about the USA, where Shariah is “more imagined than real?” A 2009 conference in Boston answers that question. Nearly 300 people attended the Khalifah Conference on “The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam” organized by Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), whose alumni include 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the late Iraqi terrorist leader Abu Musab az-Zarqawi and would-be Hamas suicide bombers . HT’s goal is to restore the caliphate and establish Shariah over the entire world via jihad. HT took its first baby steps toward this goal when it declared the new Caliphate, with its capital in Gaza City, in 2006.
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is actively afoot as well.
A memorandum, written in 1991 by a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, outlined a strategic plan in the United States that involved “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” A similar document, discovered during a raid by Swiss authorities in November 2001, identifies what the MB calls “the project”: a 12-step plan to mount a cultural invasion of the West, country by country, by establishing Islamist government organizations parallel to secular governments. Written in 1982, this document presages the Muslim successes at implementing Shariah and creating independent Muslim enclaves throughout Europe.
Probably the most thorough documentation of the threat of Shariah to the USA is Frank Gaffney’s book Shariah: the Threat to America (CSP, 2010), published by his Center for Security Policy (CSP). The CSP’s website devoted to the question of Shariah in America, http://shariahthethreat.org/, offers a 17-chapter survey of the issues summarized above.
Gaffney concludes, as does David Yerushalmi, that while Feldman, Elliott and their ilk may be correct that today there is no Shariah threat in the USA, their assessments are very short-sighted. Unless Shariah’s defenders are abysmally ignorant of the all-too-many core characteristics of Shariah that are an anathema to western civilization, and of Shariah’s role as the “calling card” of Islamist terrorists, they are shilling for the terrorists who seek to impose Islam on the west, by force if necessary.
The status of Shariah in European countries today is akin to what it was in Bangladesh, Sudan, or Afghanistan ten or twenty years ago. In ten or twenty years the USA may look a lot like European countries today, if the Muslim Brotherhood succeeds in implementing its “project.”
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