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Yet neither Reza Aslan nor any other Muslim spokesman in the U.S. can point to any version of Sharia that does not mandate stoning for adultery, or polygamy, or female genital mutilation, or the devaluation of a woman’s testimony in court and inheritance rights, or any number of other provisions that ultimately make it impossible for the Western powers, despite the best intentions of Bob Carr and William Hague, to succeed in “advancing the rights of Afghan women and girls.”
Even if Najiba was the victim of an extrajudicial murder that violated the tenets of Islamic law, those tenets are oppressive enough for women as to ensure that the “rights of Afghan women and girls” will continue to be contravened in numerous ways, whether or not the Taliban returns to power – as long as Islam remains the dominant political and religious ideology of the land. Even if Najiba was killed unjustly in a manner that does not accord with Islamic law, other women are treated unjustly on a regular basis in Afghanistan in ways that accord perfectly with Islamic law: denied a just inheritance, treated as a commodity in a polygamous arrangement with a much older man, silenced in court, beaten (in accord with Qur’an 4:34), and more.
Everywhere that Sharia has ever been implemented, women have been oppressed, and always in the very same ways. For Carr and Hague, and other Western spokesmen who have deplored the murder of Najiba, to treat that murder as an isolated incident betrays an astonishing naivete, particularly from career diplomats who hold the post of Foreign Minister in their respective nations. They should both know that untold numbers of women suffer injustices up to and including the loss of life in Afghanistan on a daily basis; Najiba’s case is singular only in that it was filmed.
If Australia and Britain had Foreign Ministers worth their salt, they would be denouncing Sharia and calling for equal justice for women and non-Muslims in Muslim countries.
We could use a Secretary of State who would do that here, too. But the chances of getting one are about as good as those of Mitt Romney winning the Kentucky Derby.
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