Sunday, 11 October 2015

Sharia in the UK Redux: Unequal Justice

Yesterday I posted a discussion of the negative consequences of the integration of sharia law into the British legal system. That analysis, however, was written before I saw this, over at Breitbart London.

The article, published this past Thursday, examines a couple of recent disturbing examples of how Muslims (specifically Muslim women) appear to be receiving preferential treatment over non-Muslims under the law.

1) The UK has chosen to allow rape of an “Asian” girl to be sanctioned more severely than a similar crime committed against a white girl. On September 10, 2015, an appeals court agreed with a sentencing judge’s decision to impose a longer sentence on Jamal Muhammed Raheem Ul Nasir for sexually assaulting two underage “Asian” girls (at least one of whom was under age 13) because his victims allegedly suffered more than "white" girls would, due to the stigma of shame and lost honour within their community. This gives rapists a perverse incentive that, if they’re going to rape somebody, it’s better to rape a non-Muslim, because its potential consequences would be less severe.

2) In the name of cultural sensitivity, Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court, said last April that Muslim women should be allowed to wear a veil in court, even when testifying. If Lord Neuberger has his way, the jury’s right to evaluate a witness’s demeanour will not apply when the witness is a veiled Muslim woman. Jurors will see only what she chooses to show them.

As the piece concludes:

Arguably, these exceptions are motivated, and may contribute to, subjugation of women as the property of their families (here, here, and here). The net effect is still to enshrine a version of Islamic mores in British law and to elevate Muslims over non-Muslims.

Indeed, And by extension, they enshrine sharia law in Britain.

Do you have any kind of strategy to combat this, Mr. Cameron?

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Sharia Law In the UK (Part 1)

It's Not Coming Soon...It's Already Here

According to a 2009 report by Civitas, there are at least 85 independent sharia “arbitration panels” operating in the UK, many of which are issuing rulings that contradict British law. Rulings found on websites connected to these courts include fatwas mandating that a Muslim woman may not under any circumstances marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam, and that such a woman’s children will be separated from her until she marries a Muslim; that a woman may not leave her home without her husband’s consent; and recommendation of severe punishments for homosexuals.

Some Islamic courts are making decisions under sharia law beyond their legal remit. “About two-thirds of Muslim marriages are not being registered under the Marriages Act, which is illegal,” said Neil Addison, a barrister specialising in the law on religion.

Addison rejected the comparison between sharia courts and Jewish Beth Din courts: “These courts are not operating within the same disciplines as the Beth Din. The Beth Din acknowledge that 'the law of the land is the law,' and a rabbi cannot perform a synagogue marriage ceremony unless a registrar is present to simultaneously register the marriage under English law.” Addison added: “Imams and mosques are performing marriage ceremonies that are not registered under English law. They are the only religion that are doing it...Hindus and Sikhs have registered their temples under the Marriages Act.”

An insight into the mindset of those running these sharia courts can be found on the website of the Islamic Sharia Council, which runs Britain’s sharia court network. The website previously contained a number of unsavoury rulings for ordinary Muslims who write in for advice, although many of these seem to have been pulled within the last few months (I have saved caches of the relevant pages). In response to the question, “What is the Islamic ruling on statements stating the sharia law is barbaric and what is the ruling on saying Hudood [hadd punishments] are incompatible with contemporary life?”, the website said that any Muslim who criticises sharia is an unbeliever and will burn in hell. Another ruling reiterated the Qur’an’s admonition that the testimony of a woman in a court of law ought to have half the weight of a man’s (2:282), while also affirming in passing that “Cases of serious nature, like that of fornication, adultery and rape attract a very hard punishment in Islam. Flogging a hundred times for unmarried couples and stoning to the married ones.” A 2008 seminar hosted by the ISC (and summarised on their old website) openly championed the “perfection” of sharia, endorsing polygamy and outlining the “future steps to further accommodate within the British Judicial system elements that are fundamental to the way of life for a Muslim”.

Further insight comes from the statements of some of the top sharia court judges in this country. For example, Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, president of the Islamic Sharia Council, sparked controversy in 2010 by saying that men who rape their wives should not be prosecuted because “sex is part of marriage”. He claimed that many married women who alleged rape were lying.

In an earlier interview, Sayeed had made clear that he believes “non-consensual sex is the minor aggression, and calling it rape is the major aggression”. He also stated that to prosecute marital rapists would be “compromising Islamic religion with secular non-Islamic values,” and this should not be done, because “We don’t deviate from Qur'an, deviate from Sunnah.”

The general secretary of the ISC, Dr. Suhaib Hasan, is another proponent of deviant misogynistic attitudes, as evidenced by a BBC documentary in 2013 which showed him telling an undercover female Muslim reporter posing as a victim of spousal abuse that she should avoid going to the police to report it, before suggesting that she find out why her husband was so angry (“Is it because of my cooking? Is it because I see my friends?”) so that she could “correct” herself. The documentary revealed that similarly dangerous advice was being given to Muslim women in sharia courts all over the country.

Hasan is also very open about supporting the brutal punishments meted out under sharia in Muslim countries. “Even though cutting off the hands and feet, or flogging the drunkard and fornicator, seem to be very abhorrent, once they are implemented, they become a deterrent for the whole society. This is why in Saudi Arabia, for example, where these measures are implemented, the crime rate is very, very low,” he told The Sunday Telegraph in 2008.

Despite claiming that the ISC do not want to implement the sharia penal system in Britain (for now), Dr. Hasan effectively advocates it anyway. “If sharia law is implemented, then you can turn this country into a haven of peace because once a thief’s hand is cut off nobody is going to steal,” he says. “Once, just only once, if an adulterer is stoned nobody is going to commit this crime at all. We want to offer it to the British society. If they accept it, it is for their good and if they don’t accept it they’ll need more and more prisons.”

Even this small sampling of evidence proves that sharia law, as applied and advocated in this country, poses a major threat to human rights and freedom in the UK. The question remains: How widespread are these attitudes, and how prevalent is support for this kind of barbarity among Muslim communities in Britain?

It is to this question that I will turn in a future post.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Putin Bombs Jihadis - And We're Not Happy About It

Russia is engaged in "classic asymmetric warfare" in Syria by using its military clout to "prop up" President Bashar al-Assad while saying it is attacking Islamic State militants, Britain's foreign minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday.

Russia last week began striking targets in Syria - a dramatic escalation of foreign involvement in the civil war which has been criticized by Western leaders as an attempt to prop up Assad, rather than its purported aim of attacking Islamic State.

Barack Obama agrees, calling Russia's involvement a "recipe for disaster", and telling reporters that Russia “doesn’t distinguish between (IS) and a moderate Sunni opposition that wants to see Mr Assad go.”

There are several problems with the stance our esteemed leaders have been taking towards Putin's approach. One is that Russia really is attacking Islamic State - Russian airstrikes over the weekend destroyed an Islamic State command post near Raqqa as well as an underground bunker, and they have also hit several other provinces since Wednesday, including Aleppo in the north, Idlib in the northwest and Hama in central Syria, all known jihadist hotbeds, as well as six IS targets on Friday.

What's more, they have been attacking other jihadis, too, including al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front.

The other major problem with the West's approach is its reliance on the chimeric "moderate Sunni opposition" which it thinks we should be supporting, despite there being no evidence of its existence. In fact, we know that Pentagon-trained "rebels" have already betrayed the US and handed weapons over to al-Qaeda immediately after entering Syria. We also know that despite a huge investment in creating programmes to train "moderate" opposition to Assad, they have been able to find hardly any such moderates, and as of July, were only training 60 (yes, SIXTY) Syrian fighters.

The fact is that while Assad is undeniably a bad man, whoever replaces him is likely to be much, much worse. Russia appears to recognise this and is rightfully bombing Western "allies" into the mud, knowing that they aren't the liberal democrats that Philip Hammond and Barack Obama seem to think they are.

You know that we're well and truly screwed when Vladimir Putin ends up becoming the leader of the free world.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Eurabia Rising

In a brilliant article today at the Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern documents how Christians, Kurds and Yazidis in German refugee shelters are being attacked by Muslims with increasing frequency and ferocity. Muslim migrants from different sects, clans, ethnicities and nationalities are also attacking each other. Violent brawls - sometimes involving hundreds of migrants - are now a daily occurrence.

With example after example, Kern chronicles the savagery that has been imported to the shores of Europe, including assaults on Christians, as well as bloody rioting and in-fighting between Muslim Albanians, Syrians, Pakistanis, Algerians, Malians, Afghans, Iraqis, Tunisians, Moroccans, Somalis, Libyans, Sudanese, and Montenegrans.

Kern quotes the former mayor of the Neukölln district of Berlin, Heinz Buschkowsky, who warned that the first lesson migrants must learn when they arrive in Western countries is tolerance, and if they refuse to accept people of other faiths, their asylum applications should be rejected. He expressed pessimism about the possibility of integrating the current wave of migrants into German society: "The bulk of the migrants who are arriving here cannot be integrated."

In an earlier article at Gatestone, Kern also demonstrated how a growing number of women and young girls housed in refugee shelters in Germany are being raped, sexually assaulted and even forced into prostitution by male asylum seekers. At the same time, growing numbers of German women in towns and cities across the country are being raped by asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Many of the crimes are being downplayed by German authorities and the national media, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.

Make no mistake, Germany is changing, and has now reached the point where it may never be able to recover. What we are witnessing as a result of this "refugee" crisis is Eurabia writ large, the deliberate transformation of Europe into an Islamic colony, initiated by Islamic supremacists and a European elite who sought no mandate from their people for this treachery.

The rioting, violence and savagery we are already seeing from the migrants who have arrived in recent weeks and months will only multiply, as those we have elected to office - and those we haven't - tell us that facilitating this mass suicide is the "humanitarian" thing to do. If there are any free people left in Europe in a hundred years' time, they will view these events as a human tragedy of a very different kind.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Ben Carson Gets It Right Again...And Sam Harris Is Just Ignorant

In a recent interview, GOP Presidential hopeful Ben Carson was grilled once more about his declaration (discussed here) that he would not want a Muslim in the White House. Once again, he answered truthfully and rationally:

Well, let’s -- what we should be talking about is Islam and the tenets of Islam and where do they come from? They come from sharia. They come the Koran. They come from, you know, the life works and examples of Muhammad. They come from the fatwas, which is the writings of scholars.

You know, and if you go back and you look at -- what I would like for somebody to show me is an improved [he actually said "approved" ~ Ed] Islamic text that opposes sharia. Let me see -- if you can show me that, I will begin to alter my thinking on this. But right now, when you have something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions, and a host of things that are not compatible with our Constitution, why in fact would you take that chance?

Carson's informed, rational comments completely debunk a spurious contention made by Sam Harris during a recent appearance on CNN, that the Republican candidate is merely a "bigot" and a "Bible-thumper" who is engaging in "a kind of Christian demagoguery". Harris added: "I don't expect him to have thought deeply about how Islam as a set of doctrines and ideas may be incompatible with the Constitution."

Sam Harris is an intelligent, thoughtful man who cherishes reason...but it is not difficult to see that he is totally wrong on this. Whatever Carson's Christian beliefs, when one actually bothers to read what he has said on this particular issue, he is quite obviously 100% right, and has clearly given the issue much more thought than Harris is willing to give him credit for. It seems the Islamo-realistic secular Left have not yet risen above appealing to their ultra-Leftist base with cheap, lazy assertions of this kind.

When Carson was asked about his comments on a Muslim President in the recent This Week interview, his initial response was: "[R]ead the paragraph before that where I said anybody, doesn’t matter what their religious background, if they accept American values and principles and are willing to subjugate their religious beliefs to our Constitution. I have no problem with them. Why do you guys always leave that part out, I wonder?"

Indeed. Such omissions are expected from the craven dhimmis of the mainstream media. But coming from someone like Sam Harris, they are simply extremely disappointing.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Islam and Freedom

The Arabic word for freedom is hurriyya. But in Islam, this concept is completely at odds with the Western understanding of the term. The lionised Sufi Master Ibn Arabi (d.1240) defined freedom as “being perfect slavery.”

This conception was not only limited to the mystical Sufi understanding of the relationship between Allah and his human “slaves”. The renowned E.J. Brill Encyclopedia of Islam, a must-read scholarly reference work, contains an excellent entry on hurriyya. The next three paragraphs are a brief summation of some of the main points the entry raises.

For centuries in Islamic political thought, the individual was expected to subordinate his own freedom to the beliefs, morality and customs of the Islamic community as a whole, and hence was not expected to exercise any free choice as to how he wished to be governed. In general, there was never any idea that the individual citizen could democratically participate in government.

Throughout the nineteenth century, during the latter stages of the Ottoman Empire, there were some cautious reformers who wrote of political freedom in a more familiar sense, and even experimented with councils and assemblies, but even then, there was still no idea that the subjects of a state have any right to determine how their society is governed.

The idea of individual freedom only really reached Ottoman lands during the later periods under British and French rule, and while it was not always perfectly applied, it was on the whole much better protected than at any time during Muslim rule. Eventually, Muslim thinkers in the region rejected Western democracy altogether, labelling it a fraud and a delusion which was of no value to Muslims.

It is noteworthy that a traditional Arabic term used throughout the Qur’an to denote a follower of Islam is ‘abd (plural ibad), which also more literally means a slave or servant (i.e. of Allah).  Further, the word “Islam” itself means “submission, resignation, reconciliation (to the will of Allah)”, with the word “Muslim” therefore meaning one who submits to Allah. 

While many Muslims recognise these concepts to be completely antithetical to the Western idea of freedom, many have also begun to exploit popular democratic ideals in order to promote the implementation of sharia. This is most clearly demonstrated in the evolving methods of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which formed its first legitimate political party in early 2011: the Freedom and Justice Party, or Hurriyya and Adala

In the run-up to the Egyptian Presidential elections, the Brotherhood was open about its desire to implement sharia law in the country, but its political platform also made clear that it planned to do so via a pseudo-democratic process:

The authority of the sharia will be implemented in a manner that conforms to the [will of the] nation, by means of a parliamentary majority elected in free, clean, and transparent [elections]. The legislative branch must consult with the nation's Supreme Council of Clerics, which will likewise be freely and directly elected from among the clerics…[The duty of consulting with the Supreme Council of Clerics] will also apply to the president when he wishes to implement decisions based on law and in the absence of the legislative branch. In these circumstances, the Supreme Council of Clerics decision will be final and will best serve the interests of the public.

This system demonstrates how easily a façade of “democracy” can obscure the inherently anti-democratic character of Islamic law.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Is-Lambs to the Slaughter

 What Allah does to his most devout slaves

In what seems to be an almost annual spectacle, over 700 Muslims have been killed, and another 800 injured, in a stampede in Mecca, on the occasion of the annual pilgrimage of hajj.

This got me thinking, not just about the tragic waste of life caused by people travelling from all over the world to worship a piece of rock, but also about the Islamic fatalism that accompanies such incidents.

Only yesterday, before the stampede, the New York Times published an article by Mustafa Akyol discussing an earlier tragedy in Mecca - the toppling of a huge crane which crushed over 100 devout Muslims to death a couple of weeks ago.

As Akyol notes, the technicians that operated the crane, the Saudi Binladen Group, had an easy way out. One of them spoke to the press and simply said: “What happened was beyond the power of humans. It was an act of God.”

Akyol continues:

This is not the first time that this metaphysical excuse has come up in such circumstances. Worse accidents have happened near the Kaaba before, during the overcrowded season of pilgrimage, the Hajj, and the blame was reflexively placed on the divine. In 1990, 1,426 pilgrims died in a stampede caused mainly by a lack of ventilation. Nonetheless, the king at the time, Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, then argued: “It was God’s will, which is above everything.” “It was fate,” he added.

This isn’t just a Saudi problem; it is a global Muslim problem. Fatalism is constantly used as an excuse for human neglect and errors. Even in Turkey, which is much more modern and secular than Saudi Arabia, “fate” has frequently been invoked by various officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as an explanation for colossal accidents on railroads, in coal mines and on construction sites.

Of course, many Christians have been known to make similarly moronic statements as well, but the fact remains that Islam continues to be a far more fatalistic ideology than Christianity has ever been, and the biggest flaw in Akyol's piece is that he is not honest about the roots of the problem.

The Qur'an says: “Allah's is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things.” (5:17) It also says that “He cannot be questioned concerning what He does” (21:23). Why should we be surprised, then, if Muslims are resigned to a fatalistic view of things?

This worldview extends negatively into the field of science. A translator's note in Reliance of the Traveller, an Islamic legal manual whose English edition has been certified as confirming "to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community" by Cairo's Al Azhar University, explains: “The unlawfulness of the 'sciences of the materialists' refers to the conviction of materialists that things in themselves or by their own nature have a causal influence independent of the will of Allah. To believe this is unbelief that puts one beyond the pale of Islam. Muslims working in the sciences must remember that they are dealing with figurative causes (asbab majaziyya), not real ones, for Allah alone is the real cause.”

In 1982, the Institute for Policy Studies in Islamabad criticized a chemistry textbook by saying: “There is latent poison present in the subheading Energy Causes Changes because it gives the impression that energy is the true cause rather than Allah. Similarly it is un-Islamic to teach that mixing hydrogen and oxygen automatically produces water. The Islamic way is this: when atoms of hydrogen approach atoms of oxygen, then by the Will of Allah water is produced.”

This conforms with the traditional Islamic view: Allah is bound by nothing. He can do anything. He is not bound to govern the universe in accord with any observable or discernible laws, and he has complete agency over every little thing in His vast universe.

Akyol is also wrong when he blames individual schools of thought or sects within the Muslim world, such as the Hanbalis, for crushing rationalism in the Islamic tradition. For example, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d.1111), who is ofen regarded as the most influential Muslim thinker of all time, declared the very notion of “laws of nature” to be a heretical limitation of Allah's power. It restricted His sovereignty, and suggested that there were things that he simply could not do or change. He wrote:

According to us, the connection between what is usually believed to be a cause and what is believed to be an effect is not a necessary connection; each of the things has its own individuality and is not the other, and neither the affirmation nor the negation, neither the existence or the non-existence of the one is implied in the affirmation, negation, existence or non-existence of the other – e.g. the satisfaction of thirst does not imply drinking, nor satiety eating, nor burning contact with fire, nor light sunrise, nor decapitation death, nor recovery the drinking of medicine, nor evacuation the taking of purgative, and so on for all the empirical connections existing in medicine, astronomy, the sciences and the crafts. For the connection of these things is based on a prior power of God to create them in successive order, though not because this connection is necessary in itself and cannot be disjointed – on the contrary, it is in God's power to create satiety without eating, and death without decapitation, and to let life persist not withstanding the decapitation, and so on with respect to all connections.

Al-Ghazali was not a Hanbali. He was a Sufi and a Shafi'ite jurist, and his views on this matter were - and always have been - accepted by the vast majority of Muslim scholars.

And so in Akyol's piece, we are once again treated to the spectacle of being told that true Islam has never actually been practised anywhere in the world in fourteen centuries, with the exception of a few short-lived sects that are considered to be heretical by everybody else.

Mustafa Akyol's blind faith in the goodness of something that has never been demonstrated in the history of its existence has more in common with Islamic irrationality than he would like to admit.