Monday, 21 September 2009

Absurd Britannia

Sharia courts may be actively functioning in Britain now, but it seems that sharia is no longer confined to the four walls of the courtroom.

Consider the following: A Christian couple have been charged with a criminal offence after taking part in what they regarded as a reasonable discussion about religion with guests at their hotel. Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were arrested after a Muslim woman complained to police that she had been offended by their comments. They have been charged under public order laws with using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that were ‘religiously aggravated’.

And what did they say that was so "aggravating"? Although the facts are disputed, it is thought that during the conversation the couple were challenged over their Christian beliefs. It is understood that they suggested that Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was a warlord and that traditional Muslim dress for women was a form of bondage.

The latter is a matter of opinion and the former is an indisputable fact - Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad's earliest and most esteemed biographer, records that the Prophet “took part personally in twenty-seven (T. six) raids...He actually fought in nine engagements”. But criticism of Islam, no matter how firmly grounded in truth, is prohibited under sharia. Was the anonymous Muslim complainant one of the approximately 40% of British Muslims who would like to see Islamic law become the law of the land in this country? To ask such a question is rapidly becoming "threatening, abusive and insulting" to Muslims.

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