Friday, 9 October 2009

Sharia Misunderstood?

Dahlia Mogahed's panties after her broadcast

Nobel laureate Barack Obama's adviser on Muslim affairs, Dalia Mogahed, has provoked controversy by appearing on a British television show hosted by a member of an extremist group to talk about Sharia Law. The White House adviser made a series of outrageous remarks on a London-based TV discussion programme hosted by Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party. The group believes in the non-violent destruction of Western democracy and the creation of an Islamic state under Sharia Law across the world.

Before I go into some of the details of this story, it is worth providing a little background on exactly who Dalia Mogahed is. Last year, she coauthored a book entitled Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, with John Esposito, a known apologist for Islam. The book claimed that the vast majority of the world's billion (and counting) Muslims were "moderate", with only 7% being radicals. In order to concoct this information, however, Mogahed and Esposito classified Muslims who hate America, want to impose Sharia law on Western countries, support suicide bombing, and oppose equal rights for women - but do not "completely" justify 9/11 - as "moderates". Details here.

Anyway, back to the story at hand:

Miss Mogahed, appointed to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, said the Western view of Sharia was "oversimplified" and the majority of women around the world associate it with "gender justice".

Of course. It's not as if there is gender inequality in Islam or anything like that. Only an Islamophobe would think that. Islamophobes such as the noted Muslim scholar Baydawi, who wrote: “Men are the maintainers over women just as rulers are over their populous...due to the completeness of men’s brains over women’s deficiency, their management skills, and their extra requirement of worship; this is why men were chosen to be prophets, religious leaders, rulers, and enforcers of commandments, legal witnesses in a court of law, fighters in the cause of Allah, receivers of more share of the inheritance and in control of divorce.”

Outside of the cosy padded cell of LaLa Land, Islamic tradition and law do deny the equality of women in numerous ways: a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man (Qur'an 2:282); a son's inheritance is twice the size of a daughter's (4:11); Allah has made men the “protectors” of women because they are superior to them (4:34); and the majority of the people in Hell will be women (Bukhari v.1, b.2, no.28). This is what sharia law really mandates, and I believe Mogahed knows that.

During the 45-minute discussion, on the Islam Channel programme Muslimah Dilemma earlier this week, the two members of the group made repeated attacks on secular "man-made law" and the West's "lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism".

"Man-made law" is also known as shirk, or polytheism, which according to the Qur'an is a "most heinous sin indeed", and Allah will never forgive it. (4:48) And notice how Mogahed proclaims sharia to be superior to individual liberty itself, implying that whatever sharia represents, it doesn't represent true liberty or freedom.

They called for Sharia Law to be "the source of legislation" and said that women should not be "permitted to hold a position of leadership in government".

As I said: bang goes liberty.

Sharia in its broadest sense is a religious code for living, which decrees such matters as fasting and dressing modestly. However, it has also been interpreted as requiring the separation of men and women.

It also includes the controversial "Hadd offences", crimes with specific penalties set by the Koran and the sayings of the prophet Mohammed. These include death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality and the removal of a hand for theft.

Miss Mogahed admitted that even many Muslims associated Sharia with "maximum criminal punishments" and "laws that... to many people seem unequal to women," but added: "Part of the reason that there is this perception of Sharia is because Sharia is not well understood and Islam as a faith is not well understood."

This is absolute rubbish, of course. Sharia is what sharia is, and I can readily document and demonstrate that any given ruling is indeed genuine sharia, and not some "misunderstood" version of it. But even if it were true that sharia is only nasty when people "misunderstand" it, Mogahed glosses over the implications of the fact that the main ones doing the misunderstanding are Muslims themselves. Stoning for adultery has been implemented in Indonesia, while in Afghanistan apostates from Islam have been put on trial. If they are really misunderstanding sharia, Dalia Mogahed has done absolutely nothing constructive to stop them from doing so, and has in fact only encouraged them by peddling this kind of corrosive nonsense.

During this week's broadcast, she described her White House role as "to convey... to the President and other public officials what it is Muslims want."

Typical: demands that Americans accede to Muslim wishes, with no indication that Mogahed wishes to engage in any actual dialogue, whereby both parties express their concerns to each other in a free, open environment. Instead, Mogahed sees her role, in true Islamic supremacist fashion, as simply telling us ignorant kuffar all about Islam while we listen and nod politely.

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, said Miss Mogahed was “downplaying” Sharia Law.

“There is a reason sharia has got a bad name and it is how it has been exercised. Regrettably in the US there have been acts of injustice perpetrated against women that are driven by the Sharia-type mindset that women are objects not human beings,” she said.

She cited the example of Muzzammil Hassan, a Buffalo man who ran a cable channel aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes and was charged earlier this year with beheading his wife after she filed for divorce.

“Americans understand by example, it’s not as if we are an ignorant mass of people. Just as we don’t broad brush all Muslims, so should Dalia not downplay the serious nature of sharia law.”

Bravo, Ms. Wright.

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