In this pointless Op-Ed over at Digital Journal today, we are treated to the wisdom of Dr. Sahib Mustaqim Bleher, a German-born Muslim who now lives in Britain, and is convinced that becoming Islamic emirate is just what the UK needs. He and his "Holy Qur'an" (their words, not mine) are treated with the utmost reverence by the interviewers, who don't seem prepared to ask any probing questions whatsoever.
Take the first question. Dr. Bleher is asked:
We´ve recently seen reports of stickers going up in some areas of London which claim it is a Sharia controlled zone - that is Sharia with an H. A certain Anjem Choudary has claimed responsibility for them. I gather you regard this guy as a clown.
[I d]on’t understand the Sharia with an H comment, the correct transliteration of the Arabic word is Shariah. He is either misguided or mischievous. Or ignorant. You can’t have a Sharia-compliant zone as a separate enclave in a country as if the government of the country was suspended. Of course, a community may have its own “vigilantes” to ensure that their streets are free from drug dealers or prostitution, for example, but how are they going to get their local bank branch to abandon interest-based banking? None of us lives in a power vacuum, so any change has to be political, not symbolic. In my book Surrendering Islam I have shown how Islamic organisations and activism are often purposefully subverted and hijacked in order to bring about a confrontation. Genuine Islam is usually the loser. I imagine that Anjem Choudary took his inspiration for the Shariah-controlled zone from Jews who have their own districts in most major European towns classified as Eruvs, demarcated areas where a sufficient large number of Jews live to consider the place culturally Jewish, so the restrictions for the Sabbat can be relaxed. But Islam isn’t Judaism, and the same model doesn’t really work for us.Notice that Bleher does not say that sharia should not be the law of the land, even in Britain. He simply says that Choudary and his cronies are going about it in the wrong way. He then deliberately tries to confuse his Western, secularised audience by making a facile comparison between Islamic enclaves and Jewish neighbourhoods, which both deflects away from and trivilises the anti-societal threat posed by Islamic supremacist self-segregation (Soeren Kern documents the latter extensively in a new article published today at Hudson NY).
The next question is:
When certain newspapers talk about Sharia they project this image of people having their hands chopped off for theft or stoned to death for adultery, curiously they don´t mention this sort of thing: or this
First of all, the two examples linked to above demonstrate absolutely nothing about sharia - they demonstrate nice people doing nice things. Neither of the "good" Muslims seen here ever invoked Islam or its teachings - let alone sharia - as their primary motivation for their actions, and even if they had, that would not mitigate the more unpleasant aspects of sharia, such as the aforementioned amputations and stonings.
Speaking of which, you will notice once again that in his answer, Bleher never denies that these brutal punishments are part of sharia; he just circumambulates around the issue with a lot of fluff:
The media love sound bites. They work on emotions rather than understanding. The Shariah means the “way” or “path” by which the Muslim community is governed, in other words, the legal code Muslims apply in their dealings with each other. It is made up of source law and case law and like any legal system it is detailed and complex and cannot be reduced to two items of punishment perceived to be cruel. You wouldn’t sum up the British legal system by saying: if you insult the monarch, they hang you, since high treason does carry the death penalty in the British legal code. A lot of media pundits would have been hanged otherwise.
When asked about sharia courts arbitrating in the UK, Bleher argues that "It is a myth that British and Islamic law are incompatible in every respect" - a nice little "sound bite" (to use his phrase) which of course does not rule out the possibility that British and Islamic law may be incompatible in some respects!
The good doctor defends his uncompromising attitude towards homosexuality, as would many Christians, but some research on his website turns up the fact that - unlike most Christians - the "progressive" Dr. Bleher advocates the execution of homosexuals if they engage in "a public display of lewdness witnessed by several people". He also supports the idea, pulled direct from the Qur'an (3:28), of disassociating from non-Muslims, although he equivocates that this would only be permitted if a Muslim was trying to befriend a non-Muslim "in preference to or against a Muslim" - a statement that belies his claim to be opposed to the "clash of civilizations" concept. Anyone who so fervently advocates the divine regulation of personal friendships based on religious alliances clearly does not hold to the equality of all people before God.
Oh, and to cap things off, Dr. Bleher likes polygamy as well, "so as to protect a wife from being abandoned in favour of another." However, "Whilst there is a conditional acceptance of polygamy in Islam, a woman may not have more than one husband, as this would make it extremely difficult for a child to know who his or her father is."
Just who appointed this slimy character as a spokesman for moderate British Muslims?