Friday, September 03, 2010






Islam is a Government dictatorship housed in religion By Laurie Roth SEPT 3,10

While much of the country is rolling their eyes regarding the continued push and deceit behind the 100 million dollar mosque at ground zero on New York, Islam marches forth in the US boldly. America as usual gets confused about religious rights while Muslims build Mosques and manipulate toward Sharia control in city after city.The latest CNN Poll shows that nearly 70% of Americans oppose the Mosque at ground zero, yet Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the front man pushing this, continues to charge forward as American tax payers pay for his trips abroad to Muslim countries, talking of the Islamic condition and status back in the US. As Doug Hagmann of Northeast Intelligence Network revealed on my national radio show a few weeks ago, Rauf is about as peaceful and harmless as a den of rattlesnakes. His translated words from several Arabic interviews portray him as a Hamas supporting, Sharia law pushing radical that gets his money tracked back to Saudi Royals, Iran and Muslim Brotherhood channels just to name a few.

Like so many Imams and Islamic leaders he hides behind the peaceful, white beard, statements of Religious rights and lectures us all about working together. Just this week, Whalid Shoebat, a former radical Islamic, Palestinian terrorist shared on my show the further statements of Imam Rauf translated from Arabic. It is clear his goal is for Islam and Sharia law to take over the US. He boldly said in an interview that he does not believe in Religious tolerance or respect for other religions at all, but talks of Islamic domination in society. The bottom line is that the push for the massive ground zero mosque is nothing but the tip of the iceberg. Islam is in the process of taking over all of America and transforming her to an Islamic republic observing Sharia law.The growth of mosques all across the US is aggressive and heavily funded by Saudi Arabia and Iran. In 2001 there were 1,209 mosques in the US and by 2008 there were 6,000. The money behind these mosques comes from the dangerous and activist strain of Islam, Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia. Since 1970 Saudi Arabia has spent 80 billion dollars to promote this radical Islamic message worldwide by funding mosques, schools and radical Wahhabi and Sharia agendas. Not to be outdone, Iran also spends billions to promote its radical version, Shiism. Together they are the double barrel shotgun that is funding their scheme to take over the world, with the US being their most sought after treasure.

Amil Imani of Family Security Matters talks of what goes on traditionally in these mosques. They not only worship Allah and Muhammed but they indoctrinate future terrorists who learn of Jihad, martyrdom and Dar ul Harb (any place not Islamcized yet.) Imani states that Imams and Islamic leaders sent to the US to lead, now in 6000 mosques, are all funded by radical Saudi or Iranian sources with the purpose of taking over America community by community.You think I’m extreme or nutty? Who would have ever thought most of Europe would allow itself to be taken over by Islam? Sadly, they are dying now and looking for a way out? It is almost impossible for Europe now. Will it be impossible for the US as well, the last bastion of freedom, Judeo/Christian values and heritage in the world? Listen to the words of Amil Imani.…Again, Muslims first make their mark by establishing mosques in as many towns and cities as they can. These mosques range from the ostentatious, such as the one in Washington D.C., to the academically-cloaked University Islamic centers, to the innocuous storefront types and even prison chapels. One and all have the same aims: Hold the faithful in line, recruit as many new adherents by any and all means, and indoctrinate one and all in the imperative of Islamic conquest.Yes we must continue to fight any push for a Mosque at ground zero because it is a vicious, arrogant insult to the victims of 9/11 in general, but also and arrogant and continued push of radical Islam hiding behind the poisonous veil of peace and religious rights.

More importantly, why has America not seen this massive growth of Saudi and Iranian backed mosques in the US? Do we not see that this movement has nothing to do at all with Religious rights but is an arrogant and calculated plan to take over, capture and dominate America for Islam? I don’t want to be unfair or hurt people who choose differently in life then me but Islam has continuously revealed that it is really a Government dictatorship package housed in the skeleton of a Religion. We must wake up to the fact that Sharia Law is the cancerous opposite to our treasured constitution and bill of rights. What kind of religion and law values women as half of a man, guides husbands as to how to beat their wives and demands execution for gays, stoning for people caught in adultery and cutting off of limbs for stealing? I’ll tell you what kind? A religion that is pretending to be a religion that is really an intimidating, controlling Dictatorship scheme.America wake up! I want to know what is going on in the 6000 mosques, hiding behind freedom of speech. I think it is high time American authorities stop waxing so polite and intimidated and start tracking what is being said and taught in US mosques and schools, then having the guts and clarity to shut more than a few down. We are a Christian nation land will not be taken over by Islam as Europe is allowing!

Open letter to Ground Zero imam Posted: September 03, 2010
1:00 am Eastern 2010 WND

Dear Feisal Abdul Rauf,

The bottom line is that America wants to know if you are moderate. We have seen another imam before you, Anwar Awlaki, say on NPR and PBS that he condemned terrorism and even advocated for religious dialogue. He vanished and is now being chased by U.S. drones. You, too, seem to have vanished. We have not heard from you and we suspect that the reason you do not answer any questions is because you have great connections that speak in your defense – the president of the most powerful nation on earth, the mayor of the greatest city in our nation and the speaker of the House. We asked them about you and they simply tell us not to be alarmists, that we should judge you by your positive accomplishments. A drawback to this way of thinking can, at times, be akin to ignoring a drop of cyanide in a punch bowl. Remember Awlaki?

Nancy Pelosi insists that you are moderate and that 71 percent of us are: stereotypical, racists, divisive, inflammatory, hateful, Islamophobic, bigoted, ignorant and intolerant. She says that you are all about reconciliation, but I couldn't find your take on converts from Islam to other religions. Would you reconcile with them? You refused to sign a patriotic act to condemn the killing of converts from Islam to Christianity. This should be no problem since the president is a convert from Islam – and after all, he trusts you. Why else would Pelosi send you as an envoy to discuss an American-style Islam and an Islamic democracy in the Middle East? It sure beats the heck out of Obama's oxymoronic capitalistic-socialism and Obamacare. However, I would like to know if your American-style Islamic Shariah would include interest banking since our whole capitalistic system depends on it.

Check out Shoebat's books For God or For Tyranny and God's War on Terror.

It's nice that the Cordoba building will have a swimming pool, lecture hauls, sports centers and bridge-building classes. The name Cordoba was brilliant to promote the golden age of Islam when Christians were honored for accommodating a crescent in place of a cross; at least we all now know that Cordoba Mosque was built during the golden age of Christendom.

But perhaps Americans are being too harsh and are getting back at the wrong Muslims when they say: We do not want them to have anything next to Ground Zero. After all, the only thing you had to do with the 9/11 rubble was to print it on your book cover in Indonesian: Seruan Azan Dari Puing WTC (A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble). Please clarify: Azan (summons for prayer) is only conducted from a minaret – a mosque – not a cultural center.

You have worked tirelessly for peace. All you wanted was: an icon [Cordoba Mosque]. My mother asked me: On God's green earth, there is no other place you can put a mosque except by the 9/11 rubble? And since we rejected the mosque idea, will the pool at your center allow Jews to swim, or were you kidding when you wrote the N.Y Times that Israel will be Judenrein (free of Jews)?

I loved your romantic example on how to dialogue with Christians and Jews: Deal with them as one courts a girl; stop thinking like a typical Muslim. Then you can engage. Just what is a typical Muslim? Did you use this romantic technique with Bloomberg?

In one news report, you were dumbfounded that Many American blogs print that Muslims want a Caliphate.This is like Arabs thinking that Saudi Arabia is Judenrein. Absurd, isn't it?

I never knew that your Shariah was different from Anwar Awlaki's; just how many Shariahs are there? You say that Shariah is compatible with the U.S. Constitution – just to make sure, I compiled three questions. And just to assure you of my genuine intentions, I will not include typical ignorant stereotype questions about the funding for this noble Cordoba peace center or ask inflammatory questions regarding Caliphate, beheadings, killing of converts, amputation of limbs or lashings for certain sins and infractions. I will keep it strictly civil:

Will marriage between Jewish men with Muslim women be protected by American Shariah law? (Yes, No) Will inheritance be distributed equally to males as well as females under American Shariah law? (Yes, No) Will the sale of mosque properties be allowed to include setting up places of worship for other faiths? (Yes, No)
Finally, I was delighted that you now reconciled with Christians when you stated: We all worship the same God.So I salute you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Lord and yours. Right? With best regards, Walid Shoebat

Walid Shoebat is the author of For God or For Tyranny and God's War on Terror. For interviews call 720-935-2826.

Islamization of Paris a Warning to the WestBy Dale Hurd
CBN News Sr. ReporterFriday, September 03, 2010RSS

PARIS - Friday in Paris. A hidden camera shows streets blocked by huge crowds of Muslim worshippers and enforced by a private security force.This is all illegal in France: the public worship, the blocked streets, and the private security. But the police have been ordered not to intervene. It shows that even though some in the French government want to get tough with Muslims and ban the burqa, other parts of the French government continue to give Islam a privileged status. An ordinary French citizen who has been watching the Islamization of Paris decided that the world needed to see what was happening to his city. He used a hidden camera to start posting videos on YouTube. His life has been threatened and so he uses the alias of Maxime Lepante.

Lepante's View

His camera shows that Muslims are blocking the streets with barriers. They are praying on the ground. And the inhabitants of this district cannot leave their homes, nor go into their homes during those prayers.The Muslims taking over those streets do not have any authorization. They do not go to the police headquarters, so it's completely illegal, he says.The Muslims in the street have been granted unofficial rights that no Christian group is likely to get under France's Laicite', or secularism law. It says people have the right to share any belief they want, any religion,Lepante explained. But they have to practice at home or in the mosque, synagogues, churches and so on.Some say Muslims must pray in the street because they need a larger mosque. But Lepante has observed cars coming from other parts of Paris, and he believes it is a weekly display of growing Muslim power. They are coming there to show that they can take over some French streets to show that they can conquer a part of the French territory,he said.

France's Islamic Future?

If France faces an Islamic future, a Russian author has already written about it. The novel is called The Mosque of Notre Dame, 2048, a bestseller in Russia, not in France. French publisher Jean Robin said the French media ignored the book because it was politically incorrect.Islam is seen as the religion of the poor people, so you can't say to the poor people, You're wrong, otherwise, you're a fascist, Robin explained. The book lays out a dark future when France has become a Muslim nation, and the famous cathedral has been turned into a mosque. Whether that plot is farfetched depends on whom you ask. Muslims are said to be no more than 10 percent of the French population, although no one knows for sure because French law prohibits population counts by religion. But the Muslim birthrate is significantly higher than for the native French. Some Muslim men practice polygamy, with each extra wife having children and collecting a welfare check.The problem of Islam is more than a problem of numbers, said French philosopher Radu Stoenescu, an Islamic expert who debates Muslim leaders on French TV. The problem is one of principles. It's an open question. Is Islam an ideology or just a creed? It doesn't matter how many there are, he aded. The problem is the people who follow Islam; they're somehow in a political party, which has a political agenda, which means basically implementing Sharia and building an Islamic state.

In Denial or Fed Up

From the 1980s until recently, criticizing or opposing Islam was considered a social taboo, and so the government and media effectively helped Islam spread throughout France. We were expecting Islam to adapt to France and it is France adapting to Islam, Robin said. About the burqa controversy, one French Muslim man told a reporter that Europeans should respect Muslim dress. One Parisian woman wearing a headscarf said the veil is in the Koran and we only submit to God and nobody else.But even if many government elites are in France are in denial over Islam, the people in the streets increasingly are not. Some have become fed up with what they see as the growing Islamization of France.They've started staging pork and wine aperitifs, or cocktail parties in the street. They're patriotic demonstrations meant to strike back against Islam. Another national demonstration is planned for Saturday, Sept. 4.

A Warning to the West

The French parliament is expected to debate the burqa law in September. Jean-Francois Cope, president of the Union for a Popular Movement political party, has a warning for the West and for America.We cannot accept the development of such practice because it's not compatible with the life in a modern society, you see, he said. And this question is not only a French question. You will all have to face this challenge.For more insight on the slide toward a post-Christian Western society, check out Dale Hurd's blog Hurd on the Web.

Sharia Law's brutal punishments
Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at 01:39PM

Woman being prepared for stoning in the Middle East In stone-age Northern Iraq, just a fortnight ago, a rabble of cursing, violent men bursts into a house and drags out a terrified Kurdish 17-year-old girl. Her screams and pleas for mercy fill the air which only fuels on the frenzy of the crowd. They tie her hands behind her back and bury her up to her chest in a crude pit dug in the ground outside the village limits. Her heart beating frantically, her screams turn into sobbing as she realizes that there will be no mercy today. Around her in the crowd, she sees relatives amongst the twisted faces. Uncle Ahmed who used to bring her sweets. Surely he'll help her. She calls to him. He bends to select the rocks with the other men. The instructions for a stoning are very specific; the rocks must not be so small as not to cause damage but not so big as to kill too quickly. The men find the most jagged rocks they can and the first ones pound her face, breasts and shoulders. Her cries die out as the first blood and spittle spray from the girl's upper body. Her agony lasts for 30 minutes. This is the punishment inflicted on a young Kurdish girl, a non-Muslim this month for being away from home for the night with her boyfriend, a Muslim. She had originally been given shelter in the home of a Yezidi tribal leader. His home was stormed to seize the victim and carry out this inhuman punishment. Believing that the girl, a Yezedi had been murdered by her family for converting to Islam to please her boyfriend, the enraged Muslims then stormed the Yezedi community to take revenge. I quote:

This stoning, incidently, led to the massacre of 23 Yezedis by Muslims who believed Du'a was murdered for converting to Islam.I could not watch the video but I have fleshed out the story from research I've done on other eye-witness reports of stonings in the Middle East. The video clip of an eye-witness of this particular stoning and further details can be found here It's unknown how many women are being stoned in the Middle East. This site believes that there are several in Iran waiting for stoning to be carried out now, while this site gives further details of more stonings and some other gruesome death sentences being carried out. It's time that this barbaric culture puts an end to stoning, hanging, amputation, flogging and all other barbaric tortures being carried out in the name of Sharia Law. And while this goes on across the planet, Sharia Law seeps in under our own front doors! Cross-posted at RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION


sharia punishments
By Khurram Murad August 9, 2005

Punishments have always been considered an integral part of the concept of justice. Indeed, a common man would find it hard to think of justice as something very different or separate from rewarding or punishing people according to how well or badly they observe the body of the mutual rights and obligations in their society. But if the concept of punishment is universal, the controversies surrounding it are nonetheless intense. We shall now look at some basic Islamic principles concerning punishments.

Basic Principles

Each human being is responsible for his or her actions. This simple truth provides the whole basis for the justification of punishment; for to fulfill the purpose of this creation, mankind has been granted the freedom to choose and act and the moral sense to distinguish between right and wrong. Responsibility goes with knowledge and freedom. Punishment cannot, therefore, be meted out to one person for another person’s actions, for acts intended but not performed, or for acts done under duress or while not of sound mind. Everyone must be equal before the law and their guilt must be established by the due process of justice.

Proportional Justice

It is important to note that there is no concept in Islam of the punishment being exactly and justly proportional to the crime. Absolute and truly proportional justice would require the exact and complete evaluation of such complex factors as intentions and motives, the surrounding circumstances, and the causes and repercussions factors which human judges must consider but cannot evaluate fully and which only God, in the new moral order to be set up in the life after death, can measure. Islamic punishments are not, therefore, to be judged on the scales of proportional and full retribution. They are, however, laid down by the One who is infinitely merciful and wise, and are, therefore, more suitable for the particular crimes than anything that can be prescribed by any human legislature or judge.
Part of a Whole

Most importantly, punishments are only a part of a vastly larger, integrated whole. They can neither be properly understood nor successfully or justifiably implemented in isolation. First, law is not the main, or even major, vehicle in the total framework for the reinforcement of morality; it is the individuals belief, the individuals God-consciousness and taqwa that inherent and innate quality which makes one want to refrain from what displeases God and do what pleases Him. Second, justice is a positive ideal which permeates and dominates the entire life of the community it is not merely an institutionalized means of inflicting punishment. Third, and consequently, a whole environment is established where to do right is encouraged, facilitated, and found easy, while to do wrong is discouraged, inhibited, and found difficult. All men and women are enjoined, as their foremost duty, to aid, exhort, and commend each other to do good and to avoid evil.

Functional Nature

Penalties in Islam are more of a functional nature, to regulate and deter. God has laid down a body of mutual rights and obligations that are the true embodiment of justice. He has also laid down certain boundaries and limits to be observed and maintained for this very purpose. If people and nations desire to move in peace and safety on the highways of life, they must stick to the traffic lanes demarcated for them and observe all the signposts erected along their routes. If they do not, they not only put themselves in danger, but endanger others. They, therefore, naturally make themselves liable to penalties not in vengeful retribution, but to regulate the orderly exchanges in a persons life in accordance with justice.

It is a significant contribution of Islam that these penalties are called hudud (boundaries) and not punishments: they are liabilities incurred as a result of crossing the boundaries set by God. An important consequence of these hudud having been laid down by God and not by man, is that it is beyond human authority to reduce or supersede them out of a sense of mercy greater than that of God; nor can a tyrant or autocrat add to them out of a greater sense of strict justice. For no one can be more merciful or wiser or more just than God Himself.

Another important function that these punishments serve is educative, thus preventive and deterrent. The Qurân alludes to this aspect when it describes them as exemplary punishment from God (Al-Maidah 5:38). Punishments are thus designed to keep the sense of justice alive in the community by a public repudiation of the acts violating the limits set by God. They are expected to build up in the society a deep feeling of abhorrence for transgression against fellow human beings, and therefore against God, a transgression which, according to the Quran, is the root cause of all disorders and corruption in human life.

Retribution Qisaas

Apart from punishments for transgressions like extramarital sex, theft, libel, and drinking, the Qur’an also provides for the principle of qisaas or retribution. When a person causes physical injury or harm to a fellow human being, Islam gives the injured party the right of equal requital—the well known principle of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.� This procedure is persistently labeled by critics as primitive and uncivilized. In the Islamic view of history, it is worth pointing out, what is primitive has never been necessarily uncivilized. The first man was given all necessary knowledge and guidance, and though he may have been technologically backward compared to the twentieth century, he definitely was not humanly backward. Uncivilized is what a person thinks and does in deviating from the divine order.

In the eyes of the Quran, (in retribution (qisaas) lies life for you.) (Al-Baqarah 2:179) The reasons are obvious. First, the right of retribution belongs to individuals, not society or the state; this simple shift in responsibility results in a profound and far reaching change in the whole system of implementing justice. The state does not have to intervene every time two human beings are involved in a dispute. Thus, instead of starting an irreversible process of trial and punishment, it leaves the ground open for settlement between individuals, without interference by impersonal bureaucratic machinery, though under no circumstances can the individual take the law into his or her own hands.

The injured person, in turn, may forgo the right to retribution by forgiving, or may agree to accept a monetary or token recompense instead. The Quran, in fact, highly recommends the act of forgiving. Thus, under qisaas, punishment is avoidable without burdening the executive or judiciary with the dilemma of whether to exercise mercy. As against a court, which must act according to law once a case is brought before it, an individual is free to act as he or she wishes. Justice has to be blind, but an individual may take circumstances into account, and suspend judgment in the hope of being forgiven by God in the Hereafter. Very few realize that the principle of qisaas even allows capital punishment to be avoided.

Mercy and Leniency

Having prescribed punishments and imposed strict and meticulous, though not impossible, conditions of evidence, Islam has built in a whole range of principles and precepts which reflect not a frenzied desire to flog and stone but a compassionate urge to avoid and eschew. Islam does not allow either the state or individuals to spy upon people unless well founded suspicion exists that a crime is being committed or a fellow human beings rights or interests are in jeopardy. Nor is it obligatory to report every crime. Where possible, settlements outside court are preferred. The punishment is swiftly over; the guilty person and his or her family do not have to live with the kind of lengthy public stigma that they would have had to endure in the case of a prison sentence at the end of a trial. The imposition of divinely prescribed hudud enhances, not diminishes, the individuals dignity and stature in society and before God.

Alleged Cruelty

As to the alleged cruelty of physical penalties, one wonders if to deprive a person of his or her freedom (the most precious and valuable possession), the right to act and continue to make moral choices, the right to live with a family (to work for and support them) is not more cruel. Indeed, a prison term can inflict untold misery on innocent people whose lives are intertwined with the life of the prisoner. Prison becomes a school for hardening criminal behavior and a breeding ground for recidivism. Why should it be considered more cruel for a person found drug trafficking to be given ten lashes than to be sent to languish in prison for, say, ten years.

Reform Syndrome

Why does Islam want to punish and not reform? The question is fallacious, for in Islam, every institution of society is value-oriented and owes a responsibility towards the moral development of every person from the cradle to the grave. Reform is, therefore, a pre-crime responsibility and not a post-crime syndrome and nightmare. Islam makes every effort to ensure that inducement to commit crime is minimal. Once the crime is committed, the best place for reform is in the family and in the society where a criminal is to live after punishment, not in a prison where every inmate is a criminal; unless, of course, a society considers itself to be more corrupt and less competent to effect reform than a jail! Against this, the “modern, enlightened� approach is to provide every inducement to crime by building a society based on conspicuous consumption; to make society, education, and every other institution “value free� and then to try to reform a criminal by segregating the person and keeping him or her in a prison.

Procedural Justice

Sentences in Islam are certainly harsh, but still more strict and severe are the procedures laid down to be observed before a person may be convicted. These procedures are modeled on the paradigm of the Day of Judgment, when even God, though He is All-knowing, and Just, will not punish a person unless He establishes that persons guilt.To let nine criminals go free is preferable to convicting one innocent man,? said the Prophet.

Q&A: Sharia law explained
By Dominic Casciani
Home affairs reporter, BBC News

Mosques: Some hold Sharia courts (THE NY MOSQUE WILL)
Lord Phillips, the most senior judge in England and Wales, has said that principles of sharia law could play a role in some parts of the legal system. But how does the sharia system work and fit into society?

What is Sharia?

Sharia law is Islam's legal system. It is derived from both the Koran, as the word of God, the example of the life of the prophet Muhammad, and fatwas - the rulings of Islamic scholars.But Sharia differs in one very important and significant way to the legal traditions of the Western world: it governs, or at least informs, every aspect of the life of a Muslim.

What does it cover?

Western law confines itself largely to matters relating to crime, contract, civil relationships and individual rights.Sharia is however concerned with more. Sharia rulings have been developed to help Muslims understand how they should lead every aspect of their lives according to God's wishes.

What does this mean in practice?

All sorts of things in daily life. For example, many young Muslims ask themselves what they should do if colleagues invite them to the pub after work or college. Many people would of course make up their own mind about the appropriate course of action. But others may turn to a Sharia scholar for advice.So Sharia covers a lot of very mundane and banal daily issues where observant Muslims want to ensure they act within the legal framework of their faith.

So how are rulings made?

Like any legal system, Sharia is complex and its practice is entirely reliant on the quality and training of experts.There are different schools of thought, which consequently lead to different rulings.Scholars spend decades studying the law and, as with Western law, an expert on one aspect of Sharia is by no means the authority on another.Islamic jurists issue guidance and rulings. Guidance that is considered a formal legal ruling is called a Fatwa.

Do people go to court?

Sharia courts exist in both the Muslim world and in the Western world.In parts of the Muslim world the criminal courts and their punishments are of course drawn from the rules of Sharia.In the West, Muslim communities have established Sharia courts to largely deal with family or business disputes.The internet has become a popular way of seeking a ruling with scholars. Some of the guidance to Muslims in the west which has been considered most outlandish has come from these sources, particularly where the scholar has no knowledge of the realities of western life.

Why is Sharia mentioned in the same breath as public executions?

Of all the issues around Islamic law, this remains the most controversial in Western eyes - and its presentation the most infuriating for Muslims.

Tariq Ramadan: Called for moratorium on death penalty
Muslims say the Western world misrepresents Sharia by focusing on beheadings in Saudi Arabia and other gruesome punishments. The equivalent, they say, would be a debate about the history of Western law focused on America's electric chair. Some modern Muslim scholars say that while Sharia includes provisions for capital and corporal punishment, getting to that stage is in fact quite difficult.The most famous Muslim thinker in Europe, Tariq Ramadan, has called for a moratorium on these penalties in the Muslim world.He argues that the conditions under which such penalties would be legal are almost impossible to re-establish in today's world.

But Muslims can be executed for converting?

Apostasy, or leaving the faith, is a very controversial issue in the Muslim world and the majority of scholars believe it is punishable by death.But a minority of Muslim thinkers, particularly those engaged with Western societies, argue that the reality of the modern world means the punishment should be left to God - and that Islam itself is not threatened by apostasy. The Koran itself declares there is no compulsion in religion. Egypt's most senior cleric has faced a storm in the Middle East after floating some of these ideas but the debate may well continue for many generations to come.

So what kind of Sharia are we talking about in the UK?

The key issues are family law, finance and business. In practice many Muslims do turn to Sharia guidance for many of these day-to-day matters, particularly family disputes.

And how does this work in practice?

Muslims are increasingly looking to the example of Jewish communities which have long-established religious community courts.These courts are legally recognised in English law as a means for warring parties to agree to arbitration. The law sees this as a practical way of helping people to resolve their differences in their own way, without clogging up the local courts.

But what about incorporating Sharia into British law?

In two important areas British law has incorporated religious legal considerations. British food regulations allow meat to be slaughtered according to Jewish and Islamic practices - a touchstone issue for both communities. Secondly, the Treasury has approved Sharia-compliant financial products such as mortgages and investments. Islam forbids interest on the basis that it is money unjustly earned. These products are said by supporters to meet the needs of modern life in a way that fits the faith. Has any western nation allowed Sharia to be used in full? Not at all. Canada is widely reported to have come close - leading to protests in 2005. But in reality the proposals were little different from the existing religious arbitration rules here in the UK. Experts considered establishing Sharia-related family courts to ease the burden on civil courts - but said these would have to observe the basic human rights guarantees of Canadian law.

What about Sharia and women?

Some Muslim women in Britain are concerned about how their rights are protected. Take marriage for example.Muslims only consider themselves truly married once they have conducted the Islamic ceremony, known as the nikah. In some cases, this means that there is a cultural view that the British civil ceremony, which enforces legal rights under the law, is not important.Some mosques are aware of this issue and now demand to see a marriage certificate as a condition of the nikah. Others do not. Many women want Muslim leaders to do more to ensure their rights are protected under British law.

Does Sharia allow men to instantly divorce wives?

There is an idea that men merely have to say the Arabic for divorce three times (known as the triple talaq) and that is sufficient - and there are some men who think they have this right. In practice, not only do texts show Muhammad disagreed but today, where Sharia courts are properly run, the words are merely a symbolic part of a rigorous process. Marriage is a contract in Islam. Scholars expect three-month cooling-off periods, dialogue, arbitration and counselling. However, Talaq is a very complicated area of Sharia law with conflicting views - see internet links for one example.

So women have reservations about Sharia?

Some Muslim women in the West would be worried about protection of their rights in Sharia courts where there is discrimination against them because of patriarchal and cultural control in their communities.This does not mean that they are necessarily opposed to Sharia - only there are concerns about the fairness of its application. It's fair to say that many leading Muslim women are more concerned about how existing British equality measures and human rights laws can be used to improve their position and voice in society.

Islam: Governing Under Sharia (aka shariah, shari'a)
Author: Lauren Vriens March 23, 2009 COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATONS

Sharia, or Islamic law, influences the legal code in most Muslim countries. A movement to allow sharia to govern personal status law, a set of regulations that pertain to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and custody, is even expanding into the West. There are so many varying interpretations of what sharia actually means that in some places it can be incorporated into political systems relatively easily, says Steven A. Cook, CFR senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies. Sharia's influence on both personal status law and criminal law is highly controversial, though. Some interpretations are used to justify cruel punishments such as amputation and stoning as well as unequal treatment of women in inheritance, dress, and independence. The debate is growing as to whether sharia can coexist with secularism, democracy, or even modernity.

What is Sharia?
Also meaning path in Arabic, sharia guides all aspects of Muslim life including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings. It is derived primarily from the Quran and the Sunna--the sayings, practices, and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed. Precedents and analogy applied by Muslim scholars are used to address new issues. The consensus of the Muslim community also plays a role in defining this theological manual.Sharia developed several hundred years after the Prophet Mohammed's death in 632 CE as the Islamic empire expanded to the edge of North Africa in the West and to China in the East. Since the Prophet Mohammed was considered the most pious of all believers, his life and ways became a model for all other Muslims and were collected by scholars into what is known as the hadith. As each locality tried to reconcile local customs and Islam, hadith literature grew and developed into distinct schools of Islamic thought: the Sunni schools, Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi; and the Shiite school, Ja'fari. Named after the scholars that inspired them, they differ in the weight each applies to the sources from which sharia is derived, the Quran, hadith, Islamic scholars, and consensus of the community. The Hanbali school, known for following the most Orthodox form of Islam, is embraced in Saudi Arabia and by the Taliban. The Hanafi school, known for being the most liberal and the most focused on reason and analogy, is dominant among Sunnis in Central Asia, Egypt, Pakistan, India, China, Turkey, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. The Maliki school is dominant in North Africa and the Shafi'i school in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Yemen. Shia Muslims follow the Ja'fari school, most notably in Shia-dominant Iran. The distinctions have more impact on the legal systems in each country, however, than on individual Muslims, as many do not adhere to one school in their personal lives.

Controversy: Punishment and Equality under Sharia
Marriage and divorce are the most significant aspects of sharia, but criminal law is the most controversial. In sharia, there are categories of offenses: those that are prescribed a specific punishment in the Quran, known as hadd punishments, those that fall under a judge's discretion, and those resolved through a tit-for-tat measure (ie., blood money paid to the family of a murder victim). There are five hadd crimes: unlawful sexual intercourse (sex outside of marriage and adultery), false accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse, wine drinking (sometimes extended to include all alcohol drinking), theft, and highway robbery. Punishments for hadd offenses--flogging, stoning, amputation, exile, or execution--get a significant amount of media attention when they occur. These sentences are not often prescribed, however. In reality, most Muslim countries do not use traditional classical Islamic punishments, says Ali Mazrui of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies in a Voice of America interview. These punishments remain on the books in some countries but lesser penalties are often considered sufficient.Despite official reluctance to use hadd punishments, vigilante justice still takes place. Honor killings, murders committed in retaliation for bringing dishonor on one's family, are a worldwide problem. While precise statistics are scarce, the UN estimates thousands of women are killed annually in the name of family honor (National Geographic). Other practices that are woven into the sharia debate, such as female genital mutilation, adolescent marriages, polygamy, and gender-biased inheritance rules, elicit as much controversy. There is significant debate over what the Quran sanctions and what practices were pulled from local customs and predate Islam. Those that seek to eliminate or at least modify these controversial practices cite the religious tenet of tajdid. The concept is one of renewal, where Islamic society must be reformed constantly to keep it in its purest form. "With the passage of time and changing circumstances since traditional classical jurisprudence was founded, people's problems have changed and conversely, there must be new thought to address these changes and events,says Dr. Abdul Fatah Idris, head of the comparative jurisprudence department at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Though many scholars share this line of thought, there are those who consider the purest form of Islam to be the one practiced in the seventh century.

Sharia vs. Secularism
In a 2007 University of Maryland poll (PDF), more than 60 percent of the populations in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, and Indonesia responded that democracy was a good way to govern their respective countries, while at the same time, an average of 71 percent agreed with requiring strict application of [sharia] law in every Islamic country.Whether democracy and Islam can coexist is a topic of heated debate. Some Islamists argue democracy is a purely Western concept imposed on Muslim countries. Others feel Islam necessitates a democratic system and that democracy has a basis in the Quran since mutual consultation among the people is commended (42:38 Quran). John L. Esposito and John O. Voll explain the debate in a 2001 article in the journal Humanities.

Noah Feldman, CFR adjunct senior fellow, writes in a 2008 New York Times Magazine article that the full incorporation of Islamic law is viewed as creating a path to just and legitimate government in much of the Muslim world.It places duplicitous rulers alongside their constituents under the rule of God. For many Muslims today, living in corrupt autocracies, the call for [sharia] is not a call for sexism, obscurantism or savage punishment but for an Islamic version of what the West considers its most prized principle of political justice: the rule of law,Feldman argues.On the other hand, some Muslim scholars say that secular government is the best way to observe sharia. Enforcing a [sharia] through coercive power of the state negates its religious nature, because Muslims would be observing the law of the state and not freely performing their religious obligation as Muslims, says Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, a professor of law at Emory University and author of a book on the future of sharia. Opinions on the best balance of Islamic law and secular law vary, but sharia has been incorporated into political systems in three general ways:

-Dual Legal System. Many majority Muslim countries have a dual system in which the government is secular but Muslims can choose to bring familial and financial disputes to sharia courts. The exact jurisdiction of these courts varies from country to country, but usually includes marriage, divorce, inheritance, and guardianship. Examples can be seen in Nigeria and Kenya, which have sharia courts that rule on family law for Muslims. A variation exists in Tanzania, where civil courts apply sharia or secular law according to the religious backgrounds of the defendants. Several countries, including Lebanon and Indonesia, have mixed jurisdiction courts based on residual colonial legal systems and supplemented with sharia. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh of the American University of Beirut says only Qatar has an official dual legal system where Adlia courts, or civil courts, are independent of the sharia system and legislate secular laws. Western countries are also exploring the idea of allowing Muslims to apply Islamic law in familial and financial disputes. In late 2008, Britain officially allowed sharia tribunals (NYT) governing marriage, divorce, and inheritance to make legally binding decisions if both parties agreed. The new system is in line with separate mediation allowed for Anglican and Jewish communities in England. Criminal law remains under the gavel of the existing legal system. There is no reason why principles of sharia law, or any other religious code, should not be the basis for mediation,Britain's top judge, Lord Nicholas Phillips, said in a July 2008 speech (PDF). Supporters of this initiative, such as the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, argue that it would help maintain social cohesion (BBC) in European societies increasingly divided by religion. However, some research suggests the process to be discriminatory toward women (BBC). Other analysts suggest the system has led to grey areas. Britain's Muslims come from all over the world, Ishtiaq Ahmed, a spokesperson for the Council for Mosques in England, told the BBC, noting that this makes it hard to discern at times where the rulings of the sharia finish and long-held cultural practices start.

-Government under God. In those Muslim countries where Islam is the official religion listed in the constitution, sharia is declared to be a source, or the source, of the laws. Examples include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates, where the governments derive their legitimacy from Islam. In Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and Iraq, among others, it is also forbidden to enact legislation that is antithetical to Islam. Saudi Arabia employs one of the strictest interpretations of sharia. Women are not allowed to drive, are under the guardianship of male relatives at all times, and must be completely covered in public. Elsewhere, governments are much more lenient, as in the United Arab Emirates, where alcohol is tolerated. Non-Muslims are not expected to obey sharia and in most countries, they are the jurisdiction of special committees and adjunct courts under the control of the government.

-Completely Secular. Muslim countries where the government is declared to be secular in the constitution include Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Chad, Somalia, and Senegal. Islamist parties run for office occasionally in these countries and sharia often influences local customs. Popular Islamist groups are often viewed as a threat by existing governments. As in Azerbaijan in the 1990s, secularism is sometimes upheld by severe government crackdowns on Islamist groups and political parties. Similar clashes have occurred in Turkey. Under the suspicion that the majority party, the Islamist Justice and Development Party, was trying to establish sharia, Turkey's chief prosecutor petitioned the constitutional court (Economist) in March 2008 to bar the party from politics altogether. One of the politicians indicted, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Newsweek, Turkey has achieved what people said could never be achieved--a balance between Islam, democracy, secularism and modernity.Secular Muslim countries are a minority, however, and the popularity of Islamist political parties are narrowing the gap between religion and state.
Modern Economies and Sharia.Growing at an estimated 15 percent annually, Islamic banking and finance is a worldwide industry that modifies modern business practices to conform to the rules of sharia. Central to this field is riba, the charging or payment of interest, banned under Islamic law. Clever twists on standard financial products like credit cards, savings accounts, mortgages, loans, and even trust funds bypass the interest business model. A 2008 report by the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions estimates the Islamic banking industry to stand at $442 billion. Even big name banks such as Citigroup, HSBC, and Deutsche Bank are developing Islamic banking sectors to cater to the demand. The industry is small in comparison to the global market, but may grow as some non-Muslims are turning to sharia-compliant services. Some of the ethically minded are also switching over to sharia-compliant investments. Businesses are required to avoid transactions related to forbidden things, such as weapons, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography and pork, and investors are guaranteed that their money won't end up financing those industries. Governments are also looking to get a piece of the pie: Malaysia is the largest issuer of sharia-compliant bonds and Indonesia launched its own in January 2009.


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