Sharia and Sharia alike
by: John Tyrrell
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It is reported that at least 16 US state legislatures are considering, or have already passed laws trying to make sharia law illegal within their jurisdictions. While they do attempt to disguise it, the intentions are essentially anti-Islam.
When we look at the Sharia criminal law as it is implemented in other parts of the world, we are rightly offended. Beheadings, stonings, and amputations seem so barbaric... so Old Testament. And indeed they are - arising out of the same culture that gave us Old Testament punishments.
But generally those Muslims who choose to live in the western world are not looking to implement Islamic criminal law, but they do want to live under certain Islamic civil rules - some of which we might be offended by - some of which are seemingly innocuous.
Just to give a few examples:
- two Muslim businessmen may agree that any disputes arising out of a contract dispute should be mediated by a mutually agreed Islamic tribunal rather than go through a lengthy and expensive court dispute.
This is no different than what occurs in some Jewish communities, or the Christian dispute settlement mechanisms in Amish and Hutterite communities for example, and other than the religious aspect, little different than the mediation / arbitration agreements in many commercial and consumer contracts today.
- A Muslim wishing to buy a home, but not wishing to get a standard mortgage due to the Islamic rule against interest may want to contract with someone who will provide funds consistent with Islam.
- A Muslim divorce can require approval from a council of imams in addition to the legal proceedings if either of the parties want a subsequent religious marriage
This is no different than the necessity of a Jewish "get" or a Catholic annulment for the Jewish and Catholic faithful.
My point is that aspects of sharia law are little different than the "laws" of other religions which are freely followed by believers.
A ban on sharia law which would pass a constitutional test of being non-discriminatory would have to ban all religious laws of all religions.
Some states have tried to get around this by passing a law which forbids "foreign" laws having applicability. Seriously? Seriously stupid! Aren't Christian laws and Jewish laws foreign to the same degree as is sharia? Either the legislation bans the rules of all religions which started outside the USA, or they are just pointless exercises so legislators can pretend to be taking action while doing nothing.
What I find interesting is that those who would unthinkingly make sharia law illegal are pretty much the same people who speak up in favour of so-called religious freedom laws such as the one recently approved in Indiana. Such laws legalize actions by believers based on their understanding of their religious rules which would otherwise be illegal. Essentially, they have allowed private individuals and organizations to force their religious rules on others - and protected them from legal consequences.
Indiana - and any state which passes a similar religious freedom law - has essentially legalized sharia law. Along, of course with the intended result of legalizing the full hatred package contained in the worst forms of Christianity.
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