(Robert Conquest in 2006)
The full essay, below, is posted at Pajamas Media
Robert Conquest, the pre-eminent scholar of Soviet Communist totalitarianism, in his elucidation of Western vulnerability to totalitarian ideologies, wrote that democracy itself is, “far less a matter of institutions than habits of mind”—the latter being subject to constant “stresses and strains.” He then notes the disturbingly widespread acceptance of totalitarian concepts amongst the ordinary citizens of pluralist Western societies.
Many in the West gave their full allegiance to these alien beliefs. Many others were at any rate not ill disposed towards them. And beyond that there was…a sort of secondary infection of the mental atmosphere of the West which still to some degree persists, distorting thought in countries that escaped the more wholesale disasters of our time.
But Conquest evinces no sympathy for those numerous “Western intellectuals or near intellectuals” of the 1930s through the 1950s whose willful delusions about the Soviet Union, “will be incredible to later students of mental aberration.” His critique of Western media highlights a cultural self-loathing tendency which has persisted and intensified over the intervening decades, through the present.
One role of the democratic media is, of course, to criticize their own governments, draw attention to the faults and failings of their own country. But when this results in a transfer of loyalties to a far worse and thoroughly inimical culture, or at least to a largely uncritical favoring of such a culture, it becomes a morbid affliction—involving, often enough, the uncritical acceptance of that culture’s own standards.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich delivered a singularly astute and courageous address this past July 29, 2010. Reactions to that speech across the political spectrum, whether immediate or delayed, illustrate the contemporary equivalent of what Conquest appositely characterized as “mindslaughter”—a brilliantly evocative term for delusive Western apologetics regarding the ideology of Communism, and the tangible horrors its Communist votaries inflicted. What did Newt Gingrich have the temerity to discuss? In defiance of our era’s most rigidly enforced cultural relativist taboo, Mr. Gingrich provided an irrefragably accurate, if blunt characterization of the existential threat posed by Islam’s living, self-professed mission—to impose Sharia, its totalitarian, religio-political “law,” globally.
With vanishingly rare intellectual honesty and resolve, Gingrich described how normative Sharia—antithetical to bedrock Western legal principles—by “divine,” immutable diktat, rejects freedom of conscience, while sanctioning violent jihadism, absurd, misogynistc “rules of evidence” (four male witnesses for rape), barbarous punishments (stoning for adultery), and polygamy.
Sharia in its natural form has principles and punishments totally abhorrent to the Western world, and the underlying basic belief which is that law comes directly from God and is therefore imposed upon humans and no human can change the law without it being an act of apostasy is a fundamental violation of a tradition in the Western system which goes back to Rome, Athens and Jerusalem and which has evolved in giving us freedom across the planet on a scale we can hardly imagine and which is now directly threatened by those who would impose it.
Moreover, Gingrich warned about efforts—deliberate, or unwitting—to represent Sharia as a benign system.
So let me also be quite clear that the rules are radical and horrific. I think again it’s fascinating that even when people go out and do polling and they say to, for example, Muslims in general, do you believe in Sharia, they don’t then explain what Sharia is. Sharia becomes like would you like to be a Rotarian and it sounds okay.
Gingrich’s unflinching portrayal of the existential threat Sharia represents—whether or not this totalitarian system is imposed by violent, or non-violent means—was accompanied by a clarion call for concrete measures to oppose any Sharia encroachment on the US legal code.
Stealth jihadis use political, cultural, societal, religious, intellectual tools; violent jihadis use violence. But in fact they’re both engaged in jihad and they’re both seeking to impose the same end state which is to replace Western civilization with a [radical] imposition of Sharia.
The fight against Sharia and the madrassas in mosques which teach hatred and fanaticism is the heart of the enemy movement from which the terrorists spring forth. It’s time we had a national debate on this. One of the things I’m going to suggest today is a federal law which says no court anywhere in the United States under any circumstance is allowed to consider Sharia as a replacement for American law.
Reminiscent of Conquest’s earlier assessment of Leftist apologists for Communism—and anticipating reactions to his own speech, albeit from “See No Sharia” cultural relativists not confined to the Left—Gingrich also wondered,
How we don’t have some kind of movement in this country on the left that understands that Sharia is a direct mortal threat to virtually every value that the left has is really one of the most interesting historical questions and will someday lead to many dissertations being written.
The ensuing vitriolic, if predictable attacks on Gingrich, and/ or anti-Sharia state legislative initiatives his speech tacitly endorsed (i.e., in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Tennessee), mirror analogous diatribes from Western Communist sympathizers and witless sycophants during the Soviet era. George Orwell trenchantly characterized this particular aspect of Western pro-Communist mindslaughter, and the attitudes it engendered towards those deemed “rabidly anti-Communist”.
The upshot is that if from time to time you express a mild distaste for slave-labor camps or one-candidate elections, you are either insane or actuated by the worst motives. In the same way when Henry Wallace is asked by a newspaper interviewer why he issues falsified versions of his speeches to the press, he replies: “So you must be one of those people who are clamoring for war with Russia.” There is the milder kind of ridicule that consists in pretending that reasoned opinion is indistinguishable from an absurd out-of-date prejudice. If you do not like Communism you are a Red-baiter.
Responses to Gingrich’s speech, when not ignoring the factual content of his presentation, or engaging in ridiculous casuistry (pretentiously, if clumsily put forth as [semi-]educated “nuance”), offered mendacious, bowdlerized portrayals of living Islamic doctrine and its historical consequences, past as prologue to the present. But a collective wealth of unambiguous evidence—readily available—reveals the breathtaking shallowness and intellectual dishonesty of these self-righteous attacks on Gingrich, and US state anti-Sharia initiatives, including: objective, erudite analyses of the Sharia by leading Western scholars of Islam; the acknowledgment of Sharia’s global “resurgence,” even by post-modern, “anti-colonial” (i.e., against Western colonialism, not Islamic jihad colonialism!) academic apologists for Islam, combined with an abundance of recent polling data from Muslim nations, and Muslim immigrant communities in the West confirming the ongoing, widespread adherence to the Sharia’s tenets; the plaintive warnings and admonitions of contemporary Muslim intellectuals—freethinkers and believers, alike—about the incompatibility of Sharia with modern, Western-derived conceptions of universal human rights; and the overt promulgation of traditional, Sharia-based Muslim legal systems as an integrated whole (i.e., extending well beyond mere “family law aspects” of the Sharia), by authoritative, mainstream international and North American Islamic religio-political organizations.
Seeing Sharia Through the Prism of Serious Western Scholarship
According to the most authoritative 20th century Western Islamic legal scholar, Joseph Schacht (d. 1969), the Sharia, or “clear path to be followed,” is the “canon law of Islam,” which “denotes all the individual prescriptions composing it.” Schacht traces the use of the term Sharia to Koranic verses such as 45:18, 42:13, 42:21, and 5:48, noting an “old definition” of the Sharia by the seminal Koranic commentator and early Muslim historian Tabari (d. 923), as comprising the law of inheritance, various commandments and prohibitions, and the so-called “hadd” punishments. These latter draconian punishments, defined by the Muslim prophet Muhammad either in the Koran, or the hadith (the canonical collections of Muhammad’s deeds and pronouncements), included: (lethal) stoning for adultery; death for apostasy; death for highway robbery, when accompanied by murder of the robbery victim; for simple highway robbery, the loss of hands and feet; for simple theft, cutting off of the right hand; for “fornication,” a hundred lashes; for drinking wine, eighty lashes. As Schacht further notes, Sharia ultimately evolved to become “…understood [as] the totality of Allah’s commandments relating to the activities of man.” The holistic Sharia, he continues, is nothing less than Islam’s quintessence, “…the Sharia is the most characteristic phenomenon of Islamic thought and forms the nucleus of Islam itself.” But Schacht then delineates additional salient characteristics of the Sharia which have created historically insurmountable obstacles to its reform, through our present era.
Allah’s law is not to be penetrated by the intelligence…i.e., man has to accept it without criticism, with its apparent inconsistencies and its incomprehensible decrees, as wisdom into which it is impossible to enquire [inquire]. One must not look in it for causes in our sense, nor for principles; it is based on the will of Allah which is bound by no principles, therefore evasions are considered as a permissible means put at one’s disposal by Allah himself.
Muslim law…has always been considered by its followers as something elevated, high above human wisdom, and as a matter of fact human logic or system has little share in it.
For this very reason, the Sharia is not “law”in the modern sense of the word, any more than it is on account of its subject matter. It comprises without restriction, as an infallible doctrine of duties the whole of the religious, political, social, domestic and private life of those who profess Islam, and the activities of the tolerated members of other faiths so far as they may not be detrimental to Islam.
Independently endorsing Schacht’s views, Professor Carl Brockelmann (1868-1956), the renowned scholar of Semitic languages, and arguably the foremost Orientalist of his generation, made these candid observations about the Sharia’s injunctions pertaining to jihad, and penal law, in 1939—Islamic Law being “valid” eternally, and all too widely applied in Brockelmann’s era, till now.
The Muslim may show only hostility to infidels when encountered: war against them is a religious duty. Idol-worshippers must always be attacked without more ado, Jews and Christians, however, only after they have ignored a summons made three times, to accept Islam. After defeat the men are to be killed, women and children sold into slavery. Whoever is killed in the Holy War [Jihad] is sure of paradise, as a martyr. In addition, it is permitted to conclude treaties with Jews and Christians, following the example of the Prophet; later on the Parsee Zoroastrians were placed on the same level as these “People of the Book.” But the obligation of the Holy War is merely postponed by such contracts, not annulled.
The penal code of Islam has remained on a rather primitive level and only marks a slight advance over the ancient pagan concepts of law. The murderer is subject to death through blood vengeance; manslaughter through negligence is recompensed by an indemnity to the survivors. Bodily injuries may be atoned for by the culprit according to the principles of lex talionis—but the culprit may also redeem himself by paying damages. Theft is punished by amputation of the right hand, in case of relapse by additional maiming. Adultery is punished by a hundred strokes of the lash; but if an infidel seduces a Muslim woman, he is subject to the death penalty. Blasphemy with respect to God [Allah], the Prophet, and his predecessors is punished by death, as is defection from Islam, if the culprit persists in his disbelief.
Another important mid 20th century scholar of Islamic Law, G.H. Bousquet (d. 1978), explained how Islam’s unique institution of jihad war, and its eternal quest to impose the Sharia on all of humanity, represented a “dual” totalitarianism. Writing in 1950, Bousquet further warned that these ancient Muslim doctrines remained vibrant, and relevant to the modern era.
Islam first came before the world as a doubly totalitarian system. It claimed to impose itself on the whole world and it claimed also, by the divinely appointed Muhammadan law, by the principles of fiqh, to regulate down to the smallest details the whole life of the Islamic community and of every individual believer…Viewed from this angle, the study of Muhammadan Law (dry and forbidding though it may appear to be to those who confine themselves to the indispensable study of the fiqh), is of great importance to the world of today.
Two prominent, enduring trends have reinforced this doctrinal, Sharia-based totalitarianism.
Contra Judaism and Christianity, Islam’s history never compelled Muslim religious leaders to re-examine their basic assumptions concerning power and faith. Moreover, Islamic religio-political doctrine does not recognize individual liberties, even as an abstraction. The independent existence of objective universal truths is not acknowledged by normative Islamic doctrine. Unless decreed to be so by a notoriously mercurial Allah, nothing is either good or evil. Murder, even today, is merely forbidden by Allah in the Koran, it isn’t innately immoral. Thus, as Islamic legal historian N.J. Coulson (d. 1986) observed,
The stress…throughout the entire Sharia, lies upon the duty of the individual to act in accordance with the divine injunctions; and since the continuous application of these injunctions is declared the purpose of the political authority, the jurists did not visualize any conflict between the ruler and the ruled.
The Islamic understanding of “freedom,” or hurriyya, is — as Ibn Arabi (d. 1240) the lionized “Greatest Sufi Master,” expressed it — “perfect slavery.” And this conception is not merely confined to the Sufis’ perhaps metaphorical understanding of the relationship between Allah the “master” and his human “slaves.”
Bernard Lewis, in his Encyclopedia of Islam analysis of hurriyya, discusses this concept in the latter phases of the Ottoman Empire, through the mid-20th century era. After highlighting a few “cautious” or “conservative” (Lewis’ characterization) reformers and their writings, Lewis maintains,
…there is still no idea that the subjects have any right to share in the formation or conduct of government—to political freedom, or citizenship, in the sense which underlies the development of political thought in the West. While conservative reformers talked of freedom under law, and some Muslim rulers even experimented with councils and assemblies government was in fact becoming more and not less arbitrary….
Lewis also makes the important point that Western colonialism ameliorated this chronic situation:
During the period of British and French domination, individual freedom was never much of an issue. Though often limited and sometimes suspended, it was on the whole more extensive and better protected than either before or after. [emphasis added]
And Lewis concludes his entry by observing that Islamic societies forsook even their inchoate democratic experiments,
In the final revulsion against the West, Western democracy too was rejected as a fraud and a delusion, of no value to Muslims.
Elsewhere, writing contemporaneously (i.e., in 1955) on democratic institutions in the Islamic Middle East, Lewis conceded that at least “equality and fraternity” between Muslims were accepted. But even here Lewis included a major caveat with regard to “liberty,” whose Islamic formulation might never resemble John Stuart Mill’s conception in “On Liberty,” punctuated by a reference to “Alice in Wonderland” making plain Lewis’ assessment of the likely superficial (at best) outcome of Muslim democratization efforts:
…perhaps it may be possible to extend them beyond it [the Muslim community] adding a redefined liberty [emphasis added], to make a new kind of democracy. Only “the question is” as Alice remarked, “whether you can [emphasis in original] make words mean so many different things.”
American constitutional and governmental models, specifically, were ignored, and ultimately, Lewis viewed this immediate post-World War II era of democratic experimentation by Muslim societies as an objective failure, with the possible exception of developments, at that time, in Turkey.
The machinery which works well in the West may not work in other countries. Except perhaps in Turkey, our kind of democracy appears to have failed in the Muslim Middle East.
This pessimistic, if apposite 1955 assessment is all the more remarkable, in retrospect, over a half century later, because Lewis was critiquing what turned out to have been the Muslim world’s high water mark towards creating indigenous, democratic institutions, and societies.
Seeing Sharia’s Resurgence—Muslim Acknowledgement, Popular Sentiment, and Fears
Wael B. Hallaq, former James McGill Professor of Islamic Law at McGill University (and currently the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University), has acknowledged that a “fundamental feature” of traditional Islam’s resurgence,
…is the constant and consistent popular call to restore the Sharia (which he identifies as “the religious law of Islam”)…The call dominates the discourse of modern Muslims, and the tracts, pamphlets and books expounding this call are legion.
Hallaq further maintains that,
During the past two and a half decades, this call has grown ever more forceful, generating religious movements, a vast amount of literature, and affecting world politics. There is no doubt that Islamic law today is a significant cornerstone in the reaffirmation of Islamic identity, not only as a matter of positive law but also, and more importantly, as the foundation of a cultural uniqueness. Indeed, for many of today’s Muslims, to live by Islamic law is not merely a legal issue, but one that is distinctly psychological.
Of course, being a champion of the “post-colonial”, pseudo-academic drivel popularized by the late Edward Said, Hallaq, as an axiom, blames Western imperialist bogeymen, almost exclusively (if mindlessly) for this intrinsic Muslim—and Islamic—Sharia “revival” phenomenon.
The 20th century, starting by the mid-1920s, witnessed sincere, but ultimately doomed secularization experiments aimed at de-politicizing, if not de-sacralizing the Sharia in Republican Turkey, Iran, and later, Pakistan. Secular autocrats—Ataturk in Republican Turkey, the Pahlavi Shahs in Iran—made brutal attempts to abrogate the primacy of the Sharia’s legal jurisdiction altogether, while largely secular Pakistani ruling elites attempted to use an extraordinarily elastic interpretation of traditional “ijtihad,” or deductive Islamic legal reasoning, combined with historical apologetics, to forge a “modernist Sharia,” ostensibly comporting with Western human rights standards. Inevitably, however, consistent with the deep-seated, conservative Islamic religious sentiments of the Muslim masses in all these countries, traditional Sharia has re-emerged, triumphant. Even Turkey, literally within a decade of Ataturk’s death in 1938, began its inexorable Islamic resurgence, as chronicled with striking prescience by historian Uriel Heyd, in 1968. By the end of the 1970s, Iran was fully “restored” to a Shiite theocracy, and Pakistan a de facto Sunni Sharia state, while the burgeoning influence of Turkey’s pious Muslim masses—already apparent then—has culminated in the popular election of fundamentalist, Sharia-supporting regimes under Erbakan, and subsequently his acolyte, Erdogan.
Repeated survey data from the world’s largest Muslim nations, and even Muslim communities within the West, as well as the ongoing, aggressive Organization of the Islamic Conference campaign to constrain all international human rights within an overarching “Sharia-complaint” framework, make plain that the traditional Islamic jihad imperative to impose the Sharia, globally, is a disturbing present day reality.
Polling data released April 24, 2007 from a rigorously conducted face-to-face University of Maryland/ WorldPublicOpinion.org interview survey of 4384 Muslims conducted between December 9, 2006 and February 15, 2007—1000 Moroccans, 1000 Egyptians, 1243 Pakistanis, and 1141 Indonesians—revealed that 65.2% of those interviewed-almost 2/3, hardly a “fringe minority”—desired this outcome (i.e., “To unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate”), including 49% of “moderate” Indonesian Muslims. The internal validity of these data about the present longing for a totalitarian Caliphate was strongly suggested by a concordant result: 65.5% of this Muslim sample approved the proposition “To require a strict [emphasis added] application of Sharia law in every Islamic country.” More recent follow-up surveys reported by the same polling group February 25, 2009 confirmed these 2006/2007 findings, as have subsequent data published independently by Pew (12/2/10).
Such irredentist attitudes are shared to an alarming extent by an important Muslim immigrant community in the West—British Muslims. A poll of 600 British Muslim college students revealed that one-third support killing in the name of Islam, while 40 percent want to the Sharia to replace British law. And Sharia indoctrination of British Muslim youth begins well before college entry. A BBC Panorama investigation has revealed the presence in Britain of 40 “weekend schools” attended by some 5000 Muslim children aged 6-18. These schools teach the British Muslim youth who attend them, for example, traditional Islamic motifs of Jew-hatred, and mutilating Sharia punishments—as per the Saudi National Curriculum—under the rubric of “Saudi Students Clubs and Schools in the UK and Ireland.” These BBC revelations validate prescient warnings made almost two decades earlier by the late respected British scholar of Islam, Dr. Mervyn Hiskett, in Some to Mecca Turn to Pray. Hiskett noted then (i.e., in 1993) the prevailing opinion among leaders of the British Muslim community that unless Muslim immigrants to Britain were allowed unrestrained access to Islamic Law, Sharia, in all aspects, Britain was to be regarded, Dar-al-Harb, or the House of War, i.e., the target of jihadism. Citing what he characterized as “a more urbane but some may consider ominous statement of the Muslim intention to brook no opposition,” Hiskett quoted Zaki Badawi (d. 2006), a Muslim scholar, and former Director of the Islamic Cultural Center, London, who was made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in 2004, and also appointed by The Duke of Castro as a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I. Incidentally Badawi, an Egyptian Muslim, never became a British subject although he had lived in the country for more than 30 years, and had received all manner of honors there. Badawi opined,
A proseltyzing religion cannot stand still. It can either expand or contract. Islam endeavors to expand in Britain. Islam is a universal religion. It aims at bringing its message to all corners of the earth. It hopes that one day the whole humanity will be one Muslim community, the “Umma.”
The “urbane,” “moderate” Muslim Badawi’s “vision” for British society—so recently deemed unthinkable—now seems eminently plausible, as Britain appears well on its way to full integration into the obscurantist Muslim umma, rife with traditional Islamic Jew-hatred, and all other aspects of Sharia-sanctioned, totalitarian barbarity.
Viewed in this context, the global Sharia-promoting Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) agenda simply embodies the desires of its individual Muslim constituencies. The 1990 Cairo Declaration, or so-called “Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam”, was drafted and subsequently ratified by all the Muslim member nations of the OIC. Both the preamble and concluding articles (24 and 25) make plain that the OIC‘s Cairo Declaration is designed to supersede Western conceptions of human rights as enunciated, for example, in the US Bill of Rights, and the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The opening of the preamble to the Cairo Declaration repeats a Koranic injunction affirming Islamic supremacism, (Koran 3:110; “You are the best nation ever brought forth to men…you believe in Allah”), and its last articles 24 and 25, maintain, [article 24], “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Sharia”; and [article 25] “The Islamic Sharia is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification to any of the articles of this Declaration.” The gravely negative implications of the OIC’s Sharia-based Cairo Declaration are most apparent in its transparent rejection of freedom of conscience in Article 10, which proclaims:
Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion, or to atheism.
Ominously, articles 19 and 22 reiterate a principle stated elsewhere throughout the document, which clearly applies to the “punishment” of so-called “apostates” from Islam:
[19d] There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Sharia.”
[22a] Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia.
[22b] Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Sharia.
[22c] Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.
Following the initial printing of the banal, if now infamous Danish “Muhammad cartoons,” OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu had denounced, “…the publication of blasphemous and insulting caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.” He concluded that this “Islamophobic” act of “sacrilege” somehow contravened, “…international principles, values, and ethics enshrined in the various resolutions and declarations of the United Nations.” These sentiments of Ihsanoglu (and the OIC he represents) were reiterated more brazenly by the influential Qatari Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi during a sermon which aired February 3, 2006. Qaradawi demanded action from the United Nations in accord with purely Islamic, Sharia-based conceptions of “blasphemy”:
…the governments [of the world] must be pressured to demand that the U.N. adopt a clear resolution or law that categorically prohibits affronts to prophets – to the prophets of the Lord and his Messengers, to His holy books, and to the religious holy places.
Indeed the OIC, which clearly shares Sheikh Qaradawi’s viewpoint, has vigorously promoted the UN Defamation of Religions Resolution, which would give international sanction to Sharia-based criminalization of “blasphemy.”
These frightening global trends have alarmed a remarkably brave and vocal, but distinctively miniscule cadre of Muslim intellectuals. In a brilliant, dispassionate modern analysis, Ibn Warraq described 14 characteristics of “Ur Fascism” as enumerated by Umberto Eco, analyzing their potential relationship to the major determinants of Islamic governance and aspirations, through the present. He adduces salient examples which reflect the key attributes discussed by Eco: the unique institution of jihad war; the establishment of a Caliphate under “Allah’s vicegerent on earth,” the Caliph—ruled by Sharia, which has always featured a rigid system of subservience and sacralized discrimination against non-Muslims and Muslim women, devoid of basic freedoms of conscience, and expression. Warraq’s assessment confirms what G.H. Bousquet concluded (in 1950) from his career studying the historical development and implementation of Islamic Law.
The harsh, but sound and intellectually honest criticisms leveled against the Sharia by courageous freethinkers such as Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Wafa Sultan—to this day deemed “apostates” by the dominant obscurantist mainstream Muslim religio-political hierarchy—have been echoed by those still identified as “valid” Muslims. Most recently (in November, 2010), for example, the pious Shiite former Iraqi MP Sayyed Ayad Jamal Al-Din, made these candid remarks contrasting modern human rights and liberties, which he recognized as having uniquely Western origins, with Islamic Sharia-based conceptions of human rights—epitomized by the rule of the Taliban for Sunni Muslims, and the current Iranian regime for Shiites.
Under the rule of Islam, there is no equality among people. Absolutely not. A Muslim is not like a dhimmi [i.e., a non-Muslim vanquished by jihad, and living under the Sharia, as per Koran 9:29, and related Muslim jurisprudence] The term dhimmi embodies a great deal of scorn and contempt. It is as if the Christian is saying: “I am under your protection, under your thumb.” This is what it means…The notion of civic identity is based on equality in duties and rights, but under the rule of Islam, Muslims and non-Muslims are not equal – neither in their duties, nor in their rights. […]
The late regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan was a pure Sunni Islamic rule. A clear Shiite regime is that of the Jurisprudent Ruler, who claims to be substituting the Prophet Muhammad, and… He is Allah upon the Earth, more or less.
Whoever wants the rule of the shari’a should turn to the Taliban government or to the Ayatollah’s government in Iran. Or else he should select [the] Western…human rights and the notion of liberties. These human rights do not exist in Islam. […]
Seeing No Sharia in America—(Self-Righteous) Ignorance Uber Alles?
It is somewhat ironic that immensely popular Fox News host Bill O’Reilly epitomizes the willful blindness to Sharia encroachment in the US. O’Reilly has been pilloried by the Left for both his undeniably accurate statements that the cataclysmic acts of jihad terrorism on 9/11/2001 were committed by Muslims, and more broadly, his commonsensical recognition of the global plethora of jihad-related “Muslim problems” outside the US. Nonetheless, O’Reilly is in lockstep with his media and political antagonists when it comes to glib, ignorant denial—mindslaughter—regarding the pervasive support for Sharia by mainstream Islamic religious organizations, and Muslim religious leaders, in America.
O’Reilly’s personal see-no-Sharia-mindslaughter was displayed vividly when he offered to wield a hammer on behalf of the Ground Zero Mosque project. His statement revealed a basic ignorance of mosque promoter Feisal Rauf’s expressed ideology, including the imam’s Sharia-based conception of “peace” itself—more accurately, a global Pax Islamica.
There is nothing “nuanced” about Imam Feisal Rauf’s belief in the primacy of Sharia in society—any society—despite its permanent advocacy of jihad and dehumanizing injunctions on non-Muslims and women.
Rauf, in his 2004 “What’s Right With Islam”—released in Malaysia as, “A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Da’wah From the Heart of America Post-9/11,” asserts that the US is in a state of “readiness” for the Sharia:
…[T]he American political structure is Shariah compliant, for a state inhabited predominantly by Muslims neither defines nor makes it synonymous with an Islamic state.
And Rauf also charts how the US could evolve toward what is clearly his ultimate goal—an Islamic State—beginning with a parallel Sharia judiciary:
…[It] also would not be a violation of church-state separation to have a subsidiary entity within judiciary that employs religious jurists…to comment on the compliance of certain decisions…to provide guidance on how Shariah compliant these decisions are…It can become truly Islamic only by virtues of a conscious application of the sociopolitical tenets of Islam to the life of the national, and by an incorporation of those tenets in the basic constitution of the country.
However it is Rauf’s earlier 1999 “Islam: A Sacred Law: What Every Muslim Should Know About Sharia” which makes unmistakably clear both the triumphal basis for his pious Muslim desire to impose Islamic Law, and the far reaching effects of this application:
…God’s role in the explicit philosophical construct of the law makes a big difference between the modus operandi of a righteous Muslim judge in a Muslim court and a righteous Western judge in a Western court. The judge who sits in judgment in an Islamic court sits in lieu of God as His worldly representative [khalifa] and is held responsible by God to His values. The Muslim judge explicitly ‘reports to God.’ The judge who sits in a Western court is only explicitly responsible to the Constitution, the interpretations of a civil law and its rules…And since a Shariah is understood as a law with God at its center, it is not possible in principle to limit the Shariah to some aspects of human life and leave out others.”…The Shariah thus covers every field of law—public and private, national and international—together with enormous amounts of material that Westerners would not regard as law at all, because the basis of the Shariah is the worship of, and obedience to, God through good works and moral behavior. Following the Sacred Law thus defines the Muslim’s belief in God.
Pace witless, apologetic assessments by non-Muslim public intellectuals and talking heads, irrespective of their political ideology, Imam Rauf’s unabashed support for a holistic application of Sharia, reflects the prevailing attitudes—and goals—of the US Muslim community. Confirmatory evidence of this widespread, dangerous American Muslim phenomenon abounds, despite being almost universally, and willfully, ignored—from ominous polling data, to jihad funding trial revelations and the content of more banal Muslim litigation proceedings, mosque surveillance reports, analyses of Islamic education institutions and their Muslim schoolchildren’s textbooks, the issuance of obscurantist “fatwas” (Islamic legal rulings) by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, and finally, an open declaration by one of America’s largest mainstream Muslims organizations, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), in its 2010 ICNA Member’s Hand Book, calling for the (re-)creation of a global Muslim Caliphate, and the imposition of Sharia law in America. Salient details from these illustrative examples, include:
- Data (compiled here) from an April 2001 survey performed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) revealing that 69% of American Muslims in America affirmed that it was “absolutely fundamental” or “very important” to have Salafi (i.e., fundamentalist Islamic) teachings at their mosques, while 67 % of respondents agreed with the statement “America is an immoral, corrupt society.” Another poll conducted in Detroit area mosques during 2003 found that 81% of the respondents endorsed the application of the Sharia where Muslims comprised a majority.
- An internal Muslim Brotherhood statement dated May 22, 1991, whose contents were revealed during the Texas Holy Land Foundation jihad-terrorism funding trial. Written by an acolyte of the Brotherhood’s major theoretician, lionized Qatari cleric, popular Al-Jazeera television personality, and head of the European Fatwa Council Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the document entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group In North America,” is indeed self-explanatory: “The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and by the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
- The Mapping Shariah Project’s initial findings from 100 mosques randomly selected across the U.S. testing the hypothesis that Sharia adherence within mosques (including, among many other factors, gender separation, clothing, male facial hair, jewelry, strictness on alignment shoulder-to-shoulder during prayer, etc.) would correlate with incitement to jihadism, revealed:
–75% of the mosques are Sharia-adherent (on a scale of 1-10, they are 7 or higher).
–25% of the mosques were very low Sharia-adherent (1-2 on the scale).
–The correlation between Sharia-adherence and the use of literature calling for violence against the infidel and apostate and jihad was 0.9—an almost 1:1 relationship.
–In most mosques where this violent literature was found, the Imam actively encouraged the Mapping Shariah Project’s researcher posing as a new attendee, to study this violent material.
- A provisional inquiry by the Public Policy Alliance uncovered 17 instances in 11 states of American judges accepting “input” from Sharia in rendering judgments, including an odious, widely publicized New Jersey ruling that upheld Sharia-sanctioned marital rape. Appellate court intervention was required to reverse this ruling in July 2010—Western legal norms prevailing over the Sharia—with the presiding judge soberly concluding that the Muslim husband’s “…conduct in engaging in nonconsensual sexual intercourse was unquestionably knowing, regardless of his view that his [Islamic] religion permitted him to act as he did.” Completely ignored at the time of these New Jersey proceedings was the fact that marital rape is not recognized as criminal, i.e., it is sanctioned, by a fatwa of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America! (see below)
- Investigations of textbooks widely used in the New York city area Islamic schools, as well as the Islamic Saudi Academy of Fairfax Virginia which discovered the inculcation of Sharia supremacism, including sacralized disparagement and hatred of non-Muslims, especially Jews. When questioned for the March, 30 2003 NY Daily News story on New York area Islamic school textbooks, Yahiya Emerick, head of a Queens-based nonprofit curriculum development project for the Islamic Foundation of North America, defended the language in these books, denying they were inflammatory. Emerick opined, “Islam, like any belief system, believes its program is better than others. I don’t feel embarrassed to say that…[The books] are directed to kids in a Muslim educational environment. They must learn and appreciate there are differences between what they have and what other religions teach. It’s telling kids that we have our own tradition.”
- The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), whose mission statement maintains the organization was, “…founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America…AMJA is a religious organization that does not exploit religion to achieve any political ends, but instead provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation’s laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities…”, is accepted as such by the mainstream American Muslim community. Notwithstanding this mainstream acceptance, including uncritical endorsement of its recent seventh annual American conference in Houston (October 15-18, 2010) to train American imams, AMJA has issued rulings which sanction the killing of apostates, “blasphemers” (including non-Muslims guilty of this “crime”), or adulterers (by stoning to death), and condone marital rape.
- Finally, as reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), one of the largest mainstream U.S. Muslim organizations, in its 2010 ICNA Member’s Hand Book, openly acknowledges being the American branch of a global jihadist phenomenon referred to as the ‘Islamic Movement.’ The 2010 Hand Book observes, that branches of this movement “…are active in various parts of the world to achieve the same objectives. It is our obligation as Muslims to engage in the same noble cause here in North America.” These efforts will culminate in the (re-)creation of a transnational Islamic superstate, the Caliphate, under the Sharia: “.…the united Muslim Ummah [community] in a united Islamic state, governed by an elected khalifah in accordance with the laws of shari’ah.”
The appropriate concluding question, in light of this mountain of disturbing evidence, might be, “What Is to Be Un-Done?”—invoking ideals and motivations directly opposed to the Leninist mantra. We must heed Newt Gingrich’s clarion call, and promote the Sharia educational, and anti-Sharia advocacy resources provided, in particular, by the Center for Security Policy, under the aegis of the indefatigable Frank Gaffney.
As a tenacious fighter against both Nazi and Communist totalitarianism, historian Karl Wittfogel (d. 1988) was optimistic that,
A new insight that is fully perceived, convincingly communicated, and daringly applied may change the face of a military and political campaign. It may change the face of a historical crisis.
Identifying and vociferously rejecting the encroachment of Islamic Sharia is the apposite “insight” for our era applying Wittfogel’s paradigm.
Wittfogel concluded his great 1957 work on pre-modern Eastern totalitarianism, “Oriental Despotism—A Comparative Study of Total Power,” with what remain defining questions for free Western societies confronting Islamic totalitarianism more than a half century later, ultimately citing Herodotus, the West’s first true historian, to remind us of the most appropriate—and courageous—inspiration:
Ultimately, the readiness to sacrifice and the willingness to take the calculated risk of alliance against the total enemy depend upon the proper evaluation of two simple issues: slavery and freedom.
The good citizens of classical Greece drew strength from the determination of two of their countrymen, Sperthias and Bulis, to resist the lure of total power. On their way to Suza, the Spartan envoys were met by Hydarnes, a high Persian official, who offered to make them mighty in their homeland, if only they would attach themselves to the Great King, his despotic master. To the benefit of Greece—and to the benefit of all free men—Herodotus has preserved their answer. “Hydarnes,” they said, “thou art a one-sided counselor. Thou has experience of half the matter; but the other half is beyond thy knowledge. A slave’s life thou understandest; but, never having tasted liberty, thou canst not tell whether it be sweet or no. Ah! Hadst thou known what freedom is, thou wouldst have bidden us fight for it, not with spear only, but with the battle-axe.”