Hooray for sharia

The Huffington Post (who else?) gives a woman named Sumbul Ali-Karamali a space in which to say “what is all this fuss about sharia, sharia is perfectly fine, and besides it’s not the law anywhere, and besides everything is culture, and besides islamophobia, and besides you have to interpret.”

There are six principles of shariah. They are derived from the Qur’an, which Muslims believe is the word of God. All Islamic religious rules must be in line with these six principles of shariah…The Qur’an is old. The fiqh books of jurisprudence are old. To modern eyes, they can look just as outdated as other ancient texts, including the Bible and Torah. That’s why, just like the Bible and the Torah, the Islamic texts must be read in their historical context.

In other words, it’s the same old have-it-both-ways bullshit. On the one hand it’s the word of god, but on the other hand we can’t help noticing that some of it is disgustingly savage so we sagely observe that it’s old and therefore has to be read “in its historical context,” which being interpreted means altered so that the disgusting savagery gets ignored or turned into a metaphor or otherwise sidelined. But then why not just admit that what you’re doing is trying to shape laws to what is best for human beings (and perhaps animals and the planet) rather than obeying rules handed out many centuries ago by a god? Because we want to have it both ways, that’s why.

Shari’a is a set of religious principles and is not the law of the land anywhere in the world. The 50-some Muslim-majority countries are all constitutional states and nearly all of them have civil codes (many of these based on the French system).

…And? She doesn’t say. The implication seems to be that all those constitutions bar sharia as law, but in fact, that’s far from the truth. Some majority-Muslim countries already make their laws “sharia-compliant” and others are working on it.

The Qur’an contains many verses advocating religious tolerance, too, though the anti-Islam protesters won’t believe it.

Yes we’ll believe it, but we’ll also point out that it contains many other verses advocating much nastier things and that those verses are not a dead letter.

I wonder – in all seriousness – if Sumbul Ali-Karamali herself would actually like to live in Swat or Afghanistan or Somalia or Sudan or Algeria or Saudi Arabia or northern Nigeria. If she wouldn’t, she should think hard about why. If she would, she and I inhabit different universes, and I don’t know how to address her.

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