Sunday, December 26, 2010

It is wrong to compare Islamic and Jewish religious courts: they are very different

No Comparison: Shariah and Jewish Religious Courts. An excellent article by Rabbi Aryeh Spero explaining how different Islamic and Jewish laws are, published in The American Thinker:
Many stealth jihadists pushing to have Shariah law instead of American civil law govern American Islamic communities are making the preposterous claim that Shariah Courts are similar to Jewish religious courts that observant Jews often use to adjudicate intra-community disputes. This is entirely inaccurate given that Shariah has as its goal the replacement of American law with Shariah, whereas Beit Din, Jewish religious court, limits its purview and has no intent or desire to flout American law.

Over 1800 years ago, the Talmudic Rabbi Samuel set the tone of how Jews were to interact with the laws of Babylonia, which had become the primary residence of the Jewish People after its exile from Israel.  His statement and decision has guided the Jewish community throughout their dwellings in new lands: "The law of the land is the law." Rabbi Samuel understood, as did all subsequent rabbinic figures, that dwelling in a land and being a good citizen meant living by its laws and standards.
Naturally, many aspects of Jewish religious life differed from that of the host culture, such as the requirement to eat kosher food, observe the Sabbath and abstain from bread on Passover, and Rabbi Samuel would have been the first to reject any attempt by the State to prohibit our core religious observances. In the spirit of Render unto Caesar that which is his and unto God that which is His, Rabbi Samuel demarcated between religious law and civil law. His intellectual honesty lay in not allowing the subterfuge of categorizing civil law as "religious" law, which would have effectively nullified the whole concept of "The law of the land is the law".
Rabbi Samuel certainly wished to preserve Jewish culture and ethnicity. Nonetheless, the Head of Babylon's Jewish community imbibed a deep respect and loyalty to his new country and would not allow zealots and separatists to lurch into a mode of cultural supremacy by erecting autonomous communities within the nation, which is accomplished when the purview of religious law is inflated to include that which is essentially civil and criminal law, something to be decided by the general public.
Eight hundred years later, as the center of Jewish life shifted westward to Europe, Rabbi Gershom of Germany expanded on the theme of "The Law of the land is the law." He declared that because something is permitted in religious law does not mean a Jew should exercise that religious right if it is contrary to a fundamental standard and custom of the country where he now resides. So that even though the ancient Bible did not limit a man to one wife, henceforth Jewish men living in Europe could not marry as was done in biblical days, since European/Christian mores had rejected the simultaneous taking of multiple wives. Though polygamy was already centuries earlier culturally taboo among western Jews, Rabbi Gershom took the opportunity to prohibit it officially and legally to underscore the point that no particular ethnic community stands above and beyond deep-rooted national moral and ethical mores and standards.  
Contrast this philosophy with that of shariah compliance where, for example, in certain European countries Islamic clerics are asking that the State welfare system subsidize the multiple wives of a Pakistani-born Muslim, or that of New Jersey where a lower court judge agreed not to hold a man liable for raping his wife, "reasoning" that his culture permits a man to force himself on his wife even though she vehemently protests her subjugation. Or the case of an 18 year old Columbus, Ohio girl whose wish to convert to Christianity is causing a risk to her life from her parents who claim that shariah does not allow her to become Christian. Jewish law intrinsically deplores what shariah here espouses, and no Beit Din would kow-tow to such rejection of civilized American societal norms.
The three cases mentioned above, some even criminal, stand foursquare against our American principle that women and children are not simply a man's property. This isn't simply a legalism but fundamental to our identity and to who we are as a people and nation. Having two sets of laws, one of which extends to Muslims the right to do that which is forbidden to all other Americans is a breach of the bedrock principle of Due Process, wherein our laws are applied equally to all, be it our rights or our prohibitions. Should we suddenly make one group of citizens more privileged than all others? That is not American, nor western. Equality under the law must transcend fashionable and often silly notions of multi-culturalism. Too much multi-culturalism leads to no culture at all, a society denuded of standards.
It has always been understood here that no one can claim a religious exception to civil and criminal rules that govern all. Religious freedom does not mean freedom from living by the civilized laws that constitute us as a people. That is exactly what Rabbi Samuel had in mind 1800 years ago when warning against those who would abrogate their fealty to civil and criminal law by claiming a special dispensation under religious law.
There are two areas where from time-to-time a Jew invites a Beit Din into his life. One is marriage and divorce. But here the Beit Din does not supersede routine civil law, rather it embellishes these events with certain required rituals, none of which offend deep-rooted social morality nor contradict existing civil law. After the divorced couple arranges their divorce settlement -- finances, child custody questions etc. -- the Beit Din's scribe quilts on parchment a divorce document according to an ancient Hebrew text. Marriage is similarly preceded by written documents and blessings. These additions do not abrogate any civil laws, rather fall under the rubric of rituals that adorn and enrich each particular group within humanity.
The second is the arbitration process where two Jewish litigants decide to forgo the expenses of lawyers and protracted civil court proceedings and opt to have the Beit Din arbitrate and decide their business or monetary conflict. Courts are often pleased by this choice since it relieves them of yet another case on their heavy dockets. But even here, the Beit Din cannot pull out of left field some wild form of insular reasoning whose logic could not stand up in secular court. Nor would it ever arbitrate on criminal matters.
And herein lays an essential difference between those advocating shariah for Islamic communities as opposed to Beit Din in highly observant Jewish communities. Whereas, a Jew finds himself at a Beit Din once or twice in life, and for many never at all, shariah will dominate the individual within the community. He will live under shariah. Shariah is comprehensive, and coercive. It is the ultimate balkanization, wherein a mini nation lives within a broader nation. It is a seceding from the Union - yet with all the privileges of being in that union.
For stealth jihadists, shariah is the most effective way to Islamize a country. Through its imposition, it telegraphs that a nation has no unique and binding set of laws, mores and standards. That's why radical multiculturalists love it. It helps brings down America.
Islamic shariah has a completely different aspiration than Jewish law. Jewish law has no world-wide ambitions. We don't even seek converts. There's one Jewish state, and a small one at that. Islam's stated goal is to have the world live under shariah. It yearns for a world-wide caliphate, bringing all under Islam, individuals and nations.
Shariah announces that Islam is above and beyond the law. It is above country. Once allowed and implemented in Islamic neighborhoods, it reaches beyond and extends to ever growing areas where its adherents migrate, so that neighborhoods once under American law now must forfeit their American way of life if they wish to do business or be shielded from harassment. Shariah does not believe in Live and let Live, which has been the sweet anthem that has guided America. It demands changes in our schools, work places, swimming pools, and every facet of public and commercial life.
In England , for example, whole school districts now forbid pork in school cafeterias where Christian children still constitute the majority, and some districts won't even teach the Holocaust because it "offends" anti-Semitic Muslims. Liberals call this sensitivity and accommodation. But it is capitulation; capitulation by emasculated multi-culturalists who feel that the only way to validate our western culture is by forfeiting it and submitting to those who wish to destroy it. Any ideology whose demands and stranglehold on civic and public life are so extensive and unyielding is theocratic in nature and thus incompatible with and dangerous to western life.
At one time, North Africa was not Islamic. Neither was Turkey, southern Asia, Indonesia, Central Africa, Persia, nor most of Iraq and Lebanon; nor were vast lands west, east and north of India. Nor were the Balkans. They are now mostly Islamic. Some fell to the sword of Islam. Others decided to be "nice guys" and allow shariah law in their countries for those few who demanded it. Now, tens of millions of them and their children must live under shariah law. Their heritage is gone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Intolerance towards other religions

Under Islamic law, non-Muslims are not allowed to propagate their faith, as established in the Pact of Umar. Examples (for the situation of the Copts in Egypt see here; Christians in general here):
  • Indonesia Mar 2011: Indonesia, war on the Ahmadi considered blasphemous by government and Islamic leaders (AsiaNews).
  • Indonesia Mar 2011: New ban imposed on Ahmadiyah Islamic sect (adnkronos).
  • Pakistan Feb 2011: Pak's Hindu temples turned into picnic spots, hotels (rediff).
  • Malaysia Sep2009: a group of more than 50 Muslim men gathered outside a state mosque and marched to a government office proudly carrying a cow's head as a symbol of protest while chanting the world-famous praise "Allahu akbar." The Muslim group was against the construction of a Hindu temple in their district. "I challenge the state to go on with the temple construction. I guarantee bloodshed and the state will be held responsible. Allahu akbar!" said the group's spokesman (JPost).

    In November 2007, some 30,000 Hindus marched the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest against discrimination and alleged systematic demolition of Hindu temples by the state. The protesters met the full force of the state's chemical-laced water cannons and tear gas canisters.  In stark contrast, the cow-head protest went ahead without any police intervention.
    In Malaysia, religious rows dominate national media: Students arrested for handing Christian pamphlets to Muslims; protests outside churches suspected of facilitating Muslim apostasy; a ban prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word "Allah"; Islamic rehabilitation centers "persuading" Muslims against conversion; a Muslim mother sentenced to be caned for consuming beer, with the woman's father urging the authorities to cane his daughter in public to make her an example. What might be deemed lunacy in the modern world pervades life in Malaysia, troubling its non-Muslim minorities as well as its liberal Muslims.

Is the Islamic concept of Temporary Marriage (Mutah) akin to prostitution?

Well, read and draw your own conclusion. The following is a direct translation of the Persian document as shown on Planet Iran. It is an advertisement from the Iman Reza's Shrine in Mash'had, in Iran:
July 18, 2010
Bismellah al rahman a rahim
Temporary Marriage (Marriage is among the traditions of the Prophet Mohammad)
In order to elevate the spiritual atmosphere, create proper psychological conditions and tranquility of mind, the Province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan has created centers for temporary marriage (just next door to the shrine) for those brothers who are on pilgrimage to the shrine of  our eighth Imam, Imam Reza, and who are far away from their spouses.
To that end, we call on all our sisters who are virgins, who are between the ages of 12 and 35 to cooperate with us. Each of our sisters who signs up will be bound by a two year contract with the province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan and will be required to spend at least 25 days of each month temporarily married to those brothers who are on pilgrimage. The period of the contract will be considered as a part of the employment experience of the applicant. The period of each temporary marriage can be anywhere between 5 hours to 10 days. The prices are as follows:
  • 5 hour temporary marriage – 50,000 Tomans ($50 US)
  • One day temporary marriage – 75,000 Tomans ($75 US)
  • Two day temporary marriage – 100,000 Tomans ($100 US)
  • Three day temporary marriage – 150,000 Tomans ($150 US)
  • Between 4 and 10 day temporary marriage – 300,000 Tomans ($300 US)
  • Our sisters who are virgins will receive a bonus of 100,000 Tomans ($100 US) for the removal of their hymen .
    After the expiration of the two year contract, should our sisters still be under 35 years of age and should they be so inclined, they can be added to the waiting list of those who are seeking long-term temporary marriage. The employed sisters are obligated to donate 5% of their earnings to the Shrine of Imam Reza. We ask that all the sisters who are interested in applying, to furnish two full-length photographs (fully hijabed and properly veiled), their academic diplomas, proof of their virginity and a certificate of good physical and psychological health which they can obtain through the health and human services of the township of their residence. Please forward all compiled material and send to the below address by the 31st of the month of Ordibehesht, 1389 (May 21st, 2010).
    Attention: For sisters who are below 14 years of age, a written consent from their fathers or male guardian is required.
    Address: Mash’had, Shrine of Imam Reza, Shaheed Navab-Safavi, Kossar passage, Bureau of Temporary Marriages or call Haji Mahmood Momtaz : 98/511/222-5790
    For further information, please refer to the Quds’eh Razavi website.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Punishments under Islamic Law: flogging, beheading, hanging, crucification ...

    The post Sharia- Crime and Punishment under Islam provides an excellent discussion on the types of crime and related punishments prescribed under Sharia Law. Here, there are a few actual examples:

    Sudan (Dec 2010): video shows a women receiving lashes at the Khartoum Police Station and part of an interview with the Governor of Khartoum, Dr. Abd Al-Rahman Al-Khadr. He stated that "what was aired was the implementation of an Islamic punishment..."  In fact, he went on to say that "[w]e should consider the more important issue in this case ~ our penal code is in keeping with Islam and the sharia is the main source of our legislation.  Islamic punishments are carried out to purge the perpetrator." (MEMRI TV Video #2772 and transcript).

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Islam is above criticism: kill or harass those who "slender" Islam

    Under Sharia Law, it is a crime punishable by death to criticize Islam, his prophet or Sharia Law.
    The Islamic world, which feels free to disparage other religions, and whose holist book denigrates Jews as apes, demands no criticism of its prophet by nonbelievers. This profoundly selfish and unfair standard should not be tolerated by the rest of the world. Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the other major faiths survive criticism from nonbelievers. It is now time for Islam to mature, and for Muslims worldwide to announce that their faith is strong enough to withstand criticism. It is a sign of weak faith to attack critics.
    Death threats are commonplace. But a recent phenomenon has emerged: Western institutions (government, judiciary, publishers, universities) just seem to accept and impose Sharia-like norms to silence those who criticize Islam. It is like saying: "don't kill us; we will shut them up for you." It is like a civilizational self-censorship.

    Who does not remember the Danish Cartoons? Muslims want to kill the cartonist Kurt Westergaard. The latest happened Police in Denmark shot a Somali man attempting to assassinate Danish cartoonist , the man whose 12 cartoons in Jyllands-Posten set off worldwide unrest, including fatal riots in 2005. The 27 year old Somalian, armed with an axe, broke through a window, and was was shot in the leg, after police answered an alarm call from Westergaard's home in Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city. The cartoonist's grand daughter was present in the house, in a "safe room" that had been constructed because of the vicious attacks threatened against the brave cartoonist.

    Another point related to "silencing those who criticize Islam, Mohammed or Sharia" is that blasphemy laws are sometimes used in order to settle grudges, persecute minorities and fan religious extremism (e.g., in Pakistan).
    • From BBC: Muslim row cartoon timeline.
    • France. Nov/2-11: The offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris have been destroyed in a petrol bomb attack. The attack followed after the magazine announced an issue in which the "guest editor" was the prophet Mohammed (BBC).

    • West Bank, Dec/2010: 26-year-old blogger, Walid Husayin — who had called the Muslim God a “primitive Bedouin” and Islam a religion of “irrationality and ignorance” — was forced to apologize in a letter to his family and to all Palestinians after being arrested by Palestinian military police on Oct. 31. His comments were deemed offensive to Islam. Defaming Islam is a crime in the West Bank (YahooNews).
    • Pakistan, Dec/2010: Pakistani authorities have arrested a doctor on suspicion of violating the country’s contentious blasphemy law by throwing away a business card of a man who shared the name of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, police said Sunday (SFC). (Pakistani Blasphemy Law) 
    • Pakistan, Nov/2010: Bibi — a Christian mother of five —was sentenced to death by a municipal court for blasphemy against Islam. She insists she was falsely accused over a personal dispute. Ms. Bibi has been in jail for more than a year (Telegraph). (Pakistani Blasphemy Law)
    • Sweden Dec 2010: Two explosions rocked the downtown shopping district in Stockholm this evening as holiday shoppers crowded the chainstore-clogged area around Drottninggatan. In a letter and audiotape, the bomber wrote that: "Our actions speak for themselves. As long as you don't stop your war against Islam, and you degrade the Prophet, and your support for that stupid pig [cartoonist Lars] Vilks." (Reason)
    • Sweden Oct 2010: The Norwegian historian and journalist Halvor Tjønn has written a biography of the founder of Islam, Muhammed. The book was announced by the Oslo publisher Kagge in last year’s fall catalog. But now the publisher has suddenly pulled out — and refuses to provide any explanation of why it no longer wishes to publish the book (PJM, Aftenposten).
    • US Sep/2010: Molly Norris goes hiding. She was a staff cartoonist for the Seattle Weekly. Last spring, in response to Islamist threats against Trey Parker and Matt Stone's lampooning the prohibition against portraying Mohammed on "South Park," Molly Norris published a cartoon proposing an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day." The cartoon didn't actually portrayed Mohammed. American-Jihadi cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, the same who triggered both the attempted Detroit airliner attack and the Fort Hood massacre, issued a fatwa calling for her assassination. Norris consulted with the FBI, who recommended that she go underground and change her name. Apparently the Feds failed to make any serious offer of protection (WSJ, Global Jihad). 
    • USA Sep/2009: Professor Jytte Klausen wrote a book called "The cartoons that shook the world" to be published by Yale University Press (YUP). In an act of self-censorship YUP removed the cartoons and any other portrait of Mohammed fearing the images would cause another outbreak of violence. The book was eventually published and can be found on Amazon with customer tags "cowardly", "censored" and "Yale Shame" (FOX, IH)
    • Australia Sep/2010: An Australian Iman, Feiz Muhammad, has issued a fatwa (an Islamic religious decree) calling for the beheading of Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician. Mr Wilders is an outspoken critic of Islam and leader of the Dutch PVV Party. Imam Feiz Muhammad is an Australian Muslim preacher, head of the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Liverpool, a suburb of Sydney (BIG PEACE). 
    • Russia Nov/2009: A militant Islamist group based in Russia has admitted that they are responsible for the killing of 35 years old Orthodox priest Daniil Sysoyev. He was killed in his own church in Moscow by masked gunmen. The website warned that “those in the future who defame Islam and insult the religion of Allah will suffer the fate as Sysoyev.” Father Sysoyev contacted Russian security services several times over the threats, but in vain (AFP).

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Indoctrination of Children

    "Give me a child and I'll shape him into anything." -- B.F.Skinner

    • A report [] from the Muslim Council of Britain entitled ‘Meeting the Needs of Muslim Pupils in state schools’ gives an insight to what the OIC is planning for the UK and the West. Just in the report’s Foreword alone, you’ll notice the implied need for tolerance on the part of the British in sentences like “…it is important therefore, that educators… respond positively to meeting the needs of Muslim pupils” and “…with a reasonable degree of mutual understanding and goodwill, even more progress can be made in responding positively to educational aspirations and concerns of Muslim…”. At the end of the foreword, almost as an afterthought, Muslim parents are not told to ‘respond positively ‘but to “further their understanding of what they can reasonably expect from schools.” It’s the British who should be making the positive responses while Muslims should be learning what school practices can be expected to adapt to Islamic needs. Every aspect of education is targeted for Sharia compliance, from schoolyard games to vaccinations, from raffles to drama: No mixed contact sports, swimming lessons must be single sex, boys bodies covered and need I comment on the girl’s swimwear! School outings? mixed gender trips should be avoided, Arabic lessons? Of course! Art lessons, Allah Forbid life drawing classes or portraits! And of course, Muslims must be able to withdraw from non-Islamic faith classes, nor should Muslim pupils be expected to participate in drama celebrating other religions such as Nativity plays or Diwali” - but all British pupils must learn about Islam. (Hat Tip: glenn1946)
    • An article by Andrew Bostom discusses the effort bu the Texas Board of Education to modify the current status-quo concerning current High School textbooks that "politically-correct whitewashes of Islamic culture and stigmas on Christian civilization." (AT)
    • The American Textbook Council, a nonprofit organization that reviews history and social studies textbooks utilized in U.S. schools, issued a  a comprehensive, evidenced-based 2008 report entitled "Islam in the Classroom-What the Textbooks Tell Us." This report observed, prominently, that the deficiencies in Islam-related lessons were uniquely disturbing, with history textbooks presenting "an incomplete and confected view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security." It ends with a warning: "Islamic activists use multiculturalism and ready-made American political movements, especially those on campus, to advance and justify the makeover of Islam-related textbook content." (Ref. Andrew Bostom)
    • New York State High School manual for teachers whitewashes Islam. It provides an "Islamic prespective" into history, and, worse, explicitly says that students who answer differently get zero mark   (NYPost; PJM) .
    • Children learning how to behead infidels: The website Big Journalism has an article asking Why Won’t MSM Cover Islam? What Are They Afraid Of? The article addresses the MSM’s tacit approval of radical Islam by their reluctance to report what really goes on in the world of terrorism.This post shows a video used by radical Muslims to train their pre-pubescent boys in the art of beheading. This graphically evil video shows children training for Jihad beheading a man all the while praising Allah.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Early marriage and forced marriage

    Early marriages, or child bride marriages, violate the 1989 U. N. Convention of the Rights of the Child. 

    Even though early marriage is a practice that did not start with Islam, Islam has perpetuated it. Child marriage has been practiced in Muslim societies since the dawn of Islam. This phenomenon follows directly from the prophet Mohammed. When Mohammed, Islam's sole prophet and source, married 6-years old Aisha, later consummating the marriage when she was 9, he set an absolute precedent, since Mohammed is the example to be followed.
    You have in (Muhammad) the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one to follow [Koran 33:21].
    That is why early marriage is endemic in Islamic societies. And, even though it is forbidden in several Muslim majority countries, it is still practiced as a religious right. Here comes the example of Mohammed again: if one claims that he is marrying a child following the example of Mohammed, who dares to say Mohammed was wrong?

    Early marriage is a problem that comes associated with forced marriage since the girls would not have choice to avoid the situation.

    There has been lots going on and been written about it. Let us end with this practice!

    A site with lots of accounts of early and forced marriage is Women Living Under Islamic Law.

    An article by Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu entitled Ending child marriage helps communities across the developing world discusses it as a cultural problem that only happens in the "developing world". Well, it is also a religious problem, and who knows what is happening now in the several Islamic enclaves in Europe (e.g., the no-go zones of France)? It is good to discuss it nevertheless.

    Philippines: Early marriage puts girls at risk.

    UK: forced marriage of LGTB.

    There are more examples elsewhere. Just google early marriage or forced marriage.

    • Wales, Mar 2011: forced marriages, honor killings at record high (BBC).
    • US, Mar 2011: 13-Year-Old California Runaway: Fleeing Forced Marriage (MSNBC)
    • Saudi Arabia, 2009: The Saudi daily 'Okaz reported on August 25, 2009 that the father of a 10-year-old girl had removed her from her aunt's home, where she had been hiding for 10 days, and brought her back to her husband, who, according to the girl's relatives, is 80 years old (Hudson New York).