In 2010, Judge Joseph Charles in New Jersey refused to grant a restraining order in family court against a man accused of sexually abusing his wife. The husband was a Muslim from Morocco. Judge Charles reasoned that the the man was acting in accordance with his religious beliefs under Sharia law. Thankfully, the appellate court discarded Charles’ decision by stating that the husband’s religious beliefs were irrelevant. Citing an 1878 Supreme Court case that dealt with Mormon bigamy- Reynolds vs. United States- the higher court granted the restraining order.
This is perhaps the most egregious intrusion of sharia law that was thankfully checked by the New Jersey courts at the time. But, there are more subtle intrusions of sharia into American and Western culture and legal systems. For example, many schools across the country now celebrate Muslim holidays or require halal food be served. At first glance, why should one care that kids get an extra day off from school or there is a halal choice in a cafeteria?
The problem is that these are subtle intrusions of sharia beliefs that stand to undermine key tenets of Western secular law. In the United States, voluntary rabbinical courts and American Indian tribal courts have existed alongside secular civil and criminal courts for some time. In neither case have they intruded or attempted to intrude on the general legal system. Sharia is much different because it is more than a legal code and it involves virtually every aspect of life from driving a car to child custody.
It is strange that the Left, especially feminists, would decry the state of today’s college campuses where they portray the male student body as a nothing more than a gang of rapists. They have managed to have colleges create conduct codes which result in the denial of due process rights by the accused. They have resorted to documented lies and hoaxes to further their agenda because the ends justifies the means.
Yet this same Left and these same feminists turn a blind eye to the subordination of women under Islamic sharia law as the case from New Jersey vividly illustrated. For example, the Muslim practice of taharrush is often described as a game by Muslims, but in reality it has it origin in sharia law. Taharrush asserts that a Muslim man has certain sexual rights to any woman not wearing a hijab. Perhaps the best example of this practice was the Cologne incident two years ago.
The Left/feminists decry the treatment of rape victims in the United States. Every few years, Congress debates the Violence Against Women Act. Under sharia law, a rape victim is prohibited from testifying against her attacker. Four male witnesses to the rape are required to secure a conviction. That conviction can be overturned if the accused marries his victim. A man can have up to four wives; a woman only one husband. Adultery on the part of the woman can result in severe punishment up to being stoned to death. A man can unilaterally divorce his wife; the woman needs her husband’s consent.
If children are involved, they become the custody of the father at age 6. If over the age of 6, they automatically become the custody of the father. In property cases, the woman’s testimony carries half the weight of the man’s testimony. And in inheritance cases, the woman gets half of what the man gets.
So why doesn’t the Left or feminists decry this state of truth? The answer is simple: multiculturalism, or sharia’s gateway into the West.
There are very few out there who see or are willing to see the encroachment of sharia law in the West out of fear of being branded a bigot. When protested, the Left defends it. A recent march against sharia was punctuated by the absence of Muslims. Groups like CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood and a plethora of domestic liberal groups came together to denounce the march.
We are lectured by the multiculturalists and Muslims that we do not understand sharia correctly. Says Nadia Atassi:
For example, according to Sharia Law, a person who steals must have his hand cut off. Just reading that, it may sound barbaric. There is, however, rationale behind it: it keeps people from stealing.
One can say the same thing about any punishment being a deterrent, yet laws are broken every day and hands retained. Leftist support of this mindset should lead one to believe that the death penalty is a deterrent against homicide. But they don’t. Why not? Multiculturalism.
Ms. Atassi, in her defense of sharia, says that democracy and sharia are compatible although she offers no concrete evidence other than an attack on democracy by noting “holes” in it. She lists those holes as Super PACs, the PATRIOT Act, and the war on terror.
Of course, none of these things have a damn thing to do with the subordination of women and the barbaric punishments prescribed under sharia law.
The other defense of sharia is that it is no worse than the worst excesses of Christianity at times in history. A glaring exception: Christianity has noted and denounced certain practices in the distant. If your best defense is to criticize another religion that abandoned practices centuries ago, then there is no defense. In fact, you are essentially admitting that your own religious mindset has not advanced since the year 700 A.D. If so, then sharia and Islam in general are incompatible with modern liberal democracy.
This is not a question of exporting democracy into the Muslim world- a task doomed to failure. Instead, it is a question of importing sharia law into democracy and the two are mutually exclusive. Groups like CAIR will go out of their way to declare otherwise and even assert that Islamic sharia is a buttress of American values. Said one spokesperson for CAIR: “American Muslims are on the front lines of protecting American ideals.”
Why? Because they oppose the PATRIOT Act. Because they believe that the way they live their lives under sharia are the true embodiment of democracy. It is a strange twisting of logic and the only way it can work is by redefining democracy in their image.
Spokesmen from CAIR are fond of pointing out that it took a century to allow women the right to vote. They lament the fact that the Constitution denied the right to vote to blacks until after the Civil War. They note that even then blacks were treated as second-class citizens. They laugh at the fact that states required property ownership as a prerequisite to vote. They further note that slavery was allowed to continue after the ratification of the Constitution despite the ideals noted in the Declaration of Independence.
Are women allowed to vote in Muslim countries let alone possess a driver’s license? Does not slavery still exist in Islam and is even condoned by the writings of Mohammed? Are not non-Muslims treated as second-class citizens in Muslim countries? Does any Western democracy allow and condone the hideous practice of female genital mutilation?
Instead of criticizing the West’s past, these spokesmen for CAIR and the female apologists for Islamic sharia law should rightfully be criticizing their present. But when you have no real argument, one guesses that criticism and deflection is all that is left.