04.10.2004Emran Qureshi - Heba Raouf EzzatAre Sharia Laws and Human Rights Compatible?
On the whole I agree with you though with a caveat: Sharia may one day in the distant future be a positive force for change. Though for me it is emblematic of what is profoundly and pathologically wrong with the Muslim world. It seems that existing reality does not filter into the consciousness of this discussion.
Sharia as practised today illustrates injustice and denies human freedom. For example, in parts of the Muslim world like Pakistan and Nigeria, women who are raped are prosecuted under Sharia law for fornication. In Saudi-Arabia the amputation of limbs as a punishment still occurs. Is that an act that is morally defensible?
Finally, women under the reign of the Taliban were denied basic human elementary freedoms such as mobility, education, and healthcare - all in the name of Islam. To their everlasting shame, many Islamist intellectuals remained for the most part indifferent or silent to these crimes.
The ideals of the existing Sharia are imbued with a Salafi and Wahhabi ideology. That's why I do not only criticise Sharia as practised today, but also Salafism and Wahhabism, which provide the intellectual framework for the Sharia. I noticed that you could not bring yourself to say anything remotely critical or even mention these two ideologies by name.
Certainly there is no denying that colonialism was a disaster of epic proportions for Muslims - mostly because of the pathological reactive Islamist ideologies and despotic states that played a role in perpetrating violence that emerged. And I cannot at all disagree with you on Western state support for despotic regimes.
However, it does not alone explain the violence in Muslim lands today or deny the fact that this violence is largely a result of a congealed globalized Salafi and Jihadi ideology. This Islamist globalisation must be resisted. It is a violence that profanes past traditions of Islamic pluralism and tolerance (I know it is Ramadan in Pakistan because that is when Sunni Jihadi organisations best like to firebomb Shiite mosques).
You define Islam as a political ideology and criticise Islam for being relegated to the realm of the personal moral dimension. Islam should apparently not be viewed as a moral vision for humanity, but instead be received as a utopian political ideology one in which the state enforces virtue, and has a socialist inflection.
Thus Islam for Islamists is nothing more than a utilitarian receptacle for their favourite ideologies de jour. I also sense a denigration of ideals that deal with personal liberties and freedoms, but I hasten to note that the human freedoms, which matter the most are those that are the closest to the individual.