The following piece (below) is from last November, but in the rush of events at that time I missed it, and since it so fully displays the Islamic supremacist/enemedia strategy to full-on whitewash Sharia and sell it to the American public, it is worth revisiting now -- especially since the voices of truth are silenced, shut out of the public discourse. Big broadcast news and print media offer Islamic supremacists and their leftist shills unfettered access to defame, lie about, smear and give misleading information about freedom's fiercest defenders, without giving the victims of these vicious defamation campaigns the opportunity to rebut the false charges. This is twenty first century Goebbels-style propaganda. Islamic supremacists and their useful idiots on the left are given enormous power, the kind of influence and access to deceive and mislead the American people that Nazi propagandists were given in Germany. The fact that people like myself and Robert Spencer have any influence at all is a testament to the American people, who love freedom and seek out the truth.
Shariah Law: The Five Things Every Non-Muslim (and Muslim) Should Know by Qasim Rashid at the HuffPo 11/04/11
1. What does Shariah mean?
Shariah is the law of the Qur'an and literally means "A path to life giving water." In fact, the word Yarrah (i.e. the root of the Hebrew word Torah) means precisely the same thing. Therefore, Shariah is actually ingrained in Abrahamic tradition.
Rashid is implying that Shariah and Jewish law are essentially equivalent. That claim is a staple of the whitewashes of Shariah in the American media and courts. But my lawyer David Yerushalmi, who has represented me in numerous groundbreaking free speech cases, explains why the two are not equivalent here. [UPDATE: David Yerushalmi has sent me this: "This writer's linking the Hebrew root Y-R-H to sharia is absurd. He is trying to link sharia as 'the right path' as in Islamic law to the Hebrew root for what is Torah. That is, the Hebrew root of Torah is H-R-H, meaning to instruct. A cognate of this is Y-R-H which is the root for shoot (as in shoot an arrow) or in some cases direct/instruct. But this has nothing to do with 'the right path to the water' because Y-R-H can also mean a bad instruction or a shot off target. The only possible comparison at the level of meaning between Sharia and a Hebrew word is to Halacha, which shares no etymological connection to sharia. It does have the same kind of meaning as in 'the way' and is the word for Jewish law. The point of all of this is that 'scholarship' on these matters by the MB and by the leftists is almost always just wrong and bad."]
Shariah is comprised of five main branches: adab (behavior, morals and manners), ibadah (ritual worship), i'tiqadat (beliefs), mu'amalat (transactions and contracts) and 'uqubat (punishments). These branches combine to create a society based on justice, pluralism and equity for every member of that society. Furthermore, Shariah forbids that it be imposed on any unwilling person. Islam's founder, Prophet Muhammad, demonstrated that Shariah may only be applied if people willingly apply it to themselves--never through forced government implementation.
"Shariah forbids that it be imposed on any unwilling person"? Is Qasim Rashid serious? Apparently he would have us believe that anyone can opt out at any time? A thief can decide that he isn't willing to have his hand cut off? An adulteress can say, "No, thank you, I would prefer not to be stoned to death"? Can non-Muslims say, "I'd prefer not to be a dhimmi, and would like to have equal rights with the Muslims, please?" Look at the two premier Sharia states in the world today: Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both are repressive, coercive, authoritarian regimes with dismal human rights records. Nor do the oppressed Shi'ite minority in Saudi Arabia or the oppressed Bahais in Iran ever get asked if they are willing for Shariah restrictions to imposed upon them. If they dare to complain, life gets even worse for them.
Additionally, the Qur'an does not promote any specific form of government, but requires that the form people choose must be based on adl or "absolute justice." The Qur'an says, "Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency and manifest evil and transgression. He admonishes you that you may take heed" (16:91). Notice, religious preference is never mentioned. Therefore, in ruling with absolute justice, for example, the righteous Jewish King Solomon ruled as a just monarch based on this fundamental principle of Shariah Law--justice.
The trick here is that Shariah's idea of justice and Western principles of justice are very different. Under Shariah, Muslims deny the freedom of speech, execute apostates from Islam, cut the clitorises, beat and honor-kill women, and deny basic rights to non-Muslims, and more -- and call it all justice.
2. Do Muslims want Shariah to rule America?No. Remember, the Qur'an teaches that religion must not be a matter of the state. Shariah is a personal relationship with God. Prophet Muhammad, even as the de facto ruler of Arabia, wrote the Charter of Medina in which Muslims were held to Shariah Law, and Jews to the Law of the Torah. Not a single non-Muslim was held to Shariah because Shariah itself forbids compulsion. The Qur'an clearly says, "There is no compulsion in religion" (2:257). Furthermore, Shariah obliges Muslims to be loyal to their nation of residence. Therefore, American Muslims must adhere to the US Constitution as the supreme law of the land.
Shariah is a personal relationship with God, and religion must not be a matter of the state? Then why is it that everywhere Shariah is in force now, and everywhere it has ever been adopted, it is a matter of the state, and covers every aspect of political life, not just one's "personal relationship with God"? Qasim Rashid would have us believe that all the great Islamic empires of the Middle Ages, and Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Sudan all misunderstand Sharia as having something to do with the governance of the state, and not just with private religious matters.
And no Muslims want Shariah to rule America? Qasim Rashid didn't check with Muslim Brotherhood operative Mohamed Akram, who wrote in "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America" the Brotherhood's strategy document for the U.S., that the Muslim Brothers "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 the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
3. If Muslims don't want Shariah to rule America, then so what if it's banned?
First, Shariah is a personal relationship between a Muslim and God. The First Amendment forbids Congress from passing laws that restrict the free exercise of religion--particularly private exercise. Second, if Shariah was banned, then American Muslims could not marry, inherit, write wills or choose to divorce per Islam's guidelines. If similar restrictions were imposed for other faith groups, then no Minister could conduct a marriage ceremony, no Catholic Bishop could read the last rites and no Rabbi could perform circumcision on an infant male Jewish child--because these are all Judeo-Christian religious laws. Even within our current legal system, American Jews regularly resolve civil matters through rabbinical courts known as beit din. American Muslims simply want to enjoy their same constitutionally guaranteed right.
This is a hysterical false charge. Anti-Shariah laws aren't designed to restrict Muslims' personal religious freedom. I don't care if you worship a stone; just don't stone me with it. The anti-Shariah laws are designed to restrict the political and supremacist aspects of Shariah -- the elements of Islamic law that are incompatible with our freedoms. That's all.
4. What does Shariah say about other religions?
Shariah law champions absolute freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. For example, the Qur'an goes as far as to oblige Muslims to fight on behalf of Jews, Christians and people of other faiths and to protect their churches, synagogues and temples from attack. (22:41) Furthermore, Shariah holds that to be a Muslim, a person must testify to the truth of all past prophets, including Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Krishna and Buddha--and must respect their adherents. When Prophet Muhammad peacefully became the ruler of Arabia, his primary condition for non-Muslims (and Muslims) to reside in Arabia was that they allow all people of all faiths--be they Jews, Christians, Muslims or idol worshipers--to worship in peace and without oppression.
Just as Shariah offers a different understanding of "justice" from that which prevails in the West, so also it has a different understanding of what constitutes "oppression." Under Shariah, the dhimmis -- Jews, Christians, and other "People of the Book" in the Islamic state -- are subjugated under the rule of the Muslims and denied basic rights. They have to pay a special tax (jizya) from which Muslims are exempt. Reliance of the Traveler, a manual of Islamic jurisprudence certified as "reliable" by Egypt's Al-Azhar University, the foremost authority in Sunni Islam, explains that non-Muslims are "forbidden to ring church bells or display crosses, recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals and feastdays, and are forbidden to build new churches" - o.11.5 (6,7). They're also forbidden to hold authority over Muslims, and so are relegated to the most menial jobs in society. If they complain about their lot or "insult" Islam or Muhammad, they can lawfully be killed.
Qasim Rashid calls this being able to "worship in peace and without oppression."
5. What about countries that oppress people and claim they follow Shariah?
Such countries have ignored the fundamental tenet of justice inherent in Shariah Law, and have instead used Shariah as an excuse to gain power and sanction religious extremism. To be sure, not a single example of a "Shariah compliant" country exists. In fact, the most "Muslim country" in the world is likely America, because America guarantees freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought--all hallmarks of Shariah Law. Those nations that oppress in the name of Shariah are as justified in their claims, as the slave owners who claimed their right to slavery was based on the Bible.
As for the "violent" verses from the Qur'an that are cited by both extremists and critics--honest legal interpretation abhors quoting an excerpt as a means to understand the full law. Unfortunately, both extremists and critics refuse to adhere to this basic principle. In sum, Shariah law guides a Muslim's personal relationship with God, just as the Old and New Testaments guide Jews and Christians in their personal relationships with God. These paths to life-giving water are nothing to fear.
Rashid is forced to say this because Shariah states are so savage. But his argument falls on one key point: if there is no real "Shariah compliant" country in the world today, why are all those countries that claim to be implementing Shariah misinterpreting it in the same way? Shariah states today and throughout Islamic history have oppressed women and non-Muslims, executed heretics, apostates, blasphemers, gays, and others, and ruthlessly punished those who dared to speak out against all this. Those have been features of every single Shariah state that has ever existed.
But Qasim Rashid wants you to believe that they all got Shariah wrong. And at the PuffHo, there's a sucker born every minute.