Thursday, November 23, 2006


Some interesting things have been happening around the Islamic world. First there's this story from the "Islamic Republic of Pakistan" (the conventional long form of Pakistan's name, according to the CIA's World Factbook):
Pakistan's lower house of Parliament passed amendments to the country's rape laws Wednesday, ditching the death penalty for extramarital sex and revising a clause on making victims produce four witnesses to prove rape cases.
So where does Islam come in? Well, here:
"We reject it," Maulana Fazlur Rahman, a top Islamist opposition leader, told reporters after the vote, which he described as a "dark day" in Pakistan's parliamentary history.
Strict Islamic law dictates that a woman claiming rape must produce four witnesses, making a trial almost impossible.
This "Strict Islamic law" found in Pakistan is known as Sharia law. Keep that in mind.

Here's another story; this one from out of the "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia":
When the teenager went to the police a few months ago to report she was gang-raped by seven men, she never imagined the judge would punish her — and that she would be sentenced to more lashes than one of her alleged rapists received.

...she was sentenced to 90 lashes for being alone in a car with a man to whom she was not married — a crime in this strictly segregated country — at the time that she was allegedly attacked and raped by a group of other men.
In a trial that ended in November — in which the prosecutor asked for the death penalty for the seven men — four of the men received between one and five years in prison plus 80 to 1,000 lashes, said the woman. Three others are awaiting sentencing.
Again, where does Islam come into the story?
Justice in Saudi Arabia is administered by a system of religious courts according to the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. Judges — appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council — have complete discretion to set sentences, except in cases where Sharia outlines a punishment, such as capital crimes.
Ah, Sharia law. I'm sensing a theme here. So what do these stories have to do with anything? Certainly they're just isolated incidents, right? Well, maybe not. These stories are actually related to the war in Iraq. How? Well, let's take a look at a couple more stories.

's one about the fighting in the Iraqi city of "Ramadi, a city of 400,000 inhabitants that al-Qaeda and its Iraqi allies have controlled since mid-2004 and would like to make the capital of their cherished Islamic caliphate."

Iranian president Ahmadinejad has also voiced his desire for Islamic law to rule the world (see here):
“We must believe in the fact that Islam is not confined to geographical borders, ethnic groups and nations. It’s a universal ideology that leads the world to justice”, Ahmadinejad said.
“We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world”, he added.

>Ahmadinejad dwelled on his recurrent theme that the return of the Shiite Messiah, the Mahdi, is not far away and Muslims must prepare for it.

“We must prepare ourselves to rule the world and the only way to do that is to put forth views on the basis of the Expectation of the Return”, Ahmadinejad said, referring to the Shiite Muslim belief that the Mahdi, on his return, will establish justice in a world consumed by chaos and corruption.
But this kind of thinking is really isolated in the Middle East, right? Well, not really. Last week, Glenn Beck spoke to a member of the Islamic Thinker's Society (ITS) in New York City. In the interview (you can listen to it here), the ITS member stated that their ultimate desire is for the U.S. to be ruled by Sharia law. This falls in line with the ITS objective as stated on their website:
Our objective is to resume the Islamic way of life to which will fulfill the purpose of the aim. Our objective is to bring back the apparatus that was destroyed in 1924 i.e. Khilafah. Indeed it was the Khilafah that united the Muslim Ummah under one flag, one land, one border, and one leader. It was the Khilafah which served as the appartus [sic] to make sure that Tawheed manifested in all ascpect [sic] in the Muslim Ummah's affairs. Surely, anyone who accepts any other system than Allah's Shari'ah is worshipping the one who has put his laws in place of the laws of Allah. This is a major form of shirk and anyone who commits a major shirk has left Islam.
"Khilafah" is another word/translation for caliphate. I'm really not too interested in living under Sharia law. I mean, I like bacon, and I don't really think women should be beaten by their husbands or taken as sex slaves (see here). You can check out some of the aspects of Sharia here. The following section really caught my eye, about "Treatment of Non-Muslims":

Under Sharia law non-muslims are goverened [sic] by the laws of their own specific communities however it codifies the treatment of dhimmis (Arabic) and rayahs (Turkish) in relation to the Muslim state and in cases of over-lapping jurisdiction. Dhimmis are distinctly second-class citizens in that they cannot serve in public office, cannot testify in court and must follow certain rules meant for their humiliation (such as the slap they must receive when they pay the jizya). The rules include privilege to practice their own religion, except for public demonstration of non-muslim religious practices and the right to convert muslims (denied, but the reverse is allowed). Dhimmi are also taxed additionally.

The core component of treatment is the jizya, or tax specifically upon non-Muslims. The jizya originates in the Koran [9:29], which says "Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." The "Book" refers to the People of the Book, Jews and Christians, but the jizya was extended to all conquered non-Muslims. The jizya ultimately is less that the Zakah (money given to the poor and needy) and Sadaqah (charity) that Muslims give. In practice, this was rarely the case. In addition, when Dhimmis gave the jizya, they customarily had to bow low to the ground and then rise to be slapped once in the face. This practice was to fulfill the command that Christians and Jews "feel themselves subdued" (Quran 9:29).

The religious police could stop Muslims who were engaging in Islamically illegal activities (i.e. drinking alcohol, not wearing Hijab, not having a beard, etc). It would often be difficult to differentiate between Muslim and dhimmis, so the religious police sometimes had non-Muslims wear a distinctive color or identity marker so that they wouldn't be harassed by the religious police. Distinctive clothing had the additional effect of humiliating dhimmis and attracting abuse from passers-by.

In addition, Dhimmis are forbidden to build or repair churches or synagogues. Bells, crosses, sacred books and other public demonstrations of religion, including laments at funerals, are forbidden. Dhimmis are also required to stand in the presence of Muslims, to address them in low tones and to give them the right of way on narrow streets (they must pass on the left). In early days, Dhimmis were not permitted to ride horses or camels, which were reserved for Muslims. Dhimmis could ride Donkeys. A Dhimmi's house is not permitted to be higher than a Muslims house. (Cite: The Legacy of Jihad by Dr. Andrew Bostam).

Hmmm, distinctive clothing for religious outsiders. Where have I heard this before? I wonder if it would be a yellow badge.

Given the desire of Muslim leaders to place the world under the caliphate, and enforce Sharia law, and especially in regards to Ahmadinejad & Al-Qaeda's desire to locate the capital of the caliphate in Iraq, I'm thinking now wouldn't be such a good time for the U.S. to cut and run.

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