Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sharia Vigilantes

Daniel Pipes' article "why we must oppose Sharia" is appended below. Although he has given good reasons to oppose it, it possibly stems from his desire to present bad guy-good guy analysis in relation with Islam-Judaism. It was not needed.

Caution: Please do not read the article, if you are not free to see another point of view. Thank you.

Picture on left, British Police: Seargents Leonard, Turner and Pickering.

Sharia Vigilantes
Mike Ghouse

A few individuals take on their own to be Sharia Vigilantes and we must stop them from imposing their ideas on to others. Islam is very clear about it - there is no compulsion in religion and the idea is reinforced in several places including the chapter about civil conduct: -

As Muslims we stand against the Public domain of Sharia, while accepting and appreciating the Sharia for individual consumption.

Sharia in its simplest form is a "HOW-TO MANUAL" based on Quraan and the Hadith (Prophet Muhammad's sayings). It it is a human effort to understand the concept of Justice enshrined in Qur'aan for living a day to day life.

The private domain of the manual is about the relationship between an individual and the creator, whereas the public domain of the Sharia law is about the relationship between the individual and the society.

The contentious issues stem from treatment of; divorce, women's rights, inheritance, theft, adultery and apostasy. Our focus is in understanding and bringing forth various opinions and thoughts to get a grasp of the system.

The core value of Islam is Justice. The violations of justice and the rule of law are found in every faith, culture and political traditions at varying degrees. No community can cast the first stone.

Sharia industry has been built with strong fortifications to the point that many a Muslims are caused into believing that Sharia is divine. Justice is one of the core values of Islam and Sharia should be looked from that lens and not vice-versa.
It is like the defense industy, tax preparers industry or the Holocaust industry; a source of their income, their business protection plan. We should oppose that, Holocaust is a horrible event in human history and it should not be used for personal gains, the tragedy belongs to all of us, the whole humanity.

Islam is a simple religion for one to follow and be accountable for his or her actions. We don't need an industry and Islam does not have clergy built into it.

In the United States, Canada and some other nations, as a rule, the Muslims haved valued the justice of the law of the land and have never felt the need to seek Sharia Laws for Justice. As individuals we will continue to follow the private domain of the Sharia and let go of the public sharia, the civil laws of the nation provide ample justice and we don't need a duplicate system. It is not divine to begin with to hang on to it.

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on

Why Shariah Must Be Opposed
by Daniel PipesNational PostAugust 5, 2009

Those of us who argue against Shariah are sometimes asked why Islamic law poses a problem when modern Western societies long ago accommodated Halakha, or Jewish law. In fact, this was one of the main talking points of those who argued that Shariah should become an accepted part of dispute resolution in Ontario in 2005.

The answer is easy: a fundamental difference separates the two. Islam is a missionizing religion, Judaism is not. Islamists aspire to apply Islamic law to everyone, while observant Jews seek only to live by Jewish law themselves.

Two very recent examples from the United Kingdom demonstrate the innate imperialism of Islamic law.

Picture of the Queens Care Centre from the outside.The first concerns Queens Care Centre, an old-age home and day-care provider for the elderly in the coal town of Maltby, 40 miles east of Manchester. At present, according to the Daily Telegraph, not one of its 37 staff or 40 residents is Muslim. Although the home's management asserts a respect for its residents' "religious and cultural beliefs," QCC's owner since 1994, Zulfikar Ali Khan, on his own decided this year to switch the home's meat purchases to a halal butcher.

His stealthy decision meant pensioners at QCC could no longer eat their bacon and eggs, bangers and mash, ham sandwiches, bacon sandwiches, pork pies, bacon butties, or sausage rolls. The switch prompted widespread anger. The relative of one resident called it "a disgrace. The old people who are in the home and in their final years deserve better. … [I]t's shocking that they should be deprived of the food they like on the whim of this man." A staff member opined that it's "quite wrong that someone should impose their religious and cultural beliefs on others like this."

Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Roberts of the Avon and Somerset police force models the hijab for non-Muslims.Queried about his decision, Khan, lamely replied he ordered halal meat for the sake of (nonexistent) Muslim staff. Then he backtracked: "We will be ordering all types of meat" and went so far as to agree that religious beliefs should not be imposed on others. His retreat did not convince one former QCC staffer, who suspected that Khan "intended to serve only halal meat at the home but has had to think again because of the row."

A second example of imposing Shariah on non-Muslims comes from southwest England. The Avon and Somerset police force patrols the cities of Bristol and Bath as well as surrounding areas has just issued hijabs to female officers. The hijabs, distributed at the initiative of two Muslim groups and costing £13 apiece, come complete with the constabulary's emblem.

Now, issuing hijabs as part of uniforms in Great Britain is nothing new – the London police led the way in 2001, followed by other police forces, at least one fire brigade, and even the furniture chain Ikea. What sets the Avon and Somerset hijabs apart from these others is their being intended not just for pious Muslim female staff but also for non-Muslim staff, in particular for their use upon entering mosques.

[Rashad Azami of the Bath Islamic Society finds it "highly pleasing" that the constabulary took this step. One of the seven non-Muslim officers to receive a hijab of her very own, Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Roberts, calls it "a very positive addition to the uniform and one which I'm sure will be a welcome item for many of our officers."

[Dhimmitude is the term Bat Ye'or coined to describe subservience to Shariah by non-Muslims. Assistant Chief Constable Roberts' enthusiasm for the hijab might be called "advanced dhimmitude."]

"Hijab bullies" (as David J. Rusin of Islamist Watch calls them) who coerce non-Muslim females to cover up are just one stripe of Islamist imposing Shar'i ways on the West. Other Islamists focus on impeding the uncensored discussion of such topics as Muhammad and the Koran or Islamist institutions or terrorist financing; still others exert to bring taxpayer-funded schools, hospitals, and jails into conformity with Islamic law, not to speak of taxi cabs and municipal swimming pools. Their efforts don't always succeed but in the aggregate, they are rapidly shifting the premises of Western, and especially British, life.

Returning to pork: both Islam and Judaism abominate the flesh of pigs, so this prohibition offers a direct and revealing comparison of the two religions. Simply put, Jews accept that non-Jews eat pork but Muslims take offense and try to impede pork consumption. That, in brief, explains why Western accommodations to Halakha have no relevance for dealing with Shariah. And why Shariah as public policy must be opposed.


  1. Last year, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a nuanced, scholarly lecture in London about whether the British legal system should allow non-Christian courts to decide certain matters of family law. Britain has no constitutional separation of church and state. The archbishop noted that "the law of the Church of England is the law of the land" there; indeed, ecclesiastical courts that once handled marriage and divorce are still integrated into the British legal system, deciding matters of church property and doctrine. His tentative suggestion was that, subject to the agreement of all parties and the strict requirement of protecting equal rights for women, it might be a good idea to consider allowing Islamic and Orthodox Jewish courts to handle marriage and divorce.

    During British Raj in India they had separate Personal Family Laws for different faiths
    like Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs etc. relating to marriage, divorce, inheritance etc.

    Arif N. Khan

  2. ASAK
    I feel World Muslim Congress is on a renewed mission to test the patience of Islam lovers. Now WMC forum has reproduced a paper from the renowned Islam hater, Daniel Pipes whose mission is to destroy Islam. The recent debates have confirmed that the forum is campaigning for marginalization and privatization of religion in general and Islam in particular, against Islam being seen as a comprehensive system for mankind having an elaborate guidelines for the legal, social, economic, health, moral, spiritual and political systems. Shariah is based on Islamic principles, and while I agree that several of its current day positions need to be reinterpreted in the light of the original spirit of Quran and the challenges (not demands) of the current world, the wholesale rejection of it implies wholesale rejection of Islam. The need of the time is not the rejection of Islamic Law but to write it in accordance with a well planned pattern comprising Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Fundamental Prohibitions. The aim of such an exercise must not be to make it compatible with the demands of modernity but to make it an effective instrument in challenging the vagrancies of the New World Order. I had attempt a broad outline in my book, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, and that chapter of the book can very well serve as the initiating point of the exercise.

    Dr Javed Jamil
    Executive Chairman
    International Centre for Applied Islamics
    & Chief Editor, Islam, Muslims & the World

  3. Mike Ghouse, ModeratorAugust 9, 2009 at 8:49 AM

    Dr. Jamil,

    We are an open forum, where all comments and opinions are published; it is for intellectuals such as yourselves who can opine on the issue, together all of us are open to absorb different pieces of information. The only thing that is holy on this forum is the Word of God, the words in Qur’aan. All else is subject to discussion and different opinions. No opinion is superior including yours or mine.

    Your honesty is appreciated on this line “Shariah …..I agree that several of its current day positions need to be reinterpreted in the light of the original spirit of Quran and the challenges (not demands) of the current world,”

    However, I demand intellectual honesty from a scholar like you when you said “the wholesale rejection of it implies wholesale rejection of Islam.” No where did I reject it wholesale, did I?

    The ideas was to accept the part that applies to individuals and not accept the one that is promulgated to govern between individual and others; the public Sharia.

    Please stand corrected.

    Your comment is appreciated, however, I want to assert that World Muslim Congress Mission comes from the Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware."

    To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; Life and Matter.

    Mike Ghouse, Moderator

  4. Mike

    You are wasting your time arguing with these irrational, deranged fanatics who know no other way except to impose their own narrow-minded interpretation of Islam. You already know where they have led us Muslims - to the abyss, nearly -and they cannot be reformed.

    You yank my comments off your forum with impunity but don't seem to be able to deal with Siddique and Atif and the rest in the same way. Why so?


  5. Inayat,

    I have not yanked your comments, if it has happened either by accident or has gone to spam and never deliberately.

    The only comments that I yank are the ones are irrelevant to the topic or personal attacks on individuals - of late, I have allowed a few between Dr. Jamil and Aziz,as they do make points with that little tail of attacks.

    I will ask them to focus on the subject.

    Thank you for your participation.

  6. Arif The point being made by Rowan Williams already exist in old common law, does it not just wondering than why the redundancy are British Muslim forbidden to practice nikah nama,or set dowry etc most of the family law is compatible.not a big issue perhaps custody property laws that favor man might be, In Canada
    Ismailis have Sharia arbitration, that have to be signed off by Canadian lawyer for compliance, It requires mutual consent, it is limited to family law, The primary objective is reconciliation, provides social support, keep family together and if have to as last resort search for terms of separation that is agreeable, the agreements are binding andlegal. They also have the option to go through Canadian court system because of the principle respect for the laws of the land we live in and recognize the outcomes are just as well equitable, it is this spiritual intellectualism that has allowed us to survive persecution at the
    hands of other Muslims and our own holocaust in the 12th century onwards at the hands of Mongols, Seljuks, Mamlukes and Ghaznis

    The Sharia that is objected to is the kind in which for example of recent Saudi case a woman was raped received 100 lashes because she was in the company of non family member friend, when they were suddenly confronted and she was gang raped or stoning of women or cutting of hands for stealing a« loaf of bread or Flogging of a minor girl etc it is this kind omindless sharia that is opposed,The reality is less that 5% of Quran represent Sharia the other 95% comes from
    Hadith books, Can you imagine someone in the role of Sharia judge where he thinks a women who does not wear Hijab deserves to be raped.

  7. Whilst "sharia" has become a "psycological balm" for many, we also need to consider that "law and ethics' have a symbiotic role in the formation of such sharia and so it is important to maintain a healthy balance in striving for a contextual interpretation of sharia for the present times.Muslims should react by actively engaging in search for truth as opposed to merely showing reliance on some historical memory in order to respond to contemporary issues of today's world.

    If Islam is a submission to the Will of Allah and sharia is a path by which such submission is enacted, then for many Islam is the sharia and sharia is then what are the implications of symbols becoming precepts ?

    This neatness ! This exact fit by which one term means and comprehends the other, actually perverts the basic principles of Islam ! it leads many to perceive the sharia as a panacea...the one stage process for deliverance into paradise....

    The monolithic construct of the sharia undermines thus the diversity of Islamic thought which muslims also value...again to ask someone to vote against the sharia is to ask someone to vote for the issue is indeed perplex...

    The question now is..."what exactly do we mean by the sharia"? and why does it have such an inherently medieval flavour?

    Diversity in islam is evident in various muslim contexts including their own spaces of worship, rituals, laws and models of authority....the laws of heaven are sets of principles...a framework of values that provides societies with guidance and are not meant to be static but rather dynamically derived within changing contexts and thus the duty to re evaluate and re interpret basic sources, is that of every muslim - not that of the scholars or obscurantist mullahs because muslims cannot and should not be blind followers but they should gain a proper understanding of Islam as the hurdles lie in the deeply entrenched religious and political power 'structures" within the islamic world...

  8. Posted following comments on Daniel Pipe's website:

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Why Pipes should be opposed?

    It is rather ingenious of Dr. Pipes to try to settle the most apparent response to opposition from a Jewish person to Sharia inroads, while Judaic law finds old and easy accommodation in western social and legal spheres.

    To claim some special space for Judaic law, on the ground that it is non-proselytizing, does not hold water, in as much as this supposedly non-proselytizing Jewish religion has tremendous and undeniable impact on Western societies. And nobody can deny that. It is therefore merely self-serving to justify Jewish influence on western society and denying same space to Sharia -- even on merits.

    Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai