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truth about Sharia Law and women

By Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review Online

Feb. 16, 2011

Within hours of testifying to Congress, that the Muslim Brotherhood is a "largely secular" organization, James Clapper, the top U.S. intelligence officer issued a clarification last week, he clarified that he had meant to say the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization.

Clapper, the Obama administration's national intelligence director, did not clue us about whether he'd been tipped off by the organization's name or by its motto proclaiming devotion to Islam, Mohammed, the Koran, sharia, and jihad -- the final term being one he may have missed thanks to ongoing government efforts to purge it from our lexicon.

If Mr. Clapper's information was a tad off, his timing was even worse. And not just because even giddy Western pundits were occasionally pausing from their dance on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's political grave to admit that the pharaoh's demise could pave the way for a Brotherhood-led Islamist ascendancy.

What might an Islamist ascendency look like? Consider this: Shortly before Clapper's faux pas, a ghastly report out of Bangladesh began making the rounds: A 14-year-old girl named Hena had been killed by fewer than 80 lashes of the 100-lash whipping local sharia authorities had ordered her to suffer. It's difficult to contain one's anger at the details. Hena had been raped by a 40-year-old Muslim man, described in news accounts as her "relative." The allegation of rape got the authorities involved, but that turned out to be even worse than the sexual assault itself. Under sharia, rape cannot be proved absent the testimony of four witnesses. Rapists tend not to bring witnesses along for their attacks. In any event, moreover, sharia values a woman's testimony as only half that of a man, so the deck is stacked and rape cannot be proved in most cases.

Yet that hardly means the report of rape is of no consequence. Unable to establish that she'd been forcibly violated, the teenager became in the eyes of the sharia court a woman who'd had sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Thus the draconian lashing sentence that became a death sentence. What has that to do with the Muslim Brotherhood? It turns out that these not-so-secular "moderates" spend a great deal of time ruminating on the subject of sharia's brutal huddud laws -- those prescribing sadistic penalties, such as whippings and stoning, for extramarital fornication, adultery, and homosexuality.

The Brotherhood's emir for such ruminations is the famed Egyptian sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a sharia scholar who graduated from the storied al-Azhar University. He is probably the ummah's most influential Islamic cleric -- just ask such admirers as Ground Zero mosque imam Feisal Rauf. Qaradawi is sold as a Muslim modernizer by his many Western fans, particularly the Islamic-studies programs that the Saudis, longtime patrons of the Muslim Brotherhood, pay institutions like Georgetown University to operate.

What the academy avoids telling you is that the sheikh, who has endorsed suicide bombings in Israel and the killing of American troops and support personnel in Iraq, also supports female genital mutilation (euphemistically called "circumcision") as well as sharia standards that discount a woman's testimony, limit a woman's inheritance rights to half of a man's share, and permit men to marry up to four wives (who may, of course, be beaten if they are disobedient). Qaradawi is also quite opinionated when it comes to the matter of rape. He agrees that a woman must be punished not only if she cannot show that she was the victim of sexual assault, but also if, as they say, she was asking for it. "For her to be absolved from guilt," he has explained, "a raped woman must have shown good conduct." If, for example, she has dressed immodestly -- particularly if she has dressed in the Western style -- she is deemed to have brought the attack upon herself.

To the extent that influential Islamist views about huddud laws are known in the West -- which is not much -- it is a big problem for the Brotherhood. Their motto declares that "the Koran is our law," and it's not an empty slogan. The Brothers believe in these behavioral strictures and in the savage penalties meted out for transgressions. That complicates life for an organization struggling to put on a happy, secular face for the West (at least when it's not writing memos about its "grand jihad" to destroy our civilization from within).

Not everyone in America is as desperate to be convinced as our intelligence agencies. So the more wily Islamists struggle to thread the needle. None is wilier than Tariq Ramadan, grandson of both Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and Said Ramadan, the Brotherhood legend who established its extensive European network. Tariq Ramadan is now free to visit the U.S., the Obama State Department having reversed the Bush administration's decision to bar him for alleged terror support. In 2005, while this bar was still in effect, Ramadan endeavored to demonstrate his "moderate" credentials by proposing a moratorium on the huddud laws.

Naturally, there was wild applause from the Clappers in the Western commentariat -- a cheap date if ever there was one. Note, however, that Ramadan was not condemning huddud or calling for its repeal -- just a moratorium. As he framed it, the problem was not sharia but society: The benighted world that is still mired in jahalia, the dark ages before Mohammed. It had not yet seen the wisdom of adopting Islam's legal system.

For Ramadan, the huddud laws themselves were fine; it was just that until countries fully adopted sharia, the conditions would not be in place to assure that huddud would be justly imposed. In the end, the answer for Islamists is always the same: more Islamic law, not less. Still, it seemed to be a masterstroke of Brotherhood dissembling that would have made his grandfathers proud. It would enable Islamists to appear positively evolved even as they urged adoption of their seventh-century blueprint for society.

Except you'll never guess who wasn't buying: all those wonderful secular moderates who guide the Brotherhood. To put it mildly, Qaradawi and his conglomerate of academic and media acolytes went berserk. There were blistering diatribes condemning Ramadan. His proposal was belittled as an "unfounded innovation" that was "juristically baseless" and threatened to sow discord throughout the ummah. That last, by the way, is an extremely serious charge. Sowing discord is often construed as treason, the functional equivalent of public apostasy. The penalty for that under sharia is -- you'll never guess -- death.

Here's what you want to remember: Tariq Ramadan is widely revered in Brotherhood circles, for both his heritage and his service to the cause. When he stepped off the sharia reservation, though, that did not stop Qaradawi and the Brothers from slapping him back into his place. You, on the other hand, don't enjoy a similar reservoir of good will with these alleged secular moderates. You are not an Islamic jurist of legendary standing. You're more like Hena.

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February = Eshvat

Truth About Sharia Law and Women Feb. 15, 2011

Persecuted Iraqi Christians Reach Out to US.
Feb. 15, 2011

Australian MP Calls Attention to Persecution of Iraq's Assyrians Feb. 10, 2011

Campaign to separate the Syrian Orthodox Church from its Assyrian Heritage
Feb. 9, 2011

Iranians Crack Down on Christian Churches Feb. 9, 2011

Who will defend Mideast Christians? Feb. 8, 2011

Christians of Iraq are in danger Feb. 2, 2011

Failing Christians is damaging EU credibility, says Italy Frattini Feb. 1, 2011

January = Kanoon II

Church to build hospital and university in Iraq
Jan, 31, 2011

“Syria Opens the Gateway to Humanity for the Assyrian Medical Society, the Mission Continues.”
Jan, 28, 2011

Assyrians Without Borders Announces Scholarship Awards Program Jan, 28, 2011

Hearing in Washington about attacks against christians of Iraq and Egypt Jan. 27, 2011

Babylonian cuneiform tablets document Syria’s history Jan. 26, 2011

As the left sides with Muslims, Christians search for support Jan. 24, 2011

Congress to Press Obama on Religious Persecution
Jan. 21, 2011

Abrogation in Islam and The Persecution
of Christians

Jan. 21, 2011

Last Christians Ponder Leaving a Hometown in Iraq Jan. 20, 2011

Assyrian Youth Black March Movement Conference in Detroit Jan. 19, 2011

Who Are the Real Hijackers of Islam? Jan. 10, 2011

Why Christians and Jews are Being Massacred in the Middle East Jan. 10, 2011

Restricted Freedoms in the Iraqi Christian Green Zone
Jan. 8, 2011

France asks for coordinated European Union response to threats against Christians in Middle East Jan. 5. 2011

Violent attacks against Christians could return in Egypt
Jan. 4. 2011

Egyptian Security Guards Withdrew One Hour Before Church Blast Jan. 2. 2011

We may be witnessing a new age of Christian persecution
Jan. 2. 2011

December = Kanoon I

Christians consider their future after more attacks in Iraq
Dec. 31. 2010

Ancient Tel Aviv Fortress has an Assyrian Origion Dec. 30. 2010

Rare Assyrian artifacts on display in Istanbul Dec. 30. 2010

Ancient Tablets Reveal Mathematical Achievements of Ancient Babylonian Culture Dec. 28. 2010

Christmas and New Year's Greetings 2010

Bipartisan Effort Pressures Obama to Help Iraq's Christians
Dec. 26, 2010

Around "1,100" Christian families have fled to to Kurdish north Dec. 21, 2010

U.N. cites 'a slow but steady exodus' of Iraqi Christians
Dec. 18, 2010

Genocide Film Stirs Emotions Dec, 18, 2010

Assyrians in Iraq face a stark choice: convert, die or leave Dec, 17, 2010

Iraqi Christians Want Their Own Province Dec, 17, 2010

The persecution of Christians in the ‘Muslim world’
Dec, 15, 2010

Is Obama serious about human rights? Dec, 15, 2010

Iraq’s war on Christians Dec, 15, 2010

Appeal for Iraq's Imperiled Religious Communities
Dec, 14, 2010

More Christians Flee Iraq After New Violence Dec, 12, 2010

Assyrians in Iraq's Mosul Living Under Constant Fear
Dec. 11, 2010

Iraq Assyrians Mark 40 Days Since Church Carnage Dec. 10, 2010

Christmas 2005 in Iran (Photos Included) Dec. 6, 2010

Demand For a Province in Kurdistan for Christians Dec. 6, 2010

Assyrian MP Calls on Iraqi Government to Safeguard Churches, Open Investigation Dec. 6, 2010

The Voice of Iraq’s Forgotten Minority crying for help
Dec. 6, 2010

Iraq: Gunmen kill elderly Christian couple inside their Baghdad home Dec. 5, 2010

Assyrian Group Briefs EU Parliament Delegation On Iraq
Dec. 3, 2010

Iraq: Deadly Reminders of Unfinished Business 
Dec. 3, 2010

Protecting Our Christian Neighbours in Iraq Dec. 3, 2010

Catholic Bishops Back House Resolution to Protect Iraq's Christians Dec. 1, 2010

November = Tishreen II

Egypt Security forces use live ammunition and kill unarmed Christian Coptic Protesters Nov. 30, 2010

Western Economic Aid to Muslim Nations Who Hate Non-Muslims Nov. 29, 2010

Formation of Committee to assist Iraqi Christians and other Minorities Nov. 29, 2010


The Baghdad Assyrian Church Massacre: Waiting for Godot! Nov. 27, 2010

Christians in the Middle East essential for the survival of the Arab world Nov. 27, 2010

Australian Conference Calls Attention to Assyrian Genocide in Iraq Nov. 22, 2010

Homes of Christians set on Fire in Egypt Nov. 17, 201

Group will not celebrate Muslim Holiday in solidarity with the victims of the Church Massacre Nov. 17, 201o

Thousands Protest Attacks Against Iraqi Christians Nov. 12, 2010

Memorial Service Held in London for Baghdad Church Massacre Victims Nov. 12, 2010

Fear of jihad driving Christians from Iraq Nov. 10, 2010

Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan Nov. 10, 2010

Assyrians Demonstrate Around the World Against Baghdad Church Massacre Nov. 10, 2010

Iraq’s Christians: The Final Push to Drive them Out?
Nov. 10, 2010

3 bombs explode outside Christian homes in Baghdad
Nov. 10, 2010

How an Iraqi Christian school became 82 percent Muslim
Iraq Nov. 10, 2010

Recent attack on church sheds light on Assyrians' plight
Iraq Nov. 9, 2010

Global Demonstrations against the Persecution of Christians of Iraq Nov. 9, 2010

Two Christians killed in Baghdad a week after massacre
Massacre Nov. 8, 2010

Worldwide Assyrian Demonstrations against Baghdad's Church Massacre Nov. 7, 2010

Al-Qaida is turning its focus on Iraq's vulnerable Christians
Nov. 7, 2010

Christians and Muslims issue joint statement condemning Iraqi church attack Nov. 6, 2010

Christian Massacre Spurs Assyrian-American Rally Nov. 6, 2010

Christians ‘on verge of extinction’ in Iraq, Muslim leader warns
Nov. 5, 2010

UNSC to discuss the security situation in Iraq Tuesday
Nov. 5, 2010

Islamic chauvinism drives Christians out Nov. 5, 2010

bloody, ruthless attack on landmark church in Iraq Nov. 3, 2010

Videos of the Attack on the Assyrian church on October 31-2010

Assyrians Should Be Granted Indigenous Group Status and Rights in Iraq Nov. 3, 2010

Operation Iraqi freedom and Christians in Iraq Nov. 1, 2010

Protest and demonstration in Ankawa against the murder of Christian worshipers in Baghdad Nov. 2, 2010

CNN update; include video- Death toll rises to 58 in Iraq church
Nov. 1. 2010

Death Toll Rises to 58 in Iraq Church Standoff Nov. 1. 2010

Baghdad attack a new low in Christian onslaught in Iraq
Nov. 1. 2010

Pictures of surviving Christians ater the killing in Iraq Nov. 1. 2010

Deadly Baghdad church siege highlights threat to Iraqi Christians
Nov. 1. 2010

Priests among 46 Christians killed in Iraq
Nov. 1. 2010 8:00 AM

Priests among 37 Christians killed in Iraq hostage drama
Nov. 1. 2010 1:00 AM

Iraqi worshipers, troops killed in church takeover
Nov. 1. 2010

October = Tishreen I

My Take on Tearing down the walls 30, 2010

swedishimmigration-policyon-iraqirefugees October 29, 2010

Ancient Winemaking Makes Resurgence in Southeast Turkey
October 29, 2010

Arabs and Turcomans Speak out Against Kurdish Demands in Kirkuk October 17, 2010

The Cost Of Moslem Intolerance October 6, 2010

2,700-year-old royal loyalty oath discovered in Turkey 15 October 2010

Muslim scholars address synod, say Middle East needs Christians Oct. 16, 2010

Christian Hymns of the church of the East in Assyrian aramaic by Reverend Genard Lazar
aug. 26, 2010

Eilul = September

The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia August 26, 2010

Assyrian Politician Attacked in Sweden Future 0f Democracy in the West 26, 2010

Vatican should prevent the exodus of Christians from the Middle East 26, 2010

Assyrian speech at the International Genocide Conference In Greece. Sept. 24, 2010

Egyptian Coptic Church Accused of Stockpiling Weapons
Sept. 22, 2010

Priceless Assyrian historic site Used as Kurdish resort Sept. 22, 2010

Poverty and unemployment among northern Christians sept. 21, 2010

Imam Khamenei: US and Zionism, Not Christianity, Responsible for Anti-Islamism Sep. 17, 2010

Iraq's top Shiite cleric urges tolerance towards Christians
Sep. 10, 2010

Assyrian Representative in the Iranian Parliament condemned the burning of the Koran in the U.S. Sep. 16, 2010

Christian Community of Iraq Halved in Seven Years 16, 2010

Why People worldwide lose Respect for Islam 16, 2010

The Assyrian Genocide and the Turkish Ambassador sept. 13, 2010

Dubakh = August

Religious Freedom and a Mosque August 30, 2010

Kidnapped Assyrian killed in Iraq despite ransom paid August 27, 2010

Why did the Golden Age of Islam come to an end? August 23, 2010

Iraqi asylum seekers struggle to survive in Sweden August 14, 2010

Monument in memory of massacred Assyrians is ready to be unvailed in Australia August 4, 2010

Speaking the language of Jesus August 3, 2010

U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Iraq Does Not End Humanitarian Obligation

August 1. 2010

Tammuz = July

Baghdad Bishop Dies After Lifetime of Serving the Church July 28, 2010

Islam needs more tolerance, not more mosques July 27, 2010