Sharia law is barbaric and irrational.

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Sharia law is barbaric and irrational.

Since I was accused by ALMALHAMAH of being ignorant of Sharia law I thought I post an article showing how rational and peaceful the Islamic faith is:

Sharia law

Susie Steiner explains the Islamic legal system which has sentenced a Nigerian woman to be stoned to death

Tuesday August 20, 2002
Guardian Unlimited

Why is sharia law in the news?

An Islamic court in Nigeria yesterday upheld a sentence of death by stoning for a woman accused of adultery. The case is the latest in a series of sentences passed under sharia law - a set of religious laws adopted over the past two years in northern regions of Nigeria, which have predominantly Muslim inhabitants.

Sharia law, which derives from the teachings of the Koran and from Sunna (the practice of the prophet Mohammed), is implemented to varying degrees in different Islamic countries - from the beheadings of Saudi Arabia, to the relatively liberal social mores of Malaysia.

What is sharia?

The word sharia means "the path to a watering hole". It denotes an Islamic way of life that is more than a system of criminal justice. Sharia is a religious code for living, in the same way that the Bible offers a moral system for Christians.

It is adopted by most Muslims to a greater or lesser degree as a matter of personal conscience, but it can also be formally instituted as law by certain states and enforced by the courts. Many Islamic countries have adopted elements of sharia law, governing areas such as inheritance, banking and contract law.

What does sharia decree?

Sharia offers a code for living governing all elements of life, from prayers to fasting to donations to the poor. It decrees that men and women should dress modestly, which in some countries is interpreted as women taking the veil and the sexes being segregated.

"Sharia governs the lives of people in ways which are not governed by the law," says Lynn Welchman, director of the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law. "Over 50 countries are members of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, and you can expect there will be some form of compliance with sharia - either in people's personal lives or enforced through the courts by the state. A lot of states in the Middle East are taking more elements of sharia into their state laws."

What are Hadd offences?

Within sharia law, there is a specific set of offences known as the Hadd offences. These are crimes punished by specific penalties, such as stoning, lashes or the severing of a hand. The penalties for Hadd offences are not universally adopted as law in Islamic countries.

Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, claim to live under pure sharia law and enforce the penalties for Hadd offences. In others, such as Pakistan, the penalties have not been enforced. The majority of Middle Eastern countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, have not adopted Hadd offences as part of their state laws.

Hadd offences carry specific penalties, set by the Koran and by the prophet Mohammed. These include unlawful sexual intercourse (outside marriage); false accusation of unlawful intercourse; the drinking of alcohol; theft; and highway robbery. Sexual offences carry a penalty of stoning to death or flogging while theft is punished with cutting off a hand.

"This is a system of criminal law which has become a potent symbol of Islamisicing the law," says Dr Welchman. "But there is the question of whether it's actually applied in the countries which have adopted it. There is supposed to be a very high burden of proof, but that clearly often doesn't happen in practice."

Many Islamic countries will have adultery and the drinking of alcohol defined as criminal offences in law, but they are not defined as Hadd offences because they do not carry the Hadd penalty. They are often punishable by a prison term instead.

What is likely to happen to the woman sentenced to death in Nigeria?

Amina Lawal, 30, has been sentenced to death by stoning - a fate which would involve being buried up to her neck in sand and have rocks thrown at her head. However, the Islamic court has ruled that the penalty cannot be carried out until Lawal has finished breastfeeding her baby daughter, Wasila, which the judge said would not be before January 2004.

Meanwhile, the sentence is provoking civil unrest, with riots breaking out between Christian and Muslim communities over how far the rule of sharia might spread.

In sentencing Lawal, the Islamic court disregarded an earlier ruling by the federal courts, which deemed the death penalty unconstitutional for offences such as adultery.

The supreme court is likely to step in, particularly as many sharia trials fall short of the expected standards of proof. But it faces stiff opposition from governors of Nigeria's northern states, which have made political capital out of promising a Saudi-Arabian style strictness in the adoption of sharia, offering it to the disenfranchised poor as a way of improving their lives. In the past two years, 12 out of Nigeria's 36 states have adopted sharia law.

What sentences have been passed down so far in Nigeria?

Safiya Hussaini, 35, was sentenced to death by stoning in October for allegedly having a child with a married neighbour. She had the child after her divorce, but maintained the father was her former husband and that they were married when the child was conceived. The court convicted her, but Hussaini won an appeal, this time alleging that she had sex out of wedlock before sharia law took effect. Amina Lawal put forward a similar argument during her trial, but it was rejected by the courts.

Last year, a teenage single mother was given 100 lashes for adultery, even though she argued she was raped by three men. The court said Bariya Ibrahim Magazu could not prove that the men forced her to have sex.

In May this year, a sharia court in Jigawa sentenced Sarimu Mohammed, 50, to death by stoning for raping a nine-year-old girl - the first death sentence imposed on a man for rape or adultery. In Bauchi, Adama Unusua, who is 19 and pregnant, was recently sentenced to 100 lashes for having sex with her fiance.

Will sharia law prevail in Nigeria?

The issue is already provoking violence between Muslim and Christian communities, particularly in the south, where sharia law is not in force. Nigeria has a Christian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who hails from the south. He has stated that "sharia is not a new thing and it's not a thing to be afraid of", and said the federal government would not dispute the rights of states to use it. General Obasanjo received significant support from northern Muslims at the last election.

He has attempted to deal with the sharia problem through compromise, by persuading courts in the north to modify their sentences. In March, the government ruled that the strict version of sharia law practised in Nigeria's north was illegal under the country's constitution. Though it did not explicitly mention the case of Safiya Hussaini, the ruling came days before her appeal hearing.

The justice minister, Godwin Agabi, wrote to the 12 northern states which have Muslim majorities, saying that "a Muslim should not be subjected to a punishment more severe than would be imposed on other Nigerians for the same offence". Mr Agabi noted that Nigeria "cannot be indifferent" to international outrage over the sentences. The situation is likely to be further inflamed in the run up to elections in April 2003.,6512,777972,00.html

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca

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To be fair, a retrograde

To be fair, a retrograde system of social morality often coincides with poverty, corruption, and a low quality of life. Islam is not unique in this sense, however this does not excuse such phenomena.

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Actually, the Old testament

Actually, the Old testament law is just as bad. Christians and Jews just don't try to have it actually enforced.

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That's true. Fortunately

That's true. Fortunately most Xian's and Jews no longer believe in such absrudities. Unfortunately many Moslems still do though.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca

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MattShizzle wrote:Actually,

MattShizzle wrote:
Actually, the Old testament law is just as bad. Christians and Jews just don't try to have it actually enforced.

I am aware of this, and it is my reason for judging Christianity and Judaism as mildly harmful, but Islam as very harmful.

However, I was referring more to the fact that the correlation is between a the poverty, corruption, and disorder in a country and these acts, not necesserily between these acts and Islam. Female circumcision (a particularly barbaric retrograde custom), for example, occurs not only in Islamic countries, but in generally poor and shitty African countries.

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MattShizzle wrote:Actually,

MattShizzle wrote:
Actually, the Old testament law is just as bad. Christians and Jews just don't try to have it actually enforced.

Which leads to the point that moderate jews/xtians are not really following their religion. Nitpicking...just another fallacy.

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Islam belongs to the Dark Ages

Hi all,

I'm new to this group, joined yesterday as I found you guys through MySpace.

I live in Finland, North-Eastern Europe, and from our secular wellfare state things look a bit different. Here Christianity isn't a problem at all. But it seems to me that Islam is now a major problem all over Europe. You see, our Scandinavian neighbour Denmark had their share of this "tolerant and peaceful "religion during the Mohammad cartoon riots.

I would say that Christianism and Judaism are very peaceful religions compared to Islam, mainly because they've been secularized so effectively. But you just can't do that with Islam. Have you read Ibn Warraq's excellent book "Why I Am Not a Muslim"? Highly recommended!

Here's a wonderfully valiant speech from my heroine par excellence, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, that she held in Berlin in last February. Moreover, I added the Manifesto against new totalitarianism, signed by twelve intellectuals. Please check out the links too!


The right to offend

(The following is Ayaan Hirsi Ali's speech in Berlin in the 9th of February 2006)

I am here to defend the right to offend.

It is my conviction that the vulnerable enterprise called democracy cannot exist without free expression, particularly in the media. Journalists must not forgo the obligation of free speech, which people in other hemispheres are denied.

I am of the opinion that it was correct to publish the cartoons of Muhammad in Jyllands Posten and it was right to re-publish them in other papers across Europe.

Let me reprise the history of this affair. The author of a children’s book on the prophet Muhammad could find no illustrators for his book. He claimed that illustrators were censoring themselves for fear of violence by Muslims who claimed no-one, anywhere, should be allowed to depict the prophet. Jyllands Posten decided to investigate this. They -- rightly – felt that such self-censorship has far-reaching consequences for democracy.

It was their duty as journalists to solicit and publish drawings of the prophet Muhammad.

Shame on those papers and TV channels who lacked the courage to show their readers the caricatures in The Cartoon Affair. These intellectuals live off free speech but they accept censorship. They hide their mediocrity of mind behind noble-sounding terms such as ‘responsibility’ and ‘sensitivity’.

Shame on those politicians who stated that publishing and re-publishing the drawings was ‘unnecessary’, ‘insensitive’, ‘disrespectful’ and ‘wrong’. I am of the opinion that Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark acted correctly when he refused to meet with representatives of tyrannical regimes who demanded from him that he limit the powers of the press. Today we should stand by him morally and materially. He is an example to all other European leaders. I wish my prime minister had Rasmussen’s guts.

Shame on those European companies in the Middle East that advertised “we are not Danish” or “we don’t sell Danish products”. This is cowardice. Nestle chocolates will never taste the same after this, will they? The EU member states should compensate Danish companies for the damage they have suffered from boycotts.

Liberty does not come cheap. A few million Euros is worth paying for the defence of free speech. If our governments neglect to help our Scandinavian friends then I hope citizens will organise a donation campaign for Danish companies.

We have been flooded with opinions on how tasteless and tactless the cartoons are -- views emphasising that the cartoons only led to violence and discord. What good has come of the cartoons, so many wonder loudly?

Well, publication of the cartoons confirmed that there is widespread fear among authors, filmmakers, cartoonists and journalists who wish to describe, analyse or criticise intolerant aspects of Islam all over Europe.

It has also revealed the presence of a considerable minority in Europe who do not understand or will not accept the workings of liberal democracy. These people – many of whom hold European citizenship – have campaigned for censorship, for boycotts, for violence, and for new laws to ban ‘Islamophobia’.

The cartoons revealed to the public eye that there are countries willing to violate diplomatic rules for political expediency. Evil governments like Saudi Arabia stage “grassroots” movements to boycott Danish milk and yoghurt, while they would mercilessly crash a grassroots movement fighting for the right to vote.

Today I am here to defend the right to offend within the bounds of the law. You may wonder: why Berlin? And why me?

Berlin is rich in the history of ideological challenges to the open society. This is the city where a wall kept people within the boundaries of the Communist state. It was the city which focalized the battle for the hearts and minds of citizens. Defenders of the open society educated people in the shortcomings of Communism. The work of Marx was discussed in universities, in op-ed pages and in schools. Dissidents who escaped from the East could write, make films, cartoons and use their creativity to persuade those in the West that Communism was far from paradise on earth.

Despite the self-censorship of many in the West, who idealised and defended Communism, and the brutal censorship of the East, that battle was won.

Today, the open society is challenged by Islamism, ascribed to a man named Muhammad Abdullah who lived in the seventh century, and who is regarded as a prophet. Many Muslims are peaceful people; not all are fanatics. As far as I am concerned they have every right to be faithful to their convictions. But within Islam exists a hard-line Islamist movement that rejects democratic freedoms and wants to destroy them. These Islamists seek to convince other Muslims that their way of life is the best. But when opponents of Islamism try to expose the fallacies in the teachings of Muhammad then they are accused of being offensive, blasphemous, socially irresponsible – even Islamophobic or racist.

The issue is not about race, colour or heritage. It is a conflict of ideas, which transcend borders and races.

Why me? I am a dissident, like those from the Eastern side of this city who defected to the West. I too defected to the West. I was born in Somalia, and grew up in Saudi Arabic and Kenya. I used to be faithful to the guidelines laid down by the prophet Muhammad. Like the thousands demonstrating against the Danish drawings, I used to hold the view that Muhammad was perfect -- the only source of, and indeed, the criterion between good and bad. In 1989 when Khomeini called for Salman Rushdie to be killed for insulting Muhammad, I thought he was right. Now I don’t.

I think that the prophet was wrong to have placed himself and his ideas above critical thought.

I think that the prophet Muhammad was wrong to have subordinated women to men.

I think that the prophet Muhammad was wrong to have decreed that gays be murdered.

I think that the prophet Muhammad was wrong to have said that apostates must be killed.

He was wrong in saying that adulterers should be flogged and stoned, and the hands of thieves should be cut off.

He was wrong in saying that those who die in the cause of Allah will be rewarded with paradise.

He was wrong in claiming that a proper society could be built only on his ideas.

The prophet did and said good things. He encouraged charity to others. But I wish to defend the position that he was also disrespectful and insensitive to those who disagreed with him.

I think it is right to make critical drawings and films of Muhammad. It is necessary to write books on him in order to educate ordinary citizens on Muhammad.

I do not seek to offend religious sentiment, but I will not submit to tyranny. Demanding that people who do not accept Muhammad’s teachings should refrain from drawing him is not a request for respect but a demand for submission.

I am not the only dissident in Islam. There are more like me here in the West. If they have no bodyguards they work under false identities to protect themselves from harm. But there are also others who refuse to conform: in Teheran, in Doha and Riyadh, in Amman and Cairo, in Khartoum and in Mogadishu, in Lahore and in Kabul.

The dissidents of Islamism, like the dissidents of communism, don’t have nuclear bombs or any other weapons. We have no money from oil like the Saudis. We will not burn embassies and flags. We refuse to get carried away in a frenzy of collective violence. In number we are too small and too scattered to become a collective of anything. In electoral terms here in the west we are practically useless.

All we have are our thoughts; and all we ask is a fair chance to express them. Our opponents will use force to silence us. They will use manipulation; they will claim they are mortally offended. They will claim we are mentally unstable and should not be taken seriously. The defenders of Communism, too, used these methods.

Berlin is a city of optimism. Communism failed. The wall was broken down. Things may seem difficult and confusing today. But I am optimistic that the virtual wall, between lovers of liberty and those who succumb to the seduction and safety of totalitarian ideas will also, one day, come down.

Berlin, 9.02.06
Ayaan Hirsi Ali


MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism (Jyllands-Posten, Denmark, February 2006)

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject cultural relativism, which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

12 signatures
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq

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Thank you. Here is a video

Thank you. Here is a video of an interview with her.
She's HOT! Smart. Well-spoken.

Here is another female muslim hero of mine:

Ghada Jamshir

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Yes, I fully agree with your

Yes, I fully agree with your characterization! I've posted many Ayaan Hirsi Ali videos on my blog (there's also other consciousness-raising stuff):

My favorite is the 60 minutes clip. Sheer fighting spirit! Smiling