But sharia, even ”with a smiling face”, is more dangerous than the full throated version.
We simply can’t allow the imposition of anything even remotely related to Islamic law, no matter how much it’s supposedly watered down. You’ll just be sowing the seeds to future totalitarianism, albeit, a totalitarianism of a softer degree. You need to look no further for proof of this, than in today’s ‘modern’ social democracies.
What exists in Europe, and to a large degree in the US, Canada and Australia, are soft tyrannies. The hard tyranny of oppressive Soviet Communism is gone, but the liberty quashing political systems, birthed in Marxist theory, are still with us today. Social democracies are wrongly lauded as being benevolent, a kind of socialism with a kinder face, but are as power hungry (and grabbing) and equally destructive to individual liberty as the now defunct USSR.
What this Islamic ”scholar” (an oxymoron) is promoting should be viewed under that rubric. We already have a great example of a softened tyranny, it’s the EU, and every other welfare state in existence, that gives the impression of freedom, but is as statist, domineering and destructive to the human spirit as its predecessor.
NOTE: And he really thinks that Iranian sharia is….watered down?
H/T: Holger Danske
Deja Vu in Cairo
I entered the class of around 150 students and proceeded to lecture in standard Arabic for about an hour and a half. I explained that immediately after the Iranian revolution, there was a dispute over the role of Shari’a, similar to the ongoing dispute in Egypt. Ayatollah Khomeini promised the implementation of Shari’a if he came to power, but his statements prior to the revolution insisted on concepts such as democracy, freedom of speech and the will of the people. Khomeini held that since Islam is superior to all other religions, it would translate into effective lawmaking, in turn creating the best society on earth. Who is the best person to take on the responsibility of implementing Shari’a? Who is best suited to rule an Islamic society or government? Khomeini’s response was clear and decisive: an ayatollah, or Shi’ite jurist, one who is an expert in Shari’a and knowledgeable of its intricacies. As a result, the concept of vilayat-e faqih, the “rule of the Shi’ite jurist” was embedded into the constitution in 1979 in the office of the rahbar, or “leader.”
Just as Egyptian liberal secular forces requested more time to draft the constitution while the Muslim Brotherhood was in a hurry to ratify it, Ayatollah Khomeini insisted on ratifying the constitution quickly, neglecting those who were not yet convinced of the concept of vilayat-e faqih. By accelerating the ratification process, Ayatollah Khomeini terminated public debate over critical disputes within the constitution and marginalized secular, liberal intellectuals and political activists.
However, when Khomeini actually implemented Shari’a, he soon realized that Shari’a was not compatible with Iranian society. Conversely, Egypt initiated its process of re-Islamization under its military state, and lost the liberal spirit that thrived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Iranian modernization took place under the Pahlavi monarchy, making it difficult for the population to accept a transition back to a society lacking the modern institutions they had become accustomed to. For example, under Shari’a, women are forbidden from appearing on television, acting in movies or playing music. But how could radio and television function without women? How is it possible to enforce a ban on women playing music?
Khomeini decided to loosen his grasp on Shari’a, and gradually one religious duty rose in importance above the others: the safeguarding of the Islamic regime. Khomeini’s idea was that safeguarding the Islamic government was of such importance that drinking wine or lying were permitted if it served this purpose. In other words, a ruling ayatollah differs from other Muslims in his ability to override Shari’a in instances of conflict between Shari’a and reasons of state. As such, Shari’a was placed in a position to complement the will of the ruling ayatollah, instead of being the foundation of legislation. It was what the ruling ayatollah recognized as the interests of the Islamic regime that dictated the government’s behavior, not Shari’a. To take it one step deeper, it is the personality of the ruler that replaced the institution of Shari’a; in essence, it became a complete Islamic totalitarianism.