Dee Perez-Scott has been notably silent about the legislative and constitutional developments following the so-called “Arab Spring.” She repeatedly expresses her support for illegal aliens and her tolerance for Islam even though she would be told to “sit down and shut up” if Sharia Law came to her neighborhood. If she were to be raped, God forbid, she would then have to produce four male witnesses to support her charges and to avoid being charged herself and being subjected to stoning under Sharia law. Maybe she thinks she would be able to flaunt Sharia Law in the same way she flaunts her disregard for immigration laws.
Under the Obama Administration policies, the removal tyrants like Khadafy, Assad, Hussein, Mubarak and others, as expected, is resulting in Islamic law (shari’a) being imposed as the basis of countries’ legal systems. Comments by Libya’s interim leader raised new questions about just how progressive the so-called “Arab spring” will turn out to be. The answer seems to be “not very.”
Islamists are playing prominent roles in the transitions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, and are also believed to be a factor in the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Praise for the removal of Muammar Khadafy – or of Assad, should he go – are being muted by growing concerns that Iran may not be altogether wrong when it characterizes the regional upheavals as an “Islamic awakening” rather than the ushering in of greater democracy.
Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil raised eyebrows Sunday when he told a rally in Benghazi that the country’s post-Khadafy legal system will be based on shari’a.
His declaration that “any law that violates shari’a is null and void legally” implied that Islamic law would not merely be one of several sources of inspiration, but the ultimate one. Although not unexpected, this should send shudders through the Western world especially among feminists, and believers in religious tolerance and basic human rights.
Abdul-Jalil’s comments appeared to preempt a process spelled out by interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril a day earlier – an election within eight months, followed by the drafting of a new constitution, which will then be put to a national referendum.
On Monday, Abdul-Jalil told a press conference in Benghazi that he wanted to assure the international community that Libyans were “moderate Muslims.” He also said that in his earlier remarks he had been to a temporary constitution. What is the likelihood that Sharia having been included in a temporary constitution will be later excluded in the final document submitted to a national referendum?
A draft constitutional document for the transitional stage,” released by the NTC last August, declared that “Islam is the religion of the state and the principal source of legislation is Islamic jurisprudence (shari’a).”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said disingenuously on Monday the administration was encouraged by Abdul-Jalil’s “clarification.”
“We seek a democracy that meets international human rights standards, that provides a place for all Libyans, and that serves to unify the country,” she told a briefing. Is this further evidence of Obama’s audacity of hope? More likely the NATO assistance to the rebels in Libya will have enabled the country to jump from the pot into the fire as far as human rights are concerned. It won’t be long before they begin re-creating the Libyan version of the anti-American sentiment that pervades the Islamic world.
Asked whether the U.S. government had any objection to shari’a forming the basis of countries’ legal systems, Nuland replied, “We’ve seen various Islamic-based democracies wrestle with the issue of establishing rule of law within an appropriate cultural context. But the number one thing is that universal human rights, rights for women, rights for minorities, right to due process, right to transparency be fully respected.”
Nuland added, “I would simply say that the term [shari’a] is – has a broad application and is understood differently in different places and by different commentators.” Undoubtedly it is fully misunderstood by the Obama Administration or encouraged as a part of his treasonous outreach to Islamic nations.
Although shari’a covers a broad range of matters, it is most notoriously associated with “hudud” punishments, including the death penalty for apostasy, and stoning, flogging and amputations for other offenses. (“Hudud” – literally “limitations imposed by Allah” – are enforced in countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and some Nigerian states.)
Women face severe discrimination under shari’a, according to rights advocacy groups. The legal testimony of a woman carries less weight than that of a man, and in some countries a rape victim must present four male Muslim witnesses to back her allegation – or risk being charged with adultery herself. Dee Perez-Scott doesn’t seem to mind. At least she hasn’t been nearly as adamant in her opposition to the implications of Muslims in the U.S. as she has in supporting outlaws who violate U.S. immigration laws.
Even apparently mundane aspects of shari’a can be problematic, and may lead to the loss of inheritance, loss of access to children, and the annulment of marriage in family law cases. Businesses may face penalties if they contravene the prohibition on charging or paying interest. One wonders what appeal these provisions have for Perez-Scott.
Tunisia, Egypt, Syria
In Tunisia, where the “Arab spring” began late last year, elections held at the weekend will give rise to a national assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution. Provisional results show the vote was dominated by Ennahdha, an Islamist party that declares itself to be “moderate.”
The English translation of the Ennahdha party platform stated: “[t]he Movement considers that Islamic thought is in need of constant innovation so that it can keep up with progress and contribute to it, stemming from its belief that Islam accepts anything that is beneficial and encourages it such as the International conventions on human rights, and which are generally compatible with Islamic values and objectives.”
On the other hand, Ennahdha and most other Tunisian parties favor retaining in the new constitution an article declaring that Islam is the official religion.
“Whether this formulation of Islam as the state religion will only be perfunctory or whether it will have a significant impact on the legal framework is difficult to foretell, given the still-untested nature of the political landscape and the growing religious conservatism of parts of Tunisian society,” Amna Guellali, a Tunisia researcher for Human Rights Watch, wrote last week.
A Human Rights Watch briefing paper, based on Tunisian parties’ responses to a questionnaire, found that most parties want new constitution to protect rights such as freedom of expression, although some differed over issues such as reserving the presidency for Muslims and the right of non-Muslims to proselytize.
In post-Mubarak Egypt, Islamists are expected to do well in a drawn-out parliamentary election process, due to begin in a month’s time.
Islamists account for two of four major blocs in the contest – the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated “Democratic Alliance,” and the Salafist Nour party-led “Islamist Alliance.” (The other two are the liberal/center-left “Egyptian Bloc” and the left-leaning “Revolution Continues bloc,” according to Cairo’s Al Ahram daily.)
The Muslim Brotherhood is campaigning under its traditional “Islam is the solution” banner while the Salafists have pledged to push for the implementation of shari’a.
As in Tunisia, the elected government will draw up a new constitution. Coptic Christians were especially troubled last March when a provisional constitution was adopted that left intact an article upholding Islam as the state religion and the principles of shari’a as “the principal source of legislation.”
In Syria, the extent to which Islamists are driving the protests aimed at removing Assad remains unclear for now.
An opposition Syrian National Council formed in Istanbul has a 29-strong general secretariat representing opposition factions including the Muslim Brotherhood (banned in Syria since 1982), Kurds, liberals and independents.
Of the 29 secretariat members, 19 have been named publicly. According to Mideast expert and author Barry Rubin, 10 of the 19 are Islamists.
On October 19 Libya’s NTC said it was recognizing the Syrian National Council as that country’s “legitimate authority.”
Iraq, Afghanistan too
Years before the “Arab spring,” troubling aspects of shari’a survived the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Baathist regime in Iraq.
In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai’s government signed a new constitution into law in January 2004 which claims to uphold freedom of religion but enshrines the primacy of shari’a.
Article two states that Islam is the official religion, but “followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law.”
Article three, however, states that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.” Article 149 says adherence to the tenets of Islam “cannot be amended.”
Two years after the constitution was approved, Christian convert Abdul Rahman was sentenced to death for apostasy, and it was only after the U.S. and other coalition countries put pressure on Karzai that was allowed to seek asylum abroad.
Iraq’s 2005 constitution states that freedom of religion is upheld, but also says no law may be passed that “contradicts the undisputed laws of Islam.”
Iraqi Christian leaders made a last minute plea for the clause to be removed of amended, without success.
Working for logical immigation reform based on a stable population, a recognition of the finite nature of our natural resources and the adverse impact of continued growth on our quality of life, standard of living, national interest, character, language, sovereignty and the rule of law. Pushing back and countering the disloyal elements in American society and the anti-American rhetoric of the leftwing illegal alien lobbies. In a debate, when your opponents turn to name calling, it's a good sign you've already won.