Author(s):

ECHR Ruling: 

"sharia law is incompatible with democracy and human rights"

ECHR Ruling on sharia law

Source: 

Annual Report 2003 of the European Court of Human Rights

Council of Europe

Summary: 

A very interesting and thoughtful paper that makes some key points regarding terms such as 'Islamist' and 'radical Islam'. Worth reading.

In the following paper, I will attempt to give a brief overview of the development and content of radical Islamic thought and describe the different forms in which this type of thought is expressed. In order for any long term counter-terrorism strategy to be effective, it would be self-defeating to focus mainly on the terroristic and violent aspects which are but the symptoms of an underlying movement. Acts of terror constitute one outlet of radical Islamic thought, but what is often overlooked is the propagation (da’wa ) and preparatory activities for jihad of such groups within Islamic and non-Islamic societies. Whilst not of an immediate threat, I aim to show how da’wa activities can function as the front organization of jihadist movements and that this activity poses challenges to the legal infrastructure and the very ethical fabric of democratic societies.

Within the ideological framework of those dubbed ‘radical’ , and I will return to this typology shortly, the choice for terrorist acts is mainly a strategic choice, that has more to do with timing and opportunity than with ideological constraints on the use of violence. With the same ease as some parties choose to impose their agenda through violent means, others choose to give expression to their radical thoughts by undermining society from within the legal structure of that society. Both views however, emanate in principal from the same conceptual framework in which violence is by no means prohibited. Furthermore, the division between ‘moderate’ and ‘radical’ is not clear cut either in theory or in practice, and this can be reflected in covert moral, financial or other support given to radical jihadist organizations by organizations that are commonly seen as moderate. No legal or political long term counterterrorism strategy can therefore do without an understanding of the ideas that give rise to these phenomena.

 

1.1 Islam, Muslims and Shari’ah law .

There is, as with every religion, a great divide between the religious-political-legal implications of the canonical texts, and the religious, if not spiritual experience of the everyday person. When it comes to Islam I always call this the “Catholicization of Islam” by which I mean the following. As someone who has grown up in an almost exclusively Catholic part of the Netherlands and who has attended exclusively Catholic schools, I was always struck by the nature of the religious experience of the self professed Catholics. As I saw it, a Catholic is someone who is in church during Christmas, a birth, a death and perhaps during a baptism, but for the rest has no or very limited knowledge of Catholic liturgy, bible exegesis or even the rudimentary principles of faith, and depends for his understanding of right and wrong on principles common to all cultures. His association with Catholicism as a creed is mainly symbolic and quite often, rather obscure to himself as well.

When I began debates about Islam and Shari’ah with my Muslims students I found the same pattern; a general and severe lack of knowledge, but unlike Catholics, a deep identification with Islam as the founding principle of their identity and the object of their loyalty. Perhaps this is due to their experience as a migrant, but research indicates this is a universal element in Muslims attitude towards religion. I have no doubt that the majority of people who identify themselves as Muslim do not wish to change every society into an Islamic society ruled by Shari’ah law. To many it seems ‘being a Muslim’ has more to do with their family, their traditions and customs of their country of origin than with Islam as a belief system. The question however, is whether or not these people are truly aware of the requirements posed on them and their societies by Shari’ah law. As the writer Sam Harris stated:

“Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance."

Whilst this paper will not be able to answer this question, it will show that there is a large section of Islamic thinkers who would agree with this statement and which hold that the majority of the Islamic world is essentially in a state of unbelief, thereby pointing to the divide between the experience of religion and the actual principals and requirements of that religion.

What constitutes a Muslim? Is the Catholic who performs the minimal level of religious duties but goes about his daily business without bothering with religious dogma truly a Catholic? I would say no. More importantly, the Islamic writers, jurists and ideologues we will be discussing disagree as well.

This has to do with the nature of Islam itself. Oftentimes it is wrongly assumed that Islamic law (Shari’ah) is a part of Islam but not the same as Islam; that one could even have an Islam without the Shari’ah. In the words of the eminent scholar Joseph Schacht however Shari’ah is:

“ the epitome of Islamic thought, the most typical manifestation of the Islamic way of life, the core and kernel of Islam itself. Theology has never been able to achieve a comparable importance in Islam it is impossible to understand Islam without understanding Islamic law.”

Of course, one can argue that Islam is what a Muslim says it is, and that therefore any definition of Islam should be left to Muslims themselves. But this is too simple and it negates the attraction that the clearly defined dogma of Islam and indeed radical Islam has on believers. Generally speaking, of the three major monotheistic religions, Islam is perhaps the most legalistic and at the same time the most static. It “represents an extreme case of ‘jurists law’.“ While Judaism certainly is equally rich in terms of the volumes of legal discussion dedicated to the contents of its scriptures, Judaism, through the Talmudic tradition has institutionalized the concept of debate and doubt, whereas Islam, especially in its Sunni variety, has for the largest part of its history been marked by the denial of the ability of independent reasoning (itjihad) and replaced it with an emphasis on imitation (taqlid).  This reluctance for transformation and adaptation notwithstanding, “ the Shari’ah is a product of articulations of legal discourses and institutions to varying patterns of society and politics Contrary to the insistence on unity and perpetuity, the Shari’ah has in fact displayed considerable variation over time and place.”

Of course the question of application of those laws is a different question. Since Shari’ah is the ‘core and kernel of Islam itself’, however, I find it difficult to believe that Islam is what a Muslim says it is. And it is for this reasons that terms such as ‘jihadists’, ‘Islamists’, ‘political Islamists’ or ‘radical Muslims’ are deceiving. For jihad, politics and the implementation of Islamic edicts and requirements in society are part and parcel of Shari’ah law and thus of Islam itself.

When one studies the works of jurisprudence (fiqh) on which the Shari’ah is built, one can see that the Shari’ah incorporates all major fields of law: public, private, criminal, commercial, family law, the law of war and peace treaties, laws pertaining to rituals and religion and laws designed to constitute a political framework for the application of Shari’ah itself. It is “an all-embracing body of religious duties, the totality of Allah’s commands that regulate the life of every Muslim in all its aspects” Rather than being an optional part of the religion of Islam, the Shari’ah is the core of Islam and its principles, norms, values and regulations have been laid down for all interested persons to read. The idea then that Islam is what a Muslim says it is, is therefore in my view, and more importantly, in the view of those ‘radicals’ we are about to analyze, simply not true. The degree to which a modern day Muslim can deviate from established legal tradition, adapt his own jurisprudence to the requirements of modern times is the subject of ongoing debate.

To make an analogy; if one looks at the constitution of say the United States, one would find that its laws have been steeped in tradition, are accompanied by centuries of more or less uniform jurisprudence and legal practice. To make a radically new interpretation of its laws is always possible, jurisprudence is after all a human endeavour. The legitimacy and authority of such a new interpretation, however, are challenged by the established tradition and practice and thus have to overcome formidable obstacles if they want to become the new standard of interpretation. The ongoing debate about the right to bear arms being a point in case. If this is true for manmade laws, it is all the more true for divine law, and this is exactly the point brought forth by the radical Islamic jurists.

 

Author(s):

Update 12th February 2020: We have finally received a reply from the Commission.

Update 7th February 2020: Message left on answer machine asking whether the Commission does intend to reply to this letter.

Country: 
United Kingdom (UK)
News Date: 
11/09/2019
Summary: 

GROOMING crimes recorded by police in Yorkshire have increased by 59 per cent in the last year, according to new research from the NSPCC.

Islam Four Challenges
Summary: 

An extract from a paper presented to an Islamic conference in Nov 2017:

The way I see it, what ISIS did was that they want to force the reality of today’s living to be following what is in the source of Islamic teaching. Everything they [ISIS] did, they have the justification from the authoritative references of Islamic teachings.

Now, when we are thinking about whether Islam is compatible to democracy or not, we then have to observe the mindset of Muslims about Islam. The question would be: is the mindset of Muslims about Islam compatible to democracy? When we look into the references in classical discourse of Islam, we will find several problematic elements there. I can point out among many problematic elements - four centers of concerns - related to not just democracy but to the nature of our current civilisation.

The first is the teaching about relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. In the classical discourse of Islamic teaching, the dominant view of this matter is that Muslims and non-Muslims are enemies. The basic norm of the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims are enmity. That is what’s dominant in the classical discourse of Islamic teaching. For example, in the tafsir Quran by At-Tobari, or At-Tabarani or Ibnu Kathir, it was stated that non-Muslims, meaning infidel, is permissible to be killed merely because of their infidelity. That is there in the discourse. We also, for example, have in the very famous book in Shafi’ tradition, I’anatuth Thalibin, whereby it is stated there that Muslims have the collective obligation to do expansive jihad towards non-Muslims at least once a year. It is there in the discourse. So, we still have this problematic element in the reference that is still considered to be very authoritative among Muslims all over the world. Therefore, the first problematic element is the teaching about the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The second problematic element is the teaching about the conflict of religion itself. What kind of conflict? The category of conflict that is eligible to be considered as conflict of religion. For example, when the Buddhist in Myanmar attacked Muslims there, it is already a legitimate reason for Muslims everywhere in the world to declare war against the Buddhists. I believe you are all aware that these kinds of arguments have also been the arguments that the terrorists groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda used to attract Muslims to join them. Because the infidels from America attack Muslims in Iraq and in the Middle East, then it is a legitimate reason for Muslims to attack any Western infidels all over the world. That is their argument. And it is justified in the classical course of Islamic teaching.

The third problematic element would be the existence of nation states. You see, nation state is now the base of our current world order. The world order we have now is based on the existence of nation states but this is something new and there is no normative base about nation state in the classical discourse of Islamic teaching. What is dominant there in the discourse of Islamic teaching is the obligation for Muslims to struggle for one grand imamate meaning one universal political system under one Muslim ruler. It is in there in the classical discourse of Islamic teaching.

Then, the fourth problematic thing would be the status of state laws as the alternative of Shariah. How would Shariah see the state laws? State laws that are produced by modern political processes, by democracy. Is it an obligation for Muslims to follow the state laws or should they reject the state laws and follow the Shariah instead? Is following state laws such as the traffic regulation an obligation for Muslim, a “Shariah obligation” for Muslim, or is it just a worldly affair not related to religion? All these are centers of our concern regarding Islamic teachings because it is still recorded in the most authoritative references of Islamic teaching.

See also: 

Among Muslims and non-Muslims, there is an urgent need to address those obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie the Islamist worldview, fuelling violence on both sides. The world’s largest Muslim organisation, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, of which I am General Secretary, has begun to do exactly that.

The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict.

http://newageislam.com/current-affairs/yahya-cholil-staquf/how-can-muslims-and-non-muslims-together--prevent-another-atrocity-like-the-one-in-christchurch?/d/118127

Jihad is Islamic
Summary: 

Among Muslims and non-Muslims, there is an urgent need to address those obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie the Islamist worldview, fuelling violence on both sides. The world’s largest Muslim organisation, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, of which I am General Secretary, has begun to do exactly that.


The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict.

It is our firm view that, if Muslims do not address the key tenets of Islamic tradition that encourage this violence, anyone – at any time – can harness them to defy what they claim to be illegitimate laws and butcher their fellow citizens, whether they live in the Islamic world or the West. This is what links so many current events, from Syria to the streets of London. There is a desperate need for honest discussion of these matters. This is why it worries me to see Western political and intellectual elites weaponise the term “Islamophobia,” to short-circuit analysis of a complex phenomenon that threatens all humanity. For example, it is factually incorrect and counter-productive to define Islamophobia as “rooted in racism,” as proposed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims. In reality, it is the spread of Islamist extremism and terror that primarily contributes to the rise of Islamophobia throughout the non-Muslim world. That is why it is vital to challenge the prevailing “Muslim mindset,” which is predicated upon enmity and suspicion towards non-Muslims, and often rationalises perpetrating violence in the name of Islam. Otherwise, non-Muslims will continue to be radicalised by Islamist attacks and by large-scale Muslim migration to the West.

See also:  

Islam must confront the attacks in its name that have radicalised the West where this article appeared in the UK press.

https://www.fahrenheit211.net/2019/04/05/islamophobia-not-coming-from-the-source-that-many-may-think/

https://religionunplugged.com/news/2019/4/3/muslim-leader-yahya-cholil-staquf-need-to-address-problematic-elements-of-islamic-orthodoxy-after-christchurch-attack

https://barnabasfund.org/en/news/leading-muslim-cleric-says-islamophobia-a-result-of-islamic-extremism-and-not-racism

https://clarionproject.org/indonesia-islamophobia-just-a-response-to-islamic-extremism/

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/03/the-muslim-leader-who-offers-an-example-on-how-to-tackle-islamism/

http://newageislam.com/current-affairs/yahya-cholil-staquf/how-can-muslims-and-non-muslims-together--prevent-another-atrocity-like-the-one-in-christchurch?/d/118127

 

 

Country: 
United Kingdom (UK)
News Date: 
08/03/2019
Summary: 

‘Cultural racism’

Tellingly, there is no attempt to define ‘Islam’ in the APPG report. What they have done instead is racialise Islam so as to make Islamophobia a form of racism. It does not matter that Islam is not a race, or that many Muslims do not see themselves as anything like a separate race. The authors want Islamophobia to be seen as racist. The report explains:

Country: 
United Kingdom (UK)
News Date: 
12/04/2016
Summary: 

To Phillips’s list, I would add closing down Islamic schools which teach contempt for women and non-Muslims. Ban all Sharia courts immediately and insist on British law for everyone.

Summary: 

Ending the cycle of violence requires addressing not only the ideology and motivations of someone like Tarrant, but also the historical framework he shares with many Muslims. That is, that Muslims and non-Muslims are and shall remain in a state of permanent conflict, until the end of time (according to Islamists) or the disappearance of Islam (according to advocates of a “counter-jihad”). Among Muslims and non-Muslims, there is an urgent need to address those obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie the Islamist worldview, fuelling violence on both sides. The world’s largest Muslim organisation, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, of which I am General Secretary, has begun to do exactly that.

The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict.

There is a desperate need for honest discussion of these matters. This is why it worries me to see Western political and intellectual elites weaponise the term “Islamophobia,” to short-circuit analysis of a complex phenomenon that threatens all humanity. For example, it is factually incorrect and counter-productive to define Islamophobia as “rooted in racism,” as proposed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims. In reality, it is the spread of Islamist extremism and terror that primarily contributes to the rise of Islamophobia throughout the non-Muslim world.

See also: http://newageislam.com/current-affairs/yahya-cholil-staquf/how-can-muslims-and-non-muslims-together--prevent-another-atrocity-like-the-one-in-christchurch?/d/118127

 

Author(s):

Summary: 

Relevant Quotes

The quotes below come from the Umdat al-Salik and, crucially, represent what is considered to be an authoritative work of Shari’a from the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence. As we have seen from the concept of “scholarly consensus” (explained above), the rulings included here are legally binding, according to Shari’a.

On children:

  • When a child with discrimination (O: meaning he can eat, drink, and clean himself after using the toilet unassisted) is seven years of age, he is ordered to perform the prayer, and when ten, is beaten for neglecting it (N: not severely, but so as to discipline the child, and not more than three blows). f1.2

On apostates:

  • Someone raised among Muslims who denies the obligatoriness of the prayer, zakat, fasting Ramadan, the pilgrimage, or the unlawfulness of wine and adultery, or denies something else upon which there is scholarly consensus (ijma’, def:b7) and which is necessarily known as being of the religion (N: necessarily known meaning things that any Muslim would know about if asked) thereby becomes an unbeliever (kafir) and is executed for his unbelief (O: if he does not admit he is mistaken and acknowledge the Obligatoriness or unlawfulness of that which there is scholarly consensus upon. As for if he denies the obligatoriness of something there is not consensus upon, then he is not adjudged an unbeliever). f1.3
  • The following are not subject to retaliation: … (3) a Jewish or Christian subject of the Islamic state for killing an apostate from Islam (O: because a subject of the state is under its protection, while killing an apostate from Islam is without consequences); o1.2
  • When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed. o8.1
  • In such a case, it is obligatory for the caliph (A: or his representative) to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does, it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed. o8.2

On jihad:

  • The caliph (o25) makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4)-which is the significance of their paying it, not the money itself-while remaining in their ancestral religions) (O: and the war continues) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden-who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book-until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled” (Koran 9.29) o9.8
  • The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim (O: because they are not a people with a Book, nor honored as such, and are not permitted to settle with paying the poll tax (jizya)) o9.9
  • A free male Muslim who has reached puberty and is sane is entitled to the spoils of battle when he has participated in a battle to the end of it. o10.1
  • As for personal booty, anyone who, despite resistance, kills one of the enemy or effectively incapacitates him, risking his own life thereby, is entitled to whatever he can take from the enemy, meaning as much as he can take away with him in the battle, such as a mount, clothes, weaponry, money, or other. o10.2

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