December 7, 2007

"If moderate Muslims believe there should be no compassion shown to the girl from Qatif, then what exactly makes them so moderate?"

Writes Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Islamic justice is a proud institution, one to which more than a billion people subscribe, at least in theory, and in the heart of the Islamic world it is the law of the land. But take a look at the verse above: more compelling even than the order to flog adulterers is the command that the believer show no compassion. It is this order to choose Allah above his sense of conscience and compassion that imprisons the Muslim in a mindset that is archaic and extreme.

26 comments:

George said...

The op-ed also says...

"When she is released, her life will certainly never return to normal: already there have been reports that her brother has tried to kill her because her “crime” has tarnished her family’s honor."

---

I once read a book about American Indians' unfortunate habit of kidnapping settlers' children and raising them as their own. Typically, the Indians and settlers would get along well, exchanging visits and gifts. Then one night for no apparent reason, a raiding party would come to kill the parents and burning their homestead.

These practices, the author suggested, went a long way towards explaining why no one trusted Indians.

It also seemed clear from the book that the older, wiser, more moderate tribal leaders could not control the teenage or young unmarried men in their tribes.

Perhaps what we face is an international juvenile delinquency problem.

Original Mike said...

If moderate Muslims believe there should be no compassion shown to the girl from Qatif, then what exactly makes them so moderate?

Clearly, we're grading Muslims on a curve.

rhhardin said...

It shows that Islam is not the poeticisation of ethics, and so is not a religion for adults.

It's not about moderates or not. Moderates would be the ones that don't believe it, perhaps.

There's a force that goes the other way, in fact, in Judaism, namely that the other guy has all the rights, as a poeticisation of the ethical phenomenon that responding to the needs of the other guy is the only thing that makes you you.

Why do we always have the poor? So we are not damned.

Being a chosen people is being chosen for exactly that extra responsibility. Everybody is a Jew .

Pastafarian said...

Well... there's one.

Hoosier Daddy said...

then what exactly makes them so moderate?

I suppose its a matter of perspective. If one aspect of sharia law mandates that infidelity requires being stoned to death whereas another settles for 40 lashes then I suppose the latter gets branded as moderate.

There was a time when Christianity went through its period of barbaric behavior but its been 300 odd centuries since the last witch was burned at the stake. While the Catholic Church is castigated for its positions on homosexuality or casual sex, you don't see the Pope issuing papal bulls calling for gays to be hanged or those engaing in pre-marital sex to be flogged.

It would be nice to see Islam evolve into the religion of peace they keep saying it is.

Telecomedian said...

I would go as far as to say all religious-based prosecution and punishment borders on the barbaric and insane. American Christians may indeed be 350 years removed from burning witches at the stake in Salem, but Georgia's Anti-Sodomy Laws, based on fundamentalist Christian laws, were key in Wilson v. State of Georgia in putting a 17 year old boy behind bars for over a year in a case involving consensual oral sex.

Plus, pretty much every American hate group, from the KKK to the Westboro Baptist Church (not only anti-gay but anti-Jew, -Catholic and -Muslim) finds their roots and mottos in the traditional Christian Bible. What is it about Christians than they can so conveniently ignore the sins committed in the name of Christianity?

Islam obviously has issues with fundamentalism, but so does Christianity. Glass houses and all...

Simon said...

Telecomedian said...
"Georgia's Anti-Sodomy Laws, based on fundamentalist Christian laws, were key in Wilson v. State of Georgia in putting a 17 year old boy behind bars for over a year in a case involving consensual oral sex."

It wasn't consensual. That's the point of age of consent laws - the victim wasn't old enough to be competent to give her consent.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Georgia's Anti-Sodomy Laws, based on fundamentalist Christian laws, were key in Wilson v. State of Georgia in putting a 17 year old boy behind bars for over a year in a case involving consensual oral sex.

The problem is that a 15 year old can’t give consent. That’s why it’s called statutory rape. Then again, under Sharia law he would have gotten a lighter sentence while the girl who gave him the hummer got 40 lashes so I guess you have a point.

Plus, pretty much every American hate group, from the KKK to the Westboro Baptist Church (not only anti-gay but anti-Jew, -Catholic and -Muslim) finds their roots and mottos in the traditional Christian Bible.

Nonsense. Having some Baptist wackos protesting military funerals is the epitome of bad taste but hardly is on par with honor killing, beheadings or flogging. The Klan is a racist group plan and simple not to mention the fact that the Klan today constitutes probably 4 rednecks sitting on their front porch drinking Milwaukee’s Best and telling black jokes.

What is it about Christians than they can so conveniently ignore the sins committed in the name of Christianity?

Again you might want to put some perspective in what those sins are. If you’re insistent that Christians are no less the barbarians than Muslims then you’re simply not paying attention or are being willfully obtuse

Revenant said...

then what exactly makes them so moderate?

I've wondered that for years. For whatever reason, the press labels Muslims "moderate" for beliefs, attitudes, and actions that would get them labeled as "part of the Christian far-right" if they were Christians.

Roger said...

I simply cannot believe people are comparing the excesses of Islam at this point in time with the excesses of Christianity at this point in time. If you choose Chrisitianity 3 or 4 hundred years ago--say the thirty years war, you might have a case.

Tibore said...

"... more compelling even than the order to flog adulterers is the command that the believer show no compassion. It is this order to choose Allah above his sense of conscience and compassion that imprisons the Muslim in a mindset that is archaic and extreme."
-Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In my opinion, the problem was identified a while ago and summed up best here:

"When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless."
- Abraham Heschel, "Between God And Man", 1965

The only nitpick I would have with Ms. Ali is that this mindset is "archaic". That it has roots in, and is replicating the worst element of their history is undeniable, but the intolerance shown by those who choose blind obedience over thoughtful adherence is less an embrace of the past and more a very modern and intellectually bankrupt ignorance, an active rejection of all societal and philisophical enlightenment since then.

In short, they're not hearkening back to the past as much as they're firmly rejecting the present. Which to me is even more dammingly ignorant than pretending to value past wisdom more highly.

Smilin' Jack said...

It is this order to choose Allah above his sense of conscience and compassion that imprisons the Muslim in a mindset that is archaic and extreme.

No, that's what makes him a Muslim. One can't be a Muslim and not choose Allah above "his sense of conscience and compassion", and above everything else, for that matter.

Also, while temporal laws and morality may evolve in time, God's will presumably does not. You smartasses who think you are too "enlightened" to believe God really meant it when he commanded you to flog adulterers may not feel so smart when you're burning in hell.

Simon said...

Here's my question. Go back to the citation from the Koran: "The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with 100 stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day." Jack says that Ali is wrong: one can't be a Muslim and not "choose Allah above 'his sense of conscience and compassion,'" but where does it say that rape victims should be flogged? It says adulterers and fornicators are to be flogged, but both of those activities connote voluntary action. Is it really the assumption of that culture that a woman who has been raped has committed adultery or fornication - or is there some other koranic source of authority for the supposition that a rape victim should be flogged? If there's no other source of authority, then flogging the Saudi woman isn't following Allah's instruction, it's following a barbaric notion that there's no distinction between volitional sexual activity and rape. And for that matter, where's the Saudi court getting the 200 lash sentence from? If Allah's law calls for a hundred lashes, why aren't they violating Allah's will by doubling the sentence prescribed by Allah? I suppose you could finesse it and say that in a gang rape case, each count merits a hundred lashes, so in keeping with the Koran's instruction, each rapist gets 100 lashes, and the rape victim gets 100 lashes for each man she was raped by. I suppose there would be a certain horrific logic to that - it would make sense from the perspective of the text, so 200 is either too many or too few if that verse from the Koran is your authority.

Whatever the case, barbaric acts by barbaric people.

Fred said...

Women don't really need rights, do they?

John Burgess said...

Simon: While US media coverage of this case has been unclear, the fact is that this woman is not being punished for being raped. Instead, she is being punished for being in the unchaperoned presence of an unrelated male (who, incidentally, was also raped). He, too, was found guilty of the sin/crime of Khulwa.

Separate crimes, separate offenders, separate victims.

Of some interest, too, is that the attackers were never charged with rape and, consequently, never convicted of it. Both 'Qatif Girl' and her attorney believed that too much time (4 months) had passed between the attack and her complaint to sustain a conviction.

I don't doubt that there was a rape, but only point out that it was never legally charged.

Dave TN said...

I'm about half way through Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Infidel" and I highly recommend it. It gives a very personal view of what it is like to live as a woman under Islam. She is very brave to continue to speak out on these issues under multiple death threats. Unfortunately, American feminists groups won't touch the subject for reasons unknown to me...

Simon said...

John Burgess said...
"Simon: While US media coverage of this case has been unclear, the fact is that this woman is not being punished for being raped. Instead, she is being punished for being in the unchaperoned presence of an unrelated male...."

Hmm. Okay. And what Koranic authority does that restriction derive from? Is it purportedly frmo the same source that Ali cited? I mean, what I'm driving at is a modification of what I took to be Ann's point the other day, about them hoisting themselves from their own petards. So Ann's theory was that if bringing Islam into disrepute was a sin, weren't the idiots in Sudan sinning by their own standards by bringing Islam into disrepute, and what I'm suggesting here is, if they're going to say that departure from Allah's will is impermissible, then surely they can't have it both ways. If they're going to say that those things which Allah says should be punished should be punished in the manner in which Allah prescribed and in no other way, then surely those things which Allah does not say should be punished ought not be punished, and meting out a punishment harsher than that demanded by Allah is just as much a violation of Allah's will as giving a lighter sentence?

tjl said...

"American feminist groups won't touch the subject for reasons unknown to me..."

The reasons are perfectly obvious.

Hoosier Daddy said...

American feminists groups won't touch the subject [what it is like to live as a woman under Islam] for reasons unknown to me...

One only has to look at what happened to Theo van Gogh and your answer is there.

Then again the fear of being called a racist in today's society probably surpasses being shot in broad daylight and having your death sentence stabbed in your chest by someone who was offended by your work.

PatCA said...

I just read Infidel lately, davetn, and would also highly recommend it. Her story is illuminating and her writing style luminous.

amy said...

Feminist groups are not silent about treatment of women under Islam.

http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/news_results.asp?Body=lashes>

http://feministing.com/archives/008203.html#comments>

http://feministing.com/archives/008097.html#comments

http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=10670

http://www.feministpeacenetwork.org/2007/11/26/saudis-threaten-additional-sentence-to-rape-victim-if-she-appeals/

http://www.msmagazine.com/news/uswirestory.asp?id=9984

What exactly would satisfy all those who say American feminists don't care about treatment of Muslim women? They DO speak out about it. Should Islamic treatment of women become American feminists number one issue?

Simon said...

Amy, they could start by recognizing - as Phyllis Chesler has - that perhaps Islam poses a greater theat to women's freedom than abortion, gender identify, gay marraige, conservatism, and all the myriad other issues that they devote disproportionately more concern to instead. They need to recognize that it is these barbarians who pose the real threat to women's freedom around the world.

Having singled Valenti out for criticism in the past, I do want to go out of my way to again recognize that when the story about the Saudi woman came out, Valenti was one of the very, very few on the left to post about it at all, let alone to label it as the inhumanity that it really is. That's to her credit.

Should it be the number one issue? I detect sarcasm in the question that's unwarranted. What's the argument that it shouldn't be? Should American feminists measure their level of concern about a given practice by its inhumanity towards women or by its proximity to their home?

knoxwhirled said...

Great comments, Simon.

Amy,
FWIW, I personally would like feminism to focus on the most egregious abuses of women, wherever they happen. While it's not perfect for women here in the US, in other parts of the world--as we all know--women are subjected to genital mutilation, rape, etc. with no one to defend or even speak out for them.

As feminists persist in focusing on more trivial problems, they will be increasingly seen as ineffectual and irrelevant in the struggles of women in the Islamic world. And everywhere, for that matter.

Short answer: yes, in today's world, Islamic treatment of women should become American feminists' number one issue.

paul a'barge said...

You want to fix these folks? Convert them to Christianity.

From Inwood said...

As someone once said "it's those 99% of Muslims who are giving all the others a bad name.
Amy

If some benighted male says something silly which offends some female somewhere, NOW & other similar organizations are out shouting from the rooftops & making this the issue of the century & attributing it to all males & the patriarchal society we inhabit & about which something must be done & done, um, NOW.

Their calmness in considering endemic Muslim anti-feminism is, then, well let's just say out of proportion.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Most of the American Muslim establishment is comprised of Islamist groups claiming to be moderates. True moderate Muslims reject Islamic supremacy and Sharia; embrace religious equality and democracy.
Poll: Who is a moderate Muslim?