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The Forum > Article Comments > Islamic law and women > Comments

Islamic law and women : Comments

By Chris James, published 20/3/2009

The invasion of Sharia Law into western philosophy and culture has started with its acceptance in the UK.

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Tell it to the Muslims, dearie.
Posted by Leigh, Friday, 20 March 2009 9:21:10 AM
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At the end of the day the godless secular humanist lack of values will result in this barbaric harsh religion taking dominance in many places. Most have rejected Christianity which brought more dignity to woman than any other philosophy and religion. The further we have moved from Christian values the more degenerate we have become. Secularism just leads girls to become sluts or men haters. Women are now viewed largely as sex objects thanks to the triumph of secular thinking. Obama has already given his nod in Pakistan (talk about double standards) to Sharia law. The only good I see coming from Sharia law is that the number of murdered unborn babies will decrease. The rest will be horrendous for anyone who enjoys freedom. I pray Britain and Australia turn back to the God who prospered them so richly in times past.
Posted by runner, Friday, 20 March 2009 10:07:32 AM
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There is so little substance to this piece, it is tempting to dismiss it as just another whack-a-mozzie rant. But I will try hard to avoid doing that.

The leap from Sayyid Qutb to Al-Zawahri to our very own door-kicking Sheik is just a little tenuous. Although it cannot be denied that al-Hilali's outbursts indicate a similar ultra-mysogynist tendency.

The connection is presumably intended to indicate a world-wide conspiracy. Unfortunately, given the happy Sheik's latest shenanigans, we can all clearly see what we are dealing with.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25208451-5013404,00.html

Not a particularly convincing international conspiracist, I would suggest. Certainly not to be taken seriously.

What else?

The "Sharia Law in UK" story is once again dragged out for us to shriek about. It was extensively covered in this forum last year, when it was pointed out that the mechanism was simply an arbitration tribunal, whose resolution required the agreement of both parties.

And that...

"Jewish Beth Din courts operate under the same provision in the Arbitration Act and resolve civil cases, ranging from divorce to business disputes. They have existed in Britain for more than 100 years"

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4749183.ece

I am sure that there was a similar outcry a hundred years ago, that Beth Din courts represented the thin end of the legal wedge, and that all men in the UK would in short order be wandering about with broad-brimmed black hats and those long curly sideburn thingies.

So what are we left with?

Ah yes.

"Let me be clear, I am not anti-Muslim or anti-immigration."

Sounds remarkably like "I'm not a racist, but..."

Absolutely.
Posted by Pericles, Friday, 20 March 2009 10:12:58 AM
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Theodore Dalrymple, in "Our culture - what's left of it" notes that, in his experience, young men converting to Islam express little knowledge of, or interest in, for example, such tenets of Islamic faith as dietary restrictions or zakat, but they are very interested in, and passionate about, how Islam lets them assert control over women.

Christianity fares little better - certainly not when some of the fundamental pillars of Christian belief, the Ten Commandments, expressly state that women are property, or the Bible approvingly speaks of sexual slavery and mass rape.

Oh, and thank you, runner, for another example of how religion - any religion - poisons everything.
Posted by Clownfish, Friday, 20 March 2009 10:28:40 AM
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Well yes everything in this article resonates because we have enjoyed the benefits of a secular and egalitarian democracy and any threat to that is understandably unwelcome.

Sharia Law along with the more fundamentalist Christian sects do not sit well in Western Democracies because they do not fit in with acceptable norms of social justice and equality.

runner
I wonder if you really understand what it is you write half the time. For starters your rant against secular humanists is misplaced. It is secularism that allows you to preach your views openly in a free society. You would not be able to do that living in Iran or Afghanistan.

Secondly, every Christian I know is a secular humanist - the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Posted by pelican, Friday, 20 March 2009 10:42:31 AM
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I think the key point this article tries to make is an important one. However, the context it's portrayed in risks distracting people from the central issue.

Starting with a highly contestable statement that "feminism died two decades ago" and framing most of the article around 'Islamic law' as though this is a consistent single entity, invites people to launch into debates or attacks on Islam or feminism / humanism.

The first few comments here demonstrate the point:

1 a dig at Islam,

2 an attack on "godless secular humanists" and an assertion that "christian values" "brought more dignity to woman" (sic) "than any other philosophy" (presumably including feminism).

3 An effort to clarify / correct some of the criticisms of Islam.

4 a general dig at all religions

But to me the central point of the article is the fact that "men still try to make women feel obligated to fulfil menís sexual needs".

This core message risks being lost in yet another slanging match about Islam and religion.

Contrary to portrayals in the populist press, "Sharia law" does not automatcally mean thieves having their hands chopped off or adulterers and fornicators being stoned to death in a public square.

Using a term like "Islamic law" is as vague as using a term like "Christian law" or "western law". There may be a common philosophical underpinning, but the content, interpretation and implementation of it can vary hugely from one country or culture to another. Christian and western laws and societies have many examples where women have been subjugated to men in sexual and other arenas.

Focusing on the most extreme examples of Islamic practices while ignoring deeper aspects of the issue just leads people towards a debate about Islam - which in Australia usually means people from all sides talking a lot about something they know very little about.

The key issue is women still face many circumstances where they are at worst forced, or at best strongly encouraged, to be obligated to fulfil men's sexual needs and desires, both inside a marriage and without.
Posted by AndrewBartlett, Friday, 20 March 2009 10:51:48 AM
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