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Mar 27 2013

How can we be multicultural if we don’t allow sharia?

Anne Marie Waters had a depressing experience a couple of weeks ago.

On Sunday, I spoke at the University of Kent’s Critical Law Society conference under the heading of ‘Equality: Are We There Yet?’

I was invited to speak alongside pro-sharia advocate Aina Khan (more on her later) and a PhD student (more on her later as well) and found myself in a not-too-unfamiliar situation of having to argue against domestic violence in opposition to a room full of “feminists”.

Having described how sharia family law in Britain allows men to beat their wives – as the testimony of women who have been through it confirms – the “feminists” weren’t quite sure whether or not they disapproved. I was met with highly accusatory questions such as How can we be multicultural if we don’t allow sharia?, and comments such as We must tolerate … well, pretty much everything from what I could make out. With the mumblings and applause in favour of my opponents, I was left in no doubt as to the company I was keeping.

Here’s how it seems to go: “We are feminists. We are incredibly right-on. We read the Guardian. We disapprove of women’s breasts getting a public airing and we strongly object to the fact that boards of directors are not 50% female. We will go absolutely ballistic if anyone dare understate how vile domestic violence is, or attempt in any way to justify it. We are feminists you see. Oh, but only when it comes to white women – did we mention that?”

I think I understand where it comes from. (I’m sure so does Anne Marie.) Muslims are underdogs here (here=at the University of Kent; the UK; “the West”; the developed world, the first world, the rich world). There is racism and xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. We mustn’t add to it by being critical of sharia.

It comes from a benign place, but it’s not benign itself.

I must talk a little more about Aina Khan – Britain’s favourite sharia-loving lawyer who is making quite a name for herself in such circles. I’ve heard Aina speak many times but this weekend her comments were even stranger than usual. This time, upon realising she was defending the indefensible, Khan stated that she doesn’t send her clients to the Islamic Sharia Council or the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal; the two largest sharia court bodies in the country. What they’re doing isn’t proper sharia, she said. It’s strange how this only came to light after I had read out the quotes condoning domestic violence and marital rape from ‘judges’ of both the Islamic Sharia Council and the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (people Khan has previously boasted about how wonderfully respectfully they treat her, but this time denied having any contact with them).

Anne Marie is having an effect then! Good. But not good that Aina Khan is dodging and weaving. Another thing to keep an eye on.

41 comments

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  1. 1
    Gretchen

    Multiculturalism isn’t, or should not be, cultural relativism.

    Multiculturalism should be allowing people to voluntarily carry on, individually, the customs of their culture as they see fit.
    Cultural relativism says that whatever is “the culture” of a people is good and should be valued.

    Big difference there, huh? Considering that culture is made by the powerful. Considering that when you ask what “the people” desire, what you will get is a response from the most powerful amongst those people, because the less powerful are not allowed to speak.

    It angers me to hear people actually advocate for allowing people to commit violence against each other because “it’s their culture.” Is it the culture of the person weeping on the floor? Did culture hit her and make her fall down? Or was it the asshole standing over her?

  2. 2
    johnthedrunkard

    The left will remain paralysed as long as it perpetuates Cold War rationalizations for tyranny. The moment Nasser turned to the Kremlin for support, a huge component of the western ‘Left’ became committed anti-semites (oops! anti Zionist) and pro islamist.

    I suspect the switch was as abrupt and vigorously denied as the screeching 180% reverses caused by the Hitler-Stalin pact and the Barbarrosa invasion.

    Multi-Culti is just another tool for the same purpose: avoid and supress any moral engagement that disturbs a priori beliefs.

  3. 3
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Well, we’ve got to start accommodating misogyny somewhere, right?

  4. 4
    sailor1031

    It was my understanding, when I came to live in the USA, that I was bound by the laws of the USA and my state of residence. Before that I was bound by the laws of Canada and of Ontario. When I lived in England some years back I was subject to english law. In Germany it was german law…..well you get the idea. Had I beaten my wife or anybody else it would be no excuse to say “well I’m from Northern Ontario and we frequently beat our wives. What do you expect us to when we get frustrated during those long northern winters?”

    Wife-beating or woman-beating or beating anyone at all is surely against english law. Why are certain immigrants, based on their imported religious and cultural values, to be exempt from such laws? There must be in any jurisdiction one law for all. Anything else is injustice.

    (Cuando in Roma) fai come fanno tutti!

  5. 5
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @sailor1031

    But it’s okay for my husband to beat me if we happen to be in Saudi Arabia?

  6. 6
    Will

    @Gretchen

    Cultural relativism says that whatever is “the culture” of a people is good and should be valued.

    I’m sorry, where do you get your definition of cultural relativism from?

    I see this kind of definition float around the skeptico-atheist blogosphere unchallenged and I simply must know where you are getting this information.

  7. 7
    Neil Rickert

    How can we be multicultural if we don’t allow sharia?

    That’s a good question. And it illustrates why I am opposed to multiculturalism. I embrace the idea of a diverse culture, but not of multiple distinct cultures. There has to be some give and take. If I am to embrace some of the ideas of another culture, then they have to embrace some of the ideas from my culture. They have to be able to blend together into a single culture of great diversity, and not remain entirely separate cultures.

  8. 8
    fwtbc

    Having described how sharia family law in Britain allows men to beat their wives – as the testimony of women who have been through it confirms – the “feminists” weren’t quite sure whether or not they disapproved. I was met with highly accusatory questions such as How can we be multicultural if we don’t allow sharia?, and comments such as We must tolerate … well, pretty much everything from what I could make out. With the mumblings and applause in favour of my opponents, I was left in no doubt as to the company I was keeping.

    A quote I’ve heard in many forms, I believe originally by Robert Frost: “A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.”

    It seems rather fitting here.

  9. 9
    oursally

    >But it’s okay for my husband to beat me if we happen to be in Saudi Arabia?

    Yes. He can beat you and your (his) children to death. He can sell your daughters. He can take away your passport and keep you locked up for the rest of your life*. Multiculti.

    * My first spouse actually threatened me with this. I left soon afterwards and never saw him again.

  10. 10
    Deen

    @sailor1031:

    Why are certain immigrants, based on their imported religious and cultural values, to be exempt from such laws?

    They are not. However, everyone is free to choose to settle disputes outside of court. So if both parties prefer to make use of a religious tribunal instead of a real court, they are free to do that. People choose to waive their rights all the time, like accepting end user license agreements for software, that often require you to give up your right to sue for damages caused by the software. It’s this freedom, I think, that some of the people who say things like “How can we be multicultural if we don’t allow sharia?” are trying to defend. And I get that, to a point.

    The problem, of course, is when that choice isn’t really that free to begin with – and often they aren’t. Can you really say no to a software EULA when you’ve already paid for it, and need it for your work? Similarly, can you really say no to a Sharia court if your standing in the community depended on it? If you would lose your friends, your family, your job, and possibly even your safety, if you disagreed with the Sharia court, are you really free in making that decision?

  11. 11
    Simon

    I asked Anne Marie a few days ago on twitter to give examples of influential UK feminists that advocate for Sharia and I didn’t get a response.

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    Did she limit it to influential feminists?

    She did specify some feminists she had in mind right in the article, so maybe she thought your question was just trolling.

    She was talking about avowed feminists who hesitate to criticize sharia as well as those who advocate for it. I think those who actually advocate for it are a pretty rare breed, but I don’t recall that Anne Marie said otherwise.

  13. 13
    Deen

    @Simon: I doubt you’d find any that would argue in favor of Sharia, just many who refuse to argue against it. Which is bad enough, really. Besides, I don’t think she claimed any of the women in that room were influential feminists. So I’m not sure that you issued a fair challenge.

  14. 14
    Simon

    No, that was my question. In her article, she mentions a PhD student as well as people in the audience.

    Her argument sounds very much like the “pro-multiculturalism/pro moral-relativism” trope against unnamed liberals we constantly hear. In this case it’s feminists who are substituted for liberals.

    However I am willing to be charitable and ask about any influential feminists who simply hesitate to criticize Sharia.

    Waters claims this view is common among ordinary feminists. Assuming that were true, we would expect to find at least a few mentions by well known feminists…perhaps in The Guardian?

  15. 15
    Ophelia Benson

    No she doesn’t claim that. She says it was a common view at that event. That doesn’t cash out to “among ordinary feminists.”

    I’ll have to get you and Maryam together at WiS, and then sit down to listen.

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    And as for the Guardian – the Guardian is packed with that kind of thing. I’ve been pointing it out for years.

    Where’ve you been? Remember the pineapple? Rhys’s classmates? The UCL SU trying to force the Atheist group to remove the Jesus and Mo cover from its Facebook page? The LSE SU censuring its Atheist group for “Islamophobia” because it supported the UCL group? Maryam’s rally for free expression in February 2012 because of all this? Anthony Grayling was one of the speakers (Dawkins was another). Maybe he could fill you in.

  17. 17
    Simon

    “At the event” I have no problem believing. Audience make-up is largely a matter of who organized it and promoted it.

    The title of her blog however is “Sharia Law and Middle Class Feminism”, and to me at least it comes across as trying to make a broader point. If that is not the case, then I apologize for misunderstanding.

    Where’ve you been? Remember the pineapple? Rhys’s classmates? The UCL SU trying to force the Atheist group to remove the Jesus and Mo cover from its Facebook page? The LSE SU censuring its Atheist group for “Islamophobia” because it supported the UCL group? Maryam’s rally for free expression in February 2012 because of all this? Anthony Grayling was one of the speakers (Dawkins was another). Maybe he could fill you in.

    I am aware of all this. But none of these are feminist groups as best I can tell.

  18. 18
    Ophelia Benson

    Well but “comes across as” is slightly…tricky. If there’s really nothing in the article that bears that out, then how it comes across to you is probably not Anne Marie’s fault. I don’t see much that does bear it out. She says the experience is “not unfamiliar” – but that doesn’t suprise me in the least. The really hostile reviews of Does God Hate Women? were all in lefty papers or mags, all shocked shocked by how harsh we were toward Islam.

  19. 19
    Ophelia Benson

    On the other hand – I too have spent a good deal of time correcting people who shout “where are the feminists??!!1″ – I have said ahem, Katha Pollitt, Joan Smith, Polly Toynbee, etc etc, not to mention Maryam herself.

    But Anne Marie isn’t shouting that.

  20. 20
    sailor1031

    @deen:

    read it again: “Having described how sharia family law in Britain allows men to beat their wives – as the testimony of women who have been through it confirms – the “feminists” weren’t quite sure whether or not they disapproved. I was met with highly accusatory questions such as How can we be multicultural if we don’t allow sharia?,”

    Are you saying that it’s okay to beat a woman if she has voluntarily given up the right not be beaten by opting for a sharia court? In a country where beating people is against the criminal law? This isn’t a matter of negotiating! You might want to rethink that – if you can.

    @Ibis3; no. To me it’s not acceptable whether in the UK or SA or anyplace else. Unfortunately women don’t get the choice in SA. And unfortunately all too many women in the UK don’t know what their rights are so they don’t get to choose either. That’s why sharia has to go.

  21. 21
    Simon

    But Anne Marie isn’t shouting that.

    If her piece had a different title (which I understand editors often choose), I might be more inclined to agree with you.

  22. 22
    Deen

    @sailor1031:

    read it again: “Having described how sharia family law in Britain allows men to beat their wives – as the testimony of women who have been through it confirms – the “feminists” weren’t quite sure whether or not they disapproved. I was met with highly accusatory questions such as How can we be multicultural if we don’t allow sharia?,”

    I did read it again, and added the emphasis. Yes, Sharia family law allows men to beat their wives. That doesn’t mean that UK law does. It also doesn’t mean that immigrants or anyone else are exempt from those laws, like you suggested in #4:

    Why are certain immigrants, based on their imported religious and cultural values, to be exempt from such laws?

    Any woman who gets beaten by her husband can still file criminal charges in the normal UK justice system. The problem isn’t that these women aren’t protected by UK law. They are. The problem is that these women are pressured into not using this protection.

    Are you saying that it’s okay to beat a woman if she has voluntarily given up the right not be beaten by opting for a sharia court?

    No, I’m not saying that. Where did you get the crazy idea I did? It sure isn’t anywhere in my comment. In fact, I very explicitly questioned the idea that the rights are given up voluntarily to begin with.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    Simon – that’s it? That’s all you’ve got? The title, therefore Anne-Marie is shouting “where are the feminists??!!1″? Doesn’t that seem a little skimpy to you?

  24. 24
    Simon

    I didn’t say she is. I’m simply not convinced she isn’t (making a broader statement about UK feminists that is-I would call what she’s doing “shouting”). To me the article could be read either way. That is why I reached out to her on twitter. Because I don’t want to jump to conclusions.

    And no, it’s not just the title.

    There’s the line about the “not-too-unfamiliar situation” for instance as well. Which suggests that this phenomenon is not confined only to the one event.

    Anyhow, I have reached out via email and linked to this comment thread so that the author herself can clarify.

  25. 25
    Simon

    Ack. Correction. I meant to say “…I wouldn’t call what she’s doing “shouting”)”

  26. 26
    Bruce Gorton

    I oppose culture entirely, so I don’t really have the problem raised here.

    @Deen

    Any woman who gets beaten by her husband can still file criminal charges in the normal UK justice system. The problem isn’t that these women aren’t protected by UK law. They are. The problem is that these women are pressured into not using this protection.

    South Africa has very progressive laws, we still have corrective rape. Laws mean nothing if a culture of ignoring those laws is allowed to perpetuate itself.

    If Sharia courts are operating this way, it has much the same effect as if there were two systems of law in place.

  27. 27
    Anne Marie Waters

    Simon, I am afraid I have received no tweet.

    I am not entirely sure what your issue is; I suspect you’re a person who denies that there is silence or complicity from the liberal/left and/or feminism on sharia and related issues.

    To be honest, I feel no desire to persuade you. I have been working with various different women’s groups for years, and it is a depressingly common scenario: mention the word “sharia” and everything changes…. even the atmosphere. I’ve been called an Islamophobe by so-called “liberals” more times than I can count.

    It is incredibly disappointing to find your natural political constituency so poisoned – not by everybody obviously (surely you know that without needing to be told) and there are still many many great campaigners on the left, but some of my political comrades lose all sense of principle when Islam is involved. I’ve had active feminists tell me that sharia needs to be “looked at in a cultural context”.

    I had a very interesting evening with a woman deeply involved in the campaign to prevent barristers asking women about their clothing/behaviour following a rape. She was ok with burkas though, because that’s culture.

    I don’t know where you live, but here in Britain we have a very well-known (and one that includes many major left-wing figures among its leadership) “anti-fascist” organisation called Unite Against Fascism. I used to truly admire this group. It took part in counter-protests against One Law for All (shouting “allahu akbar”) with a group who call for a sharia state in Britain with all the stonings and beheadings etc, and in which women would be property with no rights.

    Members of a major gay rights campaign once told me that I was “propping up the EDL” (English Defence League) when I told them of the murder of gay teenagers in Iran.

    Members of a mainstream left-wing group I am involved with told me that we mustn’t mention FGM as it might “alienate” local Somalis.

    Look at the Fawcett Society’s website, do a search for ‘sharia’ and see what you find. You’ll find nothing. Perhaps the largest feminist organistion in the UK and its got nothing at all to say on sharia.

    Obama, a man who says wonderful things about women’s rights in the US, also supports and rushes to congratulate the Muslim Brotherhood… the organisation which won’t sign a resolution to prevent violence against women and which would enslave all women if it could.

    “That’s different, that’s different, that’s different”. That is what I hear from vast numbers of left-wing, feminist, or liberal campaigners when I mention sharia.

    Well yes, perhaps it is. The difference being that it takes courage to be consistent and principled, and it is far easier to go with the prevailing wind, not rock the boat, and do nothing while women are trampled upon.

    By the way, just to finish, here is Germaine Greer defending FGM.

  28. 28
    Rutee Katreya

    with a group who call for a sharia state in Britain with all the stonings and beheadings etc, and in which women would be property with no rights.

    Sauce Plox. Essentially every time I’ve seen a British person say this, and actually rooted around about their claims, I found it was muslims asking for their religious arbitration services to stop being treated as wrong on the grounds of their religion (Which is an entirely fair request that the same applies to Christians and Jews – mind you that arbitration can’t flout civil or criminal law, also). At this point, ‘groups calling for sharia’ doesn’t mean that when white people say it, at least IME.

    Look at the Fawcett Society’s website, do a search for ‘sharia’ and see what you find. You’ll find nothing. Perhaps the largest feminist organistion in the UK and its got nothing at all to say on sharia.

    Unless I’ve been sleeping a lot longer than my clock indicates, that seems entirely fair, because Sharia is never going to happen in Britain.

    Obama, a man who says wonderful things about women’s rights in the US, also supports and rushes to congratulate the Muslim Brotherhood… the organisation which won’t sign a resolution to prevent violence against women and which would enslave all women if it could.

    Yeah, that was pretty fucking awful. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is seriously bad.

    I had a very interesting evening with a woman deeply involved in the campaign to prevent barristers asking women about their clothing/behaviour following a rape. She was ok with burkas though, because that’s culture.

    …’okay with burqas’ = what, exactly? That it’s okay if they exist, and some women choose to wear them for their own reasons (Which most certainly can include pressures to conform and the like, which is terrible)? Or that it’s okay that they’re forced on women?

    Members of a major gay rights campaign once told me that I was “propping up the EDL” (English Defence League) when I told them of the murder of gay teenagers in Iran.

    It’d depend on context, I suppose. Because I am pretty freakin’ tired of cis heteros talking about Iran and gay rights as a cudgel against those backwards Iranians, whom are one of the small number of states who will pay for the overwhelming majority of transition costs. Their reasons for this really are horrible (It’s to ‘cure’ gayness, you see), but that is still miles ahead of most of the West on another minority who is discriminated against en masse in said West.

    By the way, just to finish, here is Germaine Greer defending FGM.

    Nnnno, she says making it illegal will hurt people (including women) will hurt more than leaving it legal – it should be opposed socially. This is not giving me confidence in the accuracy of your reporting.

  29. 29
    Anne Marie Waters

    Rutee Katreya, I was almost not going to bother as you are almost a parody of exactly the people I’m talking about, but I feel like making the effort.

    UAF stood with Muslims Against Crusades (who have since been banned, and have many time openly called for full criminal penalties of sharia in Britain – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/muslims-against-crusades-banned-by-theresa-may-6259904.html) Do your own research.

    “Sharia is not going to happen in Britain”. equalandfree.org/ This is just one, you can find the rest yourself.

    If you don’t see any feminist issue with the burqa, then I can’t help you. But then I’m guessing I can’t anyway.

  30. 30
    Simon

    Thank you for clarifying Anne Marie. I live in the US and am not as familiar with UK politics.

  31. 31
    Rutee Katreya

    Rutee Katreya, I was almost not going to bother as you are almost a parody of exactly the people I’m talking about, but I feel like making the effort.

    Cool, and as long as we’re playing pretend that our perceptions of the other matter, from where I’m sitting you look like a bog-standard racist white person.

    Do your own research.

    I have. The number of groups that want to set up Sharia is so dwarfed by the number of people who do actually want equal rights that it’s laughable. It is almost exactly equivalent to pointing to the few second wavers who actually do want to discriminate against men, and have exactly as good a set of odds of doing so as muslims have of enacting Sharia in the UK, and saying “ALL FEMINISTS HATE MEN”.

    This is just one, you can find the rest yourself.

    I didn’t contest that at least two people would want to. You’ll notice I specified that they are actually CAPABLE of it. And they aren’t. Again, the rare second-wavers who actually would discriminate against men, vs. the reality that they can’t.

    If you don’t see any feminist issue with the burqa, then I can’t help you. But then I’m guessing I can’t anyway.

    I don’t see a special issue for the burqa that doesn’t exist against white women conforming to liberal patriarchy’s expectation of cleavage and legs. It is terrible when Burqas are required, and the social pressure into wearing them is awful. But I don’t see any problems with them existing, or with some women choosing to wear them. And no, I don’t think you can ‘help’ me, thank the Madogoddess.

  32. 32
    Ophelia Benson

    Ugh. The parody returns.

  33. 33
    Rutee Katreya

    Heh. I’m welcome when I’m pointing out all the ahistorical bullshit JohnathanGray posts about women, but heavens forfend I think you make a mistake, eh? That’s when I’m parody. *Shakes head* Ah well, no better than I expect from anyone else.

  34. 34
    Simon

    I think it’s quite sensible to have a robust and sensible civil resistance to Sharia in the UK even if capabilities are not there now. If Sharia groups are organizing this should be a concern.

    This isn’t the best comparison and I’m not equating the chances for success, but up until 2009 Golden Dawn was just a bunch of thugs in Athens that only the crazy lefty anarchists organized against. Polite society in the majority left-leaning country mostly dismissed the threat. Now they are the third most popular political party.

  35. 35
    Rutee Katreya

    If Sharia groups are organizing this should be a concern.

    So to be blunt, MRAs are sensible in organizing against second-wavers that actually, factually would discriminate against men if given power? Even though they’re not in power, and never will be, because simply acquiring little teensy crumbs of equality is like pulling teeth, and someone who would actually harm the majority is basically impossible to get into power (and even if they took the position, would have precisely none of the support they need to PRACTICALLY do anything).

    This isn’t the best comparison and I’m not equating the chances for success,

    Yeah, the differences in chances of success is ENTIRELY relevant here. Disproportionate responses to disproportionate threats smacks of every stupid asshole trick I’ve seen bigots pull on me personally.

    but up until 2009 Golden Dawn was just a bunch of thugs in Athens that only the crazy lefty anarchists organized against. Polite society in the majority left-leaning country mostly dismissed the threat. Now they are the third most popular political party.

    Hokay, so explain to me the logic behind ‘a political minority made up of cis, hetero, Greeks operating on general bigotry, the human default, managed to gain political ground, therefore a disunited group with major ethnic, religious, and national differences, from a marginalized minority, can gain serious ground and threaten to overturn the majority’s rules entirely’. I want to know the middle steps here. Hey, we’ll call it personal interest. If this logic will owrk that’ll work for a disunited, spat upon minority that lacks both numbers and political power, it’s gotta work for women – I mean, we’re at least a numerical majority, or are only a percentage point or two away from it.

  36. 36
    Rutee Katreya

    Apologies,

    but up until 2009 Golden Dawn was just a bunch of thugs in Athens that only the crazy lefty anarchists organized against. Polite society in the majority left-leaning country mostly dismissed the threat. Now they are the third most popular political party.

    was from Simon.

    Oh hey, and as long as the majority is justified in organizing against minority takeover and reverse -ism, then hey, that means Republicans are off scot-free for worrying about feminists.

    Also, fyi, if Sharia groups are organizing, their biggest enemies are each other. There are an unholy number of Sharia Laws, and they all have to figure out who’s going to be first. It’s like the idea behind declaring the USA a ‘Christian Nation’. It sounds pretty united to outsiders, until you realize that means all the Christians have to fight to the death to determine which form of Christian Nation it is (Because there is about a 0% chance in hell that Fundagelicals will roll over and let the hippy jesus types say that it’s their sort of Christianity that the nation represents).

  37. 37
    Simon

    OK, thank you for reminding me of a much better example from Greece. I grew up there so you’ll forgive me if I keep bringing it up. Little known to most, is the fact that Greece is currently the only place in Europe where Sharia law was actually enforced to some extent as recently as 2006 (perhaps even still but I don’t have a more recent article) and affected family law. The enforcement is for northeastern Greece were there is a large Muslim minority and this originates with the treaty of Lausanne. So for instance Muslim men can marry non-Muslim women but not vice versa. Inheritance is divided unequally. Men can unilaterally dissolve marriages but not vice versa. And on it goes. Here’s the article in Greek if you wish to translate: http://www.iospress.gr/ios2006/ios20061224.htm

    The article also points out that in neighboring Turkey, Sharia was outlawed in 1926.

    Again, not the UK. etc. etc.

  38. 38
    Rutee Katreya

    Greece not being the UK is, again, relevant, because in the UK, a teensy % of the population identifies as a muslim immigrant, or even as muslim at all. If fthey all teamed up they’d… still have jack-all representation. And they’re not that inclined to teaming up, at least in the UK, because it’s drawn from immigrants from a number of places. Again: The overwhelming majority of muslims in the UK aren’t for Sharia. That’s the tiny bit of the population that might actually go for it.

    Regarding Greece, I’m afraid I can’t translate, but I can see how a treaty would set up some pretty extraordinary circumstances. And you know, if you have a treaty that stipulates that Sharia is to be the rule of law in a province or city for a population, and you have a binding obligation to honor this treaty, and you are honoring this treaty, that is grounds for concern that a British citizen flatly doesn’t have, and they’re worrisome for the women there, trapped under it, yes (And please, by all means, try to work with the women who are affected by it – they probably had solutions before you even heard about the problem) But it still doesn’t mean that the USian Religious Right, or the British Right, or the German or Danish or most other far Rights, are correct in flailing about how muslims all want sharia law and are going to CHANGE OUR LEGAL SYSTEM. If there’s no chance it can happen, it’s just racist fearmongering even if they’re serious (and most don’t even want it, so…)

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Rutee Katreya

    ‘Sharia court’ in the Telegraph parlance refers to civil arbitration services – civil arbitration services are entirely legal, and have been legally recognized when carried out by Christians and Jews. And mind you, I mean that Christians and Jews in the UK have arbitration services that outright state they make their decisions based on religious codes of law. I don’t know how greek law operates, but in English law, an arbitration service is bound by extant civil and criminal law, and these ‘sharia courts’ only settle disputes that are already in the purview of civil arbitration.

    This is ‘truth’ for a definition of truth that doesn’t recognize the usefulness of facts and reality. And notice that those are 2k6 poll numbers with a not-strong sample size that even at face value, outright state a strong majority of the what, 2% of the population that MIGHT want sharia law, don’t actually want sharia law. As I said, powerless.

  41. 41
    cjskinner28

    There are many cultures I would want to coexist with such as slavery, and that is exactly what Sharia is for women. They are held prisoners is a black tent, tortured with genital mutilation, confined to their homes, beaten legally . . do I need to go on? Here are a few recent instances http://www.politicalislam.com/blog/bulletin-of-the-oppression-of-women-oct-15-nov-19-2012/

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