What took place at the debate is nothing new.
Our opponents, Ayyaz Mahmood and Jonathan Butterworth, were quick to brush aside any evidence of Sharia law’s negation of human rights by saying that none of it is true Islam nor is it mentioned in the Koran. They say this even though they know full well that Sharia law is based not only on the Koran but the Hadith (sayings and actions of Mohammad) and Islamic jurisprudence.
Stoning is one such example. Proponents will dishonestly say that stoning is not mentioned in the Koran knowing full well that is mentioned in the Hadith and that it is part and parcel of Sharia law:
At the debate, when I asked the speakers and audience whether there is a Hadith on stoning to prove my point, I was given an emphatic ‘no’. But here’s why, according to Ayyaz Mahmood (in comments):
‘Had Maryam asked me, “Has the Holy Prophet (sa) ever ordered that a man be stoned to death?” To this, I would have had to answer yes, and then hope and pray that the moderator would give me a minute or two (which isn’t really enough) to explain the whole background of those specific Ahadith… But of course, at the time, the opportunity did not afford itself to give this entire explanation. So I gave her the direct answer to her question, which was a big, “NO”. Only to silence her. Because I didn’t want to get into this whole issue during the debate…’
Which brings us to the other thing they always do and that is to speak about context and interpretation as if it will help change our minds on stoning, wife beating and the like.
Take the example of the sura in the Koran, which says that men are the maintainers of women and good women are obedient. If men fear desertion, the women can be admonished, confined and beaten (The Women, 4.34). When this is brought up at the debate, Ayazz Mahmood says that Islam only permits violence as a last resort and requires that there be no marks left on the woman’s body!!!
As Mansoor Hekmat says: ‘I realise that the interests of some require that they rescue Islam (as much as possible) from the wrath of those who have witnessed the indescribable atrocities of or been victimised by Islamists. I also realise that the extent of these atrocities and holocausts is such that even some Islamists themselves do not want to take responsibility for them. So it is natural that the debate on ‘true Islam’ vis-à-vis ‘practical Islam’ is broached over and over again. These justifications, however, are foolish from my point of view (that of a communist and atheist) and from the points of views of those of us who have seen or been the victims of Islam’s crimes. They are foolish for those of us who are living through a colossal social, political and intellectual struggle with this beast. The doctrinal and Koranic foundations of Islam, the development of Islam’s history, and the political identity and affiliation of Islam and Islamists in the battle between reaction and freedom in our era are too obvious to allow the debate on the various interpretations of Islam and the existence or likelihood of other interpretations to be taken seriously.
‘…In Islam, be it true or untrue, the individual has no rights or dignity. In Islam, the woman is a slave. In Islam, the child is on par with animals. In Islam, freethinking is a sin deserving of punishment. Music is corrupt. Sex without permission and religious certification, is the greatest of sins. This is the religion of death. In reality, all religions are such but most religions have been restrained by freethinking and freedom-loving humanity over hundreds of years. This one was never restrained or controlled. With every move, it brings abominations and misery.’ (Mansoor Hekmat, Islam and De-Islamisation)
Enough said for now, though I must come back to other questions raised on Aisha’s age when she ‘married’ Mohammad – 18 and a half not 6 according to them, that ‘there is no compulsion in Islam’, and on the concept of respect, equality and free expression at a later date.
By the way, if you do have time and are bored out of your minds, it would do good to read the full comments made on the blog, Art of Misinformation.
On how emotional and deficient in intelligence I am (yes it does sound like the Koran talking – yet again)