You don’t need to speak Arabic to know that Sharia stinks


I had a ball in Sheffield when I went to speak about Sharia law at the invitation of the Sheffield Humanist group. Some Islamists came to the meeting to try and win their case. Poor things. They spent the entire time giving me the evil eye and whispering about their strategy and all they could muster was this: one of them got up at the end of my talk and said something in Arabic. I responded in Persian. But of course his point was how a person could speak about sharia when they don’t speak Arabic.

Err well lots of people.

Islamists can’t have it both ways. They say that they represent a billion or more ‘Muslims’ – many of whom don’t speak a word of Arabic. But if you speak against Sharia – you’re not allowed to unless you speak Arabic. (Oh and if you do speak Arabic, they have other excuses up their sleeves.)

Well, I’ll tell you how I can speak about Sharia – I have lived through it and survived to tell the tale of its medievalism and barbarity.

But as an aside, according to this piece of ‘logic’, someone should have told the black South African that s/he couldn’t resist racial Apartheid because s/he couldn’t speak Afrikaans…

By the way, some woman came up at the end of the session to say that I should have been nicer to the poor chap since he made a valid point!? Yes, let’s leave it to the well meaning to feel sorry for the Islamist…

Anyway, the video of the very fun night should be available soon and when it is I will be sure to post it for you.

Comments

  1. eric says

    What a silly argument (the Islamist made). I don’t care what anyone’s books or beliefs say per se. I care about how they implement those beliefs – how they act in the real world.

    What matters is what your law says. That goes for all ideologies, whether you are creating law based on the Bible, the Koran, or Moby Dick. And, as Miryam pointed out, one only has to be able to read (or live under) that law to be legitimately able to complain about it.

  2. Martyn N Hughes says

    So if we were to take that particular Islamist at face value, it could be argued that sharia should only be practiced in Arabic speaking countries?

    Mmm, a thought comes to mind and one that many people would like, but just because I’m fair, let’s have no sharia.

    Anywhere!

  3. Upright Ape says

    Great job as always.
    I do see parallels between this and the “criticism “is of Dawkins on the ground that he doesn’t have a degree in theology.

  4. noastronomer says

    “You don’t need to speak Arabic to know that Sharia stinks”

    Just like you don’t need to know Greek to laugh at the bible.

    “They say that they represent a billion or more ‘Muslims’ – the vast majority of whom don’t speak a word of Arabic.”

    FTFY. Since I’m sure virtually no-one in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh or India speaks Arabic. From Wikipedia that’s a total of 707 million non-Arabic speaking muslims in just those four countries.

    Mike.

    • says

      FTFY. Since I’m sure virtually no-one in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh or India speaks Arabic. From Wikipedia that’s a total of 707 million non-Arabic speaking muslims in just those four countries.

      Saying that “virtually no-one” speaks Arabic in those countries is stating it far too strongly. It’s like saying that virtually no one outside of Italy speaks Latin.

      It used to be the case that, due to the enduring influence of the Roman Empire and the Catholic Church, a significant number of educated people in many European countries had some knowledge of Latin. Upper class Brits, for example, would have to learn Greek and Latin as part of their standard well-rounded education. Though Latin classes are not so popular these days, at least some people, particularly Roman Catholic priests, biblical scholars etc., in countries from England to Russia are still likely to be acquainted with the language to various degrees.

      A similar situation exists with Arabic in the countries you listed. Most people cannot speak it, but as the liturgical language of Islam, it has been a prestige language for some time. There are no shortage of sheikhs and mullahs in those countries who are held in great esteem for their Arabic knowledge, and pious parents who might speak Bengali, Urdu, Hindi or Bahasa Indonesia at home will send their children to madrassas or private tutors for Arabic lessons. This might be basic Qur’an recitation or full lessons with Arabic vocabulary, grammar and literature.

      “Most Muslims can’t speak Arabic” is a very reasonable statement. “Virtually no one in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan or Indonesia speaks Arabic” is a much stronger statement and simply incorrect.

      Most people in England don’t speak Latin. But to say that virtually no one in England speaks Latin is wrong… Intelligis?

  5. Hassan Radwan says

    They love to hide behind the “You can’t speak Arabic” ploy – even those who themselves can’t speak Arabic (which is 80% of Muslims) use this argument – hilarious!

  6. Hassan Radwan says

    Oh and if one must be able to speak Arabic to understand and critique Shari’ah Law – then it should cannot be accepted or applied to anyone who cannot speak Arabic since they are unable to make a free and informed choice about it!

    According to this logic, of course.

  7. maxamillion says

    But of course his point was how a person could speak about sharia when they don’t speak Arabic.

    It is a very bad argument and it borders on “special pleading”?

  8. says

    If he was making the point that some critics of Sharia don’t know enough about Islamic culture, that’s fair enough. But you don’t need to speak Arabic or study sophisticated theology to understand the practical consequences of applying a religious law to a secular society. And that’s what One Law For All is doing.

    So, it was a silly argument, almost as silly as this one:

    I am the reincarnation of Enki, God-king of Babylon. All must bow before me and worship my all-seeing power. I declare myself king of the entire world. If you wish to disagree, you first have to learn Babylonian, Akkadian and Ancient Sumerian, and then we’ll talk. Otherwise I won’t take you seriously, because you obviously don’t understand Babylonian theology.

  9. theophontes 777 says

    @ OP

    s/he couldn’t resist racial Apartheid because s/he couldn’t speak Afrikaans…

    … and of course s/he would have to be male and a member of the Broederbond.

    (transl: brotherhood – the analogy is even more apt than many may realise.)

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