The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Ayaan Hersi Ali, a true Moslem hero who is trying, against all odds, to save Islam from the Islamist Extremists who are growing in number and influence across the Moslem world, has written an excellent op-ed in the NYT .

In it she discusses three recent cases in which Sharia law has been applied in ways that should make any thoughtful person regardless of religion recoil in horror:
A 20-year-old woman from Qatif, Saudi Arabia, reported that she had been abducted by several men and repeatedly raped. But judges found the victim herself to be guilty. Her crime is called “mingling”: when she was abducted, she was in a car with a man not related to her by blood or marriage, and in Saudi Arabia, that is illegal. Last month, she was sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes with a bamboo cane.

Two hundred lashes are enough to kill a strong man. Women usually receive no more than 30 lashes at a time, which means that for seven weeks the “girl from Qatif,” as she’s usually described in news articles, will dread her next session with Islamic justice. 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.

We also saw Islamic justice in action in Sudan, when a 54-year-old British teacher named Gillian Gibbons was sentenced to 15 days in jail before the government pardoned her this week; she could have faced 40 lashes. When she began a reading project with her class involving a teddy bear, Ms. Gibbons suggested the children choose a name for it. They chose Muhammad; she let them do it. This was deemed to be blasphemy.

Then there’s Taslima Nasreen, the 45-year-old Bangladeshi writer who bravely defends women’s rights in the Muslim world. Forced to flee Bangladesh, she has been living in India. But Muslim groups there want her expelled, and one has offered 500,000 rupees for her head. In August she was assaulted by Muslim militants in Hyderabad, and in recent weeks she has had to leave Calcutta and then Rajasthan. Taslima Nasreen’s visa expires next year, and she fears she will not be allowed to live in India again.

The politically correct narrative that we hear across the western world is that such cruel and even barbaric behavior has been perpetrated by only a small band of Islamic extremists. That most Moslems are moderates and abhor such behavior. But some of us, including Ms. Ali, have begun to ask why the moderates, who are said to represent the vast majority of Islam, have not risen up against extreme behavior (whether it’s misapplication of Moslem law or terrorist bombings that kill hundreds or thousands of innocents).

For example, the MSM continually misleads the American public by characterizing the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a “moderate” group. Yet CAIR remains silent on the cases noted. Maybe that’s because CAIR is a Jihadist front organization with ties to Hamas.

But if CAIR is not moderate, surely there are many moderates to be heard from. Ayaan Hersi Ali comments further:
I wish there were more Islamic moderates. For example, I would welcome some guidance from that famous Muslim theologian of moderation, Tariq Ramadan. But when there is true suffering, real cruelty in the name of Islam, we hear, first, denial from all these organizations that are so concerned about Islam’s image. We hear that violence is not in the Koran, that Islam means peace, that this is a hijacking by extremists and a smear campaign and so on. But the evidence mounts up.

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 [ 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. (Koran 24:2)]: 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.

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

When a “moderate” Muslim’s sense of compassion and conscience collides with matters prescribed by Allah, he should choose compassion. Unless that happens much more widely, a moderate Islam will remain wishful thinking.

Compassion is not 200 lashes. Compassion is not imprisonment for an innocent grade school error. Compassion is not death threats for the written word. Until moderate Moslems themselves begin to say this privately, then publish it widely, then speak it before large audiences, then demand a continuing forum via the MSM, Islam is lost.