As a 2011 Westhampton College graduate now working as a religion reporter and news editor, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to Qasim Rashid's Nov. 2 article, "Five Shariah insights for students at UR."
In America, we have separation of church and state. Islamic law, or Shariah, fuses church and state. Shariah is not culture, as some Muslims claim, but the religion of Islam itself. Shariah encompasses the words of Allah in the Qur'an and the words of Mohammed in the Hadith. Because Muslims believe the Qur'an is divine, its law is divine, immutable and infallible.
Allah says the goal of Islam is to take over the world (Sura 8:39), and Muslims believe human nature must be subject to Shariah. The teachings of Shariah are disturbing, and just a quick glimpse into the Qur'an is enough to discredit the practice of Shariah in America.
For example, the Qur'an says repeatedly that women are not equal to men: Women receive half the inheritance of men in the court of law (4:11); a woman's role in court is diminished (2:282); men can divorce women but women can't divorce men (2:229-30); and men can beat their wives if they merely suspect rebellion (4:34). Islamic law also dictates that women must wear burqas to cover their whole bodies except their left eye (33:59) -- it is not culture, it is law. Where is the justice, as Mr. Rashid says, in this? The U.S. Constitution says all people are created equal, but Shariah enforces patriarchy and misogyny.
Women are not the only ones oppressed under Shariah. According to Islamic law, the punishment for homosexuality is execution, as stated in the Hadith (Abu Dawud 38:4447). Need I say more?
Islamic law also teaches honor killings. Sura 6:151 says, "Do not kill the soul, which Allah forbids, except for a just cause." What is the "just cause"? Mohammed says women who commit adultery or any Muslims who kill other Muslims or leave Islam must have their blood shed. Additionally, Muslims are commanded to decapitate Jews and Christians (47:4). They are also commanded to cut off the hands of thieves no matter if one dollar or one million dollars was stolen (5:38) -- again, where is the justice in a punishment that does not match the crime?
This is just a small snapshot of the numerous dictates in Shariah that are contrary to our American constitution. American law and Islamic law can never coexist; they are the opposite of each other. Shariah is oppressive to its citizens, intolerant and excessive, whereas America is a land that offers human dignity to all. When our Constitution was deemed to be unfair to women's voting rights, it was amended, and when case law was deemed racist, it was overruled, so "liberty and justice for all" would prevail.
Immigrants have historically come to America to escape the oppression or lack of opportunity in their countries, and they were quick to adopt the freedom of America and all the benefits that go along with a free and open society. Why, then, are Muslims coming to America and trying to change our laws and Constitution rather than acclimating to them? They are the only people to do this, so obviously they must be doing so for ideological reasons.
Mr. Rashid states that Muslims do not want Shariah to rule in America and uses Sura 2:256 -- "There is no compulsion in religion" -- to support his statement. What he failed to mention was that this verse has been abrogated by subsequent Qur'an verses. Muslim scholar Ismail ibn Kathir interpreted abrogation as "the removal of a verse or the change of a verse with a newer verse, or to make something lawful which was unlawful, or vice versa."
Muslims are commanded to live by newer verses (2:106; 16:101), which supersede earlier verses. Sura 2:256, the verse that Mr. Rashid cites, has been superseded by Sura 9:5, which Muslim scholars call "the verse of the sword," and which states: "So kill the idolaters wherever you find them ..." An idolater to Muslims is anyone who worships any god but Allah. Sura 9:5 abrogates a total of 124 earlier verses in the Qur'an that were conciliatory toward Jews and Christians. As you read through the Qur'an, you see increasingly inflammatory and hate-filled language in later verses. More than 265 verses in 71 chapters of the Qur'an have been abrogated -- a contradiction to the belief that it is immutable and infallible.
For Mr. Rashid to state that Muslims do not want Shariah to rule in America is simply not true. Shariah encompasses political, economic, social and religious systems and is altogether antithetical to the American way of life. American Muslims should adhere to the U.S. Constitution and laws and stop trying to impose Shariah in this country.
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