A Muslim woman, Heba Raouf Ezzat, defends Sharia at the German site Qantara.de, with thanks to Ali Dashti, who notes: “The Arabic word ‘qantara’ means ‘bridge.’ The Internet portal Qantara.de represents the concerted effort of the Federal Center for Political Education, Deutsche Welle, the Goethe Institut and the Institute for Foreign Relations to promote dialogue with the Islamic world. The project is funded by the German Foreign Office.”
The Sharia law is not only compatible with human rights but also the most effective way to achieve human rights. Human rights violations in Muslim countries – whose regimes are usually supported by Western allies – are not due to Sharia law.
The violence in Islamic countries is mainly exercised by the state and dates back to the post-colonial era. There was an attempt to secularize the different laws of the Islamic societies and to remove Sharia. The legal systems of the late French and British colonial powers were seen as a model for the judicial reformation and as a basis for modernising the state.
However, these new secular and socialist regimes were totalitarian. They manipulated the up to then independent traditional religious institutions and appointed the heads of religious bodies and universities. Islam, when reduced to a penal code, was used to violate human rights.
Modern Islamic intellectuals were influenced by this. In their eyes the state was the means by which society and religion were being reshaped. In order to achieve an Islamic renaissance – and that is why Sharia has become the marker of the Muslim state — they tried to get their hands on the state.
It’s interesting in this connection that just yesterday I posted Azzam Tamimi’s criticism of Khaled Abou El Fadl, which centered on El Fadl’s willingness to reinterpret Sharia law:
He gives an example how Shari’ah may be re-interpreted so as to conform to the values he believes to be absolute and universal. For example, El Fadl would like to abrogate the Qur’anic rule (Al-Ma’idah, 5:38) concerning the penalty for theft El Fadl, because he thinks it is inhumane and unjust even if his view is contrary to the understanding and practice of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself and of his Companions and the scholars of Islam through the ages.
Does Heba Raouf Ezzat think that the amputation of hands for theft is compatible with human rights? Stoning for adultery? Death for apostasy? These are not the results of secularism or Westernization. These are pure Sharia. Would she deny that, or deny that they are incompatible with human rights? Either way, do her words then have any value at all?