Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald examines Cherif Bassiouni’s deceptive piece in the Chicago Tribune, which I discussed in this article, and examines the real plight of apostates and dhimmis in some of the countries Bassiouni mentions:
Cherif Bassiouni is a former U.N. rapporteur for Afghanistan, and is current head of the “International Human Rights” something or other, the works. So when he engages in this kind of obvious and crude misrepresentation of Islam and of Islamic societies, the ignorant and uninformed Infidels take his words very seriously.
But just how stupid or how ignorant does Cherif Bassiouni think Infidels will remain? When he does not deal with any of the relevant Qur’anic passages or any of the many relevant stories in the Hadith, then one must ask — does he think no one among his listeners will do so? Or perhaps he does not care if he is shown up by, say, Robert Spencer, as long as what he perceives as the large and bleating masses of Infidel sheep will continue to baa-baa in ignorant unison. His contempt for Infidels is palpable.
Along the way, in his fantasy, he slips in that “1.4 billion Muslims” figure — a deliberate inflating of Muslim numbers (just the way the Sunni Arabs in Iraq are insistent that they make up not 19% of the population in Iraq, but at least 42%). Such inflation is part of Muslim We-Are-On-the-March-and-We-Are-Unstoppable propaganda, designed to scare or overawe the Infidels — the strategy of the frog that inflates its throat to appear bigger.
Having spent time recently in Afghanistan, Bassiouni dares to write that all kinds of Muslim “states have constitutions that guarantee freedom of religion, as does the Afghani constitution.” He publishes this a week or two after we have all had a good look at what happens in Afghanistan to an apostate, a Mr. Abdul Rahman (now having taken refuge in Italy), despite that “guarantee” of “freedom of religion” in the “Afghani constitution” that Cherif Bassiouni makes so sillily much about.
As for Egypt, it would be easy to supply him with all sorts of cases involving Copts that show exactly how the Egyptian legal system does not for one minute forget, but continues to exhale the air of, the Sharia. Does he want that? Does he want his colleagues at the law school to examine such cases? If they do, those who had the bright idea of being impressed with his credentials and were unable, apparently, to grasp the level of his apologetics, they might realize that he is a guide to nothing and nowhere. Instead, he is merely an example of the defensiveness, taqiyya, and astonishing inability of even seemingly Westernized and smooth Muslims, who are supposedly familiar with the legal systems of the West and with the actual, not the imagined, rights of Western man, to continue to misstate so grossly, and in a fashion so easily exposed, the tenets of Islam.
Is it Cherif Bassiouni’s contention that, because some Muslim countries do not enforce the Sharia through their laws, that important elements of the Sharia are not enforced? Bassiouni writes that:
“Most of these [Muslim] states have criminal codes that do not include apostasy as a crime. Among them are: Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.”
Does he think it is easy, or even possible, for an apostate to live in, say, Egypt (one of his examples of a Muslim state that does not enforce the Sharia) or Kuwait (another one of his examples)? The ghost of Faraj Foda could instruct him. And by the way — whatever happened to the murderers of Faraj Foda? Were they found? Were they punished? Would any Muslim authority believe that they should be punished?
Similarly, in Kuwait, has he forgotten the case of Robert Hussein, Hussein Qambar Ali, who announced his conversion to Christianity about ten years ago and was promptly relieved of his wife, his children, his business, his everything — and then was threatened with death? Only a huge outcry in Great Britain managed to save his life, and he managed to be called “crazy.” I heard a rich and sophisticated and Westernized Kuwaiti insist that Westerners did not understand — the man, he said, was “clearly crazy.”
Does he think that in Algeria, where Berbers are converting to Christianity, that they do so openly, without any consequences? Is he unaware of recent proposals to make sure that customary law is enforced — because it has turned out that the Berbers are being insufficiently Islamic and not enforcing, informally, what the Arabs in Algeria do?
And Egypt and Algeria are two of the most important Muslim states listed by Bassiouni, both influenced at one time by non-Islamic legal systems, which systems introduced, for a time, a less starkly Islamic code.
What about the other countries he lists with such aplomb, assuming he will not be caught out publicly? Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime did not punish apostasy. But what about the new, post-Ba’athist Iraq? Would Mr. Bassiouni claim that in southern Iraq, including the city of Basra, that women are not now forced to wear islamically correct clothing, that vendors of alcohol have not been murdered, that anyone who dared call himself an apostate would not certainly be killed — and that the killers would go free, would not even be picked up by the local authorities? What does that tell us about Iraq and the power of Islam and the Sharia in Iraq? What does he make of all those reports of secular, Westernized women who had returned to Iraq and who have declared to reporters that they were disgusted, that “it was not for this that I returned” and similar expressions of horror at the return of Islam, enforced informally as well as formally?
And there is Jordan. Does Bassiouni seriously think that someone living in Jordan can publicly announce his conversion from Islam to Christianity without any fear for his life, or for his property? Is that what he wishes to say?
He knows perfectly well that that would be impossible.
What about Indonesia? It took some time for the imposed tolerance of the Dutch to be worn away, but since those Dutch left nearly a half-century ago, that Western tolerance has been steadily replaced by Muslim intolerance. Cherif Bassiouni must have read of the attacks on Christians in East Timor before it obtained independence, and in the Moluccas today. He must be aware of previous large-scale attacks on local (especially Chinese) non-Muslims. What does he think would be the fate of a former Muslim? Indifference? Hatred? Murder? And the same could be said for Malaysia.
There are three countries on his list where someone might, in fact, be able to convert without suffering greatly for doing so. The first country is Tunisia, where the attempt to limit the political and social power of Islam, begun by Bourguiba and his Destour Party, seems thus far to have worked. The second is Turkey, where Kemal Pasha (Ataturk) introduced his own, much more far-reaching systematic campaign to limit Muslim power permitted the emergence of a secular middle class. There is Syria, where the ruling military caste, the Alawites, are always in danger from the real Muslims. The Alawites are not regarded by other Muslims as orthodox Muslims, and they have been attacked in the past. If the real Sunni Muslims ever come to power, they will wipe out the Alawites. If Syria is less firmly Muslim in its orientation, it is because the Alawites have nothing to fear from Syria’s Christians (from whose ranks special guards for the Assad family have been drawn), and so they have a stake in removing obstacles to an increase in the number of Christians.
Morocco is a country where the absolute ruler, the Sherifian monarch, remains cushioned by the prestige of being a descendant of Muhammad. Morocco thus need not prove, through its law code, that apostates will be punished. Other Moroccans, acting informally, will take care of things.
Lebanon? Well, Lebanon has a large Christian population that helps to lessen the power of Islam and attempts to impose the Sharia in the area of apostasy.
From first to last, Bassiouni offers a tortured exercise in half-truths or quarter-truths or no truths, decked out in all the rhetorical finery he could muster. It wasn’t much.