A Muslim woman replies to the Archdhimmi of Canterbury. “Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: What he wishes on us is an abomination,” from the Independent (thanks to all who sent this in):
What Rowan Williams wishes upon us is an abomination and I write here as a modern Muslim woman. He lectures the nation on the benefits of sharia law — made by bearded men, for men — and wants the alternative legal system to be accommodated within our democracy in the spirit of inclusion and cohesion.
Pray tell me sir, how do separate and impenetrable courts and schools and extreme female segregation promote commonalities and deep bonds between citizens of these small isles?
What he did on Thursday was to convince other Britons, white, black and brown, that Muslims want not equality but exceptionalism and their own domains. Enlightened British Muslims quail. Friends like this churchman do us more harm than our many enemies. He passes round what he believes to be the benign libation of tolerance. It is laced with arsenic.
He would not want his own girls and women, I am sure, to “choose” to be governed by these laws he breezily endorses. And he is naive to the point of folly if he imagines it is possible to pick and choose the bits that are relatively nice to the girls or ones that seem to dictate honourable financial transactions.
Look around the Islamic world where sharia rules and, in every single country, these ordinances reduce our human value to less than half that is accorded a male; homosexuals are imprisoned or killed, children have no free voice or autonomy, authoritarianism rules and infantilises populations.
What’s more, different Muslim nations claim to have their own allegedly god-given sharia. In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive (What in Allah’s name could the Koran have warned about cars?). In Bangladesh and Pakistan, they have no such bar to driving, although increasingly Saudi Wahabi Islam is taking over and we see Saudi sharia taking hold.
It is growing in influence here, too. Ten years ago, the only fully shrouded Muslim women around were from the Arab fiefdoms, the many wives of sheikhs often drawn by cartoonists to convey the absurdity and inhumanity of such cloaks. Now all of Europe has these girls and women rendering themselves invisible in public spaces. It is their elected sharia, so they claim without credibility. There is no agreed body of sharia, it is all drafted by males and the most cruel is now claiming absolute authority.
In Pakistan, on the statutes are strictures on adultery introduced by the military dictator Zia ul-Haq. Women activists in that country have given their lives protesting against the injustice of those laws where women suspected of adultery, or rape victims, are punished in hideous ways and the man goes free.
The Iranian theocracy changes its regulations from year to year, capriciously playing with the lives of females. The morality police hound women and girls, beat them up, imprison them for showing an ankle, walking too provocatively or singing in the streets. They fight back but are ground down eventually.
Two Iranian friends chose to die rather than live under the demeaning religious orders. Go to Afghanistan if you fancy a 12-year-old bride — a practice approved by the mullahs. That’s sharia for you. Many women, gay men and dissidents came to Britain to escape Islamic tyrants and their laws. Dr Williams supports those laws and, by default, makes the refugees victims again.
Read it all.