Ground Zero mosque Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, according to Adam Serwer of the American Prospect, says that “what Muslims want is to ensure that their secular laws are not in conflict with the Quran or the Hadith, the sayings of Muhammad.” Robert Spencer points out that “for Muslims in the U.S., that will inevitably involve bringing Sharia here.”
Possibly Adam Serwer didn’t understand that when Rauf says “their secular laws” he means the “secular laws” under which Muslims have to live in the United States (or anywhere in the West). He is saying this:
“Muslims want to ensure that the legal code, the laws, under which they live in the West are not in conflict with the Qur’an or the Hadith.” And that means the Sharia, which is the Holy Law of Islam, the codified embodiment of Qur’an and Sunnah (the Hadith being, along with the Sira, the written record of what constitutes the Sunnah).
This is a clear statement: Muslims are willing to obey the laws that do not conflict with the Sharia, but in the end they will be, and should be, unwilling to obey, and will work to undo, all those laws in this and other Western countries that they regard as being in conflict with the Sharia.
Among the provisions of the American Constitution that flatly contradict the Sharia or Holy Law of Islam are many of the individual guarantees as to freedom of speech, and free exercise of (non-Muslim) religions, and the Establishment Clause. Islam should, according to the Sharia, be the favored faith, with all others existing not by right but by Muslim sufferance. Sharia also contradicts the principles of the legal equality of the sexes, and Equal Protection of the Laws (through the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments).
Serwer clearly confuses the degrees of strictness of adherence to the Sharia in various Muslim states with the Sharia itself — he apparently thinks there are many different “Sharias,” which is tellingly bizarre. He does not realize that the most fanatically Islamic of states or regimes — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, Pakistan — are the ones where the legal code will most closely resemble that Ideal, the Sharia, and be least subject to local nuance and custom and history that might have limited the power or appeal of Sharia.
Turkey, because of Kemalist constraints on Islam, has a legal code that is far from the Sharia, but if Erdogan and the PKP have their way, as they relentlessly undo the power bases of those who defend Kemalism, more and more elements of Sharia may be accepted. In Central Asia, the Soviet campaign against all religions naturally included Islam, and that led to a falling away from the real thing — but if, in one or more of the five Stans, Islam comes back, then so will calls for legal codes closer to the Sharia. This is most likely to happen in Uzbekistan, least likely to happen in Kazakhstan.
Rauf explained, though Serwer misunderstands him, that Muslims must work for “secular laws” in this country that, unlike the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, do not contradict Qur’an and Sunnah, or their codification in the Sharia. If Adam Serwer does not understand why both the political theory that underlies the Constitution, and most of the most important guarantees as to individual rights contained in it, are flatly contradicted by both the letter and spirit of Sharia, then he can start with something else that might give him an understanding of what the Sharia is.
He should take two documents: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the “Islamic” version, that is, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, and lay them side-by-side, and see what changes Muslims made in the Universal Declaration, and especially what they omitted, as well as what they modified so significantly, in order to arrive at a guarantee of “Universal Rights” to which they could subscribe, since they could not subscribe to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that non-Muslim countries, of all kinds and backgrounds, have had no trouble subscribing to.
It might — just might — give him pause.
But I doubt it.
I think he’s all set as a Defender of the Faith, that Faith being Islam.
He doesn’t have to listen to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or read her books. He doesn’t have to give a thought to Wafa Sultan, or Ibn Warraq, or Magdi Allam, or Nonie Darwish. They must all be “right-wing.” Or perhaps “extremely right-wing.”
Anything at all to avoid having to being to confront reality.
I’m sure he’ll find a way. He’s done so up to now. Why should he have to begin to pay attention to what Islam actually inculcates? Why should he have to read and re-read the texts, and tenets? Why should he have to raise an eyebrow of skepticism about, or even to try to understand, the real meaning of the words and deeds of the outwardly plausible Feisal Abdul Rauf, whom any ex-Muslim, or any Copt or Maronite or Sudanese black Christian, can see through with ease, and understand exactly the significance of this mosque project, a significance that will forever elude young Adam Serwer?
One more comment. Serwer says: “Rauf says that this is a ‘complete misunderstanding’ and that what he meant was that the U.S. allows Muslims to freely meet their own religious obligations. ‘The thing that people mistake, is that we’re trying to impose Sharia law in America, there are aspects of Sharia law that we are allowed to practice. Like Jews practice their dietary laws, we practice them without contradiction.'”
Rauf says that “the thing that people mistake [?]” is “that we’re trying to impose Sharia law in America,” because “there are aspects of Sharia law that we are allowed to practice.”
What this appears to mean is that since Muslims are allowed to practice “some aspects of Sharia law,” they are not, right now, openly agitating for all those aspects of Sharia law that contradict and undermine the legal and political institutions of this country.
But two obvious questions come to mind.
The first is: What would Rauf’s position be if there were no aspects of Sharia law that Muslims were allowed to practice?
And the second is — don’t expect a direct answer – is this: Is Rauf intent on pushing for more and more aspects of Sharia law to be observed, and is holding back, or going slowly, only out of prudential considerations and not because he does not think it both a right and a duty for Muslims to attempt not only to ensure that they answer to Sharia law and not to man-made laws, especially Infidel man-made laws, but to ensure, in the end, that Sharia is taken as the model for laws, covering every aspect of human behavior — Islam provides a Total Regulation of Life — not only by Muslims, but by others who must in the end submit to the dominance of Islam?
These are questions the unwary and credulous Mr. Serwer did not ask, nor did it occur to him even to think of asking them. And he would not know how to grasp the carefully worded replies he would likely get from that smooth man Mr. Rauf.
But it occurred to us, the visitors to this site. And we would have no difficulty dissecting the real meaning of whatever Rauf would choose to reply.
For a similar dissection, see what the Egyptian-born Magdi Allam, a former Muslim, makes in his Open Letter to the sly fellow Egyptian (though born and raised in Switzerland), Tariq Ramadan. The best people for detecting the nonsense are those who were born into, and raised up, within Islam. They — Magdi Allam, Wafa Sultan, Nonie Darwish, Ayaan Hirsi Ali — are well-versed in all the cunning evasions.
Mr. Serwer is not. And he is particularly credulous, even for a young American.