Sharia is a comprehensive set of laws designed to address every facet of human existence.
Now, if you say that with a smile and stop there, you’re well on your way to a fruitful career in lobbying or the mainstream media. Not so much if you continue with the observation that Sharia’s existence as a package deal that does not lend itself to compartmentalization is a profound liability, because of the many provisions in the law that are regressive, unjust, discriminatory, and unreasonable. Those include the areas of women’s rights (see below, last paragraph), the subjugation of non-Muslims and restrictions on the open practice of their religion, the death penalty for apostasy, cruel and unusual punishments like amputation and lashes, and the doctrine of jihad to advance the cause of Islam.
Obviously, the clerics have a personal, vested interest in ensuring the political power of Islam for its own sake. They would have a major piece of the action. But the acceptance of Sharia in principle sets the stage for the assertion of more severe implementation of the law, as well as for perpetual and possibly bloody conflict over “how much” Sharia is “enough,” when purportedly divinely-issued laws do not lend themselves to an a la carte treatment, and the purpose of jihad itself is to impose Islamic law.
If they want to see such a ticking time bomb in action, they need only look at the constitution of Afghanistan, the laws already passed, and demands made for Sharia’s most severe punishments, which would be perfectly constitutional. Or Aceh, where galloping Sharia infringes ever more on citizens’ rights in public and private, all of which was likely once met with a chorus of “oh, that won’t actually happen here.”
“Muslim groups urge boycott of Niger vote,” from Reuters, October 27:
Oct 27 (Reuters) – Muslim groups in junta-led Niger urged voters on Wednesday to boycott a weekend referendum on a new constitution setting the terms of a return to civilian rule, complaining that it neglected Islam.
Sunday’s vote is the first in a series of elections due to end in the swearing-in of a new civilian leader by April next year, replacing the leaders of February’s coup against former president Mamadou Tandja.
The new constitution seeks to undo new presidential powers that Tandja had awarded to himself before being deposed, and to improve governance in the mining sector of a country which is nuclear-power France’s top uranium-supplier.
It also formalises a separation of powers between the secular state and Islam in a country 98 percent of whose 15 million citizens are Muslim.
The fact that they’re trying something new tends to suggest something wasn’t working.
“Separating state and religion means quite simply that Allah does not figure as a priority in this state funded by the money of Muslims — that you can govern Nigeriens with all sorts of atheistic, anti-religious ideologies and ideas,” said Harouni Fodi of the Islamic association Anassi.
The country’s Muslim groups are seen as influential, having either blocked or forced changes in a number of planned reforms on family law or women’s rights in recent years