Stonings? Amputations? The institutionalized oppression of women and non-Muslims? The denial of the freedom of speech? The death penalty for apostates? You won’t hear Feisal Abdul Rauf (the imam of the Ground Zero mosque) or the pseudo-moderate Muqtedar Khan discussing those aspects of Sharia, even to denounce them or to distinguish their view of Sharia from that of so-called “extremists.” Instead, they simply pretend that those elements of Sharia don’t exist, and advance the preposterous claim, exploded here by Timothy R. Furnish, that Sharia is essentially equivalent to American constitutionalism.
A few years back I found myself in an early-morning ambush radio debate with Muqtedar Khan, and despite not having notice (or coffee) trounced him anyway, since all he could offer was the usual soothing half-truths, detours, and deceptions. These people are simply not intellectually honest, and so when confronted tend to collapse immediately.
“Veiling Shari`a in a Judeo-Christian Cloak: Imam Ra’uf’s and Muqtedar Khan’s Latest Ruse,” by Timothy R. Furnish at History News Network, October 25:
A current tactic favored by Muslim apologists is to posit perfect harmony between Islam and Western (particularly American) civilization, or between Islam and the other two monotheistic faiths. In an example of the former, last month Imam Feisal Abdul Ra’uf, mastermind of the Ground Zero/Cordoba/Park 51 mosque, gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in which he argued that “90 percent of Sharia [sic] law is fully compatible with…American laws.” Exemplifying the latter, several months earlier the director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware, Muqtedar Khan, had published a blog article in the Washington Post claiming that “Sharia [Islamic law] is based on [the] Ten Commandments.” Of the two claims, the religious one is more insidious, and in fact the political one to a large extent derives from it–thus, ripping the veil off shari`a’s alleged compatibility with Judeo-Christian teachings is the higher priority.
Khan was responding to a statement by former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin that American law “should be based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments.” Since Americans “are beginning to think of Islamic religion as something to be feared and rejected,” thanks to “the profound ignorance about Islam among American politicians and commentators,” Khan believes we need to be reassured that shari`a is really just an Arabic version of the Decalogue–and, as such, compatible with American civilization. Khan and Ra’uf are the latest, but by no means the only, North American Muslims to argue in this vein. Robert Crane, a former Nixon administration advisor and convert to Islam, has argued Islamic law focuses like a laser beam on justice and human rights more than any other belief system. Anver Emon, a law professor at the University of Toronto, has written that sharia, properly understood and applied, is just as rational as Anglo-American Common Law. And the University of Michigan’s Sherman Jackson, at a conference on “Re-thinking Jihad” (which I attended last year in Edinburgh, Scotland) contended that “Islam is a religion of peace toward non-Muslims who do not harbor it ill-will”–taking this position from the influential, modern Sunni theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Khan makes the standard-issue academic charge that a negative view of Islam stems from ignorance; but, if anything, uninformed Americans tend to err on the side of understating the Islamic basis of global violence. Recent statements about jihad-means-never-having-to-say-holy-war by Obama administration officials are a case in point. But despite such misinformation coming out of Washington, there are many good reasons to view mainstream Sunni Islamic teachings with a healthy dose of wariness. Khan may chalk up Islam’s problems to just a few “egregious fatwas,” but even some Muslims are worried about the proliferation of them promoting violence. Over half the world’s terrorist organizations (64, by one count) are Muslim–yet only two are Christian (and one is Jewish). This despite the fact that Christians make up about one-third of the world’s population, far more than the one-fifth that is Muslim. If there were truly nothing to “fear” or “reject” about Islam, why do so many terrorist groups claim that particular religion as their motivating ideology?…