Below, Thomas notes the apparent contradiction in Libya’s draft constitution between the stated respect for religious freedom and women’s rights and the institution of Sharia as the highest law of the land. But even those statements about rights, quoted below, are awkwardly, vaguely worded. They have covered their bases with generalities, but Sharia will determine the specifics. Non-Muslims will have all of the rights they “ought” to… within the limits of Sharia law. Women will have all of the rights to participate in society that they “ought” to… within the limits of Sharia law.
The question of the exact implementation of Sharia is now enshrined as a ticking time bomb in the new Libyan state, and the matter of how much is “enough” will be a source of perpetual instability. Someone will always want more Sharia and be willing to kill and overthrow governments for it.
Since Sharia is now the benchmark of political credibility, we’re guaranteed the new Libya won’t stop at “just a little.” While the West crosses its fingers for the vaporware, academic-exercise Sharia that could/would/should exist and respect human rights, repudiate cruel and unusual punishments, and unequivocally affirm legal equality between men and women and Muslims and non-Muslims, we’re much more likely to get the production model than the neato prototype on the drawing board.
As Thomas also notes, and we also have noted many times, wherever Sharia has been put into practice, human rights suffer, and they suffer badly.
“Thomas: Arab and Islamic states do not change their ways,” by Cal Thomas for The Town Talk, August 25 (thanks to Twostellas):
Name a single Arab or Islamic state, which, after a revolution that has overthrown a dictator, came to embrace political pluralism, religious tolerance and equal rights for women.
The U.S. State Department publishes an annual report on human rights practices in Arab states (www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/). It consistently finds all are ruled by variations of dictatorial regimes that oppress people, deny basic freedoms of press, speech, due process and are intolerant of any faith other than Islam, punishing converts to other faiths (a capital offense in some Islamic nations) and anyone who shares other faiths with their people.
The death penalty for apostasy from Islam comes from Muhammad’s own orders.
The Arab Human Development Report, sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme and authored by Arab scholars, examined the world’s seven regions. It ranks Arab countries lowest according to their “freedom score.”
After months of uprisings in Arab nations from Egypt to Yemen, we are now faced with one in Libya, which appears to have ousted Moammar Gadhafi. As with the other nations engaged in revolution, what follows is yet to be determined. So is a judgment on whether the replacements will be any better.
In Libya, the National Transition Council has published online what purports to be a draft constitution for the new state. It contains much that sounds good and at least one section that ought to be cause for serious concern. The good stuff includes “guarantees,” such as, “The state shall guarantee for woman all opportunities which shall allow her to participate entirely and actively in political, economic and social spheres.” And “The State shall guarantee for non-Muslims the freedom of practicing religious rights and shall guarantee respect for their systems of personal status.”
There is much else to commend in the draft constitution, but then there is this: “Islam is the religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).”
The legal system in Saudi Arabia is based on Sharia law. More than two-dozen other countries operate according to at least some aspects of Sharia law. None of them is known for any of the principles stated in the pluralistic-sounding Libyan draft constitution. By their fruits you shall know them and the fruit in countries where Sharia law is the legal standard is rotten when it comes to tolerance, religious pluralism, an independent press and equal rights.
It is no jump to an unwarranted conclusion to say if Sharia law is the objective of the TNC, as expressed in its draft constitution, none of the other high-sounding principles are likely to be achieved, much less guaranteed.
None of the nations now experiencing revolutions or unrest have a history of democracy, freedom or human rights. That’s because they believe in a god who wants his followers to violently impose their religious beliefs on others.
Former Libyan justice minister Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, who heads the NTC, said after resigning his post in protest over Gadhafi’s shooting of civilian demonstrators, “We are the same as people in other countries, and are looking for the same things.”
That remains to be seen. Based on the direction of revolutions in other Arab states and their history, I’m not persuaded.
By the way, since nations are unfreezing Libyan assets and the country is awash in oil, can we send the NTC a bill for the help we’ve given them, directly and through NATO? That would help lower our national debt. This is a practice we should apply to other countries seeking our assistance.