According to the Qur’an itself: “As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise” (5:38).
The spokesman for the Brotherhood, a group called “largely secular” by Obama’s director of national intelligence, acknowledges they are Allah’s own words, saying “there is no argument.” But the spin is on, as Mahmoud Ghuzlan promises exceptions — a moderate implementation, if you will, of a cruel and unusual punishment.
The supposed room for exceptions should be no reassurance, but another demonstration of how Sharia is simply bad government. If exceptions are made, the law is not being applied, but its letter remains unchanged, and in this case, intolerable. Ghuzlan himself is talking out of both sides of this mouth in his attempts to reassure, saying there is no arguing with Allah’s word, but then promising laxity in enforcing it.
If a law can be selectively not applied, the government is corrupt, or there is something wrong with the law. In practice, those with money, power, and influence on their side will be better able to wiggle out of punishments, leaving the poor, marginalized, or unpopular to bear the brunt of what remains in any case a barbaric practice.
As we have seen with Iran’s “morality” initiatives, the government will go after easy targets to look productive and effective. “Sharia execution urged for Mubarak,” by Marie Colvin for the Sunday Times, August 8 (thanks to Weasel Zippers):
The spokesman for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which portrays itself as a moderate Islamic movement, has called for execution and hand amputations if the Mubaraks are found guilty of murder and corruption.
“If a man has stolen millions of the state’s money, the penalty is that I must cut off his hand,” said Mahmoud Ghuzlan, a professor of biochemistry at Zagazig University. “There is no argument. These are God’s words.”
The group, banned for half a century, was legalised only after the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Professor Ghuzlan said the penalty of amputation, mandated under sharia law, should apply to his sons Gamal — the younger, who was being groomed as heir — and Alaa, a businessman.
In a scene that transfixed the nation last week, the two brothers, both charged with profiteering, stood in court as their father lay on a trolley next to them.
Not the show-tune kind. A hospital gurney, in American usage.
The senior Mubarak, charged with responsibility for the deaths of about 850 protesters killed by his security forces, periodically craned his neck forward to peer from the defendants’ cage out at the court.
Professor Ghuzlan had no sympathy. Mr Mubarak should be hanged if convicted, although “beheading by the sword” would be more traditional, he said.
He sought to paint sharia as a merciful alternative to Egypt’s current legal system, saying a thief who stole only to feed his family would not suffer amputation.
Despite his words, Muslim Brotherhood rule would evidently be harsh. Adulterers would be whipped, alcohol banned, men and women separated in university classes and pre-marital sex and same-sex relationships would be forbidden.
Scant comfort will be taken from the spokesman’s assurances that the Brotherhood, which is aware of worries about Islamic extremism, would seek only one-third of parliament’s 504 seats. He admitted they planned to challenge for power in future elections.
Article of faith:
The Muslim Brotherhood’s vision of Egypt will be anathema to the secular-minded Facebook generation and liberals who fought valiantly to unseat Mr Mubarak without its help.