In FrontPage this morning I discuss how First Things and National Review turn a blind eye to jihad violence and Sharia injustice.
World Hijab Day was February 1, and Princeton Professor Robert P. George marked the occasion by publishing a piece in the Catholic journal First Things entitled “Muslims, Our Natural Allies.” He included in his article a video in which a World Hijab Day organizer stoutly defended her right to cover her hair; George proclaimed: “I stand with the young woman in the above video in defense of modesty, chastity, and piety.” Michael Potemra at National Review led the cheering: “Let’s take a moment to praise the intellectual fearlessness of NR’s friend Robby George.”
George acknowledges that “in certain cultures, including some Muslim cultures, the covering of women is taken to an extreme and reflects a very real subjugation, just as in sectors of western culture, the objectification of women (including the sexualization of children at younger and younger ages) by cultural pressures to pornify reflects a very real (though less direct and obvious) subjugation.” Yet are these really our only choices? Women who choose modesty, chastity and piety, and women who “pornify” themselves?Modesty is a virtue only when it is freely adopted, not enforced by threats. Yet George takes no notice of the fact that many Muslim women don the hijab not out of modesty, but out of fear. The woman in his featured video defends her freedom to wear the hijab, but it is far more likely that women will be victimized for not wearing it than for wearing it. Aqsa Parvez’s Muslim father choked her to death with her hijab after she refused to wear it. Amina Muse Ali was a Christian woman in Somalia whom Muslims murdered because she wasn’t wearing a hijab. Forty women were murdered in Iraq in 2007 for not wearing the hijab.
Will Robert George and Michael Potemra pause to say a few words in memory of Aqsa, Amina, and the forty Iraqi women? Will they honor the memory of Amira, an Egyptian girl who committed suicide after being brutalized for her family for refusing to wear the hijab? Will they defend the freedom of Alya Al-Safar, whose Muslim cousin threatened to kill her and harm her family because she stopped wearing the hijab in Britain; and of Amira Osman Hamid, who faces whipping in Sudan for refusing to wear the hijab; and of the Muslim and non-Muslim teachers at the Islamic College of South Australia who were told that they had to wear the hijab or be fired; and of the women in Chechnya whom police shot with paintballs because they weren’t wearing hijab; and of the women also in Chechnya who were threatened by men with automatic rifles for not wearing hijab; and of the elementary school teachers in Tunisia who were threatened with death for not wearing hijab; and of the Syrian schoolgirls who were forbidden to go to school unless they wore hijab; and of the women in Gaza whom Hamas has forced to wear hijab; and of the women in Iran who protested against the regime by daring to take off their legally-required hijab; and of the women in London whom Muslim thugs threatened to murder if they didn’t wear hijab; and of the anonymous young Muslim woman who doffed her hijab outside her home and started living a double life in fear of her parents, and all the other women and girls who have been killed or threatened, or who live in fear for daring not to wear the hijab?
“I am a Catholic,” George proclaims, and adds: “My Church teaches me to esteem our Muslim friends and to work with them in the cause of promoting justice and moral values. I am happy to stand with them in defense of what is right and good.” He lauds several Muslim leaders for standing against abortion and pornography, and in defense of religious liberty.
It is good that a Muslim, Asma Uddin, is standing for religious liberty, but she is doing so in defiance of her own religious tradition. Muhammad himself commanded: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). This is still the position of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shi’ite. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned and prominent Muslim cleric in the world, has stated: “The Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-`ashriyyah, Al-Ja`fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed.” There is only disagreement over whether the law applies only to men, or to women also – some authorities hold that apostate women should not be killed, but only imprisoned in their houses until death.
Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious and inﬂuential institution in the Sunni world, certifies as a reliable guide to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Muslim community a manual of Islamic law that states: “When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed” (Reliance of the Traveller o8.1). Although the right to kill an apostate is reserved in Islamic law to the leader of the community and other Muslims can theoretically be punished for taking this duty upon themselves, in practice a Muslim who kills an apostate needs to pay no indemnity and perform no expiatory acts (as he must in other kinds of murder cases under classic Islamic law). This accommodation is made because killing an apostate “is killing someone who deserves to die” (Reliance of the Traveller o8.4).
Qaradawi even said last year: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.” The persecutions of apostates from Islam (including, but by no means limited to, Mohammed Hegazy in Egypt, Youcef Nadarkhani in Iran, and Said Musa and Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan) demonstrates that for all too many Muslim authorities, there is no religious liberty in Islam. In working for religious liberty, Asma Uddin would be putting her life in jeopardy in many Muslim countries.
It is taken for granted these days even among many conservatives (including, apparently, those at First Things and National Review) that to point out such unpleasant facts reflects more poorly on the one pointing out the atrocities than on those committing them, and is a manifestation of “hatred,” “bigotry,” “intolerance” and “Islamophobia.” George goes even farther, grounding his naïve and uncritical stance in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council about how Muslims “worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to men,” and who “highly esteem an upright life and worship God, especially by way of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting.”
That’s fine, but did the fathers of the Second Vatican Council really mean by these words to exempt Islam and Muslims from justifiable criticism for human rights abuses sanctioned by Islamic law, to say nothing of the increasing violent persecution of Christians in Egypt, Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere? So many Catholics like George invoke Vatican II to say of Muslims, “We both worship the same God,” as if that forecloses all discussion of jihad terror and Muslim persecution. Yet it could also be said of child-molesting Roman Catholic priests and the members of the Westboro Baptist Church – don’t both groups worship God who is one and esteem an upright life, or at least pay lip service to uprightness?Pages: 1 2