Sha… Really?

This article should come with a trigger warning. Beheadings, stoning, lashings, and everything else that comes with living in a Muslim majority country, where do these things come from? Under Islam and Sharia law countless people suffer at the hands of hard-line Islamist regimes. These things promoted by Islam are wrong. I am not saying that I hold the belief that Islam is wrong, but many do, and I thought it was about time somebody started talking about it. Those who practice Islam constitute the second largest religion in the world with most Muslims living in North Africa and the Middle East.

There are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims world wide. The problem with Islam seems not to be that the religion itself is violent it is Sharia law, a law system based on the Quran, that is most harmful. Under Sharia law smoking, drinking, pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, renouncing Islam, theft, accusations of crime with out witnesses, homosexuality and murder are illegal. The punishments for committing these “crimes” under Sharia law include but are not limited to: Beheading, crucifixion, stoning, amputation of the hands or feet, and flogging. What is perhaps most surprising is how easy it is to commit an offence that would result in beheading, almost any of the crimes under Sharia could carry with them a sentence of beheading. And perhaps my least favourite aspect of Sharia is that these punishments are to be carried out in public. You may be asking yourself how much support the Sharia legal system has amongst Muslims. The answer is a lot. Forty-two percent of Russian Muslims think that Sharia should be the law in Russia. Malaysia, Thailand and, Indonesia have support that ranges from seventy-two to eighty-six percent.

Some may say that the opinions in these countries are extreme however forty-five percent of American Muslims think that homosexuality should be discouraged by society. In Muslim majority countries, the state itself has often adopted the principles of Hudud, which are the punishments for transgressions against Sharia. Countries in which Sharia law is the predominant legal system are widespread, ranging from Saudi Arabia to Mauritania. It has been said that most countries prefer other forms of punishment rather than those prescribed by Sharia however, on December 12th of this year, Global News published an article that described the punishment for a Saudi woman who posted a picture of herself wearing a dress on Instagram for her crimes she was sentenced to imprisonment and lashings. What is most disturbing about the article is that many men tweeted that the punishment should be much worse and that she “would be lucky if all she got was a beheading”.

Beheadings as a method of executions are quite common in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia with one hundred fifty-seven people having been beheaded in the country in 2015 this is the highest number of beheadings in nearly two decades. sixty-three of those beheadings were for non-lethal offences. In Afghanistan that number is at more than four hundred individuals that are currently under sentence of death. This is compared to 28 people who were put to death by lethal injection in the United States in 2015. Before you judge my writing too harshly I would ask you to consider the ramifications of Sharia law on life here in Wolfville. Let’s use the average Saturday night out as an example. You’re getting ready to head to the Vil and you decide to stop by your friends for a couple drinks before the bar, you head out and end up taking some fine young man or woman home with you. You wake up the next morning expecting to nurse your hangover, when instead there is an angry mob outside your home enraged that you were intoxicated and had pre-marital sex.

These people are prepared to behead you, and the person you took home. You are then dragged to the steps of University Hall where your head is then removed, likely hacked off at the neck, from your body as hundreds of on-lookers relishes in your final moments on this planet because you had a couple drinks. This is the reality for many in Muslim majority countries. It seems to me that there is a great deal of fear in academia and in western news agencies to blame this barbarity on Islam. This should not be the case at all. These types of situations and punishments are a direct result of Islam and the legal system that it carries with it. I would challenge anyone to name a religion that sees these things as crimes and would suggest the same punishments for it. Or perhaps another religion that issues fatwas which are spontaneous religious decrees. Christianity? No. Judaism? No. Catholicism? No. I understand that marriage, divorce, exchange of property and many other legal actions are the result of thousands of years of evolution of the Judeo-Christian system. Christianity does generally frown upon homosexuality however no large sect of Christianity is suggesting that we kill anyone over it. Catholicism has historically been the poster child for intolerance in modern day religion however under Pope Francis the Catholic church has become far more progressive than anyone ever thought possible. Pope Francis was quick to come to the defence of the Islamic faith saying that to associate it with violence is wrong and that many religious groups have sects of violent people.

While this is true it seems as though the principles and decrees of Sharia under Islam directly result in backwards thinking and violence against women. Let me be perfectly clear about this, I do not blame Muslims or the entire religion of Islam for the suffering experienced under Sharia. Rather, I would blame hard-line Muslim extremists in Muslim majority countries. Does the religion of Islam promote Sharia law? Absolutely it does. Can we as a society say that there are parts of many religions that do not belong in mainstream society? Certainly we can. But there is no sect of any religion that I know of that treats women, members of the LGBTQ community, and many others in the way that Islam does. You may call me wrong but the numbers on this issue don’t lie. Sharia has no place in modern society.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/22/muslims-and-islam-key-findings-in-the-u-sand-around-the-world/

https://www.deathpenaltyworldwide.org/country-search-post.cfm?country=Afghanistan

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/crimes-punishable-death-penalty

 

Christopher Vanderburgh

One Comment

  1. As a former Ath editor, I’m disappointed that the Ath is publishing poorly researched Islamophobic sensationalist trash now, and that I’m apparently the first person to comment on it. Glad we have Dr. Sachs set the record straight over a month later. :/ Yikes.

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