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Mogahed says Sharia Law is misunderstood

Dalia Mogahed, President Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs, seems to think that the West misunderstands Sharia law… and the reason that so many women do support Sharia is because…

The majority of women around the world associate gender justice, or justice for women, with sharia compliance.

The portrayal of Sharia has been oversimplified in many cases.

Okay… I know this woman’s job is to be a sort of arbiter between the Muslim world and the United States, so she can’t just come out and say (to their faces) that Sharia law is a horribly primitive, misogynous, brutal, absurd, and unethical legal framework. But to simply say that its been oversimplified and misunderstood and imply that it has anything even remotely like “justice for women” is patently absurd.

I do understand that perhaps there’s an underlying strategy here. Making peace with Muslims isn’t going to come from telling them that their rules for living are barbarous. Some “calming down” will, perhaps, be helpful in beginning the process of enlightenment. In addition, the London show was hosted by a group called Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party, according to this article from the Telegraph. According to the article…

The group believes in the non-violent destruction of Western democracy and the creation of an Islamic state under Sharia Law across the world.

That’s a tough position for Mogahed. She was placed in the middle of the group which promotes horrid, horrid things, yet she’s supposed to be leading the charge for harmony between religions.

Again from the article…

During the 45-minute discussion, on the Islam Channel programme Muslimah Dilemma earlier this week, the two members of the group made repeated attacks on secular “man-made law” and the West’s “lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism”.

They called for Sharia Law to be “the source of legislation” and said that women should not be “permitted to hold a position of leadership in government”.

This is not an acceptable position in a civilized world. Whether it’s a common view among moderate Muslims, I can’t say, but the fact that it’s proposed by any faction of Muslims is abhorrent.

Miss Mogahed made no challenge to these demands and said that “promiscuity” and the “breakdown of traditional values” were what Muslims admired least about the West.

Though I can somewhat sympathize with Mogahed not taking them to task for their primitive views, I don’t sympathize with the ignorance of using the phrase “breakdown of traditional values” in reference to shortcomings of the United States. It’s notoriously vague and can bet twisted to mean just about anything, but frequently is seized upon by the somewhat similarly archaic religious right to mean same-sex marriage and abortion. Perhaps Mogahed wanted to be vague, however, in order to leave herself some wiggle room in future discussions. I’m giving her a huge benefit of the doubt by saying that.

Christians really have no room to complain in this scenario, in my opinion, without giving equal time to criticizing their own religion. Both Christianity and Islam promote some savage, inhuman ideas and actions. I would agree that Islam generally takes a harder line against women and is less tolerant of opposing views, but that’s not any kind of exoneration of Christianity. It’s not okay to do bad things just because someone else does worse things. The recent defense of Catholic sexual scandals by the Vatican saying that Protestents do it, too, is a perfect example.

Islam needs to be illuminated by the bright light of skepticism and reason… and a secular sense of ethics and morality. The positions it takes on women alone are enough to condemn it to the ideological junk heap, but of course that won’t happen because it’s “protected” under the grand umbrella of “religious tolerance” that protects so many abhorrent religious ideas. I fully support religious freedom, but there’s a line that needs to be drawn when it comes to the poor treatment of fellow human beings and the promotion of superstitious nonsense.

Islam crosses that line by leaps and bounds.

Looking in the Mirror

The now (in)famous London bus ads which read “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” are about to work their way onto the Toronto Transit System in Canada. As with similar ads in other places, the ads are drawing kudos and complaints from interested parties.

One such complaint came to my attention today via an article on globeandmail.com. It seems that Dr. Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition and the Canada Christian College in Toronto, is claiming that the ads are “attack ads.”

This bit from the article is what really caught my attention (emphasis mine)…

“These ads are not saying what the atheists believe, they are attacking what other people believe,” [McVety] said. “And if you look at the dictionary definition for … bigot, that’s exactly what it is, to be intolerant of someone else’s belief system.”

First, I’d like to point out that the ads specifically do say what atheists believe… there’s probably no God. That’s pretty straightforward and unambiguous.

The major point, however, is McVety’s statement about bigotry. This man, who is complaining about an atheist statement by calling it an attack, whose group, the Canada Family Action Coalition, fought against the legalization of same-sex marriage,  and who is a “prominent evangelical leader” according to the article, has the audacity to accuse someone else of bigotry? His statement is a bald-faced example of classic hypocrisy.

Sadly, however, it’s not an uncommon example of hypocrisy. It’s all too common. Fundamentalists who make accusations of bigotry need to first look in the mirror before opening their mouths.