This article was published in The Washington Post |08.02.2010| The Delaware News Journal and many other places.
There is an emerging preemptive anti-Shariah movement in America as manifest by an Oklahoma legislator who is seeking to introduce a bill that will ban Shariah law in his state. Lt. Gov of Tennessee Ron Ramsey claimed recently that Islam was not even a religion and so Muslims should be exempted from the protections of the First Amendment. More and more Americans are beginning to think of Islamic religion as something to be feared and rejected.
Part of the problem comes from Muslim misrepresentation of the Shariah and its mistaken associations with egregious Fatwas. The latest examples include the fatwa issued in India in July 2010, which has banned Muslim girls from riding bicycles, claiming it violates their veiling and does harm to their body structure, and the one in Saudi Arabia, issued in March 2010, calling for putting to death people who establish co-educational environments. The other part of the problem is the profound ignorance about Islam among American politicians and commentators.
I can only condemn these fatwas as foolish. Desperate Mullahs struggling to remain relevant to their communities issue them. Their sad attempts further undermine their legitimacy. They are their own worst enemies. But Americans, with their deep tradition of religious tolerance and appreciation for religious freedoms should understand that Islamic Shariah is based on the same principles that they call Judeo-Christian values.
I have argued in the past against Muslims trying to impose their values on other Muslims or non-Muslims, and for that matter any religion being imposed on anyone. I stand by it. Freedom of religion is for all. But before Americans freak out when they hear the word Shariah, they should know what it is. The key values of Islamic Shariah are monotheism (Tawhid) and justice (Adl). And the key principles of the Islamic Shariah are based on the Ten Commandments.
Sarah Palin argued on Bill O’Reilly’s show that America’s laws should be based on the Ten Commandments because its Constitution is based on it. Good, No Muslim will object to that. Now lets look at the Ten Commandments, you will find them all in the Quran, the Holy book of Muslims.
I have taken the abridged form of the Judeo-Christian version of the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20:2-17 and compared them with the Islamic version from the Quran.
Commandments One, Two and Three: God says in the Bible — I am your Lord, the one true God and you shall take no God before me. You shall not make idols or images of God and you shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.
And God says in the Quran — And your God is one god and he is most Compassionate and Merciful (Quran 2:163), Do not take other Gods other than Allah; Indeed idolatry is a great sin (Quran 31:13) and do not swear by Allah in vain (Quran 2:224).
This is the Abrahamic creed of monotheism and Jews and Muslims adhere to and so do Christians, though they often talk of God’s unity in terms of trinity and idols and images of Jesus and Mary proliferate; you will find none of Allah.
Commandment Four: Remember the day of Sabbath. The Quran informs us that the Sabbath was ordained for Jews only (Quran 16: 124) but God ordered Muslims to observe the Friday as a holy day of remembrance, prayer and thanks giving (Quran 62:9). Thus Muslims observe Friday, Jews Saturday and Christians Sunday, making it a long holy weekend.
Commandment Five: Thou shall honor thy father and thy mother. Islam is very serious about respect, honor and obedience for parents. The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said that gateway to heaven was under the feet of one’s mother and the Quran orders Muslims to honor and speak in noble terms and not even utter the word “uff” to them out of disrespect (Quran 17:23).
Commandments Six, Seven and Eight: Thou shall not commit murder, thou shall not commit adultery and thou shall not steal. Just as in the Bible, these are serious crimes according to the Quran. Quran forbids the taking of life except as justice for crimes (Quran 17:33), it forbids stealing and punishes it with amputation (Quran 5:38) and Islam forbids unlawful sexual intercourse as evil (Quran 17:32).
All these crimes get severe corporal punishment in Shariah law, but these punishments often described as barbaric in the West have their origins in the Bible too, such as stoning for adultery. But the Quran always keeps the door for forgiveness open and all who repent are forgiven. The message is unequivocal – “But whoever repents after his wrongdoing and reforms, Allah will turn to him in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Quran 5:39).
Commandments Nine and Ten: Thou shall not give false testimony nor covet thy neighbors’ wife or possessions. These are the rights of neighbors. Quran condemns those who conceal or falsify testimony as sick in the heart (2:283) and it advocates repeatedly that Muslims must cherish and support their neighbors and not covet their possessions (Quran 20:131).
The Ten Commandments are oft repeated in the Quran and constitute the normative and ethical core of the Islamic Shariah. The message and the law revealed to Moses and Jesus was, Muslims believe, the same as that revealed to Muhammed and peace be upon all of them.
Conservatives in the West cannot advocate for the Ten Commandments and campaign against the Shariah at the same time, the two are one and the same.