1. Dr Hamdy Murad, Professor of Sharia at Al-Balqa Applied
. , University Jordan
The regulations of Sharia can only be applied in a mature, Islamic educated society that is familiar with the respective regulations, morals and laws. This is a principal issue. These regulations should not be applied in an Islamic society that is not mature or in which the reasons of righteousness are absent.
We do not deny what is stated in the Koran or what is agreed upon by all scholars. The conditions stated for executing the death penalty are very balanced and show an outstanding miracle and accurate balance. On the one hand, they demand that the regulations be applied and on the other they prevent them from being applied, according to regulations and conditions. Accordingly, the purpose is not only deterrence, but also establishing justice, considering the spiritual, social, moral and educational aspects. There is a group of factors that interact with the soul. Absolutely, the death penalty must be imposed on the murderer. Yet, when we explore the conditions and details, we find that Islam is much more merciful than all the laws applied on earth. Avoiding punishment in secular laws results in injustice, while the conditions and regulations set to avert the death penalty signifies the utmost Islamic Justice.
Sharia contains laws that serve two purposes as far as capital punishment is concerned:
establishment of justice and prevention of arbitrary execution. Sharia puts conditions to awake in the human soul motives other than deterrence, moral motives to achieve relative justice. Accordingly, Sharia gives the Commander of the Muslims, the ruler or law according to our traditions, the permission to make decisions according to what conforms to the status quo and the circumstances of society.
We talked about the immaturity of Islamic society these days and the suspension of the death penalty to establish justice. If the death penalty is executed in society while it is immature, this will be an outrageous injustice.
Then, we are against all capital punishment stipulated in the laws applied in the Arab, Islamic , Western and Eastern countries, because they do not achieve the Divine Justice that seeks preservation of life by all possible means.
In addition, trials concerning the death penalty are seldom fair, and when justice becomes rare, the judgment must be immediately suspended to avoid injustice.
2. The mere fact that the dignity of the human being is a concern of all cultures and religions should give the impetus to discuss the matter.
3. The International Society for Human Rights
..calls upon the UN Human Rights Commission: to call upon the Organisation of Islamic Conferences to actively promote the non-application of stoning as a form of punishment in their member states. Others say a better understanding of Sharia would reduce the concerns of non-Muslims.
4. Roman Loimeier, Professor of religion,
In all schools of Islamic law, the only possibility to punish someone with the "hadd" punishment for adultery would be if both partners confess. If they do not confess, the procedural law says you have to bring four witnesses who have seen the act committed. Next, these four witnesses have to be men, and good citizens - honest and accepted members of the community. Thirdly, all the witnesses have to give identical statements. [So] it is almost impossible to carry out a "hadd" [severe] punishment unless there's a confession [by the adulterers].
The problem is in countries like Sudanwhere Sharia is applied, these [laws of procedure] ruling the application of the Sharia are not applied. So what you [get] is a perversion of the application of the Sharia. Many [Islamic scholars] conclude that the real Sharia as applied in
or Sudan is not the real Sharia - but a perversion of it. Afghanistan
5. John Voll, Professor of Islamic History at
Georgetown in University , D-C, Associate director of Muslim-Christian Understanding in Washington : Washington
Besides following these judicial procedures, experts say there are other recourses for reducing penalties.
If [the governor] were doing it in the more traditional sense, he would go to a Sharia scholar and ask for a "fatwa", a legal advisory opinion. He would ask the scholar [if] it would it be justified to suspend the amputation of the hand of this person because of the extenuating circumstances at the current moment, and the scholar might say yes, it's possible. The governor would then say in light of this non-binding opinion, I will then suspend the implementation of the amputation, but give an equivalent punishment.
6. Farid Esack, Muslim Theologian,
: , Cape Town South Africa
The Sharia is meant as a path for reaching a harmonious society. When the Sharia gets elevated to being a sacred entity by itself, this is the antithesis of what Islam stands for - which is the absolute supremacy, or sacredness of God - and only God is sacred: religion is not sacred - Sharia is not sacred, the path to reach God is not sacred. And so Muslims then have to see what are the underlying principles of the law that God enunciated for Muslims at a particular time, and what are the objectives of the law. It is the objectives of the law which we should seek to fulfill and not the letter of the law particularly when there is no homogenous community where everyone has an equal level of religiosity [belief] and commitment to that particular faith, or where everyone has an identical understanding of what following Sharia entails.
7.Mohammed Salih, a native of
Sharia also has an indirect impact on non-Muslims. [When] you accept Sharia as the [legal] code,
you accept the whole notion of citizenship that comes with it. You divide society in two: the people of the [Koran] and the non-Muslims. Here you create a hierarchy of citizens: Christians, Jews, and traditional believers. The hierarchy is applied to power - if you are Muslim you are more likely to have more legal rights under Sharia law than non-Muslims-so the implications [of Sharia] go beyond the criminal code.
8. Noah Feldman, Law professor at
To many, the word “Shariah” conjures horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned and women oppressed. In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world. Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offenses, we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation.
Before an adultery conviction can typically be obtained, for example, the accused must confess four times or four adult male witnesses of good character must testify that they directly observed the sex act.
It sometimes seems as if we need Shariah as Westerners have long needed Islam: as a canvas on which to project our ideas of the horrible, and as a foil to make us look good.
Today, 66 percent of Egyptians, 60 percent of Pakistanis and 54 percent of Jordanians say that Shariah should be the only source of legislation in their countries. Islamist political parties, like those associated with the transnational Muslim Brotherhood, make the adoption of Shariah the most prominent plank in their political platforms. And the message resonates.
9. A.Miller, contributer, The
Galloway had have used the word “Koran,” while suggesting that “the mere reading” of it might inspire the kind of hate on display in Undercover Mosque, he himself might well have stepped over the line into the realm of hate crime. Galloway, though, a friend of Islamic extremists everywhere, is perfectly happy to use this kind ofNewspeak. And plenty of mainstream British and European politicians are only slightly less craven.Dutch parliamentarian, and head of the Party for Freedom (PVV), Geert Wilders is one of those who is not. As you can imagine, this gets him into all kinds of trouble, from media trashing to death threats.
This week he was back in court in Amsterdam to answer charges of violating articles 137c and 137d of the Dutch Penal Code, which prohibit “inciting hatred” or “discrimination” against anyone because of their religion, race, gender, etc., and carry up to a two-year prison sentence.
Wilders has repeated ad nauseam that he has nothing against Muslims, but only against the ideology of Islam, and in the pre-hearing, once again reiterated that he was not “out to offend people. I have nothing against Muslims. I have a problem with Islam and the Islamization of our country because Islam is at odds with freedom.”
The transformation of
from the world’s most liberal city to one where gays are now frequently attacked, is just one of the aspects of “Islamization” that Wilders has a problem with. And for this, the court apparently has a problem with Wilders. Amsterdam
The summons also documents Wilders statements against Islam, including his call to ban the Koran, which he has described as a “fascist book.” Then there’s the summons’ scene-by-scene breakdown of Wilders’ 17-minute movie Fitna. Similar to Undercover Mosque, Fitna is largely a compilation of documentary footage – again of hate preachers inciting violence against non-Muslims, Jews, and so on, as well as scenes of actual violence committed by Islamic militants and terrorists, and extracts of the Koran.
The suras shown in writing throughout the film are those such as surah 8, verse 60 (“Prepare for them whatever force and cavalry ye are able of gathering, to strike terror, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies, of Allah and your enemies”) which are used by Islamic militants to justify, and indeed to inspire, terrorist attacks and other atrocities.
This is obvious to anyone who has spent even a few hours perusing extremist Muslim chat rooms (including those run by and for those living in the West), has the slightest knowledge of al-Qaeda or other terrorist networks, or has read the Hamas charter, which so neatly sums up the Jihadist’s raison d’etre in article eight:
“Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.”
The Dutch authorities, however, like those of other European states, appear almost to have sided with the terrorists and extremists – not merely over non-Muslims, but over moderate and reformists Muslims as well. As Salim Mansur said in the Toronto Sun, “the Amsterdam Court of Appeal has conceded space to the Islamists by accommodating, in practical terms, their demand for acceptance of Shariah (Islamic law) within secular society.”
10. Dr. Robert D. Crane, The Global Justice Movement:
On May 7th, 2003, the National Association of Evangelicals convened a summit conference of forty leaders, representing 43,000 congregations, to address the issue of whether they should focus their efforts on countering or converting Muslims. Their conclusion was that the mission of proselytizing must have top priority and that this necessarily conflicts with the radical efforts to brand Islam and the Prophet Muhammad as inherently evil and violent.
As Protestant extremism declines in the aftermath of the successful war in
, the negative assessment of Islam as a religion has been taken up by neo-conservative leaders within the Catholic Church. One of the most articulate of such leaders appears to be Michael Novak, one of the top intellectuals in Iraq ’s first policy think-tank, The American Enterprise Institute. America
This represents an entirely new approach to Islam, because it is based not on generalizing from the action of extremist Muslims but on denial of what centuries ago the greatest Muslim scholars, all imprisoned for their beliefs, considered to be the three basic fundamentals of Islam as a religion. The newest strategy apparently is to single out these essential truths of Islam, deny that they exist, and assert that their absence constitutes the Islamic threat. This sophisticated strategy may be more effective over the long run than are the simplistic claims of Pat Robertson and Franklyn Graham that Muslims are bandits.
The challenge to American Muslims, especially after 9/11, is to explain the difference between Islam as a religion and Muslims as its supposed practitioners.
Equally important is the challenge for Muslims to put their own house in order by marginalizing the extremism that can give rise to violence and by taking advantage of the post-Iraq environment to end the poverty and oppression that feed such extremism.