The Spectacle Blog

Diversity Under Sharia?

By on 10.28.11 | 4:56PM

In response to my post yesterday on Sharia law in the United Kingdom concerning the status of women, John Guardiano reiterates Reid Smith's argument that Sharia law means different things to different Muslims. But it's rather difficult to have a proper discussion of the most elementary tenets of Sharia if we fail to acknowledge there is no equality before the law. Smith failed to mention the status of women so I did.

Now Guardiano argues that Sharia law is practiced differently the world over and there's a kernel of truth to that. While the Pashtunwali in Afghanistan and Pakistan stone women to death for adultery, Muslim women in Malaysia are merely caned for sex outside of marriage. So I guess you could call that diversity under Sharia. But I defy him, Smith or anyone else to show me a Sharia court anywhere in the world where a woman's word is worth the same as that of a man.

As for the B110 bus in Brooklyn, when Sumathi Reddy of The Wall Street Journal asked the Hasidim aboard the bus if it was a rule that women sit in the back one of them replied, "It's not a rule; it's a rule amongst us." Indeed, as Reddy's article further notes, this rule does not have the force of law and is being investigated by both New York City Commission on Human Rights and the New York City Transportation Department.

Across the pond, however, the Sharia court rulings have the force of law even if it contravenes British law which is why Baroness Cox introduced legislation in the House of Lords to remedy this situation. Yet what is more troublesome is some British Muslims want Sharia law to apply to Muslims and non-Muslims alike and have taken to disseminating leaflets in certain neighborhoods which state, "You are entering a Sharia controlled zone. Islamic rules enforced."

To put it all in perspective, when was the last time you walked into Williamsburg seeing a leaflet which read, "You are entering a Lubavitch controlled zone. Please keep kosher?"

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