Sunday, 1 February 2015

Equality and Sharia

"While you are the stronger I ask of you my freedom since that is your principle; but when I am the stronger I will remove your freedom since that is my principle.” Louis Veuillot

The principle of equality is very important in western civilisation:
  • Equality of all in the sight of God (which comes from Christianity)
  • Equality of all before the law (which comes from Roman law)
  • The aim of removing barriers due to sex, class, race, ethnicity etc has been important in reducing discrimination and allowing greater social mobility, equality of opportunity etc
  • The concept of universal human rights (which comes from liberalism and rationalism)

Most people in western democracies would subscribe to these forms of equality.

The Left in particular has made the principle of equality its guiding idea. It provides them with a very simple moral compass. The judgement that equality is good and inequality is bad is easy to understand. It accords with childhood notions of fairness. The principle of equality dominates left-wing thinking.

The Left has defined justice in terms of equality. The more equality, the more fairness; “social justice” serves as a label for a social order where justice is achieved through equality. Inequality of wealth or power is always wrong. The more unequal a society is, the more wrong it is. That which leads to increasing equality is right and good. That which creates increasing inequality is bad.

The party on the weaker side of a relationship is the victim, the exploited or oppressed; the party on the stronger side is the oppressor. Righting this wrong involves taking from the stronger and giving to the weaker. This will always create more justice.

At the far end of the scale, on the far Left, the stronger party can do no right whilst the weaker party can do no wrong. Any action can be justified which produces a more equal relationship. Any amount of logical distortion and defacing of reality is justified when arguing for the cause of equality.

The principle of equality has now been pushed into realms where it does not belong and where it is meaningless. For example, many people like to think that all opinions are equally valid: “I’m entitled to my opinion”, “You have your opinion and I have mine.” This is simply subjectivism gone mad and takes no account of the amount of learning or experience behind different opinions. It takes no account of the cogency of an argument or the strength of evidence supporting it.

An area where the principle of equality has caused enormous mischief is when it has been applied to different cultures. The doctrine of multiculturalism has promoted the idea that all cultures are worthy of equal respect, equal treatment, and equal acceptance (except the culture of liberal democracy itself which makes any of this remotely possible).

This equality of respect has even started to lead to the idea that all cultures should be treated on the terms in which they define themselves. Where a culture such as Islam defines itself as the supreme worldview, then Muslims should be allowed to see themselves and behave as if Islam holds this position in the world. If Islam refuses to allow criticism, then it should not be criticised. This is tantamount to according Islam the respect that it accords itself. We see some of this when we hear western leaders referring to "the Prophet Muhammad" and when criticism of Islam is criminalised.

The concept of multiculturalism sounds plausible and tolerant in the abstract but as soon as we start to drill down into specifics it comes unstuck. Consider for example the aim of each cultural sub-group respecting the beliefs of every other sub-group: Do you as a non-Muslim respect the Islamic belief that you are inferior? Do you respect the Islamic belief that if you criticise Islamic beliefs such as this you are insulting Islam and should be punished, possibly killed?

As we sleepwalk into soft multicultural totalitarianism such problems are becoming all too real. Police in Bradford, UK, are searching for a man who made derogatory remarks about Islam on a bus whilst sitting behind an "Asian" man. Thus the authorities are already deciding who is allowed to say what to whom.

We can argue about the merits of different approaches to equality: Few would accept the far left idea of equality of outcomes but for the principle of equality before the law most of us would fight to the death.

Why then do we allow Islam to erode equality? Why do the Left, of all people, do the most to further this endeavour? Why do they offer their blind support to a religious and political system that sanctifies inequality? Simply because there is a temporary appearance of redressing inequality with a dominant western world? Out of protectiveness toward the perceived underdog?

And, of course, there is the intractable problem of people growing up in liberal democratic cultures who cannot believe that a social order in the modern world could actively promote - and sanctify - inequality and enshrine it in law.

Islam cannot be separated from Sharia; they have grown together like Siamese twins. Muhammad was a law giver and executioner as much as he was a self-appointed prophet. Sharia law is based on his example as a person and upon his “revelations” as recorded in the Koran. Obedience to the words of Muhammad and emulation of him is obedience to Allah; this is true in the political sphere as much as the personal. In Islam the two are one and the same. This makes it radically monotheistic and totalitarian.

The principles of Sharia are derived from the Koran and the traditional accounts of Muhammad’s life and behaviour. The principles of Sharia are well-established and non-negotiable, having been established many centuries ago.

The following are examples of where Sharia is in direct conflict with the principle of equality:

  • Inequality of women
    • In a court of law a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s
    • A woman is only entitled to half the inheritance of her male siblings
    • A man can have four wives and divorce them easily, whereas a woman must give specific reasons to a Sharia court, some of which are extremely difficult to prove
  • Inequality of non-Muslims
    • Testimony of a non-Muslim is not acceptable against a Muslim in court
    • Polytheists and pagans are below People of the Book (principally Jews and Christians) and People of the Book are below Muslims. Under conquest, polytheists and pagans have two choices: convert to Islam or be killed; People of the Book have a third choice: live as second class citizens in the Islamic State and suffer various permanent humiliations and penalties in order to buy “protection” from Muslim persecution. This is an elaborate protection racket.
    • One of the conditions which People of the Book have to agree to is the payment of an annual poll tax known as jizya. This often has to be paid by means of a humiliating ritual and involves onerous sums of money.
    • Non-Muslims should never have authority over Muslims
    • The life of a non-Muslim is worth less than a Muslim’s. For this reason a Muslim should not be executed for killing a non-Muslim but should be executed for killing another Muslim.
  • Inequality of homosexuals
    • Homosexuals have no right to live.
    • The punishment for homosexuality is unanimously agreed to be execution. Only the manner of execution is disputed.
    • Recent videos from Islamic State show homosexuals thrown from tall buildings. This is a common method of executing homosexuals in accordance with Sharia law.
  • Slavery
    • Slavery is one of the most unequal relationships
    • Muhammad bought, sold, captured, and owned slaves. Slavery is therefore Sunna (in accordance with his example). Due to this fact, slavery cannot be deemed impermissible and is still legal under Sharia today (as it will always be).
    • Muhammad also had sex slaves. He gave women as sex slaves to his companions. This means that sexual slavery is also Sunna.
    • Sharia law includes a lot of rules about the keeping of slaves and their treatment. All of these rules take as their presupposition that there is nothing wrong with slavery as such.
    • There is no limit to the number of sex slaves a Muslim can own. A man can have sex with his wife/wives and any number of sex slaves.
This list is by means exhaustive but it should serve to illustrate that Islam and the legal system integral to it do a great deal to not only enforce inequality but to sanctify it. We may dislike many aspects of inequality in liberal democratic societies and rail against the amount paid to certain bankers etc but we can at least protest these forms of inequality.

Under Sharia, to protest the inequalities enshrined in it would be blasphemous and thus a capital offence.

Why then are the Left of all people so keen to defend Islam from criticism?

One of the reasons for this capitulation to Sharia is the doctrine of multiculturalism. Having established the principle that all cultures are equally valid, they have provided an anti-egalitarian and absolutist culture with a protective shield behind which it can advance ever deeper into our societies. There is no ultimate standard by which to judge another culture.

If all cultures are equal how can you judge that cultures that endorse slavery are worse than cultures that don’t; that belligerent and destructive cultures are worse than peaceful and creative ones; that cultures where inequalities are extreme are worse than egalitarian cultures?

What remains so extraordinary (and exasperating) is the defence offered to Islam by those committed to fighting inequality when Islam is so inimical to equality. As a good friend pointed out the other day, it is such people who really are "Islamophobes" because they are too scared to actually study Islam and find out what it really means. They engage in the typical avoidance behaviour of the phobic person.

By acting as the dupes of every Islamic apologist; by refusing to investigate the actual doctrines of Islam (and their unchangeable nature); by adding to the smokescreen of confusion about Islam instead of seeking to clarify it; by attacking as malicious bigots those people who have done an Islamic reality check; by refusing to read the Koran and find out how it is interpreted (including the pivotal rule of abrogation); by all these means they are binding us to pillars of inequality from which we may never escape.

By allowing the principle of equality (which is often viewed as a panacea) to be pushed into areas where it does not belong, such as in matters of truth and cultural values; we have put in jeopardy the principle of equality where it does belong: Equality before the law and equality of rights.