Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Should we be Concerned about the Growing Push for Shariah Law?

Newt Gingrich has said that “Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.” Meanwhile, Eliyahu Stern, assistant professor of religious studies and history at Yale, contends that “this is exactly wrong.” Instead, he claims that,

• The crusade against Shariah undermines American democracy, ignores our countries successful history of religious tolerance and assimilation, and creates a dangerous divide between America and its fastest-growing religious minority. (“Don’t
Fear Islamic Law in America,” NYT, 9/3/11)

While he is right that this “crusade” might create a “dangerous divide,” it is questionable whether our concerns about Shariah “undermine American democracy.” Historically, we’ve had concerns about other religions which haven’t undermined American democracy. We had been concerned about polygamy as practiced by Mormonism and outlawed it. Consequently, Mormonism conformed to our monogamous standards, and we are living in harmony with this church today. Recently, we sentenced the polygamist Warren Jeffs to life imprisonment, and this didn’t undermine American democracy.

While we do have a history of “religious tolerance,” there are some things that this nation has wisely determined not to tolerate. Drugs have long been used religiously. However, we have legislated against peyote, other hallucinogens, and various satanic rituals, deeming these practices as harmful and deleterious to the fabric of the nation. We therefore are within our rights and tolerant traditions to ask questions about Shariah.

Stern also tries to draw a positive parallel between Shariah and “Jewish religious law”:

• The suggestion that Shariah threatens American security is disturbingly reminiscent of the accusation…that Jewish religious law was seditious.

Is it really “reminiscent?” Shariah represents far more of a threat to democracy than does “Jewish religious law.” For one thing, Islam will not tolerate any criticism against itself:

• [33:57] Those who insult [aa-dh-aa] God and His Messenger will be rejected by God in this world and the next—He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them— 58 and those who undeservedly insult [aa-dh-aa] believing men and women will bear the guilt of slander and obvious sin. (Haleem)

• [33:59-61] Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and women believers to make their outer garment hang low over them, so as to be recognized and not insulted [aa-dh-aa]: God is most forgiving, most merciful. 60 If the hypocrites, the sick of heart, and those who spread lies in the city [Medina] do not desist, We shall arouse you [the Prophet Mohammad] against them, and then they will only be your neighbors in this city for a short while. 61 They will be rejected wherever they are found, and then seized and killed. (Haleem)

Such a stance is no amenable to democracy and our freedom of speech. And it is not simply the radical Muslim “minority” who riots and murders because of cartoons of Mohammad or the burning of a Koran; it is also the faithful Muslim.

While many European nations are now acknowledging the failure of their multi-cultural experiment, liberal US academicians preach hope in America’s unique ability to assimilate the Muslim. Recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that the

• …tendency had been to say, “Let’s adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side…” But this concept has failed and failed utterly.

Merkel is not alone in this assessment. In February, UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated,

• Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream. We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.

More recently, French President Nicolas Sarkozy joined the growing chorus. According to World (March 26, p.24):

• He made the statement in a televised debate…that efforts to accommodate religious and cultural differences were clearly a “failure.”

Why haven’t these countries succeeded in their multi-cultural endeavor? For one thing, Islam will not allow Muslims to assimilate. According to www.koranqa.com; fatwa 59879, it is not permissible for a Muslim to feel any love in his heart towards the enemies of Allaah – all infidels – who are in fact his enemies too. This is not the judgment of radicals but of those clerics who are faithful to the Koran:

• [60:1] “O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists) as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth…[60:4] Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibraaheem (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: ‘Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allaah, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred for ever until you believe in Allaah Alone’”

Evidently, Stern, in comparing Islamic law to Jewish law, fails to understand Islam and the Islamic intention to control the world, something that Jewish law lacks.

Perhaps, Sterns most bizarre argument is that Muslims are “natural candidates for assimilation.” In view of the problems encountered by Western Europe and the negative assessments expressed by the leaders of these countries, Stern’s position is highly perplexing. What basis does he have for such an assertion?

• A recent Pew Research Center poll found that Muslim Americans exhibit the highest level of integration among major American religious groups, expressing greater degrees of tolerance toward people of other faiths than do Protestants, Catholics or Jews.

Perhaps this is because these latter groups have either lived, ministered, or traveled in Islamic countries, where religious minorities have been reduced to dhimmi (secondary and vulnerable) status and are persecuted under Shariah! Or perhaps they have just read the news? In any event, they are understandably intolerant of Islam.

Equally surprising is the fact that Stern takes this poll on face value. He is doubtless aware of the Islamic doctrine of Taqiyya, which mandates that Muslims deceive in order to spread Islam. Under this doctrine, Muslims will feign both endorsement of their host nation and also friendship in order to win others to their cause:

• [3:27] “Let not the believers take the disbelievers for friends rather than believers. And whoever does this has no connection with Allah (“He who does this cuts himself off from God in everything”{Muhammad Asad, according to Joe Kickasola}) unless it is done to guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully. [Muslims understand this as permission to lie to the infidels—“Taqiyya.” The Shia also appeal to 16:106 {Joe Kickasola claims that all Islam believes in Taqiyya when there is a threat, but many also use lying for evangelism}]

• [5:54] O ye who believe, take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other.

What then is the real agenda of Islam? The Koran often puts it this way:

• [47:4] “Thus you are ordered by Allah to continue Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam.”

Of course, there is also the equally unappealing alternative of living under submission to Islam. Meanwhile, when we ask Muslims about the Koran’s teachings on Jihad, they will customarily respond that it is merely their personal battle against sin. Taqiyya wins again! However, the numerous Koranic contexts where we find “Jihad” will not allow such an interpretation. Neither will Islamic commentaries:

• Then Allah revealed the order to discard the obligations and commanded Muslims to fight against all the Mushrikun [Polytheist and Trinitarians] as well as against the people of the Scriptures if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizya (tax) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. At first the fighting was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory against them that start the fighting against you and against all those who worship others along with Allah (Trinitarians). (From the index on “Jihad” found in the Khan’s Noble Koran.)

Stern writes disapprovingly of the “more than a dozen states …considering outlawing aspects of Shariah law.” Although I am in sympathy with these states, I’m not sure what this will accomplish apart from real revival overtaking the Christian church.

The renowned historian, Arnold Toynbee, claimed that great civilizations do not ultimately fall because of invading armies. Instead they become sick, and consequently die from within. If death comes from within, renewal must also come from within. We are sick and have lost sight of what had made the West great. Consequently, we are vulnerable to a whole assortment of viruses – unbridled sexuality, moral relativism, multi-culturalism, modernism, secularism, postmodernism, the new age – which are consuming us. Unbridled hatred of our Christian roots is just one symptom of the decay.

Hatred and polarization has become so toxic that we can’t think about changing society without first hungering to change ourselves. We need to enthrone Christ over all aspects of our lives, confessing our sins and crying out for His help. Once we do this, we can begin to trust Him to do as He has promised, that the justice of our cause would be seen by all (Psalm 37:6). We can also trust Him to create the necessary love and unity among ourselves. Jesus prayed:

• "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

Only as we repent of having placed our own priorities before God’s, can we expect to change this world. He promised that if we would seek Him first, along with His righteous priorities, He would give us everything that we need (Matthew 6:33). Please pray with me that the Lord will revive us once we repent of all of our sins.

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