[Vision2020] Nick Gier: Idaho lawmakers need context, cultural background in Sharia case

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Sun May 3 06:06:37 PDT 2015

Courtesy of today's (May 3, 2015) Spokesman-Review.

Idaho lawmakers need context, cultural background in Sharia case

By Nick Gier

Idaho state Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll joined eight other legislators in rejecting a bill that would bring Idaho into compliance with the Hague Convention on Child Support. At risk is $16 million in federal funding for Idaho’s child welfare system and millions of dollars in child support for Idaho’s single mothers. 

Nuxoll claimed that Idaho would have to abide by decisions made by Sharia law courts in the Muslim countries that signed this international agreement.  Her informants neglected to tell her that Albania and Bosnia – two Muslim nations who signed the Hague Convention – follow secular, not religious law. 

Shahram Hadian, a Christian convert from Islam, spoke April 21 at a Bonner County Republican meeting in Sandpoint. Hadian warned that the Obama administration planned to settle 2,000 Muslim refugees in Southern Idaho, and that the enforcement of Sharia law would soon follow.

One person who attended the meeting said she learned that Sharia law was “part of the Constitution of Islam and that is why it can’t be separated out.” The only document that can be called an Islamic Constitution is the Charter of Medina, which was promulgated in A.D. 626 to settle differences among Jews, pagans and Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

 The Charter of Medina guaranteed freedom of religion and political and cultural autonomy for all parties to the agreement.  It also contained the “right not to be found guilty because of the deeds of an ally,” a decisive break from ancient laws, such as those in the Bible (Deut. 5:9), that made the sins of others your own.

 Many of those who suffer from Islamophobia assume that Sharia law is all about the amputation of thieves’ limbs and the stoning of adulteresses, but these “hudud” offenses apply in only nine Muslim countries. 

Stoning as a form of execution is not found in the Quran, but is sanctioned by the Bible. Stoning in Muslim countries was not introduced until the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the 20th century. It was banned in Afghanistan after the U. S. invasion, and only the Taliban and other tribal authorities continue to carry out this gruesome punishment. 

  In 26 Muslim countries, secular law, not religious law, is enforced.  In 20 other countries, only civic matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody follow Islamic customs.

The U. S. government allows Jews to administer their own family law. Orthodox Jews have very negative views about women’s rights, just as bad as some Muslim views, so this cannot be used, without showing bias, as a reason for denying the use of Muslim family law.       

 Some years ago, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich cited the case of a New Jersey judge who ruled in favor of a Muslim husband who claimed that his wife’s consent was not necessary for sexual relations with her. Gingrich neglected to mention that the decision was overturned “as seriously flawed” by a state appeals court, where the judges ruled the state’s rape laws trump religious laws and practices.

In an article titled “Who’s Afraid of Sharia?”, author and speaker Sumbul Ali-Karamali lays out the six principles of Islamic law: the right to life; the right to the protection of family; the right to education; the right of religious freedom; the right to the protection of property and access to resources; and the right to the protection of human dignity.  

As Ali-Karamali declares: “Well, bless me, as a Pledge-of-Allegiance-reciting, California-raised Muslim girl, these six principles sound a lot like those espoused in my very own Constitution of the United States.”

 Ali-Karamali gets the last word: “Focusing only on the nutcases who advocate a return to medieval times is ignoring the vast majority of modern Muslims.”

Nick Gier of Moscow taught religion and philosophy at the University of Idaho for 31 years.


Thanks, Nick.

Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares"
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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