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Speaker: An attempt at demystifying Sharia

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  • Raymond A Francis,

    Interesting.
    I have in the past seriously thought about investing money through Sharia banks as in theory the sharing of profits rather than charging interest especially in this time of low or even negative interest rates seems a much fairer system.

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    My take on your story of Arafat implying a tolerance of women not wearing headscarf: he was being coy, to avoid elimination by a fundamentalist zealot.

    Does sharia have a rule that enforces the dress code on women? If so, why would we tolerate such discrimination on the basis of sex? If not, why the hell do muslim men keep enforcing it? Women here have equal rights now. That includes the right to reject any traditional rules that relegate them to second-class citizen status. Muslims who come here ought to respect our ethos and act accordingly.

    I can see the time coming when any muslim man who tries to impose the patriarchy here will have to be sent back to country of origin. It's our moral duty to protect our civil rights. So we will!

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    I do appreciate your attempt to present sharia in a positive light, Felix. Worth a try. The problem really is that it is likely to be seen as an artifact of tradition, rather than a code which can evolve to become a guide to good behaviour.

    And, to the extent that it derives from the instructions of the prophet, it is probably an inherently flawed prescription. If any islamic cleric is on record as advocating deletion from the Koran of his instruction that followers of the faith must kill unbelievers, we would have a rational basis upon which progress could be made.

    I have seen no evidence of any such development. Consequently there appears to be no valid basis for including sharia in our multicultural context.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Thanks for that summary.

    I've also spent a bit of time lately reminding people that the "women must cover their hair" is also from the Pentateuch and is widely practiced by Christians and Jews, albeit not as commonly by young ones. Some may remember such devout practitioners of the habit as Mother Theresa or Mother Angelica.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    the Prophet seeing a woman’s uncovered hair and clearly not being offended.

    Just as god sitting, as he apparently does, up there above us looking down wouldnt be offended by the sight as he would by other not so attractive heads of hair or lack thereof.

    to payday lenders advertising on television.

    And in todays society with mental compartmentalization virtually de rigueur, these arseholes can go to church on sundays and fool themselves into believing they will end up in an other worldly paradise just like everyone else, all that dreadful stuff they had to do back in that earthly hateful place all forgiven now, no harm done. All fluffy clouds and wings for everyone.

    Forgive my bleak humour, but these early belief systems, based as they are on the imagined existence of some overseeing deity, are showing their age rather badly. Not that I expect them to be given up any time soon. Large swathes of the global population have gotten somewhat attached to them and convinced themselves they cant do without them. We are rather good at fooling ourselves it would seem.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    Primitive belief systems are indeed the problem. Israeli writer Y.N. Harari illustrates this in his 2018 book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century in discussing Judaism.

    "Nowadays ultra-orthodox jews ban images of women from the public sphere. Billboards and advertising aimed at ultra-orthodox jews usually depict only men and boys - never women and girls."

    "In 2011, a scandal erupted when the ultra-orthodox Brooklyn paper Di Tzeitung published a photo of American officials watching the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, but digitally-erased all women from the photo, including Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. The paper explained that it was forced to do so by jewish `laws of modesty'."

    "A similar scandal erupted when HaMevaser paper expunged Angela Merkel from a photo of a demonstration against the Charlie Hebdo massacre, lest her image arouse any lustful thoughts". "The publisher of a third ultra-orthodox newspaper, Hamodia, defended this policy by explaining that `We are backed by thousands of years of jewish tradition.'

    Bullshit! As Harari proves: "when archaeologists excavated ancient synagogues from the time of the Mishnah and Talmud, they found no sign of gender segregation, and instead uncovered beautiful floor mosaics and wall paintings depicting women, some scantily dressed". The rabbis who wrote those texts would have studied and prayed there, says Harari, "but present-day orthodox jews would consider them blasphemous desecrations of ancient traditions".

    Fundamentalists deliberately create false histories to con people. Ideologues get off on that behaviour. True believers conform accordingly. Doesn't take long for mass psychology to produce mass psychosis. That's the lesson from the recent massacre, and all previous massacres and genocides produced by ideology.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to andin,

    Just as god sitting, as he apparently does, up there above us looking down wouldnt be offended

    Exactly. My interpretation of Arafat's use of the story was: (i) women's hair is not intrinsically offensive (and the Prophet is explicit about that); therefore (ii) the law is instead about minimizing reactions of less perfectly holy men (something that obvs. isn't in play concerning the Prophet).
    Making that explicit was never going to be an acceptable answer for the questioner, though — because why should the law act primarily to restrict the actions of potential victims?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    We are rather good at fooling ourselves it would seem.

    Writer Y.N. Harari also illustrates this in his earlier book.. Sapiens
    He goes into the 'fictions' that we create and need to survive en masse
    Well worth a read.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    ‘fictions’

    And that kind of the problem because they are easily disprovable, and in the case of our inherited religious beliefs, fanciful and open to weird and frightening interpretations, there will never be anyway of uniting them unless we abandon them.

    But we, everyone, have got to do it in unison. A utopian fantasy and likely to remain that way. A grand scale Human exit is more likely.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to andin,

    A grand scale Human exit is more likely.

    Hexit sounds a tad ominous ...
    - who or what will find our 'Remains'?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I haven't read Sapiens but I think his point about fictions seems valid. Strikes me as effective on the same basis as Don Juan's advocacy of the `controlled folly', which Castenada popularised long ago. I been using it on & off since 1970 and can testify that it enables us to finesse the confining effect of unsuitable social conditions.

    Then there's the more general relevance of the creative imagination, promoted by zillions of others so I need not go into that. Remember the aborigines in Oz describe the dreamtime as the world they live in; not a separate realm. We'd be kidding ourselves to think we westerners don't have our collective equivalent...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Castaneda and his Brujo were literally 'on the button' - in all senses...
    ...then there's those that swear by 'the way of the tosser' as expanded on in The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart (George Cockcroft)
    Just what is real?
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Our imaginary friends.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Hexit sounds a tad ominous

    No I was thinking it will bear more resemblance to the farce that has become brexit. A comedy of errors for some intergalactic traveler to decipher, if such an entity did exist and could be bothered. It would inspire more a mirthless chuckle I imagine.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to andin,

    the farce that has become brexit.

    indeed...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    What shariah law appears to be in most western societies with Muslim minorities is a dispute resolution and behavioural norm code that requires an imam and other community elders to adjudicate complaints within Muslim communities and families. It is certainly not a fully-fledged alternative legal framework seeking to supplant western constitutional law and legislative frameworks as the more deranged elements of the raving right suggest.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 560 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Craig Young,

    . It is certainly not a fully-fledged alternative legal framework seeking to supplant western constitutional law and legislative frameworks

    Sorry to disagree but it absolutely is, there are countries that use it. Well, their local interpretation of it. It's also very clear that secular law is not permitted to contradict Canon Law. I mean Sharia Law. As well as Christian and Jewish religious law. The overwhelming majority of adherents obey secular law anyway. But even in the mainstream we get weird things like the Prime Minister of Australia saying that Catholic Law overrides Australian Law. Oddly the right wingnuts did not go berserk when Tony Abbott said that (he was defending Cardinal Pell at the time. Yes, that Cardinal Pell).

    In secular countries people can still choose to live according to religious law, and some do. I live in Lakemba and there's a fair number of professional practices advertised as "we will help you do the paperwork to get your Sharia decision implemented by Australian Law". Family lawyers especially, but also accountants and so on.

    There is possibly a higher rate of Muslims who choose to live under Sharia in Australia than Jews living under Halakhah and definitely far higher than Christians trying to live under (say) Greek Orthodox Law. But then Christians have far more diverse opinions about what constitutes the law of their religion than I suspect even Jews manage. Exclusive Brethren spring to mind, but even in mainstream Christianity the Protestant-Catholic split probably looms larger to most these days than the Orthodox-Catholic one (classic QI question "is the pope Catholic", answer: he's not, he's the head of the Orthodox Church* and the Catholic dude has a string of titles that while long does not include "pope").

    * you are invited not to ask which Orthodox church. Thank you.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Moz,

    Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that Muslims in Aotearoa want to impose Sharia Law or even prefer to live in a country run by Sharia Law... if they wanted that we're a very poor choice, and they do have choices in that regard. Just that the panic over Sharia Law is at least as misplaced as earlier panics over the "Catholic Menace" and let us not delve into antisemitism. Which is also misplaced, and again Jews who want to live in a Jewish theocracy have the option of moving to one.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Moz,

    QI question “is the pope Catholic”, answer: he’s not, he’s the head of the Orthodox Church*

    I prefer the crasser 'does a bear shit in the woods' and there's only two orthodoxies and for the life of me, I can never remember which is which. Must have been dozy daydreaming that day Damn me to hell whydontya ;-}

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to andin,

    'does the pope shit in the woods'

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Sacha,

    "Is the bear a catholic"?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 484 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I get it, there is no attempt to impose Sharia here (or anywhere in the West, for that matter).

    But what is to come of those aspects of Sharia that we hold to be inconsistent with our values ?

    Such as the right to be LGBTI+ ? I see this as a fundamental human right but I do not think this is consistent with most Sharia law.

    Is it possible to resolve such a long-held belief system ? We have finally managed to get some of the Christian churches (e.g. Anglican, Presbyterian) to get with the programme. This took centuries.

    When it comes to Sharia law, what is the approach to fundamental human rights with which most Sharia law disagrees ?

    Do we allow bigotry in the name of religion ?

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    When it comes to Sharia law, what is the approach to fundamental human rights with which most Sharia law disagrees ?

    Ignore it and carry on seems to be the way its done in Brunei. And that former champion of Human Rights the US govt isnt going to help either, apart from weakly worded statements.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/mike-pompeo-and-us-government-wont-condemn-brunei-lgbt-stoning-law?ref=home

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    the right to be LGBTI+ ? I see this as a fundamental human right but I do not think this is consistent with most Sharia law.

    It's not just Islamic extremists, Uganda has the death penalty because it's Christian. Note that most of the countries don't actually execute anyone, they "merely" imprison them if they survive to go to trial.

    It's also no more consistent with Christian Law than divorce or dressing immodestly. Ie, it's a big ugly mess and there's a lot of faffing about in various religious groups and theocracies to balance modernising doctrine vs hewing the to the core of the religion. The Christianity of some African countries is pretty scary, they seem to have switched from European fundamentalism to US fundamentalism rather than to anything sane.

    I think there's a selection effect running both ways - people pick a religion compatible with their culture, and use the religion to push towards their cultural preferences. You can see that with the defence of slavery in the UK and USA, for example, and also slightly later in their rejection of slavery, then recently especially in the US, their re-embrace of slavery (although they now call it "prison labour" and "free trade areas" etc... oh, and "the rights of the unborn child").

    Before we get too carried away, remember that NZ still has the death penalty (for treason).

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Moz,

    NZ’s death penalty for treason was abolished in 1989 (Abolition of the Death Penalty Act 1989). The Cook Islands abolished capital punishment only in 2007, but had never actually used it. There are currently only two nations in Oceania with capital punishment still on the books, namely Papua New Guinea (where the relevant crimes include murder through sorcery), and Tonga (where it was last used in 1982).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

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