"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jun 14, 2011


The Perry:

"I think in America from time to time we have to go through some difficult times — and I think we’re going through those difficult economic times for a purpose, to bring us back to those Biblical principles of you know, you don’t spend all the money."

The Bible (Mt 19:21, NASB):

"Jesus said to him, 'If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.' "

Let's just flush the toilet, already. The reason North American theocrats constantly worry "Sharia"* is because they fear the competition to their real and well funded project of theocratization. But, it's all in their heads. They're the only ones even remotely within reach of imposing religious law. There's no Muslim invasion navy. There will never be a Muslimy Red Dawn. The world's billion Muslims live an ocean (or two) away. And they are, as a rule, still burdened by the crises and problems of colonialism. They were the conquered peoples. Look at a world map. See all those Muslim majority countries. Former colonies and client states. Wicked dangerous, that Muslim thing...

In North America, the people looking to use the state to impose obedience to religious precepts and a religious worldview are Christians. And they can't even read their own Book that well, now can they?

* - As opposed to bugbear Sharia, actual Sharia is voluntary. Muslim theology excludes a priesthood which can impose a divine standard on the Ummah, or body of believers. Napoleonic and English common law, retooled after the fall of European colonial empires, have been mixed with Islamic jurisprudence, especially in Wahhabi Saudia Arabia and the degraded post-colonial states of the Sahel. To disastrous result.

According to nearly fourteen centuries of Islamic theology, jurisprudence, practice and debate, the "divine will" cannot be mediated by a priesthood. Islam lacks a sanctioned hierarchy. It is up to each individual Muslim to follow his or her conscience, which is the final arbiter for any Muslim person. Islam gives conscience the imprimatur of Allah. The Qur'an places the reception of Islam and the divine will entirely within the grasp of the individual believer, who alone must judge how best to live it. There are, obviously, communal standards, best understood as the collective sharing of the Five Pillars - but Muslims are not enjoined by a legal fiat, Sharia. Sharia is similar in function to Christian grace. God offers. The believer must negotiate his or her own acceptance of it. It has only, and very spottily, been reconceived as an enforceable state mandate following the collapse of the colonial system, and the failure of the first successor post-colonial states, whose leaders used the colonial law and enforcement apparatus available to them. Most of the world's Muslims still live as if Sharia is what it has traditionally been - the divine gift of God which the believer must judge and live by way of conscience.


Randal Graves said...

Muh muh muh my sharia!

Rabid squirrels pose more of a threat than Muslim Legal Boogeymen.

Jack Crow said...

I think of rabid squirrels more as a blessing. Or was that plague squirrels?

Mandos said...

The individualism of Sharia is only partially characterized in your post. There has been for much longer than Western colonialism an attempt to define some people as having greater authority to interpret and judge religious propositions than others. Hence the notion of the `ulema. Also through history, a lot has been prescribed as legal injunctions that pertain to group/community behaviours that are therefore imputed to require some kind of larger-scale coercive mechanism.

This current particular mix of Westphalian nation-state structure and Islamic law is, of course, a recent development. Notions of authority and jurisdiction have been fuzzier and more decentralized in the Islamic past, but that doesn't mean they didn't exist. There were executions for heresy and so on.

Jack Crow said...

Agreed, Mandos. I'm referring, though, to spread of that history.

The scholars weren't a priesthood. They were just scholars. Various sultans, amirs, caliphs and beys elevated and reduced them also as they saw fit.

Islamic theology itself prohibits a priesthood.

And where it was prudent (especially where certain sects of the Sufi held greater sway, or where the population revered them), they also tolerated brash heretics and syncretists, such as Kabir and Hafiz of Shiraz.

Justin said...

I look at it the same way I look at anyone who is fixated on some problem that appears like a non-issue to me. Similarly, people who worry the most about homosexuals are probably projecting some internal battle within themselves, Christians fixated on Sharia law see that as a threat because they want a Christian theocracy here.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

The fact the conservatives in the U.S. vehemently oppose attempts to free us from fossil fuels, thus supporting the biggest promulgators of Wahhabism, also comes to mind when one contemplates tales of "creeping sharia".

If anyone tries to impose Sharia law on the U.S., they'll be squashed by Anheuser Busch and the Smithfield pork company.

Cüneyt said...

One of the most conservative Muslims of all time was criticized by Muslim clerics for daring to add to Islam. They call him Suleiman Kanuni, the Lawgiver; the West called him Magnificent and his bust in profile is enshrined in the US House of Representatives. I should be insulted, but I can't blame their taste. Of course, he was also a statist whose desire for order ended the Ottoman proclivity for fratricidal dynastic war and set the empire on the path to destruction, but whatevs.

Cüneyt said...

Oh, and my point was that Islam itself has seen plenty of laws besides Shariah. People who bitch about it have no perspective. Drumheads and executions are the problem; they are hardly exclusive to religious law.

davidly said...

My first thought was, you nailed it. Then I thought: couldn't they all just get along?

I'm thinking of the overlap between the type who warns of female second-class citizenship and oppression in the "Muslim world", pops a few brews and molests a "barely legal" (woo hoo!) coed nearly passed out on Jello shooters, and is successfully defended by his brother-in-law using the "she was asking for it" defense.

"I mean, I'm not saying they should have to wear a hijab, but if they don't, they're gonna get a certain kind of attention."