A new dark age is descending across much of the Middle East as the forces of Sharia Islam, enabled by official U.S. government policy, again demand strict enforcement of Islamic law. Parliamentary elections in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia already have brought the sharia-adherent Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) to positions of unprecedented power in each legislature; elections in Libya, where an Al Qa’eda-led, NATO-assisted revolution toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, have been “postponed.”
Brotherhood leadership figures increasingly speak out frankly about their intent to implement sharia. Mohamed Mursi in Egypt openly declared his intent to enforce sharia in Egypt; Abdelilah Benkiran, Morocco’s Brotherhood Prime Minister, openly snubbed Annemie Turtelboom, the Belgian Minister of Justice, during an April 2012 visit by refusing to speak with her (because she is a woman); and, in Tunisia, the Enahda (Brotherhood) party leader, Hamadi Jbeli, talked of instituting the “Sixth Caliphate” after November 2011 elections there.
The common denominator in each of these places across North Africa is regression to an historical period in which Islamic law dominated society, destroyed individual liberty and sent women into the chattel status of a sexual object, possessed by men from birth to death. The steady progress of Muslim Brotherhood penetration into the U.S. government, legal system and society, accompanied by an increasingly oppressive official prohibition against speaking openly about Islam, jihad, or shariah should sound a warning that the same fate could befall America, too, unless the threat of sharia is acknowledged and confronted.
Women in particular stand to lose precious, hard-won legal protections whenever and wherever sharia extends its terrifying tentacles. Rights taken for granted under U.S. Constitutional law include the freedom of assembly, belief and speech. Equality before the law for all citizens is the foundation of the American system and is grounded in the belief that all people are created equal and therefore free. Inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are based on Judeo-Christian concepts of natural law.
Unfortunately, every bit of this is anathema to Islamic law. Under sharia, women are held to be inferior to men: Their testimony is worth one-half that of a man in court of law (Q 2:282); she inherits one-half what a man inherits (Q 4:11); her father has the legal right to mutilate her genitals (al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveler, Chapter o4.3), and marry her off to anyone he chooses, even if she is still a child (Q 65:4); and the husband has the Qur’anic right to beat (Q 4:34) and rape his wife (Q 2:233), marry other women (Q 4:3), acquire concubines (Q 4:3), divorce her upon a whim, take custody of the children and turn her out with no means of support.
Free people of the Judeo-Christian tradition often have trouble understanding how such things could possibly be the law under a system that presents itself as a “religion.” We are horrified that human beings, especially in the 21st century, could treat one another like this. Yet, even a brief study of Islam and Islamic law will reveal that Islam is not merely a faith like any other of devotion to one’s deity but rather a complete “way of life” governed by an all-encompassing, smothering system of laws called “sharia.”
A creed of macho supremacism that must be imposed globally by warfare (jihad) sets Islam apart from every other faith-based belief system. Because of Islam’s command to jihad, Muslim men are called to dedicate their lives to fighting, according to the Qur’an:
Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not. (Q 2:216)
But as the intrepid Nonie Darwish (left) reminds us, women are the givers and protectors of life, which makes them an obstruction to the culture of jihad and “martyrdom” required for the forcible expansion of Islam. Falling in love and wanting to care for wives and children could tempt men to remain at home, instead of heading out to conquer kuffar (non-believers).
It is for this reason that Islamic law (sharia) is so harsh in its treatment of women: They must be controlled so that men can dedicate their lives to jihad. Offspring obviously are required for Islamic conquest to succeed, and so women are necessary to procreation, but equally must be restrained for one paramount reason—to ensure that all her offspring are her husband’s (or those of whichever jihadi captured or kidnapped her) and no one else’s. It’s also about ensuring the purity and proliferation of the bloodline because, according to Islamic law, all children born of a Muslim father are Muslim.
With this understanding of how sharia wages war not just on infidels, but on women both Muslim and non-Muslim, many of Islam’s horrific human rights abuses against women become clear. Clitoridectomies (Female Genital Mutilation or FGM) ensure women will never find (or seek) sexual fulfillment outside of submission to the desires of their Muslim masters. Suffocating, effacing, enveloping garments that obscure a woman’s face, form, hair and very identity are meant to keep other men from coveting female property that does not belong to them.
Flogging and stoning for adultery and fornication are to deter illicit sex (and illicit off-spring who just might not be Muslim). Denial of rights to initiate divorce, receive alimony or retain custody of children after divorce forces women to think twice about escaping the abusive bonds of a loveless, but Muslim, marriage. Everything about women in sharia is geared to maximizing output of Muslim off-spring and inhibiting the birth of non-Muslim children.
Recall that the 56 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (plus the Palestinian Authority) opted out of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights with their 1990 Cairo Declaration and have declared that according to Islam, the only human rights are those granted under sharia. These are the concepts of “the right path” now descending upon the people of Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.
These are the concepts embraced by the Muslim Brotherhood, whether in North Africa or the White House and Cabinet Departments in Washington, D.C. These are the concepts of female submission displayed to the world when American women officials abroad allow themselves to be bullied or gulled into donning the hijab. Such behavior has nothing in common with the U.S. Constitution or modern concepts of free personal expression that are embraced by millions of Muslims as well as non-Muslims the world over.
Only by reminding ourselves this Memorial Day that women as well as men have the right to live in dignity and individual liberty will the sacrifice of all who have fallen in their defense find its meaning and fulfillment.
Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez began her career as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Clare Lopez is Voice of the Copts’ board member.