You can even hear ex-SAS types stating that we are a tolerant country, and that is why we have to respect Islam like other faiths. Some pointed questions might soon dispel such a simplistic and dangerous assertion. Let’s try the following:
Q: So, you believe that as a tolerant people we should accept Islam. If you were to learn that Islam is itself demonstrably intolerant, would you change your acceptance of it as a faith, like the others?
A: Yes, I would, but I’d need convincing evidence.
Q: OK. Are you aware that Muslims see their laws, the Sharia, as the foundation of their faith? You are. OK, and these laws were developed from three sources: their holy book, the Koran, which to them is the word of Allah as recited to Muhammad; from the traditions of what Muhammad said and did, the hadiths; and finally, from how he lived and is remembered, the Sunnah.
A: I have heard something about that.
Q: And as the foundation of the faith, these laws guide Muslims and help form their culture – in fact, have a deeply significant role in how they behave. Do you know anything about their different schools of law?
A: Not really. Don’t they have one system?
Q: No, the Sunnis, around 90% of Muslims, in fact, have 4 schools of law to choose from – though they largely agree on major principles – these “schools” decided to famously, as they say, “close the door on innovation”. Do you know when this might have happened?
A: No, but some time ago, I imagine.
Q: Correct, the law codes ossified around the time of Alfred the Great’s reign. Do you think we should be guided today by Alfred’s laws?
Q: It would be strange if we were…The Shia have a number of sects but the majority, such as those in Iran, follow a single school’s edicts, that of the Jafari school. So, if the Sunni and Shia all have laws – the foundation of their faith – that are demonstrably intolerant as regards allowing you to choose your faith, would you now agree that Islam itself is intolerant and should not be treated as other faiths are?
A: Well, I would, but it is a religion and people have different interpretations.
Q: But if they all have the same intolerant interpretation, then is it tolerant?
A: No, if that can be proven.
Q: OK, I will give the irrefutable proof you need. Did you know that all the schools, Sunni and Shia, agree on seven crimes with set punishments? No, I thought not! These are known as huddud punishments, meaning they come directly from Allah, as they were either stated in the Koran – the word of Allah – or came directly from Muhammad, Allah’s ideal man, his messenger. Did you know that all the schools thus accept Muhammad’s statement, “If a man changes his religion, then kill him”? That is, becoming an apostate is a capital crime. Is that the tolerance you expect of a religion?
A: No, it is not. But where is that the case, maybe in Saudi Arabia?
Q: No, there are 8 Muslim countries which treat apostasy as a capital crime and 15 others in which it is a punishable offence. These statutes exist now, not in Alfred’s time – Google Library of Congress Report on Apostasy to see for yourself. They are based on Islamic law and demonstrate that Islam, as evidenced by the Sharia and the statutes of these 23 nations, does not tolerate leaving the faith – in fact, it terrifies those who leave the faith. Did you know this goes on now, here in the UK?
Q: Look on Youtube for Nissar Hussain, apostate. He was attacked and hospitalised for leaving Islam and cannot return to his home in Bradford. He is not alone. Do you remember the Ahmadi Muslim shopkeeper murdered in Glasgow by a Sunni Muslim, because as a Sunni he saw the Ahmadis as not “real” Muslims but as apostates, thus the shopkeeper should be killed?
A: I remember something about that, but the cases are isolated, aren’t they?
Q: Youtube them, and while there, if you have the stomach, type in “Ahmadi Muslims attacked in Indonesia”. The evidence is clear. Both Sunnis and the majority of Shia Muslims accept that leaving Islam is a death sentence – in fact, it is described as the worst crime in Islam. As that is the case, do you still think Islam is a religion like others and should be tolerated like others, or, do you accept that unlike other faiths it is inextricably linked to legal codes that threaten and demand the killing of those with the temerity to change their faith?
A: If what you say is true, then I might have to revise my opinion. But, can’t they be persuaded to change these laws and get with the programme?!
Q: Like I said, these laws have been in place since King Alfred’s time, 2 centuries before the Norman Conquest, and reforms, such as they are, came only when Islamic countries were subjugated, either de facto or by the pressure of example, by western nations and thus felt the need to modernise their legal codes. But this is no longer the case and the pressure is now to go back to the original codes. Slavery is a good example: outlawed by us in the nineteenth century and eventually globally in 1927 in the International Slavery Convention, but Saudi Arabia only got around to banning it in 1962. Yet we still see Saudi diplomats in the US being tried for having slaves in their households. The reforms are only formulaic, not systemic.
The Sharia remains intact, ready to be brushed down and restated. It is after all based on the word of Allah and his Messenger and has stood the test of time as far as they are concerned, and should be applied until the end of time. So, finally, if Islamic law cannot really be reformed to match modern norms, if Islamic law is the foundation of the faith, and if Islamic law demonstrates this most clearly by citing that leaving Islam is its greatest crime which must be punished by death, is Islam a tolerant religion and thus deserving of its own “courts” in our country?
A: No response is needed…