Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shar'iah and England


An interesting interview the other day on Fresh Air, with an English human rights lawyer who identifies himself as a liberal Muslim. Like with any interview or thing we've read this semester, I found parts of it difficult to stomach or agree with, and parts of it that I thought were really well-stated. I was particularly interested in (which I don't think is included in the written summary of the interview) the connection he drew between fundamentalist Islam and "Tea Party" right-wing conservative hardliners in America who seem to sacralize the founding fathers. A lot of the arguments, at least in terms of the proper way to interpret texts and the proper attitude to be taken towards long-dead founders, are terribly similar. He also expresses, as Dean and some others have pointed out, that it's entirely reasonable for people like him to worry because there are "a lot of crazy people out there", but I think he speaks to the divisions that are hotly contested within Islam, and the difficulties in interpreting the Shari'ah.

One anecdote that's not listed, is when he was at a conference in Iran and one of the clerics stepped out to speak against the hardline in a very surprising way. Even in the most repressive "Islamic" regimes on Earth, it seems there's no solidarity.


  1. I heard a snippet of this. He was very interesting on the cherry-picking of "hadiths" and the admission that most attributions to the Prophet are apocryphal.

    Of course, shariah is effectively "banned" already in the sense that violations of civil law performed in its name are prosecuted.

  2. Ophelia Benson on this topic:

    “Interpreting sharia” http://dlvr.it/1RzFL9

  3. The Benson's piece was great. "Why defend goddy law?" Exactly! Same goes for goddy ethics, goddy science, goddy history, goddy anything.

    The first clue that an idea is corrupt, immoral, stupid, or insane is that it needs an invisible friend to make it make sense to the deluded.