The student paper here has an article about an upcoming appearance by Imam Siraj Wahhaj. The article is pretty bland, describing how Wahhaj is going to lecture about the role of women in Islam and dispel misconceptions that Islam advocates the mistreatment of women.
The article left out quite a bit. For example, it didn’t mention that Wahhaj was named as one of several dozen unindicted co-conspirators in the case of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. It also forgot to mention that Wahhaj testified as a character witness at the trial of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman who was convicted of plotting a campaign to bomb prominent landmarks in New York.
A profile of Wahhaj in 2003 by the Wall Street Journal noted that Wahhaj preferred to remain neutral about whether or not Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Wall Street Journal quoted Wahhaj as saying, “I’m just not so sure I want to be one of the ones who say, ‘Yeah, he did it. He’s a horrible man.'”
Rahman also has repeatedly called for replacing the U.S. government with a Muslim-style caliphate saying things such as, “In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam.”
As I said, Wahhaj plans to dispel misconceptions about Islam’s treatment of women. Not sure what he’s going to say, but in the past he has argued in favor of the stoning of adulterers (“If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it’s the obedience of Allah and his messenger — nothing personal.”)
If this is what Muslim organization think is the moderate face of their religion . . .
A few weeks ago, I was driving into work listening to a Public Radio International program about ongoing terrorism in Iraq. The topic that day was the murder of a driver for a Kuwaiti trucking firm. Obviously, the goal of the terrorists was to deny supplies from coming into Iraq by instilling fear in the company and/or it’s drivers.
The guest on PRI that day made what I thought was a rather bizarre slander against the Kuwaiti trucking firms. Asked by the host whether or not this would be an effective tactic, the guest noted that the drivers employed by the Kuwaitis are foreiengers and that the tactic would not work because the Kuwaiti firms could care less about the safety of their foreign workers.
In fact, last week one of the major trucking firms, Kuwait Gulf and Link, announced it would cease all operations in Iraq in an effort to free seven of its drivers held hostage by a group calling itself the Secret Islamic Army. The hostages were all foeigners — three Indians, three Kenyans and an Egyptian.
Frankly, I don’t think the firm should have given in to terrorism on principle, but it’s understandable why they made that decision. I wonder if the PRI guest will go back on network now and apologize. I won’t be holding my breath.
Kuwaiti firm bows to kidnappers’ demands, stops work in Iraq. Agence-France Press, August 27, 2004.
National Review Online’s Rod Dreher has a pretty damning piece about the state of campus tolerance toward differing views. A couple scholars who have documented the repression of Christians in Islamic states was invited to speak at Georgetown, but the frank discussion of the issue was apparently too much for anyone to handle. Even the group that sponsored the scholars disavowed her speech.
Two Jewish student leaders who sponsored the event wrote a bizarre letter to the Georgetown student newspaper complaing that the speakers made “no effort to make a clear distinction between pure, harmonious Islam, and the acts of a few who falsely claim to act in the name of Islam.”
One of the scholars, Bat Yeor, had an excellent retort to this absurd posture,
This is pure nonsense. When one studies the Inquisition or the Crusades, one does not feel obliged to make a clear distinction between ‘pure’ Christianity and those historical events. In a university, the examination of several analyses of history should be encouraged. The Muslim view is exclusively religion-based, and proceeds from the assumption that there is only one valid interpretation of history: the Islamic one. No criticism of jihad is accepted because it is a just war according to Muslim dogma.
This attitude imposes the worst law of dhimmitude on non-Muslims: the refusal of their evidence. The historical testimony of the millions of human victims of jihad is rejected on its face by this doctrinal attitude.
Dhimmitude, by the way, is Yeor’s term for the system of repression that Islamic sharia law directs at non-Muslims. Under sharia, non-Muslims may not testify against Muslims, may face blasphemy charges for teaching their religion (as happens in Pakistan), and are part of a two-classed legal system analogous to the two-tiered system that Jim Crow laws created for whites and blacks in the United States.
Damned If You Do. Rod Dreher, National Review Online, October 29, 2002.
Police in Khartoum, Sudan, used tear gas and batons to break up a demonstration by dozens of women. The women were protesting a recent decree by Khartoum’s governor banning women from working in public places such as restaurants and hotels.
According to Ghazi Suleiman, a lawyer who heads the National Coalition for the Restoration of Democracy, the women were peacefully protesting the ban when police attacked the marchers. “The police attacked the women with tear gas and batons, just five minutes after the protest started,” Suleiman told Reuters.
The ban by the governor was temporarily suspended by a Sudanese court after several women filed complaints against the edict.
Three women hurt, 26 arrested in Sudan demonstration. Reuters, September 12, 2000.
The ongoing takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamic extremist Taliban movement has received a lot of coverage in the United States, especially among feminist organizations who have rightly highlighted Afghanistan’s ongoing war against women’s human rights. Less well reported, however, are the victories that Islamic extremists are gaining in Nigeria, putting that country on the verge of civil war.
In January 2000 the Nigerian state of Zamfara adopted Islamic law, Sharia, and since then it has been joined by seven other Nigerian states. Although not carried quite to the extremes that Sharia has been in Sudan and Afghanistan, it is nonetheless turning Nigerian into a nightmare.
One of the more egregious violations is a return to public whipping of both men and women who engage in pre-marital sex. Several months ago a young couple caught engaging in sex were sentenced to a public lashing, and last week a court in Zamfara sentenced a pregnant 17-year-old girl to 180 lashes. The sentence is to be carried out 40 days after the girl gives birth.
This sentence is particularly cruel since 100 of the lashes come for engaging in premarital sex, but 80 of the lashes are punishment for the girl’s compliance with a court order to name any men she had sex with. The girl complied and named three men she had slept with, but after police were unable to “prove” any of the men had sex with her, the Islamic court convicted her of falsely accusing the three men.
Among other punishments, the BBC reports that “in August, two motorcycle taxi riders in Zamfara were lashed in punishment for carrying female Muslim passengers.”
Like Sudan, Nigeria has a majority Muslim population in the north, but a majority Christian population in the south, and the spread of Sharia and Islamic extremist has led to violent clashes between Christians and Muslims that threatens to erupt into a full-fledge civil war along the lines of what has transpired in Sudan over the past few decades.
Sharia sentence for pregnant teenager. The BBC, September 14, 2000.
Apparently there’s some sort of competition going on between Sudan and Afghanistan over which nation can be the most extreme in its restriction on women.
The Taleban had begun to loosen up restrictions on women before tightening down again last month with broad restrictions on working women, including shutting down small business run by widows. Sudan decided to try to keep pace by banning women from working in any part of Khartoum, the capitol, where they might come into contact with men.
Police have already begun making the rounds ensuring that no woman is working in gas stations, hotels, restaurants and other public places. According to Khartoum Governor Mazjoub al-Khalifa, the ban is actually good for women. The BBC reports al-Khalifa said:
This is to honor women, uphold their lofty status and put them in the appropriate place that respects the values and observes the tradition of our nation.
Anger at Khartoum ban. The BBC, September 6, 2000.