Editor’s note: Dean Obeidallah is a comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Axis of Evil” special, ABC’s “The View,” CNN’s “What the Week” and HLN’s “The Joy Behar Show.” He is executive producer of the annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and the Amman Stand Up Comedy Festival. Follow him on Twitter.
(CNN) – There are two Rick Santorums: The first one I might not agree with, but the second one truly scares me.
“Santorum One” pushes for less government regulation for corporations and shrinking the federal government. You may or may not agree with these positions, but they are both mainstream conservative fare.
Then there’s “Santorum Two.” This Santorum wants to impose conservative Christian law upon America. Am I being hyperbolic or overly dramatic with this statement? I wish I were, but I’m not.
Plainly put, Rick Santorum wants to convert our current legal system into one that requires our laws to be in agreement with religious law, not unlike what the Taliban want to do in Afghanistan.
FULL ARTICLE FROM CNN
Islamists are likely to represent the “next wave” of political power in the Arab world, Qatar’s prime minister said, as early indications from Egypt’s elections suggested the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm was heading for victory.
But Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, the influential prime minister who has led Qatar’s backing for revolutions across the Arab world, told the Financial Times the west should embrace the rise of Islamist movements.
“We shouldn’t fear them, let’s co-operate with them,” he said, insisting that moderate Islamists can assist in the fight against extremist ideology. “We should not have a problem with anyone who operates within the norms of international law, comes to power and fights terrorism,” he said.
Mr Hamad, who played a high-profile role in the Libya military intervention, spoke after the first of three phases in the Egypt’s election. Indications from the count in the nine Egyptian provinces where voting took place this week put Freedom and Justice, the new party set up by the Muslim Brotherhood after the January revolution, in the lead.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE FINANCIAL TIMES
In Iran, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces the death penalty for the “crime” of leaving Islam as a teenager and converting to Christianity. A translated Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010 states that 32-year-old Nadarkhani “is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion, the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19.” While there is widespread public outcry of support for his specific case, some are speaking broadly about the punishment for apostasy. Many — Muslim and non-Muslim — mistakenly believe that Islam supports this barbaric practice.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Islam prescribes absolutely no punishment for apostasy. If one were to assume that Islam prescribes some sort of punishment for a person who chooses to leave Islam, that would invariably mean that Islam forces one to be a Muslim against their will. But chapter two of the Holy Quran emphatically denies this possibility, stating “there shall be no compulsion in religion.” This is an unambiguous declaration protecting freedom of conscience and choice.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST
In 1948, most of the world’s Muslim-majority nations signed up to theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, including article 18, “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” which includes, crucially, the “freedom to change his religion or belief”. The then Pakistani foreign minister, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, wrote: “Belief is a matter of conscience, and conscience cannot be compelled.”
Fast-forward to 2011: 14 Muslim-majority nations make conversion away from Islam illegal; several – including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Sudan – impose the death penalty on those who disbelieve. The self-styled Islamic Republic of Iran has sentenced to death by hanging a Christian pastor, born to Muslim parents, for apostasy. At the time of writing, Youcef Nadarkhani, head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran, is on death row for refusing to recant and convert back to Islam.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN (UK)
The movement to ban the use of sharia in the United States continues togrow, even as its proponents struggle to find examples of Islamic law posing a threat to the American way of life.
Anti-sharia activists have now resorted to focusing on an obscure Florida civil lawsuit called Mansour vs. Islamic Education Center of Tampa. The case, which has been elevated to cause celebre status in the right-wing blogosphere involves a mundane financial disagreement between two factions of the Islamic organization.
But in a ruling in the case last month, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen wrote a sentence that has been seized on by anti-sharia activists: “This case will proceed under Ecclesiastical Islamic Law.”
On the surface that may sound odd. And, indeed, the typical right-wing reaction has gone something like this: “A Florida judge ruled that a Muslim v. Muslim case can proceed under sharia law. I’m being unbelievably serious here! This kind of crap is why I drink, which would get me beheaded under sharia law. ” Ironically, Nielsen is a registered Republican and Jeb Bush appointee.
FULL ARTICLE FROM SALON
Islamic Sharia and Jewish Halakha Arbitration Courts
by Sheila Musaji
We have been slowly working to put online all of the articles from the print issues of The American Muslim published between 1989 and 1995. Recently, one such article Native American Courts: Precedent for an Islamic arbitral system by Issa Smith which was originally published in our 1993 print edition went online.
This was quickly noticed by Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, and his posting about the article provoked a number of Islamophobic postings on his site.
Last years dispute over establishing Sharia arbitration courts for family law in Canada prompted so muchcontroversy, and ultimately led to the banning of all faith based arbitration in Canada, and this yearshysteria over a speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury – it comes as no surprise that there is such strong feeling about what seems like a non-issue.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech was certainly not treason, craven, bonkers, a reason to “sack” him, or as Christopher Hitchens has said, a reason to say “To Hell With the Archbishop of Canterbury”. The Archbishop certainly wasn’t saying as John Gibson suggested on Fox News: “What the archbishop was proposing — in effect — was the unfairness of Sharia law toward women be institutionalized for Muslim women under British law.” And, the Archbishop is not as Robert Spencer called him, the “Archdhimmi” of Canterbury.
As an American Muslim I would be opposed to any suggestion that Sharia replace our American legal system for American Muslims or any other Americans, and I would be the first to fight any such possibility.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE AMERICAN MUSLIM
Lawmakers in Jefferson City (MO) are proposing a bill that would prevent Missouri courts from applying laws based on the law of foreign countries, cultures, and specifically laws based on the Islamic faith. This bill seems redundant and unnecessary, as our courts are required to uphold the Constitution and laws that do not violate the Constitution, and would not uphold a law (foreign or religious) that would be in contradiction to our Constitution or legislatively enacted laws. The real intent of this proposed bill, as reflected in the singling out of Islam and the comments made by the bill’s co-sponsors, is to demean Islam and the thousands of patriotic Missourians who follow the Islamic faith.
One of the bill’s co-sponsors, Representative Don Wells, has commented that this legislation is needed to prevent the threat of Sharia, law based on Islamic principles, from being implemented by courts in this state. He has stated that the threat of Sharia to our state is similar to the threat that was once posed by Polio. By using such inflammatory language, our state representatives are furthering Islamophobia and misconceptions about Islam.
FULL ARTICLE FROM STL TODAY