Dalia Mogahed, Barack Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs, appeared on British television last week, where she said: “Sharia is not well understood and Islam as a faith is not well understood.” How have we misunderstood Islamic law? We have associated it with “maximum criminal punishments” and “laws that... to many people seem unequal to women.” The Western view of Sharia was “oversimplified,” said Barack Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs; most Muslim women worldwide, she said, associate it with “gender justice.”
Here’s some gender justice straight out of the Koran, the Islamic holy book that forms the basis of Sharia. As I explain in my book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran
, the Koran declares that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man: “Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her” (2:282). It rules that a son’s inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter: “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females” (4:11).
Worst of all, the Koran tells husbands to beat their disobedient wives, saying that “men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other,” and that therefore “good women are the obedient.” And as for those who are not obedient, the Koran directs men to give them a warning, send them to a separate bed, and “beat them” (4:34). It also allows for marriage to pre-pubescent girls, stipulating that Islamic divorce procedures “shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated” (65:4).
These are not “cherry-picked” verses taken “out of context.” All these stipulations -- about testimony, inheritance, wife-beating, marriage and divorce -- remain part of Sharia to this day. So does the law that a wife must not refuse sex to her husband, no matter where or when he makes the demand. This is based on a saying of the Islamic prophet Muhammad: “If a husband calls his wife to his bed [i.e. to have sexual relations] and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” And another: “By him in Whose Hand lies my life, a woman can not carry out the right of her Lord, till she carries out the right of her husband. And if he asks her to surrender herself [to him for sexual intercourse] she should not refuse him even if she is on a camel’s saddle.”
Gender justice. And that’s not all. Mogahed, a member of the President’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, made her defense of Sharia on a TV show hosted by a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. This is an international organization that is banned as a terrorist group in many nations, and which is openly dedicated to the worldwide imposition of Sharia and the destruction of all governments that are constituted according to any other political philosophy -- including Constitutional republics that do not establish a state religion.
On the show with Mogahed were two Hizb-ut-Tahrir who repeatedly attacked “man-made law” and the “lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism” one encounters in Western societies. They said Sharia should be “the source of legislation.” Not “a” source. “The” source.
Mogahed, for her part, offered no contradiction to any of this. Should an adviser to the President of the United States really have given her sanction to such a group? Apparently she has no problem with its goal, since instead of defending the American system of government, she maintained that Sharia was popular among Muslim women: “I think the reason so many women support Sharia is because they have a very different understanding of sharia than the common perception in Western media.”
On the same show, Dalia Mogahed described her job in the Obama administration as involving efforts “to convey...to the President and other public officials what it is Muslims want.” What Muslims want. Not what America might want from Muslims -- i.e., a recognition of the ways in which Sharia contradicts the Constitution regarding the equality of all people before the law, and a forthright rejection of those elements of Sharia. No one, Muslim or non-Muslim, seems concerned about any challenge to those provisions from the adherents of Sharia. Perhaps they should listen more closely to Dalia Mogahed.