Thursday, March 23, 2006

Abdul Rahman and the Future of Shari'a

Jay Bryant at "Real Clear Politics" has an interesting view on the case.

Some quotes:

What the case allows the West, and the moderates, to do is to give a name to the enemy, and the name is shari'a. Many Muslim nations have civil societies that are not run on the basis of shari'a, and historically, many others have been absolute models of tolerance - the Ummayad dynasty in Spain, for example, and the Abassids who founded the city of Baghdad. Both, in their day, were centers of learning that drew, and welcomed, scholars from Christendom as well as Islamia. And both, by the way, were overthrown by more radical Islamic movements - not by Christians.

The question thus becomes, which way is the current trend trending? In many ways, it seems the moderate Islamic states are on the defensive against the radicals. The Rahman case, by publicizing the most odious side of shari'a, will ultimately help move the trend in the right direction. Either the man will be martyred, or the authorities will have to back down. And if they back down, it will be clear that they, and the forces of radicalism and repression, have suffered a defeat.

There remains the question of the commitment of the West in midwifing civil society in those parts of Islamia where it does not now exist. The strength of that commitment will determine the length of time it takes to get the job done. If the West is resolute, a time frame of several decades may suffice - something comparable in duration to the Cold War, which has been the model for the Bush administration's commitment to the process ever since the days immediately following 9/11.

But if the West loses stomach - if the violence in Iraq and incidents like the Rahman case are interpreted wrongly, then we are potentially talking not about decades, but centuries.

Read it all


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