August 26, 2006


Most Indonesians oppose strict Islamic system - poll (Reuters, 8/24/06)

Most Indonesians do not favour adopting a strict Islamic system in which sharia laws would enforce the wearing of head-scarves for women or stoning for adultery, a survey showed on Thursday.

But 80 percent supported a crackdown on alcohol, gambling and prostitution, according to results of the survey conducted by the Indonesian Survey Circle, a prominent private pollster.

The survey, with a margin of error of 3.8 percent, was conducted in July and August and covered 700 people across the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Almost 70 percent in the poll backed the current secular system in which all religious faiths enjoy an equal status.

Can't tell your Asian Muslims from your conservative Republicans without a program.

Muslim women in U.S. assert their rights: Some use contracts in an effort to protect themselves (NAHAL TOOSI, 8/26/06, The Associated Press)

Should anything go wrong in her marriage, Zaynab Abdul-Razacq is confident that her rights will be well-protected. Her husband has guaranteed it in writing.

The young Muslim couple chose a path advocated by Islamic scholars concerned about women's rights: drawing up a Muslim marriage contract that takes into account modern needs. [...]

Islamic law experts who advocate for better treatment for women say the documents can help them assert rights under religious law that long have been played down by men. Advocates contend that their approach is well within Islamic law, even though skeptics say the interpretation is too influenced by Western thinking.

The contract is especially useful in the United States, where Muslims come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and follow different customs and levels of observance.

The document can accommodate views ranging from liberal to conservative.

Karamah, an organization of female Muslim lawyers based in Washington, D.C., is developing a "model" marriage contract that can be adjusted to meet the requirements of family law in different parts of the country, said Azizah al-Hibri, a founder of the group, whose name means "dignity" in Arabic.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 26, 2006 8:18 AM

Most Russians in 1916 and Germans in 1932 and Cubans in 1958 and Iranians in 1978 didn't want to live under totalitarian systems either, but it worked out that way, because the extremists don't care what the majority wants. The fact that "only" 30%+ want sharia is scant protection against it happening.

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 26, 2006 7:45 PM

That's exactly backwards.

Posted by: oj at August 26, 2006 7:51 PM

You seem to be assuming that majorities always triumph, but (at least in the short term) extremist minorities are often victorious in non- or semi-democratic countries.

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 26, 2006 8:26 PM

How can we apprehend the plight of the inmates of the spiritual jailhouse and not be moved to succor them?

"Which one of these was neighbor to him that fell in with robbers?" "Go, and do thou likewise."

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 26, 2006 10:30 PM


No, they aren't. People get the government they want, as the Russians and Germans did. Security is often as powerful a draw as liberty.

Posted by: oj at August 27, 2006 12:45 AM

Any government is somehow, by definition, what the majority want? Not only does this contradict settled history (if there is any historian who claims most Russians were Bolsheviks in 1917 or most Germans were Nazis in 1933, it's news to me), you are contradicting yourself: haven't you claimed that the Iranian government is not truly representative of what most Iranians want?

But maybe I'm confused because you think sharia law is a good thing....

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 27, 2006 2:43 PM

Russians and Germans are notoriously pre-disposed to authoritarian rule. They got pretty much the governments they wanted.

The Iranians like the regime well enough, just not this president. We elect guys who don't work out on occassion too.

Shari'a is less repressive than the puritanical American legal regime, which is why we have the highest % of citizens incarcerated of any country.

Posted by: oj at August 27, 2006 3:59 PM

Shari'a is less repressive than the puritanical American legal regime, which is why we have the highest % of citizens incarcerated of any country.

This is such a load of horse-hockey I'm not even going to explain why, except to ask: does your wife agree that the US is "more repressive" and "puritanical" than Saudi Arabia or Iran? I'll bet not.

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 27, 2006 5:47 PM

Yes, or she wouldn't live here. Americans like it repressive. We're religious.

Posted by: oj at August 27, 2006 5:54 PM

When hands get chopped off for theft, incarceration is not an issue. Likewise for adultery, murder, etc. We had the stock 300 years ago. The Saudis go a bit further (although probably more selectively, due to the size of the royal family).

Sharia is repressive because it is so flexible - just like German law during the 1920s and early 1930s. Or Soviet "law". Or Zimbabwean "law". It is capricious.

No 'reformation' of Islam is possible without some definitions or boundaries that the Islamo-fascists won't like. Who will get them to yield?

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 27, 2006 9:57 PM

Or three strikes and you're out and mandatory sentencing.

Though, you're right, that if we were as strict as they there'd be fewer repeat offenders and we'd have a less repressive system.

Posted by: oj at August 27, 2006 11:08 PM