Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series on Sharia law, or Islamic law, featuring Raheem Kassam, author of the new book, No Go Zones: How Sharia Law Is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You.
Sharia Law. We hear much heat about it, but not much light.
Most people are aware that it is the religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. We know it is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran, and that it refers to God’s – or Allah’s – immutable divine law. The question is whether this Islamic law can be reconciled with the man-made laws of the many nations to which Muslims have migrated.
With the Syrian civil war creating massive waves of refugees, Sharia law has become increasingly pervasive in western Europe and the U.S. A growing number of Islamic communities in Europe and the U.S. have isolated themselves, creating ghetto-like conditions in which non-Muslims are unwelcome. This unwillingness to assimilate into the broader cultures of western nations has created myriad problems.
Raheem Kassam, British political activist and Editor-in-Chief of Breitbart News London, addresses this issue in his new book, No Go Zones: How Sharia Law Is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You.
Kassam was born into Islam but has since become an atheist. He traversed both the US and Europe in researching his book, and he spoke about in on Liberty Nation Radio.
LN: The image on the cover of your book is the Statue of Liberty veiled in a full burka. Is this meant to imply or state outright that the American system of justice is in danger of bowing to Sharia law? Just how great is the threat you outline in your book?
Mr. Kassam: I think it’s a very grave threat, and in fact, the truth is the subtitle of the book should actually be, “How Sharia is already in a neighborhood near you.” That’s the point to which we have gone so far. You can see that all over the United States nowadays, all across Europe as well, and that’s exactly what I did, exactly what I want to do is find out where. Not just where there were large pockets of Muslim migration, but actually where that migration, that ghettoization, that self-segregation was turning into something more … that resembled a sort of dual track system of government, a dual track justice system, a dual track standard of living. Unfortunately, while I wish it were true and while I wish the Anderson Coopers and CNN’s of the world were right when they say these places don’t exist, I’m afraid they are incorrect.
LN: To what extent is Sharia law currently a factor in the American justice system as opposed to the many nations of Europe you visited in writing this book?
Mr. Kassam: Sharia law doesn’t try to be a factor in any other justice system. It holds itself up as a justice system in and of itself. It doesn’t need the authority and the approval of man-made law, as they call it in a derogatory fashion. You have in the United Kingdom, for instance, Sharia councils that exist, and they will weigh in on all manner of issues, be they local family disputes, business disputes, inheritance-related, divorce, marriage, all of that kind of thing.
Your question is a good question in the sense that in the UK we actually acknowledge the power of these councils and these courts because they find their legitimacy in the Arbitration Act, which is an Act of Parliament that allows religious communities to internally arbitrate their own disputes. Unfortunately, you can’t really guarantee fairness, safety, security, integrity when that goes on when you have a parallel justice system because they’re not being held to the same standard as the rest of us.
For instance, we know what the Quran says about women. We know that the Quran states that a woman’s testimony is worth half of that of a man’s. And therefore, when a woman is hauled before a Sharia council in the United Kingdom, her view is deemed to be half as legitimate, half as likely to be the truth, as perhaps the man she is trying to divorce or the man that’s trying to divorce her or the inheritance she’s trying to get, etc., etc.
Now, to use an old tactic from the left, “this is 2017.” You often hear that from the cultural Marxists out there, “This is 2017, how dare we have a Robert E. Lee statue up.” Well, why don’t we have protests against female genital mutilation? This is 2017. Why don’t we have protests against Sharia councils discriminating against women? This is 2017. Why don’t we have a protest against people that are being forced to wear the burka or the hijab or who are being beaten and lashed? This is 2017. But these arguments fall on deaf ears. They have this sort of moral and cultural relativism that they deal with when addressing Islam and radical Islam and fundamentalist Islam.
In the final part of this series, Mr. Kassam goes into depth about the incompatibility of leftist ideology with Islam’s treatment of women, and the dangers inherent in the increasing isolation of Muslim communities.