Delusional ‘dhimmi’ Sally Kohn doubles down on defense of sharia law – proving that liberalism is indeed a mental disorder

gPViRCLD_400x400About a week ago, one of CNN’s lesbian commentators, Sally Kohn (right), tweeted the following in response to Donald Trump‘s latest call for ideological screening of immigrants from Muslim countries and many who are already here. Trump had specifically mentioned sharia law in his speech, which called for “extreme vetting” of any Muslim attempting to enter the United States.

CNN  Not long after, a sarcastic petition was launched by Change.org users who felt that Kohn, who is openly gay, should go try living under Sharia law for a week. Rather than let the petition get to her, Kohn has now doubled down on her stance.

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Today, she released a column called, “Trump doesn’t understand what Sharia is.” Operating under the belief that “understanding the truth about Islam is the best way to fight extremism within it,” she explained what Sharia law really means and how a Muslim can be progressive and still adhere to it.

It’s clear that Donald Trump has no idea what Sharia is. Earlier this month, Trump proposed what he described as “extreme vetting” to ban immigrants who “believed Sharia law should supplant American law.” But while this irrational fear-mongering might play well to some of his supporters, it is detached from reality.

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Perhaps Trump isn’t interested in the truth. The rest of us should be, though, because understanding the truth about Islam is the best way to fight extremism within it. The alternative is to misunderstand and misrepresent the majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, the very people who have the greatest stake in the fight. Remember, the vast majority of victims of Islamic extremist attacks are Muslims.

So, what exactly is the truth about Sharia, and how does that help us combat extremism? In short, there is a difference between personal, spiritual Sharia and the political incorporation of Sharia into law. And within both, there are progressive interpretations as well as more fundamentalist conservative interpretations. So the word Sharia doesn’t mean one thing. (There is no such thing as progressive anything in Islam)

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“Every practicing Muslim — whether traditional or conservative or progressive — in some way follows Sharia,” says Wajahat Ali, a Virginia-based writer and creative director of Affinis Labs. “There’s no book called Sharia. You can’t rent it. It’s subject to human interpretation and is malleable, thus explaining how Muslims have existed for 1,400 years in nearly every society.” (And why they have been driven out of civilized societies for 1400 years. There’s no such thing as a little sharia)

Sharia means “the path” in Arabic and basically the spiritual or moral code of Islam. But as Ali notes, “because it’s based on subjective interpretation, it’s been used and abused by folks with varying agendas.” (The rules of sharia law haven’t changed, they are constant) CH7zoR4WUAAxJMs-vi

“Essentially any Muslim who is practicing at any level is following some part of Sharia,” agrees Raquel Saraswati, a lesbian feminist Muslim. “I don’t drink. I don’t go to clubs.” She says she also doesn’t watch certain music videos. (And she can be killed under sharia for her lifestyle choice although lesbians fare better than gays under the sharia)

“I also pray according to the rules and a whole host of other things. So basically I’m engaging with Sharia every single day.” Some of Saraswati’s gay Muslim friends, she says, are far less observant on a daily basis but might fast for Ramadan, for instance.  (Gay muslims are considered apostates and subject to the death penalty no matter now observant they are)

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Critics of Sharia often miss these nuances, assuming for example that those who practice Sharia believe adulterers should be stoned and gay people thrown off roofs.

And clearly some Muslims believe this and cite “Sharia.” But Fred Phelps, founder of the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church, also thought gays should be put to death. Death is, after all, mentioned as a punishment for homosexual relations in the Bible. But thankfully, not all Christians follow such beliefs. Remember, Phelps was a Christian, but so was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Phelps might have said that but he hasn’t killed anyone for being gay, nor does Christianity command it. Muslims kill gays on a regular basis because the quran orders it)

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But the reality of these flexible concepts doesn’t stop many people conflating Sharia with the most extreme interpretations of Islam. (Sharia is not an “interpretation of Islam,” it IS Islam which is inherently  extreme by its teachings) Newt Gingrich, for instance, has said that every Muslim in the United States who believes in Sharia “should be deported.”

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In doing so, he seems to demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of Sharia, along with Trump and his right-wing allies, by essentially suggesting that any Muslims who want to make Sharia “the official law in their country” are tantamount to violent extremists. (They ARE!)

This is not only factually wrong but “utterly stupid and childish,” says Abdullahi An-Na’im, professor of law at Emory University and author of the important book “Islam and the Secular State.” (There is no secular state in Islam. It might start out that way as in Turkey after Attiturk, but eventually the secular laws are replaced by the religious laws, which is happening in what used to be “secular” Turkey today)

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So what about Muslims who say they want Sharia law? They’re not all necessarily extremists, as the anti-Muslim American right has claimed. An-Na’im suggests that what they are really talking about is “Sharia as an ethical normative system underpinning the laws that are enacted through constitutional institutions — much in the same way that Americans consider Christianity as underpinning American law and culture.” (Yes, sharia is what makes Islam so extreme and violent, and totally incompatible with democracy)

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That doesn’t necessarily mean following the most violent or severe interpretations of Christianity — thankfully stoning is not enshrined into US law (although we do execute more people than virtually any other country). But when we talk with pride about our Judeo-Christian values-inspired Constitution, we can understand how Muslims would want the positive moral values in their faith to be an inspiration for secular law. (“Secular sharia” is an oxymoron)

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Sharia law can also mean what it does in England, where Sharia councils in some places hold sway over things such as marriage and divorce for British Muslims. Yet those councils are ultimately — and rightly — subject to the secular laws of the state.

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In fact, the British government has launched a review of the workings and decisions of Sharia councils to ensure they adhere to British law, an inquiry being led by noted Muslim scholar Mona Siddiqui and also advised by two imams. This suggests a potential model for how Sharia can work within the context of secular government and pluralism. (These 100+ sharia courts in the UK are only subject to British law while Muslims are in the minority. As soon as their numbers are big enough, sharia will be the law of the land )

quote-contrary-to-popular-misconception-islam-does-not-mean-peace-but-rather-means-submission-anjem-choudary-102-10-99In other words, the version of Sharia implemented by right-wing extremists in ISIS and Saudi Arabia is reprehensible but is not the sole definition of Sharia. (Yes, it is. There is no such thing as sharia-lite)

Pointing out that there is more than one interpretation of Sharia, and that all Muslims are not violent extremists, is in no way, shape or form meant to defend or excuse countries such as Saudi Arabia and the unjust hatemongers who run them. Their policies toward women, the LGBT community, Christians, Jews and many others are inhumane and unacceptable. (You have just described sharia and there is nothing humane about it)

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I’m not arguing that we should in any way give Islamic fundamentalists a pass. What I am arguing is that we should intensely focus on the actual problem — extremist interpretations of Islam advanced by Saudi Arabia and ISIS — rather than smearing all of Islam and, in the process, alienating the moderate Muslims who are the most important voices in transforming their own faith. (Islam is Islam, there are no extremist interpretations, just literal ones. Read the quran sometime, Sally, there is only one Islam. To deviate from it is to be considered an apostate)

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And yet it’s hard to focus on real solutions when we’re so distracted by fear-mongering. According to a 2011 poll, for example, 1 in 3 Americans believed that American Muslims ultimately want to establish Sharia as the law of the land in the United States — in other words, not just local councils, but overriding the Constitution. (They DO and surveys conducted by Pew have proved they do) Nearly 6 in 10 of those who described Fox as their most trusted news source believed this is the true agenda of American Muslims, the same poll showed.

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Where do such beliefs — and fears — stem from? They result from hearing someone like Gingrich say Sharia “is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.” And people like Michele Bachmann describing Sharia as something that “must be resisted across the United States.” (They are right)

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What the American people aren’t hearing is basic facts about Islam, including about how charitableness is one of the five main pillars of Sharia. (Charity for muslims only)

Islam isn’t inherently in conflict with democracy and freedom; fundamentalism is. (NO, Islam is inherently fundamentalist, there are no moderate versions of Islam, only the literal one. Some individual Muslims might be considered “moderate” but in Islam, they are also considered apostates and we know what happens to them) We must support Muslims and people of faith everywhere who oppose fundamentalism and support democracy, tolerance and pluralism. We must support moderate Muslims, rather than attacking Sharia. (Muslims who don’t want you to attack sharia are not moderate at all)

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“In the hands of terrorists, Sharia can be developed into a highly threatening, militant notion,” Bernard G. Weiss, a scholar of Islam at the University of Utah, told The New York Times in 2011. “In the hands of a contemporary Muslim thinker writing in the journal Religion and Law, Sharia becomes an essentially pacifist notion.” (Not in your wildest dreams, Sally)

Sadly, the fact that there are many interpretations of Sharia (NO, there aren’t), just as there are many interpretations of Jewish and Christian moral codes, gets lost in the weeds of right-wing generalizations and fear-mongering. (Not fear-mongering, truth-mongering) 

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Meanwhile, tolerant, democratic, pluralistic Muslims across the United States and around the world — including, yes, feminist, pro-gay, progressive Muslims — are following interpretations of their faith that we not only shouldn’t sideline but should actively encourage. (Please name all these so-called “progressive” Muslims…or are you afraid to list their names in public because they will be killed?)

Despite what Donald Trump may wish, facts matter. Or they should, anyway. And we — and the people we elect — should get the facts straight about Sharia and Islam. It’s in all our interests. (You have the right to your own opinion, Sally, but not your own facts)

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