Friday, September 17, 2010
Radical Islam Challenges Notions of Freedom
Challenging Islam Challenges Notions of Freedom
IT is often thought the main threat of radical Islamism to the West and, indeed, the world, is terrorism. It is also said to be the isolation of Muslim communities, which allows extremists to recruit people to their cause.
Such views are not mistaken but they confuse effects with causes. What the world has to recognise is that we are not simply dealing with faith, but with a political, social and economic ideology. Radical Islamism is a worldview. Its nearest parallel, despite many differences, is Marxism.
Radical Islamists claim their all-encompassing program for society is rooted in fundamental Islamic sources. They reject the interpretations of Koran and sharia law offered by reformist or moderate Muslims. We must, of course, respect the faith of ordinary Muslims, but the ideology has to be met in a different way.
It is basic to Western societies that there should be one law for all. This idea emerged from the Judaeo-Christian tradition that all humans are made in God's image. It has been mediated by the Enlightenment, which emphasised not only dignity but also liberty.
The radical Islamist vision is absolutist. It applies to every area of human life, including politics, business and, above all, law itself. Recent demands by British and some Australian Muslim leaders for the recognition of aspects of sharia law should be seen in this light. Western clergy and jurists who advocate such demands fail to recognise that acknowledging aspects of sharia in public law will lead to a greater involvement with Islamic law.
He Concludes . . .
While we should all be committed to civility in public discussion, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights already provides protection from incitement to religious hatred, which leads to discrimination, hostility or violence. To go beyond this has implications for free speech.
Muslims, like anyone else, should be free to practise and propagate their faith. They are free also to contribute to public debate. The principle of one law for all, however, cannot be compromised. Freedom of expression and the right to change one's belief must be maintained. So must easy access to the courts and police.
The rest of the Article can be found HERE.