Saturday, March 8, 2008

Liberal Angst

Nobody is funnier than Mark Steyn, and he's at the top of his game in this column skewering the various guilt-induced neuroses afflicting the Democratic party and the angst they're generating in the current primary. It reminds me a little of a short version of Tom Wolfe's devastating satire of '60s liberals in Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.


Nanny State

Some city government officials in London just have too much time and too little to do:

A London street is experimenting with padded lampposts to protect those not paying attention from banging into them, ITN reports.

A study conducted by 118 118, a phone directory service, found that one in 10 people has been hurt while focusing on their cell phone instead of where they were walking, ITN reports.

The test lampposts will be given a trial run in London's East End on Brick Lane. If the trial is successful it will be rolled out in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Maybe next they'll put up signs reminding pedestrians to wash behind their ears. A photo of one of the padded lampposts can be found here.


Giving Them Our Cloak Also

Last month we noted the remarks of Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams whose unfortunate suggestion it was that Britain should allow Muslims to arbitrate certain civil matters according to their own law. Despite being met with a chilly reception in those precincts in the West were dhimmi status has yet to penetrate, some asked what's the harm. If the Muslims wish to beat their wives or own several of them to beat, so what? It's the Christian thing to do to let the Muslims have their way.

David Yerushalmi at First Things offers a dissenting opinion:

So what's the fuss all about? The fuss is about the elephant in the room, or, better yet, the wolf in sheep's clothing that some Americans fail to acknowledge. Put simply, not all foreign or religious laws are equal. Most foreign laws, be they sourced in secular legal codes or religious ones, are not predicated on a doctrine of world domination and holy war. But what if a legal system is founded upon the goal of conquering the world through holy war when persuasion and subjugation are not immediately successful?

In other words, should a society lend legitimacy to a legal system whose raison d'�tre is the destruction of that society? Moreover, how should a society treat a legal system that obligates its faithful to use violent jihad to accomplish its goals?

The chorus of objectors at this point is predictable: Who says that Shari'a's goal is world hegemony and its method violent jihad? The answer of course rests with the Shari'a authorities who have addressed this question over the past 1,200 years. Granted, there have been some lone voices (notably certain Sufi scholars) that have sought to temper this rather violent doctrine, but one need only pick up any treatise of the Shari'a authorities, including the great Andalusian philosopher and jurist Ibn Rushd, known to the Western world as Averro�s and lauded as the model of moderation during Islam's Golden Era, to learn that the Muslim nation is obligated to engage in kinetic warfare against polytheists and other manifestations of apostasy. For the record, Shari'a authorities consider a secular constitution that does not abide by Islamic law as a form of polytheism.

And, sadly, one need not rely on ancient medieval Shari'a authorities to know that Osama bin Laden bases his war against the infidel on more than dusty fatwas or even the radical political writings of the twentieth-century Islamists such as Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi or Sayyid Qutb.

For example, Dow Jones & Company, the owner of the Wall Street Journal, employs Mufti Taqi Usmani, a world-renowned Shari'a authority. Sitting as one of the most esteemed members of the Dow Jones Shari'a Advisory Board, Usmani informs Dow Jones which companies are Shari'a-compliant for admission into the Dow Jones Islamic Index. This index is then licensed by mutual funds to determine which companies are permissible investments for their Shari'a-compliant portfolios.

It should surprise no one that Usmani has ruled in line with Shari'a's 1,200 years of jurisprudence that violent jihad against the infidels in the West is an ongoing obligation. In fact, he has dedicated an entire chapter to the subject in his book Islam and Modernism. [C]hapter 11 sets out Usmani's legal ruling explicitly rejecting the notion that violent jihad is no longer obligatory for Muslims in the West.

In this chapter, Usmani carefully explains that the goal of jihad is not "freedom of religion" but the absolute "domination" of the non-Muslim by the Muslim. The Muslim's freedom to practice his religion in the West does not excuse the Muslim from his obligation to engage in violent Jihad against the non-Muslim West.

Thus, the problem with the "live and let live" approach is that there is at least one creed that will use every means available, including violence, to destroy every other. A civil society that is not prepared to make distinctions between anti-Western theo-political legal codes and innocuous religious ones could eventually find itself engaged in a battle for its very existence.

Precisely. We must remind our friends from time to time that just because Muslims are religious doesn't mean they're Amish.