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Elections, Islamophobia and Austerity

‘Europe is braced for a bumper crop of elections this weekend which will decide the politics for the increasingly contested campaign to save the single currency and to drag the EU out of the economic doldrums.’ (Guardian) There are also local elections today across England, Scotland and Wales, a week after an announcement that the UK was back in recession.

France’s presidential decider on Sunday is the biggest election in Europe this year. The first round saw the far right Marine Le Pen win the support of one French voter in five. ‘She has been fortunate in her timing, with two big contemporary issues – the euro crisis and Muslim immigration – fuelling the rise of illiberal populism everywhere in Europe except for Germany and the Iberian peninsula. Islamophobia has become the new antisemitism for a generation of anti-establishment rebels in France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Scandinavia.’ (Guardian) The “democratic backlash” against “the economic prescriptions of the governing class” has already resulted in the fall of seven European Governments (Guardian) and has seen the rise in popularity of extremist groups.

The New Statesman is not the only one to draw parallels with the fascism of the 1920s and 1930s. This ‘succeeded because it played on wider fears, winning the support of those who would never have thought of themselves as “extremists”. The Nazis used anti-Semitism because it already existed in German society. Their successors today use Islamophobia because it already exists in our societies. From a tiny grain of truth – the existence of Islamist terror – has been spun a whole mythology about the imminent collapse of western civilisation.’

What is the reality of our situation? It depends, as so often, on whom you talk to. Some, like the New Statesman, portray things in left- vs right-wing terms as though we were still living through the Cold War. Others would describe events in terms of the clash of monotheisms: ‘For 1,400 years, the Islamic and the Christian worlds have opposed one another, violently at times. We are living through one of those times.‘ (Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West)

Where are we in all of this? What is your view of the times we are living through? There is a sense, for me, of history taking place, of tectonic plates shifting. How are we responding, if such a seismic shift is taking place? Do we find ourselves closing down, withdrawing through fear, in the face of dramatic societal and economic changes? Will we, as individuals, be ashamed, when we look back at this time, about the choices we made? Will we regret our passivity, our cynicism, our resignation, our hatred, when we arrive in the new world that is currently emerging? What will we say to the next generation, in retrospect? How strong is our faith in karma – that our actions and non-actions have consequences for ourselves, for others, for the society around us?

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11 Responses to “Elections, Islamophobia and Austerity”

  1. Thanks for that Manjusiha. I have been so disappointed when hearing well meaning, well educated friends who are ‘liberal’ easily falling into an ‘us’ and ‘them’ stance. It seem acceptable to polarise and assume so much about the intentions of whole communities. After living and travelling extensively through the Middle East for years I have to say the muslim people Ive encountered there have been so honourable, respecftul, gentle and dignified. The images of the Taliban and Osama seem to be superimposed onto every idea we have about Islam and the two should never have been linked in the first place. Many of the women I know who choose to wear the burka are some of the feistiest, smartest and most ‘unoppressed’ women I know which would surprise many. Metta ! x

  2. Chintamani says:

    There are undoubtedly many fine, upstanding and well meaning Muslims who wish no harm on anyone, and, like most people, wish to live in peace with their neighbours. Indeed, I have had some delightful conversations with two young Bangladeshi Muslims who, in the context of the Globe Community Project, have worked in the Arts Centre Office. However, we should distinguish between individual Muslims on the one hand, and, on the other, the dictates of their religion (of which many,it has to be said, the individual, well meaning Muslim may be ignorant). In many Muslim countries – where one will undoubtedly find good and honourable people – these dictates find expression in law, and shape those countries’ character. It is these that, as Buddhists, we should be concerned about. For instance, according to Islamic Law as currently applied in many countries:-

    1. Apostasy from Islam is punishable by death.
    2. It is illegal to try to convert a Muslim away from Islam.
    3. Non-Muslim ‘people of the Book’ (which, in some instances includes Buddhists) may practice their religions in private, but may not proselytize, may not build new places of worship, and may not maintain their existing ones. Furthermore, there can be no marriage (or indeed, sexual relations) between a Muslim and a non-Muslim; and, in some instances, a non-Muslim is barred from any kind of public office (in the case of the Maldives, there has been a recent Government proposal that citizenship of that state may only be granted to Muslims)
    4. Homosexuality is illegal and punishable.

    It is true that there is a liberalizing movement within Islam, and, of course, this should be encouraged. However there are many aspects of Islam as currently practiced by millions of Muslims that should concern us as Buddhists.

    Also, the term “Islamophobia” is problematic. Technically a phobia is an extreme, irrational fear of or aversion to something. One could say that it is a kind of psychosis. However, there can be such a thing as rational fear. One can fear, or at least be critical of and concerned about, a belief system on the basis of a clear observation of how it manifests itself in human life. The problem with the term “Islamophobia” is that it is all to often thrown at those who are critical of, concerned about and even, one might say, rationally frightened of Islam (on the basis of a study of that religion) in an attempt to discredit and ultimately silence them. And of course, from the point of view of orthodox Islam as currently believed in by many Muslims, one must be mad to wish to criticize Islam, in that Islam is believed to be a perfect religion and to have the monopoly on all goodness. In this connection it is interesting to observe that, in the Soviet era, Russian dissidents were often subjected to ‘psychiatric treatment’.

    All this is not to say that other belief systems – including the secular, materialist one – are without their own faults. But what we, as Buddhists, should be concerned about is the conditions that each one grants us to freely practice and teach the Dharma, and to be dignified, healthy human beings. Currently it seems to me that Islam, with its pretensions of human governance as embodied in Islamic law, would leave us considerably less free than we are at present.

  3. Chintamani says:

    Mention was made of the view of the New Statesman. However perhaps more precision is needed. The political editor of the New Statesman is Mehdi Hasan, a writer and speaker whose position is actually quite hard to pin down. Obviously he is a Muslim, and, apparently, one who is concerned to promote a liberalizing Islam well-integrated into modern, Western pluralist society. But whilst, on the one hand, he regularly appears on Question Time, Any Questions etc. and, within the context of his seemingly ‘liberal’ position, bemoans ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘reactionary’ ‘Right Wing’ forces within our society (as is shown in the quote you include, Manjusiha), on the other, when speaking to a Muslim audience at the East London Mosque he says (and I quote)”We must always maintain the moral high ground…..not like the non-Muslims who live like animals.”. From what he says I think one would be forgiven for thinking that Mehdi Hasan has an agenda of destabilizing the West’s view of itself in favour of the promotion of Islam. It is interesting that your quote, Manjusiha, mentions the ’30s in Germany. However perhaps the rising ideological movement we should be concerned about is not so much Right Wing Islamophobia, as Right Wing Islamo-fascism whose them-and-us rhetoric (a Kufarophobia, indeed), rascism (their is a very strong anti-Semetic streak in 20th and 21st century Islam), homophobia and other features resemble the beliefs and rhetoric of the Nazi party, and whose essential position is certainly not that of those of the liberal Left.

  4. Chintamani says:

    Further to my previous two posts I thought I would post the following quotes, recently forwarded to me by a friend, which make the position of the Dhimmi (i.e. the non-Muslim) under Islamic law quite clear. As far as I know, the principle expressed here has not yet been officially revoked anywhere within the modern, Islamic world:-

    In his Wagjiz, dating to 1101 A.D., Al-Ghazali [a sufi] advised on vanquished non-Muslim dhimmi peoples:

    …one must go on jihad (i.e., razzias or raids) at least once a year…one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them…If a person of the Ahl al-Kitab [People of The Book – i.e. Jews and Christians] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked….One may cut down their trees…One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide…they may steal as much food as they need…
    …the dhimmi [may never] mention Allah or His Apostle…Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya [non-Muslim tribute tax]….[O]n offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protuberant bone beneath his ear [lower jaw]… They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells…[T]heir houses may not be higher than the Muslim’s, no matter how low…. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle is … wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. [Dhimmis must] wear [an identifying] patch, even women, and even in the [public] baths…[Dhimmis] must hold their tongue…. [2]
    The way it was to be collected involved humiliation:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhimmi

    In his commentary on Sura 9:29, Ibn Kathir writes that dhimmis must be: disgraced, humiliated and belittled. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of the dhimma or elevate them above Muslims, for they [dhimmis] are miserable, disgraced, and humiliated.[104]
    As recommended by many Muslim scholars, jizya was to be collected in a humiliating procedure:
    The collector remains seated and the infidel remains standing, his head bowed and his back bent. The infidel must place money on the scales, while the collector holds him by his beard and strikes him on both cheeks..(Al-Nawawi)[109]

    Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya, on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible] (Al-Ghazali)[110]
    Following this [the handing over of the jizya payment] the emir will strike the dhimmi on the neck with his fist; a man will stand near the emir to chase away the dhimmi in haste; then a second and a third will come forward to suffer the same treatment as well as all those to follow. All [Muslims] will be admitted to
    enjoy this spectacle. (Ahmad al-Dardi al-Adawi)[111]

    Contrary to what some recent commentaries on the subject say (i.e. Wikipedia) Jizya is about subjugation rather than “exemption from military service”.

    I think all the above give a good idea why, without profound and far reaching reform within Islam, there can be such a thing as a ‘rational fear’ of that religion as distinct from ‘Islamophobia’.

  5. Chintamani says:

    A mistake in my description of the Islamic legal position on marital/sexual relations has been pointed out to me. By way of clarification I thought I would post the following – by a Muslim writer (scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1085&context=twls-) – which lists the classical Islamic legal position on this and other matters. He says that the laws mentioned are either completely or partially included in the legal systems of modern Muslim states:-

    “-Restrictions on marriage: A Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim
    woman who is monotheistic, but a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-
    Muslim. Apostates and adherents of other religions not recognized by Islam may not be married and if they were married before their apostasy, their marriage is dissolved. In relations between husband and wife, Islam gives privileges to the man in allowing him to have more than one wife and to divorce unilaterally by repudiation.

    -Restrictions on inheritance: Women, in many cases, receive half of what a man receives. No inheritance is allowed from Muslims in favor of non-Muslims, and vice versa. If a person changes his religion to Islam, his non-Muslim heirs are deprived of the inheritance. Apostasy constitutes an impediment to inheritance.’

    -Restrictions on relations between parents and children: In case of a mixed marriage between a Muslim man and a non-Muslim woman, no freedom is given to the couple to choose the religion of their child. The woman is disadvantaged in obtaining the Hadana (guardianship): The child is taken from her when he or she reaches the age where he or she can understand religion. In case of apostasy, the apostate has no right to custody of the child.

    -Restrictions on access by non-Muslims to the exercise of the judicial power or the office of arbitrator; neither men and women nor Muslims and non-Muslims have equal status as witnesses.

    -Restrictions on the granting of nationality to non-Muslims, on their access to public office and on their political rights.

    -Islamic penalties are harsh: stoning, ablation, death penalty, lex talionis, etc.

    -Slavery: From time to time, there are reports of slavery still being practiced in such Arab and Islamic countries as Saudi Arabia and Mauritania.”

    Thankfully the writer of the above says, with regard to the discussion needed to reconcile Islamic law to modern concepts of human rights: “….A necessary prerequisite to such a discussion, however, is a guarantee of freedom of thought and of expression – which is not the case today – in order to reach a correct understanding of the Koran, the Sunna and the Islamic jurisprudence. In such a discussion, sociological aspects should not be neglected. Any change should be the result of personal conviction and not of a reaction to critics. Non-Muslims in these countries should participate in such discussion. The gate of igtihad (interpretative and creative effort) should be open for them too.”

    However there is no doubt that this is a proposal that not all in the current Islamic world would agree to.

  6. f says:

    a response to lee ann
    ‘Many of the women I know who choose to wear the burka are some of the feistiest, smartest and most ‘unoppressed’ women I know which would surprise many.’
    The word to note here is ‘choose’ in many Muslim countries there is no choice at all for Muslims and non Muslims alike all have to ‘cover’ themselves in public.
    Ask these same Muslim women whether a non Muslim should be able to be ‘uncovered’ in a Muslim country.
    What is the answer according to Muslim law?

    see for a explanation of Muslim women’s clothing.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/europe_muslim_veils/html/1.stm
    please see also
    http://skydancingblog.com/2011/05/06/honor-killing-another-bright-light-rubbed-out/

  7. f says:

    http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/features/2012/05/11/feature-02

    An Islamist attack on a young woman in the Moroccan capital is raising concerns about civil liberties

    By Mohamed Saadouni for Magharebia in Casablanca – 11/05/12

    Rabat Salafists assault woman over dress

    Intense debate on personal freedoms renewed recently in Morocco after a young woman wearing a short modern dress in a Rabat market was assaulted by people described as Salafists.

    Witnesses told Magharebia the girl was stoned and beaten because she was wearing clothes that were too revealing in the eyes of the assailants.

    Human rights and women’s organisations issued statements denouncing the assault on the Moroccan girl, during which she was stripped of her clothes entirely. Young Moroccan men and women turned to Facebook and online groups to call for protection of individual freedoms in Morocco, including the group “Débardeur and I am fine.”

    “Though this incident appeared in the media and gained wider attention, that does not mean it is not repeated on an almost regular or semi-daily basis in all the alleys and streets of our cities. It may not end in stripping the girl of her clothing, but the verbal and physical harassment that women may experience is sometimes more heinous and horrible,” said Nora Al-Fuari, an activist journalist at the Al-Sabah daily and a member of the Facebook group.

    “From here came the idea of creating this page on Facebook, which we made open to everyone, including those in hijab or niqab, or the ‘coarse’ males who share the same vision with us. The selection of Débardeur is just a symbol, in reference to freedom—the freedom of women to wear what they want. Débardeur was mother of the ‘short skirt’,” she added. “In the end, the body is her body and no one has the right to confiscate it.”

    Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane responded to the controversy by speaking out in defence of personal liberties.

    “I believe in freedom, God created us free,” the prime minister said. “Who is Benkirane to tell Moroccans to shave your beards or to impose the hijab? Individual liberties are sacred and are not to be touched,” he added.

    Meanwhile, a Salafist supporter on the Facebook page going by the name Abu Ayyub clung to the necessity of Moroccan women to respect the requirements of Islamic dress. He contended that there was a legitimate “Sharia” dress that must be abided by.

    “We must abide by the teachings of our Islamic religion, which calls on women to cover up their charms and abide by the veil imposed on Muslim women. I’m against calls for women to reveal their charms, and that must be countered firmly and with stricter protection of morality,” the commenter wrote.

    Rights group Beit Al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) added its voice to the chorus of protest over the assault. The association said the attack on the young woman took place “under a government headed by an Islamic party, and this would block the move towards democracy, freedoms and the rule of law”.

    The group added that it was not just about the assault on the young woman, warning also of the consequences of remaining silent about what is happening in several cities under the cover of the “Popular Committees”, which acted to expel women they considered prostitutes, such as Al-Hajeb in the Ifrane region, and to demand closure of bars, as in Kenitra.

    In this regard, the association strongly condemned “other Islamists from the ‘Unification and Reform’ [Tawhid wa Islah] organisation and other groups imposing what they regard as known and preventing what they see as evil,” describing what is happening as “dangerous phenomena” that incite violence and hatred.
    For his part, Mohamed Hilali, vice-president of the Unification and Reform movement, responded in a statement to Magharebia, alleging that there was “a large fallacy propagated by some people under the guise of individual liberties”.

    “We are reassured that individual freedoms will be strengthened more in the presence of Islamists in the government, because the Islamists [provide for] the most freedom and democracy in their educational development in their communities and their movements,” he said.

    The incident came immediately after a call by Abu Zeid, a Qur’an reciter and leading member of the ruling Justice and Development Party, for a day dedicated to “chastity and modesty”. He was joined by Salafist jihadist Sheikh Mohamed Fizazi.

    Fatiha Mukhlas, a member of the Democratic League for Women’s Rights said that “dress falls under people’s individual liberties and no one should be targeted because of his choice to wear particular clothing, as occurred with the young woman of Rabat.”

  8. Chintamani says:

    Here, perhaps, is one of those “feisty” Arab women that Lee Ann was referring to:-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dEy69_qVarI

  9. f says:

    Stereotyping: two opposite errors
    A real danger when thinking about religion is to resort to stereotypes. False stereotypes may be negative, e.g. ‘dogs are dangerous’, but they can equally be positive, e.g. ‘dogs are friendly’.
    Our view of Islam – or indeed of any faith – can be distorted in two opposite ways: we can use an interpretive grid of suspicion, so that we are all too willing to believe the worst of Islam. Or we can distort Islam by using a grid of obligatory respect, being determined to think the best, whatever the evidence. Both attitudes are widely held in the present time, and each brings its own risks.
    These two different kinds of stereotyping can be related to faulty thinking about the relationship between belief and behavior.
    Some are only too ready to stereotype adherents of a religion based on the existence of a few verses in their scriptures. This can reflect a tendency to overestimate the authority of belief, or to underestimate the contribution of interpretation in shaping belief. It is not the case that just because something is written in a ‘holy book’, believers will always follow it to the letter. Jesus said that if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off,[8]but if we don’t see many Christians walking around missing their right hands, this is not because they think they are sinless!
    On the other hand, some make the equally mistaken assumption that sacred writ is irrelevant and can be made to mean whatever anyone wants it to, in accordance with the mantra that ‘all religions are the same’. This extreme relativist position is accepted unthinkingly by many living in the West today, either to condemn religion out of hand, or to excuse it from critical evaluation.
    The assumption that all religions say the same things is sometimes used as an argument that there is no need to look for a theological explanation for jihad terrorism. After all – so the story goes – aren’t all religions the same, and don’t people do terrorism in the name of Buddhism or Christianity, as well as Islam? Don’t all religions have their extremists?!
    The evidence against the extreme relativist position is overwhelming. Just as different political ideologies produce radically different societies – contrast communist North with capitalist South Korea – it is also the case that different religions exert powerfully distinct influences. The Quran does not produce the same kinds of societies as the Bible, and Marxist atheism produces different results again. Many highly significant political and social differences between Europe and the Middle East correlate with their distinct religious heritages.
    Although people today differ greatly in the weight they are willing to give to religion as a significant influence on human behavior, nevertheless, as the twenty first century unfolds, there will need to be a growing appreciation of the profound role of religion in shaping behavior. Religion is not going to fade away: it will endure as one of the great determinative influences on world affairs.

  10. Chintamani says:

    The following was forwarded to me by a friend. It clearly demonstrates how current mainstream Islam should be of concern to any non-Muslim:

    “Last weekend President Obama announced the appointment of Rashad Hussain as Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Already embroiled in controversy over remarks Hussain was alleged to have made in 2004 concerning the prosecution of Sami al-Arian, this appointment warrants careful consideration because of the problematic mission and track record of the OIC, which has embraced an intolerant religious agenda antagonistic to international human rights standards.

    Comprising 57 states, the Organization of the Islamic Conference is the second-largest intergovernmental institution in the world after the UN. It is a unique body. A political organization, it pursues a religious mission. The charter of the OIC makes clear that it exists, not only to promote the economic and humanitarian goals of member states, but also to “defend” and “disseminate” Islam itself. The OIC even has a “Department of Islamic Propagation (Dawa) Affairs” dedicated to establishing Islam. Earlier this month the OIC’s High Commissioner for Dawa, Salem Al Houni, presented a speech in Cairo in which he affirmed the OIC’s commitment to spread Islam through the world.

    It would be inconceivable for nations with Christian majorities to band together to form an intergovernmental organization devoted to advancing Christianity and the global interests of the Christian Church. The existence of the OIC is testimony to the reality that mainstream Islam recognizes no distinction between politics and religion.

    In fact the OIC lobbies aggressively in UN forums to shield Islamic states from criticism on human rights grounds. The key issue is the role of the OIC in advancing Islamic Sharia. In 1990 the OIC promulgated the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which subordinates human rights to the Sharia, declaring in Article 24 that “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah,” and in Article 25 that “The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification to any of the articles of this Declaration.”

    One of the subsidiaries of the OIC is the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, which claims to rule on doctrine and issue religious edicts in the name of the OIC for the whole Muslim world. In May 2009 it promulgated a series of fatwas, including rulings on Religious Freedom, Freedom of Expression and Domestic Violence. These affirm support for Islam’s traditional apostasy laws (which require that those who leave Islam should be killed); they call on the Muslim world to prevent freedom of speech from being used to criticize Islam; they declare that in Islam it is not “violence or discrimination” to criminalize homosexuality or apply Sharia laws for adultery (which include stoning adulterers); they endorse “non-violent beating” of wives; and they call upon Islamic nations to reject provisions of international covenants on the rights of women and children, if they “conflict with the provisions of Islamic law and its purposes”.

    In announcing his new Special Envoy’s appointment, it is commendable that President Obama expressed hope that Rashad Hussain would be able to strengthen partnerships with the Muslim world in education, economic development, science and technology and global health.

    But conspicuously absent from this list was human rights.

    Without a doubt, Rashad Hussain has strong religious credentials for this appointment. The Texas-born and Yale Law School-educated Hussain was characterized by President Obama as a hafiz, someone who has memorized the whole of the Arabic text of the Koran. This skill reflects a pious Islamic upbringing. His position on individual rights and freedoms under Sharia conditions, however, is not so apparent. One clue can be found in a co-authored 2008 article he published through the Brookings Institute. In it, Hussain argues that the counterterrorism efforts “must reject labels that make mainstream Islam a part of the problem,” and the US should recognize “the benefit of strengthening the authoritative voices of mainstream Islam”. Does Hussain also believe that, when it comes to human rights in OIC member states, “mainstream Islam” is the solution, and not part of the problem?

    At his most recent post as White House Deputy Associate Counsel, Hussain helped draft President Obama’s “New Beginning” address to the Muslim world in Cairo last June. That speech mentioned human rights, but it emphasized dialogue rather than defending individual liberties as the key to improving relationships with the Muslim world.

    The OIC makes a strong claim for itself to be considered the global voice of mainstream Islam. However killing those who leave Islam, criminalizing homosexuality, banning any critical analysis of Islam, wife beating (non-violent or otherwise)—all these are antithetical to international human rights principles, and impediments to a true partnership between the OIC and the United States. Strengthening the authoritative voice of the OIC, while it actively works to defend such practices, would harm American interests. Lack of engagement on these central human rights issues would be understood as acquiescence or approval. This could be a high price to pay for a New Beginning with the Muslim world.”

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/02/a-new-envoy-to-the-united-nations-of-islam

  11. Chintamani says:

    More useful information about Islam as currently practiced:-

    Sharia: A Muslim’s life is worth twice that of a Jew or Christian, and fifteen times more than that of a Hindu or Buddhist.

    With all the talk of Sharia in the news it is useful to recall some of its more notable aspects. One of these is qisas, or retaliation, which allows for blood money to be paid by the perpetrator to the relatives of the deceased in cases of accidental death or  murder.
    In such cases, the compensation is higher if the victim was a Muslim than if he was a non-Muslim.
    Only the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence allows for the possibility of capital punishment in the case of a Muslim who has murdered an unbeliever. 
    The Maliki and Hanbali schools set a Muslim’s life as worth twice that of a non-Muslim — hence this Saudi Hanbali ruling below.

    The Shafi’i school sets a Muslim’s life as worth two-thirds that of a Jew or Christian.

    Polytheists, as here, are valued less.

    The Shafi’i Sharia manual ‘Umdat al-Salik dictates: “The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man.
    The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim.” (o4.9)

    From the website of the Consulate General of India, Jeddah, who is recording these matters because they come up in connection with his people who are working in Saudi Arabia :

    4. Mode of Pavment [sic] :

    All Death Compensation cases (except industrial accidents) in Saudi Arabia are settled through concerned Shariat Courts in accordance with the Shariat Law.

    5. Maximum Amount admissible :

    The maximum amount of Death Compensation (Diyya) generally admissible in Saudi Arabia, in respect of road/traffic/fire accident, murder, etc. is as under:
    Death Compensation in respect of a male person:

    i. Muslim – SR. 100,000/-
    ii. Christian/Jew – SR.50,000/-
    iii. Other religions : such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, etc. – SR 6666.66

    In the case of death of a female, death compensation allowed is equal to half the amount as admissible to males professing the same religion.

    Further the amount of compensation admissible, is based on the percentage of responsibility fixed on the causer e.g. if the causer is held 50% responsible for the accident resulting in the death of a Muslim, the amount of Death Compensation admissible will be SR 50,000 only.

    100,000 Saudi riyals = $26,665.25
    50,000 Saudi riyals = $13,332.62
    6,666.66 Saudi riyals = $1,777.69

    The Iranian Shi’ite Sufi Sheikh Sultanhussein Tabandeh explains: “Thus if [a] Muslim commits adultery his punishment is 100 lashes, the shaving of his head, and one year of banishment. But if the man is not a Muslim and commits adultery with a Muslim woman his penalty is execution…Similarly if a Muslim deliberately murders another Muslim he falls under the law of retaliation and must by law be put to death by the next of kin. But if a non-Muslim who dies at the hand of a Muslim has by lifelong habit been a non-Muslim, the penalty of death is not valid. Instead the Muslim murderer must pay a fine and be punished with the lash….Since Islam regards non-Muslims as on a lower level of belief and conviction, if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim…then his punishment must not be the retaliatory death, since the faith and conviction he possesses is loftier than that of the man slain…Again, the penalties of a non-Muslim guilty of fornication with a Muslim woman are augmented because, in addition to the crime against morality, social duty and religion, he has committed sacrilege, in that he has disgraced a Muslim and thereby cast scorn upon the Muslims in general, and so must be executed….Islam and its peoples must be above the infidels, and never permit non-Muslims to acquire lordship over them.” — Sultanhussein Tabandeh, A Muslim Commentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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