Don’t Blame Islamic Sharia for Islamic Extremism-Blame Colonialism
Warning Islamic extremists want to implement fundamentalist religious rule in American communities. Right-wing lawmakers in dozens of states in the United States have tried to ban Islamic law, which is an Arabic language and is usually understood as Islamic law. These political debates (citing terrorism and political violence in the Middle East to argue that Islam is incompatible with modern society) have exacerbated stereotypes about the uncivilized Muslim world. They also reflect ignorance of Sharia law, which is not strict laws and regulations. Shariah means “road”
; or “road”: it is a broad range of values and moral principles taken from the holy book of Islam, the Koran, and the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, different people and governments may interpret Sharia law differently. Nevertheless, this is not the first attempt in the world to determine the place of Sharia law in the global order. In the 1950s and 1960s, when Great Britain, France and other European powers abandoned their colonies in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, the leaders of the newly formed Muslim-majority countries faced a decision with major consequences: They Should the government be built into Islamic values or embrace European laws inherited from colonial rule? Major debates My historical research has always shown that the political leaders of these young countries choose to retain the colonial judicial system rather than impose religious laws. The newly independent Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Somalia all restrict the application of Sharia law to marriage and inheritance disputes within Muslim families, just like their colonial administrators. The rest of their legal system will continue to be based on European law. In order to understand why they chose this course, I studied the decision-making process in Sudan in 1956 (the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from the UK). In the National Archives and Library in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and in interviews with Sudanese lawyers and officials, I found that leading judges, politicians and intellectuals actually promoted Sudan to become a democratic Islamic country. They envisioned a progressive legal system that conforms to the principles of Islamic belief, in which all citizens-regardless of religion, race or race, can freely and openly practice their religious beliefs. “The people of Sudan are equal as comb teeth” Supreme Court Justice Hassan Muddathir quoted in 1956 an official memorandum from my Prophet Muhammad, which I kept in the Sudan Library in Khartoum. “Arabs are no better than Persia, and whites are no better than blacks.” However, the post-colonial leadership of Sudan rejected these calls. They chose to retain the English common law tradition as land law. Why keep the oppressor’s law? My research has identified three reasons for the early retreat of Muslims in Sudan: politics, pragmatism and demography. Disputes between political parties in Sudan during the post-colonial period led to a deadlock in the parliament, which made it difficult to pass meaningful legislation. Therefore, Sudan only kept the colonial laws already registered. There are practical reasons for maintaining the English common law. Sudanese judges have received training from British colonial officials. Therefore, they continue to apply common law principles to the disputes they hear in court. The founding fathers of Sudan faced pressing challenges such as creating an economy, establishing foreign trade and ending the civil war. They believe that it is unwise to completely reform Khartoum’s smooth governance system. The continued use of colonial law after independence also reflects the ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity of Sudan. Then, Sudanese citizens now speak multiple languages and belong to dozens of Sudanese ethnic groups. When Sudan became independent, people who practiced Sunni and Sufi Islamic traditions mainly lived in northern Sudan. Christianity is an important belief in southern Sudan. The diversity of Sudan’s faith communities means that maintaining a foreign legal system (English common law) is not as controversial as the choice of sharia law. Why extremists win? My research reveals that the current turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa is partly due to these post-colonial decisions to reject Islamic law. Regarding the maintenance of the colonial legal system, Sudan and other Muslim-majority countries that acted in a similar manner have conquered the Western world powers, which pushed their former colonies into secularism. But they avoid solving difficult questions about religious identity and laws. In the long run, this separation fuels turmoil among some convinced citizens, leading sectarians to call for the unity of religion and the state once and for all. In Iran, Saudi Arabia, and parts of Somalia and Nigeria, these explanations have been successful, applying extremist Islamic teachings to millions. In other words, the Muslim majority countries reject Islam as their mainstream legal concept, thus hindering the democratic potential of Islam. In the 1950s and 1960s, Islamic law was in the hands of extremists. However, there is no inherent tension between Sharia law, human rights and the rule of law. Just like using religion in politics, the application of Sharia law also depends on who is using religion and why. Leaders in places like Saudi Arabia and Brunei have chosen to restrict women’s freedom and minority rights. However, many scholars of Islam and grassroots organizations regard Sharia law as a flexible, rights-oriented and equal-conscious moral order. Religion and law around the world Religion is integrated into the legal framework of many post-colonial countries, and has different effects on democracy and stability. After Israel was established in 1948, there was a debate on the role of Jewish law in Israeli society. In the end, the British Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (David Ben-Gurion) and his allies chose a hybrid legal system that combines Jewish law with British common law. In Latin America, the Catholicism imposed by the Spanish conquerors was the basis of laws restricting abortion, divorce and gay rights. Throughout the 19th century, American judges often invoked the legal motto that “Christianity is part of common law.” When legislators support or oppose established laws, they still routinely quote their Christian faith. The political extremism and human rights violations that occur in these places are rarely understood as inherent flaws of these religions. However, in Muslim-majority countries, Sharia law should be blamed on the return to law-not those who adopted these policies in the name of religion. Fundamentalism and violence are issues in the post-colonial era-not religious inevitability. For the Muslim world, after the failure of secular rule for more than 50 years, it will not be easy to find a government system that reflects Islamic values and promotes democracy. But peace may be needed to establish peace. This article is republished from The Conversation, a non-profit news site dedicated to sharing the ideas of academic experts. Read more: *The meaning of Islamic law: Answered 5 questions *Islamic law’s impact on ISIS *Trump’s travel ban is just one of many U.S. policies that legitimize discrimination against Muslims by Mark Fati Masood (Mark Fathi Massoud has received scholarships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (Carnegie) New York Corporation, the American Association of Societies, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Fulbright Hayes and the University of California. Any opinions expressed here are the responsibility of the author.