In what many in the West have been calling for at least since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 if not longer, a leader of a majority Muslim populated nation has called for change withinIslam. As reported by the conservative-leaning news aggregate Right Speak via Google News on Jan. 9, 2015, the recently elected president of Egypt has openly called for what many are referring to as an “Islamic Reformation.”
First making headlines in the West during the summer of 2013, Egyptian General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was instrumental in the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government of Mohamed Morsi. Since his election to the presidency last year, President al-Sisi has been the hope of a small but presumably growing number of secularly minded Muslims.
Case in point would be his recent call that Islam in in need of urgent and immediate reform. As reported, President al-Sisi stated in a speech at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, “It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire Ummah (the Islamic world) to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.”
Continuing with his emphasizing that Islam is in need of a “religious revolution,” the North African leader also stated “Is it possible that 1.6 billion (Muslims) should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants — that is 7 billion — so that they themselves may live?” Accolades from the West have been heaped on al-Sisi ranging from novelist Roger L. Simon calling his speech “extraordinary” to conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg who referred to al-Sisi’s clarion call as “epochal.”
However, as Goldberg noted, “And yet his speech has been almost entirely ignored by the mainstream new media … there’s been silence from The New York Times, Washington Post, the news networks and other major outlets.” Despite Barack Obama barnstorming the nation, there has been no mention from either the White House nor his State Department on al-Sisi’s groundbreaking speech.
While more than a few left-leaning politicians and media outlets such as Time magazine categorizing the likes of the Taliban, the ISIS terror network, the Paris Massacre killers, etc, as “a radical fringe of Muslim fanatics,” the decidedly non-politically correct fact-of-the-matter is that the overwhelming majority of Muslim-dominated governments adhere to the same fundamentalist Sharia Law. With the words “The Islamic Republic of” at the beginning of their respective official names, the nations of Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mauritania take their Islam a little more than serious. Not to be left out, Islamic kingdoms, emirates, caliphates, and sultanates also dot the globe ranging from the Atlantic Ocean to the South China Sea.
The degree in which Sharia is implemented into Muslim-dominated nations ranges from Kazakhstan outlawing any personal freedom of religion by declaring it illegal under penalty of law for any citizen to convert from Islam; to Bangladesh mandating all marriage, divorce, alimony and property inheritance laws be in strict compliance with Sharia Law. Far from being “a radical fringe of Muslim fanatics,” a number of Muslim-dominated nations such as Brunei, Pakistan, The Sudan, Iran and Saudi Arabia still torture, imprison and/or execute for infractions such as (not all inclusive):
- Being a rape victim (violating Sharia laws on immodesty or purity).
- Converting to another belief (apostasy).
- Women driving, voting, walking ahead of their husbands, not covering enough of themselves with prescribed clothing.
A recent example would be Saudi blogger and social activist Raif Badawi, who was found guilty of insulting Islam. The founder of the “Free Saudi Liberals” website, Badawi was arrested in 2012 after he created an online forum for public debate, to include open and frank discussions of Islam. For his trouble, the blogger has since been sentenced to a total of 1,000 lashes along with a 10 year prison sentence.
With lashings within the Kingdom usually conducted with either a long cane, a whip or a leather strap, Badawi will face a public flogging of 50 lashes every Friday for 20 weeks. After his trial, Badawi’s lawyer, human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair was sentenced to jail for 15 years after being charged with “undermining the regime and officials,” “inciting public opinion” and “insulting the judiciary.” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated the Obama Administration was “greatly concerned.”
Not only on the governmental level, Sharia is deeply ingrained in many levels of Muslim cultural life. Recently honored here in the United States and Great Britain was Pakistani teen-ager Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the face by the Pakistani Taliban for attending school and learning how to read. Not the exclusive property of the Middle East and South Asia, Texas sisters Amina, 18, and Sarah Said, 17, were “honor killed” by their father, Yasir Said on New Year’s Day in 2008 for dating non-Muslim boys as well as the father complaining they were becoming “too Westernized.”
Violence against women is considered by many to be all too commonplace in the majority of Muslim-dominated countries. According to WikiIslam.net, the United Nation estimated that 5,000 women are killed annually by family members who believe certain (usually female) family members have conducted themselves in a fashion that has caused a loss of family honor. While it’s considered acceptable to decapitate, burn, stone, stab, electrocute, shoot, strangle, or bury alive the offending family member, The Independent (of the UK) reported that the true number is at a minimum of at least 20,000 per year.
An all to familiar example was one provided by The Independent’s reporter Robert Fisk, “Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, 13, who in Somalia in 2008, in front of a thousand people, was dragged to a hole in the ground – all the while screaming, ‘I’m not going – don’t kill me’ – then buried up to her neck and stoned by 50 men for adultery? After 10 minutes, she was dug up, found to be still alive and put back in the hole for further stoning. Her crime? She had been raped by three men and, fatally, her family decided to report the facts to the Al-Shabab militia that runs Kismayo. Or the Al-Shabab Islamic “judge” in the same country who announced the 2009 stoning to death of a woman – the second of its kind the same year – for having an affair? Her boyfriend received a mere 100 lashes.”