Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Nonie Darwish, an American of Arab/Muslim origin. She lectures across the United States and has appeared on radio and television programs including CNN, Headline News, Fox, MSNBC, Al-Arabiya, National Public Radio and Israeli TV. Darwish has been published in the London Telegraph, Jerusalem Post, and New York Daily News. She is a frequent lecturer on college campuses including Harvard, Brown, Stanford, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown, Boston University, and the University of Southern California. Her new book is Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law.
FP: Nonie Darwish, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Tell us what inspired you to write this book.
Darwish: Every time I tried to find a solution to all the ills of Muslim society, such as jihad, oppression of women and minorities, I was confronted with an Islamic law that stood in the way of a solution. Having been born and raised as a Muslim who lived under Sharia for 30years of my life, I know first hand the destructive impact of sharia on the healthy functioning of society and its total disregard for basic human rights.
I decided to write this book in response to claims by some Muslim groups that Sharia is compatible with democracy and that it is simply a religious right. Canada allowed the practice of Sharia tribunals for 15 years and Great Britain is now allowing the practice of partial Sharia. Islamic propaganda for Sharia has reached such a high level of misinformation that I simply had to do something.
There was a recent article in Canada that said: "Canadian Muslims have a fondness for democracy, peace - and Sharia law." Islamists are trying to fool the West into believing that Sharia is just as American as ‘apple pie’ and this could not be further from the truth.
To write the book I did not just rely only on my personal experience, but studied Sharia for eighteen months from mainstream Islamic legal books with the help of a Sharia Muslim expert, Mr. Hasan Mahmoud. The book is a warning to the West and hopefully it can also open the eyes of Muslims to the truth.
FP: In one section of the book, you mention how, during your youth, you saw what Christian marriage was and that you were very shocked and moved. Tell us why.
Darwish: As a young teenager I watched an America movie that showed a Christian wedding ceremony in a church. I watched with eagerness the marriage vows in the presence of the pastor with both bride and groom pledging to be loyal to one another. I could not help but compare that with the Muslim marriage ceremony where loyalty is not expected from the husband to the wife due to polygamy. In the Muslim marriage contract (shown in chapter 2 of the book) the bride is asked if she is a virgin. If she is not a virgin the penalty could be flogging or even stoning. In the contract the groom is asked to fill out the following three empty spaces: name and address of wife number 1, 2, and 3 if any. Because of polygamy, the Muslim bride must never expect loyalty from her husband and that has a devastating effect on family dynamics. Even though many Muslim men choose not to exercise their right for polygamy, many others do.
The damage to the wife/husband relationship has already been done in the marriage contract itself. Sharia allows so many sexual rights for men, but none for women who must only marry Muslim men, but men can marry non-Muslim women. Sharia also allows a form of additional marriage to a husband called pleasure or temporary marriage where he can have a verbal contract with a prostitute for an hour where he will pay her a dowry for her services.
A Muslim woman must put up with all such rights given to men. Even though I was about 15 years old, I was very touched by the marriage vows, especially when the Husband promises to love, honor and cherish his one and only wife, "till death do us part". I realized the big difference; a Christian marriage honors women with the commitment of one man to his one and only wife (at least one at a time) and one set of children. But when I asked my aunt who was also watching the movie, "why don’t we have weddings like that?", her answer missed the point when she said "We also have very glamorous weddings." Marriage defined as one man/one woman is a Judeo/Christian phenomenon that became the basis upon which women’s rights were established. It serves as a great stabilizing factor for a healthy family and society.
FP: So what is Sharia and what is the main message of the Qur’an?
Darwish: Sharia is an elaborate system of laws that deals with all aspects of life, including politics, economics, banking, business law, contract law, marriage, divorce, child rearing and custody, sexuality, and social issues. It makes no distinction between crime and sin, public and private life and is based on the Quran, Hadith (sayings of Mohammad) and Sunnah, the example of Mohammad.
Sharia was the product of centuries of debate, interpretation, and precedent. To those who claim that the Quran is misinterpreted, we say that the Quran has already been interpreted by the learned great Imams of Islam who produced sharia law based on such interpretation. If you read the laws of Islam, you will understand the main message of the Quran.
Islamic Law was created over a century after the death of Mohammad by Imams and Muslim heads of state who wanted to control the large and diverse populations that Islamic warriors have conquered. The only way they could enforce such inhumane laws that deprived citizens of basic human rights in order to achieve the total control Islam demanded, was to claim that such laws were given by Allah and that violating them is equal to violating Allah himself.
Basically Sharia codified into law Arabian Peninsula 7th century culture and forced it on all nations the Arabian Peninsula conquered. Without Sharia laws, Arab imperialism could not have been accomplished. The Quran by itself could not provide the teeth and claws necessary to achieved ‘submission’ to the Islamic State.
When Mohammad died many Arabian tribes felt safe to abandon Islam but were quickly attacked by bloody wars and brought back by the sword. Muslim leaders did not want that to happen again. So Sharia became Islam and Islam became Sharia. If Islam is a policeman, Sharia is the gun. That is why all the schools of Sharia agree without exception to the law of condemning a Muslim to death immediately if he or she leaves Islam. That law is effective until today.
The main purpose of Sharia is total control of citizens in order to accomplish the main message of the Quran, which is to expand Islam through jihad. No one can objectively read the Quran and avoid the basic premise that its totally pre-occupied and obsessed with the "Kafir," a derogatory word for non-Muslims; how to punish them, mistreat them, curse them, send them to hell fire with details of extreme torture and even commands to Muslims to kill them.
FP: This doesn’t even sound like a religion, but a political ideology of terror.
Darwish: When I started my project for the book I thought Islam was a religion. After my extensive study, however, I found out there is very little religion and a personal relationship with Allah. Islam can put to death those who leave it and that makes being a Muslim a contract with the State and its jihad aspirations.
Islam does not focus on peace to all of humanity and it splits humanity into two, good Muslims (house of Islam) and evil non-Muslims (house of war). That splits the world in the eyes of the devout Muslims between good and bad, innocent and sinners. Such sinners (non-Muslims) thus must be brought to Islam even by force of the sword, which symbolizes jihad and which still exists as its symbol on the flag of Saudi Arabia today.
Under Sharia, a Muslim is told that lying is obligatory if the purpose is obligatory. You can only imagine the impact of such a commandment on jihadists who want to take over the West. Non-Muslims are not worthy of the truth, mercy or forgiveness and must be subjugated, humiliated and even killed. According to Egyptian Coptic Christian sources, there are over 320,000 derogatory statements and commandments in Islamic scriptures to kill, humiliate, subjugate or not talk to non-Muslims. The word love is never mentioned in the Quran. The religion part in Islam is basically the 5 pillars:
1- Professing the oneness of Allah and accepting Prophet Muhammad as his messenger.
3- Giving alms.
5- Haj or pilgrimage to Mecca.
None of such pillars have added anything to previously existing religions.
Islam is more of a one party totalitarian political and legal system than a personal relationship with God. It does not teach compassion and peace to all of humanity regardless of religion. Quran 47:35 says: "So do not weaken and call for peace while you are superior." The translation of Yusuf Ali, says: Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost.
The definition of an Islamic state, which must be ruled by Sharia, according to the most prominent 20th century Muslim scholars, Sheikh Abul Ala Maududi, is:
"…It seeks to mould every aspect of life and activity…. In such a state noone can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private. Considered from this aspect the Islamic State bears a kind of resemblance to the Fascist and communist states."
Maududi’s definition was never challenged or denied by any Muslim leader or group. The Islamic State can put you to death if you leave Islam (end your submission). Membership in the Islamic State is by birth and that State must guarantee that no one can escape the Iron Curtain of Sharia alive. Sharia gives a lot of power to the Muslim head of State (the Khalifa) and exempts him from being charged with serious crimes such as murder, adultery, robbery, theft and drinking.
Sharia also states that "It is obligatory to obey the commands and interdictions of the caliph, even if he is unjust." A Muslim Calipha is entrusted to take his people into war and command offensive and aggressive jihad. The definition of jihad in mainstream Sharia books is "to war against non-Muslims to establish the religion." He must organize jihad against any non-Muslim government, which prevents Muslim da’wah (meaning preaching and spreading Islam) from entering its land. Thus, Islamic Law has no respect for the sovereignty of non-Muslim countries. Muslim leaders who do not wish to perpetrate jihad against non-Muslim countries are considered apostates and must be killed. That is what happened to Sadat when he signed a peace treaty with Israel.
For the expansion of Islam through jihad to happen, the object of jihad (non-Muslim individuals and nations) must be constantly portrayed as subhuman, evil, the Great Satan and conspiring against Muslims, wanting to kill Muslim women and children. Such constant propaganda against non-Muslims must go hand in hand with the jihad obligation or else jihad will end. If non-Muslims are portrayed as no better or worse than Muslims or even worse as having a better political and legal system that produce happier people, then the result will be no more Islamic victimhood mentality to hide behind as the reason for terror and jihad. Expansionist ideologies cannot admit to their followers or even to themselves that the true intention is world domination. There is an obsessive urge in Muslim scriptures to conquer and spread not only the Quran but also Arabic language and culture – themselves frozen in the form of a holy religious law called Sharia. Original Muslims who brought Sharia had little confidence that Islam will survive without enforcement through violence and severe punishments.
Thus, the existence of democratic, fairer and more peaceful systems around Muslim nations, is a serious existential threat. The solution was for Islam having to constantly expand at the expense of other religions or else it would collapse like a pyramid scheme. That is why whenever Islam took over other countries it turned churches and temples into mosques. Islam is more of a brilliant system of totalitarian control of citizens and a man-made "divine" right to control every inch of the world. That is how the tribal mentality was and still is. That is why I believe that Islam is not only less of a religion, but actually is anti-religion. From its inception Islam it was terribly threatened by Judaism and Christianity and expelled Jews and Christians them from the Arabian Peninsula. It chased them out of every place Islam went to. Christianity and Judaism were going to totally change the raiding male dominant Arabian 7th century society and that made such religions Islam’s eternal threat.
FP: Why is the oppression of women so central to Sharia?
Darwish: The center of oppression in Sharia is the woman. Imam Ghazali said that marriage is slavery for the woman and the marriage contract gives the man total control of her private parts in exchange for the dowry. Women are described as deficient in brain and religion and as toys. Sharia allows only men the right to an easy divorce -- allows wife beating -- half the inheritance of a man to a woman -- and her testimony in court is only half valid. A Muslim woman must tolerate polygamy if the man wishes and, as I mentioned earlier, that has a destabilizing effect on the marriage and family dynamics. Sharia did not set an age limit for a girl to be married and that was done simply because Mohammad’s example must be followed. Recently there was a story of an 8 year old girl in Yemen who filed for divorce and both the Yemeni government and the Saudi government refused to change the law and have an age limit for marriage for girls.
The honor of men and the whole family relies on the sexual purity of women. Some say that honor killing has nothing to do with Islam, but those who say that ignore the Sharia law that says that the killer of an adulterer will not be punished. The adulterer is usually a woman since men have the right to temporary and pleasure marriage. Those who deny the connection between honor killing and Islam are either misinformed or in denial. How come I never heard a mosque sermon in the Middle East that spoke against honor killing? How come it is almost uniform in Muslim countries that men who commit honor killing are hardly punished? A woman must bear the shame of her body, be obedient or else her few rights are taken away and she must shield her body, sometimes her face and even her identity.
Islamic Sharia tries to preserve the values of Arabian culture which Mohammad lived by. Oppression of women in Islam is not a coincidence since the desert raiding brutal 7th century Arabian culture relied on the strong fighting men for survival and used women as reward for the brave warriors. Tribal warriors who raided other tribes for the booty and possession of their goods and wealth also took their women and children as slaves and even sexual slaves. That was the tradition in Arabia and instead offending it, Islam maintained the tradition and codified it into law.
FP: Why is it so important for Sharia to separate love from marriage?
Darwish: As I noted earlier, the concept of love is never mentioned in the Quran and men are warned from the evil nature of women. In some hadiths men are told not to linger around their wives and have normal conversation. They are told not to tell their wives about their businesses and simply not to trust them. I have many quotations with accurate references in the book.
The marriage and family structure and model, which was the product of the raiding tribal culture, was maintained by Islamic Sharia and that served the jihad obligation well, the same way it served 7thcentury raiding tribes well. Everything must be sacrificed for the survival of the tribe and Islam replaced that by the jihad principle, but no longer against another Arabian tribe, but against the non-Muslim world.
In Islam, Jihad comes first before anything else, even before a man’s duty to his family, wife and children. Is it any wonder that we have all seen Muslim women celebrating the death of their husbands and sons who died in jihad? Such a woman is held at the highest standard in Islam. A loving and happy family unit where no one is oppressed cannot be the model in a jihad culture. Thus, a man who has a happy one man/one woman stable loving marriage will not be eager to fight for the expansion of Islam through jihad and give up his life and family to go to heaven only to get the virgins Allah has promised.
The friction and distrust in the man/woman relationship exasperated through polygamy, must be maintained. Also, a loving happy family life cannot exist in a totalitarian one party Islamic State that forbids freedom of speech, abuses human rights and dignity and that practices flogging, beheading and amputation of limbs. In order for the Islamic state to have a large army of men who are ready to give up their miserable lives on earth for happiness in heaven, the broken distrustful relationship between men and women must be maintained.
Another factor that takes away the love in a man-woman relationship is a Muslim man’s honor and its close tie to the sexual purity of the female members of his family. He is severely shamed by society over any rumor pertaining to females in his family. With all this burden on the Muslim men/women relationship, the only honorable outlet then becomes jihad for the sake of Allah. The woman, her children and family thus must endure and sacrifice the pressures of the system from all directions. She must adjust all of her life to the oppression of Sharia.
FP: What is the psychology of multiculturalists in the West who whitewash Sharia?
Darwish: That is the million dollar question that multiculturalists dance around and refuse to touch. I personally believe that Westerners who insist that Sharia is harmless are not stupid. I believe that multiculturalism is a symptom of Western extremists who are dissatisfied with their own culture and want to use other world cultures against it. Those who believe that there is no threat from Sharia are trying to change America from within to their liking by playing with fire. They are doing what many nations in history have done by welcoming radical Islam to attack a perceived local problem they want to eliminate thinking they can later take care of radical Islam.
But what they don’t know is that Sharia and radical Islam will take care first of infidel Americans, especially liberals who believe in women and homosexual rights. Before welcoming a brutal legal system in the West, multiculturalists must understand that not all legal systems are equal. That is basic to many of us. What multiculturalists are doing is infecting their society with permanent dysfunction, tyranny and civil war.
In the book, I have a chapter that does a case study of Egypt in which I give the example of Christian Egypt in the 7thcentury. Many citizens of that society were dissatisfied with their leaders and welcomed Arab invaders to save them from their leaders and their system. What happened to Egypt after that was the destruction of Alexandria library. Women rule such as all the queens of Egypt, ended. Egypt’s language was changed to Arabic and the religion changed to Islam by the sword. Egypt never saw its glory days again.
I hope that is an example the multiculturalists in America can learn from. By tolerating intolerance in Sharia and radical Islam, multiculturalists are not doing Islam or Muslims a favor by looking the other way. Islamists, jihadists and Sharia enforcers do not need political correctness, they need to see themselves truthfully. Political correctness is preventing Jihadists from seeing the consequences of their action and their hateful ideology. How can they learn that their ideology hurts others if the "others" are accepting it. Victims of terror must say "ouch" if we want Islamists to reform. The West must unite and say that we do not like what you are doing and we will do it back to you if you continue your terror against non-Muslims. Anything less than that is appeasement and that will welcome more terror. Only the truth will bring reform and change and holding away the truth for the sake of political correctness will not serve -- anyone especially victims of terror who deserve better.
FP: The beheading of Aasiya Z. Hassan in Buffalo is completely normal for Islam, yes?
Darwish: I do not believe that pure evil can ever be completely normal, but Sharia has come very close. I cannot get in the mind of husband of Aasiya Hassan to really know what his intentions were, but at the same time I do not think that what he did was not influenced by his upbringing as a Muslim man and his belief in Sharia. This Muslim activist husband no longer living under Sharia could not take it when his wife went against Islamic Sharia and filed for divorce and not only dared to do that but also had a restraining order against him. I have not doubt in my mind that he compared his rights under Sharia and went crazy against his wife. If she had done something like that in his country she would be labeled an apostate against Islam.
Under Islamic law there are 3 murders a Muslim is forgiven for and two of them are killing an apostate and an adulterer, the victims of this law are usually women who have "dishonoured" their family. Women today in radical Muslim countries are actually beheaded or stoned for such crimes. Beheading is the Saudi Arabian state form of killing violators of Sharia and there are 4 Saudi State be-headers who speak about their job with pride like a rock star.
I have no doubt in my mind that this man applied the Islamic model of killing apostate women. This man was an activist trying to tell America that Islam is a religion of peace and that Sharia is compatible with democracy. I was once interviewed by his TV station, Bridges TV, and I discredited my interviewer’s views and that is why they never aired my interview. That tells us that that killer’s TV station was simply propaganda and lies to promote Islam in the West. Please note the name of the TV station (Bridges) is in perfect harmony with buzz words that multiculturalists love to hear.
FP: From where do you get your courage?
Darwish: I got it in America, where I learned to value myself as a woman after having lived for 30 years under Islamic Sharia. I also learned courage from my fellow Americans, the great American people, our Constitution and above all from the Judeo-Christian culture. It is not only I that should be afraid of Sharia, all freedom loving people should be afraid.
FP: How do we fight Sharia? What is the most effective way?
Darwish: I believe that no religion should get away with murder and violation of human rights. In the last chapter of my book I have several suggestions to fight Sharia. First the West must define what religion’ is, otherwise we can go back to the dark ages where some religions practiced human sacrifice.
I suggested the following four criteria:
1) A religion must be a personal choice.
2) No religion should kill those who leave it.
3) A religion must never order the killing and subjugation of those who do not choose to be its members.
4) A religion must abide by basic human rights.
According to the above criteria, Islam, as it is written and practiced today, fails the criteria miserably. For Islam to be accepted as a religion in America it must abide by the above criteria and by the US constitution. The heart of Islam in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, where the umbilical cords are connected to every mosque in America, must also abide by the above criteria.
Sharia must be legally rejected as a religion and never given a tax exemption status. I have many other suggestions, most importantly is that all American citizens, Jews, Christians, apostates from Islam and even Muslims who reject Sharia, must petition the US government for protection under the equal right clause of the US constitution from the thousands of commandments to Muslims to kill them that are all over Muslim scriptures bought and sold in America. Decades ago, the U.S. government demanded tobacco companies place a disclaimer on every cigarette box sold in America stating that cigarette smoking may cause cancer.
That was done to protect the health and lives of U.S. citizens, and that was good and proper. When that was not enough, several lawsuits were filed against tobacco companies who conspired to harm the health of consumers. Muslim scriptures are no different; they are not good for the health of non-Muslim Americans. If this fails, then the least the U.S. government can do—and perhaps all it can properly do under our Constitution—is to require a disclaimer on all Muslim books sold in America; that includes every Qur’an, Hadith, or Sharia book and any textbook that has verses or hadith commanding the killing of apostates or non-Muslims. The disclaimer should read something like this:
"The calls for murder and violent jihad in this book are only metaphorical and should not be acted upon against modern day Jews, Christians, atheists, or former Muslims. Any act of violence on the basis of such scriptures will be prosecuted under the hate crime laws of the United States of America."
The man who went on a shooting spree in 2006 at the Jewish Federation in Seattle Washington told the police that he was only doing what Allah told him to do. Young Muslims must read a disclaimer in books that command them to kill in order to go to heaven. Rejecting the protection of American citizens from commandments to kill them will only invite terror. They must be told that human rights are sacred and not negotiable, not even in the name of God.
FP: Nonie Darwish, thank you for Joining Frontpage. And thank you for your courage and nobility in fighting for freedom.
Frontpage encourages all of our readers to buy Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law.