Unveiled Threats

Today in the Boston Herald was a rather interesting story. It seems that a group that is planning on building a $22 million-dollar mosque in Boston somehow managed to get the land from the city for less than half the fair-market value.

The Islamic Society of Boston forked over $175,000 and undisclosed “in-kind benefits” to the Roxbury Community College for a 1.9 acres of prime Boston real estate, appraised for over $400,000. A city councilor is calling for investigating. Meanwhile, a local Islamic scholar who fled Egypt for his moderate views is denouncing the Islamic Society for alleged ties to radical Islam.

This attention to Islam so close to home reminded me of a lot of things that I find disturbing, frightening, and disgusting about Islamism, but I’m going to focus on just on aspect of it.

Shari’ah law is the law derived from the Koran, and what the Islamists wish to impose on the world. (This comes after Shari’ah’s amazing success in Afghanistan.) It is very harsh; it is the source of the “cut off the hands of thieves” principle of Islamic law that is often bandied about.

But one aspect of Shari’ah law really bothered me, and that was it’s treatment of rape. According to this article I found, the penalty for a man who commits rape is 80 lashes if the woman is unmarried. If she is married, the penalty is increased to death, for he will have committed adultery as well.

That’s all well and good, on the surface. But the devil, as they say, is in the details. Under Shar’iah law, in order for a man to be convicted of rape, there must be four witnesses to buttress her accusation. Further, they must be male — women have no standing under Shar’iah law. If the woman makes the accusation and the man is acquitted, the woman is given 80 lashes for slander and another 100 lashes for “immoral behavior.” If she is married, it’s the death penalty again.

This is where I dig out my usual rhetorical technique of taking a set of conditions and extrapolating them to ridiculous (but still remotely plausible) extremes to show just how ridiculous (and, in this case, obscene) they are. Suppose I am walking down the street with two friends and we see a man raping a woman in an alley. My friends and I would say “there are three of us, and one of him. We should stop him!” and then we would act.

(To be perfectly honest, knowing myself and my friends, we wouldn’t stop to think at all, but bear with me — I’m making a point here.)

But let’s change one little detail above. Let’s presume that I and my friends are Muslim, and we subscribe to Shar’iah law. Under the same circumstances, my friends and I would be obligated to consider the following possibilities:

“It appears that the man is attempting to rape the woman, but we must not jump to conclusions. Perhaps the woman is his wife, and he is simply asserting his husbandly rights. Perhaps she has been disobedient, and he is doing this to chastise her. Perhaps she is his slave, and he is using his property rights. Or perhaps she is an unbeliever, and therefore she has no rights at all to refuse a Muslim man. But on the chance she is Muslim, and not his wife, and he is indeed raping her, we should go and find a fourth man to watch so we may testify against him should she press charges.”

That’s why I could never be a Muslim. I could never belong to a society that can see something as brutal, as ugly, as inhuman as a man raping a woman and immediately think of several perfectly legal justifications for the act.

And that’s one of the things we’re fighting against in this war on terror, this war on Islamism. We’re fighting against a culture and a way of life that thinks of women as property, as chattel, as things that can be treated however men want.

This isn’t just dehumanizing to women, it dehumanizes the men as well. It twists and warps them, deprives them of the ability to have normal relations with women, and gives them a huge (but completely unfounded) sense of pride and entitlement and privilege. And they will fight to preserve this when it is threatened.

This is what we’re fighting in Iraq. It’s what we dismantled in Afghanistan. It’s what was behind the 9/11 attacks. And it’s what we need to continue to fight, because they aren’t about to give up until they achieve their stated goal of imposing Shar’iah law on the whole world. After all, that is what their God has commanded.


(Author’s note: I’m not entirely happy with the title and the concluding paragraphs of this piece, but I promised someone it would go up tonight. If you find them a bit weak, you’re not alone.)

Update: The Boston Herald isn’t letting this story go. Here, the Anti-Defamation League is calling for a further investigation into certain inflammatory statements by and ties between Mosque backers and terrorist groups. And here, it turns out that one of thehigher-ranking officials of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (the body that authorized the sale) is also a key backer and big fundraiser for the proposed Mosque. Curiouser and curiouser…

Update 2: And FINALLY the Boston Glob (owned by the New York Times) is chiming in. They’re reporting on the ADL allegations, but completely missing the sweetheart deal the Mosque backers got on the land, as well as a key backer’s possible conflict of interest. Sadly, how typical.

A Sequel To "This Land"
Inside Saddam's Head


  1. Remy Logan October 6, 2004
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