Supposedly moderate Muslim leaders in the UK came up with new demands in a meeting with gov't officials. Apparently they think you can tackle extremism in the Muslim community by having UK laws conform to the Sharia.
Muslim politicians condemned the idea, saying it would both fuel division and be impossible to manage.
This article throws around concepts without any regard to what it's talking about. For example, I really doubt that the Muslim leaders asked for stonings in the UK. It is much more probable that they would like inheritance laws to follow Sharia.
Muslim leaders summoned to talks with the Government on tackling extremism in their midst called for public holidays to mark their religious festivals.
The Whitehall meeting was set up in response to last week's airline bomb plot discovery.
Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly had prepared an uncompromising message on the need to tackle dangerous radicalism.
But, in what she admitted were 'sharp' exchanges, some senior Muslim figures turned the tables yesterday and made a series of demands which also included the introduction of Sharia law for family matters.
Dr Syed Aziz Pasha, secretary general of the Union of Muslim Organisations of the UK and Ireland, said: 'We told her if you give us religious rights, we will be in a better position to convince young people that they are being treated equally along with other citizens.'
Dr Pasha said Miss Kelly had agreed to look at the proposals, though her spokesman insisted later that she did not favour any legal change which would give 'special treatment' for the Muslim community.
Some of the 30 moderate Muslim leaders at the meeting told Miss Kelly that important days in their two main religious festivals - Ramadan and Eid-ul-Adha - should be made public holidays for followers of the faith.
Sharia law, which is practised in large parts of the Middle East, should also be introduced in Britain, they argued. While it specifies stonings and amputations as routine punishments for crimes, Dr Pasha said he wanted it only for family affairs.
Under the law, a husband pays his wife a dowry on marriage, and money and assets are shared out between family members in specified amounts after someone dies.
'We are willing to co-operate but there should be a partnership,' Dr Pasha said. 'They should understand our problems then we will understand their problems.'
The Muslims do have a problem, just as many Jews do. What do you do on religious holidays which are not considered state holidays? Jews do not work on the Sabbath, which starts off on sunset Friday and ends after sunset Saturday. What do Jews do in Northern Europe during the winter, when the Sabbath might start in the middle of the work day, you might wonder? It is a very good question. Apparently, the Jewish community found a way to deal with the extremism caused by this complete lack of understanding on the part of the general population.
Many of these demands can be easily dealt with the on the individual level. A husband wants to give his wife a dowry? What stops him? A family wants to give inheritance according to their religious beliefs? That's what a will is for. You want to take time off for religious reasons? Talk to your boss and do it on your own expense.
I suppose that's what many people do. It's not easy, but then - nobody said being religious and upholding your convictions in a different society is easy. There are many places around the world where being Muslim is easy.
Sources: Daily Mail (English), Life Style Extra (English). Hat tip, LGF