Prominent Palestinian-American Professor of Islamic History and Law Maysam Al Faruqi of Georgetown University in Washington says that Sharia could be implemented in the Netherlands within a short time without problem. According to Al Faruqi the fear of Islamic law in Europe is unfounded.
The Islamologist was a guest at the University of Tilburg for a symposium about Sharia in Europe. Leading to the symposium was, among others, the statements of former Minister of Justice Donner that Sharia could be implemented in the Netherlands if 2/3 of the population would want it. At the time, the statements caused a storm of criticism. But in practice it seems Sharia is already slowly penetrating into West European laws. In Great Britain for example, Islamic inheritance is partially accepted.
According to Al Farqui there isn't much difference between European law and Sharia. "The two systems could exist easily next to each other," she says. "We are based on the same principles. Every parent wants his children to grow up healthy, not stealing and lying. Only the Islamic customs are maybe different."
And there are the difference between Islamic law and Dutch law. According to Al Faruqi it's especially differences in culture. "Some Muslims don't want to shake hands with women or eat pork. Let them than. Those are not important things. I can't imagine that Dutch culture revolves on whether you should or shouldn't shake hands. The Dutch culture is much more."
According to Al Faruqi there aren't more important differences. It was especially her position that there isn't a great difference between human rights and sharia that caused some raising of eyebrows by those present. Immediately there were questions about female genital mutilation and the oppression of women. In recent years there are regular news reports in the media and by human rights organizations, of exceptionally harsh and dubious punishments on the basis of sharia, such as stoning of women for adultery and cutting off of hands for theft.
The spectre of sharia in Europe came closer for many when a judge in Germany based her verdict on the customs in the Moroccan community. The case involved a man who hit his wife. According to the judge, the man was within his rights according to Moroccan culture.
But according to Al Faruqi that has nothing to do with Sharia. Basic rights and human rights are secure in Sharia. "Female genital mutilation and other crimes are naturally a problem in the Muslim world. It is something that is usual in some Muslim countries. Something must be done about it. But this sort of cases are certainly not encouraged by sharia. there is absolutely no contact between human rights and sharia. Certain when it comes to cases such as protection of life, property or dignity.
The problem is that sharia is not written law but forms itself in practice. the basis of the law is court decisions. The danger exists naturally that cultural customs, such as female genital mutilation or burning of widows, could easily turn up in the law. But according to Al Faruqi people shouldn't be afraid that this will happen in Europe too. The specter of Sharia in Europe, according to her, is mainly based on extreme statement of judges who say they base themselves on Sharia but are truly led by local customs.
"The only thing we must truly due is accept each other and tolerate that some have other values and standards. It is so simple. Whenever somebody is certain of their own values and standards then he shouldn't also be afraid anymore of the fact that somebody else has other values and standards. Or wants to live by the Sharia."
Source: Wereld Omroep (Dutch)