A Listener Responds to ‘Women and Sharia’

Dave Wood, a listener of the Inside Islam radio series on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders, writes:

I wish I was writing with typical accolades but unfortunately I’m sending a note about my disappointment in your Inside Islam series. I think it not only lacks objective reporting but, even worse, it whitewashes Islam leaving your listener less prepared to identify radical Islam’s threat to our freedom and culture. Perhaps most important, your program does not challenge Muslims to face the profound human rights issues their religion faces.

I was particularly alarmed by your program on women and sharia. Sharia has enslaved women, minorities and non-Muslims throughout the centuries since Mohammed first swept the Arab peninsula with his armies. Your guest, Asifa Quraishi was very biased in her interpretation of these Islamic laws. She obviously handpicks interpretations of sharia to follow and finds ways to disregard others she opposes. I’m sure we all wish the mullahs in Iran, or clerics in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan or Afghanistan subscribed to Prof. Quraishi’s interpretation of sharia. Considering all aforementioned instances are leading Islamic countries and the home of Islam’s most holy sites, don’t you think you should interview experts who understand sharia as Islamic leaders in these regions implement it too?

My wife and I spent considerable time in Muslim countries including Malaysia, Turkey, and Jordan. I was fascinated with the hospitality, close family ties and prayerful lives of the Muslims I met and observed. When 9/11 occurred, I defended Islam as you are today. But the more I read and learn about the Koran, the more I think there must be a purge of radicalism from Islam before peace between Muslims and non-Muslims can occur.

The Koran and the hadith are filled with Mohammed’s directives to treat women horribly and these verses inform interpretations of the Islamic “holy” laws. Your guest explained the horrible treatment of women by Muslims as solely based on “tribal culture” having nothing to do with sharia. Unfortunately Mohammed’s teachings, as documented in the Koran and the hadith, either affirmed or introduced these practices. This citation that illustrates how Allah allows the abusive treatment of women, comparing them to animals and sex objects, “Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain, they have the right to food and clothing. Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing themselves. Allah made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Koran.” (Tabari IX:113)

Other verses define why women in Muslim countries must cover heads and/or bodies. Consider the following verse: “Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and all Muslim women to draw cloaks and veils all over their bodies (screening themselves completely except for one or two eyes to see the way). That will be better.” (Koran 33:59)

Women in Islam are considered unclean and deemed inferior even to dirt (Koran: 4:43). Further verses describe women as equal to half of that of a man, deficient of the mind and not fit to rule. Mohammed states that most residents of hell are women. In the Koran (4:34) men are given clear authority to beat their wives and make them subservient. With such inspiration in Islam’s holiest texts isn’t it obvious why sharia law, as implemented in most Muslim countries, results in tremendous violence perpetrated toward women?

The Koran also clearly allows slavery; Mohammed himself owned dozens of slaves. Mohammed speaks of “consummating” his marriage to his 9-year-old wife. What kind of man does this? Mohammed led numerous armies in war to spread his religion and instructed his soldiers to behead all prisoners. Perhaps the most egregious directive Mohammed made was to repeatedly instruct his followers to convert by any means possible and if resistance was still met then he gave clear directive to “kill the infidel.”

I’m sure most Muslims do not believe in the clearly violent parts of their holy texts. But why aren’t these moderate Muslims calling for reform of the Koran? I can understand their lack of protest in countries where sharia would crush them for defacing Islam, but why aren’t American or European Muslims publicly objecting to large swaths of the Koran that clearly promote violence? Why isn’t Professor Quraishi using her influence to reform her faith instead of refusing to even acknowledge the elephant (or perhaps shall I say women-eating-lion) in the middle of the room? Finally, what is your excuse for not exposing these obvious underpinnings of Islam that inspire hatred and violence on a daily basis around the world? You title your program Inside Islam. You can’t get more “inside” Islam than to objectively report the truth about the Koran.

I also think your analogy of violence in both Islam and Christianity misses the mark. Obviously Christians have committed many atrocities in the name of Christ, but the difference is that these people commit violence in direct opposition to all teachings in the New Testament. Contrast this to how Muslims are given clear mandate (or at minimum inspiration mimicking the action of their prophet) in the Koran and the hadith to abuse women, kill infidels, force conversion, commit incest, murder prisoners and conquer non-Muslim lands. Mohammed gave clear example through his actions, as documented in the hadith, that violence in the name of spreading Islam is good. Contrast these teachings to the peaceful life of Jesus as documented in the New Testament.

I encourage you to read the enclosed book, They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, by Brigitte Gabriel (2008). Ms. Gabriel understands these issues and is risking her life to confront radical Islam. I encourage you to have her on as a guest.

I realize your goal is to spread peace and understanding, unfortunately I think your actions in covering up the dangerous underpinnings of Islam inadvertently aid the continued propagation of violence inspired by the Prophet Mohammed. I realize quality journalism requires money and that is why our financial support of WPR is unwavering despite your inadvertent violent actions. I encourage you to reconsider your program’s content.

Listen to “Women and Sharia” and get additional information on the show and related topics here on Inside Islam. Do you have anything to add to our list of resources? Do you think that the Inside Islam radio show whitewashes Muslim issues? Please send us your response by email or leave a comment below.

6 thoughts on “A Listener Responds to ‘Women and Sharia’

  1. Let’s be clear, an attack on Shari’ah is an attack on Islam which is an attack on ALL MUSLIMS.
    So let’s just call this post out for what it is, total bigotry.

    Your asinine commentary on Islam shows a lack of academic study of Islam and outright ignorance.

    Unfortunately, it is much easier for someone to make unfounded accusations against Islam than to defend it.

    1. The marriage of Prophet Muhammad (s) was reflective of the time. Daniel Pipes and what his kind have written cannot compare to the hateful rhetoric and character assassinations attempted by the polytheistic Arabs of that time.
    Not ONCE did they mention the marriage as abnormal, nor did the Persians, the Romans, the Abbysinians or any people of that time.
    Because Aisha (ra) was post-puberty and considered a woman not a “bride child” by 7th century standards.
    Heck, check American laws of marriage in the 18th and 19th century and see at what age they married.

    But understanding historical context is not something Islamophobes tend to consider (let alone the age of Mary, the mother of Jesus at birth)

    You mention the verse 4:43 and yet you seem to not have read it.
    “touching women” is speaking of SEXUAL relations thus leading to impurity that needs to be washed away before prayer.
    NEVER does the verse mention inferiority or women themselves being unclean.

    3. You mention the verse speaking of covering the body parts of women, as if this is so wrong. The level of modesty is in Islam is much higher than today’s standards and reflect all Judaic-Christian-Islamic tradition.
    Mary, the mother of Jesus, is not found in the nativity scene in a bikini. No, she is found covering her HAIR and BODY just as the Qur’an commands.

    From here you continue to argue and misuse verses such as the inequality of women. Any basic googling and remove such ignorance if you were so inclined to not hate Islam.

    There are more defenses to be made, but not enough time.
    I leave the rest to sites such as http://www.whyislam.org

    I am ashamed to find such a despicable, non-academic rant by an Islamophobe being given a medium to spread his poison.

    I can easily do a hit-job on the old and new testament, vedas and other scriptures to show how “bad they are”. Heck, I can even make Stephen King look like a terrorist.

    But this is not what is done academically. We study, read and hypothesize. We accept our interpretations could be incorrect and DIVORCE emotion and (inaccurate) self-righteousness from our arguments.

    One final point,
    posts like these only further encourage misunderstandings and violence.
    Already most of the Islamic world sees the war on terror as a war on Islam.

    Such garbage only confirms their beliefs and makes us Americans look like stupid bigots who want destroy Islam.

  2. In short: a re-hash of the usual (tired) attacks on Islamic theology.

    Being a leader of a nation in those times generally involved violence of one form or another.

  3. I think Mr. “AsimG” thoroughly makes the point that one cannot challenge Islam in the same way we challenge other major religeons in the world without being labeled a bigot.

    Until Islam can face criticism and challenge, there will be no reform. Until Islam is reformed, we will have the injustices that are occuring daily to women and non-Muslims in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc. Until Islam is reformed, it will be difficult to have world peace.

    With all due respect Mr. AsimG, I do not agree with Sharia law as implemented in all the above listed countries. Furthermore, I refuse to Live under Sharia Law and will object to it openly. If these political leaders did not get inspiration for their laws from the Koran, then where did they come from?

    I did not write the Koran, but I can read it. I am simply reporting what is written. Please do not get mad at me, you should instead get angry with whomever wrote the Koran.

    I think that persons with Mr. AsimG’s reactions and opinions are the problem, not the solution. I encourage all listeners to visit a website authored by Irshad Manji, an advocate for Muslim reform and moral courage. http://www.irshadmanji.com


    Dave Wood

  4. Hmm, I agree with AsimG.

    By the way, the Koran is a compilation of God’s words. No one wrote it….


  5. Mrrs. AsimG, shida and Len,

    Shida and Len agree with AsimG, who states he agrees with Sharia Law. I simply can’t believe anyone in America would agree with Sharia Law. We can sugar coat our discussions, but the fact is the only record of what Muhammed said is the Koran, and you can’t deny what is written. If you think those violent acts that Muhammed did, as clearly documented in the Koran, are “God’s words”, then it seems to me we really are in trouble!

    I don’t see how any reasonable human being can agree with forced conversion, “consummating” a marriage to a 9 year old (and I don’t care how precocious she is, and furthermore, how do you know how old Mary was, no one knows), leading followers to war to spread the faith, forcing women to cover their body except for a slit for their eyes etc.

    Global Jihadists use the Koran all the time to justify their violence. Any cursory examination of their documents and rants prove this fact. They are the ones saying it’s their inspiration. The Islamist Regimes like Iran and Saudi Arabia openly tout that their laws are based on Islam and the Koran. I’d prefer not taking this discussion to the Koran, but unfortunately that is their self-professed inspiration, so I have no choice. The Koran is the “root” to the fascism.

    Someone needs to challenge your belief system. Again, I encouarge you to read Irshad Manjii’s work (she’s Muslim and I site her website above). I agree with her, that Islam is one of the world’s great religeons that is capable of much good, but it desperately must be reformed! And at the root of the reformation is disagreement with large swaths of the Koran. Perhaps an impossible wish, but aren’t all things possible with God? Do you really think God would say “have sex with a 9 year old” or “lead an army to war to convert”, or “strike down your wife if she disobeys you”. Do you Really Believe that?

    And if you do, then how do you have peace?

    Also, in regards to tearing apart the Bible. I challenge you to find one instance of violence perpetrated by Jesus in the New Testament. You will not find it, but I challenge you to look.


    Dave Wood

  6. Dear Dave,

    I would love to explain but a simple google would highlight certain “facts” you’ve stated as incorrect.

    Please do check the difference between Shariah and Koran…I believe at least Wikipedia has a decent explanation.

    Sigh, I don’t think I’ll waste the time commenting unless any good, well analised study is contributed.

    Anyway, your words speak for themselves as to the lack of research. Assumptions are also why Islam is so misunderstood.