Multiculturalism and Islam: Sharia vs European constitutions

Multiculturalism and Islam: Sharia vs European constitutions
by Samir Khalil Samir, sj
Problems in Holland and Denmark. Great Britain as an example: decades of multiculturalism that have lead to ghettos, closure, radicalism of Islamic communities. Women ever penalized. Being European citizens involves having the duty to integrate. Third in a series of articles.

 Beirut (AsiaNews) – Multiculturalist ideology, i.e. the blind tolerance of any culture or tradition, is destroying Europe and standing in the way of any positive development of Islam.  Such ideology has been condemned by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali intellectual and parliamentarian who, having received death threats from Muslims for her defence of women’s rights and tired of European multiculturalism, left Holland to go work in the United States at the American Enterprise Institute.  She accused Holland of excessive acquiescence, of encouraging the immobility of Muslim communities and even of letting itself be conquered by Islam and Islamic law.

In making room for Sharia, there is the risk of conflict with European constitutions.  An interesting thing is taking place in Denmark, a country which is at the forefront of multi-culturality. The SIAD Party has recently been founded and it proposes the following: anyone who cites Koranic verses contrary to the Danish constitution must be punished because the constitution is superior to all other laws.

And they quote articles 67-69 of the Danish Constitution which says, “We authorize freedom of worship, as long as it is exercised within the framework of Danish laws without disturbing public order.”

All this is a clear signal that people are beginning to reflect on the possible contrast that exists between the constitutions of European countries and certain laws of the Koran.  In Demark too, there exist two trends: the “left”, or the “do-gooders”, who want to respect the culture of others, saying that ours is not an absolute, or suggest that we must be tolerant and give Muslims time to take this step; and those who make no allowances, and who say that if a person is not able to integrate, he is better off going elsewhere.

But the most significant and problematic case is that of Great Britain: here, after decades of multiculturalism, instead of integrating and coexisting, Islamic communities are increasingly closing themselves into ghettos, and fundamentalistic behaviours, dangerous for all society, are emerging.

State schools and Islamic morals

The most representative association of British Muslims, the Muslim Council of Great Britain, has asked that Muslims be recognized the right to apply Islamic morals in state schools.  On February 21, it published a 72-page document and presented it to the government in the name of 400,000 Muslim students attending the country’s state schools.  They ask that the government accept the demands of Muslim parents and youngster on the grounds of faith concerns.

Taking their cue from their concept of modesty, they say that female students:

a) have the right to wear headscarves or the hijab (there is no mention however of the niqab);

b) have the right to not take part in physical education lessons, because Islam prohibits contact between the sexes in public and because there is the risk of girls exposing bare skin, which is prohibited by Sharia.

They also demand separate classes for girls and boys; the refusal of dancing and of sex education (which is a family matter and not a topic for school); drawings and anatomy textbooks must not show genital organs.  As for faith and history, they ask for a revision of the entire teaching system in the name of Islamic morals.

 The Education Ministry has not yet replied officially, but has already said that these requests will be a step backwards in terms of the tolerance that already existed.

British and Muslim

The tendency towards closure – the fruit of multiculturalism! – is apparent also at another level.  Last February 19, a public survey in the Sunday Telegraph shows that 40% of British Muslims are favourable to the introduction of sharia.  This demonstrates the radicalization of a substantial part of the country’s Islamic community.  Forty percent feels foreign to British society and deems that it is necessary and normal to lead a lifestyle in line with the most radical of Islamic ethics.

Another element which is emerging is the detachment of these people from British society.  Asked “How do you feel about the victims of conflicts in the world?”, the reply was “compassion”, “solidarity” and even “anger” with reference to conflicts involving Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Simply put, they feel closer to Muslims than to Great Britain, which is directly involved in some of these conflicts.

From the sociological point of view, it should be said that they come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India and belong to traditional families, but it is also worth noting that they have been in Great Britain for at least two generations.  It seems clear to me that the reactions to 9/11, instead of creating more global solidarity around the idea of the fight against terrorism, have instead radicalized Muslims who are siding with each other to defend their brothers in faith.

September 11 created or reinforced, in the entire Islamic world, an identity crisis: Islam and Muslims are under scrutiny.  Faced with this situation, there are those who stop to reflect on what must be reviewed in Islamic teaching behaviour, and there are those whose reaction is closure and aggressiveness so as to affirm more forcefully the radical diversity of Islam vis-à-vis the surrounding culture.  This second kind of behaviour is typical of many young people of second or third generation, who fully recognize themselves neither in Islamic nor in Western tradition (despite having perfectly assimilated the latter).

In any case, this study and the requests regarding schools show that Muslims in Great Britain are increasingly identifying themselves with their religion, more than with local society and culture.

Modesty for males and citizenship

The problems raised by Muslims, for example those in Great Britain, are real.  There does exist a problem of ethics in society, and thus also in the school system.  An exaggerated liberalism which allows young people everything, especially at the sexual level, on the grounds that they must learn to make their own choices, is certainly unacceptable to both the Muslim and Christian communities, as well as to the human community tout court.  But preventing contact between boys and girls, or preventing the teaching of all things related to sexuality is an entirely different matter.  Here, it is not a question of ethics, but of customs and traditions, and this is no longer acceptable.  In any given country, the norms of that country must be observed, not those of the homelands of a few parents!

Furthermore, one might ask oneself why, on the question of the relationship between sexes, it is always the woman who must be hidden or “observe modesty”, as is still said.  If modesty is a virtue – and in fact it is – it applies to males as it does to females.  And since modesty seems to be more spontaneous in females, it would seem more necessary to impose it upon males!  In other terms, despite the best intentions, Muslims tend to confuse customs with ethics.  Customs are tied to determined groups (ethnic, geographic, religious…) and do not apply to the national civil society.  Ethics dictate principles which are valid for every human person, independent of their sex or religion, and therefore are worth defending and fighting to defend.  It is time that we learn to defend ethics that are respectful of the human person, by starting to teach and practice them in schools, to everyone.  As for special treatment for a particular group, in the name of their different culture, this is a deformation of what should be “authentic multiculturalism,” which learns to evaluate different cultures and improve one’s own on the basis of comparison.

The question behind this problem is: what does citizenship mean?  Is it a piece of paper, useful to acquire so as to have advantages and few obligations?  Or is it a profound reality, the result of a pondered choice, which can also demand even big cultural sacrifice?

And more: what is the identity of an Italian citizen of Egyptian or Moroccan or Chinese or Albanian origin?  If it is Egyptian, Moroccan, Chinese, Albanian, then I ask: what is the sense of having requested and obtained Italian citizenship?  It is not perhaps to enjoy the advantages that a country offers and then return to live in one’s country of birth or that of one’s parents?  In that case, I am just an exploiter.  But if it means a conscious choice, which implies changes in behaviour, the desire to build with other citizens a more just society etc, then, yes, I deserve citizenship.  I think that society must help each person to make such pondered choices, helping and facilitating efforts to integrate.

Democrats fear Fred Thompson…and should

Democrats fear Fred Thompson…and should
By Mark M. Alexander
Friday, March 23, 2007
Beyond the field of announced GOP candidates with questionable conservative pedigrees, there is a potential suitor on the horizon who could close the wide breach between Republicans and conservatives. Fred Thompson, the former Republican Senator from Tennessee, is perhaps America’s brightest and most capable prospect for President in 2008.

Most folks probably recognize him as District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC’s “Law & Order,” or maybe from one of his big-screen roles like “Clear and Present Danger,” but I have had the privilege of knowing him for 20 years as just Fred. I know well that he is as capable of navigating the clear and present dangers facing our nation and restoring law and order to our constitutional republic as are the characters he plays on screen.

Last week, when Sen. Thompson was queried about a possible presidential bid, he replied, “I’m giving some thought to it,” saying he would make a decision in coming months. “It’s not really a reflection on the current field at all. I’m just going to wait and see what happens.”

Notwithstanding his tip of the hat to the current field of GOP contenders, Thompson made it clear that he would be watching them: “I wanted to see how my colleagues who are on the campaign trail do now — what they say, what they emphasize … and whether or not they can carry the ball next November.”

In other words, like most conservatives, Fred is concerned about the electability of the current field of Republicans — and for that reason, we want him in the lineup.

The GOP frontrunners — Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney — each have their own peculiar weaknesses. Common to them all, however, is their lack of bona fides among conservative voters — the Republican base. Without the conservative vote, it is highly questionable whether any one of the current frontrunners could pull off a convincing primary victory.

Democrats clearly understand their Republican opponents’ limitations, which is why they are confident that one of their far-left-of-center frontrunners, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, will win the presidency in ’08.

While there are conservative candidates for the GOP nomination, any of whom could deservedly win the Republican primary, none of whom would be likely to carry a majority in the general election. This list includes some true luminaries of the conservative movement: Sen. Sam Brownback, Gov. Jim Gilmore, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Tom Tancredo, Gov. Tommy Thompson and possibly former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

However, if conservatives and the rest of the Republican electorate want to line up behind the most capable, qualified and electable candidate in the ’08 presidential race, a man who can carry the Reagan mantle and draw an enormous crossover vote (as President Reagan did in 1980 and 1984 see 1984 election map), then call out Fred Thompson.

After earning his J.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1967, Thompson had a private law practice and later served as an assistant U.S. attorney — making his mark weeding out corruption. After his prominent role as Republican counsel during Watergate, it was Thompson’s 1977 investigation that toppled the crooked administration of Tennessee Democrat Gov. Ray Blanton. In 1980, Thompson was tapped to serve as special counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and in 1982, special counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In 1985, the Blanton scandal was the subject of the film “Marie,” in which Thompson played himself — because the director could not find an actor who could capture Thompson’s power and determination. His success in that film led to his roles in more than 20 other big-screen hits including “No Way Out,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “Class Action,” “Cape Fear” and “In the Line of Fire.”

In 1993, Tennessee’s Republican leadership convinced Thompson to return to public service in a campaign bid to fill the unexpired Senate term of then Vice President Albert Gore. Fred then demonstrated his formidable skills on the campaign trail. Despite all the support Bill Clinton and Al Gore could muster for popular six-term Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper, Thompson won a landslide victory in 1994, garnering 61 percent of the vote to Cooper’s 39 percent — the largest victory margin in any statewide political contest in Tennessee history.

Thompson’s success in his first campaign for national office did not pass without substantial note from the Democrat National Committee. He won by an even wider margin in his 1996 re-election bid. Rest assured, the DNC fears a Thompson draft for the presidency.

Thompson’s record as a U.S. Senator from 1994 to 2003 shows that he was on the right side of every critical issue. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1997 to 2001, he voted for national-debt reduction, the all-important balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, a presidential line-item veto to eliminate congressional pork and efforts to privatize elements of Social Security. He supported legislation in the interest of free enterprise and opposed many regulatory and tax measures. He opposed growth in social-welfare programs, including expansions in Medicare and welfare for immigrants. He supported efforts to decentralize or disenfranchise unconstitutional government programs.

Fred voted for limits on death penalty appeals, product-liability punitive-damage awards and class-action lawsuits. He opposed decreasing restrictions on wiretaps. He supported increased oil exploration, including ANWR drilling permits, and is an advocate of free trade, understanding well the underlying national security implications. He supported an amendment to prohibit flag burning and voted for numerous measures in support of Second Amendment rights. (Charlton Heston campaigned for him in ’94.)

On family and social issues, he opposed “marriage” between homosexuals, partial-birth abortion, cloning, the addition of “sexual orientation” to hate-crimes legislation and legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. He voted for many education-reform measures, including the provision of school vouchers.

Most important, Thompson’s support for Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom was, and remains, steadfast. Thompson has the authoritative grasp of national-security issues necessary for a commander in chief, particularly with respect to the long-term jihadi threat.

Lamar Alexander filled Thompson’s seat in 2003 when Fred withdrew his re-election bid following the tragic death of his daughter. Today, Fred is married to Jeri Kehn, and they have a daughter. He also has two grown children from a previous marriage and five grandchildren.

Currently a visiting fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, Fred’s conservative credentials are unassailable.

Former Senate Majority Leader and Reagan Chief of Staff Howard Baker, who appointed Thompson as Republican counsel to the Watergate Committee 35 years ago, is unabashed in his support for Thompson in ’08: “I keep sending up trial balloons telling people they should get him to run. So far no one is shooting them down — including Fred.”

My friend Zach Wamp, a conservative member of Tennessee’s congressional delegation, spoke with Fred last week and has reached a similar conclusion about his candidacy: “There is a real, real strong possibility that he will run.” Zach and more than 40 other members of Congress have scheduled a meeting with Thompson on 18 April, and they will encourage him to run.

Observing the current political climate, Fred notes, “I think people are somewhat disillusioned. I think a lot of people are cynical out there. I think they’re looking for something different…”

“Something different”? How about a plain-speaking and plain-dealing American — a charismatic leader right out of the Reagan mold, whose character, integrity and experience are head and shoulders above the rest of the field?

Fred Thompson is the right man at the right time.

Mark Alexander is executive editor and publisher of The Patriot Post, the Web’s “Conservative E-Journal of Record.” Be the first to read Mark Alexander’s column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.

Obama: Are you with America, or George Soros?

Obama: Are you with America, or George Soros?

by Bill Levinson

“Sen. Obama Rebuffs George Soros on Hamas” reports, “Sen. Barack Obama has rebuffed Democratic financier George Soros, who charged that the U.S. refuses to negotiate with the Palestinians’ Hamas-led government because of the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” (Come on, George, why don’t you just say “Zionist Occupied Government” the way your friends at do?)

Barack Obama deserves credit for disagreeing with his sugar daddy (”Because of a special provision campaign finance laws, the Soroses were able to give a collective $60,000 to Obama during his primary challenge”), but Americans need him to make a very clear choice. Is he with America and common decency, or is he with George Soros and his hate group

As shown above, Obama received $60,000 from the Soroses during his U.S. Senate Campaign. George Soros has, in addition to his recent statement about the Zionist Occupied Government, called the United States a threat to world peace that is in need of “de-Nazification.” Soros, who allegedly helped real Nazis confiscate Jewish property during the Second World War, ought to know all about Nazification. Obama needs to go a step further and say that he will no longer associate with Soros or accept support from him or his tentacles like

Currently, Barack Obama is literally standing with the anti-Semites, Catholic-baiters, and Christian haters or, more precisely, behind a podium with their name on it. He can stand with racists, bigots, hatemongers, and 9/11 deniers or he can stand with the decent people of the United States, but he cannot have a foot in both camps.

(September 20, 2006; Barack Obama speaks in front of Soros-funded anti-Semitic and anti-Christian hate group)

As a reminder, here is but a small sample of what MoveOn’s Action Forum says about Jews, Christians, and prominent African-Americans:

“Catholic Pedophiles of America”

“The Catholics are raping your children”

“Jew Lieberman is done…” (Not a misprint, MoveOn’s people used “Jew” as an epithet)

“Whining, arrogant Jew” (Tom Lantos)

“Jews control the media”

“Rice and Powell ARE house slaves.”

“The Talmud is a hateful scripture [that commands Jews to hate and even kill non-Jews]” (an actual blood libel of Jews, and there was also a blood libel of Evangelical Christians)

What You Can Do about Iran

What You Can Do about Iran
By Kenneth R. Timmerman | March 23, 2007

This week brought unusual news from Russia, which until now has been a major supplier of Iran’s nuclear programs. The Russians said they were pulling engineers and technicians out of Busheir, the Persian Gulf site where since 1995 they have been building a nuclear power plant for Iran. They cited as pretext Iran’s failure to make timely payments on the $800 million contract. Should this turn out to be more than just a tactical maneuver, Russia’s pullback from Iran signals a real success for U.S. diplomacy. But the U.S. has had less success in other areas. And the administration must show results soon if it doesn’t want Congress to pass new legislation that will impose mandatory sanctions on foreign companies trading with Iran. Sen. Chris Dodd (D, Conn) berated administration witnesses during a hearing of the Senate Banking committee on Wednesday for their failure to cut off foreign investment in Iran’s oil and gas industry. He displayed a chart showing 14 recent investment deals worth potentially $126 billion, which companies in Britain, France, Italy, Holland, China, Malaysia have signed with Iran. Despite laws on the books passed initially during the Clinton administration that require the administration to impose sanctions on foreign companies that invest more than $20 million in Iran’s oil and gas sector, “not one foreign energy concern has been sanctioned,” Dodd said. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns replied that top U.S. officials have been “jawboning” foreign oil companies to get them to back off from those contracts, and that he expected many of the deals on Dodd’s chart would never materialize. “We’ve gone to their CEOs and said, ‘this is a bad idea.’” Burns said. Then he warned that stronger action would destroy two years of patient U.S. diplomatic efforts to build a coalition that has gradually ratcheted up the pressure on Iran. With no results yet to show, he was essentially saying, trust me. Undersecretary of Treasury Stuart Levey described the type of financial steps the U.S. has been taking with our allies behind the scenes. These have had a real impact, and have made it more difficult for Iran to use the international financial system to send money to terrorist groups and to purchase equipment for their WMD programs. Just one example: In January 2006, the U.S. imposed $70 million in fines on ABN Amro Bank NV of Holland for violating sanctions on Iran and laundering payments for Iranian entities. The fines were an effective measure that sent a clear message to the international banking community. They also led Amro and other banks to announce in the ensuing months that they would take no new business in Iran. I travel the United States speaking to various groups about the threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Except for pro-Tehran groups, or hard Leftists who would like the United States to become an Islamic Republic, no one really disputes Iran’s nuclear weapons intentions or their support for international terrorism. But no one really knows what to do about it. They see what the U.S. government claims to be doing, and then they look at Sen. Dodd’s chart: $126 billion in fresh investment in Iran is no chump change. American corporations continue to do business with Iran despite the total U.S. trade embargo imposed by Executive Order in 1995. They do it by flowing their Iran contracts through foreign subsidiaries. This is perfectly legal, but it is wrong. So what can ordinary citizens do about it? Here are a few suggestions. In Maryland, where I live, Delegate Ron George has introduced a bill into the state legislature that would require the State Pension funds to disinvest from companies that continue to do business with Iran. He needs your support. Maryland is a relatively small state of just over five million citizens. And yet, the state pension funds have nearly $2 billion invested in companies that invest in terrorist-sponsoring states. The pitch is very simple: Do you want your pension fund invested in companies who prop up Iran? There are lots of other places you can invest. Why choose companies helping countries such as Iran whose leaders state publicly they want to destroy America? A similar bill has been introduced in California, whose state pension fund, Calpers, controls a hefty $338 billion dollars of investments along with the California State Teacher’s Retirement System. Joel Anderson, the Republican legislator who introduced the bill, said it would impact $24 billion worth of investments. Pennsylvania is contemplating a similar measure. The “Divest Terror” bandwagon, spearheaded by my friend Frank Gaffney, has begun to roll. It worked with South Africa. It can work with Iran. Gaffney has a very simple idea. Identify a “dirty dozen” group of international companies who supply capital or technology or know-how to terrorist states, and encourage U.S. state pension funds to pull funding from them. Even State Department Undersecretary Nick Burns acknowledged in a back-handed way that such legislation helps, since it provides State Department diplomats with a bogeyman they can trot out in front of reluctant coalition partners: if you don’t play ball, it gets much worse. There are other measures ordinary Americans can take on a more personal level. How many of us buy gasoline from Shell stations, or own vehicles produced by DaimlerChrysler? These are just two examples of international corporations heavily invested in Iran. Boycotting their products, and letting the companies know it, can have an impact. DaimlerChrysler has been expanding its operations in Iran in recent years, and recently opened an assembly line to build E-class vehicles in Iran. It also owns a factory that builds Mercedes-Benz diesel engines for trucks and buses under license.  In 2004, DaimlerChyrsler sold through a Saudi affiliate 270 Mercedes Benz commercial vehicles to Iran in a $22 million contract. Those vehicles have since been used by law enforcement authorities in Iran for riot control. A German prosecutor in Stuttgart opened an investigation into the sale. DaimlerChrysler AG is the parent corporation of what used to be Chrysler corporation here in the United States. The U.S. company has no legal or corporate responsibility for the sales of its parent to Iran. Those sales are perfectly legal. But they are wrong. Shell has signed pre-contractual agreements to invest billions of dollars in Iran’s oil and gas sector. Without help from Shell and other major oil companies, the International Energy Agency projects that Iranian oil exports will grind to a halt by 2015. 

There are dozens of U.S. and international corporations in a similar situations as DaimlerChrysler or Shell. And most of them do business here in the United States.

Want to have a personal impact? Start there.

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It’s Okay to Dislike Islam

It’s Okay to Dislike Islam

The always perceptive David Thompson discusses the implications of the Charlie Hebdo verdict. Be sure to go to David’s site and follow the links, which I have not included here.

Further to this piece, and this and this, the BBC reports that the editor of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has been acquitted. A French court rejected accusations by the Grand Mosque of Paris and other Islamic groups who claimed the magazine had “insulted Muslims” and had incited “hatred” against them by reprinting cartoons of Muhammad. Of the blog posts I’ve seen reporting this news, Oliver Kamm makes the strongest point, and one that’s all too rarely heard:

“Note, however, one aspect of the judgement, according to the BBC report, that troubles me: ‘The cartoons were covered by freedom of expression laws and were not an attack on Islam, but fundamentalists, it said.’ Do freedom of expression laws not cover an attack on Islam? It is essential that they should. There is nothing wrong with an attack on Islam (or any other sacred belief). There is nothing wrong with giving offence to religious groups. The judgement appears implicitly to reject these principles. Defenders of a free society must assert them militantly.”

Let me repeat some of that, because it bears repeating, and probably more than once:

“There is nothing wrong with an attack on Islam (or any other sacred belief).”

One of the creeping, unanalysed myths of our time is that it is somehow wrong to dislike Islam, or any part thereof, and wrong to take a dim view of its tenets and demands, and wrong to take a still dimmer view of the figure who founded it. I can practically hear the distant tutting and grunts of disapproval. Poor Islam. Poor Muslims. Their beliefs are being mocked. How hurtful. How ‘racist.’ How terribly unfair.

No. It’s not unfair at all. What’s unfair is a demand for unearned deference and a unilateral exemption from the testing of ideas. What’s unfair, indeed despicable, are efforts by Islamic groups to cow dissent and stifle criticism with a well-rehearsed pantomime of victimhood and the projection of false motives. Pretending to be hurt in order to assert one’s will over others, even violently, or to gain unreciprocated favours, or to exert control over what others may say and think, is cowardly and malign. Let me say that once again. It’s cowardly and malign.
Bravo. Read it all.

Woman re-interprets Qur’an with feminist view

About three-quarters of a million people (okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little) today have sent me a Reuters story, “Woman re-interprets Koran with feminist view” by Manuela Badawy.

In it, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, formerly of the University of Chicago, offers an alternative translation of Qur’an 4:34, the notorious “wife-beating verse.” The article says:

In the new book, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, a former lecturer on Islam at the University of Chicago, challenges the translation of the Arab word “idrib,” traditionally translated as “beat,” which feminists say has been used to justify abuse of women.”Why choose to interpret the word as ‘to beat’ when it can also mean ‘to go away’,” she writes in the introduction to the new book.

I was just contacted by Dziennik, the largest daily newspaper in Poland (where apparently political correctness doesn’t have the stranglehold it has over the American media) for comment. Here is my reply:

Any new interpretation that mitigates the elements of the Qur’an that are used by jihadists today to foster violence and fanaticism is welcome. Accordingly I wish Laleh Bakhtiar well with her new translation. Unfortunately, she faces formidable obstacles: in 1400 years of Qur’anic exegesis by Muslims, no one of any significance has ever disputed that Qur’an 4:34 sanctioned wife-beating.Those who were uncomfortable with this in the past focused their efforts not on alternative understandings of Qur’anic Arabic, but on ahadith that purported to depict Muhammad discouraging wife-beating in various ways. Unfortunately also, such ahadith have not prevented all too many Muslim men worldwide from understanding Qur’an 4:34 in a way that sanctions wife-beating. A Saudi television program has even featured a discussion of acceptable instruments for this beating, and books have appeared in Turkey and Spain in the last few years in which Islamic imams explain the circumstances in which wife-beating is acceptable.

All this illustrates that Laleh Bakhtiar faces an uphill battle and will encounter fierce and possibly violent opposition. In that I wish her all success.