A Muslim group met in Chicago on Sunday to rail against the evils of capitalism and to promote Shariah law. Demonstrators gathered outside to protest the event, called the "Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam," while speakers inside rejected the very Constitution that protected their freedom to speak. In the meanwhile, the number of Shariah courts in Britain have been growing, and not all of the people using those courts are Muslim.
The Muslim group Hizb-ut Tahrir held a conference in the ballroom at the Hilton in Oak Lawn on Sunday to blame capitalism for much of the suffering on the earth, including World Wars I and II, world poverty, violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even inner city drug use. The conference included videos and lectures by various speakers, as well as question and answer sessions. Notably, men and women at the conference were segregated, with women stashed away in the back of the room to prevent, according to organizers, "people from behaving like animals."
HT itself is not on the US government's list of terrorist groups, and claims to be dedicated to non-violent reform. The group's goals include the restoration of Turkey's Caliphate, which was abolished in 1924 in favor of Western reforms. HT ultimately wants to see worldwide implementation of Shariah law and government control of major industries in order to cure the economic and social ills of the nations.
Conference deputy spokesman Mohammed Malkawi denied that the group associates with terrorists and declared that HT favored using politics to achieve its purposes. Yet, HT has been called a "conveyor belt for terrorists" because it has produced people like 9/ll mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and one-time Iraqi terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi. Malkawi claims to promote non-violent change, yet he would not specifically condemn Al Qaida and the Taliban in an interview with WBBM-TV in Chicago.
The extent of Sunday's blame-capitalism montage went beyond just pointing out the causes of the subprime mortgage fiasco or world economic troubles. One speaker blamed capitalism for the fact that he smoked marijuana and his grandmother played the lottery, and another even credited capitalism with responsibility for Michael Jackson's desire "to shed his black skin." Keynote speaker Abu Talha argued that capitalists were liable for the world's poverty, hunger, and war.
"It is time to deliver the world to Islam, an idea whose time has come," he said.HT is free to gather and promote its ideas in the United States, but its activities have been banned in other countries. It is even considered a fringe group by other Muslims.
"They remain on the margins of the community. They're not embraced by any of the mosques in Chicago, as a matter of fact I don't believe they can pass out any of their literature in these mosques, they have to pass them outside," said Ahmed Rehab, with the Council on American Islamic Relations.The conference organizers managed to argue that even the tyrannical, oppressive behavior of Islamic nations was the fault of the US. Ironically, conference organizer Imam Jaleel Abdul Adil affirmed that he would willingly throw out the US Constitution in favor of Shariah – the very US Constitution that protects his freedom to criticize the US government.
Shariah In Britain
Shariah courts already exist in England. Britain has a relatively large Muslim population, and according to the 1996 Arbitration Act, Islamic courts are legally binding for those who submit voluntarily to their adjudication.
In London, the Islamic Sharia Council has been making decisions on divorce cases for years. The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) has been operating in London, Bradford, Birmingham, Coventry and Manchester to handle disagreements between businessmen and mosques. As many as 5 percent of those who are involved in MAT cases are not Muslims, and observers note that there is a "creeping" trend of Shariah acceptance in Britain.
One reason for turning to Muslim courts is their acceptance of oral agreements as binding. British courts may not be willing to enforce oral agreements between businessmen, but Islamic courts are. In a recent case, a non-Muslim man took his Muslim business partner to court over a dispute about the profits in their car fleet company. The non-Muslim argued that the Muslim had broken an oral agreement, and the court decided an agreement did exist and awarded the non-Muslim £48,000.
Shariah, though, doesn't stop at oral agreements. Sheikh Suhaib Hasan, who was instrumental in introducing the Islamic court system to Britain in 1982, recently told The Times that enforcing hardline Shariah punishments would give Britain "more peace and security." Dr. Hasan said he had no desire to come in conflict with the British legal system, and would not push for or expect Islamic punishments for things like theft or knife-violence because Britain is not a Muslim country. Still, in his opinion, punishments like amputating the limbs of thieves would make Britain safer because they acted as strong deterrents against crime.
The slowly growing acceptance of Shariah is of great concern to those who love political and religious freedom, not to mention the rights of women. If a woman is raped, under Shariah in Pakistan, for instance, she has to find four male witnesses to testify in her favor, else the blame for the crime falls on her and she can be punished for "adultery."
"It puts a woman in such a position that even if she is raped, in the end she is left to face charges of adultery. It is next to impossible for a rape victim to produce four male witnesses. Nobody times the act to make sure that four men are present," says advocate Mehboob, who works at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in Lahore.Public beheadings, stonings and floggings, amputations, and serious injustices toward women may not be the norm in Britain tomorrow, but these things are expected in countries under Shariah. The HT may promote Shariah as the cure for the world's ills, but the hard reality is that Shariah promotes the government's extreme control over a people, and we should all fear when its acceptance is allowed to "creep" in.
Imam at Windy City Islamist confab: We'll fight til ‘Islam Becomes Victorious or We Die in the Attempt’ - Jewish World Review
'Rise of Islam' Conference Controversy - MyFoxChicago
'Rise of Islam' Conference Draws Protest - SouthTownStar
Controversial Muslim Group, Hizb ut Tahrir Meeting in Chicago - Newsradio 780 WBBM
Sharia Penal Codes Would Benefit Britain Says Muslim Sheikh Suhaib Hasan - The Times
Shariah Studies By Stealth - Campus Report Online
Cover Story: The Truth About The Law - Dawn.com
Non-Muslims Turning To Sharia 'Courts' In Britain To Resolve Disputes - Telegraph.co.uk
The Rise of Islam - Koinonia House