http://themediadesk.com
to the Desk main page.

©2013 The Media Desk
http://themediadesk.com

By Request of a Friend of the Desk:

"What Rights, under the US Bill Of Rights,
      would you have under Sharia Law?"

      (NOTE: no disrespect of any religious or legal system is intended, this is solely a review of the matter as objectively as possible by the Desk, in the Desk's style, and solely within the confines of the question. All judgments of the matter are left to the reader. We will not discuss which of these Rights the current US Government is ignoring the most, although the Desk would begin its argument with the Tenth.
      the Desk did not point out that to say 'Sharia Law' is a redundancy, no, it skipped that. thank you)
      The first answer was that "she" would have almost None. No, she wouldn't, not in any sense that she was used to living in the USA, and never mind that she was a Christian, we'll explain as we go. Other people, may have a few more, unless they were slaves. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

      The next answer is that the American concept, and indeed, the Western concept, of 'personal rights' is essentially alien to those that live under Islamic rule.
      And even those last two words are hard for some people to grasp.
      In what is commonly referred to as the "Middle East" with a bare handful of exceptions, there is no "separation of Church and State" as there is in the US and some other countries. The Church IS the State, and vise versa. See the discussion under the Tenth Amendment below.

      First off, there is no one codified "Book of Sharia" that one can point to as The Law. Yes, it is based on the Holy Quran and various subsidiary works from antiquity, but, as with religious ideals the world over, just how those are put into practice is left to the interpretation of humans.
      There is no consensus as to how Islamic Law is to play in a given society. In most cases, the Religious Leaders, the elders if you will, of a given country or branch of Islam, or whatever, decide what is and what is not 'of the faith'. For instance, many Muslim countries are bone dry as far as alcohol consumption is concerned. But in Turkey, you can still get a drink, here and there, but it is carefully controlled and total prohibition is only avoided because it would hurt tourism (see link below). In other countries, booze isn't even allowed to be served on jets or cruise ships until they are out of that country's territory, and then in still others, it's happy hour almost all the time.
      Another for instance, in Afghanistan under the Taliban's version of Sharia, one was prohibited from owning a caged bird such as a parakeet. Why? Who knows? It was their interpretation of Islam, and you dared not question it.

      For most of this discussion we'll look at a general conditions and prohibitions that are to be found across several nations if not Islam as a whole. And yes, simply because its history is better documented on the Web than others, Saudi Arabia will get more attention than, say, Eritrea.
      Each and every point will be documented in each section with an outside link that was working as of this writing, and each will open in a new window.

Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      Well, the fact that we are even looking at this topic under the general banner of the Islamic Religious Code (Law) speaks volumes to this amendment. Under Sharia as it is usually enacted, you have the right to be a Muslim, and they'll tell you which kind of Muslim you'll be, and that's about it. How much 'non-Islamic' activity is tolerated before the religious enforcers start flogging people in the square is up to the Imam or other religious leader. In Countries such as Saudi Arabia, the answer is, "precious little", and if you're a Jew, you won't be for long.
      As for the other freedoms so listed, we'll put it like this, you can say anything you want, unless it is against The Prophet (PBUH)*, the Honorable Royal Family, and their Government, and the Imam/Ayatollah/ or whatever their title is. And that goes for the press too. And any 'assembly' had better be approved ahead of time, or you'll soon hear about it. Cases in point: Kuwait-

"Kuwaiti Member of Parliament (MP) Osama Al-Munawer announced on Twitter he plans to submit a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in the country. However, he later clarified that existing churches should remain but the construction of new non-Islamic places of worship should be banned."
http://www.arabianbusiness.com

Saudi Arabia-

"The laws and policies restrict religious freedom, and, in practice, the government generally enforced these restrictions. The government did not demonstrate a trend toward either improvement or deterioration in respect for or protection of the right to religious freedom. Freedom of religion is neither recognized nor protected under the law and is severely restricted in practice. According to the 1992 Basic Law, Sunni Islam is the official religion and the country's constitution is the Qur'an and the Sunna...."
www.refworld.org

An, "oh by the way" from Michigan in the USA:

"Dearborn Public Schools has implemented a policy which fully accommodates student-led prayer in all the schools, as well as unexcused absences for students who leave early on Fridays for Jumu'ah prayers."
arabamericannews.com

Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

      This one is a bit murkier than the last. In some countries in the Islamic world, some people can legally own some firearms, in others such as Kuwait (see links), legal gun ownership is prohibited, but people have been doing it anyway.

"Kuwaitis urge authorities to take action on open sale of firearms by unlicensed sellers":
gulfnews.com

"KUWAIT CITY, Aug 28: The recent allegations of gun possession by 'some' and shooting incidents have prompted some lawmakers to raise eyebrows and call on the authorities to take immediate action to collect guns from civilians because the situation is spinning out of control."
http://www.arabtimesonline.com
Amendment III: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
-and-
Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      The right to control of one's own house and grounds is also somewhat blurry. In some of these countries, 'a time of peace' hasn't existed in a millennium, so it's hard to judge. In others, the local militia may seize your house to hide from their enemies in and if you disagree, you won't for long. And to that same thought, if the religious authorities suspect you have something that is un-Islamic in your house, well, you better not.
      However, in other countries, such as the UAE in our link below, things are more 'Westernized', at least in print.

"Judicial officers may not search the defendant's home without a written permission from the public prosecution (search warrant) unless the crime was committed red handed with strong hints that the accused was hiding in his house objects or papers which may unearth the truth. The search and the seizure of objects and papers should be carried out in the manner specified by the law - Article (53)."
www.abudhabi.ae

Amendment V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
-and-
Amendment VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
-and-
Amendment VII: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
-and-
Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

      In a select few of these countries, anyone can be arrested, tried, and executed by the religious police, such as the famous/infamous Saudi "Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice" or Mutwaheen (English spelling varies) and the Morality Police in other countries, such as Egypt, in some cases, within hours. Or, you can be 'vanished' and held in isolation for years, and just as suddenly released, or executed, and neither you, nor your relatives, will ever know why. And remember, public stoning and beheadings are routine instead of 'cruel and...'.
      As for bail. Sometimes the "bail" is a bribe to get out of jail, and then the country, alive, and 'excessive' when considered in those terms, is relative.
      Because it is a hot topic in the US, we'll mention "Gay Rights" in these countries in one short sentence. There is no such thing, homosexuality is a crime punishable by lengthy prison sentences, and in some countries, death.
      Also, back to the point for the original question from the lady. In some countries, an unescorted woman can be arrested for being exactly that, an 'unescorted woman'. She is also risking being killed if she speaks to a man or makes eye contact. And in most cases, the now grieving family has the right to pay for her funeral, if not face a fine or perhaps even seizure of their property for her offense. A couple of examples of 'gender equality' are listed in a moment or two....

"There is a zero tolerance towards LGBT people in The Gambia. Although there are no laws specifically covering homosexuality in the Gambia, the Gambian Criminal Code states that any person who has or attempts to have, 'carnal knowledge' of any person 'against the order of nature' is guilty of a crime and could face imprisonment."
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/gambia

Warning to Canadian Women visiting The Kingdom:

"Women and men are not allowed to mingle in public unless accompanied by other family members. A woman can be charged with prostitution if she is found associating with a man who is not a relative. Restaurants have two sections, one for men only and the family section where families, accompanied females and unaccompanied females are served."
http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/saudi-arabia
And then you have the reminder of women's status inside the home:
"Forced sex
The wife must have sex whenever her husband demands it.
m5.1 It is obligatory for a woman to let her husband have sex with her immediately when: (a) He asks her; (b) At home; (c) She can physically endure it.

Wife Beating
The Koran says that a wife can be beaten. Mohammed recommended wife beating in his last sermon at Mecca...."
http://www.politicalislam.com

A "greatest hits list" of links to the best of the Saudi "Committee for the..."
The infamous school fire deaths: news.bbc.co.uk
"A Saudi womanhas beenbeheaded after beingconvicted of practicing sorcery, which is banned in the conservativeGulf kingdom, the country's interior ministry said.... Many of those executed have had no defence lawyer and are not informed about the legal proceedings against them, according to Amnesty (International).
"While we don't know the details of the acts which the authorities accused Amina of committing, the charge of sorcery has often been used in Saudi Arabia to punish people, generally after unfair trials, for exercising their right to freedom of speech or religion," Luther said."
www.aljazeera.com
Their role in a 2013 festival english.alarabiya.net

And, to be fair about it:
"Saudi Religious Police Work to Improve Image": www.voanews.com

Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      This one is interesting, under many readings of Islamic Law, 'the people' don't have any inherent rights. Adult Muslim Men, of the 'correct' branch of the Faith, might, but that's it. Infidels, women, children and so on, have fewer 'rights' than livestock.
      For instance, we don't have to look any further than the subject of 'honor killings'.

"These are matters of honor and the leaders call a jirga and they declare that the woman or the couple should be killed," said Abdul Hai, a veteran field officer for the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan. These acts of violence are most commonly labeled as "honor killings."
pulitzercenter.org

Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      With this one, the power rests with the central religious authority of the country, and whatever type of government it allows to operate under it. And yes, in many if not most Islamic countries, the religious figurehead can remove, yes, 'remove', the political leader, even if said leader is elected by the people. If you want to talk about regional 'home rule', well, you'll get over it: "Islamists' Harsh Rule Awakened Ethnic Tensions in Timbuktu": www.nytimes.com

*NOTE: the epitaph "Peace Be Upon Him", "Blessed Is He", and so on are used even in casual conversation for two reasons. The first is to let everybody know that you are talking about the Founder of the Religion, and the second is so that it cannot be taken that you are in any way defaming his name, which is a capital offense under the legal system we are talking about. It is also used to honor certain other prophets such as Abraham and Noah.
Other sources:

Booze in Turkey: http://online.wsj.com

Slavery still exists under Islam www.cnn.com

Rape victim flogged for fornication:

In their investigation of the abuse case, authorities found what they claim is evidence the young victim had sex with another person.
Under Maldives' Islamic law, the authorities now intend to publicly flog the young rape victim. Public flogging is the penalty for "fornication," though authorities usually wait until a minor reaches 18 to implement the punishment.
www.breitbart.com

"WikiIslam" http://wikiislam.net

An example from:
Human Rights Watch

Abuses in the Application of Sharia in Aceh, Indonesia
December 1, 2010
This 89-page report documents the experiences of people accused of violating Sharia laws prohibiting "seclusion" and imposing public dress requirements on Muslims. The "seclusion" law makes association by unmarried individuals of the opposite sex a criminal offense in some circumstances. While the dress requirement is gender-neutral on its face, in practice it imposes far more onerous restrictions on women. The report also details evidence that the laws are selectively enforced rarely if ever applied to wealthy or politically-connected individuals.
www.hrw.org

From:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

(Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights.")


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.



Back to the Desk main page at:
www.themediadesk.com