Time for Islamic Law in Iraq!


Iraq’s Governing Council on Wednesday defended its approval of a controversial family law that would make it possible to apply Islamic law - Sharia - instead of civil statute in domestic matters such as inheritance and divorce.

And some comments by Juan Cole.


Yeah, this is going well.

You can force democracy down their throats but you can’t make them believe in Western values.

If you study Islam and its teachings in the Qu’ran and the teachings of most of its leaders, it is clear that from day one it taught that a theocracy is the desired form of government. It clearly teaches that the separation of state and religion is incorrect and intolerable. Which is why I am amazed that any Islam nation has a democratic form of government (that isn’t founded on and run by Islamic rules.) and curious as to how one can be instituted in a Muslim dominated country.

If you ask Brett Todd, Attaturk did it by banning headscarves.
(smiles at Brett)


I think the way Turkey does it is by making its army a political power. If a government slants too much towards communism, socialism, theocracy, or whatever, the generals throw a coup.

It’s the ultimate in checks and balances.

Heh. But read the article on women in Saudi Arabia linked in the other thread here and tell me if you’re still so flippant about this issue, and think that freeing Muslim women from hijab, etc. is meaningless.

Brett, you’re knowledgeable about Muslim issues and nations: what do you think is possible and not possible wrt a democracy in Iraq?

We can’t allow free elections because they’ll elect mullahs and yet another militant islamic state is born. We can’t stay there forever. We can try to put in a puppet ruler but that won’t last. Any ideas?

Yeah, sure, I’m against everything in that article. Those people are forced to wear scarves and burkas, there’s no recourse. But I don’t see the connection to France you’re making. See, I’m also against “free” societies not allowing people who want to wear them, to wear them. Have you been paying attention to how Sikh’s are reacting to this French proposal?

And again, Attaturk did a hell of a lot more than ban scarves. ;-)

Yes, its all true. All of Saudi Arabia’s problems with women are due to wearing a scarf on the head.

Of course, this ignores the fact that women in Islam have been wearing scarves on their heads for oh, hundreds of years, including the times when Islam was dominant.

But feel free to continue your “headscarves = root of repression” jihad. Its really interesting.

You could read about the history of the hijab. That’s probably more interesting.


Hey, stop putting words in my mouth. I can put them in there myself:

Muslim women need to be free to wear what they want to wear, whenever they choose to wear it. If they want to wear a hijab, more power to them. Ditto if they don’t.

btw, I’m not flippant. I’m bitter, cynical, and half-Turkish.

I don’t want to get drawn into this argument, but come fucking on. How can you read that piece and not link the clothing issue to overall repression of human rights in the Islamic world?! They have fucking police vans patrolling in Saudi Arabia (and Iran, and even in “liberal” Arab states like Jordan women are routinely harassed and pawed on the street if they’re not wearing the proper clothing – as are men wearing shorts, depending on your size, how you carry yourself) for women with uncovered hair, yet the biggest beef some of you have is with France and headscarves? All due respect for differing views and all, but I don’t see how any reasonable person in the Western world can ignore what’s going on in the Islamic world and save their indignation for France.

PS – I wasn’t pawed while wearing shorts, though I was laughed at a lot. ;-)

Except for the cynical part, that’s a pretty good description of a filterless Camel cigarette.

Honestly, If the phrase “religous police” doesn’t get your secular humanist classically liberal mind fit to be tied, nothing will.

Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t France and Arab nations both let people where whatever they want?

Because it’s a symptom, not the disease? Banning it will have no effect whatsoever.

Brett, you’re knowledgeable about Muslim issues and nations: what do you think is possible and not possible wrt a democracy in Iraq?[/quote]

Right now, Jeff? Very little that’s meaningful. The only sensible course, at this stage, would be to rig the election process, put reasonable people in power who can be controlled, work very hard on minimizing the religious and tribal factions, and keep big military on the ground. That way, a benevolent occupier could steer Iraq towards a true Western-style democracy over a generation or so. But that of course assumes strong focus by the US and the West over a long period of time, no Halliburton-type raping of the country’s resources, and no internal corruption. Which of course ain’t gonna happen.

So I don’t have much optimism. Look at what’s happening now with the Shi’a clergy. They basically want the US out ASAP so they can impose whatever sort of government they want on the people, and believe me, it won’t be any sort of democracy that we recognize. Best-case invasion scenario to me is that the US ends up with a friendlier Saddam in power. Because of this, I opposed the invasion from the beginning. Personally, I thought the best course of action was detente with Saddam. You couldn’t have asked for a better hammer to help root out the Islamists. And you might have been able to better Iraqi society at the same time. This was a very progressive state until the Iran-Iraq war, by Arab world standards. You could have gotten back to those standards under Saddam. Yes, that’s a cold, pragmatic view, but I think it better serves the current situation regarding the war between Islamism and the West than the invasion plan.

I don’t know what will happen in the Arab world. The freer states, like Jordan and Egypt, have such strong Islamist undergrounds that their leaders don’t dare open up their societies too much. The harder dictatorships like Syria and Libya have no interest in even trying this path. I hate bringing up Ataturk yet again, but I think the only hope the Arab world has in the near future is for a strongman like this to emerge in Egypt after Mubarak’s death, secularize the state by force, and endure in power long enough for a young generation to appreciate the new freedoms so much that it wouldn’t want to go back to being a religious state. Then hope that a domino effect would take place, which I think likely, seeing as Egypt is really the barometer of the Arab world (speaking of which, people are focusing their 9/11 rage on Saudi Arabia, when the attack was really fostered by the Egyptian cabal that really directs al Qaeada).

What’s more likely is increasing hostility, greater polarization, and another major terror attack on the West. At which point I think everyone will realize that the West is in a war much like that which occupied the last century. And that it has to be won, in any way possible. After that, who knows? But prospects for the future make me long for the comparative safety of the Cold War.

Outside forces installing friendly types doesn’t have a good history in the region.


Which is why I wasn’t big on the invasion in the first place. I’d have left Saddam right where he was and used threats to get him under control once more. He could have been a great weapon against the Islamists. All due respect to the Iraqis, I’d sacrifice some Iraqi lives and their civil rights (though I also think that Saddam could have been pressured to loosen up to a degree, so the country could regain the prosperity it knew in the 1970s–which might be better for the average Iraqi citizen than the end result of the occupation, considering the Shi’a record at building open states and societies) in order to really get at the terror groups and ensure we don’t have another 9/11. Or some kind of nuclear or biological attack that kills millions, destroys the Western economy, and causes the US to end civil rights as we currently know them in North America. Better the devil you know…