Open, tolerant, and generous Western nations are being taking advantage of, warns a former Muslim from the Middle East who now lives in America.
Muslims in Arab countries as well as some born and bred in the West are aggressively pushing to impose Sharia law, or Islamic law, in countries such as Britain and the United States, among others, claims Nonie Darwish, who lived under Sharia law for 30 years in Egypt.
"To live under Islamic Sharia law is to live in the world's largest maximum-security prison, and I for one don't want to be incarcerated again," writes Darwish in her new book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law.
For many Westerners, it is hard to believe that cruel punishments, extreme oppression of women's rights, and unjust marriage customs as seen in Sharia can still exist in the 21st century.
But it does exist, Darwish says, and is applied in strict Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, and Sudan. Some states in northern Nigeria also have Sharia courts, and recently the Northwest region of Pakistan was allowed to enact Sharia law to appease terrorists.
In the West, Canada allowed Sharia family arbitration from 1991 to 2006, and Great Britain allows it on a limited scale.
Women's Rights (or lack thereof)
Under the Islamic legal system, women without a headdress on in public can be flogged, rape victims under certain circumstances can be punished, and adulteresses can be beheaded.
In her book, Darwish tells the story of a Saudi woman who was gang raped by seven men, but sentenced by the court to flogging because she was allegedly seen talking to a man who was not her relative. Her attackers said they saw that violation as justification to rape her and the judge agreed. Under Sharia law, women are not even allowed to make eye contact with men that are not their relatives.
Women are further at a disadvantage in courts because their testimony only counts as half the value of a man's.
Sharia law is especially cruel when it comes to rape cases. To prove rape, either the rapist has to confess or there must be four male witnesses of the rape that testify on behalf of the victim.
Darwish, a former Muslim who became a Christian after coming to America, calls Sharia "the most inhumane, cruel and punitive system of laws practiced today."
In her book, Darwish also writes extensively about the marriage contract in Muslim society. Under Islam, a man is allowed up to four wives. On the marriage contract, there are a number of lines under the heading of wife that a man can fill with several names.
But the author – who has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, Al-Arabiya, National Public Radio and Israeli TV – says the "most shocking sexual privilege Sharia grants to men is that they are allowed to seek sexual gratification with children."
There is no legal age of marriage under Sharia and a girl can be given in marriage as young as the age of one. But marriage can only be lawfully consummated with a girl when she reaches the age of nine.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, the Shia Grand Ayatollah between 1979 and 1989, said in an official statement, which appears in his book, Tahrirolvasyleh:
"A man can quench his sexual lusts with a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate. Sodomizing the baby is halal (allowed by Sharia). If the man penetrates and damages the child, then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl, however, does not count as one of his four permanent wives…It is better for a girl to marry when her menstruation starts, and at her husband's house rather than her father's home. Any father marrying his daughter so young will have a permanent place in heaven."
Also, in June 2008, Saudi marriage official Dr. Ahmad Al Mubi said in an interview aired on LBC TV: "There is no minimal age for entering marriage… the Prophet Mohammed is the model we follow."
Mohammed supposedly married his wife Aisha when she was six years old and consummated their marriage when she was nine.
"The clerics wish to hide as much of this from us as they can," Darwish claims. "Many Muslims themselves are embarrassed by this and are trying to hide these facts about male sexual rights – even from their sons."
Taming the Wife
Under Islam, husbands, in order to make their wife (or wives) obedient, are also given permission to beat her if she "rebels."
Quran 4:34 reads:
"Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and [as to] those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great."
Furthermore, the Hadith, or the sayings of Islamic prophet Mohammed, says, "A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife."
As a result of these "religious rights," many Muslim women who are beaten hide their abuse because it is considered rebelling against your husband to complain about him, even if he beats you.
Harm to Non-Believers
Perhaps more widely known to Westerners is Sharia's call to harm non-believers. There have been many high-profile cases of death threats and actual murders of those who leave Islam, often times by their immediate family.
There are 35,213 Quran verses, Hadiths, Sharia laws, and various Muslim scriptures that command and encourage killing, violence, war, annihilation, corporeal punishment, hatred, boycott, humiliation, and subjugation, mostly against non-Muslims, according to Darwish.
"Most Muslims are unaware of or in denial about the intrinsic problems within Islam and Sharia that create a serious threat to lives of non-Muslims, both as individuals and as nations," the sought after speaker writes.
She adds, "Non-Muslims cannot simply count on an eventual reformation of Islam because it might never happen. The starry-eyed West talks more about the reformation of Islam than Muslims themselves do. Islamic jihad is likely to continue to be a threat forever."
Darwish calls jihad the driving force behind Sharia and describes it as the "never-ending relentless expansion and enforcement of Islam worldwide."
Quest to Impose Sharia in the West
While most of her book is devoted to explaining the tenets of Sharia, Darwish is clear from the beginning that she wrote the book to warn Western nations, especially the United States, about the threat of Islamic law.
Most Americans do not understand what Sharia actually calls for, she says, and believe it is just a normal set of religious laws.
"[T]he West must never allow even limited Sharia marriage and family laws to be practiced in any Western democracy, simply because it is against basic principles of human rights and equality between the sexes," Darwish declares. "Sharia strips a woman of her God-given right to be a human being.
"Bringing such laws to the West will be the beginning of the end of true Western democracy," she adds.
In her book, Darwish recalls an exchange she had with Muslim American students at a U.S. college campus.
In 2007, Dariwsh was invited to take part in a panel discussion called "Islam and Democracy: Companions or Competitors?" at Mount San Antonio College in Southern California.
One of the panelists, the head of the Muslim student organization, had "fiercely" defended Sharia.
Darwish recalls asking him, "If Sharia is the perfect system that every Muslim should follow, why are you living in America and not in a Muslim Sharia state such as Iran or Saudi Arabia?"
His answer, which was echoed by many other Muslim students at the debate, was that all Muslim countries have failed to be a true Sharia state. Other students at the event said they believe that perhaps the United States could be the first country to properly apply the law as Allah intended. Others even expressed a desire to demand the enforcement of Sharia in America.
"Muslims are often unhappy with their Muslim countries of origin, but instead of looking within to make them better, they want to force an 'ideal' Muslim state on other civilizations, especially those that are unsuspecting and peaceful," Darwish claims. Darwish says the "most troublesome" problem with terrorism is not as much the terrorists attacking from the outside, but more so "the attack on democracy from within."
"They have lived in Western democracies most of all their lives and have developed a disconnect from the reality of life under Islamic Sharia," she says.
Peaceful Muslim Majority
It is true, however, that the majority of Muslims in the world are not violent and would not want to live under Sharia. Most Muslims are moderate and practice the ritualistic side of Islam and "barely know what is in their scriptures," says Darwish.
"Muslims need to be informed about what is in their scriptures simply because, believe it or not, they do not know," the former Muslim writes.
But even if 10 to 15 percent of Muslims read their scriptures and take it literally, that is a major problem for the West. Darwish says jihadists have been "unabashed" and "straightforward" when it comes to stating that their scriptures are the motivation behind their actions.
"The West has been warned of the Islamist intentions, but so far it is in denial, relying on the hope that Islam will eventually reform," Darwish says.
"However, let me be clear: The West must understand that the problem is not individual Muslims as much as it is Muslim scriptures commanding them to kill."
Darwish is calling on Western governments to oversee the selling and buying of books that order the murder of non-Muslim citizens, even if they are called holy scriptures.
"The West must unequivocally declare that Sharia is totally incompatible with democracy and human rights and that it is 'cruel and unusual punishment,'" says the author.
Published by Thomas Nelson this past January, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law is the second book written by 60-year-old Darwish. Her first, Now they Call Me Infidel; Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror, was published by Sentinel Trade in November 2007.