Sunday, February 26, 2006

On Sharia, Costello Is Essentially Right

As I have stated elsewhere, John Howard’s remarks were twisted and distorted by editorial powers-that-be at the national broadsheet. Sadly, many self-appointed Muslim “leaders” failed to look at the content of the words themselves, instead choosing to have their thinking clouded by the competing agendas and spin of the Fairfax and Murdoch pundits.

Howard’s comments did contain inaccuracies when it came to both Muslim and broader migrant settlement history in Australia. In a brilliant piece for The Oz, Waleed Aly summarised these mistakes. A less sophisticated piece was produced by yours truly in the Courier-Mail.

In relation to Peter Costello’s more measured and careful remarks in a speech to the Sydney Institute on 23 February 2006, migrant Muslim leaders have again responded immaturely. They have again relied on spin, and I doubt many probably will not even have read the speech.

I was also initially almost swept away by the tsunami of spin. Then I thought I should at least make an effort to read the speech. I tried locating the speech on Mr Costello’s website but to no avail. It was only when one migrant Muslim leader forwarded to me the URL that I finally had a chance to read it.

That was Friday night. On Saturday afternoon, I had to travel to Canberra to address a forum on the topic of “Unity in Diversity” organised by a group called Forum Australia. Joining with me were a number of Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Christian community leaders as well as Steve Pratt.

Steve is a Liberal Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly. Like me, Steve also initially reacted unfavourably to the Costello comments. Steve is no dummy when it comes to sharia. He is married to a Yemeni Muslim, and has spent years working in Muslim-majority countries as an aid worker.

At the same time, Steve is no sycophant to issues deemed pro-Muslim. He supported the Howard government’s views on anti-terror laws. Pratt opposed the position of ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, a position supported almost universally by Muslim communities across the country.

Steve and I agreed that when it came to sharia, it is likely that Peter Costello was shooting from the hip. He quite likely has little knowledge of what sharia is or how Muslims understand and implement it.

Without meaning to go into too much detail, Muslims view sharia in two ways. First, they view it as another word for liturgy. Sharia is the outward manifestation of worship and ritual.

Secondly, Muslims view sharia as a word used to describe the broad corpus of Muslim legal tradition as it has evolved over 1,400 years. Sharia is a legal tradition in the same sense that we have the common law and European civil law traditions.

Perhaps Mr Costello is unaware of these popular understandings of sharia. He has chosen instead to rely on the fringe expressions of Benbrika and others.

I urge Muslim critics of Mr Costello’s speech to actually read the entire speech. The Australian values listed in that speech are virtually identical to the Muslim juristic and scholarly consensus on Islamic values.

Further, Costello may have inadvertently reminded Muslims of the dangers of fringe theology. Muslims are aware that sharia (outward manifestations of Islamic ritual and law) cannot be implemented without the inner aspects and values of faith known in the Sunni school as tasawwuf and in the Shia school as irfan. And known in the West as Sufism.

Without the inner spiritual core, sharia effectively becomes an agent for oppression. The theology of virtually all groups committing terrorist acts in the name of Islam seeks to remove this inner core from Islam. They all share a distinct animosity to Sufi teaching, and therefore seek to implement select sharia rules in areas where sharia values themselves forbid implementation.

This divorcing and discarding of this inner core from Islam represents a danger which has been identified by Muslim jurists across the world. It is a process American Muslim scholar Hamza Yusuf Hanson describes as the “hijacking of Islam”.

So when Costello says that those wishing to implement sharia on its own in Australia should find another country, Muslims would argue that perhaps such people should consider another religion. Or perhaps inventing their own religion.

There is nothing in the broad corpus of Islamic legal tradition combined with its inner spiritual core which conflicts with Australian citizenship. Indeed, Australian values and liberties are more in accordance with Islam than the near-absence of liberty experienced by Muslims in Muslim-majority countries.

Perhaps this is what Australian imams mean when they repeat in Friday sermons that Australia is perhaps a more Islamic place to live than the vast majority of so-called Islamic countries.

© Irfan Yusuf 2006


Anonymous said...

Irf, thanks for the good sense and balanced argument. i wonder how alex hawke and his anonymous young nazis will react to your sensible sentiments.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous posts are appropriate for the likes of Alex hawke and Kyle Kutasi. That way they can stay in the closet. Lets face it, we all know that Hawke is a closet homosexual and Kutasi is a closet Jew. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those things but their fellow travellers may not agree.

Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot to expose another couple of the anonymous posters to this site. Edwin "Boy George" Dyga and James "I have no neck and no friends'coz I stabbed them all in the back" Young.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps this is what Australian imams mean when they repeat in Friday sermons that Australia is perhaps a more Islamic place to live than the vast majority of so-called Islamic countries."

Name one imam. Not one imam anywhere can say that Islam is totally in accordance with Australian values and liberties. If Islam is not in accordance with Australian values why would we want any muslims here. Christian compassion perhaps?

Anonymous said...

"....alex hawke and his anonymous young nazis will react to your sensible sentiments."

Heil Hitler! Hail Hawke!

Irfan said...

People, this blog has other readers who are simply not interested in Young Liberal politics. Please leave your antics for the Young Liberal political kindergarten.

Anonymous said...

Irfan your picture is putting me off my dinner. Could you wear a burka? Or at least a paper bag over your head? Somehow your 'smile' only makes your face uglier.

Anonymous said...

In your article there is a picture of something wearing a white hat. Is that one of your monkey relatives or a human?

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have some exposure of what 'Shariah' values are, so readers can compare those with 'Australian' values. Maybe this process of education will help Muslim readers and non-Muslims alike?

Anonymous said...

The fact is that the broad islamic legal tradition is completely at odds with Australian law and Australian citizenship.

You say:"Without the inner spiritual core, sharia effectively becomes an agent for oppression."

Who cares what your inner spiritual core is? THe collected body of Islamic law is an agent for oppresion. Your constant attempts to cloud the differences between Islam and Christianity is nothing but a con job which seeks to get you published at the expense of truth and honesty.

Anonymous said...

"Hawke is a closet homosexual and Kutasi is a closet Jew"

This shows the real Irfan Yusuf happily allowing people to be vilified and libeled. You always were scum. You still are. Your recent conversion to some sort of Islam is just a convenient disguise for the fact that you are a full-blown nasty sociopath and a pathological liar like your few friends.

Anonymous said...

Irfan hold you're head high. You hold two degrees from a prestigous tertiaty institution. You're a lawyer, and commentator on social issues concerning Islam. Dont worry about these anonymous commenters. Theyre racist, chauvinistic, plain childish, narrow minded and at the end of the day inferior to you. You're a lion, theyre mice.

Keep up the good work and dont let these racists bother you. If i was you, i would block there comments.


Israel D'Jesus (ex-Jew, now Muslim)

Anonymous said...

Stop trying to associate with Steve Pratt. Your relentless name dropping is a disgrace. Not one Liberal nor any Labor want to be associated with you. YOu are just a crazy loose cannon with a madmans agenda. You turn on all your 'friends' because you are a sociopath and a nut.

Anonymous said...

The great majority of White Australians are forgetting that they are migrant descendants too. The only people who dont have migrant blood are the indigenous population; every single other soul is migrant.

Now get rid of your white chauvinistic agenda and welcome to the New Australia with a 10% nonwhite migrant population and 300 000+ Muslims. Learn to live with it. We're not an All-White society and never will be. Let's just respect each other, and get along fairly. Get the fuck out of the 1950s will you, and enter the 6th year of the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

If you had any respect for anyone other than your inflated ego you would admit that you are a sham and conman. I look forward to the day when the Law Society finally catches up to the fact that not only are you a useless commentator but a useless lawyer as well and strikes you off. Everyone who has ever met you says that you are mentally-ill. The only thing worse than a muslim fanatic is a pretend muslim conman. You can't get away with it forever

Anonymous said...

You headcase. You stinking fat muslim headcase. As an old Boy of St Andrews Cathedral School you should have a brain and a Christian conscience but instead you are just a base slanderer, gossip, blackmailer and thug. Has your muslim heritage created this? Or your legal studies? YOu are a mentally ill headcase and I can't believe anyone takes you seriously.

Anonymous said...

Wheelie Bins should be made bigger so that you can fit muslims in them. In this way instead of having to bury the bastards you can just put them in the wheelie Bin and a garbage truck can compact them and take them to the tip. Convenient and good for Australia.

Oberon said... lot of anger from anonymous......our weapons are truth and love.....goodness will prevail.

Anonymous said...

muslims think pigs are unclean. for this reason every home should be required to keep pigs including muslim homes. When you kill a muslim they can be fed to the pigs.

Anonymous said...

I bet Steve Pratt will be impressed to find out you have mentioned him on your un-Australian, anti-Liberal, libelous website. He's not your friend. You have no friends.

Anonymous said...

Pity about all those hard man muslim lebs in Australian prisons. I wonder what they will do to a helpless fat private school boy lawyer. YOu will go to jail for defamation and libel Irfan. Start crying now because mummy won't be there to help you.

Irfan said...

Now that I have the computer ID number of the anonymous messenger, I will consider whether forwarding it to the police for further investigation is a good idea.

What do people think? Should I also send it to the relevant authorities at the NSW Parliament?

Steve Edwards said...

"Sharia is a legal tradition in the same sense that we have the common law and European civil law traditions."

That may be so, but it doesn't follow that Sharia is an Australian tradition - there is nothing remotely like the Pact of Omar to be found in the Australian Constitution...or at least not yet.

Irfan said...

Steve, the common law is also not an Australian tradition. In fact, the only true Australian tradition is Aboriginal customary law.

Anonymous said...

So now you have become an abo.

Is this the only way you can fit into Australia?

Anonymous said...

Irfan, which anonymous are you talking about? which comment do you want to forward to the police/nsw parliament?

Anonymous said...

Everyday you try and eat yourself to death. Your brain is telling you something fatso. Your stomach wants you to be a martyr for junk food. It's amusing that you are commiting suicide using food.

Anonymous said...

Go home to wherever you came from and take the abos with you.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ring the Law Society and dob yourself in?
Ring Lifeline and make some suicide threats.
Ring the terrorist hotline to let them know you are are a crazy muslim.
Ring the NSW Parliament and let your Labor mates know that you are available for more branch stacks and that you are able to make more outrageous claims based on your distant membership of the Young Libs.
Ring your mum because she is your only friend
Ring your shrink and tell him you are upping your medication you headcase.