Shilling for Sharia at Harvard - March 27, 2008 by Hillel Stavis

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Extract:What made Feldman’s lecture different from his magazine piece was what he left out of the latter. Obviously, any discussion of Sharia must include what informs the law at its heart – The Koran, Sunna and, to a lesser extent, Sira. Writing for the Times, he at least traced the roots of Sharia to the Koran. But that was as far as he would go. At Harvard, his analysis of Sharia was limited to “the rule of law” as interpreted by “scholars” producing an Islamic “constitution,” all of which is refined and perfected by a “balance of power” between rulers and scholars.

In Feldman’s revisionist account, the evolution of Islamic law echoes the Western experience and is compatible with it. To Feldman, Sharia evolves from “higher law” to “the rule of law” in a neat conflation of the secular with the holy that places the Islamic code alongside the West’s rigorously evolved concept of secular justice. Feldman suggests that the dreaded huddud laws of amputation and other draconian penalties for apostasy and blasphemy are mere “worldly commands,” notwithstanding the fact that they are drawn directly from the Koran. For example, Sura 5:33 prescribes amputation of limbs “on opposite sides,” a dreadful penalty that has found new life in some of the Sharia ruled lands today. Indeed, the fundamental nature of Sharia law is inextricably connected to divine revelation, a concept with which the West did away centuries ago. The fact that a Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal, was recently spared the Hadithic-inspired penalty of being stoned to death for adultery, had more to do with international outrage and pressure than any “nuanced” application of traditional Sharia law.

All this was utterly missing from Feldman’s lecture. There was much else, too, that the professor obscured.