Thursday, December 15, 2011

Barry Rubin: Who’s the Leading Authority in Defining Islam? Ayatollah Western Media

by Barry Rubin

The Washington Post has an article by Michael Gerson attacking Newt Gingrich’s warning that the imposition of Sharia law is a tremendous danger to U.S. interests. I’m only interested here in how the article reveals an element of Gerson’s worldview. (Don’t miss the really cool observation at the end of this article.)

Gerson writes:

“Gingrich joins Iranian clerics, Taliban leaders and Salafists of various stripes in believing that the most authentic expression of sharia law is fundamentalism and despotism.”

So who is going to determine the “authentic expression” of Sharia law? Gerson? The Washington Post? The clerics most liked by Washington Post writers regardless of the size of their following? You can’t create some ideal Sharia law and then say that there’s nothing to worry about.

For all practical purposes, though, Islam and Sharia are going to be defined not by theories, debates by non-Muslims over theology, comparative readings of original texts, or your preferences. You, especially a non-Muslim, cannot “figure out” what Islam “really” is. All of that is irrelevant. Islam (and Sharia) will be defined by who has power as the actual political and religious leaders of Muslims.

Continue reading Who’s the Leading Authority in Defining Islam? Ayatollah Western Media
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, to be published by Yale University Press in January 2012. You can read more of Barry Rubin's posts at Rubin Reportsand now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media

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