Islamic Sharia Law: Cruel and Usual Punishment - Nonie Darwish 2-2


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1 Sahil Badruddin = ""Geoffry Barker: Westerners see an incongruity in your dual roles as a religious leader and international businessman. Do you think you are an incongruous religious leader? Aga Khan: The incongruity exists through your tradition, through your experience, the Augustinian interpretation, if one can call it that, of Christianity.... In Islam there is no reason why a dichotomy should exist. Every Muslim no matter what sect he comes from, will tell you Islam is a way of life. If you read the Qur'an you will find that a very substantial part of Islam and Islam's teaching has to do with the individual's behaviour in society in totally secular matters -- how you behave in your relations with other people in society, in your business transaction, in your family, in your friends.... Geoffry Barker: Westerners are often appalled by the literal implementation of savage Qur'anic laws which permit, for example, public beheading of adulterers, the chopping off of hands and flogging for breach of alcohol prohibition. How would you as Imam defend these laws? Do you insist on their implementation among the Ismailis Muslims? Aga Khan: You must be careful not to refer to Islamic law. There is no such thing as 'Islamic law'. There are four basic schools of Islamic law in the Sunni Muslim world, there are several schools of Islamic law in the Shia Muslim world. Our attitude is simply that codes change and that what is important is the purpose behind the code. I must say that in certain areas of the Muslim world there is a very rigid application ... I am not at all saying that today the Ismaili world would encourage mutilation or flagellation or things like that ... Flagellation, beheading, mutilation, these sort of things, may be a totally temporary aspect which is put forward as maybe a justification at a time of crisis. I think you will find that generally speaking the Muslim world will not be going in that direction." His Highness the Aga Khan's 1979 The Age Interview with Geoffry Barker (Melbourne, Australia)"