No, that’s not the actual title. Sharia-ism is Here: The Battle to Control Women and Everyone Else might have been called that but doubtless Joy Brighton, the author, would have encountered brand or trademark infringement problems with the publisher of the popular and successful For Dummies series, John Wiley & Sons. I also suspect that Wiley & Sons would have been horrified by the idea of publishing such an “Islamophobic” book anyway. It has published Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies, both of which, to judge by their Amazon descriptions, are treacly, inoffensive, sanitized guides to a highly “misunderstood” and “misperceived” religion-cum-ideology.
Brighton’s opus is a generously illustrated and annotated book intended as a “show n’ tell book for national security, civil right and women’s right activists and lobbyists in America.” It is meant to be read by, and serve as, a handy reference guide for anyone who is aware of the peril posed by Islam as it is practiced around the world, in the West, and especially in the U.S., but who really hasn’t digested the scale of the threat or any of its details. And it isn’t just about Islam’s crusade to control women. It truly is about Islam’s designs on everyone.
Before citing the book’s plenitude of virtues, however, there is one issue I must raise. Page 131, for example, under the heading, “Conversion to Islam or Sharia-ism in America? How do we help youth understand the difference?” highlights the conversion percentages of Americans to Islam. At the bottom of the page is an “Insight Box,” which reads:
How many of these American Converts have been converted to Islam the religion? How many are knowingly or unknowingly slowly being converted to Sharia-ism, the political movement of Radical Islam? How do we help young potential converts understand the difference and draw the line between Islam and Sharia-ism?
One point of disagreement between Sharia-ism is Here: The Battle to Control Women and me is that I do not draw a line between Islam and what Brighton calls “Sharia-ism.” Brighton writes in her Introduction:
You are holding in your hands a chronicle of the surprising inroads that Shariah, the guiding principles of Radical Islam, has made in America during the critical years of 2008-2013.
Radical Islam, also known as Political or Sharia Islam, has expanded onto every continent, and with it Sharia-ism, the political movement of Radical Islam, whose goal of totalitarian control of every nation and people is incompatible with Western values of individual liberties and inalienable rights. Sharia-ism is about politics, not religion.
Sharia-ism is about total control, not simply destruction or terrorism. (p. 6)
Both of Brighton’s terms, Sharia-ism and Radical Islam, violate Ockham’s Razor of economy of concepts by arbitrarily divorcing Islam and Sharia. The dichotomy is fallacious and inadvertently grants Islam an unsought-after epistemological and ideological victory. Brighton is not the only authority to commit this error. Seen as a virulent ideology, Islam and Sharia are one and the same. They are inherently complementary and co-dependent. I do not think Islam, “moderate” or otherwise, is a benign belief system, because it is fundamentally political, nihilist, and totalitarian in means and ends. Sharia is Islam, and Islam is nothing without Sharia. Without the primitive, anti-conceptual, rote-learned code of Sharia, Islam is little better, and perhaps even worse, than your random whacky California cult, or Scientology, Wiccanism, or Pyramid-Worship.
Further, were it not an ideology, why have its proponents, spokesmen, and activists focused so much on its political status? Catholics, Protestants, Jews and members of other creeds are not waging campaigns to force government, businesses, and other social organizations to accommodate their beliefs and practices. The promulgators of Islam, however, such as CAIR and the various Muslim organizations in this country, seek accommodations to Islam in virtually every sphere of American life, from demanding foot baths in various venues (schools, office buildings, airports), removing “offensive” crucifixes and other non-Islamic religious icons from classrooms, insisting on halal restaurant menus, to praying en masse on public streets, to inveigling their way into government jobs and appointments.
By way of contrast, I am not aware of a movement in the Catholic Church to compel, by statute, non-Catholics to genuflect when passing a Catholic church on the street, or else pay a fine.
And, perhaps more importantly in the context of politicizing Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and other faiths do not campaign to silence critics and criticism of those faiths. Islam, however, yearns to suppress all criticism of its practices and tenets. As Brighton herself points out in her book, the term “Islamophobia” was coined by the Muslim Brotherhood to stigmatize any and all criticism of Islam, the term implying racial, ethnic, or religious bigotry.
Finally, even were one to portray Islam as a mere patriarchic theocracy, one is still talking politics, for a theocracy implies the governing moral structure of a country. Ergo, it is a political system, and specifically a totalitarian one, because it prescribes the course of one’s life from head to foot, from sunrise to sunset, in thought, in action, and in one’s social associations.
I make no allowances for Islam, or cut it any slack by calling it a “private” belief system as I might the Catholic or Jewish. Privacy is not Islam’s leitmotif; on the contrary, it is unabashedly and necessarily public. Conformance to its bizarre catalogue of dictats is audited. Straying from the ritualistic and behavioral drill can result in death (e.g., honor killings, and for apostasy). To refer to “radical Islam” is to commit a redundancy. Islam is “radical” in the sense that must obviate all other alternatives and choices, else it is nothing. Force or the threat of force is Sharia’s telling hand. Islam is Sharia, and vice versa.
“Passive,” non-violent Muslims face a decision: a continuation of their submission to Islam, or total repudiation, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali decided on. There is no dignified or respectable “middle ground”; one cannot be half-free and free at the same time. That is a delusion. See some of my columns on Islam and its inherently totalitarian and irrational nature here, here, here, and here.
Those objections having been made, Sharia-ism is Here draws on a galaxy of authorities on Islam such as Nonie Darwish, Steve Emerson, Robert Spencer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Walid Phares, Diana West, and Melanie Phillips, to name but a few whose names appear in the Acknowledgements and throughout the text.
There are fifteen chapters in the book, under such titles as “What is Sharia-ism and Shariah Islamic Law?”; “Sharia-ism: Concepts and Vocabulary”; two chapters, titled “Two-Armed Leadership of Sharia-ism,” one dealing with Shariah clerics in American mosques and home-grown radicalization, another with the Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S.; “Creeping Sharia-ism,” which exposes the strategy of imposing Sharia in small steps, which is what we are seeing now; and “Shariah Lawfare,” which demonstrates how Islamic law is insinuating itself into the American judicial system on all levels, and not with much resistance from our courts.
(See a recent Jihad Watch article on a legislative initiative in Florida to banish foreign or Sharia law from the state’s judiciary. It is just one of several initiatives discussed by Brighton in Chapter 14, “U.S. Representatives and Governors take action: Congressional Hearings and New State Laws.”)
One goal of the “stealth,” cultural jihad in this country by organizations like CAIR, the Muslim Lawyers Association, the Muslim Bar Association of New York, and Muslim Advocates, is to persuade, or browbeat, our judiciary into removing the “foreign” designation from Sharia, and to see it “integrated” into American law as they are now doing in Britain – step by stealthy step. A Telegraph (London) article of March 22nd by John Bingham, “Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs,” reports:
Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.
Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether. The documents, which would be recognized by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs.
Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognize only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.
Notice how piddly and surreptitious the issues are: Inheritances and wills. Nothing to worry about. The cases will be handled by the British equivalent of American family courts or civil law courts handling suits and torts. It’s just some people fussing and feuding over money and custody. None of our business.
The same thing is being attempted here in the U.S. Brighton devotes several pages to the organization American Laws for American Courts (ALAC).
America has unique values of liberty which do not exist in foreign legal systems; this is particularly true in regard to Shariah Islamic Law, included among them, but not limited to the following, are these values and rights: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, due process, right to privacy, and the right to keep and bear arms.
The goal of the American Laws for American Courts is a clear and unequivocal application of what should be the goal of all state courts: No U.S. citizen or resident should be denied the liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed in our constitutional republic.
ALAC is a neutral law. it is designed to protect the U.S. Constitutional rights of Americans against any foreign law from any country which challenges their rights. (pp. 224-225)
Some ALAC-style laws were overturned in a few states because they mentioned Islam or Sharia. ALAC then created a draft model law that would not be “country, culture, religion, or ethnic specific.” This model seems to have been successful in many states, because neither CAIR nor a dhimmified appellate court could concoct a charge of “Islamophobia” or “discrimination,” although the unnamed subject is specifically Islam.
Another hopeful sign is the passage in several states of “anti-libel-tourism” laws that reject foreign suits against Americans accused of libel. The Committee to Protect Journalists features a brief history of those laws, which stemmed from the suit against Rachel Ehrenfeld for publishing a book in 2003 in the U.S., Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It, in which she accused billionaire Saudi businessman Khalid bin Mahfouz of channeling funds to terrorist groups. Ehrenfeld was subsequently sued by Mahfouz in London, but not in the U.S., because the First Amendment protected her. As a consequence, New York passed the appropriately named Libel Terrorism Protection Act in May 2008. It refuses to recognize foreign law, in this instance, Britain’s bizarre defamation statutes, and in particular suits brought by super-rich Muslims in other countries.
Chapter 13, “Failure of U.S. leaders to address the threat of Sharia-ism,” inadvertently underscores my objection to separating the cream from the milk, that is, making an erroneous distinction between Islam and Sharia law. Islam is one whole cow.
American politicians are fearful of criticizing Islam because it’s a “religion,” and they don’t wish to be accused of attacking any religion. This prevents them and now our law-enforcement and intelligence agencies from honestly and effectively addressing the threat posed by Islam. The redaction of all mention of Islam and Muslims from FBI training documents, and the recent dissolution of New York City’s crack mosque and Muslim suspect surveillance program by the new socialist mayor of New York (at the behest of Muslim “civil rights” activists) simply blind-sides the country by hamstringing those charged with protecting it from terrorism.
A lengthier review of Joy Brighton’s book would not do justice to it. Her book is an all-in-one instructive guide to what Islam is, what danger it poses to our country, and what we have and have not done to combat its corrosive “cultural jihad” against this country. It names culprits, and it names courageous individuals who have sounded the alarm (often to deaf ears), and lists all the rogues and scoundrels. I think the book is so comprehensive and well done (albeit with my stated reservations above) that a fund should be started to send free copies of it every member of Congress, and also to members of the state legislatures.
There’s no vigorish in being a dummy when it comes to betting against Islam. I recommend Brighton’s book because it can alert Americans to the cards – or knives – that are regularly hidden up Islam’s sleeve.
Sharia-ism is Here: The Battle to Control Women and Everyone Else, by Joy Brighton. Lexington KY: Sharia-ism Education Center, 2014. 240 pp.