Will Sharia Govern Newly Liberated Muslim Countries?
“As the newly liberated Muslim countries from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya form new governments and institutions, one of the key questions becomes how far they will go to placate hardline Muslim forces,” Jim Sciutto writes for ABC news.
By Jim Sciutto
10/24/2011 (ABC News) – As the newly liberated Muslim countries from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya form new governments and institutions, one of the key questions becomes how far they will go to placate hardline Muslim forces.
The early signs from Libya are disappointing. Speaking today, Libya’s Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said the country’s legislature would have an Islamist tint and that any existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified. He outlined several changes in a major speech, including putting caps on interest rates on bank loans and lifting restrictions on the number of wives Libyan men can take. The Muslim holy book, the Koran, allows men up to four wives.
Sharia, which means “path’ in Arabic, is more than a legal code; it’s a guide for all aspects from Muslim’s life, from how to marry to how to eat. It’s derived from the Koran, and from Sunna’, the practices of the Prophet Mohammed.
Its rules have many interpretations, ranging from the hard-line Hanbali school, which, for instance, calls for stoning for such crimes as adultery, to the more liberal Hanafi school. The more liberal interpretations have been molded fairly successfully into otherwise secular and democratic countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia. The hard-line versions are virtually the law in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan, where you will still hear of people having their hands cut off for stealing.