Posts tagged ‘Sharia Law’

08/15/2011

Paul Wins Foreign Policy Debate (8-11-11)

Congressman Ron Paul, unelectable as a Presidential candidate due to his extreme views on the economy, was however a lone voice of sanity on foreign policy issues, and a shining star among the Republicans at the Iowa Straw Poll Debate on Aug. 11, 2011.

MIDEAST: Paul, the only military vet on stage, courageously said it is time to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places. America’s wars have been costing trillions, Paul said, and the U.S. has to stop spending so much money on them.

AFGHANISTAN: Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, most likely to be the nominee, incorrectly said Afghans are now free from the Taliban. He then adopted a weak position for an aspiring commander-in-chief, by pledging to follow the lead of the generals, which is code for not withdrawing from abroad. Former Minnesota Gov. Plawenty said we were justified in going into Afghanistan, but also offered little hope for the future, saying the effort there was still worth it.

IRAN: When former Penn. Sen. Santorum said Iran first became our enemy in 1979, Paul had to give him a history lesson, saying the U.S. started the rift when we meddled in their internal affairs and overthrew their leader in 1953. Paul also had to explain to Gov. Pawlenty that Iran wants nuclear weapons as a defense against their well armed neighbors, who already have the bomb, such as: Israel, Pakistan, and Russia. Paul correctly pointed out that Iran is no threat to the U.S. Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, a bombastic hot-headed extremist, who should never herself have a finger on the trigger, ironically promised to make sure Iran didn’t get the bomb. When Pawlenty suggested the U.S. impose sanctions against Iran, Paul warned that they could provoke yet another war, and he again had to educate the Governor, saying such measures did not work in the past against states like Cuba. Paul added it is time to end our 50-year old trade embargo against the island-nation.

BIN LADEN: None of the Republican candidates congratulated the Obama Administration for successfully eliminating Osama Bin Laden. Bachmann instead offered the incorrect view that our poor treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo had something to do with it.

ARAB SPRING: With regards to the Arab Spring, Pawlenty criticized Obama for not demanding the departure of Syrian leader Assad. Former Congressman Gingrich said he would not have intervened in Libya, and we have to rethink our strategy in the entire region.

SHARIA LAW: Herman Cain, who never held a public office, and was in the debate only because the Republicans needed a black face on stage, received ridiculous applause from the partisan audience, as he promised to remove Sharia Law from U.S. Courts, a problem that doesn’t even exist.

ISRAEL: Cain also pandered to the Israeli Lobby, saying Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map, and Pawlenty did the same, by baselessly accusing Obama of sticking a thumb in Israel’s eye.

CHINA: With respect to Asia, former Utah Gov. Huntsman, who served as Ambassador to China, said a President should know something about the Peoples Rep., and the U.S. needed a dialog with them.

IMMIGRATION: As to immigration, Paul again led the charge saying we should stop paying attention to Afghan borders, and instead worry about our own. Huntsman, in favor of securing U.S. borders, was reluctant to send all illegal aliens home. Romney simply promised to crack down on immigration, but of course gave no specifics. Gingrich said secure the borders, and make English our official language. Cain had the worst response of all, promising to empower each state to develop 50 separate immigration policies.

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul is the only candidate to articulate a clear foreign policy, which is to withdraw from foreign wars. He understands the Persian Gulf and Mideast far better than his opponents. Huntsman was reasonable for a Republican. Romney sounded like another weak leader, like George W. Bush, as he would let others control foreign policy. Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum and Cain were frankly too frightening to even consider as president.

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04/21/2011

Nigeria: On The Muslim-Christian Divide

Nigeria held a presidential election in which incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the South, sought to continue in office as the replacement for the previous president, who was a Muslim from the North. The issue now is whether the Africans along the Christian-Muslim divide in Nigeria can live in peace?

Africa is divided along the Sahara, between Arabs Muslims and Christian Blacks. Along the north and west side of the divide, 13 nations have large percentages of Muslims: Morocco (99%), Algeria (99%), Tunisia (98%), Libya (97%), Egypt (90%), Somalia (99%), Djibouti (94%), Mauritania (99%), Mali (90%), Niger (80%), Senegal (94%), Gambia (90%) and Guinea (85%).

West Africa also has 3 states where the Muslim percentage is only about half, but they greatly outnumber the Christians: Sierra Leone (60%), Burkina Faso (50%) and Guinea-Bissau (40%).

On the south and east side of the divide, 20 states have few Muslims: South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola, Rwanda, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome, Zambia (5%), Kenya (10%), Swaziland (10%), Burundi (10%), Congo-Kinshasa (10%), Uganda (12%), Malawi (13%), Central African Rep. (15%) and Mozambique (18%).

There are also 2 West African states where Christians greatly outnumber Muslims: Cape Verde and Ghana.

This leaves 11 African Muslim-Christian battleground states, along the sub-Saharan front line, listed below, from west to east:

Country               Muslim            Christian
Liberia                     20%                     40%
Ivory Coast            39%                     33%
Togo                         20%                     29%
Benin                        24%                     43%
Nigeria                     50%                    40%
Cameroon              20%                     35%
Chad                         53%                     34%
Sudan                   Muslim (N)      Christ (S)
Eritrea                      50%                   50%
Ethiopia                   33%                   61%
Tanzania                  35%                   30%

Many battleground states have already had conflicts. Ivory Coast had a 5-year civil war, between Southern Christians and Northern Muslims. Chad had two civil wars of 14 and 10 years, between Northern Muslims and Southern Christians. Eritrea historically was a battleground between the two faiths, and Ethiopia recently had a Holy War against Islamic forces from neighboring Somalia.

Sudan was perhaps the biggest battleground of all, where the Arab Muslims in the North, fought the black Southern Christians for 16 years, and then tried to force them to use the Arabic language and Islamic religion. After another 18 years of war, the Muslims expelled Christian missionaries and imposed Islamic Sharia law, as part of an Arabization policy. Sudan’s ultimate solution was for the Christian South to secede and become an independent state.

What about Nigeria? Will it become a battleground like Sudan, or remain united? It is the largest state in Africa, with 149 million people, and it is evenly split, as to religion and tribal heritage. 50% are Muslims from the northern Hausa Tribe; 40% are Christians from the southern and western Igbo and Yoruba Tribes.

The Nigerian Muslim-Christian conflict has flared on and off for 30 years. Islamic law was imposed in several Northern provinces in 2000, causing Igbo Christians to clash with Hausa Muslims. An Islamic leader from the northeast was assassinated in 2009. Muslims and Christians battled again last year, in the City of Jos.

Unless Nigeria is willing to splinter in two, like North and South Sudan, they will have to allow all Christians and Muslims to enjoy the free exercise of religion, and stop the provinces from establishing official religions. If they wish to remain at peace and united, they will need to respect the viewpoints of all.

04/20/2011

Pakistan Needs Religious Tolerance

The Blasphemy Law in Pakistan caused the murder of Shahbaz Bahtti on March 2, 2011. He was the only Christian in the Pakistani government, serving as Minister of Non-Muslim Minorities. The law also led to the death, on Jan. 4, 2011, of Salman Taseer, the Christian governor of the Punjab Province, whose only crime was his public support for Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death by hanging in Nov 2010, for Blasphemy.

The Pakistani Blasphemy Law carries a possible death sentence. It forbids the wounding the religious feelings of Islamic persons, defiling the Quran, or defaming the prophet Muhammad. Trials are held before Muslim judges. Many people have been charged with Blasphemy and have been prosecuted over the past decades.

Pakistan was created as an Islamic state by Britain, when they segregated the Muslims and Hindus of India into two nations (1947). A decade later, the young nation formally became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (1956). They later integrated Islamic Sharia law into their legal code (1991). Now, it is being used in the provinces. In the Waziristan Province, for example, it was adopted in exchange for a ceasefire from Islamic militants (2008).

Unfortunately, an accused in Pakistan has no American-style First Amendment, barring the Establishment of Religion. There is no way to declare the Blasphemy Law unconstitutional. So it needs to be challenged as a violation of due process, which requires all crimes to be clearly defined. Laws cannot be so vague as to leave the accused unsure of what conduct is allowed or prohibited.

How would one possibly know if they are wounding the feelings of Islamic persons? How would they know if they are defaming the Prophet Muhammad? What if the speech was truthful and directed at the Quran for having demonstrably false entries? Would this be defiling the Quran? Would it be defamatory?

Pakistan, a nation with a large Muslim majority (97%), needs to change and allow religious tolerance. While it is hard to control 176 million people, they must engage in an educational campaign to tone down the madness. Once tempers have calmed down, they  must either repeal the Blasphemy law, or amend it, to grant due process, by narrowing definitions of what may be deemed illegal.