PET DOGS, SHARIA AND BLESSING OUR ENEMIES
If we did not have enough reasons for dreading Sharia law, Iran has given us another one; dog ownership is out. Iran banned all advertisements for pets on Friday, including ads for pet food, pet shops, and other pet products. Why? Because Iranian dog owners care entirely too much about Fido, and that infatuation could lead to “evil outcomes” of some mysterious nature, besides the fact that dogs are unclean animals in Islam.
“Many people in the West love their dogs more than their wives and children,” the Grand Ayatollah declared.
The situation, of course, is more serious than the banning of canine companions (although that’s pretty rough). Sharia law isn’t just threatening to keep Persians from their pooches. In Afghanistan in early August, the Taliban lashed 35-year-old Bibi Sanubar 200 times before shooting her to death for adultery – adultery that allegedly took place after her husband had passed away. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian women who was given 99 lashes and has thus far avoided execution by stoning, was told this weekend that she would be hanged on Sunday – but the execution did not take place. Ashtiani was tortured until she “confessed” to the murder of her husband – an act she claims was devised and carried out by his cousin. While she awaits her fate, the Iranian government continues to play tormenting head games – such as mock execution days.
The promotion of Sharia is not confined to the Middle East. Its rigid regulations and devaluing of women have followed large populations of Muslims into European nations and beyond.
The spread of Islam through the North Caucasus, between the Black and Caspian Seas in European Russia, has brought with it the Sharia mentality. The region of Chechnya has been particularly troubled and the Russian constitution has been violated by those who are more interested in upholding Islamic law than the local Russian law. Women are harassed and shot with paintball guns for not wearing head coverings. Eateries are ordered to close for the month of Ramadan – and they do it. In May, Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov told the French newspaper Le Figaro in an interview that Russian law is not as important as Sharia law in the region. This past December, Vakha Khashkhanov, the head of Chechnya’s Centre for Spiritual-Moral Education, informed Reuters that Chechnya permits polygamy.
This is in Russia, not Iran.
Sharia is considered by Muslims to be God’s law, although there is disagreement about what exactly Sharia entails. Its interpretation can vary from nation to nation and culture to culture. Islamic scholars have their various opinions.
Yet, as Muslim communities grow in the West, Islam’s influence has enlarged as well. Since 2007, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) has existed in Britain, according to its website, “to provide a viable alternative for the Muslim community seeking to resolve disputes in accordance with Islamic Sacred Law and without having to resort to costly and time consuming litigation.” British law still trumps Sharia law, and hopefully men who rape and beat their wives are not let free to continue the subjugation and abuse, but MAT has the blessing of the British government to take care of minor disputes according to Islamic law.
And in America? According to a new Newsweek poll, 51 percent of Republicans believe that President Obama “sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world.” That’s not all – 59 percent of Republicans and 28 percent of political independents think “Obama favors the interests of Muslim Americans over other groups of Americans.” Those views maybe strengthened by President Obama’s recent support of the “right” of Muslims to build a major mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.
Does Obama really have a secret desire to expand the power of Sharia law around the world? That would be a contradiction, certainly, for a man who supports comprehensive sex education, abortion, and gay rights. The poll does demonstrate that the fear of Sharia law has grown in America, and as the ninth anniversary of September 11, 2001 approaches, the painful memories are once again making their rounds.
Bless And Not Curse:
However, fear is not the answer, especially not for Christians. Christians need to remember that Muslims are human beings for whom Jesus died, and they hold in themselves the desperate desire for God’s love and forgiveness that any other human carries. The decision to build a mosque down the street from the spot where Islamic jihadists tore us open was insensitive at the least, but it was not the decision of every Muslim.
It is also important to remember that many Muslims come to America because they want freedom. They long for hope and stability and a place to raise their families without fear. Americans who convert to Islam may be much harder to talk to than those from Islamic countries who love their new home in the land of the free.
Many Muslims have no clue that God loves them and wants them to know Him personally. A large number are intimidated by their religious leaders and feel no freedom to search for God outside of the heavy hand of Islam. While those committing murder in the name of Islam must be stopped, individual Muslims still need to know the love and forgiveness that can be found in Christ alone. We in the Christian community need to embrace Muslims with Christ’s love and show them who God is through the power of His Spirit working in us. If members of the Muslim community count us their enemies, Christians must pray for them.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” -Matthew 5:44
The concern about the spread of Sharia law is not an empty one; it threatens to follow devoted Muslim communities wherever they go. However, we hope to show them a better way.
See the 9th and 10th links below for further study on Islam and how to minister to Muslims. May God show you His heart in every situation!
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Galatians 5:14
• TIMELINE-Encroachment Of Sharia Law In Russia’s Caucasus – Reuters
• Iran Bans Pet Ads, Brands Dogs ‘Unclean’ – News.com.au
• Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Subjected To Mock Execution – The Guardian
• Muslim Arbitration Tribunal – web site
• What Can Sharia Courts Do In Britain? – Telegraph.co.uk
• ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Developer: I Don’t Hold Islam Accountable for 9/11 Attacks – CBS News
• Taliban Execute Pregnant Woman In Afghanistan – AFP
• Poll: Majority Of GOP Said Obama Wants Sharia Law – CBS News
• The Christian Witness to the Muslim – Answering Islam
• Understanding Islam – Links – Ministering To Muslims