, I am an atheist
. No doubt Muslims
would feel that this fact makes me an incapable commentator, but I point it out mostly to underscore that my bias at least is not Christian
Jaez states, in his definition, "Often times the Shariah is criticised by people on the basis of its punishments, yet they fail to show the complex, intricate, and rigorous process it provides for establishing proof only by examination of evidence before any judgement is reached." This is fallacious; criticism of harsh punishments is deflected by appealing to the rigoursness of the detection of the proof of guilt. The complaint that punishments under Sharia are cruel and unusual - executions, maimings - is not addressed, instead, the reader is redirected to consider how "complex, intricate and rigorous" the process of determining guilt is. I believe the average response by an average Westerner would be, "I don't care how sure you are he stole it, you can't cut off his hand!"
Similarly, he goes on to claim, "Shariah is a set of rules that guide muslims through their lives, and sets out responsibilities and rights, duties and crimes, and remedies for society. It is designed for a different type of society in mind than the one in which most of its critics live, which must be understood inorder to avoid prejudice."
The problem is, of course, that Sharia is imposed on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It does not just "guide muslims sic through their lives," it requires non-Muslims to abide by the rules, as well. Punishments are way out of proportion for crime (maiming for petty theivery) and, in many cases, apply to things most non-Muslims feel are not the business of the state to begin with (death for adultery).
Punishment for adultery, by the way, falls most heavily upon women, because of the aforementioned strong burden of proof. If a man has sex with a woman who is not married, and she gets pregnant, there is manifest proof of her adultery (or fornication, at the least), and, under Sharia, she is to be put to death (by stoning). No evidence against him, of course, so he gets off scott free. Quite just.
This, of course, doesn't get into all the other things Sharia forbids - like, being an athiest (or a Christian for that matter), women going out in public unescorted (or with faces uncovered), women apparently having any sort of rights beyond being property, women being able to read, or, for that matter, believing Sharia is wrong.
I'm going to break with Political Correctness, here, and say, Any system of law that kills women for having sex with men they love is wrong. And I'm not ashamed for feeling that way. I wish more people weren't afraid to say that opressing half of your population isn't "a different lifestyle" - it's wrong.