Published On:25 February 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Let the Mullah rant on Sharia: We need a uniform civil code

‘Sheikh’ Anjem Choudary, a radical Muslim motormouth, who has called for the Sharia to be imposed in India ought to revive the demand for a uniform civil code in India which does away with all personal laws – for Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs - based on faith.

By Venky Vembu

It’s evidently open season for mullahs and maulvis. After the recent episode touched off by Deoband that ended up nixing Salman Rushdie’s appearance at the Jaipur Literary Festival, a UK-based hothead has raised the stakes even further.

‘Sheikh’ Anjem Choudary, a radical Muslim motormouth without a constituency, who has in the past valorised Osama bin Laden, has announced plans for a march in New Delhi on 3 March to demand that Sharia law be enforced in India. The Delhi Police has said it will not allow the march, and the Delhi High Court is hearing a petition seeking a ban on the march, but Choudary himself is unfazed.

On his website shariah4hind.com (which has since been blocked in India, but can be accessed using a proxy server), the self-styled “judge of the UK Shariah Court” promises that the “shariah4hind project will continue unhindered until sovereignty and supremacy is returned to Allah and the authority is for the Muslims alone.” Muslims, he adds, “do not obey any man-made law… and any attempt to silence calls for the Shariah, whether by bannings or court hearings, will never be successful.”

In a video posted on YouTube to rally support for the march, Choudary rants about the plight of Muslims in Kashmir and in the rest of India, and offers a prophetic vision of what an India under Sharia law will be like.

The Sharia flag – proclaiming La Ilaha Ill Allah (There is no god but Allah) — will flutter over the Indian Parliament, he rants.

Under Shariah, every man, woman and child will have free food, clothing and shelter – something, he says, none of the political parties in India promise.

And his tolerance of other faiths runs this far: “You can keep your temples, your churches, your synagogues… we will never touch them. You can worship your gods as you please inside.” But in the streets, he says, “there will be segregation…. We will rid the country of gambling, of usury, of corruption of man-made law.”

And he feels sure that both Muslims and non-Muslims in India will want entry into the paradise of Sharia. “As our history has shown, many non-Muslims wanted the Shariah,” he adds. “Shariah4hind is on the lips of many people.”

It is, of course, easy to dismiss these as the ravings of a self-styled cleric whose prime motivating force, even by his own admission, is to seek media publicity. He has in the past initiated similar Sharia projects in the UK (where his Islam4UK project was banned under anti-terrorism laws) and in the US (where, as part of his Shariah4America campaign, his organisation posted images of the Statue of Liberty wearing an Islamic veil and the White House was shown with minarets and rechristened the White Masjid).

And, of course, the man himself is a peerless hypocrite. For someone who riles against “promiscuity, adultery, homosexuality, alcohol, gambling” and even Bollywood – he spent his student days in a haze of cannabis, alcohol and pornography. And, from accounts narrated by his friends in his formative years, Choudary had a sexually promiscuous life, with a particular fondness for white Christian girls.

Yet, voices like Choudary’s highlight the danger posed to civil discourses by the lunatic fringe, which is slowly gaining traction and provoking a backlash in the mainstream. The failure of multiculturalism in the UK and in continental Europe has given rise to fears of a “Londonistan” and a “creeping Islamisation” of civil society, which have found expression in the backlash against the full-face Islamic veil in France and elsewhere.

In 2008, the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledged glowingly that UK society and law already recognised certain provisions of the Sharia law, which provoked an outcry in Britain. (Of course, even that wasn’t enough for Choudary, who said Sharia law had to be “adopted wholesale”.)

In fact, Choudary’s perverse call for the Sharia to be imposed in India ought to revive the demand for a uniform civil code in India which does away with all personal laws – for Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs – based on faith. Our Constitution, in fact, envisaged a uniform civil code as a Directive Principle, a goal that is intended to be achieved, but for too long, our vote-bank-seeking politicians and even the higher judiciary have evaded the issue on the ground that it is a “sensitive issue”.

In fact, perversely, Muslim personal laws in Pakistan, an Islamic republic, and in Turkey, for instance, are in some ways more progressive than in notionally secular countries like India.

To the extent that the incendiary Choudary’s rants can help refocus our attention on the unrealised objective – as set out in our Constitution – for a uniform civil code, perhaps he’s done us a good deed after all.

Choudary should also take a detour to Uttar Pradesh where Muslims are not asking for Sharia, but education and jobs. Perhaps he will return to base with an education in secularism.

(Courtesy: FirstPost.com)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on February 25, 2012. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on February 25, 2012. Filed under , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

2 comments for "Let the Mullah rant on Sharia: We need a uniform civil code"

  1. The simplest answer in this regard is already existing in India i.e. the legal entity of Muslim Personal Law in matters of personal nature, and the supremacy of Indian Constitution in all other matters. It is a useless and a counter-productive exercise if anybody is demanding for any one of these, completely.

    Accept the present balanced setup, and please don`t demand or discuss any one single approach. It will simply be impractical.

  2. Anjem Chodhary is a lost cause- a bigot and trouble maker. Why doesn't he join the Taleban rather than enjoying and misusing the freedom of the UK. A hypocrite!

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