October 17, 2019

Feminism and Sharia Law

The last group one would expect to be helping advance Sharia (Islamic) law is feminists, and yet they are doing just that, albeit unintentionally.

As is well known, Feminism opposes male domination and the political and social systems that perpetuate it and discriminate against women. In contrast, Sharia law prescribes and celebrates male domination and consigns women to subordinate status. Though specific Sharia rules can vary, the following ones are among the most common:

A man can have four wives, a woman only one husband

A woman needs her spouse’s consent to obtain a divorce. A man does not

A man has greater rights to inheritance and higher status as a witness

A woman must cover her hair and in some cases her face and body

An unmarried woman must obey her nearest male relative

A wife’s inheritance is half what a husband receives

A “rebellious” wife may be beaten and imprisoned in the home

A lesbian is subject to the death penalty. (So is a homosexual male. In this there is “equality”)

A woman who remarries loses custody of her children

To prove she was raped, a woman must have four male eyewitnesses

Feminists would consider every one of these Sharia rules a moral outrage, so how could they possibly be contributing to the advancement of Sharia law? Here’s how:

  • Feminists have been the chief advocates for birth control and abortion for almost a century—since Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the U. S. (1916) and started the organization that became Planned Parenthood (1921). Their efforts were instrumental in the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision (1973).
  • Feminists’ support of abortion has clearly been a significant factor in the almost 56 million abortions in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade. In fact, Planned Parenthood’s own clinics reportedly account for between 25 and 40 percent of all abortions.
  • Mainly as a result of birth control and abortion, the average number of children per woman in the U.S. is now 1.93 (1.6 among college-educated women). That is below the 2.1 level necessary for population replacement.
  • For religious and cultural reasons, however, Muslim women have generally rejected birth control and abortion and thus are having more children than non-Muslim women. Accordingly, as the number of non-Muslims is decreasing, the number of Muslims is increasing. There were 2,595,000 Muslim-Americans in 2010 and the number is projected to more than double to 6,126,000 by 2030.
  • In addition to the increasing number of Muslims because of their higher birth rate, there is likely to be a similar increase in Muslim immigration from other countries to the U.S. That has been the pattern in Europe—as the indigenous population has declined, workers from Muslim countries have been sought to fill the available jobs. The demographic change has already reached a point where some analysts have begun referring to the continent as “Eurabia.”
  • As Muslims grow in number in the U.S., their political influence will increase and their preferences will be reflected in legislative decisions. Will there be pressure for Sharia law to supplement or even replace the American legal tradition? If the support for Sharia among Muslims in other countries is any indication, the answer is clearly “yes.” But we need not look to other countries. As Janet Levy has documented, there has already been significant pressure for Sharia law in the American court system.

The above facts make clear that feminists’ successful campaign for birth control and abortion has contributed to a development they likely did not anticipate and certainly do not endorse. But their intentions do not alter the facts. Nor do they lessen the bitter irony that their “gain” for women could help to produce a much greater loss.

Copyright © 2014 by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero. All rights reserved

To see more of this author’s work, visit www.mind-at-work.com

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Written by
Vincent Ryan Ruggiero

VINCENT RYAN RUGGIERO, M.A., is Professor of Humanities Emeritus, State University of New York, Delhi College. Prior to his twenty-nine year career in education, he was a social caseworker and an industrial engineer. The author of twenty-one books, his trade books include Warning: Nonsense Is Destroying America and The Practice of Loving Kindness. His textbooks include The Art of Thinking and Beyond Feelings, both in 10th editions and available in Chinese as well as English, Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues, and A Guide to Sociological Thinking. His latest book, Corrupted Culture: Rediscovering America's Enduring Principles, Values, and Common Sense, is available at Amazon and in bookstores. Professor Ruggiero is internationally recognized as one of the pioneers of the Critical Thinking movement in education. Earlier in his career, he published essays in a variety of magazines and journals, including America, Catholic Mind, The Sign, The Lamp, and Catholic World.

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Written by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero
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