Imagine living in a world where dictator-run uprisings would affect the way you live your life. Nonie Darwish, author and human rights activists, has experienced the pain of such oppression and is reaching out to reveal the dark side of revolutions in the Middle East in her latest book The Devil We Don’t Know.
During her recent talk at the Heritage Foundation, Darwish explained that the threat of Sharia law is much greater than Americans may think. According to Darwish, 54 Muslim countries are ruled by Sharia – and with these Islamic states there comes a certain mentality. “Islam is not just a religion,” Darwish said. “It’s a state, values, and a militant institution.”
Darwish said that there is a constant cycle of people who seek freedom in the Middle East, but they are brought down by what she refers to as “the dark side.”
“Until today, Egypt had only three presidents,” Darwish said. Darish lived in Egypt until the age of 30. The country has experienced a history of wars, socialism, poverty, illiteracy, and women have been discriminated against. With this record of oppression, Darwish wonders how Muslim countries can practice freedom and democracy. “Islam gives little freedom and that’s why they’re doomed to fail in democracy,” she said.
But here in the United States, it’s easy to view everything from a distance. Darwish warned that the United States can’t just laugh at the everyday occurrences from across the globe. There are real and bad things happening, she explained. These are things that Americans just “laugh off.”
She warned that the propaganda reaching young people in the Middle East is training them to be anti-American. “If this continues generation after generation, how will we ever have peace?” she asked.
Sharia law, she explained, has deep roots and it “restricts every aspect of the political system.” With Jihad, she said the war against non-Muslims is vast as they try and establish the religion. “They want to fight people until they become Muslim,” she said. There’s also the call to pay taxes as non-Muslims and be belittled, she explained. “It’s violence. It’s war.”
Darwish said that many Americans want to make Sharia out to be simply an inner struggle. “No, it’s not,” Darwish said, explaining that it’s much more of a mentality that must be changed in order for any peace to be brought about. She also warned, “I believe any country that’s holding peace with Israel is threatened.”
As Americans, she said, we must start dealing with the situation in the Middle East properly. In America, “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing,” she said. We have to take matters into our own hands, and “make a line where Sharia cannot be demanded.” She said we should stop depending on the Middle East for oil and start using our own resources. This would lessen the American burden.
“We can respect them but we don’t have to accept it [Sharia] in our country… Freedom will come not through physical revolution, but philosophical revolution.”
Jocelyn Grecko is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia. Jocelyn has spent the past four years in the nation’s capital as a Media Studies undergraduate student at The Catholic University of America. She will graduate in May 2012.
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