Textbooks and curricula, particularly in California which sets the national trends for both, continue to paint a glossy portrait of the Shariah law that governs much of the Islamic world. As we reported last year, the California Department of Education believes that “Islamic law, for example, rejected the older Arabian view of women as ‘family property,’ declaring that women and men are entitled to respect and moral self-governance.”
More recently, Samira H. Tamer reported to us that the main textbook used in California’s seventh grade classrooms teaches that “Shari’a promotes obedience to the Koran and respect for others” and that “Shari’a continues to develop in response to modern ways of life and its challenges.”
The way in which it does so may strike Westerners as, to put it mildly, rather odd. “A prominent Saudi cleric has issued an edict calling for opponents of the kingdom’s strict segregation of men and women to be put to death if they refuse to abandon their ideas,” the Washington Times reported on February 24, 2010. “Sheik Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak said in a fatwa the mixing of sexes at the workplace or in education ‘as advocated by modernizers’ is prohibited because it allows ‘sight of what is forbidden and forbidden talk between men and women.’”
“Sheik Barrak, believed to be 77, does not hold a government position, but he is viewed by Islamists as the leading independent authority of Saudi-Arabia’s hard-line version of Sunni Islam, often termed Wahhabism.”
Indeed, Austrian human rights activist Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff has found references to female gender mutilation in the Hadith, the collected sayings and thoughts of the prophet that do not necessarily appear in the Koran. Sabaditsch-Wolff spoke at a conference organized by activist Pamela Geller that took place at the Mariott Wardman Park Hotel here in Washington, D. C. , while the Conservative Political Action Conference was in session at that same establishment.
At Geller’s meeting, former Defense Department analyst Steve Coughlin shed light on two other intriguing concepts connected with Islam—“abrogation” and “slander.” Abrogation comes into play when one section of the Koran on a particular subject contradicts another on the same topic.
When that happens, the last word on the question becomes literally just that, though the other verses do not disappear down a memory hole. Thus, you need to check the timeline on when those of other faiths are called “People Of The Book” or “infidels.”
Slander, on the other hand, in this Islamic context, refers not exactly to the telling of untruths but the dissemination of secrets. You can see how Jihadists would abuse this.
The Bush Administration didn’t, or wouldn’t. Coughlin was fired from his job as an analyst there before he could give a briefing relaying his findings from research on Islamic literature. He notes that Major Hassan, the Fort Hood assassin, covered the same material in his own infamous briefing.
Coughlin compared the official 9-11 commission report to the National Intelligence Strategy 2009 and the FBI lexicon to show how terms such as terrorist were airbrushed out in a matter consistent with the recommendations of Islamic groups, many of which are still under investigation for possible terrorist ties.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.