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June 25th 2015 print

Peter Smith


This is a fictional account of a meeting between a female journalist and a touring Islamist cleric. How do we know it's fictional? In real life, the J-school educated reporter wouldn't be scarpering in fear of Allah's retribution. She would be making excuses for the inexcusable

mahdi larryGrand Mufti Ishalfulyu Ifi Khan, the well-known Islamic scholar now living in England, is spending two weeks travelling around Australia explaining the benefits of Sharia law. Intrepid, young and irreverent reporter Lois Long catches up with him in Melbourne.

“Welcome to Australia, Mufti baby,” Lois says, as she holds out her hand.

“Assalamu Alaykum, which means peace be upon you, young lady. But I am sorry, I must refuse your hand in case it drives me to distraction.”

“Well, I gotta admit, I sometimes have that effect on men. So, Mufti, you’re forgiven.”

Lois hitches up her skirt a little as she sits down. After all, she thinks, if a little hand touching would drive him to distraction, Allah knows what a bit of visible thigh might do; and a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get attention.

“Okay, give it to me, Mufti, what’s Sharia law all about?”

“Ah, it is perfect. It is Allah’s law as conveyed by the Prophet, peace be upon him. Man’s law is bound to be inferior to Allah’s. We will all be happier living under the just admonishments of Sharia.”

“So what are the main parts of Sharia law? I mean what does it say about theft for example?”

“The member must be severed. Allah is merciful.”

Lois thinks of her boyfriend and shivers at the thought. “Isn’t that a bit drastic? And suppose the thief’s a woman. I mean she won’t have a member to sever; not even a little one as I understand the practice in your religion.” She shivers again.

“I detect some confusion. The offending member in question on this occasion is the hand, which must be severed to remind the thief not to do it again; otherwise there goes the other hand. It works every time.”

“That still sounds a bit drastic to me. And I’ve heard, though I don’t how true it is, that you stone people for adultery and for er, how should I put it delicately, for gay activity, and you hang em high for leaving your religion. Is any of that true Mufti?”

“Islam is a religion of peace young lady. Many of your leaders – Presidents Bush and Obama and Prime Ministers Cameron and Abbott – have said so. So, you see, it must be true. We are supremely peaceful. When Sharia prevails throughout the whole world we will all live in peace in the house of Islam; in Dar al-Islam,” said the Mufti, his arms and eyes lifted to the heavens.

“And what of Christians and Jews, Mufti, will they be okay?”

“Well, of course, you are referring to those enlightened Christians and Jews who convert to Islam?

“Actually no, I am referring to those who want to go on practicing their own religions.”

“Innocent people will live safely under Sharia. Remember, Allah is merciful and so are his followers.”

“So, Christians and Jews will be fine then?”

“Christians and Jews will be welcome to live among Muslims provided they live humbly and pay a special tax, which we call jizya.”

“What exactly do you mean by living humbly and what’s this special tax all about?”

“Islam is a religion of peace.”

“You seem to be avoiding my question, Mufti.”

“Muslims are used to these hurtful insults but Allahu Akbar, we shall overcome; meanwhile excuse me while I whine and wail loudly about this atrocious Islamophobia.”

At this point the Mufti tears at his tunic, strides to a near-by rug, and kneels and prays towards Mecca for the strength to suffer the kufars. Whoever they are, Lois silently ponders.

Though taken aback, our intrepid reporter continues once the Mufti rearranges his tunic and resumes his seat. “Can Christians and Jews and even atheists who refuse conversion, or to live, as you say, humbly and pay the tax be regarded as innocent?”

“Now I see you are trying to trick me. No such people will exist.”

“No, why not, will they have been killed?”

“Killed! I have told you that Islam is a religion of peace. Oh Messenger, peace be upon him, how these infidels twist our faith. Killing will occur only in accordance with Sharia. Innocent people will be quite safe.”

“I don’t fully understand, Mufti. It might help if you drew me a picture of Muhammad.”

“Then I would have to cut off my own head you imbecile.”

“No, sorry, Mufti, I put it badly. Can you describe Muhammad in the same way in which Christians describe the life and teachings of Jesus?”

“Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the Messenger of Allah; the final and greatest prophet. Jesus was also a fine prophet of Allah as was Moses, Isaac and Abraham before him. But, of course, they were all much lesser Muslim prophets when compared with Muhammad, peace be upon him.

“So, Mufti,” Lois says, unwisely showing amusement, “are you saying, let me see, that Jesus and Moses were Muslims before there were Muslims? How very prophetic of them!”

“I beg your pardon young lady, if you continue to show such disrespect, I will be compelled to cut your head off. Remember young lady, with the indecently short skirt, Islam is a religion of peace.”

Lois beats a quick retreat. “Thanks Mufti, I think we’ll leave it at that.”

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics