This Is What Sharia Law Looks Like
The Muslim Brotherhood may become a major political force in Egypt after this revolution is done. It may even become the dominant one. While Western commentators debate just how secular (not) or extreme (very) the Muslim Brotherhood is, there's no debating their commitment to Islamic sharia law as the blueprint for running society.
Sharia law based on (arbitrarily defined) religious injunctions is fundamentally opposed to the legal systems we have set up in the West. And while some will attempt to whitewash the practical consequences of sharia law wherever it has been imposed (eg. "This isn't real sharia. It's a cultural thing. It's being misrepresented), the examples of outrageous - some would say, barbaric - rulings by sharia-minded authorities around the world are too numerous to properly get one's head around.
For instance, in the latest example of sharia justice carried out this week in Bangladesh, a 14-year old rape victim was locked up and later tried for "immoral sexuality". She was sentenced to 200 lashes of the whip, which turned out to be a death sentence.
In contrast, the rapist was fined $150 and sent on his way.
We've seen these kinds of sharia verdicts again and again in places like Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia... everywhere that sharia has been adopted, victims are punished and predators get a slap on the wrist (or no punishment at all). This leads to the perverse result that sexual predators are incentivized to keep doing what they do (Why not do the crime if you're not going to do the time?) and victims are terrorized into silence by a system that will not protect them.
There's no guarantee that a Muslim Brotherhood breakthrough in Egypt will lead to entrenchment of sharia law. But there's little reason for optimism that Egypt will somehow manage to avoid the consequences of sharia that have plagued every nation that adopts it.
This is what sharia looks like in Pakistan.
Here is sharia law in Sudan.
This is what sharia law is like in Iran.
And this is how sharia is implemented in Saudi Arabia.
Is this what the Muslim Brotherhood has in mind for Egypt?
Egyptians presumably do not want to trade in a secular dictatorship for a theocratic dystopia like Pakistan or Iran. But pretending it can't happen is not particularly helpful. Not when a majority of Egyptians say they want Islam to play a big part in their politics.
Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist