Sharia Law Set To Triumph In Kuwait – Legacy Of Anti-Western Policy Making?

By • on February 12, 2012

Much Western treasure and sacrifice was invested in the liberation of Kuwait following the aggression of Saddam Hussein in 1990.  It is therefore very disappointing to read a report at the website of Al-Akhbar that Islamists are pushing for sharia to become the law of the land in Kuwait following their recent electoral success.  Sadly, from a human rights point of view, increasing numbers of Muslim countries are opting to build societies and legal systems based on sharia.  Many of these have adopted such systems under Western tutelage or following Western support for internal rebellions and by direct military intervention.

Sharia law violates basic Western values such as equality before the law, gender equality, and freedom of expression, and in this way it could even be referred to as anti-Western.  It is therefore surprising that everything the West touches these days seems to have a remarkable ability to move in the direction of sharia compliant governance.  Is this the result of incompetent policy making or deliberate planning on the part of Western leaders?

In Iraq, another country where Western treasure was used to unseat a tyrant has seen a mass exodus of Christians which indicates the existence of serious intimidation at the hands of Islamists. The website Christians of Iraq gives the following information:

“There is no specific statistics about the total population of Christians in Iraq but their population was estimated to have been about 800.000 strong before the 2003 United State invasion of the country. Since then about half a million of christians have been forced to flee to the neighboring countries or have migrated to the West. Some hundred thousand internally displaced have taken shelter in northern Iraq in the Plain of Nineveh the historic homeland of the Christians of Iraq.”

Following the Western backed ‘Arab Spring’ the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party has become the largest party in the Egyptian parliament.  With the even more extreme Al-Nour party in second place Islamists now have a firm political grip on the country.  Similarly elections in once liberal Tunisia favoured the Islamist Ennahda party. It will be interesting to see how the Muslim Brotherhood will do in Libyan elections later this year.  Undoubtedly Islamists in all these countries will not rock the boat too much at first, but we have seen in the West how extreme even liberal party’s can get once they get fully ensconced.

In Afghanistan, even though the purpose of Western military intervention was to oust the Taliban and reduce the power of Islamism, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has even suggested that the United States Government may be willing to open negotiations with the Taliban.  Even without Taliban participation the Afghan government, with assistance from the US State Department, managed to put together a sharia based constitution (quoted below from Afghanistan Online) which starts positively in its Preamble when it makes reference to:

“Observing the United Nations Charter and respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

You might think that this means that the constitution actually respects human rights, until you read Article 3 which states:

“In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.”

The positive content in the Preamble is therefore nullified by Article 3 just like the Islamic alternative to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, does in its Articles 24 and 25.  This competitor to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drawn up by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (now renamed Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and adopted by it in 1990.  Afghanistan, of course is a member of this organisation.

The rise of Islamism in North Africa, the Middle East, and beyond may mean that religious minorities in those countries will get a poor deal if the example of other Islamist controlled countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia are anything to go by.  It is also likely that gender inequality and homophobia will increase and that governments will be more anti-Western in their foreign policy.

Some people now argue that Western governments are themselves anti-Western because of their encouragement of greater sharia compliance in their own societies.  Sharia compliance at home and support for Islamism abroad certainly indicates an integrated and cohesive worldview on their part and an anti-Western bias in their policy making.  The encouragement Western governments for the Istanbul Process that seeks to create a global blasphemy law and undermine freedom of expression is perhaps an indication that this direction of policy will be unlikely to change any time soon.  Of course this is very disappointing as such policies give comfort to Islamists and undermine liberal Islamic reformers both at home and abroad who Western governments should be actively supporting.