Spengler: Should Islam be blamed for 'barbaric' acts?

Spengler is a brilliant scholar of Islam. The name 'Spengler' is, of course, a pseudonym. For obvious reasons. I love it when he publishes:

Should Islam be blamed for 'barbaric' acts?

by Spengler

[...] Islam by its nature cannot be separated from primitive life. [...]

The Hebrew Bible reports the practice of honor killing, but abhors it. Muslims remain divided on the subject. Strictly speaking, it is true that Islamic law forbids a Muslim family from killing an adulteress or a woman who has had relations with a non-Muslim man. But that is only because Islamic law specifies that Islamic courts, rather than families, should supervise the killing. It is not that women (and sometimes men) should not be killed for the crime of illicit sexual relations, but rather that the Islamic courts should arrange the killing.

For this reason, Islamic law views quite leniently honor killings that accomplish what the courts would have done given the opportunity, and many Islamic commentators do not see why families should wait for the courts at all. Until recently, Jordan gave "honor" killers sentences of as little as six months under Article 340 of the Jordan Penal Code, which stated: "Anyone catching his wife or one of his immediate family in a flagrant act of fornication with another person, and kills, injures or harms both or either of them, will benefit from the exculpating excuse ..."

Jordan's King Abdullah succeeded in revising this language, but as the Associated Press reported last year, "attempts to introduce harsher sentences for honor killings have been blocked in Jordan's parliament, where the predominantly conservative Bedouin lawmakers argue that lesser penalties [than honor killings] would lead to tolerating of promiscuity."

Islamic clerics, to be sure, tend to favor the idea that they rather than families should do the killing. According to a traditional ruling cited by Dr Mohammed Fadel and frequently posted on Islamic sites,

The prohibition against applying a legal penalty without legal authority (bi ghayri sultan) and without witnesses; cutting off the means to shedding the blood of a Muslim based merely upon the claim of his accuser, the one seeking the shedding of the accused's blood. [In this case] the truth of the claim would be known only by [the accuser's] own statement and Allah, may He be glorified and sanctified, has made the life of a Muslim a precious thing, and has made the sin in taking it great as well. Therefore, it [legal punishment] is permissible only under the conditions in which Allah has permitted it. [Application of legal punishments] is exclusively for the government so that it may apply that which Allah has commanded in His book or on the tongue of His Prophet.


There is no question that flogging and execution of adulterers is mandated by the Koran (eg, Sudra 4:15). As I observed in another context, this point is so clear in Islamic law that Professor Tariq Ramadan refused to condemn the practice in a televised debate with then French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

All Islamic commentary on the subject, though, applies to the behavior of Muslims in a country under Islamic rule in which the only only law is Islamic law. If no Islamic courts are available, what should an individual Muslim do? Is it then permissible to take the law into one's own hands? We have no clear record of Islamic jurisprudence on the subject, for only in recent years have large numbers of Muslims come to live in non-Muslim countries. But the reticence of Islamic clergy in the West to denounce honor killings is noteworthy. Western apologists for Islam who attempt to distinguish between the religion and primitive practices constantly stub their toes against Muslim authorities who insist that honor killing, genital mutilation, and stoning of adulterers is mandated by Islam. [...]

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